A VC on Elon Musk's SpaceX board says founders who can't answer this 1 question might miss out on millions in funding
- Steve Jurvetson, the founder of Future Ventures fund and a board member at SpaceX and Tesla, looks to invest in companies which "will be written about in history books."
- The investor looks at long-term funding options in fields such as space technology and asks all potential applicants the same question.
- Future Ventures launched in February and has made eight investments to date.
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"Where do you see yourself five years from now?" is a common question in interviews. But what about in 20 years?
That's the question that Steve Jurvetson, the founder of Future Ventures fund and a board member at SpaceX and Tesla, asks companies seeking funding. His investment strategy seeks to find companies that will "be written about in history books" and says founders who have "infectious enthusiasm" are the ones he funds.
"We ask the question, 'What do you see your business doing in 20 years' time?' To some, that's unfathomable, but to many, that's the challenge," Jurvetson said in an interview with Business Insider. "The arbitrage-seeking opportunists have no answer, or worse, chuckle at the question. I pass on those companies."
Jurvetson was an early investor in SpaceX and says the best companies are ones which have "really rich and interesting answers which transcends their usual pitch to investors." Unlike many VC funds which have funding periods of five to seven years, Future Ventures operates on a 10-to-15-year plan with long-term projects, particularly those in space technology, quantum computing, and AI, taking priority.
"Investors generally want a return in a shorter time frame but space technology, along with other industries, has a longer period of development, so only a handful of companies are massively successful within a 10-to-15-year time span," he said.
The former partner at DFJ made investment picks during the dot-com boom and has since become a self-described "space nut" in recent years.
Jurvetson left DFJ following allegations of improper conduct, reported by Recode. He then defended himself in a statement. Jurvetson is reportedly close to Elon Musk, so while the controversy led Jurvetson to take a leave of absence from SpaceX and Tesla, he is back on the boards of both companies.
He has since launched Future Ventures, a $2oo million fund, in February alongside Maryanna Saenko, formerly of Khosla Ventures and DFJ. The fund has made eight investments to date, he said.
Future Ventures has invested in quantum computing firm D-Wave and earth imaging company Planet Labs.
"We are looking for companies that want to change the world," Jurvetson said.
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