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About Me

holder-picI’m a serial entrepreneur with 2 exits, angel investor in 60+ companies and host of Venture Studio.

I’m also the Director of Entrepreneurship at Columbia University, Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at Columbia Business School and was the Director of Columbia’s Venture Lab for seven years where I spun-out 70+ technology start-ups based on university research.

One of my latest projects is the Startup Genome, where, in partnership with the Kauffman Foundation and Endeavor Global, we we are mapping the entire world’s early-stage investment and entrepreneurial ecosystems.

My personal blog, www.davelerner.com, explores the worlds of university entrepreneurship, angel/venture investing, and startups and I’m a frequent contributor to multiple publications including Amex OPENForum, Forbes, peHub, and Business Insider, whose SAI group recently named me both one of the “top 100 most influential New Yorkers in the digital business community” and “one of NYC’s top 100 early stage investors”.

I’m an active organizer of entrepreneurship and venture capital events and serve on the Board of New York Tech Meetup, a non-profit organization I am proud to say is now 40,000 techies strong!








Most Recent Posts

wartime In his great book, The Hard Thing About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz talked about being a “Wartime CEO”. It was the first-time I had ever heard that expression but it resonated powerfully. Reading that book was akin to drinking a double espresso at 10pm. I did not put it down until the wee hours of the morning. It is now “required” reading for all my students. So what’s the difference between a peace-time and a war-time CEO of a startup?…

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ivey What’s the craziest business meeting you’ve ever been to? Think about it. How did you react? Did you step out of the room? Did you lose your cool? What went down? The craziest meeting I’ve ever been a part of is when one employee got caught stealing, knew we had found out, and brought a 357 Magnum to the meeting we’d arranged to let them go. That was crazy. Keeping cool that time probably saved about five people’s lives including…

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This is the inaugural post of my Series on Mentorship which appropriately, given my subject, is written on Mother’s Day. Although I advise a healthy number of entrepreneurs on a regular basis as a friend and/or in my roles at Columbia University, I also have the privilege of playing the role of very involved mentor to a few select entrepreneurs at any given time. It is a role that I take very seriously as I believe it to be an…

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