Deven Parekh, Managing Director, Insight Venture Partners
Leading global venture capital and private equity firm investing in high-growth technology and software companies.
The upending of the PC as the dominant consumption platform is at the same time both disrupting traditional internet based models and creating the opportunity for entirely new ones. Insight invests exclusively in the global software and internet industries. Both of these sectors have seen some fundamental paradigm shifts which are driving explosive growth. In software, the shift to the cloud is driving innovation in not only next generation front end applications but also in back end infrastructure. Probably no platform shift has happened as fast as mobile, with increased adoption creating a magnitude of opportunities.
As growth stage investors, our investments are focused around technologies that are proven but that might be applied in new and different ways. While big data is an overused term, its impact is hard to overstate. The global scale of the internet, the ubiquity of mobile devices, the declining costs of cloud computing and storage, increased broadband penetration and an increasingly networked physical world create an explosion of data unlike anything before. I think three very interesting areas to watch include: 1) open government data 2) use of data to personalize medicine and 3) digital learning. Insight has made investments in all three of these areas.
On an intellectual level, I find some of the advances in drone technology and self-driving cars to be fascinating and they both of them will have a huge impact on a number of large vertical markets. Advances in biotechnology are also happening at a remarkable rate partially driven by next generation bioinformatics. I’m reading a book on Elon Musk right now. It reminds you that revolutionary change is still possible. So much capital is going into step change innovation, it is exciting to see the huge impact that companies like SpaceX and Tesla have had on their respective industries.
Staying Relevant - The True Quality of an Entrepreneur
Being an entrepreneur is probably the most difficult job out there, pushing on when everyone around you thinks you are crazy. In my view, that is only possible when you are really passionate about what you are doing. A concern I have is that in today’s market there is a tendency to pursue what is perceived to be ‘hot’ (the uber of x) rather than a problem that one is passionate about. I think the biggest challenge of an entrepreneur is to pursue what they want regardless of what others are saying. The truly great entrepreneurs have always been able to filter out the noise.