The Genacast DNA
By Roger Chen (@rogerbchen)
For my first post, I thought I'd share a bit about how I came to join Genacast and a few thoughts on why I believe we have the best vehicle for capitalizing budding technology startups.
I've spent most of my working life thus far as an "operator" at Google. I helped launch several widely used products and services, primarily within Maps. In that capacity, I worked closely with our developers and helped bring together resources to make these launches possible. I built a team from zero to a few dozen employees and earned the trust of brilliant engineers along the way. One of the valuable lessons I learned at Google was that anyone building new technologies should optimize for success by aligning themselves with sponsors and advisors who (a) understand technology and (b) have been in the trenches themselves.
When the itch for something new came around, I had no idea where to look at first. Having spent so much time deep in the weeds on a product with few competitors, it wasn't clear where I should apply my skills. After discussing this issue with some friends that had recently launched their own tech startups, I was surprised to learn that my timing coincided with a frenzy of venture capital investment into the transportation and fulfillment space. It turned out that the knowledge I had built up was very relevant, and so began my career in venture capital, initially helping firms develop a perspective on these areas and later expanding to cover a broader range of sectors.
When the chance to join Genacast presented itself, I jumped at the opportunity. Not only do Gil's credentials as a technologist and entrepreneur make an apprenticeship with him a no-brainer, Genacast also has a truly remarkable track record of helping entrepreneurs succeed. While Gil will tell you that he's been very lucky, it's clear to anyone watching that it hasn't been by accident. I could try to explain the success by expounding on our value-add services as many VCs do (and perhaps I will in a future post), but I believe it boils down to the same lesson I learned at Google: entrepreneurs benefit most when they partner with kindred spirits – investors who have experience in the field, as well as a true passion for the technology being built.
At Genacast, we are founders and operators with a passion for technology. And we’re in rare company – a recent survey conducted by TechCrunch showed that <2% of VC firms were made up of investors with both engineering degrees and operating experience. Having seen operations first-hand across several VCs, there's an obvious difference in the quality of answers and the level of support offered by a partner that has walked in your shoes and one that has not. In addition to being a valuable asset in product/go-to-market brainstorming and a contributor of relevant resources, this type of partner is also aligned with the entrepreneur every step of the way and understands their perspective because they have been there themselves.
I believe this is a meaningful advantage for our firm and one that is deeply rooted in our DNA. I'm proud to be a part of the Genacast team and look forward to continuing our support of entrepreneurs solving big problems.