Building new capabilities for the new prominence of private markets

Many successful companies are staying private longer. Drawing on 25 years of investing and operating expertise, we’re positioning Lightspeed to take advantage of this exceptional opportunity.

Experienced investors know how to navigate turbulent periods like the one we saw last couple of years, while also finding tremendous opportunities in an ever-evolving landscape.

When we look at venture portfolios, the opportunity is irrefutable: there are more than 1,200 stranded unicorns (and counting!), many with strong market positions that need to execute on a different business strategy tilted towards profitable growth, and a new exit strategy now that the public market liquidity taps have been turned off. We estimate that one third of them are in enterprise technology, many with fatigued cap tables, and boards that have never before navigated companies through these types of market transitions.

The last time we saw this number of stranded unicorns was the Great Financial Crisis and it was the traditional private equity firms that capitalized on the opportunity—driving business transformations, scaling companies through M&A, and using leverage to generate returns.

While that space isn’t going anywhere, the current landscape presents a different kind of opportunity: to use technology and operating expertise to drive business transformation in spaces where many investors don’t feel comfortable operating. To take advantage of that opportunity requires a special set of skills.

At Lightspeed we have been building those skills for 25 years. We’re a firm of experts at scale across both our investing and operating organizations, and one of the largest enterprise technology investing firms globally. We know how to invest in deeply technical areas and how to roll up our sleeves as lead investors to alter the trajectory of our companies through experience and expertise.

The opportunity now is to build on Lightspeed’s foundation by adding an exceptional leader who has made a career of executing business transformations behind strong founders and companies. That’s why we’re excited today to announce that Isaac Kim is joining as a partner to lead our Growth Private Equity strategy, joined by Amish Desai.

Working with established, dynamic companies is familiar territory for Isaac. He advised some of the world’s largest technology companies as a management consultant at Bain & Co. before going on to become a principal investor at Golden Gate Capital, a $19B investment fund, where he led software investment opportunities. After nine years he moved to Elliott Investment Management, a $65B investment fund, where he opened the firm’s Silicon Valley office and established a dedicated technology private equity practice. Amongst other investments, Isaac has invested in 7 technology platforms with over $1B of revenue each—and the experience and learning he gained from these scaled companies will help in partnering with the companies we will invest in with this new strategy.

Over the coming months we will be building out a new team at Lightspeed and making control and significant minority investments in technology companies, with a focus on enterprise software companies to start. These are the kinds of companies Lightspeed knows well. For the last 20 years we’ve provided them with seed funding and the capital they’ve needed to scale, along the way generating enormous value for founders, LPs, and the broader economy.

Now we see an opportunity to support these companies as they navigate a different set of challenges and opportunities.

Lightspeed Possibility grows the deeper you go. Serving bold builders of the future.