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Venture Capitalism and the Future of IT

Ravi Mhatre, Venture Capitalist and Partner, Lightspeed Venture Partners
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Ravi Mhatre, Venture Capitalist and Partner, Lightspeed Venture Partners
Trends in IT Sector
This is an incredibly exciting time to be a technology investor. We are seeing massive growth in many key areas including mobility, cloud computing and virtualization; and disruption in others such as the cloud security market. Security through the cloud has recently gained momentum in response to changes in the way businesses and their employees' access and share information and is suggestive of larger transformations that are likely to occur in data centers.
The explosion of data across industries has given rise to the birth of many data management platforms in form of 'data lakes' and firms have invested heavily in platforms that can do analytics and create insights on top of the basic big data plumbing. Due to the sheer size of data, surfing information and running ad-hoc graphs and reports with more of a "Google-like" experience has become a necessity. And it’s really hard today. Companies have been trying to do this for years in terms of writing SQL or trying to do queries against business data warehouses. However, companies need to unravel new methods to let non-technical users like business decision-makers to get insights out of today’s enormous datasets.
At Lightspeed, we are thrilled to partner with and support industry leaders that have readily embraced these new trends and provided companies with formidable solution stacks. Companies like Nutanix have pioneered the next generation of computing and virtualization platforms by filling the gaps left by VMware and others; DataStax has reallyshaken up the IT sector and is on a quest to take on Oracle and Appdynamics which is the next-generation leader in cloud application delivery and management is one of the fastest growing infrastructure software companies of the last decade. On the consumer side, companies like Snapchathave pioneered next generation messaging (my colleague Jeremy Liew was the company’s first investor).

Trendsetters in IT Arena
Few companies in the IT world reach the trajectories where then can emerge as the "new generation" market leaders and become large public corporations that redefine the industry as a whole. Appdynamics is also redefining its industry. If one takes a closer look, companies are now building business applications for more users than ever before. These apps run on the cloud and behind the traditional firewall. Understanding usage patterns and performance models of these apps across all parts of the private cloud and public internet ecosystem is an extremely challenging problem. Appdynamics is the only company that has built aninnovative productwith the sophistication to create visibility into the behavior of this generation of application. It can be downloaded from the web andturned on in less than 15 minutes in a running application environment. Both in terms the quick time to value and the sophistication of their monitoring platform, they havechanged the way businesses and enterprises execute operations, management, and control of their business applications and achieve visibility into their application behaviors.
Natera is at the intersection of computing and big data in the healthcare market. Their solution uses big data and computing combined with genetic testing to identify health conditions of children before birth.They have a novel procedure that can be performed by testing a blood sample of the expectant mother in the first trimester and running algorithms. Natera has grown from a zero base to being a market leader witha lot of revenue and is rapidly changing the face of the industry. The company can re-invent other areas of healthcare by using data computationalgorithms and holds promise in cancer testing as well.
A few other companies we are excited: Zscaler is market leader in delivering security to enterprises based on a cloud-premise. ThoughtSpot and Rubrik are both currently below the radar but have world class technical teams focused on delivering disruptively innovative solutions to the market.


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