It’s a safe bet that if it weren’t for Jack Crosby, Austin Ventures wouldn’t have existed.
Crosby, the Austin entrepreneur and cable television pioneer, died on Friday at age 90. You can read the American-Statesman’s full obituary here.
It was Crosby’s investment firm, Rust Ventures, that led to the creation of Austin Ventures, the Austin-based venture capital firm that went on to raise nearly $4 billion and fund some of Austin’s most successful tech companies.
Austin Ventures general partner Ken DeAngelis recalled Crosby as “a life force. He was a very creative,
passionate guy, he loved entrepreneurship and deal making.”
It was Crosby who pulled DeAngelis, Joe Aragona and Jeff Garvey to Austin in the early 1980s, where they
worked at Crosby’s investment firm, Rust Capital.
“He was the quintessential Texas entrepreneur, almost in a wildcatting sense. He loved everything to do
with capitalism, whether it was commercial real estate, manufacturing, oil and gas, cable television,
entertainment, banking, communications. He mindset when looking at a business was he just had a very
“Jack put Austin Ventures in business,” DeAngelis said. “He raised our first fund, Rust Ventures, in 1984. It
was a $28 million fund, and Jack committed a meaningful amount of his own capital. He leaned on all his
other business relationships to raise the fund. That $28 million fund allowed us (Austin Ventures) to go on
to raise nearly $4 billion over 10 funds. He was fundamental to the initial cornerstone of what became
Bill Wood, who joined Rust Ventures in 1984 and was a general partner at Austin Ventures, said Crosby
“had an unusual ability to identify promising entrepreneurs and then successfully partner with them in
their new ventures. Many of the folks in the Austin entrepreneurial ecosystem probably don’t realize the
significant role Jack played in the early days of Austin’s evolution.”
Wood, who is now founder and general partner at Austin-based Silverton Partners, added, “those of us
who have been around for a while, remember him well and fondly. He was a first class human being –
someone who was always gracious and caring in both his personal and professional life. He was the
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