A few weeks ago a friend of mine and a friend of Lijit’s lost his battle with cancer. They say success has many fathers, but Jerome can certainly claim an important role in making Lijit a success. Jerome was the first institutional investor in Lijit when he was at High Country Ventures.
I got to know Jerome while I was still at Raindance and through the final years of my involvement at Raindance we would often meet for breakfast to discuss my many crazy ideas. When I started Lijit, Jerome helped me formulate some of the ideas and strategies and when our Angel round of financing needed a little more investment fuel he led High Country into a $200K investment.
Jerome was a tough business guy, and like a lot of tough business guys he had his fans and otherwise. I was always in the fan category. When he had something constructive to add around the board table he would add it. When he didn’t he wouldn’t. Jerome was a consummate professional.
A few years ago Jerome moved on to San Francisco and Crosslink Capital. I pitched Crosslink for a late stage investment round but my style didn’t mesh with the other partners at Crosslink. I believe humility is the best tool as a CEO, but as Jerome counseled me after the fact, that style can appear weak – especially to a Valley VC expecting “ego” to be plentiful. We found our investment somewhere else but nearly every time I was in San Francisco over the last two years I would meet Jerome for breakfast at the Meridian Hotel near his office. He always had helpful advice on business and we had great discussions about taking our favorite cars to the track to go fast.
I’m not a friend maker (or collector) by nature. But I counted Jerome as one of them.