John Greathouse has held a number of senior executive positions with successful startups over a period of more than fifteen years. He has repeatedly been one of the very first businesspeople hired, helping build large businesses from the ground up, with an emphasis on market engagement and scalable customer acquisition.

At Computer Motion, John served as CFO and VP of Business Development. Computer Motion was a pioneer in the surgical robotics industry, went public in 1997 and was subsequently acquired by Intuitive Surgical for $148 million.

At Expertcity, John served as CFO and SVP of Strategic Development, with responsibility for marketing, sales, business development, finance and administration, and services. Expertcity was acquired by Citrix for $236 million to become Citrix Online, which currently generates approximately $400 million in annual recurring revenue.

At CallWave, John served as the SVP of Sales & Business Development and assisted in the company’s 2004 IPO.

John was an active Angel Investor, Advisor and Board Member at: Central Desktop, RightScale, Eucalyptus, Frontier Technology, RedMojo (sold to Novell), RightCart (sold to, Vcel (sold to Fotochatter) and AppFolio.

John Greathouse is a partner at Rincon Venture Partners, a venture capital firm investing in early stage web-based businesses. John has held a number of senior executive positions with successful startups during the past fifteen years, spearheading transactions, which generated more than $350 million of shareholder value, including an IPO and a multi-hundred-million-dollar acquisition. He is also a Co-Founder of RevUpNet, a performance-based online marketing agency.

John is a CPA and holds an M.B.A. from the Wharton School. He is a member of the University of California at Santa Barbara’s Faculty where he teaches several entrepreneurial courses.

Rincon Venture Partners RevUpNet


A summary of John’s Professional Activities is as follows:

Operating Executive Roles:

Rincon Venture Partners – Partner (2007 – Present)
Early-stage Venture Capital Firm
CallWave – EVP Sales & Bus Dev (2004 – 2005)
IPO in 2004 @ $200M
Expertcity/Citrix – CFO & SVP Bus Dev (1999 – 2004)
Sold in 2004 for $236M
Computer Motion – CFO & VP Bus Dev (1993 – 1999)
IPO in 1997 @ $110M
Sold in 2002 for $148M

Investor, Advisory & Board Roles:

AppFolio – Seed Investor
Central Desktop – Board Member
ElephantDrive – Board Member
Eucalyptus Systems – Seed Investor
Frontier Technology – Investor & Board Member FTI
RedMojo – Investor & Advisor
Sold to Novell
RevUpNet – Co-founder and Advisor
RightCart – Advisor
Sold to
RightScale – Seed Investor and Advisor RightScale
RingRevenue – Board Member
Tearaways – Band Manager Tearaways


  1. […] Greathouse, a serial entrepreneur and venture capital investor, recommends that you enlist your customers and partners (messengers) to communicate your value proposition. […]

  2. Gregory

    Hi John

    Your morning coffee is worth more than my startup, and I’m not in the same league as you.

    I wanted to say thanks to you because the advice you give is a solid stepping stone for me to stomp on, to jump around on it and see how it feels and fits while I explore its many bits – before I look for the next one I need. Many times your columns have become “the universe delivering what I need”.

    I’m on my path now. It’s hard but that’s what a path made of selected stepping stones is. Each step has to be solid and fit right, and I wanted to say thanks for helping guide me and others like me to choose the right ones for our own concerns.

    You’ve already seen the goal, your advice makes our decisions much smarter and our journey happier.

    Thank you

  3. John Greathouse

    Gregory – you just made my day, thank you. Writing is a solitary undertaking and I often question if my advice is too rudimentary, obvious or even irrelevant. Feedback like yours is what keeps me focused on generated a steady output of entries.

    Best of luck to you and please keep me posted of your progress.


  4. Stev76n24

    Mr. Greathouse
    I stumbled upon your site a couple of days ago as I was trying to figure out what an Angel Investor was because I did not have clue! I have been out of the business world since 2000 when I sold my first startup company and joined the service.
    As a single father I walked away from a distinguished ten year military career in February of this year to raise my two young daughters. As of today I am working on getting my business plan together for another startup company.
    I read some of your articles and I was amazed at how much knowledge and guidance you are providing. You have provided excellent guidance that I understand and now utilizing the information in my new adventure. I signed up for your newsletter and will frequently be coming back to read more.
    Thank you for providing such an invaluable service to all of us!

