George Bischof '94
By Daniel P. Smith
George Bischof's '94 fingerprints can be found on a few game-changing companies — Facebook, Zipcar and Salesforce.com, as well as on such core IT companies as Box.net and Fusion-io.
Each triumph has invigorated Bischof and motivated him to achieve more.
"Being around the entrepreneurs who have the vision, dedication and willingness to take the risk to see their ideas come to fruition makes it easy to come into work," says Bischof, a managing director at Meritech Capital Partners, a leading provider of late-stage venture capital to private tech companies. "These innovators have discovered a need and built a solution that seven billion other people did not."
Meritech's late-stage entry allows enterprises to expand their sales force, round out their product line and become market leaders.
"Our role is important because if these companies don't investin market share, they risk being caught from behind," says Bischof, who joined Palo Alto, Calif.-based Meritech in 2008.
Bischof's guidance on late-stage issues, such as scaling organizations for growth and advising on liquidity events, has helped tech upstarts such as EqualLogic and Isilon Systems generate $1 billion plus outcomes/exits. These impressive results have catapulted Bischof into distinguished company. He ranks 44th on the current Forbes Midas List, joining other Kellogg grads such as Promod Haque '83, Brian Paul '94 and Woody Marshall '96 on the annual rundown of the top 100 venture capitalists.
Over the course of 12 years in the venture capital world, Bischof has witnessed dramatic changes. A greater degree of transparency and broader access to information allows capital to flow more quickly to strong ideas around the world. The ever-quickening pace of technology, meanwhile, demands that venture capitalists adopt an even more critical, forward-thinking bent.
"Mobile apps, social networking and the cloud weren't even discussed 10 years ago. Rapid change is the only constant in today's environment," says Bischof, who's married to Kellogg alumna and former AOL exec Kerry O'Rourke '95.
Bischof's support for ventures that push boundaries and change lives extends beyond the tech world.
For the last 15 years, he has been an active supporter of Eastside College Prep, a 300-student secondary school his brother founded in Silicon Valley's shadow. Though the college-bound rate in East Palo Alto hovers near 5 percent, Eastside sends 100 percent of its graduating seniors to four-year colleges.
"To see a project like this impact individual lives in such powerful ways is so intrinsically rewarding and is really the ultimate game changer," Bischof says.
This article originally appeared in the Fall 2011 issue of Kellogg World alumni magazine.