As investors, we like to start with two questions:
What is possible now that wasn’t five years ago?
The world is broken. Let’s fix it.
This is open-ended by design. There are myriad ways we can contribute to a better world, from saving lives to improving them. We support company missions as diverse as safer bone marrow transplants, zero-emission aircraft, enforcement of privacy laws, and rapid tunneling for less congested cities.
These are a few of the values that inform where we invest, and how we support our companies:
Take it Personally
Our work is our art.
We are fiduciaries and stewards to our limited partners and also to our principles, our firm, and the innovation ecosystem. Our work matters and we are building for the long term.
Success, in all its forms, gives rise to more success. If we forget about getting our share, and focus on doing our part, we can all prosper.
Being different gets attention. Being different, and right, can change the world.
We believe in the American experiment, that its ideals are worth striving for and its people and institutions are worth defending.
The Smart Enterprise
8VC’s Smart Enterprise thesis, written in 2013, posited the next phenomenon to dominate the technology landscape. In short, Smart Enterprise means:
Leveraging the power of data integration
Enabling human experts to solve non-linear problems
Building platforms and harnessing network effects to take on entire problem spaces.
We predicted that “the smart enterprise wave will disrupt nearly every major sector of the global economy”, and over nine years later, we believe these predictions have been validated. Each industry thesis is in some way an expression of overarching Smart Enterprise concepts.
In 1955-56, William Shockley, a Nobel Laureate in physics, recruited a group of Ph.D graduates to develop new semiconductor devices. While Shockley was brilliant, the group revolted under his authoritarian management. In 1957, eight employees left to form a competitor, Fairchild Semiconductor, with a garage as their first office. Fairchild enjoyed a number of years atop the semiconductor industry, yet its real legacy is the tree of new companies, investment, and leadership that grew from the original team - and came to define Silicon Valley as we know it.
Decades later, the story of the “Traitorous Eight” continues to inspire 8VC. It teaches us to embrace positive-sum thinking, improve on the status quo, and empower individuals to do their best work. It reminds us that loyalty is earned, not coerced. Finally, it instills the hope that our investments will create many times more value for our society than for ourselves.