  5. John Greathouse

    Steven – that is high praise! Thank you for your kind words and for your service to our country. My father was a career military officer, so I have deep appreciation for your contributions.

    I am curious, do you recall how you came across my humble blog? 



  6. Steven

    Hi John,

    Thank you for responding to my post! thank you for your deep appreciation that means a lot and It was honor to serve our country. I thank your father for his service, its not an easy job.

    I do recall how I came accross your blog. I used google search looking for information on Angel Investors. I clicked a link at the bottom of the search page called venture capital. I was trying to understand what the difference was between the two soI clicked a link at the bottom of the search page called venture capital blog.

    That is were I saw your headline: 
    Infochachkie: Hands-on startup advice for emerging entrepreneursI clicked on your site because it was the only one offering Hands-on startup advice for emerging entrepreneurs.That was probably way to much detailed information but I wanted to thoroughly answerer your question.Steven

  7. John Greathouse

    Thanks for the additional color. I haven’t done much to promote my blog, so I am always curious how folks discover my site. Google has been good to me, probably b/c I have been writing consistently since 2007.

    All the best to you.

  8. Troy

    John, thanks for your blog.   

    I read your posting on Mr. Jobs and it brought a smile to my face and some security to my heart.  My carrer has spanned many industries with a common thread of superior positioning, client value, branding, partnering and sales execution.  I have consistently innovated in every business model I have connected with.Over the past few months I have felt that I am spread all over the place but I now realize that my variety of experiences provides a unique foundation for my creativity and innovation.  Thanks for helping others, including me.Best regards,TGH

  9. John Greathouse


    Thank you, that is high praise. Ultimately that is my goal, to help others, in some small way, by sharing my experiences. I wish I would have had a business mentor in my youth, as I would have avoided numerous mistakes. 

    All the best to you.


  10. Jeff

    John, you recently answered a question of mine on Quora – thanks for your comments.  I am here in SF, with deck in hand and working on getting some traction for a start up I am a co-founder of, would love to share my pitch deck with you and get some feed back.  We are working out of South Park, but might go to Santa Barbra, that is why I asked the question.  But your experience and feedback would be super valuable.  Let me know if there is any chance I can send it your way for your review.  You can follow our adventure at  –  – check it out, and let me know.  Thanks for your time and advice. jb 

  11. John Greathouse


    Sounds good. Send it to the info email address on Rincon Venture’s site and make it clear that it is to be forwarded to me. 

    I am happy to give you some feedback.

  12. […] AboutWho the Heck is Uncle Saul?Be The Beatles Not The Flock Of SeagullsJohn Greathouse’s BioConTraps Part 2ConTrap Part 3ConTrap part 4Startup Children Pt 2Startup Children Pt 5Startup […]

  13. Laura Ringer


    I am yet another young Silicon Valley entrepreneur wading into uncharted waters. I am in the very beginning stages of my startup – I have a fantastic idea, a skeleton strategy and a team in place to make it happen. My question is, how do I go about drawing up the contracts to protect my idea from leakage and the Facebook “you stole it” issues in regard to my partners? In addition, how do I make the decision as to who owns how much of the company for future profit? Would love advice from someone who has seen it all.



  14. John Greathouse


    Docstoc ( is a great source of agreements and documents, many of which are free. 

    Also, get a great startup lawyer, as I discuss here:

    You may also want to review this series on contracts, but I will warn you it is pretty detailed. You can read the first in the series here:

    The issues shown in the Facebook movie could have been easily avoided with less passive aggressive behavior and a decent dose of maturity. If you are not already using Quora, start. I have seen some good answers regarding splitting up equity between Founders.

    Glad to see you in the game. The world needs more entrepreneurs!

    Good luck to you and your team.


  15. Laurence

    Hi John,

    This is a good site, and I was wondering if I could talk to you about doing a guest post? I work with a business IT and Telecoms company and have some resources that you could share with your readers?

