Rick is Co-Founder and General Partner at Equal Ventures. Prior to co-founding Equal Ventures, Rick was an investor at Lightbank, an early-stage venture fund based in Chicago, where he led investments in companies like Riskmatch (acquired by Vertafore), Vettery (acquired by Adecco), Neumob (acquired by CloudFlare), Expel and Catalytic amongst others. In addition to those investments, Rick served on the boards of Snapsheet and Benchprep and angel invested in several industry-leading companies like Rigup.
Prior to Lightbank, Rick worked with investment firms Foundation Capital, Bowery Capital, and Lightview Capital, investing in technology companies across the capital spectrum from seed-stage to buy-out and began his career as a strategy consultant at Deloitte Consulting.
Rick received an MBA with Honors from Columbia Business School and graduated from the University of Richmond where he studied Economics and Leadership Studies. When Rick isn’t working with founders he can usually be found in the Upper West Side with his wife, Lauren, their daughter, Sutton, and their dog, Archie.
In the Age of AI, Build “Platforms,” Not “Products”
With AI becoming the latest “THING” in the tech sector, some are predicting an extinction level event for existing software companies. As Dave Yuan of Tidemark points out, this is only partially true. The latest AI tools not only have the power to make software more powerful, but also to greatly decrease its cost of production. With that, many are concerned that legacy platforms unable to leverage AI will be rendered obsolete, and they’re not wrong! If I were a generic workflow product, I would be terrified. The moat around these products is now next to nil as the barriers to entry of software production have been washed away. What were once successful niche software product companies are now being obliterated by new entrants leveraging the functionality of AI models. Perhaps even more daunting is the speed and efficacy of this destruction, with companies that have existed for years and taken millions of dollars to build being dismantled by teams capable of using AI to launch comparable (and arguably better) products in weeks with incredibly lean engineering teams.
Announcing the Second Annual Emerging Manager Circle Summit
For the last few years, the Emerging Manager Circle (EMC) has been an immense influence on my life. As someone who grew up outside of traditional venture circles, the process of launching a venture fund was daunting. I didn’t have mentors who were willing to show me the ropes, I just had an irrational belief that Equal Ventures was something that founders needed and knew I wanted to spend the rest of my career building it.