Paul Murphy

Take the risk.

Paul Murphy
Supporting talented students


Paul is a technology investor, currently a partner at Lightspeed, a global venture capital fund with over $10 billion under management, and previously as a partner at Northzone. In his time as an investor, Paul backed some of the world's fastest growing companies including Hopin, Flink, Tier Mobility, and Thirty Madison. Previously, Paul was the co-founder and CEO of Dots, a mobile game studio with over 100 million players around the world. Prior to Dots, Paul was the partner at Betaworks responsible for the group's efforts to form and invest in Giphy, now one of the world's top websites. Paul also helped lead Aviary’s pivot to a mobile photo editing platform as their COO, which ultimately led to an acquisition by Adobe. Before Aviary, he was chief of staff for the President of Microsoft's Business Division. He holds a Computer Engineering degree from Virginia Tech and an MBA from IE Business School in Madrid.
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Supporting talented students


Define your experience in the IMBA in one word.

What were some of the main challenges that you encountered on your way? How did your master program and IE help you through these challenges?
Once I left Microsoft, I was on an entrepreneur journey. IE gave me the fundamental tools to start and run a business, raise venture capital, and manage a team. There are more challenges than I could possibly list when running a company, but at the end of the day as long as you are able to spot them with enough time to find solutions, there’s always a way around. As a founder and now an investor, I work with businesses around the world, which is something my IMBA equipped me to do particularly well.

How did your experience at IE prepare you for your professional career? In what ways do you think the program changed your life professionally and personally?
During my MBA, we took a class trip to Mumbai. I was so impressed with what was happening there that I immediately applied to transfer from my team at Microsoft to a team in India. That experience was instrumental in motivating me to start my own business, which I did just a few years after I graduated.

What was networking like in the program?
I am still close friends with several classmates and professors from the program and find the global network particularly valuable now in my role as an investor.

What was your favorite memory from your time at IE?
I most enjoyed my debates with Professor Enrique Dans around the value of open versus closed source software.

If someone was considering going to IE, what would you tell them?
I tell younger friends and colleagues all the time, there is no higher ROI than an IE MBA. The network, education, program efficiency, and use of technology is unmatched, and it will help open any door for you that you could ever want around the world.

Why did you choose to study this program at IE?
I was very focussed on attending a top-tier global MBA program that allowed me to continue working but was a qualified academic degree. Microsoft was advancing my career too fast to justify departing for a full time 1- to 2-year program, the opportunity cost was just too high for me. Once I made that decision, there were only a few options and IE was my first choice.

What is one thing you wished you knew, when you were a student? What advice would you give to students who are about to begin the program?
Take risks. You will agonise over life and career decisions during and after your program that you will look back on and realise weren’t worth worrying about. More importantly, you will never achieve anything great if you don’t take risks, and there’s no better time than early in your career.

Tell us about the IE alumni community and the impact they have had in your life and/or career. Why do you think it’s important to engage with the IE alumni community?
It’s hard to put a value on a global community that you can tap at any time. Whether it’s a founder reaching out to me because they saw we both went to IE and they want advice, or investment, or me reaching out to someone on LinkedIn who can help one of my companies and they respond because of our IE connection - it’s both useful and rewarding. But like anything, you can’t sit idle and expect the community to work without your involvement. Attend local events, respond to cold emails from IE students and alumni, and engage with the school when asked. Whenever I do, it’s always rewarding.

As one of the first contributors towards the Illuminated Bricks campaign, how does it feel?
I’m very happy to contribute something so small to a school that’s helped me and my career so much. I feel very fortunate to have been invited to participate.

What made you decided to give your first gift?
I hope my gift encourages other alumni to give and help IE become even more prominent academically than it is today.

In your opinion, why is it important to give back? Why does this cause matter to you?
If you look at the world’s top universities, they have a very active alumni base, with a culture of giving back to make their university stronger. IE has grown to become one of the best in the world without a giving program in place, imagine what can be built if we all start contributing?

What can we do within our IE Community to create an impact and support education?
I believe IE has a unique opportunity as one of the leading entrepreneurial programs in the world to recruit and educate a student population that creates one of the most diverse alumni networks in the world. That would help create more diverse professionals in influential positions; something IE would be well served to be associated with and known for.

What would you tell someone who was thinking about contributing?
Do whatever you can within your means. The amount is relative and less important, the fact that you’re creating agency with your gift is what matters most.

If you had a billboard you could display to the entire world, what you would put on it?
Take the risk.