Gerardo Miguel Rosenkranz
My friend Jerry Rosenkranz passed away early wednesday morning. He was the best angel investor I have ever met. He was also the nicest person. He was an angel in every sense of the world. He will be missed by so many.
I met Jerry in the spring of 1997. Flatiron Partners had just committed to lead a $3mm "series A round" in Starmedia, which went on to become the leading Internet portal in Latin America. Fernando Espuelas, Starmedia's co-founder and CEO, brought Jerry in to meet me. We sat at the corner of the huge conference table in Chase Capital Partners' main conference room and Jerry drilled down on our firm, fund, and approach to investing. He was doing Starmedia's diligence on their new investor. He was thorough and insightful. He was also charming. I left that meeting thinking that Fernando had chosen his angel well. That was the beginning of a seventeen year business partnership and friendship that has blessed me and the firms and investments I've been involved with in so many ways.
Jerry, Susan Segal (Chase Capital's Latin American investment head) and I went on to build a portfolio of about a dozen leading latin american Internet companies in the late 90s. That portfolio included companies like MercadoLibre, Patagon.com. Americanas.com, Starmedia, Submarino, and a host of others. I don't write or talk much about that experience. It ended painfully and I've not ventured back to latin america (from an investing point of view) since 2001. But looking back on that period, it is clear to me that Jerry was hugely influential in bringing and funding technology and internet entrepreneurship into latin america. The companies we funded and he helped get started were the first seeds of an important emerging market for technology and entrepreneurship in the world.
Jerry was raised in Mexico and graduated from Stanford. He was a geek. He loved technology and entrepreneurship. He also loved Mexico. I remember being with Jerry at some fancy event and walking into the kitchen and watching him speak in his native tongue to the mexican workers. They loved it and he loved it. A part of Jerry was Silicon Valley, where he had tremendous relationships and connections. A part of Jerry was Mexico and latin people and culture. And a part of Jerry was NYC, it's power, money, and emerging technology community. His ability to work in all three worlds was unique and hugely impactful.
But the most important thing about Jerry and the thing I will miss the most is his character and his friendship. He was the nicest person. He had a way of walking into the room and making everyone feel better. He had an incredible smile. When he got behind something, as an angel or in any other way, he was 100% behind it. You never had to worry about Jerry being with you. He was a rock.
The last seven years of Jerry's life was a battle with an illness that eventually took his life. He fought that battle with courage and an attitude that was an inspiration to anyone who saw it. He used his body as a test tube for medical treatments that will certainly benefit many in the coming years. He approached it like everything else he did, with curiosity, intellect, ambition, and a positivity that was characteristically Jerry.
The things Jerry helped create will live on in testament to his greatness and his kindness. There are a few people who have made me what I am and Jerry is one of them. For that I thank him with all my heart.
A powerful and heartfelt eulogy. Thanks for taking the time to write it.
Sincerest sympathies for your loss, Fred. You eulogized him so beautifully. A shame I never got to meet the man who inspired those words from you. His spirit lives on by your speaking his name and passing on his legacy. For that, we thank you for sharing his story with us.
What a clear and beautifully written post. Friendship is a powerful passion.
yup, shared passions are the makings of great friendships
There is this thing about true friends. They think about you even when you are not there. Thanks for sharing these thoughts about your friend.
Jerry was one of the nicest, most brilliant, charming and endearing man that I have ever come across. They really broke the mold after they made Jerry. My heart is hurting.
My condolences, he seemed to be amazing.
What a tribute. Choked me up, and I didn’t even know about him, pior. Sounds like he was a gem of a person.
” He used his body as a test tube for medical treatments that will certainly benefit many in the coming years.” … Great soul and may his soul find a healthy body next time.Yes. Doctors/Researchers do use people like test tubes sometime. Only difference is we tell them the truth… this is what i always tell my patients when i was doing research …”We ourselves don’t know whether our hypothesis will work and give any benefit and i am using you to benefit the future and if I am lucky i may be able to help you”. Sometimes it is very disheartening to tell that to people who look at us as though “we are going to solve those incurable diseases tom’row”.What was he sufferring from? I did research on MS (multiple sclerosis for 3-years a decade ago).
jerry had cancer
Cancer recently hit a member of our family. I am sorry you have lost a dear friend.
This is about him:http://www.legacy.com/obitu…
thanks for sharing that link william
I think it is worth adding that a good chunk of studies are not testing new/radical treatments, it is tweaking old ones to make them work better (via dosage, for example)
Yes. We were looking for some indicator of MS plague before they appear and start damaging … but never could. I left research and I don’t think they have found a way yet. The worse part of MS is life expectancy is close to normal ( that means they will live as long as a normal person but will suffer like hell … in that way i feel cancer is better … don’t get me wrong … MS disables a person part by part slowly and make them a vegetable …. you have see a patient to see what i am saying ). I was working with a patient who was a basketball player and came briskly walking through the door the first time i saw him… and came in wheel chair when i left Philly.don’t mind my long reply … it triggered the old clinical horrors i had decade ago.
