Society News Update, 2 Feb. 2017

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Fellows: Interviewers Still Needed for Class 22

We ask for your help in the next 2 months to interview the great candidates that have been nominated by our Society for Class 22. Interviewers’ feedback strongly influences admission decisions, and each Fellow who interviews a candidate provides an important perspective. Please complete this form if you are able to assist, letting us know your availability during February–March. Your prompt response is much appreciated and will help us schedule candidates efficiently.


  • Rob Rueckert (Class 12) writes in TechCrunch on wireless power charging as the key to the IoT
  • Adrian Li (Class 21) compares Indonesia today with 2007 China in VentureBeat article
  • Bryan Roberts (Class 3) interviewed in Forbes as Venrock closes $450M Fund 8
  • Emergence Capital team offers 2017 enterprise cloud insights
  • Lak Ananth (Class 12) and next47 partner with TechStars
  • Eric Hallstein (Class 15) discusses Nature Conservancy’s $1B NatureVest impact fund
  • Fellows on the move: Sola Adeola
    (Class 15) is now at L.A.T. Clevson • Sujay Jaswa (Class 13) teams up with former DreamWorks Animation execs for new fund
  • This week’s blog selections: Nino Marakovic (Mentor Class 13) discusses the merits of the “Fast No” • Corey Ford (Class 17) writes a free-verse essay on 2017 being the year of the media “rebelpreneur”
  • Job opportunities: Gates Foundation Venture CapitalBurberry

Rob Rueckert (Class 12) Writes in TechCrunch on Wireless Power Charging as the Key to the IoT

TechCrunchRob Rueckert (Class 12) wrote a TechCrunch article, “Actualizing the Internet of Things All Starts with Wireless.” The proliferation of IoT devices today, particularly in mobile and wearable technology, is hampered by the power needs of the devices: they must be plugged in and recharged on a regular basis, sometimes more than once per day. Given that there are no new quantum-leap battery technologies in the pipeline (beyond the laboratory stage), Rob believes that wireless power delivery will be the driving force for fulfilling the promise and full capability of the Internet of Things. In this article, Rob discusses the four main technologies available today for delivering power wirelessly—magnetic resonance, lasers, ultrasound, and RF—and which ones he thinks have the greatest potential, along with some interesting companies in the startup phase. Read the full story; perhaps one day soon, your phone running out of battery will be a thing of the past.

Adrian Li (Class 21) Compares Indonesia Today with 2007 China in VentureBeat Article

VentureBeatAdrian Li (Class 21), founder of Convergence Ventures, outlines the reasons why Indonesia is a great destination for investors looking to join a market in its infancy in a VentureBeat article, “Indonesia Is an Investment Opportunity Like China Was in 2008.” Citing the country’s population (4th largest in the world), economic growth, and “mobile-first” connectivity as starting points, Adrian points to examples of startups that have successfully adapted business models familiar to any Silicon Valley resident to local conditions on the archipelago through culturally cognizant localization. “Consumers have essentially the same needs all over the world,” Adrian points out. “With small tweaks, these ideas can become near-sure solutions for their local market.”

$3B in venture funding was poured into the Southeast Asia market in the year ending June 2016, slightly more than the $2.7B invested in China in 2007. Chinese investors are taking notice of this market landscape too, as they are looking abroad for the next big thing. During a visit last year by the influential China Angels investment group, its Chairman remarked: “This represents a great opportunity to invest both in terms of timing and proven models to invest into.”

Bryan Roberts (Class 3) Interviewed in Forbes as Venrock Closes New $450M Fund 8

ForbesFollowing Venrock’s recent close of its 8th fund at $450M, partner Bryan Roberts (Class 3) was interviewed in a “Fireside Chat” in Forbes. Bryan has been on the Forbes Midas List every year since 2009, and has a stunning 9 unicorns in his investing history. Bryan’s preferred startup to invest in is the one that no one else likes, initially: “I feel like I spend years going, ‘I don’t know why everyone in the world doesn’t love this.’” He primarily backs first-time CEOs, preferring them to serial entrepreneurs, and Venrock has a strong focus on seed and Series A investments. For the last several years, he has been focusing on digital health and health IT: “I am hugely intellectually selfish,” says Bryan. “I work on stuff that is interesting to me from an intellectual perspective. The sea changes going on in how people pay for and organize healthcare have been fascinating to me.” Read the full interview.

VentureBeatIn a blog post announcing the fund close, Bryan describes the moment by saying, “We are really at the beginning of an arduous journey towards a tenuous goal, more so than at an end, worthy of celebration.”

