You should be saying: “This guy is totally out of his mind” and I tell you: Perhaps, my friend, perhaps!!! I think that everyone needs a short moment of madness, and after that, think and make points in a better way. But seriously, in an era where financial markets are going up and down so quickly; every company should think in new ways to arrive to profitability, and putting some eggs in the right baskets could be very lucrative if it’s done in the right ways.
So, for that reason, I think that Oracle should follow the examples of Google (Google Ventures and Google Capital), Qualcomm (Qualcomm Ventures), SAP (SAP Ventures) and Intel (Intel Capital); and create its own Venture Capital firm. But a different kind of VC firm. How? Keep reading.
A different kind of VC firm
A Oracle VC firm could allow to the company to invest in products and companies that could be potential partners; or simply outstanding ideas which need cash to become in a reality. When I refer to these ideas, think in Clean/Green Tech, wearable tech, smart homes, Healthcare, biotech, Big Data, Analytics, Cloud Security, Future of transportation, and more.
But to be ready to invest in these sectors, this VC firm should be different in one way: It needs a strong commitment with research teams, academics and people interested in these industries or with strong basements in them. For example, you can’t invest in Tesla Motors, if you understand deeply the technology that makes their vehicles unique; or you can’t invest in a new kind of solar panel if you don’t know at least the physics behind these complex devices. So, Oracle should create strong partnerships with research teams dedicated to these topics.
Potential candidates for this? MIT MediaLab, Stanford d.Design School, Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence Department with Andrew Ng, Tsinghua University, Alexander Von Humbolt University (Berlin, Germany), Louis Dorard, Drew Conway, John Myles White, and other research teams from other universities. (Oracle Campuses Relations program could server like a bridge for this too). All these experts and teams could become in incredible resources to select the right places to put Oracle’s money.
All Oracle’s resources and mentors to serve these entrepreneurs
Here is where Oracle could become in a shining star for the same beginning. Oracle’s resources are vast, and inside its payroll, there are a lot of experts in every subject of a business. For example, What would happen if you put in one place Eloqua’s CEO and Responsys’s CEO to mentor a small group of entrepreneurs interested to create a successful Go-to-Market strategy? But the collaboration could be even better when you put part of Oracle Marketing Cloud to serve these teams for free, or part of Oracle’s Sales team give useful insights to these teams. Awesome eh!!
Global expansion and operations
If I had to make a point here, I would combine experience and fresh minds, putting to work together leaders who have been in charge of Global organizations, and recent graduates of MIT’s Leaders for Global Operations program with more than one or two years of experience. I’m a great believer of this program, and its curriculum is perfect to analyze a product or a company in emerging markets, and put the right hands to expand them globally. This particular combination could be very beneficial for the firm.
Global exposure? Absorb some small VC firms
If Oracle wants a global exposure, it should bring to the team relative small VC firms from tech hubs like London, Berlin, Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing, Sao Paulo, Santiago de Chile, or the right people behind these firms. I will let you a list of potential candidates here:
- Kathryn Gould, who was the first VP of Marketing at Oracle from 1982 to 1984, has an incredible experience like investor, so, for me she would be the perfect candidate for Managing Director of the firm.
- Alps Ventures (Austria and Singapore). One of the founder and Managing Partners is Dirk Van Quaquebeke
- Thrive Capital. Managing Partner: Josh Kushner
- Giza Venture Capital (Tel Aviv, Israel). Managing Director: Eyal Niv
- Atomico Ventures (London, UK; Sao Paulo, Brazil and Beijing, China). Managing Partner: Niklas Zennstrom
- Azione Capital (Singapore). Managing Partners: Nicholas Chan, Soon Choo Teck and Lee Keh Sai
- Lux Capital
- Semil Shah, who has a very good investing experience in Mobile tech
- Israel Cleantech Ventures (Ramat HaSharon, Israel). Managing Partners: Glen Schwaber, Jack Levy, and Meir Ukeles
I think that you could play with this list and consider the best candidates for the firm, always thinking in bring at least one expert and at least one experienced investor in every sector that Oracle is interested to invest.
With this firm, I think that Oracle could make a great impact in the Venture Capital world, and Larry and his team are smart, they should put a large initial amount of capital (from 250 Million to 1 Billion would be awesome), to become in a start immediately and a team to watch in the next years. If you like the idea, please share it with your peers in a Tweet or at LinkedIn.