A few weeks ago, I joined the investing team at Bloomberg Beta! I’ll be working closely with James Cham, Karin Klein, Roy Bahat, Angela Martin, Cody McCauley, Sydney Tiedt, and Maria Sharp to invest in machine intelligence and the future of work.
The Bloomberg Beta team is inspiring and clearly very esteemed in how they think about the future of technology. Check out Roy’s efforts with New America and Bloomberg to imagine what the future of work will look like in the next few decades, and Shivon’s and James’s reports on the state of machine intelligence.
I’m joining the investing side of things having recently finished my Master’s in Computer Science (Artificial Intelligence track) and having done my undergraduate studies in Computer Science and Physics from Stanford.
Having grown up in Orlando, FL, the only startups I knew of growing up were Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, which weren’t really early-stage startups by the time I was in high school, and I had never heard of venture capital. As I was preparing to move to Stanford, my dream was to become a physics professor. Needless to say, the Bay Area was a huge culture shock to me.
During my first few months here, a high school research project I had worked on to predict space debris collisions with satellites using machine learning reached national headlines, and I had an inbound of emails from venture capitalists who told me that as a Stanford student, I needed to start a company based on my research, and… that’s exactly what I did and focused on throughout the rest of my Stanford career. There were many opportunities and temptations to dropout and become the archetypal young founder that Silicon Valley loves, but I knew that as a young founder, I needed to stay grounded and engage in a delicate dance of taking risks and reliably building my own foundations as a person.
Having gone through the tumultuous journey of being a young founder, pivoting my company from a technical machine learning project to a satellite insurance product, and navigating incredibly high risk, I deeply empathize with the real and unglamorous parts of the founder experience. It’s easy for investors to forget that a check into a round can make or break a young founder’s dream. As an investor now, I can’t wait to deeply support and hustle with founders working to create our collective future, and there’s no better place to do that than with Bloomberg Beta, where many people on our team have lived experience building great products and organizations from the ground up.
Bloomberg Beta is backed by Bloomberg L.P., which has a long history and culture of creating products that fundamentally changed the way financial markets work for the better by increasing transparency. When Bloomberg Beta was set up nine years ago, the focus of the fund was to find founders and trends related to Bloomberg’s interests before they became obvious. In short, it became the first venture fund to focus on the future of work, and over three funds, we’ve translated the Bloomberg ethos to Bloomberg Beta by treating founder support (our customers) and transparency as our religion.
I believe that work, especially knowledge work, will be the foundation of the most innovative technologies that continue to drive our society. As the COVID pandemic has shown us, our work lives have the capability to be and remain decentralized with a suite of collaboration tools, people management, benefits, and cloud infrastructure technologies that allow us to remain successful in our day jobs.
We’ve also seen individual workers take on more responsibility with the flexibility of taking on side gigs and opportunities that are no longer limited by an eight hour in-person work day. Machine intelligence technologies that assist the individual, such as voice recognition and text understanding, will empower the individual worker to act like a CEO with intelligent assistants that will give time back for creative thinking.
Beyond individuals, industries are ripe for disruption with a new kind of “hot-swap” startups, or revolutionary startups that will enter large, traditional industries with prominent incumbents and use technology and quick processes to knock the establishment off-guard in everything from logistics, insurance, real estate, construction, security, and more.
In joining Bloomberg Beta, I’ll be searching for trailblazers who will question the status quo of work cultures and traditional businesses and use technology to imagine an ever-changing future.
I’m based in San Francisco and Palo Alto, and I’m always reachable via Twitter DM @theamberyang ✨.