The podcast where heavy industrial industries meet the venture capital ecosystem. Interviewing thought-leading investors and founders to better understand the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for digital industrial innovation.
As the cloud infrastructure heavyweight within industrials, Microsoft is now throwing its resources behind startups through its Microsoft for Startups platform to accelerate vertical growth for both sides. Having sold his last IoT software company into Microsoft in 2016, and now leading Microsoft for Startups focus on industry verticals, Tom brings us a very unique perspective as to how the times have changed for what startups do and don't need to build themselves. We cover a range of topics including where Microsoft wants to start and stop when partnering with a startup, how their platform can help a startup accelerate the path from ideation to MVP to product/market fit as an enterprise-ready solution, what drives a 'build vs. buy vs. partner' decision, and finally, which trends Tom sees emerging in 2021 (hint, Microsoft Teams now has ~115M daily active users). Summary pro tip for startups, don't recreate the tech platform wheel!
Industy4.0 will not succeed without a vibrant and diverse community of both private and public support. As P33’s resident Industry4.0 and Ventures expert, Brandi helps lead P33’s mission to turbocharge Chicago’s tech ecosystem stimulating growth and providing inclusive opportunity to all through orchestrating the various voices of the business, startup, non-profit, and government communities. She discusses why building up an inclusive Industry4.0 ecosystem is so important to both P33’s focus on Chicago’s future and the US economy more broadly, how their “Company Connect” effort supports growing tech companies with structured introductions and engagements into industrial incumbents, and finally, how P33 is playing a powerful role to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion are brought to the forefront to further a more inclusive future in tech.
There is more inorganic growth activity within the digital industrial ecosystem than ever before, and given there have been over 120 completed acquisitions for over $4B in consideration during David's 18-year tenure at Autodesk, he has seen this wave since the beginning. We discuss how his team uses inorganic activities to find step-function acceleration for Autodesk's roadmap, why he approaches early-stage venture capital investing in a win/win/win mindset, and why it's critical for the current rush of new capital sources into these sectors to build a healthy, viable ecosystem for the long term.
Thousands of guests have visited Oracle Industries Innovation Labs, physically and virtually, to see how this Big Tech giant is innovating to help shape the future of various industrial industry verticals. Burcin explains why he helped found the Innovation Labs with a mission to create an environment and physical space that offers hands-on experiences to learn in these industries that often can’t afford to ‘fail fast, fail often’ in operational industrial settings. He discusses how their labs act as a means of Innovation-as-a-Service to help their customers and partners effectively cut through the tech buzzwords to find real-world application and value. Finally, we cover the topic of ‘build vs. partner vs. buy’, and why regardless of the tactic chosen, it is key for Oracle to build a robust ecosystem of external partners and startups that can foster a win/win for all sides to learn from one another along this digital transformation journey.
With over 300 partners integrated into the Procore Marketplace, Procore is helping drive collaboration and build a startup ecosystem within a construction industry that is rapidly evolving. Kris is an industry insider who has played numerous roles inside a construction company from project engineer to leading cutting edge construction tech deployments in the field. He shares why, short of Tooey, he thinks he has the best job at Procore, why an open platform & ecosystem approach is critical to the future of construction, what challenges still exist at both the GC & sub-contractor levels, and “What’s hot and what’s hype” in emerging ConTech trends. Finally, Kris gives a refreshingly open answer to why he would never tell his partner ecosystem to only integrate with Procore.
Make no mistake, industrial-grade additive manufacturing is now here to stay. Hugh's background blending both financial market leadership at T. Rowe Price and operating leadership at 3D Systems brings an additive outlook very few have experienced. He discusses why this background led him to co-found the Additive Manuf. Ventures Group investment syndicate, why investor specialization is critical at the earliest stages, how this "2nd wave" of additive investment differs from the 2013 "1st wave" (hint: consumer vs. industrial applications), and the 5 friction points additive is now overcoming at a rapid pace.
In the world of digital industrial innovation, corporate venture capital (CVC) can play a major part in supporting and accelerating a startup's go-to-market efforts. CAT Ventures leader, Michael Young, is one of the most experienced corporate venture capitalists in the country, and he joins us to share his outlook on how CVC has evolved over time. We discuss his "3x3x3" investment framework, how a pilot/PoC should be approached, which terms matter when evaluating CVC investment, and why "A corporate's job isn't just to make a startup successful."
With its roots at Kleiner Perkins, G2VP is one of the first specialist venture capital funds to focus exclusively on how traditional industrial industries are digitizing. Zach discusses why VC specialization is just good business, makes the case for investors to "Get a Major", outlines why industrial digitization is moving faster than ever, and lays out why SPACs are just getting warmed up in these markets. We also outline why we both believe sustainability and resource efficiency are naturally tied directly to industrial technology investing.
Quick fact: an estimated 2.5% of global GPD flows through Prologis facilities that span 19 countries and ~1 billion sq/ft. Will joins us to outline how his venture arm, Prologis Ventures, helps this ~$78B market cap company stay ahead of the innovation curve. He discusses their outlook on fund construction, current innovation trends they are focused on, the power of the data they are collecting, and why VC specialization is more critical now than ever. Finally, we discuss a topic that is mission-critical to all of this... the human element of skilled laborers/heroes (!) who have bravely kept the supply chain moving throughout the global pandemic.
