“John is a thoughtful investor, but more importantly as an investor, he is a brilliant advisor who proactively seeks to support the companies he is investing in. If John is interested in investing in your company, make room for him!
“Kobs is one of my most responsive, most helpful investors. He's my first call on management and CEO questions, as well as fundraising advice. I can't recommend him highly enough. Incredible value-add.
Co-Founder @periscope • Product Lead @google AdWords • Computer Science @university-of-rochester
“Time and again, angel investors who are themselves successful entrepreneurs have been some of my most helpful investors. John exemplifies this more than any other.
Here are a few specific ways he's helped me with: introductions to potential employees, advice on salary and equity for offers, recommendations for a PR firm, feedback on investor updates... the list goes on. I know that whenever I ask him a question, he'll respond quickly with constructive feedback.
Not only that, but he's a genuine and generous person who does the right things for the right reasons. Among other things, when I was first bootstrapping my business, he lent me a desk in their office. This gave me a chance to observe how thoughtfully he interacts with his employees. Not only do I trust his advice, but I trust that I can reach out to him in all honesty when I need a helping hand.
I recommend him to any of my friends who are raising money, and if he offers to invest in yours, you should absolutely bring him on board. You won't regret it.
“Despite having a relatively small position in my company, John is ridiculously generous with his time and one of my top 3 investors in terms of value add. As a fellow operator he "gets it" and can be an invaluable source of strategic advice, or just someone to pump you up and keep you focused. I'm pretty sure there are many institutional investors that do less for their companies. If you get the chance to have him in your funding round don't even think about it - just say yes.
“John is genuine and straight up. He'll tell you exactly what he thinks and that's what we respect in our investors and advisors. He also surrounded himself with solid people and we deeply believe that everything else comes once you got high caliber people around you. He makes it easy to tap into his network. He's been also very open about their learnings building a marketplace business, shared a lot tangible data, strategies and tactics.
“John is the best angel investor you will ever have.
1. He's an experienced operator and gives great advice. He's honest, doesn't bullshit, and doesn't pull punches.
2. He's extremely generous with his time and well-connected. He will actively help you with hard issues.
3. He's an extraordinary motivator. You'll get fired up just talking to him.
If you get a chance, you should bend over backwards to get him on your team.
“John is a genuine, authentically-engaged investor that's been a huge asset to us as we've grown. As a successful entrepreneur, John understands what other entrepreneurs need and provides timely, on point recommendations and ideas without being either overly detached or overly involved. Every time he proactively reaches out to make an intro, suggest a product feature, or jumpstart a discussion, it inevitably leads to an improvement in the way we do things. Great investors are a precious resource for startups, and John is exactly the kind of investor you want to have on your team.
“Kobs is often my first call and having him as an investor has been incredibly valuable to us. As a CEO himself, he brings deep operational experience and has often faced and conquered the challenge that is standing in front of us. I've called him for recruiting advice, fundraising advice, organization structure and each time, he's able to share valuable perspective.
“John is one of my most helpful investors.
John has provided many introductions to potential employees and investors, connections with law firms, and strategic advice. He cares deeply about the entrepreneurs and the companies he invests in.
You want John involved in your startup; he is an excellent investor and a supportive person. He will help your company succeed.
Founder • APM @google Docs, Eng @foursquare • Studied CS + Economics @yale-university
“John is smart and straight to the point. From our first meeting he was providing valuable input. He has a strong network and a great reputation in the startup community.
“John totally gets its...and whats more he helps you get things done too.
One of his greatest strengths is identifying outstanding people. Every connection he's made for our company or person I've met that's connected to him is bright, genuine and filled with a fantastic spirit. When he points me in a certain direction, I pay attention.
As an investor, his operating experience makes him exceptionally helpful in thinking through important decisions and providing insight in the journey of building a great company. And importantly he's super responsive when you reach out.
I'd recommend working with John if you're ever fortunate enough to have the opportunity.
Founder @stealth-consumer-iot-company. Previously led product @stitcher (acquired by Deezer). Woodworking when off the clock.
“John has been incredibly helpful since the first day I met him. He's high energy, experienced, and always has concrete feedback/advice on whatever you're tackling at the time. Since he's a successful entrepreneur himself, his guidance is grounded in examples from running his company.
I leave every conversation with John excited about all the things we could be working on. His enthusiasm is contagious. I'd highly recommend getting John involved with your company if you have the opportunity.
“I've been lucky to be an investor in Apartment List and seen John build and re-build that business with great success. He's dedicated to the mission and also a great friend who I know I can count on.
