Who is Rick Bolander?
When I say “venture capitalist” who comes to mind for you? Is it Peter Thiel, who was made famous by appearing in the movie The Social Network thanks to actor Wallace Langham?
Is it Ron Conway, the much-loved, affable co-boss of Y Combinator, who, with business partner Yuri Milner, helped entrepreneurs launch so many startup companies?
Or is it Gus Tai, who’s a major part of Trinity Ventures, which has firms in its portfolio like Posterous, the blogging platform recently acquired by Twitter?
I’ll offer a name you’ve never heard of: Rick Bolander.
Rick Bolander has more than 12 years of experience in the venture capital industry. The engineer by training co-founded Gabriel Venture Partners in 1999, and avoided the spotlight, preferring to, as he said to me, “Keep my head down and work.”
Bolander regularly avoids interviews (it took me a solid seven months of trying before we had our first talk), and does not often use social media like Twitter or YouTube to comunicate his point (I told him he should) – he picks up the telephone.
Bolander’s publicity shyness has caused the World to not know that the growing safe, kids cellphone company called Kajeet was jump started with $82 million he raised. Rick says that Kajeet was a good example of “Gabriel’s overall investment approach of finding a company producing a technology that serves an underserved market.”
Kajeet is best described as a cellphone network that allows parents of teens to give their kids cell phones without worries of abuse of any kind. It’s grown to offer Android-based smartphone, as well.
Rick’s on the board of directors of the following firms: Chegg, Encentuate, Eyespot, IPWireless, kajeet, Neopath Networks, Persistent Systems, and Tapatap.
In addition to those, and other firms, Bolander has been a participant in the series of discussion events around Hollywood and digital media called Digital Hollywood. In this, he has been a spokesperson, advocating the combat of movie piracy, and working to spearhead new forms of revenue for the content of the movie industry.
But Rick’s passion is his kids, and in our next installment, we’ll talk with him about kids and the Internet, and how what he’s doing helps keep kids safe.