Good morning, All,
Our next Breakfast with An Investor will be Wednesday, May 20th and we hope to see you there: it took us four months to nail down a date that fit into our guest investor Nnamdi Okike’s schedule. He is Co-founder & Partner at 645 Ventures, a seed and early-stage venture capital fund that invests in software and Internet companies. While they launched just over a year ago, they’ve already invested in 15+ companies – and are actively looking to invest in more!
Nnamdi is an experienced venture capital investor, having spent eight years at Insight Venture Partners, where he sourced and invested in several successful companies, including Folhamatic (acquired for $300 million), Astaro (acquired by Sophos), and Hitwise (acquired for $240 million). He served on the boards of Kabum, CSSN and Folhamatic. He currently works closely with 645 Ventures’ portfolio companies Keaton Row, Trendalytics, Hire an Esquire, and Poshly. He serves on the board of AbbeyPost and Rifiniti. He received a BA in Biology, MBA and JD degrees from Harvard.
Bonus Breakfast this month: We’re also co-hosting a Brunch and Q&A with Brian Cohen, Chairman of the New York Angels, on Sunday, May 17th. It’ll be a small group, so get your tickets now, and when are you going to have another opportunity to have brunch with the Chairman of one of the most active angel investing groups in the country? Here’s your chance! Register here.
In brief, the Pirates of Silicon Valley (which we’ve never seen, but know the story through reading various histories) is about the early days of the computer – and how both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates walked out of Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center) with a lot of the ideas and technology developed at Xerox, without paying a dime for it, and without so much as an acknowledgement to PARC’s contributions. Which were enormous. Still, we cannot underestimate either company’s contribution to the world – or the number of patent lawsuits either – et al – have pursued or been involved in ever since.
In case you missed it, Elon Musk just changed the world. Yet again. This time by creating a battery that stores solar energy, and he’s going to start shipping them in the next few months: $3000 – $3500, and we’re sure prices will come down, once the newness wears off and mass production kicks in by way of the factory that he’ll be opening in Nevada. Flatscreen televisions were once only available to the luxury market, too.
Musk also announced that the Powerpacks would come with open-source patents, in order to put the technology out there in the wild and spread the potential for further innovation – and mass reach. Which is nothing short of heresy in some quarters, but net-net is a win-win: the Powerpacks are presently not powerful enough for consumers to fully transition to solar energy and move completely off the grid, but with more companies working to solve the problem, the time to innovation and the solution would certainly be diminished. Then again, the mark of a true visionary is the ability to take the long view and be able to see 20 minutes into the future.
Paypal. Tesla Motors. SpaceX. Solar panels. That’s the difference. Elon Musk has created true disruption, taking a bite out of payments, the automobile industry, aerospace (working on it) and energy, especially with the potential for the new battery to disrupt those industries involved in fossil fuels.
People like Elon Musk come along and truly not only change the game, but up the stakes. Then releases the IP, because he knows that there’s more where that came from. Which is why the best of the best always will go and work with him, and we doubt that he worries about his people hopping to different companies to up their salaries – or having to embroil himself in lawsuits over wage-fixing (and note: while PayPal is mentioned, it was already owned by eBay). And which is the reason why so-called innovations like the Apple Watch no longer impress us. But Apple doesn’t always get it right the first time. iPad – ok. iPad Mini – sold!Marc Andreessen said back in 2011 that software is eating the world. There’s a world of difference between what Apple is calling innovation at present and what Elon Musk does. There’s also a big difference between software that’s eating the world by truly changing things, and those that come along simply to take another bite out of our paychecks. Onward and forward.