Today we’re announcing DFJ Venture XI, a $325M early-stage venture fund that will invest in passionate entrepreneurs who “Think Big.”
Over the last 29 years, we’ve been fortunate to support many great entrepreneurs who’ve built iconic companies. These companies, in turn, have changed how we communicate, how we interact with information, how we drive, how we power our homes and how we explore the frontiers of the unknown. In fulfilling their missions, these businesses have generated incredible economic value and tens of thousands of jobs. And along this journey, we’ve learned a lot about global venture investing, how to design a balanced partnership, and the importance of having conviction about areas of technological disruption. These lessons have infused into the next phase at DFJ, which begins today.
Some fundamental tenets, such as backing great entrepreneurs like Elon Musk (as we now have done three times with SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity), Aaron Levie and Robin Li were easy enough to infuse into our collective investment psyche. But we also strive to be a dynamic team that learns and evolves over time. For example, we have realized that managing a global venture investment network is best done as an independent, dedicated endeavor. Though we continuously refine our investment approach, our core and fundamental investment thesis remains constant: to partner with exceptional entrepreneurs who embark on an epic journey to build great companies.
Ultimately, venture firms are measured by one thing: sustained, superior returns, which in our experience are generated by entrepreneurs who think big and build iconic companies. While our eyes are firmly on the future, we are also incredibly proud to have backed more than 22 companies, which to date, have each achieved more than $1B in realized value through an initial public offering or an acquisition. To these heroes we award our Golden Frisbees and induct them into the elite group of businesses we call the DFJ Ultimate Club. As we look ahead to investing DFJ Venture XI, we will look for our next Ultimate Club founders, searching in fields as diverse as machine learning, mobile applications, cloud computing, business applications, robotics, satellites, synthetic biology, communications and intelligent devices.
Change is the only constant in the technology industry and DFJ is no exception. While both Tim Draper and John Fisher will remain on DFJ’s management committee and will be significant personal investors in our fund, neither will be an investing partner for DFJ Venture XI. After nearly 30 years as our founding partner, Tim is taking some time to focus his energies on building Draper University, an innovative program that teaches entrepreneurship, as well as working on some ideas related to reinventing the seed funding ecosystem. John, who co-founded our DFJ Growth fund in 2006, will be devoting his full attention to growth stage investments as a partner on that team. Together, Tim and John started our firm and inculcated a culture of continuous learning about technology, investing and ourselves, all in pursuit of our mission of building an enduring and exceptional venture capital firm. We look forward to continuing to benefit from their guidance and support and we want to thank them for the trust they have placed in the go-forward Venture team.
With the close of DFJ Venture XI, we are excited to partner with the next generation of great entrepreneurs who will forge the future. If you have an idea to change the world, and if you think you have the right stuff, we want to hear from you!
The DFJ Venture XI Team