Mike walks us through how his Stanley X team is helping a 175 year old industrial staple, Stanley Black & Decker, stay innovative and on the leading edge of technology advancements. We discuss why they believe an open ecosystem approach is key within industrials, why they chose to build a venture studio model into their orginization, and how they select and screen which opportunities to engage with.
Did someone say something about infrastructure? David's role as Chief Innovation Officer within one of the world's largest engineering, procurement and construction firms keeps him as close to the center of this discussion as you can be. We discuss what's ahead for infrastructure innovation in 2021 and how his team takes a structured approach to engage with digital industrial innovators advancing the theme of "Less Dirt, More Data".
John brings a very unique investment perspective having been an active participant in the famous 2010 energy investment wave and now actively investing in the broader digital industrial wave of venture investing underway. He gets very candid with how Energize Ventures evaluates deals and defines what he coins the "Pre-growth" round of financing. Finally, we dive deep into the importance of taking a data-driven exit analysis from the very earliest stage of company formation.
We're taking Heavy Hitters global! Francisco outlines how the Future of Advanced Manufacturing and Production platform he leads within the World Economic Forum is helping global leaders from business, government, academia and civil society anticipate the impact of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies on manufacturing and supply systems. We also touch on digital industrial adoption trends, what role the venture capital ecosystem has to play within this ecosystem, and the Global Lighthouse Network joint effort between the World Economic Forum and McKinsey to bring a spotlight on those industrial companies pushing the boundaries of innovation.
Intersecting at the heart of Silicon Valley and global construction innovation, the Hilti Tech Office has a front-row seat to where construction technology innovation is going. Vivin shares his outlook as to what his office is looking for when engaging and investing in early-stage innovation companies within this sector. And everyone likes talking about robots, right? We hit on that trend and many others evolving on construction sites globally.
As another one of the most accomplished venture investors in this sector, Bilal gives us a masterclass on how he and Lux Capital look for new ways of solving hard problems with a focus on both business and technical risk. We dive into both why he feels the industrial ecosystem is in the midst of going through radical transformation and why the "timeline and magnitude" of an ultimate exit in this sector gets determined over time. We even slip in a discussion about Elon moving from California to Texas!
Dayna is one of the most accomplished and pioneering venture capitalists within the digital industrial ecosystem. We discuss why she believes the time is now for transformation within these "foundational industries" that make up half of the US GDP. This coming wave of innovation was enough to convince her to launch out and co-found Construct Capital, and we talk about all facets, start-to-exit, of how she identifies and supports these innovative founders.
Honeywell Connected Enterprise Chief Commercial Officer, Usman Shuja, shares his experiences leading digital industrial innovation efforts within both a Fortune 100 industrial conglomerate and a hyper-growth, venture-backed startup. It's a rare combination within the digital industrial ecosystem to find someone who has led commercialization efforts at both ends of that spectrum, and we're fortunate to have Usman walk us through his outlook on what works and what doesn't work to scale in these industries.
As both a seasoned venture capital investor and corporate innovation changemaker, SE Ventures General Partner, Grant Allen, discusses his outlook on how corporate venture capital investing is evolving and expanding to better suit the broad range of corporate innovation approaches in market. And given his leadership experience linked to industrial giants Schneider Electric and ABB, Grant shares his lessons learned on what it takes to scale innovation efforts within these nuaced environments.
To kick off the Heavy Hitters podcast series, Rick Bullota joins us to discuss all aspects of past and present digital industrial innovation. Having spent his entire career focused on industrials, Rick provides a rare outlook on the topic as both an experienced operator and proven venture investor. His vantage point comes both from starting and exiting a number of successful industrial software companies, most notably Lighthammer and Thingworx, and from holding senior roles at companies such as SAP, Wonderware/Aveva, PTC, and Microsoft.
We could not be more fortunate to have Rick share his lessons learned on launching, operating, scaling and investing in digital industrial businesses.
Join us as deep dive into the world of digital industrial innovation.
Bridging innovative technology companies into legacy industrial industries may not get the same glitz & glamour as other parts of the venture capital ecosystem, but these “digital industrial” innovators are critical behind-the-scenes to advancing the way our world designs, builds, distributes and operates daily. Welcome to the Heavy Hitters podcast, the first podcast dedicated solely to bringing this important discussion of digital industrial innovation into the spotlight it deserves.
I’m your host Ty Findley, and along with my partners, run Ironspring Ventures a venture capital fund focused on investing in early-stage digital industrial companies. I’ve spent the last decade immersed in the digital industrial ecosystem as both an operator and investor talking with hundreds of founders, investors and industry veterans about their experiences innovating within these legacy industries. And on this podcast, we’ll pull the curtain back to talk with these industrial thought-leaders about their learnings on launching, operating, scaling and investing in digital industrial companies and capabilities.
The objective is simple. We simply cannot afford to leave these critical industries, and the amazing skilled labor powering them, behind the on-going technology wave. We hope this podcast fosters a new community of listeners to engage and help us collectively write a new chapter for the future of industrials.