A Lightspeed co-founder and Forbes Midas Hall-of-Famer with over 10 appearances on the Forbes Midas List, Chris has backed 11 first-time CEOs who have led their companies through IPO. It’s a track record few in the industry can claim.
He attributes this success, first and foremost, to a strong work ethic. “MIT is a work-intensive place,” he says of his alma mater, where he earned a BS and MS in computer science before completing an MBA at Stanford. “I have that ‘no pain, no gain’ mentality. I believe you do your best work, to use a weightlifting analogy, when you’re on the bench and you can’t feel your arms anymore.”
Not to be overlooked is his long and varied history in venture. Since 1991, when he began his career as a VC at Weiss, Peck & Greer, he’s invested in a multitude of sectors, from data-center infrastructure and semiconductors to bioinformatics, SaaS, and network structure. This breadth of experience has expanded his perspective of the company-building process, enabling him to quickly identify and stamp out potential problems before they snowball.
Then there’s the core set of beliefs Chris brings to Lightspeed. “I believe in fairness and intellectual integrity,” he says. “I don’t have a zero-sum-game mentality.” It’s an approach that has come to characterize the firm.
And it’s an approach he practices outside the office, too. As a philanthropist, Chris has supported a number of programs for children and young adults including the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health and the Oakland Soldiers EYBL boys and girls basketball teams. And as an avid fly fisherman who often decamps to Southwest Alaska to fish with his daughter, Chris supports an Alaskan conservation trust that buys land from natives and protects it from future development.
“At some level,” he says, whether it’s a company or the Alaskan wilderness, “I’m always imagining the future.”