    Please email me at laurence(at)



  16. TJ

    John – Just discovered your blog via SoCalTech.  Now I have add another tab to my bookmark are in good company next to TechCrunch,  GeekWire and Feld Thoughts 😉  Some really good insight.  It’s great to get another socal view on the tech landscape.

    My co-founder and I have what we believe to be a very disruptive consumer ecomm concept that is seed stage.  We need about $30-50K to complete our pilot and POC in a multibillion dollar market.  We have a few angel investors we can go to, but I would really like to get your thoughts on strategic (active) seed capital vs. return-based (passive) seed investors. 

    We are considering applying for the winter Launchpad LA class, but our model is not a pure software/programming solution.  It’s both software and hardware (infrastructure) investment as we grow.  I want to make sure that we have the right investor behind us that understands a longer-term build out, as well as long-term earnings. 

    Question:  Do you think the accelerators like Launchpad, Muckerlab, etc. are really only geared for pure software/programming/social/gamification type concepts? OR do you have any recommendations that might consider an infrastructure build out along with an ecomm, emobile? (I believe you are involved in Launchpad?)

    Any feedback at all would be appreciated.

    Best of luck!


  17. John Greathouse

    TJ – thanks for your kind praise. I interviewed Brad Feld earlier this week – great guy, very insightful. Look for that interview in a week or two. I appreciate you spreading the word regarding my humble blog.

    Take the Seed money, given that the Angels are not price sensitive. Since it is such a small amount, maybe do it in the form of a convertible note, with the valuation at 85% of a subsequent round. 

    My venture firm, Rincon Venture Partners, is involved in LaunchPad. I am a little confused by your question. I don’t think the fact that your solution has a h/w component disqualifies it for maximizing the value that LP can provide. The mentoring, networking, speakers, etc. will benefit essentially any startup, irrespective of their specific focus. If you can get accepted to LP, I don’t think you will regret it. 

    Best of luck to you. Hopefully I will see you at a future LP event.

  18. […] entreprenuers through the UC Santa Barbara’s Technology Managment Program. One in partcular, John Greathouse, had a lot to do with my decision to hold off on Business School. Taking his advice, combined with […]

  19. Lee Nathan

    Hello. Thank you so much for speaking last Friday at the SB startup weekend.
    I was really moved by what you said.
    There were two things that I found especially important.
    What you said about knowing yourself and your shortcomings was huge for me.
    As was the part about taking responsibility for the situation rather than placing blame.
    These were two vastly important things I had only just recently learned on my own.
    And your talking about them gave me some much needed validation.
    Thanks again.

  20. John Greathouse

    Thanks Lee. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts.

    How did your group do on Sunday?

  21. Lee Nathan

    Our presentation needed work so we weren’t well received. But we did get a lot of good market validation and investor interest. So we’re most likely going to move forward with the project.

  22. John Greathouse

    Good for you. That’s the primary point of the event, so in that regard, I’d say you “succeeded.” Good luck to you.

  23. Brittany

    Hi John!

    I just wanted to reach out and say how much I love this site and the content it provides to startups. Do you accept contributed content?
    My name is Brittany Dowell and I’m the Director of Publishing Relations over at Digital Talent Agents. What I do is get our clients’ articles publication-ready for your site to publish and use as contributed or guest content, whichever you’d prefer. These articles do not contain any promotional-type content, only industry relevant insights and advice from our clients that genuinely want to help others. Several of our clients are experts in startups and entrepreneurship. They have been published on such sites as WSJ, Entrepreneur, Inc., the list could go on and on! Many have chosen your site as a place of inspiration and they would love to contribute. Any thoughts?

    Thanks, John!


  24. John Greathouse

    Brittany – thanks for your interest, but I haven’t done any guest posts, so far. 

    With that said, who knows what the future may hold.

    Best of luck to you and your clients.

  25. Brian Frankel


    I also had the privilege to hear you speak at the Startup Weekend, Santa Barbara. I appreciate your candid insight and feedback on the human side of entrepreneurship. You gave us all an important reminder, the importance of knowing thyself… 

    Easier said than done… Even Franklin said “There are three things extremely hard, Steel, a Diamond, and to know one’s self.”

