Eridani Ventures

Eridani Ventures' mission is to create socially positive impact through innovation and iteration. We help founders and CEOs expand the space of the possible with new ideas, and then use our experience as product-focused founders to help them refine and bring their ideas to market.

Tom was a game-changer for us.
- Xiong Chang, CEO, Tensorfield Agriculture

Product Market Fit

Finding product-market fit is often the most difficult critical-path item for startup companies. The process is doubly hard for scaled companies trying to produce new products. Tom has co-founded two successful companies and helped develop products and services that grew revenues to hundreds of millions. He knows how to focus on customer feedback, learn by experimentation, and drive a team to move fast. He works closely with engineers and product managers, having spent a decade as a professional coder after his degree in Computer Science from Harvard. Most importantly, he has the “founder mentality” and knows how to instill it in his team.

Tom is an idea machine.
- Ryan Christensen, COO, AppNexus

Executive Coaching

As a coach, Tom combines leadership mentoring and business expertise with the deeper support that comes from having been an entrepreneur himself. He is unafraid to go directly to the root of a sticky situation, and productively helps CEOs see issues they are avoiding. He uses his entrepreneurial experience to help brainstorm multiple solutions, often taking different points of view to explore the issue completely. Most importantly, he helps dig into the emotional and social context that underlies the issue, not just the surface content. He then helps clarify and prioritize the possibilities, and holds the CEO accountable for the outcome.

Despite tough conversations, it always feels like Tom is on your side.
- Jai An, CEO and co-Founder, TrustToken

Investments

Tom has been investing since 1999 in a wide variety of vehicles. He most visibly invests in seed and early stage technology companies, typically in Silicon Valley. His current focus is on socially impactful companies, with particular emphasis on sustainable and nutritious AgTech. Entrepreneurs choose to work with him because of his experience driving clarity and innovation, but also because he knows that sometimes he adds the most value by staying out of the way.

Tom has been tremendously helpful to me and to my team -- his advice is thoughtful, well-balanced, and decisive.
- Janet Comenos, CEO and co-Founder, Spotted
Tom Shields

About Tom Shields

Tom Shields focuses on driving innovation and rapid learning into organizations. He works with CEOs and founders to get unstuck, clarify goals, and drive acceleration. A serial entrepreneur, he has co-founded two highly successful companies, NetGravity (IPO 1998) and Yieldex (acquired by AppNexus/AT&T in 2015). As Managing Director of a $300m early-stage venture firm, he has been a board member and investor in dozens of startups ranging from network equipment to design automation. He has decades of experience in enterprise software, high-performance transaction systems, and big data/machine learning, and more recent experience in blockchain and sustainable agriculture technology. He focuses primarily on technology companies in Silicon Valley, from 3-person startups to scaled companies, helping them develop new products and bring them to market.

Tom has guest lectured at Harvard Business School, Stanford d.school, and Northeastern University. He earned a CS degree from Harvard, and still enjoys coding on the side. For fun, he plays basketball, sings a cappella, and backpacks in the Sierras with his kids. He lives near San Francisco, with his wife and three children, who keep him young at heart despite his gray hair.

Many times I have come to Tom with what I perceived to be my primary issue only to have Tom identify the more important, underlying challenge.
- Anthony Watkins, VP Product, Outlier.ai

About Our Name

Eridani Ventures is named after Epsilon Eridani, a star in the southern constellation of Eridanus. Because it is relatively nearby (in cosmic terms), is Sol-like, and has a known planet, it is a good candidate for the first extra-solar system we would try to visit. Epsilon Eridani is featured in science fiction novels such as Greg Bear’s Eon, Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space, and even Asimov’s Foundation’s Edge among many others.

We think science fiction can expand the space of the possible and inspire creative and driven people to reach for their full potential. Our name, Eridani Ventures, represents these ideals, and how the entrepreneurs we work with continually reach for the stars.

His ability to simplify and effectively communicate complex strategies and business models helped out tremendously during investor and partner meetings.
- Stuart Oda, CEO, Alesca Life Technologies

Get in touch

We especially love to hear about driven entrepreneurs, innovative solutions, and interesting investment opportunities.