Last night we were thrilled and humbled to be named as the National Venture Capital Association’s Venture Capital Firm of the Year, the first award ever given by the organization that represents over 80% of active venture capital firms in the country.
The credit rightly goes to our incredible entrepreneurs who have been our partners and delivered amazing results over the years: Peter Gassner of Veeva, Dave Yarnold of ServiceMax, David Sacks of Yammer, Godard Abel of SteelBrick, Aaron Levie of Box, Bernard Louvat of TouchCommerce, Eric Yuan of Zoom to name just a few we’ve been so fortunate to work with over the years as they have built transformative companies.
At an incredible moment like this, it’s worth reflecting on how we got here. Emergence is in it’s 15th year and we had lofty ambitions and some core principles when we founded the firm.
First, we were committed to venture capital the old fashioned way, investing early, being active and staying consistent and reliable partners throughout the journey, no matter the outcome. Our ambition is to become the most important partner to the most important companies defining the future of work. That is something that is earned over time, not just from writing a check. Sometimes building an iconic company takes a while and that’s okay with us.
Second, from the beginning, we’ve believed in being focused as a firm and staying true to our areas of competence. Our very first investment was in Salesforce.com, and since then we’ve kept our eyes fixed firmly on backing companies that are transforming the future of work with investments in companies like Box, SuccessFactors, Yammer, Veeva and our most recent exit, ServiceMax. We have developed the pattern recognition, networks and credibility in our area of focus that gives our companies an unfair edge. We stick to our circle of competence and every year it grows in reach, value and impact.
Third, we play best as a team. That’s why this award is so meaningful to us. We earned our results as a team and appreciate being recognized for those efforts and results as a team. Venture Capital can be a hard and lonely business. We’ve worked hard to develop a culture and diversity of backgrounds in the firm. We have found that commitment to one another produces better decisions and frankly is just more fun.
One of the great things about our industry is that it is not a zero sum game. We believe supporting the growth of entrepreneurship around the world through organizations like Kauffman Fellows and Endeavor creates more opportunity for us all. Recently our work with High Alpha in the Midwest is an attempt to jumpstart entrepreneurial success in that important region of the country that has frankly benefitted less but we believe has great opportunities ahead.
We’d like to thank the NVCA and its members for this award. We’re honored to have been a member of the NVCA and served on the Board of Directors and to have been a part of all the great work this organization does toward fostering a healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem. Our industry is a national treasure worth fighting for and we thank the NVCA for all it’s efforts on our industry’s behalf.