Personal Story: Josh Cohen, Managing Partner
City Light Capital is a confluence of personal experience, inspiration and innovation. After assessing the market and determining that no opportunity would allow me to pursue both my personal and professional goals to their fullest capacity, I set out to create something new. I built on lessons learned from my experience as a volunteer, nonprofit entrepreneur, investment banker, technology operator, and venture capitalist and I drew inspiration from many, including my partner, my family, and our advisors. City Light is the manifestation of these efforts and a new chapter of an exciting journey. I truly believe that there is no better time to be involved with City Light.
For me, City Light helps answer some questions that we all ask ourselves: Who do you want to be and how do you want to be remembered? When Marc Weill and I first created City Light in 2004, we discussed how we would have liked to have been remembered if our lives had ended. We evaluated our business accomplishments, relationships and goals, and we both felt that we could certainly do better. It was out of this drive to “do better” while excelling in business, that the idea behind City Light was born. In effect, City Light became a way to do well by doing good.
I recently attended the Lido Conference in California where Rabbi Steven Leder asked the audience “How do you want to be remembered?” and challenged us to create an ethical will to pass along life lessons and values. Having reflected on the last five years at City Light and the road that lies ahead both professionally and personally as I prepare to be a father for the first time, I have realized that City Light stands for and strives to achieve the very ambitions and values of my own ethical will:
- Learn something new everyday
- Help other people
- Practice what you preach
- Think big
- Try your best
In building City Light, I have been very fortunate to meet some amazing people: partners, entrepreneurs, investors, politicians, nonprofit leaders, and industry experts. It seems like everyday I learn about new technologies, opportunities and inspirational entrepreneurs. In serving as an investor in and advisor to entrepreneurs, I have the privilege of learning while helping other people (many of whom built businesses designed to help others as well).
As a result, I am more confident than ever that the time is right for City Light. This is not just because it is a great time to be investing in venture capital, which it is. It is not just because of the positive trends involving people, technology, markets and policy. It is not just because of the amazing team that we have pulled together. City Light is amalgam of a well-timed, leanly-run venture fund and an initiative for social change – at a time when New York City, the country as a whole and the entire world are just beginning to recognize and appreciate the urgency with which such change is needed.
At the end of the day, we try to make the world safer, smarter and sustainable. These markets on which we focus: Safety and Security, Education and Information Systems, and Energy and Environment – face systemic problems and thus present significant opportunities for innovation. If together we can execute on this collective vision, City Light can be not only be incredibly lucrative, but also an example for future generations of the synergies of social impact and venture capital. I am investing in and for my child’s future. I see no better way to do so than through City Light.
I am honored to be part of this team and to be surrounded by such talent and passion. I want to be known for being part of City Light and for being a good Dad. The time is now.