When my mom was dying we tried to get her into clinical trials but several doctors advised against it. We did get her into one but she died triggered by complications to installing the IV port for the trial. The press makes us think trials are a silver bullet but whether it makes sense for the patient depends on the trial and where and who they are. What the docs told me was that many are testing out toxicity levels or combinations of existing treatments, not efficacy. And they also said there was no way she was going to make it — so she wouldn’t benefit from it. So go into trials with caution and know what they’re testing because while it may be in your best interest, it may not. It’s a nuance I’d not have known had I not gone thru it.
You make a great point. Innovations are industry driven and lot of people forget about patient centric approach
Being mexican myself is sad to hear we lost such a great person. I’d never heard about him before and that was a shame. But reading about him in your post, surely will inspire others and will make him smile (wherever he is now)
he was one of those people who never wanted to be in the limelight. he washappy to be “behind the scenes”.he was an active reader of this blog. i suspect he read it every day.but he never was in the comments. that’s how he was. he was quiet. an amazing listener.
A true warrior and an unbelievable man…
Thanks for writing this eulogy Fred. It is such an accurate desciption of Jerry. He always supported us at MercadoLibre, even more so when other investors were trying to shut us down. For all the years he sat on our board, and even after we IPOed, in addition to being a great friend, he was an example of humility, intelligence, ethics and courage for us. We have named our Board Room to honor his memory and example.
an apt memorial to a man who epitomized what a director should bethank you for remembering him in that way Marcos
A true mentor and role model. Jerry was often the wisest person in the room, yet also the most humble. That drew smart people to him. His example endures in the many that were lucky enough to spend time with him.
so true Moises. it’s great to see all the people who worked together backthen showing up in the comments
Blessed is the Lord of Truth.Edit: May the family be comforted among the mourners of zion
Fred-Thanks for sharing this. A man to emulate- always a rare thing. My condolences.
My condolences on your loss to you and your family.
Sounds like he’ll be deeply missed by many.It’s always sad to read about the ending of great life when you knew the person, but other pieces of their character unfold in the eulogy, and you think, “I wish I knew that before.”And then you read a heartfelt tribute about someone you never met, or even knew about before today, and you think, “What a shame I never got to cross paths with this wonderful person.”.Makes me wonder at the many special souls I likely will never meet, just by pure chance.Life is strange.Rest in peace, Jerry. You touched many.
I’ve never met Jerry but have been reading your blog for awhile now (And enjoying it!), your remarks about your friend and his life is such a good reminder for us to pause and simmer in the moments of our life when we are blessed to be in the same space with great people rather than being distracted by the hurry of life. Thanks for the comments and sorry for the loss.
Never had the fortune to meet Jerry but your beautiful reflection on his life and the celebration of what he achieved by being a brilliant catalyst to great things clearly shows we have a lost a great man.
Nicely written. Sorry for the loss. Sounds like a great man to have known. Certain his memory and influence will live on.
It is always a difficult to be made aware of loosing someone whose presence is valued by those around them.I don’t know who this person is, but I know that when someone does pass away , I generally celebrate the person and if they have influenced in building my character, or added to my values I remember to be aware of that.I will toast Mr.Rosenkranz and if I get meet you Mr.Wilson Ill give you a hug, that’s how we do it in India.It is nice of you to reflect on your relationship with this person and share it with us.
Sorry for the loss.Reading warm personal notes like this always reminds you for what you eventually will be remembered for.
Wow, no just cause I am Latino but I do wish I had met this person.
My condolences. Quick typo: “NYC, it’s power,” rather than “its.”
Thank you for this Fred, my heart goes out to his wife and kids, his family, all his friends and everyone who got a chance to know him. He sounded like a wonderful person and created a wonderful life for himself and those he loved. He will surely be missed.Days like these remind us how fragile life really is and what’s truly important in one’s own life. I feel the Dash Poem by Linda Ellis is appropriate for someone like Mr. Rosenkranz:The Dash Poem, by Linda EllisI read of a man who stood to speakAt the funeral of a friendHe referred to the dates on her tombstoneFrom the beginning to the endHe noted that first came the date of her birthAnd spoke the following date with tears,But he said what mattered most of allWas the dash between those yearsFor that dash represents all the timeThat she spent alive on earth.And now only those who loved herKnow what that little line is worth.For it matters not how much we own;The cars, the house, the cash,What matters is how we live and loveAnd how we spend our dash.So think about this long and hard.Are there things you’d like to change?For you never know how much time is left,That can still be rearranged.If we could just slow down enoughTo consider what’s true and realAnd always try to understandThe way other people feel.And be less quick to anger,And show appreciation moreAnd love the people in our livesLike we’ve never loved before.If we treat each other with respect,And more often wear a smileRemembering that this special dashMight only last a little while.So, when your eulogy is being readWith your life’s actions to rehashWould you be proud of the things they sayAbout how you spent your dash?
thanks for that denim. there was a fair bit of poetry yesterday when we buried Jerry. it seems like the best way to voice feelings of loss
Two Deaths: Coincidence http://goo.gl/fb/Rsp7R
Maybe it’s just me, but it seems a little gauche to use the comment thread of an obituary post like this one to promote your own blog post (nearly all of which is just a cut & paste of Fred’s post and another blogger’s obituary post).
