Discussing the origins of venture capitalism, Alan Patricof explains to Deepak how the idea of backers supporting innovation can probably be traced all the way back to the Bronze Age, but Patricof concedes that the practice that we now know of as venture capitalism truly had its start in the United States after the second world war. In this episode of One World with Deepak Chopra, Patricof, the founder and managing director of venture capital firm Greycroft LLC, as well as APAX, one of the world’s leading private equity firms, provides a vivid picture of the history, the function, and the mentality of the venture capital world. As one of the early pioneers in the industry, his is a perspective informed by tremendous success and extensive experience in the world of venture capital.
A few years after investing in the then new publication New York Magazine in the late sixties, Patricof founded Patricof & Co. Ventures Inc. during the formative years of the industry. In 1981, he brought venture capital to the UK. In 1982, to France. Since then, he tells Deepak, the field has expanded to a presence in every single country in the world. For more than four decades now, Patricof has played an instrumental role in the expansion of the venture capital industry from its base of high net worth individuals to the broad institutional backing it receives today. Patricof eventually took a step back from overseeing APAX’s private equity fund in order to focus on smaller venture deals, and this eventually led to his founding Greycroft Partners with the goal of leading early and expansion stage investments in digital media.
Alan Patricof is a board member of the Board of Overseers of the Columbia School of Business, the Finance Committee of Northside Center of Child Development in Harlem, was appointed by Barack Obama as a Member of the President’s Development Council, was appointed for two terms to the board of the Millenium Challenge Corporation by both Presidents Bush and Obama, and served as the chairman of the White House Conference on Small Business Commission in The Clinton Administration. He is currently an advisor to Disney’s Accelerator Program, and has been on the boards for TechnoServe, Trickle Up Program, Global Advisory Board of Endeavor, Applied Sciences NYC Advisory Board, and the Initiative for Global Development Leadership Council.
Alan Patricof’s strategy is to lose as little as you can and to make as much as you can, and in order to do this, one must balance risks and have discipline when investing. He makes it clear that he invests in the people, not the product, that it is effective people that produce success. Patricof’s strategic thinking has led to his involvement with Apple Computer, America Online, Office Depot, Cadence Systems, Cellular Communications, Huffington Post, and Audible, amongst others. The knowledge and experience shared in this interview provides a firsthand look at the inner workings of a financial luminary of our time.
19:19 | 2012