Emergence Capital Team Offers 2017 Enterprise Cloud Insights

Emergence logoIn a MatterMark post titled “The Deskless Workforce, ‘Enterprized’ Consumer and Other 2017 Enterprise Cloud Trends,” some of the Emergence Capital team (Kevin Spain, Class 11, Mentor Class 18; Gordon Ritter, Mentor Class 15; Jake Saper, Class 20; Joe Floyd, Class 18; Brian Jacobs, Mentor Class 11; and Jason Green, Charter Class, Mentor Class 20) offer their thoughts about the direction of the enterprise cloud software industry. Influential trends of note, the authors say, will emphasize rendering enterprise software as user-friendly as their consumer counterparts to appeal to a younger generation of workers, tooling enterprise applications for a more mobile workforce, and deploying lower-cost data-gathering and analysis technologies to fuel machine learning for specific sectors. Read the full story.

Lak Ananth (Class 12) and next47 Partner with TechStars

TechStars logonext47, Siemens’ new startup unit led by Lak Ananth (Class 12), has joined TechStars as a corporate partner in its 3-month Mobility and IoT accelerator programs. The IoT program is based in NYC; Kauffman Fellow Karen Kerr (Charter Class) of GE Ventures is also a mentor for the program. The Mobility accelerator is based in Detroit, Michigan, and focuses on startups allowing people and goods to move around more freely, across all modes of transportation. [Press release]

Note: Lak is looking for an Executive Assistant; please have interested parties email him:

Eric Hallstein (Class 15) Discusses Nature Conservancy’s $1B NatureVest Impact Fund

NatureVest/Nature Conservancy logoBuilding on the coverage of last week’s release of the State of Private Investment in Conservation 2016 report, TriplePundit asks: “Investors Put Over $8B Into Conservation: Can It Continue in the Trump Era?“ The story quotes Eric Hallstein (Class 15), director of conservation investments for the Nature Conservancy, and discusses the organization’s $1B impact investment unit NatureVest, which was founded in 2014. NatureVest aims to use the strengths of a nonprofit to promote ecological impact investing, from financing smaller investments with donor capital to asking the scientific community to measure the impact of new ventures. Handling the nuts-and-bolts legwork removes a significant barrier to conservation investing: Eric reports, “We’re seeing pretty significant deal flow across everything that we do, but much of it requires foundation or philanthropic support to get started, because the diligence itself relative to the deal size doesn’t necessarily ‘pencil out.’”

Fellows on the move:

  • Sola Adeola (Class 15) is now Head of Corporate Strategy at L.A.T. Clevson. The firm has offices in Nigeria and London, and invests in African startups; its investment model aims to “generate wealth that contributes to economic development.” As such, its portfolio companies often sit at the convergence of several sectors; this boutique firm invests proprietary capital or strategic co-investment opportunities, custom-tailored to the needs of each venture.
  • Sujay Jaswa (Class 13) has joined with former DreamWorks Animation execs Jeffrey Katzenberg and Ann Daly to form a new fund, WndrCo (pronounced “Wonder Co.”), which has raised $600M so far from 18 investors, according to their Form D filing. The Los Angeles Times reports that the firm hopes to close the fund at $750M over the next few months. WndrCo is “expected to pursue investments in emerging companies that work in the increasingly hybrid industries of technology and entertainment.” Read the full story.

This week’s blog selections:

  • Nino Marakovic (Mentor Class 13) writes on the Sapphire Ventures blog, “The ‘Fast No’ Paradox,” with his recommendations to startup CEOs in the fundraising process: be thankful for a “fast no” and be wary of a “fast yes.”
  • Corey Ford (Class 17) was invited to contribute to Nieman Lab’s “Predictions for Journalism 2017.” Corey’s contribution is a free verse piece entitled, “The Year of the Rebelpreneur.” Corey writes, “The seeds of the next great media institutions will be planted this year by courageous entrepreneurs who make the leap to build ventures that speak truth to power, close the empathy gap, and take a radically inclusive approach to amplifying the voices of all Americans.”

Do you write a blog, or have an essay you’d like to share? Email and we’ll include it here.

Job opportunities:

Several job opportunities have been sent in by Fellows; see below for details. Jobs are removed from this list after 4 weeks. Browse back-issues of Society News if you’re looking for an older job post. If you are a Fellow or Mentor and would like to post a job at your firm or portfolio company, please email us.

  • Charlotte Hubbert (Class 14), Partner at Gates Foundation Venture Capital (the investment arm of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), is looking to hire a Principal, primarily focused on early-stage biotechnology, to join her 10-person investment team. Working with the Foundation’s program teams, the Principal will help source investment opportunities that have the potential to significantly advance the Foundation’s goals and then lead deal teams on the negotiation, execution, and portfolio management of venture investments, including serving as the Foundation’s board representative or observer for certain investee companies. Read the full job description and apply online on the Foundation’s website.
  • Daniel Heaf (Class 15), SVP Digital Commerce & Digital Marketing at Burberry, has announced on LinkedIn that their firm is searching for a Senior Digital Marketing Manager, based in London. This manager is responsible for perfecting the firm’s long-term digital content strategy; deliver a consistent, seamless experience across touch-points; and monitor the digital landscape for new opportunities. Extensive digital marketing experience with a background in leading digital platforms strategies is required for this mid-senior level position. Read the full job description, including application information, on LinkedIn.

Do you have a news story to share? Please email us:

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