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Ben Lerer

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Ben Lerer is the Managing Director at Lerer Ventures and co-founder & CEO of Thrillist Media Group, overseeing the growth of the company from a niche email newsletter to a disruptive media company, leading the charge in mingling content and commerce. Lerer was among Ernst & Young’s 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year Award Winners, Vanity Fair’s Next Establishments, Crain’s “40 under 40”, Forbes list of “Most Powerful CEOs Under 40”, AdWeek’s “Young Influentials,” Entrepreneur Magazine’s “Top 5 Entrepreneurs of the Year,” and Silicon Alley Insider’s “100 Coolest People in Tech” for six years running. He chairs the Board of Directors for the East River Development Alliance, a New York non-profit organization and is an Associate Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences (IADAS). Lerer is an active mentor for NYC Venture Fellows, TechStars and E[nstitute].

He graduated from The University of Pennsylvania in 2003 with a degree in Political Science and is an alumnus of the Dalton School in New York City.

Companies and Investments

East River Development Alliance (Chair, Board of Directors), International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences (Associate Member), NYC Venture Fellows (Active Mentor), TechStars (Active Mentor), E[nstitute](Active Mentor)

Lessons Learned

Don’t hope. — It sounds dark, but you can’t expect things to just happen for you. You won’t fall into a vat of money or luck your way into an ideal situation. You have to make your own luck, you have to work hard and you have to do everything you can to be successful. Anything less isn’t enough.

Try not to ride the highs and the lows like a rollercoaster. — There are going to be good days and there are going to be bad days. And when you’re an entrepreneur those days tend be taken incredibly personally – on a bad day you cry hysterically for hours and on a good day you dance naked in the streets. You have to find a way to not let those emotions get the best of you – otherwise you’ll waste a lot of time and energy on things you definitely can’t control and that in the end, probably don’t matter all that much.

Understand that everyone is working for themselves. — This is something that I didn’t immediately recognize but is really crucial to understand when managing a staff. The people who work for you aren’t building a company for you, they are building it for themselves – they are the center of their own universe. Just because you are the CEO, doesn’t mean they are coming to work every day to make you happy. They want to be happy and it’s your job to keep them that way.

Inspiring Quotes

Seek advice from people you trust — but dont doubt yourself.

Philip Krim

Dont fuck it up.


Ben Lerer's Quotes

It’s really all about wanting to be someone’s business partner and knowing that they’ll do whatever it takes when going through the struggles of building a business. You learn to have a gut instinct for knowing who will be able to take on those challenges.

Ben Lerer

What we realized is that the idea is only 5 percent of it – and the other 95 percent is about working your ass off to turn that idea into a reality.

Ben Lerer

Our greatest challenge was taking the idea and turning into a living and breathing thing.

Ben Lerer

Influential Books

Nick Bilton - Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal


Father, Ken Lerer (business partner).