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Angel Investor (Individual)

Investments

14

Portfolio Exits

6

About Deep Nishar

Deep (Dipchand) Nishar is an angel investor and current Vice President, Products & User Experience at LinkedIn.

Headquarters Location

San Francisco, California,

United States

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Latest Deep Nishar News

The Future Of Technology: Investors Share Reasons To Be Optimistic

Jun 27, 2023

I write about investing, venture capital and the startup ecosystem. Got it! getty It’s not hard to be worried about the future and many of the concerns we may have are indeed valid. With big global challenges that are either here already like climate change or looming like the risk of AI taking a life of its own, there’s never been more pressure on entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers, businesses and customers to step up and make the right decisions. If we zoom in, the history of humanity can look like a series of failures. However, if we zoom out, the overall trend has mostly been one of progress and resilience. Resilience not of specific structures and systems but of an ability to reinvent ourselves and come up with innovative solutions. Technology has been playing a crucial part in enabling this and it is here to stay. Are we now moving too fast and pushing its limits too far beyond our comprehension? While remaining cognizant of the known and unknown challenges ahead, here are some reasons to be optimistic about the future. The enduring power of entrepreneurship: a rising tide of stronger innovators As a lifelong entrepreneur turned growth equity investor, Wes Nichols, Partner at March Capital, remains focused not only on the investment opportunities that are beginning to reveal themselves but also on the reality that entrepreneurship continues to be the lifeblood of the economy. “Very little innovation happens inside of big companies – politics, funding issues, fear of failure, innovator’s dilemma challenges, and so on. Most of society’s innovation has come from founders and investors taking significant risks to come up with a new way of solving a problem or a need. We are looking to work with those founders who combine vision, ambition, grit and this critical spirit of relentless innovation.” When Nichols and his co-founder were building MarketShare, a predictive analytics software company, they had to navigate through incredibly challenging economic headwinds. The scheduled closure of their series A round coincided with the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Their investor had no choice but to withdraw from the deal, leaving the company with a mere three months' worth of cash reserves. After renegotiations and a dramatic valuation change leading to a much smaller investment, the investor kept their word and helped the company survive. This experience, however, proved to be a transformative period for the founders and their venture, demanding unwavering focus and determination. They not only survived but came out stronger and more resourceful. This dynamic is still at play today. “It is hard to explain the level of optimism and determination needed to create something from scratch and then create ‘escape velocity’. Most start-ups fail – bad product/market fit, poor leadership, lack of grit, capital constraints… so many reasons. But the optimism burns bright in most founders, and that won’t change given the economy. It will just mean more calluses, more sleepless nights, and more required patience by your capital partners and employees. The ability to help founders navigate these dynamics is what we are doing at March and why I love what I do.” Franco Danesi, Partner at Korelya Capital, is finding it refreshing that after a lot of hype the markets have taken a breather. “For us this is an additional reason to be optimistic as current vintages will benefit from more attractive valuations but also companies that will learn to thrive with less capital and therefore build more resilient business models.” Nichols adds that in fact seven of the ten largest US companies by market cap were backed by venture capital and that all seven were funded within two to four years of a market correction. There will be great companies born during this downturn. Georgia Stevenson, Partner at Index Ventures, highlights: “Any founder starting a business in this climate, believes in their vision regardless of the macro. It sorts the missionaries from the mercenaries, and with that comes authentic ambition and the types of folks we look to work with.” Technology has also played a role in democratizing entrepreneurship by reducing the financial barriers to starting a company. “The time and cost it takes to build and ship software products has dropped by more than 10x in the last two decades. This opens up tech entrepreneurship massively and makes it an exciting time to meet and work with a wider variety of entrepreneurial talent,” shares angel investor Michael Tefula. Reem Mobassaleh Wyndham, Founding Partner at Pact VC, expands on the benefits of this trend: “Since the 2000s, instead of investing in expensive hardware and infrastructure, entrepreneurs can leverage cloud-based services for their computing, storage, and networking needs. Cloud services offer scalable and affordable solutions, eliminating the need for upfront capital expenditure on servers, data centres, and IT infrastructure. Today, the availability of open-source software in conjunction with the growing presence of AI is once again radically reducing the cost and time of software development for startups. This fosters innovation and enables startups to develop products and services without starting from zero. On the flip side, these lower barriers to entry combined with this increased scalability and reach allows startups to service underserved (or even unserved) demographics effectively – more profitably than ever before.” We are indeed at an inflection point, not only from a technological standpoint but also from a cultural standpoint. “Today young and bright people are more interested in innovation. They prefer working in or building a startup to working in a bank or getting a comfortable job in a big corporate. We also celebrate failure more, and while that might sound trivial or counter-intuitive, we can’t break