Jacob considers himself a quintessential “startup” guy. Having grown up in the San Francisco Bay Area in the late ’90s and interning at a number of “tech bubble” companies while in high school, he caught the bug to be in and around entrepreneurship.
At Shasta Ventures, Jacob focuses on making investments in emerging platforms broadly, including virtual reality and augmented reality, computer vision and robotics, voice as a platform, and the Internet of Things. He is the founder and organizer of VR Tuesday, a regular monthly meet-up in San Francisco focused on the business side of the VR/AR industries. Out of the Shasta San Francisco office he runs a VR lab to gather user data from both consumers and enterprises as they think about the future of visual computing; he has spent over 250 hours in VR himself.
Jacob’s startup career has taken him from the deserts of South Africa as the founder/CEO of a Pink Sheets-traded direct-to-consumer nutraceutical company called Hoodia Products, to Wall Street as the founder/CEO of Exitround.com, an online FinTech platform for M&A. In between, he was the first business guy at VentureBeat.com, where he focused on all things revenue generation, and later spent three years at Microsoft leading US marketing for a new startup-focused program called Microsoft BizSpark.
Education, Personal, and Fellowship
Jacob earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Yale University; if he were to do it again, he would have studied music, French, and some computer science. He spent the better part of his junior year living and studying in Nantes, France, and enjoys speaking French when he has the opportunity. Jacob is the co-founder and chairman of the Beverly Mullins Memorial Scholarship, a needs-based scholarship for re-entry single parents doing full-time undergraduate study at UC Berkeley.
Jacob served his fellowship at Shasta Ventures as a member of Class 22. His mentor was Shasta Co-Founder and Managing Director Rob Coneybeer (Class 2).