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Bill Coughran

  • Seed/Early
“Engineering is easy. People are hard.”

My original plan was to be an academic. After I got my PhD in computer science, I went to Bell Labs. At the time, Bell Labs was quite academic. Some of the work I was involved with—core modeling and computer systems work—shaped my thinking about how to build large-scale systems and designs for many years, and it’s something that served me well at Google. Because there I had the opportunity to work with some of the most sophisticated systems at that time.

After my time at Bell Labs, I co-founded Entrisphere in late 2000. That company was acquired by Ericsson after I left. I joined Google in 2003. The toughest challenge at Google was managing such a wide variety of special technologists, and then a broad scope of research and development groups. What I bring, maybe, is intellectual breadth and pragmatic organizational psychology, coupled with a lot of operational experience. I’ve certainly overseen a wide range of technologies, from semiconductors up to large distributed systems, search, security, and other web and mobile services.

The companies that interest me the most are companies creating solutions to technical problems that can change markets. I’ve always been drawn to creative problems and people with a technical point of view—networking, security, machine learning, and AI, to name a few.

But over the years, I found I truly enjoy day-to-day leadership and mentoring most of all. I’d describe myself as a technologist with general-management experience.

Get in touch with Bill

My grandchildren / Economics / History / San Francisco Opera

Press & Media

Current Companies

  • Alkira lets customers build and deploy global secure cloud networks in minutes.
    Current Stage

    Growth

    Partner
      Bill Coughran
    Partnered In

    2018

  • Barefoot Networks, now part of Intel, designs and produces programmable network switches.
    Current Stage

    Acquired

    Partner
      Bill Coughran
    Partnered In

    2014

  • Blue Danube designs next-gen wireless solutions for mobile networks and other applications.
    Current Stage

    Growth

    Partners
      Bill Coughran,
      Jim Goetz
    Partnered In

    2013

  • Cohesity is a software-defined enterprise data management platform in the cloud that eliminates data silos.
    Current Stage

    Growth

    Partners
      Bill Coughran,
      Carl Eschenbach
    Partnered In

    2013

  • Entos accelerates molecular discovery with physics-based machine learning.
    Current Stage

    Early

    Partner
      Bill Coughran
    Partnered In

    2021

  • Graphcore designs processors for machine learning.
    Current Stage

    Growth

    Partners
      Bill Coughran,
      Matt Miller
    Partnered In

    2017

  • Graphiant is creating a new model for connectivity in a rapidly changing world.
    Current Stage

    Early

    Partner
      Bill Coughran
    Partnered In

    2020

  • Lilt's translation services are up to five times faster and reduce costs at least 50%.
    Current Stage

    Growth

    Partner
      Bill Coughran
    Partnered In

    2018

  • Neeva is search reimagined—ad-free, private and deeply personal.
    Current Stage

    Growth

    Partners
      Bill Coughran,
      Jim Goetz,
      Pat Grady
    Partnered In

    2019

  • Orbital Insight transforms aerial imagery into actionable information.
    Current Stage

    Growth

    Partner
      Bill Coughran
    Partnered In

    2014

  • Oso is an open-source library for developers to make it easier to build authorization in their applications.
    Current Stage

    Early

    Partner
      Bill Coughran
    Partnered In

    2019

  • Quantum Circuts builds quantum computers designed to scale.
    Current Stage

    Early

    Partner
      Bill Coughran
    Partnered In

    2017

  • Robust Intelligence is a security company that integrates seamlessly into the AI-development life cycle.
    Current Stage

    Early

    Partner
      Bill Coughran
    Partnered In

    2019

  • Stairwell is a cybersecurity company building enhanced security diagnostics.
    Current Stage

    Early

    Partner
      Bill Coughran
    Partnered In

    2019

  • Stripe is building an economic infrastructure for the internet.
    Current Stage

    Growth

    Partners
      Michael Moritz,
      Bill Coughran
    Partnered In

    2010

  • Tecton provides data management for ML.
    Current Stage

    Early

    Partners
      Sonya Huang,
      Bill Coughran,
      Matt Miller
    Partnered In

    2018

Enduring Companies

  • FireEye builds world-class cybersecurity and malware protection services.
    Current Stage

    IPO

    Partner
      Bill Coughran
    Partnered In

    2004

  • Viptela, now part of Cisco, is a software-defined networking solution.
    Current Stage

    Acquired

    Partners
      Bill Coughran,
      Carl Eschenbach
    Partnered In

    2012