Stephen Straus is a serial entrepreneur and former venture capitalist with a current focus on AI related opportunities. In his career, Stephen has started, ran and successfully sold two companies and was also a General Partner at one of the largest venture capital firms in the country.
Stephen most recently was VP Marketing and Business Development as well as a member of the Board of Directors at Correlated Magnetics Research, where he helped lead the commercialization effort of the company’s groundbreaking invention, raised funds and recruited the senior team.
Prior, Stephen was Founder and Chairman of Barfly Interactive Networks, an Austin-based media company, which was acquired in 2008 while raising its series B financing. At Barfly, Stephen defined the product offering set strategy, acquired the initial customers, developed partnerships, led the effort to recruit the senior team and raised funds.
Prior to launching Barfly, Stephen spent almost nine years at Austin Ventures, which was at the time the largest and most active venture capital firm between the East and West coasts. During his tenure at Austin Ventures, Stephen was promoted from Associate to General Partner, while the firm grew dramatically, from $278 million to over $2.4 billion under management. Responsibilities included finding new companies to invest in and then working with the senior leadership of those companies as a member of the Board of Directors on team building, strategy, fundraising, acquisitions, and exits.
After graduating from college, Stephen was Founder of The Solutions Group in Washington, D.C., a software and service company, serving as its Chief Executive officer for five years, until its acquisition by a venture-backed company.
Stephen is a graduate of Colgate University and received his MBA from Harvard Business School. Upon graduation with his MBA, Stephen was a Kauffman Fellow, a national Fellowship awarded to a select group of venture capitalists each year. He serves on the Engineering Advisory Board of the Cockrell College of Engineering at the University of Texas and is a former member of the Board of Directors of Sustainable Food Center and Austin Film Society. Stephen lives in Austin with his terrific wife and four great kids.