CEO at @hoteltonight. Head of Hotels @airbnb Founded @dealbase, @travelpost • Worked at @sidestep, @nextag
“Kobs is a top 5% CEO in our venture portfolio of nearly 50 companies. His ability to lead, recruit, hit numbers, all while staying humble and accountable make him a joy to interact with. ApartmentList benefits from his competitive approach to business, and his ability to network and fund raise round out the completeness of the necessary CEO toolkit.
Chief Investment Officer, Single-Family Office; Graduate MIT Sloan School of Management
“I've known, been friends, advised, and partnered with Kobs for well over a decade. John has built an incredibly valuable business at ApartmentList, and continues to be a thought-leader in the space while executing on an ambitious plan to (continue to) leverage technology to disrupt a massive industry that desperately needs innovation. As a CEO, he's passionate about his team and his Company and that passion comes through in everything he does.
I've also had the pleasure of investing and advising early stage start-ups with John. He's generous with his time, wisdom and connections and is exactly the type of early stage investor I would wish all of my portfolio companies had the luxury of having early in the journey.
I look forward to decades to come of friendship, partnership and business opportunities with Kobs. He's the best!
Founder and CEO @bills-com, @freedom-financial-network • Studied at @stanford-graduate-school-of-business, @amherst-college
“I've met hundreds of investors + founders and John is easily in top 1%. John has a decade of company-building experience and would be a fantastic partner for both early and late stage startups. He understands deeply the drivers of startups, knows how to recruit talent and scale a team, and has an incredible network. John is also an A+ human who is high-integrity and just damn fun to spend time with. If I was looking for investors for a new business John would be top of my list.
Founder/Chairman at Thumbtack
Founder/Chairman at AthenaGo.com
“John is a high-energy, super connected founder, CEO and investor and someone I would be honored to co-invest alongside.
CEO and Co-founder of @august-2, Co-Founder of @foundersden @bluesprig and @rethink-books. Former VP of marketing for DOLBY and @global-ip-solutions
“I have worked directly with John since 2010 and currently sit on two boards with him. John is a no-nonsense strategist and is able to isolate what matters most and stay focused on it. He uses his charisma to be a fantastic motivator and he leverages his deep experience to guide startups toward success.
◆ Cofounder of Mechanism - a venture studio that launches tech startups with ambitious & resourceful entrepreneurs ◆ Cofounder of BestReviews ◆ Investor/Advisor
“Few people have the opportunity to report to an entrepreneur whom is also a coach, mentor and operator - but I have ever since I joined Apartment List. I was lucky to to join the Exec Team at Apartment List just as the company was experiencing incredible growth. I was not looking to make a career change but after meeting John I recognized I had found an entrepreneur whom had not only had incredible passion but the operating chops to turn his passion into business performance.
I am continuously impressed in how John applies the same intensity and passion to everyday challenges just as he did when founded Apartment List. Whether you are getting a "Hey-Yo" to get your Monday kicked off, praise for tackling and succeeding with a tough challenge or the necessary tough love when things are not going as planned, John has an infectious approach to how he leads.
I am continuously thankful I took the call to meet with John and not only look forward to a great run at Apartment List but am excited to see what is next for John after Apartment List.
“I'm a proud Advisor and Investor in ApartmentList. John is an amazing leader who has built an wonderful culture based on hard work, mutual respect and fun. He has guided ApartmentList to become a powerhouse in the highly competitive listing space which is no small task.
“John decided in one meeting. He asked great questions about the business, but ultimately it was clear that he cared the most about the person and his trust in the entrepreneur's authentic understanding of the problem and ability to solve it. He introduced us to several high profile angels after he decided to invest. What I have learned after he invested is that he is a great sounding board with high founder empathy. He is always there when I ask for help and leaves me alone to execute otherwise (best combo!). I highly recommend him.
“John is among the most thoughtful and dynamic CEOs I know. As a long-time investor in Apartment List, I have been continually impressed with his rare combination of vision and relentless execution. And as a fellow leader, I find his counsel invaluable.
“Having known John Kobs for over a decade, I've watched him harness and hone his high energy approach to become one of the productive and effective CEOs in the Valley. He has the rare combination of street-smart business savvy, discpline, and leadership skill that has led him to crack one of the most difficult markets out there. I'm not sure there's a better person to have on your side as you confront difficult challenges with running a business.
