Get To Know the VC – Brian Wilcove

As part of our “Get To Know the VC” blog series, Artiman partner, Brian Wilcove, answered a few questions. Here’s what he had to say:  

1. Did you ever start a company yourself? If so, what is the most important thing you’ve learned from this experience?

I did. The most important thing I learned from the experience was to focus on the hardest problems first. Either technical hurdles or any other hurdle, which is the hardest one, tackle it first. It is critical to be intellectually honest about the hard problem you are trying to solve and then relentlessly focus on that. That can be a technical milestone or a business metric or particular go-to market motion. It can be the difference that those 1-2 things do that can either get the company to work or not work. 

2. What company would you start today?

I’d start a 3rd political party in the US. Most people fall into the moderate approach.

3. Why white space investments are so interesting in your eyes?

At the end of the day, white space investments all have the ability to fundamentally change the world we’re living in. Their ultimate goal is to solve a hard problem and make money as a result. It’s not about investing in an acquisition by Google or Facebook.

4. What has been the most interesting acquisition in the past year?

I think that the CVS – Aetna deal is the most interesting one. The Healthcare system in the US needs an overhaul and these companies operate two very distinct businesses, so it might seem an odd consolidation. However, it might spur more consolidation in that market that will eventually result in more a rationale healthcare system.

5. What columns/blogs do you read?

I read as many esoteric columns as possible. A couple of examples:  Wait But Why, Reflections of the Void. I also read a lot of technical papers. I’m basically interested in writers and blogs that have distinct point of views and opinions.

6. Most challenging professional experience?

Hands down – shutting a company down. Painful. It is really challenging as an entrepreneur since it is an emotional experience. You tried really hard and it didn’t work. There’s time loss, money and a hit to the ego. On the venture side, it is different because you are not managing the operations, you are managing other people’s money alongside yours. They put their trust in you and it doesn’t always work out. It is very complex – there are employees, investors, partners and it’s just a very challenging experience.

7. What have you personally invested in?

Land, especially agricultural, some cryptocurrencies, public equities and some real estate.

8. Do you think bitcoin or other cryptocurrency has a chance to become a substantial piece in the world’s capital reserves? 

I do. Maybe as a gold replacement. I don’t think it will be a currency but more like a transit value, that currency is paid against.

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