David W. Berkus
March 23, 1941
|Alma mater||Occidental College, (B.A., Business Administration, 1962)|
|Occupation||Angel investor, venture capitalist|
David W. Berkus (born March 23, 1941) is an American angel investor and venture capitalist from California. He is credited with technological innovations in computer software for the hotel and lodging industries and was recognized by that industry's Hospitality Financial Technology Professionals association with its International Hall of Fame designation. In perhaps the first use of the term, Inc. Magazine described him as a "super angel" in 1996.
He attended Occidental College in Eagle Rock, California, graduating in 1962. He then served in the United States Naval Reserve for nearly a decade while simultaneously managing his first enterprise, a phonograph record production and manufacturing company, which he created at the age of 15. He is responsible for leading companies as CEO, chairman or lead director. He was awarded "Director of the Year" for his board leadership efforts with over 40 companies over the years.
He has formed, managed and sold businesses in the hospitality, entertainment and software industries. He specifically deals with business operations and venture investing and serves on a number of corporate boards, (see below).
In 1957, when he was 15, Berkus founded his first company, Custom Fidelity, Inc., whose purpose was to produce and manufacture phonograph records. In 1971 he managed this company to its initial public offering (IPO) under SEC Regulation "A," which pertains to small businesses. In 1968 he relocated the company from Pasadena to Hollywood. By 1974, the company employed over fifty people under its record manufacturing operation and other related divisions, and he sold his interest in the business.
During his time at Occidental College, Berkus held the position of editor for the Occidental Weekly, as well as president of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity. In his senior year he received the Wall Street Journal Award for his accomplishments in the study of economics. In 1962, he graduated from Occidental College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration.
Berkus then served in the United States Naval Reserve from 1963-1967, serving as an aircrewman aboard P2 aircraft. He reached the level of E5, and then was awarded a direct commission in the United States Naval Reserve as an Air Intelligence Officer from 1967-1972, reaching the level of O3, while still managing Custom Fidelity Inc.
Having programmed an early minicomputer for the record company in his spare time, he found a market for the programs by creating the earliest forms of packaged software. He sold his interest in the record company, and founded Berkus Compusystems Inc., in 1974 to market the computer software he had written. One of the several hundred early customers was a local hotel, the Miramar Sheraton, whose owner asked him to write software for reservations and front office operations. From that request, Berkus turned his attention to the hotel industry that had little previous automation in its past, and formed Computerized Lodging Systems Inc., in 1981. Through his work in these two companies, he helped to shape the minicomputer software industry, being recognized by the Inc. 500 list of America’s fasting-growing companies in 1987 and 1988. His company held 16% of the world market share for hotel automation systems. He sold Computerized Lodging Systems to MAI Systems, Inc. in 1990 and continued to operate the company as a subsidiary until 1993, when he left to form Berkus Technology Ventures. (See below.) His achievements were recognized by his induction into the highly exclusive (42 members as of 2018) Hospitality (HFTP) “International Hall of Fame” in 1998. As of 2018, Marriott Hotels still used the computer software he wrote in 2,200 hotels under the internal name, FOSSE.
He is related to designer and TV personality, Nate Berkus, architect Barry Berkus, musician/artist Günther Berkus, Josh Berkus of Software in the Public Interest, casino manager/author Eric David Berkus, and western states lawyer Matt Berkus.
Venture capital and corporate development
While Berkus often serves as chief financial officer of several of his early stage companies, his primary focus has been as a managing partner or managing director of six early stage investment funds, including Kodiak Ventures, LP, Berkus Technology Ventures, LLC., three funds managed for the Tech Coast Angels of Southern California, and Wayfare Ventures, LLC.
Berkus is current or recent Board Chairman or board member for numerous public and private technology companies (see below), and has been active in a total of over forty private and public companies.
He has made 182 investments in early stage ventures, often known as angel investing, for which he has an IRR of 105%, which includes capital contributions to his various funds (see above). He is also Chairman Emeritus of the Tech Coast Angels, one of the largest angel investor networks in the United States.
Berkus is a longtime trustee of Occidental College and was a driving force in developing its newest and largest dormitory, a 274-bed hall which was originally named Rangeview Hall. In 2013 the dormitory was renamed Berkus Hall in recognition of a $5 million gift from Berkus and his wife and children. A second residence for senior women at Occidental College was named Berkus House in honor of a previous donation to the College.
