10/9/19 edit: VMware has acquired Carbon Black for $2.1 billion. So, we will increase the number of startups we will back.
After Carbon Black went public, Mrs. T. and I had some discussions. What should we do with my personal winnings (I co-led the first institutional round when it was called Bit9; details here and here)?
I’m excited to announce that our family will take all of those winnings and invest them in startups. We also will donate 100% of any gains to charities.
Why do this? First, we want to back entrepreneurs.
I have a low-income and immigrant background (more here). I am fortunate to have stumbled into the Innovation Economy. Giving back is the right thing to do.
Second, generating capital for our charities is massively motivating. We love Nomi Network, for example, and their work battling sex trafficking.
And, last, we like finding reasons for the family to work together. Many of our children now are adults, and I think it is good to show them how a piece of the Innovation Economy works.
Here is our current game plan:
- Goal: Invest in
5080 entrepreneurs over fiveeight years. Leverage capitalism for altruism
- Turnaround time: We are fast. We nearly always make a decision after just one meeting
- Our value-add: We know a lot of people and enjoy making connections. I’ve been in venture capital for 25 years. A “VC on demand” for when you need advice and introductions
- Current portfolio: Link here
- Geography: Flexible
- Security: Flexible. Either a note or equity is fine
- Stage and sector: Flexible, as long as you’re doing something innovative
- Board seats: None. I will be a passive investor
- Setting terms: We won’t
- Follow-on rounds: Unlikely. The goal is to help as many entrepreneurs as possible
- Avoiding conflicts: There won’t be overlap with the Kepha funds. To make sure, Eric must OK every investment
- Signaling risk: There won’t be. The Kepha funds already are fully committed
- Best way to reach us: A warm intro via someone who can say with high conviction that they know and trust you
- Process: To keep friction low for both sides, here are some questions. We prefer a single closing date or closing when you’ve circled upon a critical mass of capital
So, we view this as an experiment and one worth doing. Capital can help people do great things, regardless of their background, race, gender identity, education or social standing.
It’s why I’ve always loved VC. It can have social impact and be a force for good. It can be enabling and help good folks win.