I’ve been an internet entrepreneur since 1997. I co-founded the Apple Music Group in 1995, worked at N2K (one of the first online music companies), co-founded MyPlay (pioneer of the digital music locker), and was COO/CEO of eMusic for five years. Now, I’m a Partner at Venrock in NYC focused on investing and helping build early stage internet and digital media companies. My areas of investment focus include ad tech, social/mobile media, consumer services, web services, ecommerce, big data, SaaS and anything else hugely exciting and disruptive. I am on the board of Dstillery, Smartling, YouNow, Pearl and Amino Apps, and I led our investment in Dollar Shave Club (acquired by Unilever for $1B), Klout (acquired by Lithium Technologies). I oversaw our investments in Crunchyroll (acquired by The Chernin Group) and Nest (acquired by Google).
Follow my tweets at @pakman.
On this blog, I aim to cover various topics related to technology startups, entrepreneurship and the changes in the media industry. I like to chronicle the various machinations of incumbent companies as they attempt to adapt to the massive disruption forced upon them by technology. I very much enjoy the process of meeting entrepreneurs and discussing the exciting challenges of building disruptive companies. I hope you will contact me. On the personal side, I love being a husband and father of three. As you might guess, I have deep passion for music, and actively drum, record, write, play gigs, and DJ. Tennis, photography, biking, fitness, food and travel probably round out the picture. If you are a entrepreneur building a great new startup, I’d love to hear from you. While you can certainly email me directly (dp at venrock dot com), the best way to engage is with a warm introduction through a mutual connection. We must both know some of the same people…
As a Partner at Venrock in New York, David focuses on early stage venture investing in consumer and enterprise internet companies. His active investments include Dstillery, Smartling, YouNow, Pearl Auto and Amino Apps. He led both the Series A and Series B rounds in Dollar Shave Club and sat on the board until that company was acquired by Unilever for $1B in July of 2016. He is a former board member of Crunchyroll (acquired by The Chernin Group), led Venrock’s investment in Klout (acquired by Lithium Technologies) and oversaw Venrock’s investment in Nest (acquired by Google). In April 2017, he was named the 55th top venture capitalist by CB Insights.
Previously, Pakman was the CEO of eMusic, the world’s leading digital retailer of independent music, second only to iTunes in number of downloads sold. After buying eMusic from Vivendi Universal, in the three years that Pakman ran it, he grew the business by more than 850%, from $7M in revenues to more than $68M. Pakman transformed the business from an obscure also-ran with 50,000 subscribers to the second largest digital music retailer in the world, with more than 400,000 subscribers and more than 12% market share.
Prior to joining eMusic, Pakman was Co-Founder and President of Business Development and Public Policy at Myplay, Inc., the company he co-founded in 1999 in Redwood City, CA that introduced the “digital music locker” and pioneered the locker category. In 2001, Myplay was sold to Bertelsmann’s ecommerce Group. Before Myplay, he was Vice President at N2K Entertainment, which created the first digital music download service. He also was the co-creator of Apple’s Music Group and a product manager at Apple.
Pakman is a graduate of and a former member of the Board of Overseers at University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science with a degree in Computer Science Engineering and is an avid musician and songwriter. He testified in front of Congress regarding internet music streaming in 2012, 2016 and 2017. He serves on the board of POTS and is a Trustee at St. Luke’s School.
Since 1969, Venrock has developed into one of this country’s premier venture capital firms with offices in Palo Alto, New York, Cambridge and Israel. Venrock continues the eight-decade Rockefeller tradition of funding entrepreneurs and establishing successful, enduring companies. We have invested $2.6 billion in over 450 companies over the past 42 years, resulting in 128 IPOs and 137 M&A exits. Venrock’s returns place it among the top tier venture capital firms that have achieved consistently superior performance. Venrock currently oversees 121 portfolio investments across the information technology, healthcare, and energy sectors and has been behind pioneers including Adify, Adnexus Therapeutics, Apple Computer, Athenahealth, Centocor, Check Point Software, DoubleClick, Gilead Sciences, Idec Pharmaceuticals, Illumina, Intel, Ironwood, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Sirna Therapeutics, StrataCom, and Vontu. For more information, please visit Venrock’s website at www.venrock.com.