Into the Light
Today Lux Capital announces a new $400 million venture fund and a new investing partner to usher in a bright new future
By Josh Wolfe and Peter Hébert
Science lights the path to truth. It starts with curiosity and imagination and leads to testing and disproving, then evidence and discovery. Eventually, insight and progress. Science, like gravity, doesn’t care about politics and doesn’t care whether you believe in it. It just is, regardless. It lights the future as it creates it. And it never slows down.
At Lux Capital, we are fanatics about science and technology. Today we are announcing a new fund: Lux Ventures V, L.P., a $400 million venture fund dedicated to investing in people inventing the future. This brings our total assets under management to $1.1 billion.
For more than a decade, we have been committed to supporting the founders of counter-conventional, high-risk, cutting-edge ventures that thrive at the outermost edges of what is possible.
The founders, engineers and scientists at Lux-backed companies are closing the gap between science fiction and science fact. When Princess Leia sent her plea for help via a droid-delivered hologram, she set the stage for Looking Glass. Helen Greiner, founder of CyPhy and iRobot, became enamored with robots as a little girl when she saw a walking, talking R2D2. Star Wars also showed pod racers zipping around the galaxy; today we have the Drone Racing League. Star Trek’s “replicator” inspired 3D printing at Shapeways and Desktop Metal. Creators of the movie Disclosure imagined the ability to scan 3D spaces and display them as digital VR — as Matterport does today.
Our portfolio includes breakthrough technologies such as:
- Driverless cars (Zoox)
- Space and satellites (Planet/Kymeta/Orbital Insight)
- Drones (AirMap/Drone Racing League/Saildrone/CyPhy)
- AI and Deep Learning (Clarifai/Primer/Recursion/Scaled Inference)
- Computing Infrastructure (Luxtera/Everspin (NASDAQ:MRAM) /Flex Logix/Nervana (acquired by Intel))
- 3D Printing and Imaging (Desktop Metal/Shapeways/Matterport)
- Holograms (Looking Glass Factory)
- Energy/Nuclear Waste Cleanup (Kurion, acquired by Veolia)
- The Human Brain (Kallyope/Halo Neuroscience/Cala Health)
- Surgical Robotics (Auris)
We are also announcing today that we’re bringing on a new investing partner, Renata Quintini. Before joining us, she was an investor at Felicis Ventures, where she worked on companies including Dollar Shave Club (acquired by Unilever for $1 billion) and Cruise (driverless cars; acquired by GM for $1 billion). She was also an early investor in Bonobos; MetroMile; Planet (satellites); Swift Navigation (autonomous vehicles); Survios (VR); and Rigetti (quantum computing).
That’s her CV. But there is even more to Renata than what you can see on paper. Her E.Q. is as high as her I.Q. Growing up in Brazil, she and her band performed on top of a float in front of thousands of people at Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. She is a Black Belt in Karate and was a three-time teen champion in her home state. Renata is also an attorney, which will bring us new perspectives to navigate challenges in ethics and regulations as we invest in new technologies with important societal and social impacts, such as robotics, drones and driverless cars.
We have worked hard to put together a team of diverse thinkers. Our team is comprised of immigrants and sons and daughters of immigrants. We are Iranian, Pakistani, Kashmiri, Australian, Brazilian, Polish, Russian, Irish, Italian, and Dominican. A map of our entrepreneurs leaves almost no country unpinned. We are also Muslims, Christians, Catholics, Jews and Atheists.
Aside from outward identifiers such as language, gender or the color of our skin, we value working with people who have different scientific, legal, philosophical or cultural perspectives. Our team is comprised of PhDs and MBAs, chemists, computational biologists, data scientists, economists, electrical engineers, machine-learning hackers and neuroscientists, as well as philosophers, photographers, school-starters, scuba divers and street-art enthusiasts. This is a business necessity. Lux companies are not just one thing. Our founding teams are often comprised of at least three major disciplines. Driverless cars, for example, require melding computer vision, mechanical engineering and machine learning.
Complexity demands interdisciplinarity.
Our name, “Lux,” is Latin for light. As in: We strive to shine a light on the unknown, the unseen and the misunderstood. It is in those dark places where you make the most meaningful discoveries.
If you’re interested in seeing the types of companies we have found, invested in and now support, check out this nifty visualization. It’s a peek into the (very near) future, according to our entrepreneurs.
If inventing the future is the type of thing you enjoy doing, and these are the types of people with whom you like to work, we hope you will consider reaching out. You can email us at email@example.com. We would love to hear your vision for the future.