Patricof Honored Twice at Cipriani Wall St.: N.Y. Scene

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Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Soledad O'Brien, chief executive of Starfish Media Group, and Alan Patricof, founder and managing director, Greycroft Partners LLC, and founder, Apax Partners LP, at the Opportunity Network gala, where both were honored. "Soledad reminded me, we were honored together a few years ago, for Echoing Green. We got a plaque that says 'Be Bold,'" Patricof said. "It's on my desk," O'Brien and Patricof both said in unison.

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Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Soledad O'Brien, chief executive of Starfish Media Group, and Alan Patricof, founder and managing director, Greycroft Partners LLC, and founder, Apax Partners LP, at the Opportunity Network gala, where both were honored. "Soledad reminded me, we were honored together a few years ago, for Echoing Green. We got a plaque that says 'Be Bold,'" Patricof said. "It's on my desk," O'Brien and Patricof both said in unison. Close

Soledad O'Brien, chief executive of Starfish Media Group, and Alan Patricof, founder and managing director, Greycroft... Read More

Photographer: Justin Coit via Bloomberg

Alan Patricof, standing far right, and family pose for a portrait on their vacation in St. Barts last week. Close

Alan Patricof, standing far right, and family pose for a portrait on their vacation in St. Barts last week.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Jessica Pliska, executive director of the Opportunity Network, and Jason Wright, its chairman and a partner at Apax Partners LP. "Alan is an incredible networker," Wright said of honoree Patricof. "He taught me things like, never have lunch by yourself, get out of the office, and when you're at a conference, walk up to people and say hello. It's about being aggressive." Close

Jessica Pliska, executive director of the Opportunity Network, and Jason Wright, its chairman and a partner at Apax... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Peter Shapiro, owner of Brooklyn Bowl, center, greets Alan Patricof as Jon Patricof, president and chief operating officer of Tribeca Enterprises stands by. Close

Peter Shapiro, owner of Brooklyn Bowl, center, greets Alan Patricof as Jon Patricof, president and chief operating... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Veronica Aguilar Hornig, manager of college guidance at Opportunity Network, and Kayla Cooper, an Opportunity Network fellow who is a senior at Davidson College. Cooper has had internships at Random House and Calvin Klein, secured through the nonprofit. Close

Veronica Aguilar Hornig, manager of college guidance at Opportunity Network, and Kayla Cooper, an Opportunity Network... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Paula Medeiros, a fashion student, and Shad Azimi, founder and managing partner, Vanterra Capital. Close

Paula Medeiros, a fashion student, and Shad Azimi, founder and managing partner, Vanterra Capital.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Susie Crippen, founder of the fashion brand Crippen and co-founder of J Brand, with triathlon champion Paula Newby-Fraser, at the Trickle Up gala. Both are "ambassadors" of the Trickle Up 100 Women Campaign, which aims to raise $100,000 over a 100-day period ending June 15. Close

Susie Crippen, founder of the fashion brand Crippen and co-founder of J Brand, with triathlon champion Paula... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

William M. Abrams, president of Trickle Up, and Penelope Foley, chairman of Trickle Up's board and managing director, TCW Worldwide Opportunities. Both wear scarves made by Trickle Up grantees. Close

William M. Abrams, president of Trickle Up, and Penelope Foley, chairman of Trickle Up's board and managing director,... Read More

Venture capitalist Alan Patricof delayed a trip to St. Barts last week to be honored by Trickle Up at Cipriani Wall Street. Last night, he was back at the catering hall to be honored by the Opportunity Network.

In between, Patricof squeezed in some down time on the tiny French Caribbean island with his wife, Susan, and son Jamie -- the producer of the Ryan Gosling movie “The Place Beyond the Pines.” His wife, Kelly Sawyer, joined Jessica Alba and Nicole Richie for partying at Le Ti St Barth.

On the island of Manhattan at the April 2 Trickle Up Gala, Patricof said: “I think I coined this expression and pounded it into everyone in this organization: Trickle Up provides small seed grants to get women started in business.”

The women who have benefited are in Africa, India, Latin America and other parts of the developing world. They receive grants of $100 to $250, along with advice, training and encouragement. They buy seeds to plant, or thread to weave into scarves.

“The organization has helped 80,000 businesses, and 300,000 to 400,000 people,” said Patricof, managing director of Greycroft Partners LLC, who recently left Trickle Up’s board after serving for 10 years. “It’s probably the world’s largest venture-capital firm, and no firm has greater return on investment. The difference is eating two times a day instead of one, or living under a solid roof as opposed to a thatched hut.”

At last night’s gala, called the “Night of Opportunity,” Patricof described his part in the founding of the Opportunity Network with Brian Weinstein, now head of corporate finance at Creative Artists Agency.

New Approach

“Ten years ago, Brian Weinstein came to see me in my office, to tell me about an idea he had for a new approach to mentoring young high-school students,” Patricof said.

The idea was to work intensively with high-performance, low-income students to help them tap into resources and networks they would otherwise not have access to -- or even know existed.

Under the leadership of founder and Executive Director Jessica Pliska, the program now follows 10th graders through college, offering guidance, internships and training in everything from how to shake hands to delivering an “elevator pitch.” The organization works with 416 students at 91 public schools in New York.

“I told Brian all the reasons it wouldn’t work, all the obstacles, all the other organizations attempting to do the same thing,” Patricof said. “Not that I was wrong, but he was certainly right.”

Central Figure

Patricof has been a central figure in the Opportunity Network by mentoring and connecting many of the people who built it.

Its chairman, Jason Wright, was hired by Patricof at Apax Partners LP straight out of Wharton and is now a partner there.

“Networking is really the operative word,” Patricof said, encouraging guests to contribute to the organization. “That’s why LinkedIn is so successful. It wasn’t one of my investments, unfortunately.”

(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

Muse highlights include Daniel Akst on books, James Russell on design.

To contact the writer on this story: Amanda Gordon in New York at agordon01@bloomberg.net or on Twitter at @amandagordon.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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