Editor’s note: Whether it’s taking a meeting over Hangout from the airport before escaping to a much-deserved vacation or sending work e-mails from an air-conditioned neighborhood cafe, technology should help you get your work done faster so you can enjoy the summer months. To celebrate the season of sun, we’re sharing stories from customers who know all about the importance of technology when fostering a culture of mobility and flexibility. Today, we hear from Camille Ricketts, Editor in Chief at First Round Capital, a leading early-stage venture capital firm founded in Philadelphia with satellite offices in San Francisco and New York.
What do mega-startups Square, Uber, Warby Parker, and the unassuming town of West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, have in common? One of the most influential seed-stage VC firms in the world, First Round Capital, which first started at a small office in the small suburb outside Philadelphia, has invested in them. In 2004, entrepreneur and investor Josh Kopelman set out to reinvent seed-stage funding and opened our first office in West Conshohocken. Since then, we’ve moved our headquarters to Philadelphia, grown to over 30 employees and three offices, and funded close to 400 startups. As we’ve expanded, though, we’ve consistently kept a premium on staying nimble and having a platform that both helps us work efficiently and stay connected.
Mobility, security, and accessibility are essential features when we set out to improve any process, so switching to Google Apps earlier this year seemed natural — after nearly a decade of working with other solutions. Most of our staff members are used to using Google Apps like Gmail, Drive and Docs in their personal lives, so moving to Apps made perfect sense for the company as a whole.
Constant travel, meetings with entrepreneurs, and supporting the companies we fund demand reliability and security every step of the way. We move quickly because we’re on-call much of the time. It’s crucial to know that our e-mail is supported by Google’s infrastructure and doesn’t suffer from server downtime. Security matters are central to our efforts, as we’re handling significant investments and often working with companies that are operating in stealth mode. Our IT managers are able to easily manage access to sensitive documents — and two-step authentication adds an extra layer of much-needed security. If I leave my laptop on an airplane, it’s nice to have complete confidence that no one can access sensitive emails or documents.
With Google Hangouts, we’re able to video chat with our employees and entrepreneurs across offices, and to conduct interviews for the First Round Review — our hub for entrepreneurial advice. Before Google Hangouts, we used used a variety of solutions with poor sound and video quality. When I only have 30 minutes to interview someone, I can’t afford to spend even five minutes worrying about whether or not the video will work.
First Round is on the move all the time serving the entrepreneurs we support, and we can’t have technology get in the way of the fast-paced nature of our work. We need technology that makes our jobs easier so we can continue helping startups build companies and products that will change the world. Sometimes we even forget we’re using Google Apps because it lets us focus on what we love to — inventing new ways to connect entrepreneurs with the resources they need to succeed.