Adeo Ressi is an Italian-American investor who has been described as the “entrepreneur who manufactures entrepreneurs” and is notable for selling two companies before the age of 30 for $1 billion.
Ressi is the founder and CEO of TheFunded, a venture capital firm review website, and a business incubator and entrepreneur training center known as The Founder Institute. He has also been involved with numerous other companies and foundations to further various business and environment-related pursuits.
Education and early career
Rossi initially studied at the University of Pennsylvania as an environmental studies major where Elon Musk was his roommate for a time. There, he founded the Social Revolutionary Club and started an environmentalist newspaper called Green Times.
While Rossi spent the full four years at university, he was denied a degree after attempting to submit copies of the newspaper as his senior thesis. Once out of college, he co-founded the local news website Total New York in 1994 which was then purchased in 1997 by AOL for an undisclosed sum.
In 1995, Rossi launched the web development firm methodfive and then sold the 250-person company to Xceed for $88 million in 2000. Flush with capital, he founded Game Trust in 2002, an infrastructure developer of casual online games.
The seed is sown
Despite early success in securing venture capital, a second round of funding from Softbank worth $10 million fell through on the day the deal was due to be signed.
Since the company was obligated not to seek other sources of investment, Ressi was forced to take out a bridge loan to keep Game Trust afloat. The incident also set in motion a chain of events that would see new investors try to force Rossi out of the company.
While the coup ultimately failed, Ressi knew that something had to change. Game Trust was sold to digital entertainment services provider RealNetworks in 2007 and the scene was set for a personal change of course.
Over the winter of 2006, Rossi built TheFunded as a place where he could keep closer tabs on his investors. The platform was conceived for his personal use, but after information about its existence was leaked to TechCrunch, Ressi received numerous applications from those wishing to join.
By January 2008, TheFunded had a community of 3,600 users who could read or write anonymous reviews of VC firms and help others avoid a repeat of the Softbank debacle.
The Founder Institute
Ressi founded his start-up incubator and entrepreneur training program in 2009. Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, the primary object of The Founder Institute is to reduce start-up failure and “globalize Silicon Valley”. Ressi also wanted to discover the ingredients for a successful entrepreneur and assist them with creating better businesses.
Ressi has also served on the board of the non-profit organization X Prize. The non-profit, which he joined to pursue his interests in human achievement and space exploration, holds competitions to encourage the development of tech that benefits humanity.
- Adeo Ressi is an Italian-American investor who has been described as the “entrepreneur who manufactures entrepreneurs”. He is the founder and CEO of TheFunded and business incubator The Founder Institute.
- After a failed round of funding, Ressi sold the online game infrastructure company Game Trust and developed a platform where users could rate their experience with VC firms.
- The Founder Institute was launched in 2009 to discover what made a successful entrepreneur and reduce start-up failure. Ressi has also sat on the board of the philanthropic non-profit X Prize.
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