Carter Cast

Operating Partner

What in the world of tech do you find to be the most interesting?

The exhilaration and challenges of scaling–seeing startups go from “something with great potential” to realizing that potential.”

What is your motivation for helping entrepreneurs build companies?

I was on the other side as an entrepreneur and so appreciated the people who supported our team (at Blue Nile,, etc.) and made a difference. I would be thrilled to be helpful like that.”

How did you get into tech?

My big sister went to this crazy startup in the mid-90s and it sounded like a lot of fun, so I went into tech too…Her company sold books online. Can you imagine?”

How do you spend time away from work?

Playing hide-and-seek, basement hockey, go fish, junior monopoly and changing more than the occasional diaper.”

What is one tactical piece of advice for entrepreneurs that is contrary to popular wisdom?

“Execute half the amount of stuff, but well. Focus.”

What is your favorite book? Why?

“I’ll offer three:

1) Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl for its incredible positive attitude and humanity;
2) The Tao te Ching by Lao Tzu for its timeless insight into how to live
3) Straight Man or Nobody’s Fool by Richard Russo for their idiosyncratic view into small town life”

What is your life philosophy?

“Sir Paul said it well: And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make. (We share the same birthday–so we’re like, you know, brothers.)”

Carter received his early training in the restaurant division of PepsiCo, Inc. (Pizza Hut International and Taco Bell) from 1986-1990 and then at Frito-Lay from 1992-1997, where he became Director of Marketing, managing the $1.5 billion tortilla chip category and launching Tostitos salsas and dips. Carter then served as Vice President of Product Marketing and Marketing Communications at Electronic Arts, launching products like SimCity 3000 and The Sims. He left to become a member of the start-up team for Blue Nile, a Kleiner Perkins- and Trinity Ventures-backed company, which became the leading online retailer of diamonds and fine jewelry, selling in excess of $250 million after seven years in existence. Carter was Blue Nile’s Senior Vice President of Marketing, Merchandising and Site when the company was named one of the 40 best e-commerce sites by Forbes magazine. Carter developed the brand and site identity, as well as the marketing communication and product assortment strategy.

Carter left Blue Nile to be part of the launch team at, a division of Walmart Stores, Inc. He served as the Vice President of Marketing from 2000-2002 and the Senior Vice President of Marketing, Merchandising, Creative and Site from 2002-2005. In 2005 Carter was promoted to President of and to CEO in February of 2006. He led Walmart’s e-commerce division to profitability on its way to becoming the third highest volume e-tail site behind eBay and Carter left Walmart to join, a privately-held ecommerce company funded by Sequoia Capital and Insight Venture Partners, as President and CEO. In 2009, Netshops rebranded and redesigned its site, becoming Hayneedle. Internet Retailer named it as one of America’s Hot 100 Retail sites in December of 2009.

In 2011, Carter joined the faculty of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, where he is a clinical professor teaching entrepreneurship and marketing. In addition to teaching, Carter joined Pritzker Group Venture Capital in 2012, where he is a Venture Partner, advising Pritzker Group’s portfolio companies. Carter sits on the board of SMS Assist and is also a member of the advisory board of Northwestern University’s Kellogg Innovation Network. Carter graduated from Stanford University in 1985 and the Kellogg School of Management in 1992.


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