I couldn’t be more excited to share a piece of exciting news for Compound’s future, our portfolio companies, and our future portfolio companies. Mike Dempsey will be joining Josh and I on the investment team at Compound, leading the firm’s efforts and new investments in Frontier Technologies, as well as other emerging categories.
I often hear people discussing the question — what is frontier tech? In some ways, it’s difficult to define and your definition may depend on what industry you are in or where your organization falls on the spectrum of disruption. It wasn’t too long ago that having a website or having a mobile or global strategy was considered frontier. Today everything is global and everything is mobile. Compound’s definition of frontier tech includes autonomous vehicles, satellites, drones, space, VR/AR and other emerging categories that we’re still learning more about such as the future of food and genomics. We view frontier tech and emerging categories as elastic and as more possibilities emerge and present themselves, Mike will help Compound become that much more prepared to find solutions.
Mike is no stranger to us at Compound; he and Josh have known each other for several years and he has been working with our team in a less official role over the course of the last few months. 2016 was a busy year for Compound. In addition to our day jobs of partnering with and helping great founders, we rebranded, closed our third fund, and moved offices (come check out our new “Compound”). Although we’ve thought about it quite a bit, my attention wasn’t fully focused on growing our team in the near term. However, when Josh came to me and proposed meeting Mike, I couldn’t have been more excited about the prospect of working together at some point.
I’ve been a big fan of Mike’s thought leadership dating back to his time at CBInsights — his strong opinions are backed by thoughtfulness and deep knowledge that makes everyone who knows and follows him smarter. In particular, his posts — Breaking Down The Drone Stack and What Everyone in Autonomous Vehicles is (and will be) Talking About showcase his well-researched opinions and thoughtfulness, rare traits in an industry full of hot takes and fast followers.
From my conversations with Mike, I learned that he was in a transition period following his relocation from the west coast, spending time on a few of his interests in the short term while he figured out what he wanted to do next. We decided to spend some time working together on new investments, our portfolio companies and productizing the firm’s platform. At Compound we are laser-focused on building the best possible platform for our founders in the hopes that we can arm them with the necessary tools, relationships and insights for success. Over the last few months, our shared vision of how to build this type of VC firm became overwhelmingly apparent and I’m thrilled to partner with Mike as his role becomes official today.
Assembling the right team with a mosaic of skills is paramount to continued and sustained success and I believe culture plays an essential role in the process. At Google we always used what we called “the airport test” as the final step in our hiring process. Essentially this “test” was to imagine that you were in an airport, missed your flight and were trapped to hang out with your future colleague for hours on end — would you be excited or dread the situation? If you were going to dread the situation, it didn’t matter how smart or accomplished the candidate was. Mike passes this test with flying colors has already hit the ground running with his impact on our culture. Mike is a very smart and terrific person with an amazing sense of humor who knows a fair amount about everything (and if not — he’ll find out). The Compound team has already learned a lot from Mike and we are excited to offer our founders, future founders and the greater ecosystem Mike’s partnership and guidance. Mike — welcome to Compound.