The Anduril Memo: Founders Fund’s Brian Singerman on What Makes Palmer Luckey One of the Greatest Innovators in History, Why It Is BS The DOD Do Not Want To Work With Silicon Valley & Why in Venture You Have To Play A Different Game to the Hedge Fund | Twenty Minute VC with Harry Stebbings

Check out The Twenty Minute VC episode page

Key Takeaways

  • “You need just as good business people on your team as you do technology people in order to win” – Brian Singerman
    • Anduril’s team recipe is made for success by having elite technologists and pre-existing relationships with the government
  • We need to control our own destiny when it comes to national security – defense products need to be built on-shore, not outsourced
  • Every founder needs to have ‘IT’ = Know their unique strengths and effectively supplement their weaknesses with other people
    • In Brian’s opinion, Palmer Luckey has ‘IT’ and compares him to Elon Musk as a technologist visionary
    • Relationships with founders are the key to VC success in this valuation inflation market

Intro

  • Brian Singerman (@briansin) is a partner at the Founders Fund, an innovative venture firm with a portfolio of companies including Anduril, SpaceX, Tesla, Palantir, Stripe, Airbnb, and more. Harry and Brian discuss how Palmer Luckey and Anduril are giving the national defense sector a much-needed innovation overhaul.
  • Host: Harry Stebbings (@HarryStebbings)

Brian Singerman and Palmer Luckey

  • Brian Singerman is responsible for the Founders Fund investment of Anduril, founded by entrepreneur Palmer Luckey
    • Brian had a previous investment relationship with Palmer when he built Oculus
      • Brian considers Palmer to be comparable to Elon as a technologist visionary
      • “When you find a phenomenal founder, you back them regardless of what they are doing” – Brian Singerman
    • Brian considers himself a good founder consigliere
      • The hairy honest questions lead to hairy honest answers, a lot of founders need that
      • Doesn’t sugarcoat strategy
    • Brian only does investing agreements in person, no more zoom
      • He can tell someone has ‘IT’ in one dinner
        • ‘IT’ = Founders know their unique strengths and effectively supplement their weaknesses with other people. They don’t know everything, but they respect their own expertise.
        • Palmer has ‘IT’ in Brian’s eyes; he never virtue signals and always speaks his mind

Anduril

  • Anduril – creating software and hardware for national defense and security
    • Founding team is filled with elite technologists and business folks that have existing relationships with government officials
      • It took Palantir a decade to get its first government contract; it took Anduril 2 years
        • “You need just as good business people on your team as you do technology people in order to win” – Brian Singerman
    • Building a company in defense, you have to be levels of magnitude better than the incumbent (Lockheed, Boeing)
      • Products are designed to fit the demand that the government communicates in their defense strategy
      • Lattice Platform – software platform the backs the entirety of Anduril products
        • Wants to integrate more and more hardware products to its platform
      • Anduril wants to become an all-encompassing defense provider, a lot of buy vs build decisions embedded in the long term contracts
    • No other Silicon Valley companies have been willing to work on national defense technology
      • Innovation in the space is long overdue, the market is there for a product to take advantage of
      • The government and DOD has always wanted innovative assistance but never been a trendy project for Silicon Valley companies
    • Only sells to the US and allies
      • We need to control our own destiny when it comes to national security – defense products need to be built on-shore, not outsourced

Play a Different Game

  • The valuation inflation is very real and return multipliers are suffering
    • With hedge funds scale and size, they are satisfied with a 2x investment
    • Hedge funds typically invest in anything that has potential growth, regardless of the multiplier
  • Venture capital needs to play a different game – be founder dependent
    • The only way to get ahead of growth is to invest in a relationship with the founder
20VC with Harry Stebbings : , , , , , ,
Notes By Drew Waterstreet

More Notes on these topics

Top Insights and Tactics From

31 Best Podcasts of All Time

FREE when you join over 35,000 subscribers to the
Podcast Notes newsletter

No Thanks