Jake is a serial entrepreneur and investor who has spent his life building and scaling companies.
He is a co-founder and partner at 8VC, one of the top performing private funds. 8VC manages a total committed capital of over $5 billion and has a deep focus on enterprise software, logistics, biotechnology, and healthcare. In 2020 Jake was named the most active logistics technology investor by PitchBook.
Prior to launching 8VC, he co-founded Humin (Acq. Tinder/IAC), a consumer mobile software company where he built the engineering team and led growth. Jake also co-founded The Kairos Society, where he sits on the Board of Directors. While in college, he founded Solé Bicycle Co. (Acq.) and grew it into an industry leader. Most recently he co-founded Operation Masks with 8VC co-founder Drew Oetting to help bring PPE to medical workers on the front line of the fight against COVID-19. Jake serves as an advisor and board member to a wide range of companies and non-profits.
Jake graduated form the University of Southern California in 2011, where he has been lecturing on entrepreneurship and technology for the last decade.
Where did the idea for 8VC come from?
I had known my Co-Founders Joe, Drew, Alex, and Kimmy for a while and we had built a track record of working with each other. Joe had invested in one of my previous companies, Kairos, and I was an Advisor to their investment fund, Formation 8. It’s been one of the best experiences of my life working with this team and I am very proud of the work that we have done.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Keeping a high level routine is important while allowing for flexibility at the same time. In our business, deals move very fast and things come up that have to be taken care of on short notice. Building this into the framework of each day has been very helpful.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Aside from building 8VC as firm and platform, I have been heavily focused on investing in the logistics and supply sector. It is more than a trillion dollar market in the US alone. The increasing innovation and pace of Amazon has caused the incumbents to turn to the start-up world to keep up which has caused a massive boom in the sector. Billons have been invested in the space and it has attracted some of the smartest entrepreneurs and engineers. 8VC was named the most active investor in the space in 2020 by PitchBook which I am very proud of.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Moving quickly and respecting an entrepreneur’s time is so important. I’ve been on both sides of the table and nothing is more frustrating than an investor who doesn’t drive to a decision quickly. I always let entrepreneurs know immediately [sometimes even on the call] if it’s not a right fit and giving them a real reason why. People love honest feedback.
What advice would you give your younger self?
It was actually advice that was given to me by my uncle. Always be long term greedy. It will pay off. Short term greed and optimization will catch up with you. People talk and can see right through it. Play the long game. Saying this is one thing, but when you start to see it pay off you realize how important this is.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
My decision to go deep on a sector and stay focused has really helped me. There are so many opportunities and so much noise that if I kept a broad focus it would be hard to really understand the best in class businesses.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Aside from the basic apps that everyone uses, Affinity is hands down the most important software that I use. It’s a CRM that sits across our whole firm. We use it to manage our network, track deals, and much more. There is not even a close second.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
StrengthFinder 2.0. The basic premise is that you should double down on what you are good at and become the best in the world vs trying to improve things you are not naturally gifted in.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.