Thursday, June 03, 2010

BookRenter raises venture money -- no one remembers varsitybooks? or chegg?

The Story Behind BookRenter

Like most students, BookRenter founder Colin Barceloux was frustrated with the high cost of textbooks, paying over $500 each quarter while at Santa Clara University. To help pay for textbooks (and other necessities like beer, food, and clothes), he worked as a campus mailman, and noticed a large number of discarded textbooks around campus. There were even huge stacks of books on the bookstore's "Zero Value Table," containing books that the bookstore wouldn't buy back. To Colin, something seemed wrong with the fact that a book's value could drop from $100 to $0 in a few months.

He started to collect all these unwanted books, and sold them online to students around the country. He realized that the practice of buying a book, using it, and selling it is really just a rental, and the idea behind the company was born. After working at a few other companies, Colin teamed up with two Santa Clara engineers to start BookRenter.

We have grown tremendously since the early days of selling used books for extra beer money, but our core mission — to make education more affordable for everyone — still drives us today.


Mehdi Maghsoodnia CEO


Mehdi has over 20 years of experience building great teams and operating both startups and public companies. Before BookRenter, Mehdi was SVP of products and services at CafePress where he joined the team in the early days and grew the company to over $130M in revenues. Prior to CafePress, Mehdi was SVP of products at Intellisync where they had 90% ownership of the mobile sync market before Nokia bought the company for $450M. Mehdi held a number of executive positions at other Valley companies and currently sits on the board of FaceTime, Pbworks and Fotomoto. Mehdi is also a geek at heart and did his undergraduate studies at Berkeley and his graduate studies in computer science at Stanford. Mehdi's favorite topic in college was fuzzy logic by Professor Lotfi Zadeh.

Colin Barceloux VP of Business Development and Founder


Before founding BookRenter, Colin worked at Decide Interactive, an online advertising company focused on search engine bidding, where he worked as a Technical Account Manager implementing their solution for large clients, and opening up their first U.S. office in Sunnyvale. Decide Interactive was sold to 24/7 Real Media in 2006 for $40M. Just prior to founding BookRenter, Colin worked at Google in online advertising and at 24/7 Real Media as a Marketing Manager. He has a BS in Management Information Systems and a Minor in Information Technology from Santa Clara University where he graduated with Honors in 2003. Colin resides in San Francisco and is an avid snowboarder, basketball enthusiast, mountain biker, and golfer.

Steve Sneddon VP of Operations


Steve has held a wide variety of Engineering, Management, and Business Development positions at several notable Software and Networking companies. Prior to his retirement in 2007, Steve spent 11 years at Cisco Systems, mostly as Director of Business Development in their Strategic Alliances organization. In that group, his responsibilities included second-level management of several of Cisco's largest and most complex Strategic Alliances, including Microsoft, Intel, Sun, Sony, Phillips, EMC, and other worldwide brand-name companies. Steve also "wrote the book" on Ecosystem Partnering efforts, in which Cisco partnered with multiple companies in multiple product and service segments in order to pull together large-scale Solutions for large customer deployments. Prior to Cisco, Steve was a senior contributor at Lotus Development in Cambridge MA, where he worked for 8 years. While there he was the Chief Architect for Lotus Notes, and he led various technology efforts in the SmartSuite and Lotus Notes ViP teams. Before Lotus, Steve was Manager of Networks and Communications at Symbolics, an AI Workstation spinoff from MIT's AI Lab. Steve holds a BS in Physics from MIT and MS and ScD degrees in Physiology from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Justin McCarthy VP of Engineering


Justin brings both creativity and rigor to his leadership of the Engineering organization. Prior to BookRenter, he has held numerous Engineering, Product, and founding roles at growing start-ups throughout Silicon Valley. Most recently, Justin served in a General Management role at the online retailer, where he was responsible for the vision, product, and marketing of the CafePress Groups business. While studying Computer Science at the University of Rochester, Justin created a service that would presage his future career with BookRenter: after typical weekend of feverish coding, The Book Swap launched to overnight success, drawing hundreds of textbook classified postings from across campus in the first day of operations.

Michael Geller VP of Marketing


Michael has over sixteen years leading successful high-growth, entrepreneurial, consumer-focused internet business ventures at both fledgling startups and large behemoths. Prior to joining BookRenter, Michael co-founded, which Intuit bought in 2006 for $170M, and was an executive at Yahoo!, serving as the Vice President of Marketing and Business Operations for the broadband and mobile businesses. Most recently, Michael served as President of Tonic, a media and ecommerce startup focused on social good. He's also held various positions at Infoseek and Grant Thornton, where he had to wear a suit every single day. Michael currently serves as an advisor to a few venture-backed start-ups, and holds an MBA from Harvard University and a BSE in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, where he grossly overpaid for an early edition of his favorite textbook "Modeling and Control of Robotic Manipulators", thus proving he is truly a geek at heart.

Alex Mendez Director


Alex is a founding managing director of Storm Ventures. He was an investor and CEO/Chairman of Sanera Systems (acquired by McData) and served on the McData Board of Directors until 2007. He was also an investor/Board Member of Airespace (acquired by Cisco). His investment focus is on wireless, data centers (computing & storage) and software (Web 2.0 & Enterprise). Prior to founding Storm Ventures in October 2000, Alex spent twenty-one years in high tech at ROLM, IBM, Stratacom, and Cisco, holding several executive positions, most recently as an SVP/GM at Cisco. He was part of the founding team of Stratacom which Cisco acquired in 1996. Alex holds a BSEE from Stanford University, and an MBA from Santa Clara University (he serves on the Advisory Board of the GSB).

George Ugras Director


George joined Adams Capital Management in 1999 as a General Partner, from Apax Partners, a private equity firm in New York. Prior to joining Apax Partners, George was a Management Consultant at McKinsey & Co. in New York, working closely with clients in the telecommunications and media industries, on strategic and operational issues for media and technology clients. He is currently a director of several private companies.

Marc Randolph Director


Marc Randolph is a veteran Silicon Valley entrepreneur, high tech executive, and start-up consultant. Most recently Marc was co-founder of the online DVD rental service Netflix, serving as their founding CEO, as the executive producer of their web site, and as a member of their board of directors until his retirement in 2004. Prior to founding Netflix, Marc was on the founding team of more than half a dozen other successful start-ups in the e-commerce, media, enterprise software and portable device markets – all of which went on to IPOs or other liquidity events. He currently provides advice and/or sits on the advisory boards for numerous high tech startups in the areas of product marketing, product management, and general management. Marc also provides his time, talents and financial support to numerous local and national non-profit organizations. Among others, he is involved with the community foundation of Santa Cruz County, he has spent nearly 10 years on the board of the Gateway School (three as board chair) and he currently serves on the board of the National Hydrocephalus Organization. Marc is charming, handsome and modest; and whenever possible avoids referring to himself in the third person.

Tikiman Mascot


Every college has a mascot. We've enlisted Tikiman to represent our mission to make education more affordable, and he can often be found rallying students to rent their textbooks and save tons of their hard-earned money. He is also a symbol of our undying commitment to making sure every customer feels special and is delighted by their experience by renting from BookRenter. To learn more about him, visit his Facebook Page at


wine said...

The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity................. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty !

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Mark said...

Great idea for a business.
Mark Jalali

Mark said...

great idea for a business.

Mark said...

great idea for a business.
Mark Jalali

Mark Jalali Fort Myers Florida said...

I know how difficult it can be to raise funds for a great venture such as this.
Mark Jalali