Entrepreneurial

Angel investor makes a Mint

From right to left: Dave McClure with Rob Hayes and Mark Goines at TechCrunch50, courtesy of Dave McClure

At 5-foot-8, Dave McClure calls himself “one of the smallest” venture capitalists in Silicon Valley, either “by height or by wallet size”.  But he was walking tall after Intuit announced it was buying Mint.com recently for $170 million.

That means McClure, who invested $25,000 in Mint two years ago as part of a Series A funding round, is in line for a healthy payout. At the time McClure was actually on Mint’s payroll as a consultant, but was so impressed with the startup’s founder, Aaron Patzer, that he took the money they were paying him and “turned it right back around and wrote them a check.”

Mint is the first big win for McClure out of the many companies he’s invested in since cashing out from his part in PayPal’s $1.5 billion sale to eBay. “I’ve been doing angel investing for almost five years now and this is the first full exit I’ve had,” said McClure, who first found out about the deal in a 4 a.m. email from Patzer.

A few hours later McClure was hi-fiving fellow investors Rob Hayes (First Round Capital), Mark Goines and Jeff Clavier (SoftTech VC) at the TechCrunch50 conference in San Francisco, where McClure said they were all walking around “with big-ass smiles on our faces.”

What the Tesla founders’ feud can teach entrepreneurs

Tesla Motors Inc. CEO Elon Musk

High-powered electric-car startup Tesla Motors has hit a speed bump with the filing of a lawsuit by former CEO and founder Martin Eberhard.

The libel suit, filed on May 26 in San Mateo County, Calif. Superior Court, alleges current CEO Elon Musk falsely portrayed himself as the founder of the company and orchestrated Eberhard’s ouster as original CEO in 2007. In the lengthy 22-page document, Eberhard accuses Musk and Tesla of, among other things, libel, slander, breach of contract, negligence and failure to pay wages. The suit doesn’t even refer to Musk as a co-founder, but simply as one of “various investors,” who joined the Tesla board in April 2004.

Eberhard’s suit claims that from the moment he came on board, Musk “began a campaign to appropriate control of Tesla Motors and Eberhard’s legacy as the company’s founder and visionary.” The suit further alleges that Musk “began a pattern and practice of defaming and disparaging Eberhard in various widely distributed media outlets,” a few of which included The New York Times, Newsweek, USA Today and NPR.

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