Lee Hower

I’m an investor, entrepreneur, and helper of technology startups. I’m currently a General Partner of NextView Ventures, which focuses on seed stage internet-enabled businesses. I co-founded NextView in 2010 with my partners Rob Go and David Beisel. I started in the VC business as a Principal at Point Judith Capital, an early-stage firm. I joined PJC in 2005 and served as a Principal at the firm through early 2010. During this time I co-led investments in FanIQ, Sittercity, and Multiply and sourced investments in Music Nation and NABsys. Prior to becoming a VC, I was a startup guy myself. I was part of the founding team of LinkedIn, and served as Director of Corporate Development from the company’s inception through our early growth phases. Before that I was an early employee at PayPal, and worked in product management and corporate development roles through the company’s IPO in 2002 and subsequent sale to eBay later that year. I went to college at UPenn and received degrees from both the School of Engineering and Wharton School of Business.

  • Blog

    The Road to Autonomous Vehicles & Our Investment in Optimus Ride

    Today Optimus Ride announced a $5.25M seed round of funding to continue developing their unique approach to autonomous transportation.  NextView is pleased to co-lead this round along with our friends at FirstMark Capital as well as participation by other investors, and I’m excited to join Optimus’s board. For those who follow my writings on my […]


    Blog

    Autonomous Vehicles: Can You Get There From Here? (Part 2)

    This is the 2nd post in a series about self-driving vehicles and it explores how autonomous cars could become a reality.  Self-Driving Vehicles: The Future Always Takes Longer to Arrive is the 1st post and covers the state of the vehicle autonomy (circa mid 2016) and how we’ve gotten here.   ============= So what are the different […]


    Blog

    Our Investment in The Outline

    “Sometimes, there’s a man, well, he’s the man for his time and place. He fits right in there. And that’s the Dude…”  – The Stranger, The Big Lebowski Today we announced our investment in The Outline, a new digital media company founded by CEO Josh Topolsky.  The company plans to launch publicly later this year, but […]


    Blog

    Self-Driving Vehicles: The Future Always Takes Longer to Arrive (Part 1)

    Preface: As a consumer, I am excited by the prospect of autonomous vehicles and the individual and collective benefits they can provide.  As an investor, I am also bullish about the innovation wave already in its early innings around mobility and autonomy.  But a realistic understanding of the potential timeline for autonomous vehicle adoption is vital […]


    Blog

    What If Self-Driving Cars Actually Increase Car Ownership?

    Conventional wisdom is that when self-driving autonomous passenger cars arrive, they’re likely to decrease individual ownership of cars. If there’s a liquid supply of cars that can operate autonomously, one needn’t own a car… you could simply summon one on-demand from a fleet run by [Uber, Google, Apple, Ford, etc] and pay per use or subscription or […]


    Blog

    Seduced By Growth, But Terminal Scale Still Matters

    We’re off to a fresh start here at the beginning of 2016. Looking back at 2015, the standout theme in the VC/startup ecosystem was unicorn hunting. We started the year enraptured by the “Age of Unicorns” with this cover of Fortune in January 2015: But by the time we ended 2015, the headlines like “The Dangers […]


    Blog

    Square IPO: Is Square A Good Payments Business?

    Square filed its S-1 several weeks ago and is now in the middle of its IPO road show process. There’s been ample coverage in the popular press of course highlighting everything from the company’s revenue growth, lack of profitability, and the well-publicized fact that founder/CEO Jack Dorsey is also CEO of Twitter so would theoretically be running two public […]


    Blog

    Hardware, IoT, and the Long Arc of the Internet

    We’re preparing to make our third investment with a hardware component here at NextView.  This company will remain in stealth mode for at least a little while and it isn’t my place to divulge their plans, but we’re very excited about the founding team, market opportunity, and syndicate we will be part of. We very nearly missed the […]


    Blog

    Playing Startup

    I’ve observed what may be an emerging trend, at least in some startups, that I find somewhat unsettling.  It has an impact at an individual level, a company level, and an ecosystem level.  This is not an easy topic to discuss without coming off like a jerk or a crusty old dude, so I wanted […]


    Blog

    Starting a New “Walkabout”

    Some VCs describe themselves as “thematic” or “thesis-driven” investors.  These folks typically hone in on an industry sector or type of company, immerse themselves in the subject, meet as many similar companies as possible, and then invest in some. Other VCs can be described as “opportunistic” which sounds like they have no particular strategy or […]