8VC is a firm built by founders for founders. Entrepreneurial DNA is one of our core values.
Our partners have built companies from the ground up, and we understand what it takes to succeed across industries and verticals. The 8VC Build Program leverages our background as entrepreneurs, vantage point as investors, and powerful talent network to launch companies to address conceptual gaps in the market.
The virtuous circle of
Through the investment process, we often identify whitespaces and internal theses where there are opportunities to remedy an important part of the world.
We gain exposure through our work to determine the optimal approach to add value, often by tackling messy, legacy technical systems in industries paralyzed by their scale. The Build program creates a powerful channel for 8VC to act on these ideas, partnering with ambitious entrepreneurs and engineers, and creating positive feedback loops as we build sustainable businesses. 8VC Build companies are either initially driven by these internal theses or our Entrepreneurs-in-Residence, who join 8VC with a problem, technology, or vertical in mind.
8VC Founder and serial entrepreneur Joe Lonsdale is personally involved with each of the 8VC Build companies, helping to craft their theses and guide strategy. Partners across the firm work directly with our founders in the Build process to give our companies unfair advantages.
Our build companies are tackling hard problems across a range of industry sectors
Build companies are part of a broader 8VC context, including portfolio companies and advisors
Our build companies are tackling hard problems across a range of industry sectors
Epirus is the only U.S. developer of software-defined high-powered electromagnetic pulse (“EMP”) technology. The nature of warfare has changed and our military is outdated. Dynamic threats, particularly drone swarms, to critical infrastructure, nuclear sites, airports, stadiums and mass gatherings are increasing and creating havoc around the globe. Through Epirus’ initial focus on EMP in defense, their best-in-class team’s innovation unlocked major advancements in smart and on-chip AI to control power applications beyond defense to commercial applications, driving financial savings and reducing radical power consumption and emissions.
8VC helped to build a company around incredible technical talent, from the formation of an exemplary leadership team to helping build a culture of highly autonomous problem-solving and resolve. As an example, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman Grant Verstandig is an entrepreneur (sold Rally Health for $7b to United Health), investor and advisor to multiple government organizations, including serving as a senior advisor to the National Security Agency on advanced analytics, technology, and Artificial Intelligence. Epirus also gathered together some of the best talent in the industry in the quest to build the best power management solutions on chips with AI for their EMP defense product.
Epirus’ SmartPower platform, which uses AI to generate massive power output as needed and without special cooling, is now the most power-dense phased array in existence, creating new opportunities for intelligent power products in commercial markets. Epirus is architecting the future of defense through its software-defined directed energy products, which have demonstrated the ability to take down drone swarms from over 1 km away. The company recently closed a $200MM Series C, bringing its total financing to $287 million, with a valuation of $1.35 billion.
Resilience is building the future of biomedicine manufacturing, dramatically increasing production capacity for pioneering novel treatment modalities, ensuring that medicines are accessible to all patients and protecting against supply chain disruptions.
As the world reeled from at the outset of the global COVID-19 pandemic, our firm worked deeply to strategize what we should do for society. Through those sessions in conjunction with ARCH Ventures, the thesis emerged that we needed to remedy critical vulnerabilities in medical supply chains. Together, Bob Nelsen and Joe Lonsdale founded Resilience and raised $800MM to create capabilities and capacity to rapidly produce and distribute important drugs at scale. Together, we amassed top executives, Board of Directors, and advisors with experience at the highest levels of business, the biopharmaceutical industry, academia, and government, including:– Rahul Singhvi, Sc.D. — CEO; former Operating Partner at Flagship Pioneering; COO of Takeda Vaccines; CEO of Novavax– Sandy Mahatme, LL.M. — President, COO & CFO; former CFO and Chief Business Officer at Sarepta Therapeutics; SVP Finance & Corporate Development at Celgene– Patrick Y. Yang, Ph.D. — Vice Chairman; former EVP at Juno Therapeutics; EVP & Global Head of Technical Operations at Roche/GenentechDirectors and Advisors include luminaries such as Frances Arnold, the Nobel Prize-winning professor from the California Institute of Technology; George Barrett, the former chief executive of Cardinal Health; Susan Desmond-Hellmann, the former president of product development at Genentech; Kaye Foster, the former vice president of human resources at Johnson and Johnson; and Denice Torres, the former president of Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical and Consumer Companies; and more.
Since its founding, Resilience has launched ten integrated operational facilities, spanning 1 million square feet of manufacturing space and over 1,600 employees. Recent highlights include the announcement of a joint venture with MD Anderson to accelerate development and manufacturing of cell therapies for cancer. In June 2022, Resilience raised a $625MM Series D.
Standard Metrics is building a proprietary data platform and network for the private markets, creating new standards of governance and transparency to enable deeper collaboration between start-ups and VCs.
The idea for Standard Metrics was born at 8VC to address our own pain-points in tracking portfolio company metrics. The co-founders began working together on an initial proof-of-concept alongside 8VC partners Joe Lonsdale and Alex Moore and the rest of the partnership. Co-founder Kevin Hsu was an early employee and PM at Carta before joining 8VC as an EIR; co-founder Deny Khoung helped spin-out and advise several portfolio companies (including Affinity) as 8VC’s Director of Design; John Melas-Kyriazi joined Standard Metrics as co-founder and CEO after five years as a Partner at Spark Capital.
While 8VC served as Standard Metrics' first pilot customer, the team has now onboarded over a thousand companies to the platform. In early 2022, Standard Metrics raised a $23.7MM Series A.
What we stand by
Big Problems, Big Impact
We seek ideas that tackle the world’s greatest challenges and think on a grand scale. We ask what is possible now that was not possible five years ago, given breakthroughs in technology. We seek to identify the biggest gaps between this ideal state and reality. Of these gaps, we assess which will meaningfully improve how an industry works and target those where we are confident there’s an entrepreneurial path to success. 8VC is willing and motivated to tackle problem spaces with higher barriers to entry, like govtech or healthcare, to yield results as these are often bigger and more important gaps to fix.
Start with First Principles
We are rigorous in challenging assumptions, always seeking to look at a problem from first principles. That said, there is a tension between visionary and intuition-driven and evidence-based approaches. As Steve Jobs famously said, “People don’t really know what they want until you show it to them.” Great entrepreneurs embrace the best aspects of both, and we are willing to take leaps of faith when our common sense and experience suggest something is right before the data has made it obvious.
Assemble Artist Colonies
We search for uniquely equipped individuals (“artists”) at the top of their discipline, trading the magnitude of their talent spikes for the breadth of generalist capabilities. With eyes wide open, these artists can be matched with teams with complementary skill sets, creating colonies of strength. This approach generates a dialectic organization, naturally cultivating highly diverse teams with a myriad of perspectives. By applying high rigor to the identification of these artists and composition of teams, 8VC Build ensures that the starting fabric of our companies is resilient, creative, and set up for success.
Seek the Intersection of Intellect and Integrity
We identify individuals that marry rigorous thought, curiosity, and meticulous attention to the things that matter with a strong moral compass. Great Builders are constantly learning, growing, and seeking self-improvement hand-in-hand with their businesses. Starting with a purpose greater than oneself ensures that our companies intrinsically focus on the outcomes and values that matter, with leadership that can weather obstacles and navigate challenges along the way.