Tech Investor Perspectives for 2017

Participants:

Cack Wilhelm, Principal at Scale Venture Partners - Enterprise OnlyParker Barrile, Partner at Norwest Venture PartnersArjun Dev Arora, Venture Partner at 500 StartupsJoanne Chen, Partner at Foundation CapitalMatt Heiman, Investor at Greylock Partners (see below for bios)

Moderator and Host:

Gregory Kennedy, Co-Founder of Uncharted Minds (@IamGkennedy)

Is Trump good or bad for startups?

  • In the near term - Trump is anti-large company - advocates smaller businesses
  • Deregulation of FDA (smaller healthcare startups may benefit)
  • Will definitely affect talent and people immigrating to the US which may ignite other tech hubs around the world to accelerate
  • Repatriation of cash? (larger corporations with more $ on balance sheets may encourage more acquisitions)

Unicorns - are we in a tech bubble, are valuations correct?

  • 18 months - large strategics (non tech companies) start to move in and buy tech companies (ie walmart bought jet, GM bought cruise, etc.)
  • IPO markets to open back up this year

Valuations are a function of supply and demand- why has it behaved this way?

  • 2015- supply from a capital perspective has risen dramatically (Chinese investors, other institutional investors playing in this space)
  • Never been easier or capital efficient to start companies 
  • You can now create and extract value before companies go public - investors have realized the potential of returns in VC

Where are you putting money?

  • ENTERPRISE (Cack) AWS, Opensource, the deep tech stack is starting to be commoditized and the value is moving up the stack - they will provide extreme value in the marketplace but not for VC investors
  • Innovation in smart home
  • Common human problems
  • Fintech (solving real problems, the consumer side isn’t exciting - the insurance side, lending side, auto-title lending are)
  • REAL ESTATE (under ‘technologized’)
  • Mar-Tech ‘Marketing Tech’ Marketers spend trillions of dollars on ads (BUDGET SPEND IS HUGE)
  • 2014-2016 - $20B of announced exits in marketing/adtech
  • Foundation Capital are huge investors in Video
  • Consumer behavior - Messaging - cost-cutting function around customer service or to automate services that were previously too expensive
  • Future of work
  • Audio as an interface- Amazon, Alexa, Siri
  • Autonomous vehicles - race for engineering talent is huge
  • Industrials - shipping (ex. Flexport)

Where aren’t you putting money?

  • Ad-tech 
  • E-commerce (very difficult)
  • 360 video

Advice for entrepreneurs looking to raise $$?

  • Look to the Market to validate the demand - NOT investors

Panel:

Cack Wilhelm, Principal at Scale Venture Partners - Enterprise Only

Cack joined Scale Venture Partners in 2014 and focuses on investments in next-generation enterprise software companies, with a particular emphasis on the cloud infrastructure, big data, DevOps, and security sectors. Cack’s efforts have led to Scale investments in mobile database company Realm and cloud analytics infrastructure company Treasure Data. Prior to joining Scale Venture Partners, Cack was an enterprise sales representative, first at Oracle selling databases and data integration tools, and later at Cloudera, where she sold the management application for Apache Hadoop to early-adopters in the push toward distributed parallel computing. Cack was initially drawn to the technology and software sectors while at Montgomery & Company, where she helped advise on software acquisitions and capital raises. Cack holds a M.B.A from The University of Chicago – Booth School of Business and a B.A. from Princeton University.

Parker Barrile, Partner at Norwest Venture Partners

Parker Barrile is a product builder and Silicon Valley veteran, who recently joined Norwest Venture Partners as a Partner on the Internet & Consumer team. Most recently, Parker was Chief Product Officer at Prosper, a marketplace lending company, where he led Product, Design, and Engineering. Previously, Parker was VP of Product at LinkedIn, where he led a product org responsible for 80% of LinkedIn’s revenue during a period of 20x growth, from $100 million in 2009 to $2 billion in 2014. Prior to LinkedIn, Parker founded a venture-backed startup and held product and business strategy roles at Google and Bain & Company. Parker has served as an advisor to startups such as Medallia, Thumbtack, NerdWallet, Doximity, and Procore. He holds a BS in Math from Stanford and an MBA from Stanford GSB, where he was an Arjay Miller Scholar.

Arjun Dev Arora, Venture Partner at 500 Startups

Arjun is currently a Venture Partner at 500Startups, the most active early stage venture firm in the world. He works very closely with the SF accelerator as well as other regional funds and leads the efforts for fundraising for the fund. Prior to 500Startups Arjun was the Chairman, Founder, and CEO of ReTargeter, a leading digital advertising technology company which was acquired by Sellpoints in 2015. Recognized at the White House and the UN in 2013 and at the Global Summit for Entrepreneurship in 2012 for his success and commitment to a values-centered organization. Arjun has also invested in or advised over 50 early stage companies in the last several years including AngelList, Change.org, BranchMetrics and more. Arjun graduated from UC Berkeley with degrees in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Entrepreneurship & Technology.

Joanne Chen, Partner at Foundation Capital

Joanne Chen started as a technology entrepreneur when she was nine years old, selling Web design services to local businesses. She studied electrical engineering and computer science at the University of California, Berkeley, and holds a master of business administration from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. In July 2014, she joined Foundation Capital, where she is heavily involved in sourcing new deals, with a focus on seed- to growth-stage companies with annual revenue of around $15 million. She also launched Foundation Capital's Berkeley Founder's Program, which helps entrepreneurs currently enrolled as students or alumni of UC Berkeley attain seed capital for their startups. Prior to her venture career, Ms. Chen worked as an engineer at Cisco Systems Inc., and was a co-founder of a mobile educational games company called Learning Yard. She began her investing career at Chicago's Hyde Park Venture Partners in 2012.

Matt Heiman, Investor at Greylock Partners

Matt joined Greylock Partners as an investor in 2016. Prior to joining Greylock, Matt worked at Charles River Ventures and Greycroft Partners. He was a growth equity investor at Lee Equity Partners where he helped lead investments in the areas of media, consumer, and healthcare. Before that, he worked as a consultant at McKinsey & Company, where he managed teams advising Fortune 500 clients across a number of industries. He also founded a technology startup and was a founding board member of Mommy Nearest. Matt received his MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he graduated as an Arjay Miller Scholar. At Stanford, Matt was the President of Stanford’s Private Equity Club and Jewish Business Students Association. He holds a B.A in Economics and Psychology from Columbia University, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa and was awarded the Stanley I. Fishel Prize and Costantino Colombo Award. Matt is a native New Yorker and West Coast transplant.

Moderator and Host:

Gregory Kennedy, Co-Founder of Uncharted Minds (@IamGkennedy)

Gregory Kennedy is the Co-Founder of the highly regarded Uncharted Minds Thought Leadership Series. The series has featured speakers from top Silicon Valley companies such as Airbnb, Lyft, Medium, PayPal, Coinbase, BoostVC, Misfit Wearables and more. Gregory is a sought after thought leader, speaker and author whose writing has been featured on The BBC, VentureBeat, YahooFinance, Entrepreneur.com, CMO.com, and Marketing Profs. A former creative director and user interface designer, he has held marketing roles at InMobi, TapSense, and AdRoll. Born in New York City, he now calls Berkeley, California his home.