Veteran venture capital firm Venrock, an investing arm of the Rockefeller family, has backed several successful tech companies since its inception in 1969: Intel, Apple, DoubleClick, to name a few. A recent win is the sale of Dollar Shave Club to Unilever for $1 billion; it also was one of the backers of Nest Labs, which was bought by Google for $3.2 billion in 2014. Venrock partner David Pakman said his firm looks for digital business models that can disrupt slower-moving incumbents. He noted that traditional firms are losing to tech startups because they don’t know how to talk to the digital customer. In contrast, digital-first firms tend to be ‘conversational’ brands skilled in engaging the always connected customer. Pakman discussed Venrock’s strategy on Wharton Business Radio’s Knowledge@Wharton show, which airs on SiriusXM Channel 111.
Most of us, unless we’re insurance actuaries or Wall Street quantitative analysts, have only a vague notion of algorithms and how they work. But they actually affect our daily lives by a considerable amount. Algorithms are a set of instructions followed by computers to solve problems. The hidden algorithms of Big Data might connect you with a great music suggestion on Pandora, a job lead on LinkedIn or the love of your life on Match.com.