A seed-stage venture capital firm

Providing capital and advice to university entrepreneurs since 1999.

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About Us

Concept2Company Ventures is a seed-stage venture capital fund located in Silicon Valley. We help professors, staff, graduate students, and recent university graduates start commercial ventures. C2C invests capital to help these researchers build successful businesses based on their ideas.

C2C gets involved with new ventures much earlier than other venture capital firms do. Often there isn’t even a business plan or a complete team – just a promising technology and a desire to do something useful with it. We enjoy the challenge of helping people shape an idea for a business.

Why Concept2Company Ventures?

For faculty, researchers, staff, and recent graduates, starting companies is often a random process of seeking advice and figuring out whom they can trust. As a trusted partner of their institution, C2C brings specific expertise in the process of venture formation “from concept to company.”

At C2C, we don’t pretend to know all the answers, but we probably know someone who might have an answer or who can help. That’s why we take pains to ensure that all our new investments can benefit from the relationships we’ve formed since we started C2C in 1999. C2C and its extensive set of contacts provide a range of support for young, private companies at any stage of development.

What C2C Ventures Does

Concept2Company Ventures looks for opportunities to partner with professors, staff, graduate students, and recent graduates who hope to found a venture-backed company based on their research.

C2C invests capital and provides advice, but we don’t join the management team. We have opinions. We are not shy about making recommendations. But we do require that at least one founding team member builds the company and makes the decisions. Often, this is a recent graduate with little or no business experience. Occasionally it is an experienced entrepreneur, who intends to license technology from a university. Other times it is a graduate student or a faculty member who plans to take a sabbatical.

We believe that before raising capital, the founding team must identify an existing market that is poised for rapid growth. They must discover an unmet customer need in that market. And they must develop a proof-of-concept prototype that can meet that customer need.

C2C helps founders discover attractive markets for university technologies and secure rich customers who will move fast and pay a premium for a unique solution. A market on the path to a $1B potential allows for error and time for real margins to develop.

Intellectual Property is usually necessary, but rarely sufficient for business success. When patents would be helpful to prevent others from copying a product or a service, C2C helps founders analyze patents from other labs and to develop and license strong patent portfolios.

In addition to providing advice on all forms of intellectual property, C2C also:

  • Invests startup capital
  • Identifies market opportunities
  • Conducts go-to-market experiments
  • Assesses customer demand
  • Develops and refines a product plan
  • Uncovers initial customer partners
  • Licenses intellectual property for the company

After the founders and C2C have determined to move forward, C2C

  • Invests seed capital
  • Participates in initial meetings with customers
  • Helps founders find product/market fit
  • Helps founders develop metrics to measure their product's success
  • Supervises the company's organization and technology licensing
  • Attracts other qualified management and outside directors and advisors
  • Invests follow-on capital and introduces founders to other venture capital investors

C2C’s principals use their extensive business and technical expertise and venture capital contacts to help founders define, start and fund their company

It is usually a lengthy process that often consumes hundreds of hours of C2C’s time. Consequently, C2C can only take on a small number of projects at a time.

At C2C we prefer to form long-term relationships with founders and universities. Some of our most successful investments have been the result of partnering with founders we have known for years through multiple companies.

C2C can offer its greatest help to companies during their formative years. However, on occasion, when the management of a company asks us to stay involved, we do. Depending on the stage the company is at and the wishes of its founders and management, C2C will accept a seat on the company’s Board of Directors. In other cases, we sit on a company’s advisory board.

C2C does not receive any cash compensation. C2C’s compensation is its participation in the initial seed financing.

Dilution is our greatest enemy. Recognition of the corrosive force of dilution is what separates wealthy founders from successful ones. We prefer companies that can be started with relatively small amounts of money, and we like our investments to become profitable quickly. This allows the startup’s founders and management to retain a large equity stake throughout the life of the company. We have discovered that founders and management who are clever enough to generate a large return from a small investment will frequently build significant companies.

