John W. Thompson

Venture Partner. Menlo Park.

Building and scaling an enduring enterprise company is one of Silicon Valley’s most rewarding challenges. And so, behind many successful founders, a small group of board members, mentors and supporters have advised on how to build a seasoned team, scale a winning culture, and tune the right go to market engine. There are few more qualified to spot and advise said founders than John W. Thompson.

Since joining Lightspeed as a Venture Partner in 2018, John lends his 40+ years of enterprise leadership and entrepreneurial experience to our team. “I love rolling up my sleeves with founders to help them solve their various scaling challenges,” said Thompson. “I’m passionate about building and scaling the next generation of enduring enterprise companies.”

John’s illustrious career has taken him down many interesting paths. He is currently Lead Independent Director at Microsoft, where he has guided the company through a CEO transition and helped them navigate the IT shift to the cloud. John’s history with Lightspeed goes back a decade, to when he had just joined a young startup called Virtual Instruments (VI) as CEO. Lightspeed invested in VI and partnered closely with John through a number of wins and challenges. Before VI, John had an incredible 10 year run as CEO of Symantec, where he oversaw 10x revenue growth from $600M to $6B and led the company through a diverse set of strategic shifts and transactions. Prior to Symantec, John spent 28 years at IBM, where he held multiple leadership roles in Sales, Marketing, and Software Development.

Since 2009, Thompson has been an active investor in early-stage technology companies in the Silicon Valley. He currently serves as either an advisor or board member with Reviver, Illumio and Rubrik (a Lightspeed portfolio company). Other companies in the portfolio include Domo, Digital Reasoning, Inexption, and Phantom Security. He also serves on the board of Illumina, the top human genome sequencing company.

Thompson received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Florida A&M University, and a master’s degree in management science from MIT’s Sloan School of Management. In 2008, he received an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business, and in 2014 he received an honorary doctorate degree from Florida A&M University.