- Scott Maxwell
- Adam Marcus
- George Roberts
- Firas Raouf
- Nick Hammerschlag
- Ricky Pelletier
- Jonathan Kimmel
- Brian Carthas
- Daniel Lane
- Kim Reisman
- Diana Martz
- Kevin Cain
- Devon McDonald
- Tien Anh Nguyen
- Luis Fernandes
- Lindsey Gurian
- Meghan Maher
- Carlie Smith
- Katy Smigowski
- Salima Ladha
- Brandon Hickie
- Sudip Verma
- Ori Yankelev
- Nicholas Petri
- Jonathan Crowe
- Kevin Leary
- Megan McNeill
- Bonnie Lewis
- Ruth Kessman
- Lorraine Kelly
- Rebecca Jacobs
- Erin McDonald
- Kim Humphrey
- Jeff Sutherland
- Joe Pulizzi
- Bill Price
- Chuck Linn
- Luke Hohmann
- Jeremy Aber
Firas Raouf is a mentor to our Portfolio, an engaged board member and plays an active role in investments.
Firas is a founding member of OpenView Venture Partners and a member of both the Investment and Operating Committees. He is currently on the boards of AtTask, CentralDesktop, Exinda, Instructure, NextDocs, and Zmags.
When Firas first decided to make the move from startup and expansion stage senior executive to venture capitalist, even he admits it seemed like a curious and somewhat sudden career change.
After all, Firas’ only previous experience with a VC came when Insight Venture Partners, a New York City based private equity firm, made an investment in the company (eEye Digital Security) he co-founded and was COO of at the time. That investment, made in 2002, began Firas’ relationship with Scott Maxwell, a senior Managing Director at Insight and the future founding partner of OpenView.
So, when Scott offered him a position with Insight Venture Partners in 2005, Firas’ natural response was: “Why me?” As Firas quickly discovered, however, Scott didn’t want a VC lifer. He wanted someone with real world experience that knew how to organically grow revenue and establish capital efficiency, skills Firas had acquired through success and failure at three startup companies (eEye, eCompany and eHook).
Firas joined Scott at Insight in September of 2005 and worked with Scott on his last investment there (Platespin). By late 2006, Scott, Firas, and the rest of the founding team integrated Scott’s simple, but very impactful philosophy about the role a VC should play: that venture capitalists can and should deliver more than money to their portfolio companies.
Today, Firas draws on his experience in roles as co-founder/COO of three startups (eHook, eCompany, and eEye Digital Security), five years of operational management at Booz & Company, and three years of engineering at Eli Lilly to bring meaningful value to the expansion stage executives he mentors. More than anything, Firas says his primary goal is to provide practical, realistic advice and operational expertise to entrepreneurs walking in the same shoes he wore for almost a decade.
Prior to joining Insight and OpenView, Firas lead eEye Digital Security’s sales and marketing teams, ramping up revenue from almost nothing in early 2001 to a $15 million run rate by the time he left in 2005. He also helped create a capitally efficient and scalable business model that quickly turned eEye into one of the strongest players in the network security market.
Firas’ startup experience was also filled with challenges and failures that proved to be the source of his most powerful learnings of the do’s and don’ts of scaling early stage software companies. Firas’ first startup experience was at a company called eHook, which in late 1999 was aspiring to be what Angie’s List is today. Alas, the idea was great, but the market was not ready.
From eHook, Firas and his co-founders pivoted to focus on eCompany, which provided a platform for developing highly sophisticated web and eCommerce sites at a fraction of the cost at the time. Firas and his partners scaled the company quite rapidly in early 2000, only to crash in early 2001 when the internet bubble burst. Ultimately, successes and failures at each of those companies have made Firas well-suited to mentor OpenView’s portfolio companies today.
Firas began his career as a senior engineer at Eli Lilly before spending five years as a senior consultant for Booz Allen & Hamilton (Operations and Management Group).
Firas holds a BS in Computer Engineering from Northeastern University and a Masters of Engineering Management from the Thayer School at Dartmouth College. He is also a Certified ScrumMaster.
Did you know?
Firas was born in New York City and has lived in each of the following cities: Baghdad, Cairo, Beirut, Amman, Boston, Hanover NH, Indianapolis, New Orleans, and Laguna Beach CA. He’s an avid fan of Manchester United, which leaves him with very little to talk about with his American friends. Firas is married to a beautiful Pediatrician, and has a son and a daughter.
Videos from OpenView for expansion stage high-growth software, internet, and technology-enabled companies
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