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January 6, 2020

The VentureFizz Podcast: Russ Wilcox - Partner at Pillar VC

For the 155th episode of The VentureFizz Podcast, I interviewed Russ Wilcox, Partner at Pillar.

To kick off the new decade we have an amazing episode for you today that has everything a great Hollywood movie should have - a groundbreaking idea that changed our lives, a team of risk-takers, the dramatic ups & downs of building a company to the point of potential failure, and of course... the heroic outcome.  

I’m talking about the story of E Ink and my guest today is Russ Wilcox, Partner at Pillar. Russ is a venture capitalist these days, but he was a Co-Founder of E Ink and later on, he led the company as its CEO and growth to $200M in revenue.

E Ink commercialized electronic paper which was invented at the MIT Media Lab and was the technology that changed how we read, as it made the Amazon Kindle and lots of other devices a major success. Russ and I get deep into the weeds of this story which is ultimately a 15 year journey that ended in a very successful acquisition.

In this episode of our podcast, we cover:

  • Russ' background story.
  • How E Ink got started and the early days of the company.
  • The story of how the first launch of their product was a failure, but somehow this failed product ended up on Jeff Bezos’ radar.
  • Scaling the company and what the Oprah effect can mean.
  • Why Russ decided to become a venture capitalist and all the details behind Pillar and the type of investments he is making.
  • Advice for founders who are looking to commercialize technology.
  • And so much more.

If you are planning on growing your employee headcount in 2020, then you need to consider adding a subscription to VentureFizz to help out with your hiring and employment branding strategy. Each subscription includes an employment branding page, unlimited postings to our Job Board, access to our exclusive content, and ongoing promotional support! It is a cost-effective way to engage with our highly targeted audience of professionals in the tech industry. To learn more, send an email to [email protected].

You can listen to the podcast in the player below. To make sure you receive future episodes, please subscribe to us on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcherSpotify, or SoundCloud. If you enjoyed our show, please consider writing us a 5-star review—it will definitely help us get the word out there! 


Keith Cline is the Founder of VentureFizz. Follow him on Twitter: @kcline6.