Who is Josh Breinlinger?

featured post

In short

Josh Breinlinger is a co-founder of Rev.com. He was formerly a general partner at Jackson Square Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and two children. 

Early Life

Josh went to high school at Pinkerton Academy. He then went to MIT, graduating with a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering in 2000. 


Josh began his career at Arthur D. Little as a consultant and worked there until 2004. Later he became one of the founding team members and early employee at oDesk, a freelancer marketplace. In 2013, oDesk merged with Elance to become Upwork. He stayed at Upwork until February 2010. 

After he left Upwork, Josh teamed up with his friend Jason Chicola. They had noticed that remote working was becoming popular. Businesses had two main struggles with this trend. The first was managing distant workers effectively. The second was selecting the right talent from a large talent pool. That’s when they spotted an opportunity. They could screen the workers in advance and vet their work. They would also act as middlemen to directly manage the remote workers on behalf of companies. 

So, Josh and his partner co-founded Rev.com, a freelance marketplace for audio transcriptions, translations, and other speech-to-text services, in 2011. Breinlinger is no longer involved in Rev.com’s day-to-day but remains a board member. 

In 2011, Breinlinger joined Jackson Square Ventures, a $430-million VC firm, as general partner and exited the company in 2020. In January 2021, Josh launched his latest company, Turtle Ventures, where he invests in early-stage marketplace and SaaS businesses. 

His investments include Omniata (acquired by King), OfferUp, Rented.com, Contently, Kindly Care, Bus.com, Alto, Crexi, and Atrium. His experience in marketplace businesses earned him the nickname “King of marketplaces”.

He regularly blogs at acrowdedspace.com, a website about marketplace businesses.


  • Graduated MIT
  • Co-founded freelance marketplace oDesk (now Upwork)
  • General partner at $430m VC firm Jackson Square Ventures
  • Co-founded transcription services marketplace Rev.com
  • Founded investment firm Turtle Ventures

Top 10 Quotes by Josh Breinlinger

The stock market is the greatest wealth-creation machine of all time, but we don’t teach anything about it in school. That’s wrong.

In a marketplace, liquidity is the product.

In many ways, a horizontal marketplace is much more resilient than a vertical marketplace.

If a marketplace business is going to succeed, you need a massive existing market, a really bad customer experience in the existing market, and the ability to use technology to dramatically improve this customer experience.

With marketplace businesses, two of the things that matter the most to me are the frequency of purchase, and the size of the transaction.

I look for people who have really unique insights about their industry.

Where are the next big opportunities in marketplaces? One place to start is just looking at the Fortune 1000 and identifying weak incumbents.

Look for a system that focuses more on user behaviors than user feedback.

Seek a journalist mindset in your content marketing strategist.

Authentic and interesting stories engage people.




A weekly dose of insights to grow your SaaS.