Our topic in this episode is investing in AI, so we're delighted to have as our guest John Cassidy, a Partner at Kindred Capital, a UK-based venture capital firm. Before he became an investment professional, John co-founded CCG.ai, a precision oncology company which exited to Dante Labs in 2019.
We discuss how the investment landscape is being transformed by the possibilities enabled by generative AI .
Topics addressed in this episode include:
*) The argument for investing not just in "platforms" but also in "picks and shovels" - items within the orchestration or infrastructure layers of new solutions
*) Examples of recent investments by Kindred Capital
*) Comparisons between the surge of excitement around generative AI and previous surges of excitement around crypto and dot-com
*) Companies such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft kept delivering value despite the crash of the dot-com bubble; will something similar apply with generative AI?
*) The example of how Nvidia captures significant value in the chip manufacturing industry
*) However, looking further back in history, many people who invested in the infrastructure of railways and canals lost lots of money
*) Reasons why generative AI might produce large amounts of real value more quickly than previous technologies
*) The example of Cradle Bio as enablers of protein engineering - and what might happen if Google upgrade their protein folding prediction software from AlphaFold 2 to AlphaFold 3
*) Despite the changes in technological possibilities, what most interests VCs is the calibre of a company's founding team
*) The search for individuals who have "creative destruction in their being" - people with a particular kind of irrational self-belief
*) The contrast between crystallized intelligence and fluid intelligence - and why both are needed
*) Advantages and disadvantages for investors being located in the UK vs. being located in the US
*) Why doesn't Europe have tech giants?
*) Complications with government regulation of tech industries
*) The example of Scarlet as a company helping to streamline the regulation of medical software that is frequently updated
*) Why government regulators need to engage with people in industry who are already immersed in considering safety and efficacy of products
*) Wherever they are located, companies need to plan ahead for their products reaching new jurisdictions
*) Ways in which AI is likely to impact industries in new ways in the near future
*) The particular need to improve the efficiency of the later stages of clinical trials of new medical treatments
Audio engineering by Alexander Chace.
Music: Spike Protein, by Koi Discovery, available under CC0 1.0 Public Domain Declaration