Brad Burnham and Fred Wilson started Union Square Ventures in 2003 after the destruction of the dot com bubble. I can only imagine the courage, insight and vision that they had to create a Venture Capital company focused on the Internet when everyone was running for the hills when you mentioned technology. Brad is a veteran, it does not take a lot to see the wisdom and leadership he continues to demonstrate. Check out this post by Fred Wilson about how the investment thesis that he and Brad created required discipline and this post describes why they picked thesis driven investing vs thematic investing and Fred always credits Brad for sticking to the thesis, that requires discipline, dedication and wisdom… Brad has plenty of that. I am extremely excited that Brad agreed to participate as a speaker in the Startup Iceland Conference on Building Sustainable Startup/Entrepreneurial Ecosystems. Brad and Fred live in New York which was not known to the technology or the Innovation hub, however they have invested in companies like Twitter, Tumblr, Four Square, Etsy, Kickstarter, Zemanta, Zynga, Boxee, Duck Duck Go, Sound Cloud etc To get some glimpse of his wisdom, just read his post on Freedom to Innovate

Innovation depends on keeping the costs of innovation down, making sure that financing is available, and making sure that markets are accessible. It does not depend on R&D grants or targeted industrial policy. 

So the next time you see a piece of legislation that has an impact on an open Internet, software or business method patents, copyright enforcement, free and fair competition, open government, or cyber security, I urge you to see it through the lens of the competition between incumbent industrial hierarchies and emergent networks.

Consider who is sponsoring the legislation. Does it really protect consumers or does it protect the business models and cost structures of the incumbents?

Brad blogs in the USV Blog and also has a Tumblr Blog. One has to read through all the posts to understand the evolution of the thing we call the Internet. Brad has been a participant through out the entire short history of the Internet and he has incredible insight and wisdom about the Internet. He visited Iceland 3 weeks back and the reason why he is here is something that I blogged about.

Early Days

Brad Burnham began his career in information technology with AT&T in 1979. He held a variety of sales, marketing and business development positions there until 1990 when he spun Echo Logic out of Bell Laboratories. As the first AT&T “venture,” Echo Logic was a catalyst for the creation of AT&T’s venture capital arm, AT&T Ventures. When Echo Logic was sold in 1993, Brad joined AT&T Ventures as an Executive in Residence. He became a principal at there in 1994 and a General Partner in 1996. At AT&T Ventures, Brad was responsible for 14 investments including, Argon Networks, Audible, Avesta Technologies, Classic Sports Network, Multex Systems, Physicians Online, and Paytrust.

Brad is not much in the public eye, but his words are enough. I am excited to hear him talk about how they started in the early years in New York and what made New York the next best thing to Silicon Valley in terms of Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurialism. Brad himself being an entrepreneur can relate to everything all of us go through as Entrepreneurs. I believe the best learnings are when you do something, the next best thing is to learn from someone who is currently doing it. Brad falls in the latter category and I cannot wait for May 30th. For those of you who have not registered yet for the Conference, you can do so by going to -> BOOK NOW