Venture Unlocked
Venture Unlocked: The playbook for venture capital managers
Brad Gerstner talks AI, Tech Super cycles vs. Market cycles, and the start of Altimeter as a $3MM fund

Brad Gerstner talks AI, Tech Super cycles vs. Market cycles, and the start of Altimeter as a $3MM fund

Episode 117

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Follow me @samirkaji for my thoughts on the venture market, with a focus on the continued evolution of the VC landscape.

We're thrilled to bring on Brad Gerstner, Founder and CEO of Altimeter Capital

Altimeter was first founded in 2008 during the GFC with an initial fund of only $3 Million which Brad raised from friends and family. Today the firm employs both private and public strategies.

Altimeter takes an incredibly focused and high-conviction approach to investing and has backed companies such as Snowflake, Unity, Gusto, and Modern Treasury. And now manages a variety of venture and public funds, taking a hybrid and pragmatic approach to funding, using a variety of vehicles depending on stage and need to give companies and managers access to capital.

About Brad Gerstner:
Brad Gerstner is the Founder and CEO of Altimeter Capital. Before Altimeter, Brad worked as a multiple-time entrepreneur, was a founding principal of General Catalyst, and worked at PAR Capital. He is also an active thought leader on all aspects of the innovation economy, including numerous media appearances and a recurring role on the popular All-In Podcast. And Brad is working to improve the future of the country through efforts such as Invest America.

He earned a bachelor’s from Wabash College, a JD from Indiana University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

In this episode, we discuss:

  1. (2:17) Brad discusses his early life in Indiana and the influence of his father's entrepreneurial journey​​.

  2. (3:23) Brad talks about his path to law school and subsequent shift towards technology and entrepreneurship​​.

  3. (4:10) His impulsive trip to Silicon Valley and his first experiences there​​.

  4. (7:18) Brad discusses his insights into public and private markets and the realization of the need to participate in the venture market​​.

  5. (11:24) He explains the motivation and founding principles behind Altimeter, focusing on competitive advantage​​.

  6. (12:28) Brad highlights Altimeter's unique approach, combining venture capital experience with public market sensibility​​.

  7. (14:02) He speaks about the importance of founders choosing partners that provide intellectual resources along with capital​​.

  8. (18:41) Brad reflects on Altimeter's investment strategy and acknowledges that they haven't always done everything perfectly​​.

  9. (20:44) He discusses the cyclical nature of the venture business and the importance of the price of entry in investments​​.

  10. (23:24) Brad talks about technology super cycles and how they improve lives and outcomes​​.

  11. (28:19) He elaborates on the role of cloud computing and AI in reshaping industries and improving consumer experiences​​.

  12. (30:09) Discussing the evolution of search engines, Brad talks about the transition from Google as a card catalog to an answer bot​​.

  13. (32:32) He shares insights on the power of AI in business and its impact on efficiency and profitability​​.

  14. (39:45) Brad explains Altimeter's disciplined approach to valuation and their investment decision-making process​​.

  15. (44:51) He emphasizes the fiduciary duties of board members to all shareholders and the importance of research-based decision-making​​.

  16. (47:11) Brad reflects on his work with Richard Lugar and his influence on Brad's view of the world​​.

  17. (50:59) He discusses the Invest America initiative and its goal to invest in the future of American children and democracy​​.

  18. (54:03) Brad talks about the need for job retraining and economic participation in the face of labor displacement caused by AI​​.

I’d love to know what you took away from this conversation with Brad. Follow me @SamirKaji and give me your insights and questions with the hashtag #ventureunlocked. If you’d like to be considered as a guest or have someone you’d like to hear from (GP or LP), drop me a direct message on Twitter.

Podcast Production support provided by Agent Bee 
Venture Unlocked
Venture Unlocked: The playbook for venture capital managers
Venture Unlocked is the playbook for starting, operating, & scaling a successful venture capital firm. Samir Kaji, Host of Venture Unlocked has +20-years of experience assisting & advising startups and venture firms. Listen for VC fund guidance.