Meet the team: Nick Thompson
December 4, 2020
What do you focus on at B Capital?
As the Head of Technology at B Capital Group, the buck stops with me to make sure that we have the best in class technology for our investment team, our LP’s, and our founders. As with most things in technology and new companies, the roadmap is long and winding, but as we mature, several core components are being put in place to position B Capital as a technology leader in the Venture Capital space. It’s important to us that limited partners have access to the data they need about their investment, startup founders have the resources and tools they need to see their company succeed, and our internal investors have the best data, information, and tools to find hidden gems.
What attracted you to working at B Capital?
Coming from a gaming and education technology background, I’ve been managing high performing teams of software engineers for many years. One of my key reasons for joining B Capital is the unique opportunity to leverage my past roles, like formulas for success, to help B Capital transform into a global leader in technology, not just a firm that invests in that space. I strongly believe that the venture capital industry is ripe for innovation. The first step in accomplishing that innovation is wrangling the mountains of data we have access to and making it discoverable and accessible. The reason that this is so important is because, given the highly competitive nature of venture capital these days, having as much data at our fingertips to help us make informed decisions will enable us to make better investments. If we have the data, but it’s not discoverable or accessible, we’re putting ourselves at a disadvantage in finding the right deals and the right founders to partner with.
If you weren’t in this career, what would you be doing?
If I wasn’t in this career, I’d be doing something VERY similar… And I’m still tempted to do it. One of my passions outside of technology lies in Real Estate. Unfortunately, the technology around DIY real estate professionals, such as myself, are very limited. I enjoy buying rental units and renting them out. Although there are some free platforms out there, there are two main problems with every solution currently available on the market. Either the tools and technology are too expensive and only built for enterprise customers, or the tools are affordable, but quite frankly, not very robust, lacking in features, and not full-fledged solutions. If I weren’t doing what I’m doing now, I would be building a property management platform that serves the needs of one person: Myself! If others want to use it, great, but if not, that’s fine too. At least I would have a customized property management solution that works for people like me who own just a few units.
How have you seen technology innovation impact your function or field?
Technology is quite an amazing thing. Many people only think of IT as helpdesk support. That’s actually one very small area of Information Technology, and one of the areas I actually have the least amount of experience in. Most of my career has been in software engineering and managing teams of software engineers. Similar to how helpdesk technology and software tools for end users get better, so too do the tools that empower software engineers to make better products.
Additionally, processes, methodologies, and workflow technology are improving. Examples of just a few of these improvements over the past few years include Scrum/Agile, Kanban Boards, Git, Jira & other Atlassian tools, API frameworks & documentation, etc. The use of Git and Version control is a great example of how these tools/technologies have evolved over the years. The gold standard in version control used to be CVS in the late 80’s and 90’s until it was overtaken by Apache’s SVN in the 2000s offering advanced features and functionality. SVN has now largely been surpassed by GIT, which offers even greater flexibility and capabilities for teams of developers working together on projects.
If you were to become an investor in one of B Capital’s sector or sub-sector targets, which would you choose and why?
If I were to pick an area, it would either be Enterprise Technology or Transportation mostly because those are two areas I have experience in and interest me quite a bit. Too bad there’s no “real estate” sector that we focus on. 🙂
What’s something many people may not know about you?
A fun fact about me is my upbringing. Growing up as one of 12 kids, I had quite a fascinating childhood. To make matters even more interesting, I grew up in the LA suburb of Bellflower, which, if you haven’t heard of it, it’s just a few miles away from the more notorious city of Compton. A few years ago, an article about my family went viral (that my dad had randomly written without anyone knowing about it). It provides pretty good insight into what it was like growing up with so many siblings, as well as a few crazy rules sprinkled in along the way.
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