    However, you also shared a unique first step, use an intermediary to ask 20 people in our immediate network what they think we are good at/ not so good at. This allows us to seek the truth, and to find out who other people think we are. I am going to give this exercise a shot starting this weekend. I am looking forward to the results.

    Do you have any additional references on this exercise that I could read up on, and share with my friends? Also, you mentioned something about people liking the negative photos of themselves. I did not catch this fully, can you please clarify. Thanks!!!


  26. Brian Leor Frankel

    Your post here answers my questions, 🙂 

  27. […] Pattern Matching, VC John Greathouse discloses that VCs look out for a “young entrepreneur who is inexperienced, but has an […]

  28. […] how and why your venture is the right option for them (easier said than done).  This post by John Greathouse initially got me thinking about the “simpler” side of the topic. What struck me is that, from […]

  29. […] Pattern Matching, VC John Greathouse discloses that VCs look out for […]

  30. […] how and why your venture is the right option for them (easier said than done).  This post by John Greathouse initially got me thinking about the “simpler” side of the topic. What struck me is that, from […]

  31. Mike Moyer

    Hi John, I loved your comparison of the Lean Start-up to Louie Louie and it got me reading your blog, great, practical advice. I wanted to bring your attention to my book, Slicing Pie, that I think would be a good fit with your readers, it explains how to use a dynamic equity split to determine exactly how much equity each person in the start up deserves. It’s a new way of thinking about the problem that solves a lot of problems. If you want I will send you a copy.

  32. […] to hiring top talent? Here’s a secret: they all have access to the best tools. In this post, John Greathouse, partner at Rincon Venture Partners, provides a list of SaaS hiring tools that can help you level […]

  33. […] Matching, VC John Greathouse discloses that VCs look out for […]

  34. […] tweeter and VC John Greathouse, whom I met at a GAN Founders’ Conference in Boston last year. A tip of John’s, which I agreed […]

  35. […] strategies for success in a recent interview conducted by one of Central Desktop’s board members, John Greathouse, for his entrepreneurial advice blog Hear his story about how Central Desktop got […]

  36. […] strategies for success in a recent interview conducted by one of Central Desktop’s board members, John Greathouse, for his entrepreneurial advice blog Hear his story about how Central Desktop got […]

  37. melanie


    I have been following your site, for a while and am impressed with how informative your site is. I would like the chance to write a guest post on You Don’t Have to Take on Your Finances Alone. I feel the post would benefit your readers. Please let me know if you would be interested and I will be happy to send you a draft.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.



  38. John Greathouse

    Melanie – thanks for your kind words, but I have put guest entries on hold for now.

  39. Lukas Bradley

    Hey John, have you taken a look at BitCoin or any other cryptocurrencies? Interested in your opinion.

  40. John Greathouse

    Lukas – thanks for asking. Unfortunately, other than what I have read on TechCrunch et. al., I don’t know much about this world. Sorry I can be helpful here.

  41. […] addition to the inclusion of my bio on my blog, there is also an easily accessible description of my professional career on LinkedIn. […]

  42. kellannemoye GUS

    someone was going to try to whack me in the military once during basic and come to think of it even in ROTC with blanks
    i was the one of the only ones with a challenging major at UC Berkeley’s ROTC Army program.

    they are not ALL heros automatically especially with some of the males assigned to combat who we read about –and also higher ups making decisions in DC. Vietnam was wrong. Cambodia someone should have done something.

    with regards to the middle east why not use alternative warfare and intercept communications obviously satellite technology can do this. and disconnect supply lines and please ask the RUssians to stop supplying these nations with toxins. some of those scientists are actually rather nice people and they sell this stuff on the blackmarket out of economic constraints.