C2C focuses on leading universities and research institutions in the United States. Universities with which C2C has worked include Stanford, Caltech and UCLA.

C2C understands university culture

The principals at C2C Ventures have published papers, written grants, and mentored graduate students. We understand university culture.

C2C looks for researchers who are focused and impatient to find practical applications for their work and to create lasting value in the world. Among their peers, they are often considered independent thinkers and mavericks. We want to find founders with ideas and technologies where there is a chance for us to be shareholders with them for 10 or 15 years.

C2C has helped to turn concepts into companies, at Stanford, Yale, Caltech and other leading universities. Since 1999, these companies have raised more than $280 million in venture capital.

A new model

C2C gets involved with its ventures much earlier than other venture firms do. Often there isn’t even a business plan or an entrepreneurial team – just a promising technology and a desire to do something useful with it.

Venture capitalists often think that they build companies. We disagree. Management teams build companies, and venture capitalists sometimes help. At C2C, we provide assistance when it is requested or needed, but we don’t want to run companies. We steer founders towards resources that can help shape their company.

C2C helps founders find large, attractive markets for university technologies and identify rich customers who will move fast and pay a premium for a unique offering.

We don’t believe companies should be forced to choose between working with C2C or other investors. C2C typically participates in seed-stage financing rounds alongside other venture capital and angel investors. C2C has co-invested with Andreessen Horowitz, Accel Partners, Union Square Ventures, Founders Fund, Khosla Ventures, Index Ventures and other leading venture capital firms.

C2C Ventures is committed to helping founders and their university partner institutions build sustainable technology ventures.

Management

Micah Siegel, Ph.D.

Managing Director

Micah is Managing Director of C2C Ventures. Since 1999, his emphasis at C2C has been on financing seed-stage technology companies out of universities. Micah was a founding investor and advisory board member at Stack Overflow (spun out of Fog Creek Software in 2010), Cellular Research, Inc. (spun out of Stanford in 2013, acquired in 2015 by Becton Dickinson for $120 million in cash), BioImagene (spun out of UCLA in 2003, acquired in 2010 by Roche for $100 million in cash), Hadapt (spun out of Yale in 2011, acquired in 2014 by Teradata), Judicata (spun out of Stanford in 2012), Adapt Technologies (spun out of Caltech in 2004, acquired in 2008 by Webvisible, now a subsidiary of The Berry Company), Affinity Circles (spun out of Stanford in 2002, litigation resulted in a license and settlement from Google in 2006), and C2C Patents (spun out of Stanford in 2014). These companies have raised more than $70 million in seed-stage venture capital.

Micah joined the Stanford University faculty in 2006 as a Consulting Associate Professor in the School of Engineering and returned to investing full-time in 2014. From 2006-2013 he taught Economics for Engineers (EE204), which was a graduate-level course on New Product Development, Intellectual Property, Accounting and Finance for Stanford’s Management Science, Engineering, and Computer Science graduate students. Former EE204 students include the founders of Google, Yahoo! and Junglee (sold to Amazon.com for $180 million), ZenPayroll, Pulse (sold to LinkedIn for $90 million in 2013) and Katango (sold to Google in 2011).

Micah began his career in 1993 working directly for Carver Mead. In 1999 he and Craig Johnson formed C2C. He is a techie and co-inventor of several U.S. patents related to electronic advertising and genetic engineering, and was recognized in 2003 by MIT Technology Review magazine as “one of the top 100 innovators of the world” (“TR100 List“) and in 2009, 2010 and 2011 by IAM Magazine as one of the world’s 250 “Leading IP Experts” (“IAM 250“). He is the eldest of six children and was raised in Okemos, Michigan.

