Steve Brotman, Founder of Ad One Classified Network
Steve Brotman is just three years shy of 30 and already the founder of Ad One, an online classified ad service providing classified ads to small newspapers that don’t have either the staff or funding to handle this themselves. Ad One currently boasts 160 customers and is set for big things!
Seed stage investments represent one of the highest risks in venture capital. Investors must take an enormous gamble on an unproven company before it has even generated any revenues.
Early Life and Education
Steve Brotmann was born in Tacoma, Washington and graduated with a political science degree from the University of Washington. Following this he briefly practiced law before co-founding Costco Wholesale Corporation with his brother Mike.
He currently serves as a Managing Partner at Alpha Partners, having co-founded and served as Managing Director for Greenhill SAVP (now Greenhill Ventures), Greenhill & Company’s venture capital unit, as well as Silicon Alley Venture Partners prior. At these funds he led investments into LivePerson, UGO, Datasynapse, Medidata Solutions among many others.
Brotman began his new career in 1998 as co-founder and CEO of Ad One Classified Network, an Internet-based classified ads service providing ads for local newspapers that was ultimately acquired by Hearst.
Steve Brotman is a highly esteemed venture capital investment professional. With an illustrious career as both an entrepreneur and fund manager, he now oversees Greenhill SAVP which specializes in technology-related companies.
Robert was also the founder and CEO of Ad One Classified Network, a pioneer online classified advertising service acquired by Hearst. His success stems from his dedication to building businesses that make an impactful statement about customer value proposition and employing an effective value creation strategy throughout his career.
Alpha Partners and Steve Brotman serve as investors-of-last resort for early stage VCs. His firm provides funds to cover pro rata rights that go unused when companies raise follow-on rounds; this service allows investors to remain invested even when their funds run dry.
Achievement and Honors
Over his lifetime, Brotman has earned numerous honors and awards. He served on the University of Miami Board of Trustees and as chairman of University of Washington Law School Foundation, both while giving to multiple charities such as Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Steve was also one of the co-founders and managing directors of Greenhill SAVP, which later evolved into Tribeca Venture Partners. Additionally, he was one of the founding partners and the CEO of AdOne; an online classified advertising network which signed up over 500 newspapers before being purchased by Hearst.
He has also been recognized by Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award and named to Crain’s 2001 Tech 100 list. Additionally, he serves on the boards for Critical Mention, Knovel and Managed Systems.
Ad One Classified Network was the pioneer online classified-ad site that gained one third of all newspapers as customers, founded on this guiding principle by Robert Stuppner.
Mr. Brotman quickly saw his company grow. Unfortunately, working 16-hour days and using 10 credit cards to cover everything from toilet paper costs to payroll left him $150,000 in debt.
He went on to found SAVP Venture Capital (SAVP) in 1998 as a lender of last resort by co-investing with later-stage VCs and taking up pro rata rights when no other funders would do so. SAVP has invested in numerous early stage companies including LivePerson (Nasdaq: LPSN) and Medidata Solutions (acquired by Dassault Systemes). Mr. Brotman graduated with an undergraduate degree in economics from Duke University before going on to earn his MBA/JD from Washington University in St Louis.
Brotman had become overwhelmed in the early days of the Internet. Working 16-hour days in an overcrowded office, juggling 10 credit cards to cover everything from computers and toilet paper for Ad One.
Seed-stage venture capitalists play an essential role in Silicon Alley’s unique ecosystem: they identify promising startups early and bring them to larger firms’ attention later on. He doesn’t look for just one ‘Facebook,’ rather eight or nine like it.