“John has been a fantastic teammate, advisor and board member for me and my team at Autolist. He is extremely generous with his time and eager to help on a wide array of issues that any entrepreneur will face. On the rare occasion he isn't the best person to help, he can quickly connect you with someone on his team at ApartmentList or in his network. John knows what it takes to win, brings energy and determination to everything he is building at ApartmentList as well as the companies he works with. John has been there and can help you get through about anything!
CEO @autolist • Worked at @bcg • Studied at Georgia Institute of Technology, @massachusetts-institute-of-technology
“John is one of the best people I know, in every sense of the word. He's a consummate entrepreneur and has experienced (and led his company through) the best and the worst parts of the job. His outstanding qualities are too numerous to mention so I'll sum it up by saying that I'm inspired by him, I trust him, and I'd jump at the chance to work with him.
Co-founder of Optimizely
“John is an experienced operator who would be a great advisor to any founder. He has grown a hugely successful startup, but faced many roadblocks along the way. He has particular skills of strategy and leadership. In addition, he is well networked and respected in Silicon Valley.
Founder at Flutter (Betfair) and wikiHow, Entrepreneur and seed investor.
“John is a super impressive founder and entrepreneur. He knows how to test, learn and iterate as a means to arrive at a successful business model. Case-in-point: at ApartmentList, John successfully transitioned the business from a meta-search model to a marketplace model even though the former model was already generating significant revenue. This is like changing the tires while the car is moving at 70 mph on the highway.
John is also a very likable person and leader. He knows how to build strong relationships, both internally and externally. He is one of the most persistent and ambitious founders I know.
I've often looked to John for advice on projects I'm working on and he has always been very generous with his time and feedback. I find his input very valuable and direct.
I'm always looking for more opportunities to work with John in the future.
General Partner at Craft Ventures
Co-Founder & Former CEO of @stubhub.
@blackstone , @stanford-graduate-school-of-business-1 , @university-of-pennsylvania
“I am both an investor in John's company and have invested into some of his many angel investments. He is a very strong founder who has a ton of experience to offer other founders + he is an amazing networker.
Early stage ventures capitalist at @matrix-partners. Executive at @paypal, @ebay & @netscape. Founder at @respond-com
“John Kobs is the real deal. If you get the chance to work with him -- don't be an idiot and bring him on board. He's incredibly smart, insanely helpful, deeply experienced, and is a fantastic human being.
Co-founder and CEO of @pantheon, Owner of @mission-bicycle, Partner at @chapter-three.
“John is a true leader, advisor, and connector. He has a unique talent of diving deep into any challenge and finding a solution that most people might have missed. Any entrepreneur who has the chance to work with him should jump at it. I can't express enough the value his insight and experience can bring to the table.
Co-Founder of @2600hz
“John is an extremely strategic leader who is deeply tied into the valley. He is able to quickly make connections and introductions through his network and his approach and strategy around fund raising is excellent (and well demonstrated by his success at Apartment List). John would be a very value added investor to any fast growing startup.
“I invested in Apartment List because of John... he's the quintessential entrepreneur. Thoughtful, strategic and most importantly tenacious. He's playing the long game and not afraid to make difficult decisions that are disruptive (and even controversial) for short term results - in favor of the bigger, but longer term opportunity.
CEO @hightail • President, Apps & Commerce @aol • Sr. Adviser @silver Lake • SVP Communications Community @yahoo • General Partner @Ventures
“John is a smart and thoughtful investor as well as a successful and resolute entrepreneur. He’s very plugged in and an all around great person with high integrity who I strongly recommend. I’ve been fortunate to know John for over a decade as an investor, advisor and friend. He's a class act and a great person to have in your corner.
Co-Founder & CEO @dealpath, Previously @fanhood (acq. FOX), @zynga (NASDAQ: ZNGA), @oneseason (acq. Cantor), @hudson-advisors-lone-star-funds
“John is an incredible mix of mentor, leader, and friend. He's helped me through some of the most difficult situations a CEO faces -- and he does it by being real and sharing how he's dealth with them. I'm constantly inspired by his grace and resilience. He's worth having on your team!
CEO/Founder @chewse, @500 Startups; Food Planner @tedx; @usc Entrepreneur of the Year
“I met Kobs several years ago shortly after moving to SF. He was one of the first founders I'd met in the city, and can unequivocally say that many of my close friends and folks in my network today can be traced back to some key introductions he made back then.
Kobs is a class act! He's incredibly thoughtful, authentic and generous with his time. As an investor myself, I trust his judgement on people and businesses and would take any introduction he wanted to make.
Venture capitalist @fka focusing on early stage investments. Previously an investor at Menlo Ventures and operator at PayPal, Braintree and Venmo.