 

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Investments

Craig Johnson

In Memoriam

  • Education

    B.A. Yale University (magna cum laude),
    J.D. Stanford University

     

     

(December 28, 1946 — October 3, 2009) Prior to joining Concept2Company Ventures, Craig was the Chairman and Co-Founder of Venture Law Group. He graduated from Yale in 1968 (magna cum laude), spent two years teaching in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia, worked with Burroughs in Pasadena as a systems computer programmer and left to start law school at Stanford, from which he graduated in 1974. After law school he joined the Palo Alto law firm of Wilson, Mosher & Sonsini (now Wilson, Sonini, Goodrich & Rosati) as its 14th attorney. In 1993 he left WSG&R with 13 other attorneys to start Venture Law Group, a law firm specializing in representing high technology companies, which merged with Heller Ehrman LLP in 2003. Among the companies VLG helped to start were Yahoo!, Cerent (sold to Cisco for $7 Billion), Lightera (sold to Ciena for $600 Million), Foundry Networks, Hotmail and WebTV (both sold to Microsoft) and Rosetta Inpharmatics (sold to Merck in 2001 for $540 Million). Among the companies Craig represented from incorporation through initial public offering or acquisition were Adaptec, Wyse, Collagen, StrataCom, Aspect, SnapTrack, Gupta, MediaQ and IPWireless.

In addition to co-founding Venture Law Group and Concept2Company, Craig was the co-founder of several other companies, including Garage Technology Ventures, Financial Engines and Virtual Law Partners. These companies have raised more than $250 Million in venture capital.

Craig was recognized in 1997 by Business Week as one of Silicon Valley’s top 25 “movers and shakers,” in 1999 by Red Herring Magazine as one of nine Silicon Valley “top power brokers,” in 2000 by the National Law Journal as one of the 100 most influential attorneys in America and in 2001 and 2002 by Forbes as one of the country’s top private company investors (“Midas List”). Prior to his untimely death in 2009, Craig lived in Portola Valley, California and enjoyed biking in Europe and movies.

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Case Studies

In 2004 C2C began to work with a Caltech Ph.D. and researcher who also held a position at Sandia Labs. He is an expert in semantic analysis algorithms and their application to the Internet. C2C helped to define and test Adapt’s business model and served as co-founder of Adapt. Adapt Technologies, located in Pasadena (near Caltech) was incorporated in 2005 and in June 2005 raised $10 Million in a first round of financing from top tier venture capital funds. In 2008 Adapt was acquired by WebVisible, now a subsidiary of The Berry Company.

Craig Johnson was a director of Adapt and Micah Siegel did much of the business model development and testing which led to Adapt’s funding. See theberrycompany.com.

Financial Engines was the model for C2C. In 1996 Craig Johnson was approached by two tenured Stanford professors (one of whom had won the Nobel Prize) to discuss whether a business could be built around the Nobel Prize winner’s expertise. Neither professor desired to leave his position at Stanford. Craig participated in discussions on potential business models, incorporated the company, structured and participated in a $500K seed financing, introduced potential advisors and investors, negotiated the CEO position with one of the Nobel Prize winner’s former students and led efforts to raise $4 Million in initial venture capital financing.

Today Financial Engines (Nasdaq: FNGN) has over 200 employees and is the leader in automated retirement plan investment advice and management, with more than $115 Billion in managed retirement accounts, providing advice and managed account services to employees in over 1000 major corporations. As a co-founder Craig attended meetings of the Board of Directors. See financialengines.com.

In late 2001 C2C began working with two Stanford students to commercialize software they had developed as a hobby to connect Stanford undergraduates and alumni with employers. C2C helped to start the company (Affinity Circles), define the business model (providing automated employment services to university alumni organizations for employers and alumni), obtain funding, locate management and advisors and in general help build the business. Affinity Circles, located in Mountain View, raised approximately $7 Million in financing, signed up 120 alumni associations of major universities and business schools (representing 18 Million candidates or one third of the total population of U.S. college graduates), and has been cashflow positive and profitable since 2009. Substantial early liquidity to investors was provided in 2006 when Google (Nasdaq:GOOG) acquired a worldwide license to Affinity’s software to create Google’s first open social network, Orkut. The operating company was acquired in 2011. Micah Siegel was on the Affinity Circles Board. See orkut.com.

