Since joining CapitalG in 2013, Jesse has played a leadership role in a number of enterprise software investments, including Applied Systems, Unqork, UiPath, Looker, Gusto, Duolingo and RCN.
Prior to joining CapitalG, Jesse worked at TPG and in the technology investments group at Goldman Sachs. He received his BS from UC Berkeley and an MBA from Stanford. Outside of work, Jesse enjoys gardening, DIY projects, refurbishing boats and spending time on the water with his friends and family. He lives in Lafayette with his wife and two children.
What types of technologies most excite you?
I’m passionate about technology that transforms the way people work, either through automating mundane processes or leveraging data in new ways to help people work better and smarter and focus on high-value tasks. This is typically achieved by applying new technology to old industries in need of transformation. When you speak to professionals in these industries, you really get the sense for how dramatically software is redefining the workforce of the future and how fundamentally it’s impacting millions of lives.
We know that within this decade, many companies in traditional industries--law, manufacturing, shipping etc.--will need to evolve to stay competitive. It may seem far off now, but our investment partners present us with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help these legacy companies remain viable and in turn help their workforces stay relevant and employed. I really feel that together with our portfolio companies we’re changing the world.
You’ve said that you target generational companies. What makes a company qualify as generational?
Put simply, a generational company has potential to endure multi-decade growth. It’s a long-term investment and a huge opportunity that can transform the lives of people for the next five, ten or even twenty years. These companies can be quite rare, but you also see them all around you. They’re the brands and businesses your parents and grandparents know and love--and they’re exactly the sorts of investments we like to make
What do you care about most when you look at a new company?
Above all, we want to partner with businesses and entrepreneurs who have a strong point of view on how the future should look and are trying to make it a reality. It goes beyond starting a company for the sake of it or for short term gain. We seek individuals who are fulfilling their ultimate purpose. They’re so passionate about their mission that they’re ready to spend their lives pursuing it. It’s our great honor and privilege to assist and partner with them along the way.
How would you describe the relationships you build with entrepreneurs and CEOs?
We always align on a vision. I find when you and the CEO see the world in a similar way, your entire working relationship becomes a lot more enjoyable. My approach is usually hands-on, so I roll up my sleeves and become an extension of their team. Whether it’s helping them better understand what metrics they should be looking at and how to track them or thinking about ideas for sales and partnerships, I take a collaborative bottoms-up rather than a prescriptive, top-down approach.
Personally, I get a lot of energy from diving deeply into businesses and imagining new ideas to pursue. Rather than getting too comfortable with the status quo, I help them think through next-gen strategy.
Capital can often be treated as a commodity; how do you make sure this is never the case?
We’re very intentional with the relationships we build and never approach a new business unprepared. That means we’re thoughtful and purposeful in everything we do. Before an initial meeting, I research the market, the company and the competitive landscape so that I show up with insightful data and useful suggestions that add value immediately.
We are investors for the long term and have the ability to provide a steady hand and expert advice during periods of fluctuation. We look ahead to how we can help continually grow a business, and we never steer a CEO off track to serve short-term interests.