I first met Rashmi many years back at TagCamp while i was still working at Simply Hired in 2005, then again at Dana Street Coffee in early 2007 when i was consulting for Mint.com. I think Mike Arrington had written one of the very first TechCrunch posts on SlideShare in late 2006, and i was an immediate fan and user soon after. Upon seeing Rashmi again at Dana Street a few times we became fast friends, and i asked her and her co-founder Jon if i could become an investor/advisor to the company. To my surprise, they agreed and we've been hanging out ever since, both as partners and friends. I also finally got to meet their 3rd co-founder (& Rashmi's brother) Amit, when i was visiting India for our GeeksOnaPlane trip there last fall.
Over the past 5 years, i've had the pleasure of using SlideShare, telling everyone i know how awesome it is, and watching as the company grew and grew and grew to become the huge community it is today. I was just checking my own account on SlideShare, and some 2.7 million people have viewed my presentations and almost 50,000 downloads of my Startup Metric for Pirates and other talks.
Although not officially a 500 Startups company (SlideShare was one of my personal investments, long before we started the fund), i've always thought of SlideShare and particularly Rashmi, Jon, and Amit as some of the first members of our global #500STRONG family. They have been mentors to many of our other startups, and Rashmi in particular has been a role model for other female CEOs and founders in our portfolio (of which there are many, over 50 and growing currently).
But more importantly than me bragging about making a great investment, i'm very proud to be FRIENDS with them -- because they are first and foremost awesome people, and great entrepreneurs. They represent the best of what we all strive for in building a company, and i've seen them deal with both success and failure with grace, style, and tremendous warmth for their fellow employees and their customers and partners. I couldn't be more proud of them and what they've accomplished, and let me be among many to congratulate them as they join LinkedIn on the next phase of their journey.
Rashmi, Jon, Amit: you guys rock, and i <3 you very much :)