In 2004 C2C began to work with a Caltech Ph.D. and researcher who also held a position at Sandia Labs. He is an expert in semantic analysis algorithms and their application to the Internet. C2C helped to define and test Adapt’s business model and served as co-founder of Adapt. Adapt Technologies, located in Pasadena (near Caltech) was incorporated in 2005 and in June 2005 raised $10 Million in a first round of financing from top tier venture capital funds. In 2008 Adapt was acquired by WebVisible, now a subsidiary of The Berry Company.

Craig Johnson was a director of Adapt and Micah Siegel did much of the business model development and testing which led to Adapt’s funding. See theberrycompany.com.

Financial Engines was the model for C2C. In 1996 Craig Johnson was approached by two tenured Stanford professors (one of whom had won the Nobel Prize) to discuss whether a business could be built around the Nobel Prize winner’s expertise. Neither professor desired to leave his position at Stanford. Craig participated in discussions on potential business models, incorporated the company, structured and participated in a $500K seed financing, introduced potential advisors and investors, negotiated the CEO position with one of the Nobel Prize winner’s former students and led efforts to raise $4 Million in initial venture capital financing.

Today Financial Engines (Nasdaq: FNGN) has over 200 employees and is the leader in automated retirement plan investment advice and management, with more than $115 Billion in managed retirement accounts, providing advice and managed account services to employees in over 1000 major corporations. As a co-founder Craig attended meetings of the Board of Directors. See financialengines.com.

In late 2001 C2C began working with two Stanford students to commercialize software they had developed as a hobby to connect Stanford undergraduates and alumni with employers. C2C helped to start the company (Affinity Circles), define the business model (providing automated employment services to university alumni organizations for employers and alumni), obtain funding, locate management and advisors and in general help build the business. Affinity Circles, located in Mountain View, raised approximately $7 Million in financing, signed up 120 alumni associations of major universities and business schools (representing 18 Million candidates or one third of the total population of U.S. college graduates), and has been cashflow positive and profitable since 2009. Substantial early liquidity to investors was provided in 2006 when Google (Nasdaq:GOOG) acquired a worldwide license to Affinity’s software to create Google’s first open social network, Orkut. The operating company was acquired in 2011. Micah Siegel was on the Affinity Circles Board. See orkut.com.

Portfolio

Stack Exchange is a network of 130+ Q&A communities, including Stack Overflow, which has become a place where more than 26 million software developers go to find, ask, and answer questions about software development. Eight million developers use the site every day.


Founders:
Joel Spolsky and Jeff Atwood
Spin-out from:
Fog Creek Software, Inc.
Type of business:
Online Services
Investment stage:
Seed-stage
Status:
Founded 2008 ~ Partnered 2008


New York, NY

stackoverflow.com

Cellular Research develops tools for massively parallel single-cell genomic analysis based on its proprietary Molecular Indexing technology. Molecular Indexing encodes individual mRNA molecules within single cells, enabling the generation of highly multiplexed gene expression profiles


Founders:
Stephen Fodor, Glenn Fu, and Stephen Quake
Spin-out from:
Affymetrix, Inc. and Stanford University
Type of business:
Laboratory Equipment
Investment stage:
Seed-stage
Status:
Founded 2012 ~ Partnered 2013
Acquired by Becton, Dickinson for $120M in cash in 2015

Menlo Park, CA

cellular-research.com

Judicata uses machine learning and human review to turn unstructured court opinions into structured data. Judicata is building legal research and analytics tools for lawyers that are an order of magnitude better than existing offerings.