boundaries, innovate or create without embracing it. When I founded my startup more than 10 years ago (long exited), my friends and family were scared that if I failed, it would ruin my career. Today, their attitude would be different,” shares Mathilda Bosch, investor at Techstars. Danesi adds that the density of talented and ambitious professionals – from entrepreneurs to investors – seeking to make an impact has never been higher. “The unprecedented relevance of technology to help address societies' biggest challenges like digital care, climate change and food security will help these talented professionals find an answer to their increasing need to make a positive impact on society.” Unlocking the future: harnessing tech's potential for an enhanced life Tech has become increasingly pervasive in every walk of life and AI promises to amplify this reality. “In the past, AI was relegated to academia and a select few practitioners. With the launch of products like ChatGPT, AI became accessible to the masses – a momentous occasion for the mainstreaming of AI,” states Deep Nishar, Managing Director at General Catalyst. Heritage Holdings is an existing Limited Partner of General Catalyst. It’s all happening fast, faster than ever. ChatGPT gained 100M users in 2 months’ time. “We’re on the precipice of sweeping change. It could be from the day-to-day work we do, to running a fast-food restaurant that uses IOT and artificial intelligence, to driving operations within a large enterprise tech company. It’s involved in the development of medicine and therapies which use advanced software and AI technologies. It’s in the way we build physical things whether it’s building machines or even real estate. We believe being an investor in the lifeblood of how humanity thrives is consequential and exciting.” The theme that excites Nishar most is how investment in AI can help to create software that acts as a “good teacher” and actually make humans more efficient, more creative, and more fulfilled. “Think about the macro shifts in workforce productivity. We have always been on this quest for ever-increasing workforce productivity. I believe AI and ML are key to enabling us to continue increasing productivity and GDP as a result of that. I see a shift in the way we develop software and what software can do for us. ML adapts software to each user’s capabilities and requirements. It’s not one size fits all – we are seeing mass customization of software which will enable humans to do their jobs differently in a way they want to be productive and effective. It’s not so much about replacement of the workforce as it is about augmentation – freeing us from mundanity and allowing us to use our skills for more fulfilling work.” The acceleration of AI capability is also stressed by Stevenson. “This is the biggest paradigm shift since mobile & the cloud. We are excited to continue to seek out new investments across the whole AI spectrum; from foundation models, to infrastructure picks and shovels, to innovative applications across every industry.” As the velocity of business continues to accelerate, so does the need for faster, more accurate decision-making. “Just like factories in the early 1900s had a ‘Vice President of Electricity’ who was responsible for overseeing the shift from steam to electric, we are seeing extra emphasis on AI and data. I do believe that innovative companies will continue to buy and build this technology stack on their own as it is mission-critical. The value of AI and customer data is becoming more accessible to everyone in an organization (not just a data team) through tools that enable data-driven decision-making and automation," observes Nichols. “I think with all the potential for automation and job displacement, we’ll be brought back to what it really means to be human. In other words, what positive aspects of our humanity do we want to cultivate more, and do we need technology to help us with that?” predicts Tefula. “Whether it’s connecting deeply with those we care about, or leading more healthy, fulfilling and mindful lives, I think we’re going to see a massive shift back to the basics of what a good life is.” While there is a lot of well-placed concern around the potential risk of AI ramping unchecked – with scenarios ranging from job displacement to planetary extinction – there is also an opportunity to solve pressing problems more cheaply and at a greater scale. “There is a growing focus on sustainability and addressing the global challenges our planet is faced with. Technology can play a key role in addressing these challenges by providing innovative solutions for renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, and efficient transportation, among other areas,” adds Mobassaleh Wyndham. Danesi is also optimistic about tech’s role in providing part of the answer to help us face several large global challenges: “1. Climate change: from lower-carbon economic activity to GHG identification and measurement. 2. Digital care technologies will give societies the ability to take care of the increasing elderly population as well as of the growing number of patients suffering from chronic diseases. These tools will lead to transformational changes in the way healthcare systems are organized and care is delivered (more prevention, more remote care, empowerment of nurses and caretakers). 3. Households seeking to make more sustainable and financially sound economic decisions will also have more options available: from focusing on second hand / circular ownership to enabling smarter and more sound financial investment decisions.” When it comes to financial inclusion, Bosch highlights blockchain and cryptocurrencies which often suffer a bad reputation but overlooking their potential for use cases across financial inclusion and transparency would be like missing the forest for the trees. “I do fall in and out of love with it, though. Still, the constant is impatience to see what happens next – not as a speculative asset class driven by greed, but as a means to bring more financial stability, for example, where currency volatility is an issue. You have the possibility to connect people everywhere to one digital network, creating global opportunities for them.” She’s also highlighting the potential of solving problems from space. “Launching a constellation of satellites in LEO orbits has