Robin Tsai

If we're able to help entrepreneurs make an emotional connection on that individual level, it's a badge of honor.

A native of Silicon Valley, Robin’s seen several booms and busts from close up. That, and his entrepreneur wife, have given him a true appreciation for what founders go through.

On brand

It's always fascinated me how brands become such a meaningful part of our lives and help us shape our identity.

The art and science of business

The magnitude of obstacles entrepreneurs face every day is overwhelming. These people really practice the art and science of business. I like playing any part in helping their dreams become a reality.

Married into it

My wife [who’s a founder] always reminds me that being an entrepreneur is an experience that's earned. Like a chef with oven burns—each mark was there before the diner or critic or anyone else showed up.

Entrepreneurs are a special breed— from the founders who intuitively understand their creative vision to operators with the knowledge and hustle to make things happen.

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You grew up in Silicon Valley. How did that shape your world-view?

I’ve witnessed a few booms and busts really close up. I think it taught me to appreciate the entrepreneurial spirit from an early age. Growing up in Cupertino, I lived through Apple’s dramatic rise and fall and rise– it definitely highlighted that things can change quickly.

Do you remember any of your first brand ‘loves’ from childhood?

Nike’s Jordan. That was my first memorable experience of brand dominance. No matter where you were from, or where you went, it was (and still is) cool everywhere. That’s a brand with staying power.

Sounds like you were aware of the power of brands from an early age.

It's always fascinated me how brands become such a meaningful part of our lives and help us shape our identity. So if we're able to help entrepreneurs make an emotional connection on that individual level, it's a badge of honor.

What do you like most about working with entrepreneurs?

They’re a special breed— from the founders who intuitively understand their creative vision to operators with the knowledge and hustle to make things happen. The magnitude of obstacles they face every day is overwhelming. These people really practice the art and science of business. I like playing any part in helping their dreams become a reality.

You seem to really understand the spirit and sacrifice involved. Is that because you’re married to an entrepreneur?

She always reminds me that being an entrepreneur is an experience that's earned, like a chef with oven burns— each mark was there before the diner or critic or anyone else showed up. Unless you've done it yourself there's a part of their experience an investor can never truly know.

So what qualities would you say an entrepreneur needs to succeed?

A positive attitude in the face of great odds! (And hopefully an understanding, patient spouse who limits his/her unsolicited comments).

Someone like you, for example?

For example.

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