Paul Bragiel

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Paul Bragiel
Paul Bragiel at BDL Accelerate, Beirut, Lebanon, 21 November 2014. Image ©Dan Taylor/Heisenberg Media -
Born (1977-09-15) 15 September 1977 (age 46)
CitizenshipAmerican, Polish, Colombian
Scientific career
FieldsComputer Engineer and Business

Paul Bragiel (born 15 September 1977 in Chicago, Illinois) is an internet entrepreneur and currently a managing partner of Bragiel Brothers.[1]

Early life[edit]

Bragiel, the oldest child of Mary and Walter Bragiel, was raised in Mt. Prospect and South Barrington, Illinois. In the late 1990s, he was involved in the demoscene.[2]


Bragiel graduated from University of Illinois in 1999.[3] Shortly after graduating he founded his first company, Paragon 5, with offices in Chicago and Poland. In 2004, he founded the first location-based social network, Meetro. He would make the 4th ever YouTube video in 2005. In 2008, he founded Lefora, which was sold to Crowdgather in the summer of 2010.[4]

In 2010, he launched i/o Ventures, a seed fund and accelerator based in San Francisco.[5]

In 2012, he launched three more technology-focused seed funds. Savannah Fund (Sub-Saharan Africa) and Golden Gate Ventures (Southeast Asia) were created to foster entrepreneurship in those regions.[6] Gamefounders (Eastern Europe) invests in companies building gaming-related products.[citation needed]

In 2014, Paul launched Sisu Game Ventures, a $50m global early-stage venture fund investing in games.[7]

In 2015, he launched Presence Capital, a $10m venture fund investing in early-stage virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) companies.[8]

In 2019, he launched SMOK Ventures, a $50m venture fund investing in early-stage companies in Central & Eastern Europe.[9]

In 2021, Paul launched Niu Ventures, a $10m venture fund investing in early-stage companies in Brazil.[10]

He travels around the world to give lectures on startups and is an advisor to governments on their technology and entrepreneurship policy including Philippines, Singapore, Brazil and Tanzania.[11]


In 2013, Bragiel trained in cross-country skiing in Finland with a view to competing in the 2014 Sochi Olympics under the Colombian flag. In order to participate, Bragiel obtained Colombian citizenship by presidential decree and was soon globally addressed as the man who was hacking his way into the Olympics.[12]

For the 2016 Summer Olympics, Bragiel joined the Tonga delegation as team attaché.[13]

During the 2018 Winter Olympics, Bragiel served as a coach for both the Colombia and Tonga cross-country ski teams. He is noted as being the first person to participate in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for two different countries in the same Olympics.[14]


  1. ^ "Paul Bragiel is back with a new venture firm". 20 May 2016.
  2. ^ "Paul Bragiel is the startup-ambassador of Silicon Valley | Founders Week". Archived from the original on 2013-06-19. Retrieved 2013-11-14.
  3. ^ "Paul Bragiel - LinkedIn".
  4. ^ Arrington, Michael (24 July 2010). "Forum Site Lefora Gobbled Up By CrowdGather".
  5. ^ Arrington, Michael (6 January 2010). "i/o Ventures – A Work/Cafe Incubator Launches In San Francisco".
  6. ^ Tam, Pui-Wing (15 November 2011). "Bringing Silicon Valley Philosophies Overseas". WSJ.
  7. ^ "SEC Form D filing reveals new $50M Sisu Game Ventures fund aimed at gaming startups". 19 October 2021.
  8. ^ "New venture capital fund targets VR/AR". USA Today.
  9. ^ Shah, Shakhil (2019-05-28). "SMOK launches new VC fund for Polish gaming start-ups". Emerging Europe | News, Intelligence, Community. Retrieved 2019-12-19.
  10. ^ "Niu Ventures: A gestora brasileira do investidor mais excêntrico do Vale". 22 October 2021.
  11. ^ "Meet Silicon Valley's Unofficial Emissary to the Rest of the World".
  12. ^ i/o Ventures' Paul Bragiel to Train for the Olympics in Lapland: Today We are all #TeamPaul, Arctic Startup, 13 October 2013
  13. ^ "Seven Tongan athletes bound for Rio Olympics". Pacific Islands News Association. 24 November 2023.
  14. ^ The venture capitalist making Olympic dreams come true, CNN, February 24, 2018

External links[edit]