Rob Hayes


Rob has led investments in companies such as (acquired by Intuit), HomeRun (acquired by Rearden Commerce), Uber, TaskRabbit, Square, Get Satisfaction, and DNAnexus.

Prior to joining First Round Capital, Rob was at Omidyar Network where he was their first venture investor. He led most of their initial venture capital deals and later built and ran the technology investing group.

Before that, Rob was at Palm where he started up their corporate venture fund. While in that role he also managed the strategy effort around Palm OS that led to the spinout of PalmSource. Rob started at Palm as product manager for Palm OS. During this time, Rob was responsible for the versions of Palm OS on dozens of devices including the initial Treo products.

Rob previously spearheaded complex, system-level product development efforts atcompanies such as Geoworks and Go Corp where he focused on building products for the Japanese market. He began his career with the Japan External Trade Organization, studying international trade issues and building relationships between US and Japanese businesses, at a time when trade friction between the two countries was at its peak.

Rob has an MBA from Columbia University and a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley.


  • I was relatively new to the venture business in 2006 when I first met Matt Brezina and Adam Smith. They entered YC (which itself was only a year old at the time) with the idea to make sense of the inbox. They called their company, Xobni (that’s “inbox” spelled backward, by the way).

  • We're in business to support massive ideas that can change the world. Increasingly, even at the seed stage, we're noticing that those ideas are coming at the intersection of hardware and software. For example, recently we announced our investments in Thalmic Labs (the creators of the MYO), Airware (creator of autopilots for drones) and SmartThings (rethinking the connected home).

  • Michael Lopp (aka Rands) is a director at Palantir, an author of a number of books on software engineering and management best practices, as well as an ex-manager of the Mac OSX engineering team. He also hates meetings. At the First Round CTO Summit, Lopp explained how meetings can drain the time of engineers eager to solve the world’s biggest problems. Nevertheless, they're essential to aligning large teams' work. Lopp shared the strategies he uses to run effective meetings for teams of all sizes. Read on to get his detailed opinion on meetings, including a rubric to help you evaluate your own company's meetings.