VENTURE CAPITAL DOESN’T SCALE…UNTIL IT DOES
Over the last few years, I’ve been preoccupied with the established maxim, “venture capital doesn’t scale,” as it never quite made sense to me. It seemed the antiquated belief of an industry yet to be transformed, because we’ve seen firsthand how other markets can scale when empowered by technology and I suspect the venture industry is no different. Moreover, we could probably make a case that venture should be scaled so that we can take many more bets on all manner of ideas, from anyone around the world, thereby increasing the odds of the breakthroughs and progress that everyone ultimately wants.
For the few firms that have shared this belief, they’ve taken a legitimate yet traditional approach to scale. And to a traditionalist with thoughts of scaling, this has manifested by replicating the existing model at a different stage of capital (i.e. Seed, Growth, Public) or geography (i.e. India, China). But the real opportunity to scale venture capital isn’t just launching new products or relaunching the same products in new geographies.
To scale venture capital, you must build two important engines. The first is entirely technological. It’s software that empowers the fundamental process of decision making, capital allocation and risk management, which needs to evolve to support investing at scale, at high velocity yet at repeatedly high rates of return. This is an incredibly difficult problem that software and a platform-oriented mindset are purpose built to solve. I’m excited to say that we’ve started to do just this, but more on that over time.
At the same time, software is just one piece. The second engine is one of deals, relationships and a mindset that I summarize as “being open for business”. What this means is the strategic capability, insight and wherewithal to work with all kinds of organizations all over the world. Governments who want to transform their economies, balance sheets needing to invest hundreds of billions of dollars and companies who need a partner to help navigate all of the technological disruption they may or may not see. Each of these entities have repeatedly tried to engage with us in a scaled way, and frankly struggled, until now.
It is with great honor that we announce that Marc Mezvinsky has joined Social Capital as Vice Chairman. Marc will be responsible for building our engine to partner with these organizations, in a scaled way, on a global basis. He brings the right skill set to this critical task. Along with graduating from both Stanford and Oxford, he spent many years at Goldman Sachs before joining 3G as a Partner — all the while learning about global finance from two of the premier organizations in the field. After his time at 3G, Marc most recently ran a large macro hedge fund.
More importantly, Marc and I have been friends for over a decade and I have seen firsthand his ability to think strategically and engage equally well with both CEOs and engineers. He has a common touch which is rare for someone with such deep experiences and relationships in politics, finance and philanthropy.
I’m thrilled Marc is joining us in building a new kind of company as we pursue our mission to solve the world’s hardest problems. He will be based in NYC where he lives with his wife and two kids.