Three founders: Chuck, Dick, and Frank (June 1978)
Essentially, NEA is an organ grinder and his two monkeys. Dick Kramlich is the organ grinder, an experienced venture capitalist and the former partner of Arthur Rock. Frank Bonsal is a monkey, a shell-shocked investment banker who watched his clients’ small company portfolios collapse after the energy crisis. I am a monkey, an analyst for T. Rowe Price and portfolio manager of a tiny part of the New Horizons Fund that is dedicated to investing in venture-backed companies.
Dick Kramlich on G. Hegg’s 3M Fishing Trip (early 1990s)
Within our partnership, Dick is known as “nil desperandum” or “Never say die.” Look at the typical Kramlich smile. There can be no doubt that Dick drove NEA’s investment results, with his uncanny ability to see the future and identify exceptional entrepreneurs, some of whom had unlikely backgrounds.
Frank Bonsal (late 1980s)
There are forty Rolodexes on the bookcase behind him.
Frank contradicts himself in that he is messy and yet he knows where
everything is. His office usually had five tons of paper
in it and, in some instances, the piles stood five feet high.
When he visited a new company, he’d say to the entrepreneur,
“Hello boss man. I am the money man.”
Charles W. Newhall, Jr. at Reaction Motors (1949)
The Vanguard rocket and the engine of the Bell X-1,
the first crewed plane to break the sound barrier, are shown in the background.
Meteor refueling on the run. Flight Refueling Ltd., England (1950s)
While stranded in the A Shau Valley during the Vietnam War in 1968, this in-flight refueling technology saved my life by keeping fighter planes in the air that gave fire support to ground troops. In the A Shau, we were out of artillery range. This example of the importance of technological innovation and its ability to change the world is one thing that convinced me to become a venture capitalist.
Reaction Motors rocket (1950s)
The scene depicts a Vanguard rocket launch, like the one I watched as a child. Laurance Rockefeller hired my father to help him create what is now the aerospace industry.
Chuck Newhall (far right) with the Terminal Communications Board of Directors (1974)
It was my first venture deal at T. Rowe Price. Kirk Miller, the chairman of T. Rowe Price at the time, asked me, “What do you think of the company?” I replied, “I think it’s hard for a company that copies IBM terminals to make a long-term go of it,” I replied, in an obvious attempt to impress my boss and the other venture capitalists in the room. My future NEA partner, Frank Bonsal, then an Alex Brown partner, blurted out, “Kirk, shut that kid up because he knows nothing.” Soon after that board meeting, Terminal Communications went bankrupt.
General Doriot, the Father of Institutional Venture Capital (1960s)
“So, we search for the exceptional man or woman, the entrepreneur. We become a partner in creating a dream. It is not a dream of just making money or creating capital gains. It is a dream of creating a company, a real business that changes our world.”
Laurance Rockefeller (1970s)
“I worked with a small group of men like your father. We created companies that changed the world.”
Charles W. “Chuck” Newhall dressed to meet Laurance Rockefeller
To meet Laurance Rockefeller, my parents dressed me in a black suit that fit like a burlap bag with a Countess Mara tie of my father’s. The tie was a colorful display of Zeus’ lightning bolts, five-inches wide. (My chest was only sixteen- inches wide.) My hair was greased. I looked like a waiter at Al Capone’s birthday party. In the photograph of that evening, more than fifty years ago, I see a child rigged out as a cross between a grease monkey and the maître d’ of a third-rate Italian restaurant.
Dick Testa (1990)
Our lawyer, Dick, and his partner, Dan Finkelman, were instrumental in helping to create NEA. Dick, also General Doriot’s lawyer, once delivered a letter to me from the general, which read, “Best wishes, Chuck. I admire your determination. I welcome you to the band of brothers who seek to build companies that change our destinies. By the way, I am giving you the name ‘New Enterprise Associates.’ It is the first name I selected for American Research and Development. In retrospect, it is a better name for what we do.”
Richard J. Testa 1939-2002
TESTA, HURWITZ & THIBEAULT, LLP OBITUARY FOR
We mourn the untimely loss of Richard J. Testa, Chairman and Co-founder of Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault. Dick Testa was a lawyer of few words and great vision, who altered and deeply affected the business and personal lives of many people in the private equity and high-technology industries.
