Making meaningful investments

As a technology investor, people ask me what I invest in. After talking about thematic focus areas, I point out that I like to invest in solutions that are solving meaningful problems. Sometimes, it's hard to convey what's meaningful because what's meaningful to one person may not be meaningful to another person. To create understanding and alignment, I highlight three recent examples from our portfolio. I think after reading about these investments and their recent wins, you know what I mean.

Stardog is a data unification and knowledge graph company. They work with some of the largest companies in the world. For example, Stardog helps NASA build its knowledge graph so the data-driven missions and launches can be implemented without issues. Launching space shuttles or a rover to Mars or the Moon is complicated and requires massive and precise coordination. This is a big data and small data problem, and how to find insights and knowledge for this type of high-stake problem is very hard. Margin of error needs to be miniscule. Stardog is part of the solution in the background.

Floreo Technologies is a digital therapeutic company helping children with autism. One in 36 children is neurodiverse. Floreo is providing the clinics, parents, and children an innovative solution with science-based content with an immersive learning environment enabled by virtual reality technology. Virtual reality (or the metaverse) has been looking for use cases, and what Floreo is building provides a meaningful use case.

Threatblockr is a transparent and open platform that blocks and allows millions of inbound and outbound traffic (i.e., anything with an IP address) without impacting network and application performance. Companies using the best firewalls in the world have potential threats leaking into the networks because current firewalls are based on legacy architecture and can't take advantage of the millions of datapoints that are now available to help make decisions. I was informed by the Threatblockr team recently that, on average and each day, Threatblockr blocks 900 million (yes, close to 1 billion) known bad/malicious traffic. This is about 37.5 million threats blocked per hour! Without Threatblockr, a big portion of these threats would have been allowed and travelled inside clients' networks and environments to target vulnerabilities.

The above are just a few examples of what I mean when I say that I like to invest in companies that solve meaningful problems. They are not the most glamorous problems to focus on. Not many people understand the complexities of these problems. However, solving these problems helps the biggest companies and organizations run and achieve the impossible, enables neurodiverse children to further thrive, and ensures companies' cyber defense posture are indeed robust.

My writings reflect personal opinions and are not investment advice.

Subscribe to Joyce J. Shen

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.