Scott Stanford has been focused on the internet/technology sector for over 25 years as an advisor, operator, and investor. Prior to founding ACME in 2018, he was a co-founder of Sherpa Capital.
Scott co-headed Goldman Sachs’s Global Internet Investment Banking business in San Francisco for 12 years where he advised clients on $80 billion of equity and debt financings and strategic transactions and was deeply involved in investments in technology-enabled companies such as Facebook, Uber, DST/Mail.ru, Demand Media, LinkedIn, Palantir, iCrossing, and Square. His client coverage responsibility included Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Groupon, Zillow, Airbnb, Uber, and many other established and emerging technology-enabled companies.
Prior to rejoining Goldman in 2004, Scott was an early employee of LookSmart, helping build the company from a start-up in 1999 to a publicly traded NASDAQ company. From 1996 to 1998, while earning his MBA, Scott coded prototype applications for two startup ideas, one focusing on community service and the other focusing on automating and prototyping core financial analyses. He spent a summer during business school as an Associate at General Atlantic Partners focused on technology venture capital. Prior to business school, Scott was a Financial Analyst with Goldman Sachs’s Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Investment Banking Group. He began his Goldman career in the Fixed Income Group from 1993 to 1995 in New York. During this time, he developed software applications as well as structured and marketed Interest Rate Swaps and Options for the firm’s municipal clients.
Scott grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. As an early adopter of technology, he taught himself to code at age 13, built and ran a dial-up BBS, taught computer courses, started a personal computer consulting business, and developed a robotics exhibit for the Indianapolis Children’s Museum. Scott also earned his Pilot’s License at the age of 17. Scott received his A.B. with Honors from Harvard College (Social Studies) and M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
After Scott’s hoop dreams were capped by his height and his Top Gun plans curtailed by his astigmatism, he developed a deep passion for technology. Teaching himself BASIC and C (the pluses weren’t invented yet), he figured out he could make more money teaching others to code versus his other side hustles like selling shark’s teeth and yard work. Little did he know that coding, and his passion for technology, would define his academic trajectory and professional career.
The only thing deeper than Scott’s Indiana roots (evidenced by his penchant for State Fair fried food and enthusiastic embracing of new challenges to break the boredom), is his commitment to his family, cemented in having his dad as his Best Man in his wedding. So it was a bit of a shock when he chose his own adventure and went East to Boston College, breaking the family lineage of Wabash College, Depauw University, and Butler University. Despite not being Catholic, BC fully embraced Scott’s curiosity which led him to double major in Finance and Philosophy, win the CS-only Robotics Class final maze challenge, and become President of the class. However, just as he had everything sorted out, his curiosity once again led him to transfer to Harvard University.
A thesis in Affordable Mortgage Lending, led him to his first real job in Fixed Income Derivatives at Goldman Sachs where he moonlighted in with IT department, designing and coding the Derivatives Online Tracking System (“D.O.T.S.’) and other productivity tools to make his and other sleep-deprived Analysts’ lives a bit more bearable. After programming Black Scholes models, all-night Doom sessions, and producing countless pitch books, he found his way into Tech and Media Investment Banking and then on to HBS for his MBA.
With his freshly minted MBA, and refreshed tennis skills, he rented a U-haul and headed West, picking his mom up in Indiana to accompany him across the country. He landed a consulting gig at a small start-up called LookSmart that he turned into a 5-year run, culminating with his ex-Goldman colleagues taking the company public. With the burst of the Internet Bubble, and his CEO aspirations along with it, he returned to Goldman to help build their Internet Investment Banking and Investing businesses. Following a ten-year run leading the firm’s internet investments he set out on his own to singularly focus on investing in emerging companies led by awesome founders.
When he’s not on a plane or grokking with his portfolio companies, you can usually find Scott reading science fiction (adopting the “fiction” part after his scientific pursuits peaked at the Indiana State Science Fair), chatting about his extreme views on evolution and the future of the human species, crushing the latest Fallout or The Last of Us games, taking out his extra energy on the tennis court, or simply spending time with his family.