In recognition for adding significant shareholder value for emerging technology companies over the past decade, he was named “Director of the Year-Early Stage Businesses” by the Forum for Corporate Directors of Orange County, California, and Technology Leader of the Year by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
Current boards of directors
- AuriQ Systems, Inc.
- EPC International, Inc. (Chairman)
- Trancepta, Inc. (Chairman)
- CPM Systems, Inc. (Chairman)
- H3 Financial Services, Inc. (Chairman)
- Beacon Healthcare, Inc. (Chairman)
- Kodiak Ventures, L.P. (Managing Partner)
- OEWaves, Inc.
- Occidental College Board of Trustees (Vice Chairman)
- Los Angeles Area Council, Boy Scouts of America (Past President, Executive Committee)
Past boards of directors
- LeisureLink, Inc. (Chairman) (merged with VacationRoost, Inc.)
- Apogee Broadcasting Corporation (sold to a broadcasting conglomerate)
- GameSpy Industries, Inc. (Chairman) (sold to Fox Interactive)
- Sulcus Hospitality Technologies Corp. (AMEX:SUL) (sold to Eltrax, Inc. (NASDAQ: ELTX))
- Macro Educational Systems, Inc. (sold to NCS-Pierson AMEX:NLCS)
- Durand Communications, Inc. (sold to Webb Interactive NASDAQ:WEBB)
- V Systems, Inc.(sold to Esker, Inc. NASDAQ: FR:3581)
- Word-Of-Net, Inc., (sold to Inceptor, Inc.)
- Nirvana Technology, Inc. (Chairman)
- MyShape, Inc.
- FCS North America, Inc.
- Adventurelink Travel Inc. (Chairman)
- Teresis Media Management, Inc.
- PlanetWide Media, Inc.
- Berkus, D., & Kelly, B. (1994), Better Than Money!, Santa Barbara, CA: Synergy Press.
- Berkus, D. (2006), Extending the Runway, New York, NY:: Aspatore Press.
- Berkus, D. (2012), Basic Berkonomics, Los Angeles, CA: Berkus Press.
- Berkus, D. (2009), Berkonomics, Los Angeles, CA: Berkus Press.
- Berkus, D. (2011), Advanced Berkonomics, Los Angeles, CA: Berkus Press.
- Berkus, D. (2013), Small Business Success Collection: Resources for entrepreneurs, investors and corporate boards (Vols. 1-8), Los Angeles, CA: Berkus Press (resources for entrepreneurs, investors and corporate boards).
- Berkus, D. (2014), Small Business Success Collection: Resources for entrepreneurs, investors and corporate boards (Vols. 1-8), (2nd Ed.), Los Angeles, CA: Berkus Press.
- Berkus, D. (2014), Extending the Runway, (2nd Ed.), Los Angeles, CA: Berkus Press
- Berkus, D., & Shepherd, K. (2015), Get Scrappy, Los Angeles, CA: Berkus Press
- "International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame". Hospitality Financial & Technology Professionals. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
- Gruner, Stephanie L. "Conversations with Angels". Inc. Magazine. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
- "Hall of Fame". Forum for Corporate Directors. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
- "David Berkus: Executive Profile & Biography". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
- Wang, Oliver. "Private Stock: Custom Records Trace an Alternate Music History". KCET. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
- Pratt, Elwyn. "New club to foster the oxypreneurial spirit". Occidental Weekly. Archived from the original on 16 May 2014. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
- "Gift Targets Building Maintenance". Occidental College. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
- "Berkus Compusystems, Inc". California Companies. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
- "Computerized Lodging Systems, Inc.: Private Company Information". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
- "The 1987 Inc. 500". Inc. 500. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
- Woo, Elaine (9 December 2012). "Barry Berkus dies at 77; architect of mass-market housing". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
- Norman, Jan (August 21, 2013). "Fledgling entrepreneurs have a guardian angel". Orange County Register. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
- "Berkus Hall Dedicated". Occidental College. September 29, 2013. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
- "Berkus House themed living". Occidental College. September 29, 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2018.