Social Leverage has been investing in emerging managers for a very long time but more formally this year.
Some may call our firm Social Leverage an emerging manager but we are investing out of our fund 4, so I would not consider us emerging.
I believe as technology accelerates and proliferates that an old financial idea (fund of funds), that was mostly created by hedge funds applied to public markets will be an attractive way for investors to participate in the next waves of growth. I have a lot of money where my mouth is as it relates to emerging managers.
The fund of funds arguments aside for now, I will share some background on managers we have selected and what we are learning.
One fund we have invested in is Swift Ventures.
Way back in 2007 I invested in Brett and John’s first company Tubemogul. They were fresh out of Berkeley. I saw them pitch at a video conference (I had created Wallstrip and focused almost 100 percent on helping my show find tools to do it better), hit them up after they got off the stage and invested. I also helped them raise some more money along the way. I served on the board for a long time and very long story short watched them build an incredible company that eventually went public and be acquired by Adobe.
As most technology investors have tended to do, Brett and John started making some seed investments in and around their passion in AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning and the check we likely would have offered them for a next company should they start one was made out to their fund instead.
We believe AI and Machine Learning are just one area that will explode in realized value for entrepreneurs and investors in the coming decade.
I could read thousands of articles and attend weekly conferences around the globe on subjects that Brett and John have lived and breathed for more than a decade or just draft on their abilities, work hard with them as they build out their fund and ride in their peloton.
Here is a great blog post from John and Brett titled ‘The Next Creative Revolution‘ where they discuss the current AI and machine learning industry and opportunity around ‘text to image’. I had Brett on my ‘Panic With Friends Podcast’ back in November 2020 to talk about his vision and passions for investing and you can listen to it here.
You will hear me say this a lot going forward…more than I have said in the past…I believe valuations will continue to compress across all markets in this new era of de-globalization and higher interest rates so paying for expertise is something to strongly consider.