Luv Ventures: Dalgaard Investment Firm
I am so lucky to have the rare opportunity to announce, that I am going to start a global technology investment firm.
For the last decade, I’ve been in the extraordinary situation of spending time with the best founders in the areas of technology that hold the greatest potential to change the world and spawn the world’s next great class of companies — robotics, machine learning, intelligent data analytics, AI, fin tech, blockchain and synthetic biology. The speed with which innovation is happening in all these areas is just astounding. The amount of successful companies is not.
Most of the time the technology works, but it fails to break out as an important company bc of leadership execution issues. From the 3 main business chapters in my life, 1) investor, 2) founder/CEO, 3) Board/exec in big companies I know how to close this gap fast.
Impressive entrepreneurs at all stages from day 1 up until right before going public, knocking on my door, is a consistent and irresistible deal-flow. We could invest for a small or big ownership. We will invest stage-agnostic where the technology is breakthrough, and we find conviction the CEO has something to prove, is self aware, not entitled, kind to others, and willing to be vulnerable and learn. Essentially, leaders who are committed to building a weatherproof company.
The leaders I have in my life tell me: no one has pushed them more, to be the best version of themselves, than I did. That’s a special and unusual skill, and I know it can create 10X better tech companies and I want to build the investment firm that helps CEOs get there.
When you break through the emotional barriers built up since childhood and deeply connect with the brave, tireless and responsible tech entrepreneurs you have invested in, it’s a breathtaking thrill.
Somewhat new, in addition to traditional LPs, we will also invite select corporate LPs to both get access, but also help quickly unblock the colossal access friction that exists between startups, corporations and consumers.
As I launch this new fund, I will draw on the experiences and lessons I’ve gained in all aspects of my life — but three chapters in particular:
- 1) Experienced investor. It has been a great privilege to be a General Partner helping build Andreessen Horowitz over the last almost 5 years, making 10 investments, working across the portfolio companies, I have made friends for life. I am deeply grateful for this experience, the additional access it has given me and what I have learned, the fun we had. While leading my own investment firm, I will stay intensely engaged as a board partner continuing to support those 10 investments, and their teams.
- 2) CEO from startup to public company and $3.4B acquisition. As CEO and Co-founder of SuccessFactors, I took the company from incorporation through 17 quarters of IPO, and a $3.4B sale. We built it to 1000’s of employees, added 50 million paying users (a number that has now reached over 100 million) across 200 countries.
- We helped pioneer a brand new industry, as one of the first cloud companies in the world. SuccessFactors’ way of working together, our culture, produced one of the highest performing cloud companies ever, and one of the biggest outcomes in software history. Post-acquisition, I joined the $100B SAP Board of Directors and ran all of SAP’s cloud software products, building relationships for life.
- 3) Big Consumer and Enterprise company experience. I saw from the inside of 2 of the world’s biggest global companies, which are dominant in their fields, how big corporations work, where they can take more risks, and how they have opportunities to use and buy technology faster.
The values the firm will look for and support. Through this full eco system tour of duty, I have learned who I want to work with and how we will build this firm. Hard work is expected, and points on the board, not yardage is what matters. I believe in radical brutal honesty and transparency. It means being honest with yourself, especially when it hurts, and embracing that reality, and acting on it. There’s nothing to lose from being kind. You can always strive towards choosing care, and heart. I admire leaders who build for more than themselves, for the greater community, don’t throw anyone under the bus, and never talk behind anyone’s backs. I call it Luv! Heck, to remind ourselves at SuccessFactors we even put a heart in our logo. The investment firm will be called LUV Ventures, bc being the best leader you can be, starts with opening your heart. There’s never too much love.
- Timing. To support entrepreneurs, teams and companies that share these values, I am now in the process of carefully putting together the community that will be at the center of my new firm. I am excited to bring together a world-class group of individuals, funds, corporations, traditional LPs, family offices, etc. to help create a firm that endures, even beyond my leadership one day. This fund’s goal will not be to compete with other VCs, or PE firms, but definitely to partner instead. The primary goal is to bring magical technology to the world faster. I look forward to making our first investments before the end of 2018 — and I couldn’t be more excited!
When good tech startup founders dare to become vulnerable, drop their stories and defensive personas, open up and get in flow with their team and investors, they become unstoppable leaders. The deep connection and trust I feel at that moment is magical. That’s when the marvelous technologies, can become thriving companies, that increasingly disrupt and expand billion $ industries everywhere.