Exploring New Horizons with Kurt Davis

Corey Kupfer
3 min readJun 7, 2023


Kurt Davis is a seasoned executive with a wealth of experience in Silicon Valley and Asia. Having worked extensively in corporate venture capital and business development for technology startups, Kurt has been involved in deals with industry giants like Apple, Microsoft, Spotify, and Sony.

His professional journey took an unexpected turn when he embarked on a soul-searching adventure in Africa. During his time there, Kurt co-founded Kakuma Ventures, a platform empowering African refugees to become entrepreneurs. This experience led him to write his second book, Finding Soul: From Silicon Valley to Africa, which captured his journey through twenty African countries.

Join Kurt Davis and I in this episode of the DealQuest Podcast as he shares his invaluable insights into investing and building in the startup world and much more. Listen Now:


Kurt shares his insights into utilizing early-stage investments as a strategy to identify and actively participate in promising startup opportunities. There has notably been a shift in risk tolerance in the investment landscape, so Kurt found it is important for regional entrepreneurship to drive significant growth.

Considering the impact of recent market shifts, the risk tolerance of investors has transformed, with fewer early-stage risk-takers and an increased focus on proven product-market fit. The current market conditions present unique opportunities for disruptive startups and visionary entrepreneurs.


Kurt’s strategy of using early-stage investments as a gateway to identify and get involved with startups that show promise. By investing in and closely observing these companies, he gains insights into their operations, potential, and the team’s ability to execute. This approach allows Kurt to evaluate opportunities beyond traditional investment due diligence and assess the possibility of becoming an executive or operator within the company.

There is an important emphasis on supporting local startup ecosystems and uncovering the untapped potential within overlooked regions. By investing in the Appalachian region and partnering with other angel investors, Kurt aims to nurture and develop high-potential startups that can create a significant impact.


In his book, Navigate to the Lighthouse, Kurt Davis explores the power of strategic partnerships and how they can propel startups into new realms of growth and opportunity.

Unlike traditional sales approaches, strategic partnerships require a significant investment of resources from both parties. There is a need for startups to allocate their time, talent, and assets to build collaborative relationships with industry leaders. By committing engineering resources, leveraging executive-level connections, and fostering cross-team collaboration, startups can demonstrate their dedication and commitment to the partnership, paving the way for mutual growth.

Strategic partnerships involve a reciprocal investment from both sides. Startups must recognize their value and assertively negotiate to ensure a fair exchange. While they may be smaller in size, startups can level the playing field by demonstrating their unique strengths and assets. By turning the tables and showcasing their value proposition, startups can position themselves as indispensable partners, fostering a sense of reciprocity in the partnership.

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator, and dealmaker. He has more than 35 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author, and professional speaker. He is deeply passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.

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Corey Kupfer

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker with 35+ years of experience. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.