Wall Street Journal: Conductive Ventures Raises $150 Million Second Fund

Wall Street Journal
Panasonic-backed fund invests in hardware and enterprise software

Carey Lai (left) and Paul Yeh are co-founders of Conductive Ventures, which has raised a $150 million fund.

By Tomio Geron
September 14, 2020

Conductive Ventures, whose sole limited partner is Japanese electronics company Panasonic Corp., has raised $150 million for its second venture fund focused on enterprise software and hardware startups.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Conductive invests in companies at the Series A through Series C rounds. The firm expects to back a slightly larger number of startups with its new fund than the 17 in its first $100 million fund.

Conductive’s investments have included Desktop Metal Inc., which recently announced plans to go public via a special-purpose acquisition company, as well as Ambiq Micro Inc., Blueshift Labs Inc., CSC Generation, Sprinklr Inc. and Survata Inc.

“We look for early efficient growth in startups” with at least a little revenue and that haven’t raised too much capital, said Carey Lai, co-founder and managing director at Conductive, who formerly was a vice president at venture firm IVP and an investment director at Intel Capital, the venture arm of Intel Corp. “And [we like] companies that would be growing 200% to 300% after we invest.” —per year

Panasonic can help Conductive’s portfolio companies by becoming a customer or by connecting them with business contacts, such as suppliers or manufacturers, Mr. Lai said. But Conductive isn’t a corporate venture fund and it makes investment decisions independent of Panasonic, he added.

Conductive focuses on enterprise software and hardware, areas seeing increased interest amid the coronavirus pandemic, and is also interested in areas such as financial technology and health-care technology. The firm isn’t specifically looking for certain investments as a result of the pandemic, but it does look for trends that were advancing before the pandemic and that have been accelerated by it, said Paul Yeh, co-founder and managing director at Conductive and formerly of Kleiner Perkins.

The firm recently closed its first investment completely virtually without meeting the company in person, Mr. Yeh added.

Write to Tomio Geron at tomio.geron@wsj.com