5 Questions with Todd McIntyre: Spike Ventures Managing Partner
April 8, 2021 | Ashley Brindamour
We are pleased to welcome Todd McIntyre as Managing Partner of Spike Ventures, Alumni Ventures’ fund for Stanford alumni and friends of the community. Todd has an extensive background in venture capital as an entrepreneur, senior business executive, board member, and investor. We recently caught up with Todd to learn how he came to join Spike Ventures.
Will you share your background prior to joining Spike Ventures?
I have 20-plus years of experience as a venture capital investor, entrepreneur, and senior technology operating executive. Along the way, I also gained deep knowledge of intellectual property and IP licensing. I’ve worked across capital structures from seed-stage investments to public offerings as an entrepreneur, senior business executive, board member, and investor. I have experience in many sectors, including consumer media and web, optoelectronics, telecoms, cleantech, and healthcare. I recently founded and was the managing partner of a life-science and digital health fund that pioneered a venture finance model combining early-stage capital with fund-owned intellectual property. I also served as a senior business leader in a technology incubator fund where I was responsible for leading efforts to build, fund, and spin out several new deep tech businesses.
How did your time at Stanford impact you, personally and professionally?
I attended Stanford for graduate school because I wanted to immerse myself in the tech culture of Silicon Valley, which was completely orthogonal to my experiences up to that point in my career. It’s a place where everything seems possible, so it’s a phenomenal hatchery for ideas. The web was just springing into existence at the time. I partnered with some classmates to create the first lifestyle guide to Silicon Valley at a time when the number of websites in existence worldwide measured fewer than 3,000! The basic elements necessary to create a successful online business didn’t exist yet. It was such a fun and exciting time. The school also gave me access to a mind-blowing array of interesting people — from classmates, professors, and alumni to business leaders, CEOs, Nobel laureates. You name it. The experience significantly opened my aperture on the world, providing me with a new toolset that allowed me to point my career in a new direction and a new set of lifelong friends and connections.
What sparked your interest in working at Spike?
The same thing that attracted me to Stanford as a student attracted me to Spike. It sits at the epicenter of one of the most vibrant venture ecosystems globally. It’s exciting and gratifying to have the opportunity to contribute to that rich ecosystem by providing meaningful linkages between talented entrepreneurs, venture capital, and an incredible network of connected alumni and friends of the university. By doing our jobs well, my teammates and I get to enable great companies to thrive and positively impact the world. In my early engagement with AVG, I also learned that Spike is one part of a family of funds led by an amazingly talented and hardworking group of people who are deeply committed to the idea of making venture investing accessible to a broader audience. That’s a hugely positive development for individual investors.
What trends in venture capital are you most excited about?
- Climatetech: There’s a second wave of purpose-driven entrepreneurs building highly scalable, capital-efficient businesses that positively impact the planet.
- Natural language processing and GPT-3: These technologies are opening new frontiers at the interface of humans and complex systems.
- Blockchain: Continued innovation enables new applications and novel business models such as decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
- Life Sciences: The intersection of AI and biology drives breakthroughs such as AlphaFold and prescription digital therapeutics. And gene-editing technologies such as CRISPR will be revolutionary forces for change in biotechnology.
- No and low-code development platforms: These platforms allow vastly more people to write software.
What resources do you recommend to people interested in venture capital or entrepreneurship (books, podcasts, etc.)?
- Books: The Diffusion of Innovations, The Innovator’s Dilemma, The Hard Thing About Hard Things
- Blogs/Medium: Fred Wilson, Benedict Evans, Vinod Khosla, Bill Gates, Paul Graham, Brad Feld, Ray Dalio
- Twitter: Chamath Palihapitiya
- Podcasts: Dan Primack, Axios ReCap