Mark Suster of Upfront riffs on the Dos and Don'ts of working as a corporate VC, along with more of the best quotes from day two of CB Insights' Innovation Summit.
Day Two of our Innovation Summit kicked off today and panelists and speakers weighed in on everything from the failures in product design, to how data will and won’t change insurance, to why AI won’t be a cybersecurity silver bullet.
Below is our selection of the 14 best quotes from day two of the summit.
Keynote: Scott Belsky
Scott Belsky, founder of exited startup Behance and now of Benchmark, spoke about the secrets behind excellence in product design.
“It’s really complicated to make something simple, and even more complicated to keep it simple.”
“The majority of products either make you spend more time, or save time … we’re always fighting to save time and constantly being seduced to spend time”
“Marketing and copy should be executed by the product team. It’s part of the product experience”
“The biggest mistake in a new product is to ignore human tendencies and take users’ time for granted.”
“The more obvious a product looks, the harder it was to create.”
Panel: Insurance Innovation
In a panel on innovations in insurance, two insurance executives spoke about how tech is upending their industry. However, no matter how many gadgets infiltrate some areas of insurance, one panelist noted that everyone still needs insurance since no tech (e.g. smart doorbells and water pipes) can completely protect them from the unexpected.
“Do I think smart home tech will eliminate the need for insurance? No I don’t. Irrespective of what you do around loss prevention, disaster still happens.”- Sarah Street, XL Catlin
On what insurers are looking for in terms of data sets that will help them better evaluate risk.
“Data sets that are proxies of the behavior of the insured are the best predictors of risk.” -Street
On the reason why big insurers are collaborating with startups and other “unusual suspects” to solve the hardest problems:
“The problems that exist in healthcare are way too big to not collaborate and strike unlikely partnerships.” – Deborah Sundal, UnitedHealth Group
Keynote: Mark Suster
Mark Suster of Upfront Ventures spoke about the VC climate (which he saw as being sunnier than some think) and about how corporate investors — aka strategics — should approach startup investing.
Here he speaks about how from the POV of a founder corporates don’t always bring the strategic benefit they promise (access to new markets, expertise, etc.)
“On my blog BothSides I wrote that strategic money is an oxymoron. Because as a startup founder I found it anything but strategic. I had two very large German industrial companies as investors and ‘I’m gonna take this money and they’re gonna roll me out everywhere.’ Well, guess what? They didn’t roll me out everywhere. They weren’t willing to get involved in the political battles inside their organizations. Most people thought I was a dot com douche.”
On why the increasingly higher involvement of corporates, Saudi and Chinese investors, and the rosier IPO prospects mean good things for the immediate future of VC:
“Leaving aside a black swan, I think the next two years are going to be very good to us.”
On positivity in entrepreneurship.
“Win through positive. Win through light, not heat.”
On his belief that corporates should follow the lead of VCs and focus on cultivating VCs to get into deals rather than try to beat them to deals.
“I think corporates should follow rather than lead. Find VCs you trust and respect and develop good relationships … You will get into better deals that way.”
Panel: AI In Healthcare
On the imperative of better integrating AI and tech in healthcare.
“[Machines in healthcare] is not a luxury. It’s a must.” – Jack Young, Deutsche Telekom
Panel: Cybersecurity’s Next Step
On the overabundance of jargon and BS in cybersecurity.
“Getting funding is not about having buzz words. Don’t say I’m AI powered, but tell me about your business model, team, potential growth etc. I don’t view AI in cybersecurity as a silver bullet, but it has a use case that is important and specific.” – Nagraj Kashyap, Microsoft Ventures