The Greek Philosopher, Heraclitus, said in 500 BC that “Change is the only constant in life” and today, that is also apt for technology and venture capital.
At Race Capital, we believe that the next generation of technology innovations will need and require a new generation of venture capitalists.
20 years ago, the dominant technology companies were mostly started in the United States, especially Silicon Valley and of course, one from Seattle (Microsoft). Sure, technology companies can come from all over the world, but Silicon Valley was really the main driving force. In 2000, Microsoft was the #1 software company with a market cap of $586M. Microsoft was also the main and only company that was sued by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for trying to create a monopoly.
Fast forward 20 years, Silicon Valley continues to dominate, but a few more prominent technology platform companies emerged including Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Tesla, Alibaba (China), Tencent (China) and TSMC (Taiwan).
Microsoft is now valued at $1.8 trillion, but no longer the only one in the spotlight. FTC took jurisdiction over Amazon and Facebook, and the DOJ assumed jurisdiction over Apple and Google.
In Chinese, the world “crisis” is translated to 危機. 危 means “danger” and 機 means “opportunity”. I think the next generation of venture capitalists need to embrace new crisis and opportunities from:
- Potential monopoly rulings (FTC/DOJ) against Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple. New opportunities will come along with it.
- New competitors from Alibaba, Tencent, and soon, Bytedance (China) and TSMC (Taiwan) not only on Main Street but on Wall Street.
- A company’s future valuation will be determined by revenue, growth, and more importantly how much data it controls.
- Consumers and enterprises will continue to generate more and more data, but it is the millions of developers who will decide how data will be processed, analyzed and executed.
- Silicon Valley is invading and dominating Wall Street and this phenomenon will continue.
- Wall Street wants more of Silicon Valley via IPOs, direct listings, and now SPACs.
The new generation of venture capitalists and investors better get used to this or they will get left behind. For this new decade, the same trick won’t work, we need new venture capitalists with a new approach.
The new generation of venture capital investment thesis will need to include this architectural shift. The impending collision between transaction processing, big data analytics, and machine learning will require major engineering effort. That’s why we need new blood and new venture capitalists.
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