This month's Monday meeting is with Jason Matlof of Battery Ventures. Jason joined Battery in January 2005 and focuses on investments in the clean technology sector. He is currently a board member at Redwood Systems, SolarBridge Technologies, Qteros, and Ideal Power Converters (Observer). Before joining Battery, Jason spent more than a decade in management roles at leading technology companies. Most recently, he served as Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for Neoteris, which was acquired by NetScreen and then subsequently acquired by Juniper Networks. At Neoteris, Jason was responsible for developing and executing the company’s product strategy and establishing leadership within the emerging SSL VPN product category.
Prior to Neoteris, Jason spent five years at Cisco Systems, where he led the product management team for the company’s multi-billion dollar family of fixed-configuration Catalyst switches. Jason has also held positions with Ford Motor Company, Ericsson Raynet Corporation and MPR Associates. Jason received a BA with honors in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Jason co-authors www.cleanmakesgreen.com, a blog focused on cleantech.
Jason Matlof, Partner, Battery Ventures
Q. From which industry sector do you think we will see the most innovation in the next 2 years?
A. Cleantech, for sure. The first generation of Cleantech investing has been challenging. Capital intensity, scale up, science risk, and other things are just a few of the big learnings of “Cleantech 1.0.” But, the opportunity to generate great venture returns is still significant. These are the biggest product markets in the world; they suffer from acute economic and political challenges; and, technology is the answer in most cases. Those are challenges where technology entrepreneurs and venture investors do well.
Q. 2011 is the year of the ...
A. The Solar Microinverter. Enphase has done a great job building this new product category and is growing wildly fast. But, this is the just the beginning. There are a number of great solutions coming to market that will only accelerate the value proposition and growth potential. Keep your eyes open in 2H11.
Q. The biggest threat to the US venture capital industry is ....
A. Returns! The venture industry’s mean average returns have been poor for over a decade. If the industry intends to maintain size or even grow, the industry mean returns need to start growing dramatically. That means we need new product categories, driving new value propositions, and that drive new categories of strategic buyers to create exit opportunities for our portfolios. Can you say “Cleantech”?
Q. What is your favorite book of the last year?
A: The Big Short. I was already skeptical of the ethics of some bankers and asset managers. Now…I’m scared to death.
Q. Name a venture-backed company you are are not invested in but wish you were.
A. Solar City.
Q. Name a practicing VC from another firm who you admire and why?
A. There are a number of them, but they all share the same character traits – intelligent, successful, yet humble and enjoyable to hang out with.