“Everyone has competition, but why will you win? How will you maintain your leadership position?” with David Cremin of Frontier

I had the pleasure of interviewing David Cremin, who is the founder and Managing Partner of Frontier, where he leads fund operations, fundraising and portfolio management. David has raised over $200 million in venture capital partnerships and helped lead investments in over 100 companies, including DailyPay, Divx Networks (NASDAQ:DIVX), Big Frame (DreamWorks), MaxPreps (CBS), Clear Access (Cisco) and Prolacta Bioscience. He previously served as Founder and CEO of Vis-à-Vis Entertainment, a venture-backed startup focused on music media. He spent several years touring as a professional musician and recording artist for RCA Records, Atlantic Records, Elektra Records and EastWest Records. David has taught business feasibility as an adjunct professor at UC Santa Barbara and California Polytechnic San Luis Obispo. He holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University.

Click here for the full interview…..

Gender Pay Equity Analysis Is Here to Stay. Is Your Company Doing It Right?

Turning over the Partner PoV column to Zev Eigen, founder and chief data scientist of our portfolio company, Syndio.

Equal pay for equal work by people of different genders is top of mind for most companies in 2019, with a December World Economic Forum report noting the gender pay gap is on track to persist for the next twenty decades.

There is absolutely no reason for the pay gap to persist, and some actors have begun taking steps on what they have realized is a solvable problem. For example, many states are enacting laws that require organizations of all sizes to close the gender pay gap. Shareholder activists, third-party organizations, and activist fund managers are pressing companies for transparency on their pay equity to avoid facing a shareholder proposal. Within companies, employee networks are more frequently sharing their own pay information when pressing their employers on pay equity. 

But more than the legal requirements or external and internal pressure, gender-based pay equity is the right thing to do. When employees know a company takes pay practices seriously, they are more engaged, happier, more productive, and less likely to leave. Employers that are transparent about their commitment to pay equity earn trust, and a reputation for pay equity is also the number-one way to attract top talent.

Click here for more…….

Drone Security

Here’s a “Portfolio PoV” from Luke Fox, CEO of drone security company WhiteFox Defense Technologies sharing his thoughts with us today……

As of February 23, 2019, drone owners must begin displaying their FAA ID numbers on the outside of their drones, a new requirement in response to fears of terrorism. Previously, the FAA allowed registration numbers to be placed on the inside of drones. While this is a step in the right direction, the industry still has a long way to go with drone identification. There are over a million unregistered drones in the US, and the current system is manual and easy to exploit. The solution for drone remote ID should be digital, automated, and cryptographically-secure. The importance of cybersecurity in remote ID Is two-sided. Smart cities should be confident that authenticated drones operating within it are well intentioned, while also honoring the privacy of drones operators. Why must drone remote ID be secure? Without necessary cybersecurity in place, forging a digital identifier is easy. Anyone can claim to be any identify, from any location. Tampering with another drone’s identity is easy, as well. As drones proliferate, the manual registration process will need to be phased out. It’s imperative a system is implemented that both sends and receives data we can trust.

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Portfolio Company Spotlight: Misty Robotics

Occasionally we turn over this page on our website to guests. Today we turn it over to Tim Enwall, the head of Misty Robotics……

Misty’s Jobs

Robots doing “everything humans can do” is still decades away— so which jobs can Misty fill?

The single most-asked question we at Misty Robotics get is: “what can Misty do?”

This question comes at us from consumers, developers, investors, and other robot companies. And there are as many answers as perspectives, but the shortest answer is “probably not as much as humanity expects a robot to do.” And that’s just fine.

If you think about all of the actions that humans perform on any given day, the human “Task Space” pie chart might look something like this:

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Looking Around Corners....

At Frontier, and every early-stage venture capital firm like it, it’s our job to look around corners to theorize about what the world could look like in the future.  Our partners look through lenses that are filtered by certain thematic beliefs that drive our fund investing (click here!), but also inspired by a world of creative entrepreneurs who are often already ahead of us.  As we look around these corners to the future, we always want to be convinced that we can see that the product market possibility is actually imminent.  We have been wrong on this many times, I assure you, sometimes resulting in challenging commercialization experiences!  But sometimes, we predict accurately.  We have been watching the autonomous vehicle market for several years.  In 2017, we looked around a corner believing that such vehicles were closer to market than most people knew or believed.  A lot of investment capital has flowed toward the technologies required to bring this vision to life.  For that reason, autonomous vehicles are right around the corner: (click here!)

With this in mind, at Frontier we backed Driav, a business focused finding a solution to mitigate insurance risk for just this eventuality.  This is a complicated problem to solve and requires all kinds of insight, driven by a combination of technology in the automobile, integrated with a completely new road map for insurance companies and auto manufacturers.  We think the team at Driav is poised to help the autonomous vehicle vision come to life, safely, and we are excited to have given them the important fuel they required for timely commercialization.  More to come soon on autonomous vehicles.