Wisdom LLP is a Silicon Valley and Boston-based early stage venture capital firm, focusing on the Software and Internet Technologies industries, as well as Military Veterans and Diversity. The Wisdom team have founded / been part of the earliest investors in successful companies like: Zoom Communications, Rackable Systems (acquired by HP), Everdream (acquired by Dell), Heat.net (acquired by Sega), DataFox (acquired by Oracle), CubeTree (acquired by Cornerstone) and several others.
Co-Founders interview with Gary Griffiths and Patricia Hume:
Your fund has a unique and disruptive venture capital model in which your LPs are “required to pay no management fees and no carried interest”. Why raise a fund with no fees or Carry?
We believe in putting our personal capital to work on the same terms, taking the same risks, as our investor partners. When we win, we win equally, and if we lose, we share equally in the pain. The reason for adding more capital to the fund is simple: lerger checks to allow Wisdom to set terms and take board seats.
How is your team leveraging its operating and investing experience in successful companies like: Zoom Communications, Rackable Systems (acquired by HP), Everdream (acquired by Dell), Heat.net (acquired by Sega), DataFox (acquired by Oracle), CubeTree (acquired by Cornerstone).
As a team of seasonable high tech individuals who have started, run, and guided several high tech companies globally, we leverage and draw on a century of experience and execution as operators across all the disciplines of business management. From CEO to CRO to COO and to R+D, the team has demonstrated the success that allows us to serve as the anchor in our venture capital fund.
Nearly 40% of Wisdom’s leaders are military veterans (33%), and about one-third represent minority groups (29%). Please elaborate on your impact investment focus and philosophy behind it.
We invest in early stage technology companies (typically seed/pre-seed, with consideration of Series A). We consider companies led by extraordinary teams with demonstrated leadership abilities. Diversity is important, evident in the portfolio, as we feel it adds a fresh perspective, but diversity per se is not a criteria. We seek Limited Partners who have operating and/or investment experience in the Fund’s areas of focus in order to assist the General Partners in selection, support of our investments, and referrals of prospects.
Wisdom Warrior I invests broadly across technology sectors, with concentration in
- Enterprise/B2B software and services
- The intersection of data science and medical science
- Software concentrated in Machine Learning and analysis of large amounts of data, structured and unstructured
- Energy, in both improving the efficiency of current (fossil) fuels, as well as new “clean tech” opportunities
About 38% of Wisdom portfolio CEOs are females. What in your opinion are the competitive advantages of women-led companies?
Studies show that women-led teams are more collaborative, communicative and open to learning—even when managed across remote locations. This suggests that these women-led companies foster a more effective corporate culture that leads to success. Women tend to execute using “People development”, “Expectation and rewards”, “Role model”, “Inspiration”, and “Participative decision making” approach which lead to success across the organization and this diversity leads to great success.
Share with us about some of the groundbreaking technologies of your leading Medtech / Enterprise Software investments.
In general, we believe that the pandemic has accelerated the acceptance of new technologies by as much as a decade. That is, many technologies that have been around for a while – technologies that enable remote work of all kinds, for example – have taken Covid-related restrictions to force alternatives to the status quo. And now that behaviors have changed, they will not easily go back to the old ways, not because of fear of disease, but because they are just better – more efficient and leading to greater productivity. Some examples include:
- Noteworth, providing software solutions to help hospitals manage patients comprehensively, which has accelerated during the pandemic, and is on a path to 2020 revenue 2X the operating plan.
- Phoenix Molecular Design which, based on the first stages of clinical trials, offers hope to sufferers of Triple Negative Breast Cancer
- Digbi Health, a customized precision health program to combat obesity by tapping into the micro biome, has signed a partnership with Blue Shield of California with nearly one-million clients that are eligible for Digbi’s services.
- Canvas GFX offers technical illustration and technical documentation to enterprises of all sizes, and is already deeply embedded with customers including Boeing, Caterpillar, Raytheon, NASA, Honeywell, the Cleveland clinic, and hundreds of others.
What should our readers remember about Wisdom Warrior Fund I?
Great opportunities arise from crises, and the 2020 Covid crisis will be no exception. We believe that when looking back on 2020, investors will see companies founded in the wake of the pandemic to be some of the most successful technology companies in recent history. And Wisdom is capitalizing on this belief, investing aggressively in outstanding management teams that see this opportunity. Our value and our differentiation is in our network of Limited Partners and colleagues, and while virtually all venture funds promote the value of their networks, Wisdom Warrior I is unique in backing up this claim via our unprecedented financial structure. Our Limited Partners are required to pay: No (zero) management fees, No (zero) carried interest.
Garry Griffiths is a 35-year veteran of the high-tech industry, Griffiths has led some of the web’s most innovative companies. Prior to co-founding Wisdom LLP, Griffiths was CEO of iPass (NASDAQ: IPAS), a leader in global Wi-Fi technology and services, which was acquired by Pareteum, Inc (NASDAQ: TEUM) in February 2019.
A long time Silicon Valley entrepreneur founding a number of start-ups, Griffiths was also president of products and operations at WebEx, acquired for $3B by Cisco Systems, Inc. Griffiths was also co-founder and CEO of Everdream Corporation, a SaaS company, from 1999 to 2005, acquired by Dell, and co-founder/CEO at HEAT.net from 1996 until its acquisition by Sega, Inc. in 1999.
Griffiths has extensive experience overseeing financial and accounting matters as well as strategic initiatives at small technology companies.Griffiths has served on the board of directors for a number of private and public companies, including Silicon Graphics International Corp.,(NASDAQ: SGI), and Janrain, Inc., a customer identity management SaaS company, and others. He is currently an advisor to two private equity funds: Parthenon Capital and Day View Capital.
Patricia Hume is a dynamic and energetic executive with 35 years of experience in the high
technology sector. She brings a wealth of cross-functional experience along with a strong
operational background. Patricia’s expertise is turn around and growth. Coupling strategic vision
with operational execution she has demonstrated a successful track record across large and
microcap organizations. She is a strong sales, marketing, and business development leader
who has experience in all global markets.
In addition to Wisdom, Patricia has been named CEO of Canvas GFX. Canvas software is used
by people to document and share complex objects and systems. Some of the largest companies
in the aerospace, defense, and manufacturing markets use Canvas as an integral part of their
documentation workflow. Wisdom LLP has invested in Canvas to fuel its growth strategy. Prior
to Canvas, Patricia was chief operations officer of iPass,Inc., There she led the global teams
responsible for all customer-facing activities, including sales, marketing, business development,
strategic partnerships, product management, product marketing, operations, and customer
support across the entire product portfolio. iPass was acquired in February 2019.
Patricia served as chief revenue officer at Convio, acquired by Blackbaud, senior vice president
of Global Indirect Channels at SAP AG, group vice president of Avaya’s SMB Division, and CEO
and president of VerticalNet Markets. Hume also held numerous senior management positions
during her 18-yearservice with IBM and Lotus until 1999.
In addition to her executive career, Patricia has a passion for serving others. She volunteers in
non-profit organizations where she works in a “soup kitchen” feeding the poor in Boston.