Founders:
Itai Gurari, Adam Hahn, and Blake Masters
Spin-out from:
Stanford University Law School
Type of business:
Online Services
Investment stage:
Seed-stage
Status:
Founded 2012 ~ Partnered 2012


San Francisco, CA

judicata.com

BioImagene develops products for the processing and analyzing of tissue specimens. BioImagene’s analysis software was initially based on a database of digital images of known pathology specimens licensed from UCLA and further refined into a complete digital pathology workflow, scanner and analysis solution.


Founders:
Mohan Uttarwar
Spin-out from:
UCLA
Type of business:
Medical Equipment
Investment stage:
Seed-stage
Status:
Founded 2003 ~ Partnered 2003
Acquired by Roche for $100M in cash in 2010

Mountain View, CA

ventanadigitalpathology.com

Sentry provides real-time crash reporting for web applications, mobile applications, and games. Every month, billions of exceptions are processed by Sentry infrastructure around the world.


Founders:
David Cramer
Spin-out from:
Disqus, Inc.
Type of business:
Software Infrastructure
Investment stage:
Seed-stage
Status:
Founded 2013 ~ Partnered 2015


San Francisco, CA

getsentry.com

Hadapt develops software that merges advanced databases with Hadoop to enable business customers to analyze both structured and unstructured data in a ultra-fast and efficient way.


Founders:
Justin Borgman and Daniel Abadi
Spin-out from:
Yale University
Type of business:
Database Software
Investment stage:
Seed-stage
Status:
Founded 2011 ~ Partnered 2011
Acquired by Teradata in 2014

Boston, MA

hadapt.com

C2C Patents is an economic and financial consulting firm spun out of Stanford University to help North America’s top law firms, Fortune 1000 corporations, and financial institutions address commercial intellectual property issues. C2C Patents provides expert witness testimony and litigation financing.


Founders:
Micah Siegel
Spin-out from:
Stanford University
Type of business:
Litigation Consulting
Investment stage:
Seed-stage
Status:
Founded 2012 ~ Partnered 2012

Stanford, CA

c2cpatents.com

Soundhawk develops a Smart Listening System that augments the ability to hear, communicate, and connect with the world. It operates like reading glasses for the ears. Despite its high-end electronics, the Soundhawk system is much less expensive than hearing aids and does not need to be tuned by an audiologist.


Founders:
Rodney Perkins, M.D.
Spin-out from:
California Ear Institute at Stanford
Type of business:
Consumer Medical Device
Investment stage:
Seed-stage
Status:
Founded 2012 ~ Partnered 2013

Menlo Park, CA

soundhawk.com

Concept2Company Ventures (650) 614-5010 http://www.c2cventures.com/wp-content/themes/c2c-ventures/img/logo_dark.png C2C Ventures is a seed-stage venture capital firm that helps professors, staff, graduate students, and recent university graduates start commercial ventures. Micah Siegel, Craig Johnson 531 Lasuen Mall, Stanford, CA http://www.c2cventures.com/c2cventures.jpg

Last Modified: July 30, 2014

At C2C Ventures, Inc. (“C2C Ventures”), we are committed to maintaining the confidentiality and security of any personal information about our users. Your privacy is always at the top of our priorities, and we are focused on protecting it from unauthorized access. This Privacy & Security Policy supplements our Terms of Service and spells out how we collect, use, and disclose of information from or about you through our website www.C2CVentures.com and the C2C Ventures service.

Users can access the C2C Ventures  service (the “Service”) via our website www.C2CVentures.com. By using our Service you are consenting to the collection, transfer, processing, storage, disclosure and other uses described in this Privacy & Security Policy. The use of information collected through our service shall be limited to the purpose of providing the service for which the C2C Ventures client (“Client”) has engaged C2C Ventures.

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C2C Ventures may transfer personal information to companies that help us provide our service. Transfers to subsequent third parties are covered by the provisions in this Policy regarding notice and choice, as well as the service agreements with our Clients.

