Chris Olsen

Chris Olsen

Partner
The path to success is never straightforward. The founders who thrive on using failures to improve themselves and their business are the ones who change the world.

We learned first hand that founding a business is anything but glamorous. The photo you see here is of my daughter amongst the moving boxes the day we relocated from San Francisco to Columbus. I had just hung up the phone with Mark, who delivered the bad news that our major investor changed their mind and was not going to invest in Drive Capital.

I turned around to deliver the blow to my wife and she happened to snap this shot of my daughter at that very moment. The photo perfectly captured my emotions.

After nine months of building momentum our startup was suddenly back at the starting block. We had no money to invest, my bank account was dwindling every day in the absence of a paycheck, and the truck was literally downstairs to haul our lives on a one way trip from SOMA to German Village.

In this moment it would have been so easy to give in to the naysayers and give up the stress and the travel and go back to a secure paycheck. Every founder I have ever worked with has been through similar moments. They all have versions of this story. They always sound so matter-of-fact in 60 minute pitch meetings, but in real life these are tough emotional battles.

The funny thing about this moment was that it never occurred to me to do anything other than Drive Capital. I had a great deal of conviction in our vision and I believed that we were the best people to build this company. I long ago realized that the market opportunity was too good for it to not work and if we did not build the next great investment firm, someone else would.

We packed up the truck, headed to Ohio and worked to get our next investors to launch our first product three months later.

Prior to Drive Capital I had been an investor at Sequoia Capital where I had the opportunity to learn from the very best about venture capital. I met so many of the entrepreneurs you read about in the newspapers and worked with them to build their companies. Through my prior experiences I learned what to say to entrepreneurs. But now, I learned how it felt to live it and I realized there is far more heart in startups than brain.

Every day we go to work with founders working through similar stories to build their vision. I am thankful they invite us to be a part of it and to partner with them in building their dreams.

Chris olsen