Kleiner Perkins’ Mamoon Hamid and Ilya Fushman Report: Over 80% of Pitches Incorporate AI

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Last week, at a StrictlyVC event in San Francisco, we caught up with Mamoon Hamid and Ilya Fushman, two prominent VCs at Kleiner Perkins who were brought in about six years ago to revitalize the firm. Among their successful bets are Rippling, Loom, and Figma. The duo is also heavily invested in AI, which was the focus of our conversation. They acknowledged that the venture industry has seen an influx of capital from various sources, but they have maintained a contrarian approach by focusing primarily on early-stage startups. Additionally, they emphasized their emphasis on boutique-style business over larger players in the industry. Despite being heavily involved in AI investments, they noted the challenges of hiring AI engineers, particularly with big companies offering attractive packages to retain talent.

Kleiner Perkins has expanded its team to include investors and specialists from the old guard, but they argue that the firm may actually be smaller than before. They believe that the AI boom has the potential to revolutionize various industries, and they see it as an exciting time to invest in startups. Moreover, they are actively seeking out AI-related pitches, with more than 80% of their pitches falling into this category. They also emphasized the importance of building vertical experiences in sectors such as healthcare, legal, software, engineering, and science.

Hamid and Fushman explained that the mission and engagement of potential hires drive the success of their portfolio companies, and they pointed out that the ability to create a moat in the market is crucial. They believe that the companies that create or expand their market are likely to grow faster and are always undervalued initially. The duo sees a bright future for wearable technology and expressed excitement about the advancements in this field. They also mentioned that despite Figma’s valuation being halved from $20 to $10 billion, the company continues to perform incredibly well, and Kleiner Perkins is energized about the future.

In summary, Mamoon Hamid and Ilya Fushman, both VCs at Kleiner Perkins, are heavily involved in AI investments and maintain a contrarian approach by focusing on early-stage startups. They emphasize the boutique-style business approach and believe that there is a step-function change in how people experience life and work due to the AI boom. Additionally, they see potential in wearable technology and are excited about the future of this field. Although Figma’s valuation was halved, the company continues to perform well, and Kleiner Perkins is looking forward to its future.

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