I would not call it promoting my blog. I really don’t get much traffic from AVC. I post a link to a blog post of mine when what I need to say I might already have said in a blog post before. It is just that when two of my favorite bloggers had very similar posts on the same day, I noticed.
What a great post about a great man! He will remain a great inspiration to me. Thank you for writing this.
My sincere condolences for your loss of a special friend (something rare), and to his family and loved ones. Gerardo sounds like one whom we will all miss.
That’s an inspiring story, including even telling a story on yourself, which you never shirk from doing.Anyone who can get involved with Mexico and try to help is a saint. The violence and drugs of Mexico, harming their country and ours, is a nut we need to seriously crack.As for the medical trials, well, it seems brave. My own father, when told he had only 6 weeks to live after cancer was discovered related to a lifelong hereditary disease simply opted to die at home, labelling his photo albums and listening to his favourite Charlie Parker, surrounded by family, friends and neighbours. And I’m proud of him for doing that. Meanwhile I have a long-time colleague going through these painful trial things now — well, it’s about choice, and getting information, each has to chose his path.
yes, each of us has to choose our path. jerry did both. he fought for eight years and when the fight was over, he did a version of what your father did
Beautiful comments about someone I wish I’d known. I love people that affect your life in ways that you mention. We all need those great people.You know that you’ve primed us all to want to know about your experience in Latin America now. While painful, I can’t help but wonder if it’s not similar to how you encourage failed companies to write post mortems.
a great time to mention how cancer cures have been suppressed. laetrile is my all-time favorite, but there are others. there are a bunch of web sites on this….world without cancer is one web site that has some good info. anyway, moral of the story is that when you get cancer from eating polluted meat and vegetables and drinking tap water, remember you don’t need to spend all your money, get body parts amputated, and go bald in pursuit of low probability cures.
You’re a good friend Fred!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts about Jerry. I went to his service today and saw you from a distance. He was indeed an angel in every sense of the word…..Like you, I feel a huge sense of loss. At the same time, I am so thankful that he was a part of my life because he brought so much joy to every encounter and his effervescence and optimism was infectious.
i’m sorry i missed you yesterday Jim. we are going to sit shiva today
A moving and inspiring tribute, Fred. I am deeply sorry for your loss…and for that of his family and probably countless others.Even though I never met your friend, Jerry, I am glad to know that he was on the planet. A life well lived always leaves an imprint and a legacy that far outlast physical existence. Thank you for sharing this. Having recently lost a friend and mentor to multiple myeloma, a rare form of cancer, at the age of 60, I marvel at how much good one person can do in a lifetime, how many lives one person can touch in deeply meaningful and significant ways…turning generosity of spirit into an art form.
I am glad to know that he was on the planet. A life well lived alwaysleaves an imprint and a legacy that far outlast physical existence. Kamagra
Dear Fred:Thanks a lot for writing such a nice eulogy about Jerry. He was a true friend and someone that I greatly respected and admired. Those of us that had the privilege of getting to know Jerry will miss his intelligence, kindness and constant happiness.Best Regards,Enrique
it is sad, but also fitting that jerry has brought together so many of uswho worked together back in the late 90si saw susan segal yesterday at the funeral. i haven’t seen susan in at leastfive yearsthose were interesting times
I unfortunately did not have the opportunity to meet Jerry but I have had the pleasure of getting to know his silicon valley family. Based on this experience I am not surprised to hear what a remarkable person he was. Thanks for sharing this.
The media makes us think testing is a panacea, but if it makes sense for the patient depends on the test, and where and who they are. PMP Exam
To know Jerry was to have him touch your heart. Fred you have written a beautiful piece that captures the man and the influence he had on those of us that were fortunate to have known him. He was always there routing for us in those years. He had strength of character and warmth and empathy. He will be missed. Your memories have moved me. Dana
This is truly one of the most fitting and sensitive things I have read about Jerry, my sister’s brother-in-law, an older brother to me and my hero. His life has made all of us better people.
my hero too jon
Touching tribute Fred, I’m sorry I never met him.It’s nice to know that in this fast paced world there’s still time to recognize humanity.