Sean O’Sullivan is the founder of SOSV, a $1 billion global venture capital firm that seeds 150 companies a year through start-up development programs that support entrepreneurs across hardware, bioengineering, China, mobile apps, and the blockchain.
Sean has pretty much done it all. He grew up on welfare, found his way to technology in the 1970s, and started his first company in his early 20s. That company, called MapInfo, was the original street map technology well before the days of the internet. Sean formed more companies and began angel investing with the proceeds. Along the way, he created twenty patents for ride sharing, coined the term cloud computing, appeared in Ireland’s version of Shark Tank, and formed a series of start-up development programs to support early-stage entrepreneurs.
Our conversation covers Sean’s path to entrepreneurship and investing, accelerator strategy, sourcing ideas, working with entrepreneurs, preparing businesses to exit SOSV’s programs, investing in follow-on rounds, drivers of success, and positioning in the venture ecosystem.