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Derek Norton


From the beginning, Derek always saw himself as 6’3” but became concerned when his basketball skills began to be dominated by constant blocked shots. One quick visit to the doctor confirmed his suspicion and the painful decision was made to switch careers to focus on the world of technology start-ups and life of a serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist. Today Derek is the founder and managing general partner of Watertower Ventures. Previously, he was the founder and managing partner of Watertower Group, an industry leading boutique investment bank advising technology, internet and digital media. He has built three other successful companies including Entertainment Media Ventures, $120 million seed and early stage venture capital fund, Jeffries Technologies, which became one of Inc. Magazine’s 500 fastest growing privately held U.S. companies, and Digital Boardwalk, which was Netscape’s second commercial application partner and one of the very first internet service providers.

He is a frequent speaker and panelist on the subject of venture capital investing specifically in the areas of transformative technologies, the future of commerce, evolution of media, and consumer tech. He is a member of the Advisory Council of the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at USC’s Marshall School of Business. He and his wife support charities focused on improving the lives and education of under-privileged youths, is a former member of the board of directors of The Fulfillment Fund, and previously served as Vice President of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Contemporaries.

Derek holds a BA in Communications from the University of Southern California and lives in Beverly Hills with his wife and son who together form a tightly knit team of 3 global travelers and adventure seekers and can often be found off the water somewhere in the world.

Although not as fast as he once was, Derek is an avid runner and a passionate cyclist, surfer, skier, and yogi.

Go to App?
Rachio sprinkler app. I’m an avid gardener and may have been a groundskeeper of a golf course in a prior life. No, I don’t golf.

What inspires you?
Determination and resilience to achieve anything you put your mind to.

5-year Goal?
Play for the Lakers.

Want to improve?
My yoga so I can live to be 120.

Notable quality?
Persistence and loyalty.

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