Mayfield Managing Partner Navin Chaddha recently joined EE Times journalist Nitin Dahad on the Silicon Grapevine podcast. In this interview Navin shares his motivation for becoming a venture capitalist after three back-to-back successful startups; his journey from his beginnings studying at IIT in Delhi, and Stanford in California, to becoming an accidental entrepreneur to a successful VC; his POV on the semiconductor industry; and more. Key takeaways include:
- Invest in relationships, not transactions – Mayfield’s people-first philosophy guides our investment decisions.
- The VC industry experienced a massive increase in capital investment in startups, reaching a 10x increase from 2012-2021. However, most of this funding went to mid and later-stage companies via follow-on rounds, creating a supply-demand imbalance. It’s important for the industry to remember its roots in inception and early-stage investing, and to right-size the amount of money going into startups.
- For a while, the VC industry at large did not invest in semis for a variety of reasons – Moore’s Law, the capital intensity of these ventures, long product development, even longer sales cycles, and public markets valuing software and consumer companies highly, to name a few. But today, silicon investing is back with the Renaissance of Semiconductors, and Navin actively invests in this space, with investments including Nuvia (acquired by Qualcomm), Alif, Auradine, and Frore Systems.
- Navin urges entrepreneurs that they should have a 30-second elevator pitch, starting with vision, mission & values; articulating the customer problem; explaining how big the market is; and sharing the team’s background and founder-market fit. Once you have a VC’s attention you can dive deeper into the technology behind the company.
- Some investment themes Navin and Mayfield are investing in include AI, the renaissance of silicon, the rise of the individual, cybersecurity, and human and planetary health.
- One piece of advice he would give his younger self: take it easy, enjoy the journey and look at what’s around you – don’t be so focused on your goal that you miss out.
Mayfield brings a People-first view to AI and invests across the five layers of the technology stack. The firm also recently announced the first dedicated seed fund in the firm’s history, the $250M AI Start. Learn more about the firm’s AI focus here.