What to expect from Season 2 of the Operators

Last year, my good friend Tim and I started a show called the Operators. We were inspired by amazing stories we had heard on shows like How I Built This and 20MinuteVC. We wanted to focus more on the nuts and bolts and getting things off the ground, more “How I’m Building This” or “20MinuteFounder.”

We liked the name “Operators” as it signaled someone doing something versus pontificating or passively supporting/investing. It was also a fun nod to both the special forces connotation and the immortal Sade song:

Give it 30 seconds, you’re welcome.

We had three defined goals:

  1. Help founders learn how to hire and manage expertise outside their own. …

If you’re a pre-Series A founder w/o much experience in finance or financial modeling, this post is for you.

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A Super Fast Overview and History of Tech VC: Part V

Thanks to Michael Ramos-Lynch for co-writing this series with me.

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You know what’s weird? Day by day, nothing seems to change, but pretty soon…everything’s different.

This is the final of five posts in a series on the history and future of venture capital. While prior installments were retrospective and provide helpful context for this post, they aren’t necessary reading to understand this one, which looks to the future. The four previous posts covered: (1) early formalization of venture capital from the 1950s through the dotcom bubble, (2) cleantech and the Internet in the post-dotcom era, (3) the rise of mobile technology and Web 2.0, …

The Floodgates Open and the Rise of the Unicorn (2013 to 2018)

Thanks to Michael Ramos-Lynch for co-writing this series with me.

Why did seed investment explode over the last five years?

Why are there so many unicorns (companies valued over $1 billion)?

How will SoftBank return a $100 billion fund?

All that and more in this fourth post on the history of tech VC.

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For context, check out our previous posts. The first one covers the early formalization of venture capital from the 1950s through the dotcom bubble. The second explores the post-dotcom era. In the third, we reviewed the split of gains from Web 2.0 and mobile by and between incumbents and upstarts. …

Accelerators, Web 2.0, and the Mobile Tsunami (2008–2013)

Thanks to Michael Ramos-Lynch for co-writing this series with me.

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Venture capital for technology has evolved tremendously since it began formalizing almost 70–80 years ago. The last 20 years have seen the most rapid changes.

This post covers the rise of accelerators, the impact of increased access to information, and the domination of mobile, a time period roughly from 2008 to 2013. Our first post covered the 1950s thru the dotcom bubble, as well as a bit on who we are and why we’re writing.

The Recovery: America comes Online and the Cleantech Bubble (2001–2007)

Thanks to Michael Ramos-Lynch for co-writing this series with me.

This is the second of five posts on the history of venture capital and the technology industry. Check out our first post for an overview of the formalization of venture capital from the 1950s through the dotcom bubble as well as some background on who we are and why we’re writing.

In this post, we discuss the post-dotcom era, when investments diverged, America came online, and cleantech surged.

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They’re so beautiful until they burst

The Post Dotcom Refractory Period

After the peak of the dotcom bubble in March of 2000, the public and private markets both collapsed, taking until late 2002 / early 2003 to finally reach a bottom. This was three years of falling share prices. Three years of companies and venture funds failing. And three years of less investment in and by venture capital funds. …

Part I: A Beta was born, the genesis of modern day venture capital

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Thanks to Michael Ramos-Lynch for co-writing this series with me.

My friend Michael and I recently had a long conversation about where venture capital was going as an industry. Realizing we lacked some historical context to back up our hypotheses, we decided to do some research.

We collected and analyzed data through online resources like PitchBook, the NVCA, CB Insights, and others. We also interviewed several significant figures in the VC and tech industry who generously shared their insights, typically from decades of experience.

Realizing how much info we had, we decided to organize and share it for three reasons: (1) to provide a convenient means for anyone else to quickly gain a broad understanding of the evolution of the industry, (2) to contribute context to conversations regarding the future of tech/VC, and (3) to spark a thoughtful dialogue about the industry. We firmly believe that you need to know where you’ve been to know where you’re going. …

Vicarious Surgical is working to realize the promise of surgical robotics. They have been in “stealth mode” since I first invested a few years ago, and so I’m excited to talk about them for the first time publicly. I’ll start with some background on surgical robotics from my own experiences to provide context before sharing more about the team, their company, and their mission.

I’ve been in the healthcare industry for over a decade now (TFW), and first came across “robot-assisted surgery” when I was in medical school. …

Cleanliness is next to godliness, or at least close to genetic engineering with CRISP.

CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) is the basis of a very real future where humans can play god — discretely editing genomes at will. Massive commercial and therapeutic potential remains mostly unrealized, stuck in the conceptual / R&D phase after years of patent-related lawsuits. Additionally, ethical questions abound.

What are the implications of genetically engineering human embryos to eliminate disease, or even more dramatically, to enhance human ability? We will have to answer those questions eventually, and it won’t be an easy exercise.

Although I love working with founders and venture investing, I usually loathe writing about it. Most posts I read feel overdone and end up being reductionist to the point of low or no utility. Despite that, I felt the need to write about my most recent startup investment. The company, Recursion Pharmaceuticals, is on a mission that stands to change not just the pharmaceutical industry, but our entire understanding of cell biology. Yes, that’s a more subtle and specific way of saying it will change the world.

I left the path of medicine over eight years ago. One reason was my realization that clinical decision-making is highly algorithmic. More data leads to more knowledge leads to more certainty and less errors. Before you know it, doctors don’t have to do a differential diagnosis or strategize a treatment plan because computers do that. …


Neil Devani

Investing in and supporting change.

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