never been more affordable. Though it comes with challenges, we can only expect space tech to continue progressing. If you want to solve a big problem, solve it from space – from connectivity to advanced agriculture to monitoring and managing the impact of climate change more efficiently. After a first wave of software investments, the latter is gathering increased interest from the investment and tech community – particularly in hard-to-decarbonize industries and deep tech. More and more capital is flowing into the space to solve the ‘tough’ problems, and having even surpassed Fintech in the UK as of last year. " Bridging boundaries: fostering interdisciplinary collaboration for responsible innovation Technology can indeed have a significant contribution to solving our biggest societal problems. However, given the scale and complexity of the challenges we face, close collaboration is required and an interdisciplinary approach. This is particularly relevant in the case of frontier technologies. “Having been in the tech business for three decades, I can say that today’s level of intentionality and proactive discourse around responsible innovation is the highest I’ve ever seen. That's from the builder’s side. And from the government side, bodies are recognizing the power that can be unleashed; rather than burying their heads in the sand, policymakers are taking a proactive approach to define so that we can realize the potential of AI while avoiding collateral damage,” highlights Nishar. Nishar acknowledges that while the arc of progress is usually positive, it can have profound effects on certain categories of the population. “For example, as automation increased in factories, the number of cars produced kept going up while the number of workers per factory went down. Automation increased GDP as a whole class of workers saw fewer jobs. Today, the government is getting involved and is putting in place governance around AI in conjunction with the developers and trying to be ahead of the curve.” “We see some of the biggest epicenters of transformation in healthcare, fintech and crypto, and climate technology. We see the need to build more globally resilient systems in the areas of education and workforce transformation, security, defense, and intelligence. We believe this can be done when investors, founders, and industry partners engage in radical collaboration to ensure the power of AI is unlocked to solve some of our biggest societal problems without creating new ones. When it comes to advances in artificial intelligence, our fundamental belief is that every stakeholder – technologist or not, from builders to end-users – plays a role in ethical AI. In our view, responsible and ethical innovation contributes to stronger and more enduring companies, which in turn has the potential to lead to better investment outcomes. I believe investing in AI could require longer investment horizons and greater levels of financial and intellectual engagement, requiring venture capital investors to actively govern the technologies that we seek to support.” Bosch is excited about the recent advancements and convergence of exponential technologies such as AI, Quantum Computing, processing power or AR. “They have the potential to bring about a future where access to education, healthcare and economic opportunities are available to all, regardless of location or socio-economic status. It still needs to be determined where these technologies will take us. We are in the middle of a lot of noise. However, there is no doubt they will accelerate innovation and progress in various fields.“ Technological advances in quantum sensors are already enabling a new method of global navigation based on Earth’s magnetic field as an alternative for when GPS is compromised. They are also empowering a revolutionary increase in sensitivity for biomedical devices, the first use case being in the diagnosis of cardiovascular diseases. The broader potential and the early results in the medical field are unquestionable. To give just one example, a brain–spine interface has recently allowed a paralyzed man to walk using his thoughts. “We at March are also encouraged by the progress of AI in the biotechnology space. The union of computational science and biological science will change how drug discovery and cures are created,” shares Nichols. Angel investor Steve Burtt anticipates a healthcare reform, targeting and healing the root cause of many lifestyle and psychological issues, going beyond diagnosis and treatment of the symptoms. “The trend towards increased self-agency will continue. This is relevant for many sectors but particularly healthcare. The future will bring a more proactive and holistic approach to health and wellbeing.” The drive towards responsible innovation is also fueled by new generations. Many millennials and Gen Z have been leading the way in demanding progress. “This values driven approach to life and work is permeating upward to older generations too causing major demand for improvement of quality of life at the personal, social and professional levels. This is driving a lot of innovation within future of work, automation, training tech as well as healthtech and at the preventative end of this, wellbeing. There is a similar ever-growing focus on sustainability to ensure a prosperous future for our planet, as companies and consumers alike have acknowledged the necessity of swiftly addressing environmental issues. Given both the shift in values-based living as well as through various government regulations, the focus on the need for climate solutions is being driven by both a push and a pull,” expands Mobassaleh Wyndham. Tefula is also inspired by the attitude that some millennials and Gen Z have towards sustainability and mindful stewardship of our planet and society at large. “This is in stark contrast to previous generations and is evident with the growing number of entrepreneurs building companies in areas such as climate tech, healthcare, and responsible AI. This gives me hope that as society wields ever more powerful technology, we’ll also work very hard so that we get the best out of it, while minimizing the potential for harm.” How do we mitigate the potential for harm? That’s a key question that needs to be addressed. If we fail to do it, the likelihood of a bright future diminishes significantly.

