Founding Partner, Lightspeed
A founding partner at Lightspeed, Barry is something of a Silicon Valley pioneer.
After all, as a native of Sunnyvale, he remembers when the area was filled not with startups but with cherry and apricot orchards. And although he attended undergrad at UCLA, he soon returned to the valley to earn an MBA at Stanford.
He’s been here ever since. After grad school, Barry worked in M&A at Cisco Systems, in San Jose, and later, by the recommendation of his old friend and classmate Chris Schaepe, became a partner at Weiss, Peck & Greer.
It was here, in late 1999, that he and Chris, along with Ravi Mhatre and Peter Nieh, set out to found Lightspeed. In addition to building out the firm, Barry specializes in information technology infrastructure with a focus on analytic platforms, cloud, IoT, networking, and emerging infrastructure.
And yet, he insists technology isn’t his strong suit.
“I’m an economics undergrad, so I don’t lead with technology IQ,” he says. “I like to rely on EQ.”
It’s this emotional intelligence that has enabled him to foster strong relationships throughout the valley, which he says are just as important as big ideas when it comes to building great companies. That’s why he focuses his efforts on providing leverage to entrepreneurs rather than creating overhead.
“There’s a fine line between the two,” he says. “Whether it’s a set of customer intros, helping them hire the people they want to hire, partner introductions, or introductions to investors during a financing—whatever I’m doing, it’s giving founders leverage.”