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Cover of the Fall/Winter 2003 SFSU Magazine. Photo of Professor and talk radio show host, Michael Krasny.

 

SFSU Magazine Online, Spring/Summer 2003, Volume 3, Number 2.

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Alumni & FriendsA headshot of venture capitalist Jerry Newman

 

Finding the Next Microsoft

Some people don't pick careers so much as fall into them. That's what happened to Jerry Newman (B.A., '68), who owes a successful career as an investment banker to a chance encounter with an SF State classmate in the summer of 1968.

Newman was to start a doctoral program in public administration at Washington State University the following spring, but in the meantime he needed a summer job. At an outing at Oakland's Lake Temescal, he ran into a former classmate who suggested he join him in the back office at Merrill Lynch.

The world of Wall Street was a revelation to this second-generation San Franciscan, who played competitive tennis and basketball in high school. "It was like putting on your uniform and playing a game every day," said Newman, 57. "I loved it."

Newman was soon bumped up to the trading desk and by age 25 he was the youngest regional trading manager ever at Merrill Lynch. But it was not until several years later at SG Cowen Securities Corporation that Newman discovered the investment arena that excited him the most: venture capital, the intensive and risky form of investment that deals with businesses in the early stage of development.

"The venture world is … where the next Intels, Ciscos and Microsofts will come from, so by its very nature it's much more exciting to me," said Newman, who has a master of public administration from Golden Gate University. His bachelor's degree is also in public administration.

Since 2001, Newman has been heading venture capital coverage as a senior managing director for Bear, Stearns & Co. Venture capital investment fell sharply in 2001 and continued to slide in 2002. But Newman, who works at Bear, Stearns' Palo Alto office, says public markets are now signaling a positive climate for venture capitalist investment.

-- Anne Burke

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