    that being said joining the military was a unifying moment in my life so before you delete my comment because i didnt take the MBA route

    dont get mad i am only speaking the truth and bradley manning shouldnt be punished excessively. he joined the military for educational opportunities and i would like to be friends with bradley manning. i am also going to follow up with female senators i saw on C-SPAN who want to know more about military culture including sexual harassment/the sexual culture issues. please dopes be a silent professionals (navy squeals on fb) my godfather really regretted involvement in their construction. i was sent to a stupid private school and it would be funny to expose the navy squeals culture on the aggregate. btw i have met jesse ventura and the guy is opposed to war also. this could have been written according to rules of english class. most of you people are boring in comments anyway. and it is getting very late. i need to go to the library tomorrow to get out a picture of my friend’s mom.

    my friends are so happening, people avert their eyes when they walk into a room

    i met some of my closest friends there (ft jackson, military in general) and i am releasing some interesting information very soon

    das vi danya

  43. Black Wasp

    Hey John, I’m a former UCSB and TMP student, finished grad school, back in Santa Barbara. I’ve thought for some time that SB/UCSB should have a small tech accelerator (and I would love to work on taking a run at setting one up), something more than the incubators around town and I’ve not seen/read anything with regards to an attempt at setting one up. I was wondering what you thought of the idea, whether the market here would even support one.

  44. Black Wasp

    Thanks John! Glad to be back. I saw your reply earlier but for some reason it’s no longer here.

    Those are all incubators though, right? Or at least from what I can tell from their websites. Will research more. They seem more General Assembly and co-working spaces than Amplify.LA or 500 Startups with selective acceptance of companies and small equity participation in exchange for small funding and space – which is what I’d be more interested in helping to build.

    Having said that, I would be super grateful for any help in connecting with those groups. I am currently in pre-funding with a startup I’ve founded called Caston ( – a business/casual womenswear clothing line based on the crowdfunded production model and incorporating a ‘buy one piece of clothing, we’ll donate a piece of clothing to women’s and youth non-profits that help women enter the workforce’ model into the company.

    I know your time is valuable, if you have an hour or two in the near future to chat, I would love to see if there is anything I can be of assistance to you with. Please feel free to shoot me an email at

  45. John Greathouse

    Hello – I tried to email you, but it keeps bouncing. You are welcomed to come to office hours. Tue/Thur 3:50 – 4:50 Phelps 1320

  46. […] Successful accelerators maintain close relationship with their local investor base. As John Greathouse , one of our guest speakers, pointed out: “VCs like to feel like they’re important. Find […]

  47. CHEERMaD Lisa

    Mr. Greathouse,
    My start-up website celebrates its third anniversary on June 19 and I’m raring to bring it to the next level with brand and product merchandise.

    I have the honor of being the No. 1 website blogger for cheer mom and dads who are the financiers of the still-growing $4 Billion All Star cheer industry.

    I credit my success not only to my 25+years in journalism, most recently for a New York Times owned daily newspaper but more importantly for spending weekends during the past 15 years at cheer comps which makes me a veteran in the 20 year old sport of All Star cheer. I write with my own style of humor and candor while taking responsibility for sharing industry news pertinent to the roles of Allstar parents.

    I invite you to check out my website and email me at to discuss some of my ideas.

    Thanks for making my “Monday Motivational!”

  48. […] Contributor and self-described “serial entrepreneur and professor turned venture capitalist,” John Greathouse recently posted a summary of entries from H. Jackson Brown Jr.’s, Life’s Little Instruction […]

  49. Doug Lynch

    There is now an Incubator and Accelertor that is a collaboration of UCSB, City of Goleta and Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce that opened in July 2014 in Goleta, Goleta Entrepreneurial Magnet (GEM) If you’d like to learn more, give us a call. Doug 805.637.6660

  50. rathanaem29

    The Beautiful and Modern House of Pacific’s View

    Here is the beautiful and modern house has been design to advantage the view of the Pacific, according to furniture shop in Cambodia construction materials


    The house owners can see the beautiful views through windows and a lavishing interior design and this house can be spotted mile away.

    Moreover the special point of this design is not allow it to be seen from the near-by highway that makes it is a perfect place for relaxation and getting away from it all.

    Indeed the house has 4 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms, and they are also a game room, a family room with a fireplace, subterranean parking and terraces with unbelievable view.

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