In 1973, when Dick started this law firm, he stood at the beginning of the high-technology and venture capital revolution and never blinked.
Nancy Dorman, NEA
At NEA, Nancy immediately took charge and within a very short time, she built and managed the best administrative and limited partnership relationship team in the industry. Her contribution to NEA’s success was invaluable
Barbara started with NEA as CFO but left to pursue an entrepreneurial career. She took with her NEA values, which she said had deeply influenced her life. She epitomized the best of those values. When she sold that Connections Academy for $500M+, her board granted management a large option package. The board wanted her to take 75% of the options and give 25% to the management team. Instead, she gave 75% to her management team and kept 25% for herself.
Amy, Ashton, Adair, and Chuck with Ming & Pippin (1983)
Just married Amy and our family on its way to being rebuilt. It was a process that took 30 years and, with grandchildren, continues to this day.
Ashton Newhall (1984)
My oldest son, Ashton, accepts and adopts Amy as his new mother.
NEA partners (1980s)
From left to right: John Glenn (a special part-time partner), Ray Bank, Tom McConnell, Dick Kramlich, Woody Rae, Frank Bonsal, Neil Bond, Howie Wolfe, Art Marks, Vin Prothro, Cub Harvey, and Chuck Newhall
Peter Morris, right, discusses the future of global positioning systems (GPS) with Alain De Taeye, the CEO of Tele Atlas (early 90s)
Peter Morris, right, one of NEA’s best investors, discusses the future of global positioning systems (GPS) with Alain De Taeye, the CEO of Tele Atlas. Every time a GPS system in my car gets me to my desired location, I thank Peter.
HealthSouth’s Board of Directors (1991)
Clockwise from top left: Chuck Newhall; Dr. Allan Goldstein; Dr. Phillip Watkins; George Strong; former Ohio governor, Richard F. Celeste; Richard Scrushy, Sage Givens.
HealthSouth’s Richard Scrushy drew this cartoon and its iconography depicted the company’s culture. The simple message_ “Pulling the wagon requires teamwork. Everybody has a responsibility”
HealthSouth’s Richard Scrushy drew this cartoon once at a staff meeting, and its iconography depicted the company’s culture, with several stick-figure workers pulling a wagon together. Some stand in front, some push from behind, others stand to the side, and some are riding in the wagon. The message is simple: “Pulling the wagon requires teamwork. Everybody has a responsibility.” The cartoon was replicated and had a prominent spot in every Health South facility.
Joel C. Gordon (2003)
Joel, who had sold his company, Surgical Care Affiliates to HealthSouth in 1995, agreed to be the new interim chairman of Health South in 2003. He was a good choice. He was the biggest individual shareholder and was a legend within the health-care business. Joel’s leadership made possible Health South’s survival.
Jeff McWaters, CEO of Amerigroup Corporation (2004)
Jeff McWaters and Jeff Folick, the CEO of Bravo Health, are two of the finest, most dedicated leaders I have encountered in my career as a venture capitalist. Their companies encountered great difficulties, most often caused by government interference. In the end, they both triumphed, producing better outcomes at much lower costs, helping millions of patients over the years.
Amerigroup’s NYSE Listing (2001)
Commenting on his career as an entrepreneur, Jeff McWaters, the CEO of Amerigroup, said, “You work like crazy, partly because you believe in your product and your people and partly because you are too scared to do anything else. You improvise, take calculated risks and create a result driven culture of integrity, excellence and drive to improve everyday…for true entrepreneurs and world class operators, the dream never goes away.”
George Stamas, Peter Barris, Chuck Newhall, Dr. Jim Barrett, and John Sidgmore in my Baltimore office.
Timeline showing the funds of the Mid-Atlantic Venture Association’s member firms and the companies they financed.
MAVA helped change the Mid-Atlantic from an entrepreneurial desert into a significant player in the industry. At one point, the Mid-Atlantic had more venture-backed companies than Boston, and its share of total venture capital dollars raised increased from half a percent of the total in 1970 to more than twenty percent in 1990.
