Dan Case, one of the Venture Capitalists (VC) who helped cause and shape the Internet boom, has died, at age 44. Mr. Case died of brain cancer.
Dan Case worked for investment banking firm Hambrecht & Quist (H&Q), and worked with Apple when his company helped Apple with its IPO in 1980. Other early clients of Mr. Case while at H&Q include Adobe, and in 1995, Netscape. Amazon.com followed suit in 1999.
He eventually became the CEO of H&Q, which was later purchased by Chase Manhattan, which then merged with JP Morgan to give birth to JP Morgan H&Q. Mr. Case resigned his position as CEO after finding out he had cancer in 2001.
Mr. Case was also a board member of Steve Jobsi next company after leaving/being ousted from Apple, NeXT Computer. Mr. Case joined the board of NeXT in the early 1990s. From an interview in 1993 by The Red Herring:
H&Q has a history with Steve. We took Apple public when he was at the helm. We donit just preach long-term relationships, we try to practice them. Although we had not been involved with NeXT, Steve called several months ago to ask our advice on a number of structural issues, some of which are now public knowledge. [NeXT recently announced a partnership with H-P, which involves adapting NeXTis software to run on H-P computers.] In the course of those conversations, he asked me to join NeXTis board. I was flattered and said "yes."
In an interview with FastCompany.com in May of 2001, Mr. Case said this about Apple and Steve Jobs:
Apple was the entrepreneurial leader of a new industry. The company was brilliant and early, but it forgot to broaden its markets and open up its technology, and it never got a leadership position in the corporate market. And, obviously, the guys who did that better -- Microsoft on the software side, and Compaq, and later, Dell, on the hardware side -- those guys won, while Apple failed to leverage its lead and entrepreneurial premium. Itis no mistake that the return of Steve Jobs brought entrepreneurial spirit, vision, charisma, and improvements to Appleis products and marketing. Itis also no mistake that those werenit enough in the long run.
Mr. Case was the older brother of Steve Case, Chairman of AOL Time Warner. Dan Case helped arrange his little brotheris position with Control Video, a video game company that eventually became Quantum Computer Services. Quantum Computer Services signed a contract with Apple to develop an online service in 1987, though Apple backed out shortly thereafter. After other setbacks, Quantum changed its name to America Online, a little outfit headquartered in Virginia, and that was set in motion by Dan Case.