Ari Rubin has 20 years of experience in technology and financial services. Ari was previously senior director of corporate development at Qualcomm where he focused on partnerships, strategy, and M&A. He was also vice president in investment banking at J.P. Morgan and an associate director at UBS Investment Bank. Earlier in his career, Ari was an electrical engineer at Raytheon, Space and Airborne Systems.
In evaluating new investments, we are looking for CEOs who inspire, lead by example, exhibit integrity and possess deep knowledge. The ability to articulate a compelling narrative is extremely important.
What markets are you interested in?
Promising applications often lack the infrastructure to meet their potential, whether it’s computing infrastructure, sensors, sustainable chemical processes or instrumentation. We consider a broad range of markets, such as semiconductors, software, intelligent systems, bioconvergence (where deep tech intersects with medicine and healthcare) and energy efficiency. Our approach to investing is proactive in that we fixate on certain trends, survey the landscape, and invest in companies we believe will be best positioned to transform their industry.
What do you look for in companies?
The quality of the technology is of utmost importance. We look for technological innovation that can add real value to society and can become the basis for a sustainable advantage. Other criteria follow, such as whether the market is attractive and whether customers are engaged.
The quality of the CEO is extremely important and probably the most imperative factor. Hearing a list of accomplishments doesn’t resolve whether he or she will be successful. Personality and talent shine through as we get to know each other over time, and I enjoy forming long-term business relationships and friendships.
How are you helping companies scale or navigate during this volatile environment?
We are emerging from a period where capital was often seen by companies as being very cheap. The industry saw a lot financial engineering like SPACs that helped companies get even more money in, and companies could go a long time before having to show profitability.
Beyond that, companies are facing different types of challenges. There are those who are performing at or above plan, and their business model is resonating with customers. In a recent example, we helped a CEO refine their management presentation so the company can attract later stage investors. We then facilitated introductions to suitable investors who ended up participating in the round.
There are companies within our portfolio that are a little behind their plan. In such cases, we might focus on trying to identify the root cause, bringing in experts to help resolve a technology hurdle or make warm connections to potential strategic partners or key hires.