Dr. Jim Swartz, Accel Founder (2015)
When Jim Swartz addressed the graduating class of his business school at Carnegie Mellon, he explained the venture capitalist’s purpose:
“Venture capital has always been about helping a person or project succeed. It is about adding judgment, perspective, and a selfless desire to see the company succeed. Venture capital is best practiced as a calling, not a job. It was never about maximizing wealth. …Venture capital must be practiced with absolute integrity and ethics.”
Tableau listing on the NYSE. Forest Baskett and Scott Sandell, second and third from bottom right
Jim Blair, founder of Domain Associates
About how to build a culture that is friendly to entrepreneurs, Jim said, “In some firms, young partners are taught to put self-interest first. You can put things into a term sheet, and then if you don’t sell the business for exactly what you wanted to sell it for, then it can come out of the entrepreneur’s hide rather than your hide. That is not consistent with Domain’s culture. I’m not saying that those terms don’t creep in, but we always ensure that management should retain incentives.”
Tony Evnin, Venrock, 2017
“The wonderful aspect of this business is working with very interesting, very smart, very dedicated people, both within your partnership and even more in the companies in which you’re involved. It’s just stimulating and exciting to work with people who are doing new things, who are thinking at the levels that you can’t begin to think at, that are creating new products, new activities, and making a real difference. That is all great, but half the time, it’s really difficult and unpleasant and not much fun. The other half is wonderful. Like any business or life, a lot of it is difficult and unpleasant. You have to raise money when no one wants to give it to you, you have to fire people, close things down. That’s not fun. Or, a project fails. That really hurts, so you live through that. But that’s sort of life, isn’t it? In the venture business, you have intellectual stimulation and learning. You don’t sell the same story every day. You come in and there are new things to learn and always new people to meet. That is what excites me, and you can still make a little money doing this, and that’s not all bad.”
Todd Rupert, T. Rowe Price (1998)
Todd was my son Ashton’s mentor at T. Rowe Price. Ashton said Todd probably thought he was a bit brash when they first met. He remembers saying, “You don’t know me yet, but I know you are going to hire me.” Ashton said, “In the end, I think he appreciated my confidence. After the internship during my sophomore summer year, I was invited back to work more closely with the Institutional Sales Group and many of Todd’s subordinates. After completing the program, I finished my senior year at Elon, and before I graduated, Todd hired me for the whopping sum of $27,500 per year.”
Ashton Newhall (2003)
Ashton co-founded Greenspring Associates in 2000 with Rupert Montagu, Anthony’s son.
The transcript of the speech I gave when I received the National Venture Capital Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.
Charles W. “Chuck” Newhall Receiving the National Venture Capital Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.
I am wearing my decorations to honor Laurel Blevins and Ken Noldner. They took a bullet meant for me in Vietnam. Because of their sacrifice, I am alive today. I hope they are proud of me this evening.
Venture capital has been my family’s lifelong passion. I would like to thank the officers and the members of the National Venture Capital Association for giving me the greatest honor of my life. I would like to thank my NEA Partners for making me look like a better venture capitalist that I really am. I would like to thank venture capitalists in other firms who mentored me when we co-invested: Paul Wythes, Bill Edwards, Tony Evnin, Jim Blair, Jim Swartz, Sage Givens, and Jack Delaney. I would like to thank my NEA co-founders, Frank Bonsal and Dick Kramlich. Dick was my partner, but also my mentor in this business. I would like to thank my new partners at Greenspring Associates for giving me another war to win. Finally, I would like to thank my wife Amy, who has helped me to cope with PTSD, a forty-year war that continues to this day.
John Spitznagel, CEO of ESP Pharma and my son, Adair’s, first mentor (2005)
Adair comments on his mentor, John Spitznagel: “John Spitznagel, ESP’s famous CEO, bet one of my father’s partners that I would wash out in six months. Beginning as a salesman, with no experience and little training, I was given the worst territory in the U.S. Within one year, I changed Washington, C., territory from the 57th to the 12th ranked territory in the U.S. I was competing with 60 other sales reps. After this, John Spitznagel adopted me and personally guided my career.”