Fralic steps down at VC leader First Round

Chris Fralic, who partnered with Josh Kopelman to make Half.com one of the Philadelphia area’s most successful dot.com companies, then built up First Round Capital as one of the busiest U.S. venture capital firms of the smartphone-app and Internet-of-Things start-up era, is stepping down as First Round’s partner and investor.

Fralic will continue to serve on the boards of First Round-backed companies, said Kopelman, who is the board chairman of Philadelphia Media Network, which operates the Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com, in a statement he posted on social media Wednesday. Fralic headed First Round investments in eyeglass retailer Warby Parker, video-doorbell Internet-of-Things developer Ring (which includes Michael Harris’ former Zonoff engineering team in Malvern,) and gaming firm Roblox, among others.

Fralic, an early-computing enthusiast, Villanova graduate and Saint Joseph’s MBA, had recently worked out of First Round’s New York office, which will now be run by partner Hayley Barna, Kopelman said in a post praising Fralic as a “Selfless Partner.”

Kopelman posted a video of Fralic challenging the late Apple founder Steve Jobs over access to Apple software development at a 2010 conference — Jobs got most of the good lines — and praised Fralic’s “classic” article on showing respect for everyone you meet in the hectic and stressful founders-and-venture capitalists circuit, “How To Become Insanely Well Connected.”