“Rob has embraced our company and become an evangelist for our brand. He immersed himself in RelayRides by becoming a passionate owner who rents out his car through our marketplace and tweets and blogs about his experience. Getting his first-hand feedback makes for a more insightful and valuable relationship. Rob connects with our company on multiple levels, from the executives to the engineers who are building our product. His unique perspective sets him apart from everyone else on our board.” —Andre Haddad, CEO, RelayRides
"I am actively investing in startups that use data, artificial intelligence, machine learning, the Internet and mobile networks to connect people and devices in an effort to improve people’s lives."
Rob has always loved building things that go fast. He started his career as an aerospace engineer and auto engine tester, then became an investor in early stage technology companies. In the depths of a tech downturn, Rob took a risk to launch a new venture firm, Shasta Ventures. Over the years Rob has supported more than 100 founders in their quests to build lasting businesses that deliver breakout products and services.
Rob is looking to work closely with entrepreneurs who are creating disruptive approaches to mobile and networked devices, as well as technology applications that leverage novel infrastructure technologies. He is particularly interested in high-risk startups that are rapidly scalable, impact the lives of millions of people and connect the "real world" to the Internet, whether via smart phones, low-cost sensors, or other devices.
Rob is passionate about anything with an engine, including robots, satellites, and new modes of transportation. He is particularly interested in smartphone-based businesses, collaborative consumption and The Internet of Things.
Before co-founding Shasta in 2004, Rob was a general partner at New Enterprise Associates, where he led 15 early-stage investments in companies spanning the semiconductor, software and networking industries, including Growth Networks (Cisco), Astral Point (Alcatel) and Xros (Nortel). His current companies include Nest, Mocana and RelayRides.
Earlier in his career, Rob served as a lead integration engineer in the Astro Space division of Martin Marietta, where he helped build the first EchoStar spacecraft. Rob earned an MS in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Virginia. He also holds an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was named a Palmer Scholar.
Rob enjoys modifying his street cars to go faster on the track. He's driven his cars at Laguna Seca, Thunderhill, Road Atlanta, and Sears Point, and loves driving long distances at high speeds on the German Autobahn.