Phil Young


"Sometimes it's best to run alongside the CEO, other times it's best to coach from the sidelines."


With a long tenure in venture capital, Philip M. Young has had the pleasure of working with many entrepreneurs. In fact, he’s recruited a number of USVP’s partners from the ranks of entrepreneurs over the years, most recently Casey Tansey. Whether it’s helping a serial entrepreneur scout out his next company, or helping portfolio companies recruit the best possible management team, Phil enjoys the role of coach and mentor.

“Ultimately companies are run by the CEO and management team. Good board members know that the CEO, and only the CEO, makes both the final decisions and manages the execution. But good CEOs will solicit substantive input from their board, and benefit from the dialectic resulting from the meaningful debate of issues at the board level. I really enjoy the process when it’s useful.”
Phil has finely honed his sense for effective contribution to the companies he advises: “Sometimes it’s best to run alongside the CEO, other times it’s best to coach from the sidelines.”

Execution is management’s responsibility, but board members can be useful sounding boards. “Increasingly, the right business models are less obvious and less straightforward. It’s helpful to draw out the board’s expertise and experience from seeing recurring patterns across industries and over time.”

Prior to joining USVP in 1990, Phil spent four years with Concord Partners, Dillon Read’s venture capital operation in Palo Alto. With a specialty in the medical device industry, Phil has watched the evolution of new methodologies, such as the emergence of minimally-invasive treatments, into increasingly diverse and pervasive applications.

“In this industry, you need to look at the clinician’s perspectives on the market opportunity as well as the investment and technology sides,” notes Phil. “Minimally-invasive procedures are still in their infancy.”

Phil’s investment interests aren’t confined to medical devices and biotechnology, however. Recently he’s been active in online advertising, a more than $10 billion industry growing at nearly 30 percent a year.

“A critical need in online advertising is helping companies find scalable business models that work,” notes Phil.

Like other USVP partners, Phil arrived with extensive operating experience. He was President and CEO of Oximetrix, a manufacturer of critical care instruments and disposables, where he spent eight years growing the privately held venture-backed company from $1 million in revenues to nearly $50 million, when it was acquired by Abbott Laboratories and became Abbott Critical Care. Prior to Oximetrix, Phil spent six years at New Court Securities in venture capital and corporate finance, two years as a management consultant with McKinsey & Co., and six years on Admiral Rickover’s program management staff at the Atomic Energy Commission.

Phil represented USVP on the boards of directors of Aerogen, CardioThoracic Systems, CardioVascular Imaging Systems, CoCensys, Compugen, FemRx, Penederm, 3Dfx Interactive, Vical and Xoma—all ten of which became public companies, and on the boards of directors of RelayHealth, Synarc and St. Francis Medical Technologies, which were acquired. Currently he sits on the boards of Zoran, a leading provider of digital solutions in the digital entertainment and digital imaging markets, and of privately held Apnicure, Aptus Endosystems, Bayhill Therapeutics, Dotomi, SentreHeart, and Talima Therapeutics. He also served on the Board of Trustees of Cornell University for eight years and continues to serve Cornell as a Trustee Emeritus, a Presidential Counsellor, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of eCornell, Cornell University’s for-profit online distance learning subsidiary. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation.

Phil earned a B.M.E. from Cornell University with High Distinction, an M.S. in Engineering Physics from George Washington University, and an M.B.A. with High Distinction from Harvard, where he was a Baker Scholar.

Phil enjoys photography, cooking and spending time with his wife at their second home in the South of France. He has two daughters and three grandchildren.