iko is particularly interested in investing in and partnering with first time tech founders, who have a strong perspective about solving big problems their way. He doesn’t mind if you weren’t born in the U.S. (talent is universal, while opportunity is not) or if your accent sounds funny. He doesn’t care if you didn’t go to Stanford or if you aren’t a domain expert yet. He partners with tech founders who are learning animals and treat every decision as a learning moment; these are the types that become domain experts a few years later.

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1. How did you get started in the wonderful world of VC?

I was a failing student entrepreneur at Stanford. Chris Farmer (now the CEO of SignalFire) found me on LinkedIn back in 2010. GC and he gave me a chance, I took a leap of faith, and here I am 7 years later.

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2. What is your methodology for defining and selecting the companies and entrepreneurs who are going to create the future?

Is this a market that is opening up right now and the timing is now?

Is this a company that is at an inflection point right now?

Is this a founder that is ridiculously ambitious and is a learning animal?

If the answers are yes to all the above, then we’ll probably invest.

3. From an investors standpoint, being the one who gets to invest in the “future of everything”, what can we expect to see in a 5–10–15 year timeline?

The world is getting better. No question about that. Technology & Moore’s law continue to set the pace.

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AR will be a reality. Ambient computing will be how we experience tech. Cryptocurrencies will be the foundation of how the internet transacts. Every one of the DJIA companies will employ software engineers, otherwise they will be going out of biz.

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4. What themes, trends, or sectors are you primarily interested in and why?

AR — It’s the future of media investing. It makes tech more human.

Crypto — It has a shot to re-write the rules of distribution. And strong founders are coming into build meaningful companies.

5. What moonshot are you most excited to see solved?

We must figure out transportation; autonomous vehicles will rule ground transportation & hypersonic travel will become affordable for everyone so that NYC to London is less than a couple of hours away.

6. What problem or challenge is under-funded and why? What sector needs more attention?

These things change all the time. Cleantech stuff is quite underfunded right now.

7. What is the role of venture capital in creating the future? What responsibility does VC have to help improve the lives of others, and ultimately the world?

VC’s should fund products and services that are helping us truly connect with other humans, make life easier/better and help provide all humans with more opportunities.

8. What company or investment in your portfolio are you most excited about and why?

Love them all!

(You can see General Catalyst’s portfolio here)

9. What would an ideal future look like to you?

As VC I’d love to get behind a couple of truly epic businesses that make our lives better every decade or so. As a human, I’d love to see more talented people be given great opportunities, regardless of how they look, where they grew up or what school they went to.

Thanks for reading ❤
If you enjoyed this interview, please say hello on:
LinkedIn & Twitter
This series was designed by Vasjen Katro, Visual Designer of Baugasm
Connect with Niko on Twitter and LinkedIn
Or read Niko’s thoughts on entreprenuership and investing on Medium!
Jan 26, 2018
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