To anticipate who will succeed and to invest wisely, investors spend a lot of time trying to understand the longer-term trends within an industry. In this panel discussion, top-tier VCs look over the horizon to consider the big trends in how data is being put to work in startups and share what they think the field will look like in a few years (or more).
Lisha is a principal at Amplify Partners. She invests in technical founders solving ambitious problems. From compute substrate to the creative process, medicine to manufacturing, she is excited to be investing at a time when machine intelligence and data-driven methods have such incredible potential for impact. Investments she has been involved with include Embodied Intelligence and Primer. Lisha completed her PhD at UC Berkeley focusing on deep learning and probability. While at Berkeley she also did statistical consulting, advising on methods and analysis for experimentation and interpretation, and interned as a data scientist at Pinterest and Stitch Fix. She was the lecturer of discrete mathematics, as well as the graduate instructor for probability and computer science theory. Other things she has dabbled in include acting (unionized in Canada) and dance (was an artist with a modern dance company). A fun turn of events one summer visiting Paris as a research mathematician, Lisha found herself the subject of the short films “A Portrait of a Mathematician lady” and “Sizes of Infinity” by filmmaker Olivier Peyon that ties some of these eclectic interests.
Katherine Boyle is a principal at General Catalyst, a bicoastal venture capital firm with $5B under management. She focuses on early-stage investments in frontier technology and highly regulated industries, including aerospace, defense, computational biology, robotics, and autonomous mobility. Before becoming an investor, she was a staff reporter at the Washington Post, where her features and investigations appeared in every section of the paper (except Sports). Katherine holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where she was research and teaching assistant to Condoleezza Rice and Amy Zegart for their course and newly released book Political Risk: How Businesses and Organizations Can Anticipate Global Insecurity. She’s a graduate of Georgetown University and holds a master’s degree in public advocacy from National University of Ireland, Galway, where she was George J. Mitchell Scholar.
Wayne Hu is a partner at SignalFire, a hybrid venture firm and technology company that has built real-time AI platforms and predictive tools in areas such as hiring and competitive intelligence. He helped found the investment team in 2015, and currently leads seed stage investments with a focus on emerging technology platform shifts and historically innovation-sparse sectors. Wayne’s investments to date include data-driven companies such as Juvo, ScopeAR, and Mapper.AI. Previously, Wayne led global strategy for YouTube ads monetization, helping shape go-to-market for Google’s growing multi-billion dollar video business. Wayne received an MBA from Harvard Business School while also working part-time at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, where he used data to identify potential breakout companies. Prior to that, he earned his B.A. from Princeton in mathematical economics. Wayne was taught to code at a young age by his parents from rural Taiwan who immigrated to the US to become engineers. Today, he lives out his childhood dreams by partnering with early-stage startups using technology to break down barriers to a more connected, open and educated society.
Andrew Parker is a General Partner at Spark Capital, focusing on early-stage investments.
Andrew has led Spark’s investments in Carta, Kik, Panorama Education, Socratic, Splash, Timehop, Particle, and Quantopian.
Andrew surveys the startup landscape through the lens of a recovering product designer and engineer. He is consistently drawn to entrepreneurs who are makers—the ones who, in the early days, are actually hands on building the product experience themselves.
Prior to joining Spark in 2010, Andrew was a member of the investment team at Union Square Ventures. Before becoming an investor, Andrew did UI design and user-experience testing at Homestead Technologies and was a web developer at Groupspace.org.
Andrew holds a B.S. in Symbolic Systems from Stanford University. When not working, you’ll find Andrew outside: running, hiking, skating, or doing yoga. Andrew lives in Palo Alto with his wife (a cancer surgeon) and their cat.
Brandon Reeves is an investor at Lux Capital. His goal is to identify companies that are turning science fiction into science fact, especially in areas of autonomous systems, robotics, machine intelligence, and space. Prior to joining Lux, he was on the investment team at Capricorn Investment Group in Palo Alto, California, where he focused on autonomy, mobility, space, and semiconductors. Previously, he worked for Texas Instruments in Sunnyvale, California, where he was a Field Applications Engineer that supported Tesla Motors and their autopilot and sensing teams. Brandon carries a BS in electrical engineering from the University of Central Florida and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
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