Derisking Deep Tech, Managing a Broad Thesis, and Evaluating Credibility in Complex Industries, with Maryanna Saenko of Future Ventures


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Justin Gordon (@justingordon212) talks with Maryanna Saenko (@FutureSaenko), Co-Founder and Partner at Future Ventures, which supports passionate founders who are forging the future. For the past 25 years, Future Ventures has backed the visionaries who push the boundaries of possibility and explore the frontier of the unknown. They focus on disruptive technology such as commercial space exploration, deep learning, quantum computing, robotics, AI, blockchain, sustainable transportation, synthetic biology and clean meat. As venture capitalists, the founders of Future Ventures have led founding investments in several companies that had successful IPOs and others that were acquired for over $16 billion in aggregate. Some of their early VC investments include Memphis Meats, Mythic, Nervana, Planet, Rethink Robotics, Skype, SpaceX, Tesla and Zoox.

Maryanna Saenko is an early-stage venture capitalist with an interest in robotics, quantum computing, blockchain, aerospace, and the future of food. Previously she was at Khosla Ventures, and prior to that at DFJ, where she worked with Steve Jurvetson to focus on frontier technology investments. She was also an investment partner at Airbus Ventures where she led a series of venture investments strategically aligned with Airbus’ future-of-aerospace initiatives. Before Airbus, Maryanna was a consultant at Lux Research and a research engineer at Cabot Corporation. Maryanna graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a BS in BioMedical Engineering and a BS and MS in Materials Science and Engineering.

Website: Future Ventures


Twitter: @FutureSaenko


Show Notes:

  • Maryanna’s Ukranian background and her thoughts on the current conflict in the region
  • How Maryanna came to co-found Future Ventures with Steve Jurvetson and their big vision
  • How they manage deal flow with just two investors
  • Derisking the customer side of deep tech
  • Future Venture’s thesis around deep tech
  • How they conduct due diligence in complex industries
  • Evaluating teams’ credibility
  • How they approach onboarding LPs
  • Determining Future Venture’s fund size and deployment period
  • The areas Maryanna is most excited about investing in, including the future of food
  • How Maryanna keeps herself organized in terms of aligning her values with Future Venture’s portfolio companies

More about the show:

The Vitalize Podcast, a show by Vitalize Venture Capital (a seed-stage venture capital firm and pre-seed 300+ member angel community open to everyone), dives deep into the world of startup investing and the future of work.

Hosted by Justin Gordon, the Director of Marketing at Vitalize Venture Capital, The Vitalize Podcast includes two main series.

The Angel Investing series features interviews with a variety of angel investors and VCs around the world. The goal? To help develop the next generation of amazing investors.

The Future of Work series takes a look at the founders and investors shaping the new world of work, including insights from our team here at Vitalize Venture Capital.

More about us:

Vitalize Venture Capital was formed in 2017 as a $16M seed-stage venture fund and now includes both a fund as well as an angel investing community investing in the future of work. Vitalize has offices in Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

The Vitalize Team:

Gale -
Caroline -
Justin -

Vitalize Angels, our angel investing community open to everyone:

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