Data Retention

C2C Ventures will retain personal data we process on behalf of our Clients for as long as needed to provide services to our Client. C2C Ventures will retain and use this personal information as necessary to comply with our legal obligations, resolve disputes, and enforce our agreement.

Last Modified: July 30, 2014

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Information and content accessible through the Services may be protected by intellectual property rights of others. Please do not copy, upload, download, or share any information or content unless you have the right to do so. You, not C2C Ventures, will be fully responsible and liable for what you copy, share, upload, download or otherwise send to us while using the Services.

You, and not C2C Ventures, are responsible for maintaining and protecting all of Your Data. C2C Ventures will not be liable for any loss or corruption of Your Data, or for any costs or expenses associated with backing up or restoring any of Your Data.

If any information related to your account changes, you must notify us promptly and keep your information current. The Services are not intended for use by you if you are under 18 years of age. By agreeing to these Terms, you are representing to us that you are over 18.

Software and Updates

Some parts of our Service require you to download a client software package (“Software”). Subject to these Terms, C2C Ventures hereby grants you a limited, nonexclusive, nontransferable, non sublicensable, revocable license to use the Software, solely to access the Services. This license will be automatically revoked if you violate these Terms. We reserve all rights not explicitly granted in these Terms. You must not attempt to reverse engineer the Software or encourage or assist anyone else to do so. The Services may automatically update the Software on your device when a new version becomes available.

Feedback

While we appreciate it when users send us feedback, please be aware that we (or others we authorize) may use in any manner any feedback, comments, or suggestions you post in our forums or otherwise provide without any obligation to you.

Other Content

The Services may contain links to websites or resources of others. We do not endorse and are not responsible or liable for their accuracy, availability, content, products, services or anything else. You are solely responsible for your use of any such websites or resources. Also, if we provide you with any software under an open source license, there may be provisions in those licenses that conflict with these Terms, in which case the open source provisions will apply with respect to the code to which those provisions apply.

Termination

C2C Ventures is available “as-is”; though we want to provide a great service, there are certain legal commitments we can’t make. For example, the services are provided “as is”, at your own risk, without express or implied warranty of any kind, including, without limitation, warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. C2C Ventures will not be responsible for harm that results from your use of the services. Some states do not allow the types of disclaimers in this paragraph, so they may not apply to you.

Limitations of Liability

To the fullest extent permitted by law, in no event will C2C Ventures, its affiliates, officers, employees, agents, suppliers or licensors be liable for any indirect, special, incidental, punitive, exemplary or consequential (including loss of use, data, business, or profits) damages, regardless of legal theory, whether or not C2C Ventures has been warned of the possibility of such damages, and even if a remedy fails of its essential purpose. Some states do not allow the types of limitations in this paragraph, so they may not apply to you.

Modifications

We may revise these Terms from time to time and the most current version will always be posted on our website. We will notify you of any change (for example via email to the email address associated with your account or by a notification when you use the Services or by some other method). By continuing to access or use the Services after revisions become effective, you are agreeing to be bound by the revised Terms. If you do not agree to the new terms, simply don’t use the Service after the change is effective, in which case the change will not apply to you.

Miscellaneous Legal Terms

These terms and the use of the services will be governed by California law except for its conflicts of laws principles. All claims arising out of or relating to these terms or the services or software must be litigated exclusively in the federal or state courts of California, and both parties consent to venue and personal jurisdiction there.

These Terms constitute the entire and exclusive agreement between you and C2C Ventures with respect to the Services, and supersede and replace any other agreements, terms and conditions applicable to the Services. These Terms create no third party beneficiary rights. C2C Ventures’s failure to enforce a provision is not a waiver of its right to do so later. If a provision is found unenforceable the remaining provisions of the Agreement will remain in full effect and an enforceable term will be substituted to reflect our intent as closely as possible. C2C Ventures may assign its rights and obligations to any of its affiliates or subsidiaries, or to any successor in interest of any business or assets associated with the Services.