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Top Takeaways from DNX Executive Advisory Board Day 2022

We have just hosted our first ever DNX Executive Advisory Board (EAB) Day, which was also our first in-person EAB event post-pandemic. We had the honor to invite 40+ members from our portfolio companies, corporate LPs, and EAB members from across the nation.

What is EAB?

ICYMI: we formed the DNX EAB community at the beginning of 2021. It is a group of highly valued enterprise executives and serial entrepreneurs, all with rich industry experience and deep technical backgrounds. EAB has become an essential part of our extensive network of over 60 Global 2000 and Fortune 500 corporate partners and individual advisors. (Learn about some of the EAB members from our previous spotlights: Jon Gelsey, Tendü Yogurtçu)

This event was organized so our EAB members could meet each other in person after a year of virtual trend events and discussions. Additionally, we wanted to gain insights into their expertise and hear their thoughts on some of the DNX investment areas in order to accelerate the growth of our portfolio companies.

It was a value-packed and highly interactive day, to say the least. We would like to share some of the highlights and takeaways from the sessions.

What was Discussed at EAB Day?

One of the highlights was hosting Tom Reilly, ex-CEO of Cloudera and ArcSight, serial advisor, and board member to a number of startups, and learning from his experience on how advisors can proactively provide more value to startups. He proposed a “magic formula” on how to track milestones and test whether the value is continuously added throughout his or her advisorship. We learned so much from this session, and it was a great opportunity to think of how we could elevate the EAB into an even better community of high-value advisors.

We also discussed existing, evolving, and new DNX investment areas. Throughout these conversations, we extracted great insights and feedback from the EAB members to strengthen our investment theses.

Web3 Security

Web3 trends, architecture, and how they are strongly enabled by culture were another topic of discussion. We recognized the challenges and opportunities in the sector, such as the complexity to balance community independence with the business need for governance, and how that will drive our investment thesis around this area.

Sustainability

While discussing investment lessons in the past decade since our Fund 1, we re-emphasized why sustainability matters even more now, both from a macro and technological point of view. One of the EAB members presented their journey with challenges in manufacturing, automotive, and supply chain. The framework resonated well with the audience: measure, let the metrics lead to guided actions, and operationalize where there is impact! The clear takeaway from this session was that wherever there are big challenges ahead, there is also a tremendous opportunity to innovate and lead. The discussion that followed provided clear direction for our investments in this sector. Waste management and a circular economy are as important as carbon capture.

Deep Tech

We shared tough lessons from past hardware investments, such as: stay away from hardware that can be commoditized and focus on hardware that is uniquely and innovatively tied into data and insights as a service. We also shared some of our successes after applying those lessons, such as the required balance of technologies, business models, and regulatory environment. The session concluded with how deep tech entrepreneurs can de-risk some of the challenges.

After All

DNX EAB Day reassured the power of in-person meetings for our team and for many of our attendees. So many exciting conversations organically sparked among the EAB members, portfolio companies, and corporate LPs throughout the day — something we can’t replicate with virtual events! The blue sky of the Bay Area and the magical environment of Ridge Vineyards definitely added inspirational energy to the occasion.

Last, but not least, we would like to thank all of the attendees for making this such a valuable and memorable day.

If you are interested in learning more about DNX Ventures and our portfolio customer development efforts with our corporate network, including the Executive Advisory Board and corporate LP network, please contact me.

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