JAY HOAG, founding general partner at TCV, a leading provider of capital to growth-stage private and public companies in the technology industry. Director at Electronic Arts, Netflix, Prodege (parent company of Swagbucks), TripAdvisor, VICE Media, and Zillow.
You've said, "Investing in technology and working with entrepreneurs is the greatest possible job in the world's greatest industry." How did you stumble upon the industry?
I was fresh out of business school and starting work as a research analyst at Citicorp Investment Management in July 1982. The offered me three choices of industries to cover: paper and forest products, publishing or technology. As I knew equal amounts about each industry (which was to say nothing !), I somewhat randomly chose technology. If you recall, this was an era where the personal computer was emerging, but technology's future was far from certain, and it was a bit of the wild, wild West.
The first sector I focused on was software, which was a bit contrarian as it was the hardware companies that were best understood. I was fortunate to perceive that software would be the ultimate value driver.
Obviously since that time, the technology industry has exploded in size, impacted many other industries, and generated the top six most valuable companies in the world. It's been an incredible tailwind for the 36+ years I've been investing.
How did you get on your first board?
As a growth equity investor, when we invest in a company, getting on the board is standard practice.
One of the earliest boards I can remember was Pure Software, which was founded by an entrepreneur in his late-20s by the name of Reed Hastings. I was lucky enough to recognize early what an incredible visionary Reed was and when Pure was ultimately sold he went on to start Netflix. We monitored his progress and we invested (and I went onto the Netflix board) in 1999.
As an investor and a board member, how do you think your approach to corporate governance is unique?
Well, I don't know if my approach is unique or not, but here is how I approach it.
I believe you must dig in...