Deep Nishar Investments

14 Investments

Deep Nishar has made 14 investments. Their latest investment was in Nektar as part of their Seed VC - II on August 02, 2021.

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Deep Nishar Investments Activity

investments chart

Date

Round

Company

Amount

New?

Co-Investors

Sources

8/2/2021

Seed VC - II

Nektar

$6M

Yes

5

3/25/2021

Series A

On Deck

$20M

Yes

3

12/16/2019

Series B

Gecko Robotics

$40M

Yes

17

9/16/2019

Series A

Subscribe to see more

$99M

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10

2/28/2018

Series A

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$99M

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10

Date

8/2/2021

3/25/2021

12/16/2019

9/16/2019

2/28/2018

Round

Seed VC - II

Series A

Series B

Series A

Series A

Company

Nektar

On Deck

Gecko Robotics

Subscribe to see more

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Amount

$6M

$20M

$40M

$99M

$99M

New?

Yes

Yes

Yes

Subscribe to see more

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Co-Investors

Sources

5

3

17

10

10

Deep Nishar Portfolio Exits

6 Portfolio Exits

Deep Nishar has 6 portfolio exits. Their latest portfolio exit was Optimizely on September 03, 2020.

Date

Exit

Companies

Valuation
Valuations are submitted by companies, mined from state filings or news, provided by VentureSource, or based on a comparables valuation model.

Acquirer

Sources

9/3/2020

Acquired

$99M

8

12/13/2018

Acquired

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$99M

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10

8/25/2016

Acquired

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$99M

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10

1/14/2013

Acquired

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$99M

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10

7/16/2012

Acq - Talent

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$99M

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0

Date

9/3/2020

12/13/2018

8/25/2016

1/14/2013

7/16/2012

Exit

Acquired

Acquired

Acquired

Acquired

Acq - Talent

Companies

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Valuation

$99M

$99M

$99M

$99M

$99M

Acquirer

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Sources

8

10

10

10

0

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