About Me
About Me
  • Name: Michael Dempsey
  • Personal Roots: LA->Boston->NYC
  • Professional Roots: Crane Partners, CB Insights
  • Daily: Managing Partner at Compound
  • Passions: Tech, Writing, Art, Cocktails
  • E-mail:mike@compound.vc

Hi, I'm Michael Dempsey. I was born in LA, grew up in Boston, and currently live in NYC (and often am in SF/LA).

I grew up a bit of a computer nerd and fell in love with tech while building computers for my neighborhood and playing games on the internet till 4am during the summers.

I graduated from New York University in December 2011. While at NYU I spent semesters interning at various finance/consulting firms while also working at the NYU law school computer lab, fixing students' computers and maintaining the intranet.

Upon graduation, I spent 2.5 years at a multi-strategy hedge fund called Crane Partners. There were 4 of us at the fund investing across multiple asset classes including cross-border private equity, public equities and derivatives, and venture capital.

Public markets taught me quantitative discipline and to fear not having more information/knowledge than someone else. Private markets taught me understanding people's motivations, how to dig deep into a company, and how to understand macro + microeconomic catalysts within large industries. ~14 months in, I started to notice that our private equity investments were often running into software startups as key risks and/or future M&A targets. Because of this + my passion for tech, I formed a thesis to invest in seed-stage startups targeting small businesses. I was lucky enough to have a Managing Partner that wanted to facilitate my personal missions, so he gave me a small allocation to lead all early-stage tech investments for the fund. I quickly realized that I no longer wanted to professionally invest in public markets, and that I was in love with the seed-stage investing, so for a variety of reasons, it was time to move on.

Eventually, I figured if I was going to spend my life investing in startups, I should understand what it's like to be at an early-stage company firsthand. I joined CB Insights, a predictive analytics startup, as one of the first 15 employees. At CB Insights I researched startups and venture capital in-depth, uncovering data trends, predicting future trends, and helping build the best newsletter in tech. After churning out blog posts and client reports about almost any and everything in startupland, I began to focus on emerging technologies like drones, space, and VR/AR, and thus categorized the area of Frontier Tech. I dove deep in those areas, in addition to focusing on food tech and international venture capital.

After CB Insights, I joined the investment team at Rothenberg Ventures to help seed-stage Frontier Tech startups. I led our team investing in the sectors of Space, Robotics, Drones, and Autonomous Vehicles, while also investing in enabling technologies surrounding automation. I spent 6 months living in SF, learning from a lot of talented people and eventually moved back to NYC to help bring a frontier tech presence to the city that had become my home.

Today, I'm the Managing Partner at Compound, an investment firm based in New York. I continue to invest in a variety of emerging areas including those mentioned above as well as other often technical sectors and emerging categories like crypto. I always tell people that if it's a little more than a science project, I'd love to learn about it.

When I'm not digging into startups, I take photos, make music, make cocktails, do foodie things, play sports, admire dystopic art, and spend time with loved ones.

For professional things, this email is best and for anything, DM me on Twitter.

Select Posts, Analysis, & Commentary in the Press

Why Is Uber Losing Money? - Vice, December 2016

The case for the iCar: Why an Apple car isn't crazy - CNBC, October 2016

How a Vietnamese Refugee Is Rethinking Food Delivery in America - Bloomberg, January 2016

DoorDash Inks First Non-Restaurant Delivery Deal With 7-Eleven (Sans Slurpees) - Forbes, September 2015

More than $2 Billion Invested in Space Companies since 2012 - Space News, August 2015

Startups attract billions for 'frontier tech' - San Diego Union Tribute, August 2015

Snapchat Lost a Ton of Money Last Year - Gawker, August 2015

Internal Documents Show BuzzFeed’s Skyrocketing Investment in Editorial - Gawker, August 2015

Here Are the Internal Documents that Prove Uber Is a Money Loser - Gawker, August 2015

VC-backed companies raise $2.3 billion in April-June - The Times of India, July 2015

Venture capitalists are spending like it's 1999 - Crain's New York, July 2015

Asian Tech Start-Ups Quietly Earn Backing - New York Times, July 2015

Tiger cubs sharpen their claws - Institutional Asset Manager, June 2015

Dubai Used-Car Startup Turns to U.S. Seeking $1 Billion Value - Bloomberg Business, June 2015

Munchery's Recipe for Winning Online Food Delivery - Inc., June 2015

Episode 36: Venture Capital Asia with Michael Dempsey - Analyse Asia, June 2015

The Big Business of Drones - Fox Business, June 2015

Unicorn Sugar Crash - Pando, May 2015

Why a new food tech wave is shaking up the industry - Food Dive, May 2015

How the 2014 CNBC Disruptors cashed in - CNBC, May 2015

Indian online grocery business: breaking the mould - India Tech Online, May 2015

New York almost first for tech IPOs, M&As - Crain's New York, January 2015

Venture capital firm gives marijuana industry a shot of credibility - Los Angeles Times, January 2015

Art, because you made it this far