Jeff Schumacher is one of the coolest dudes it has been my privilege to interview here in Davos. The CEO of 500-person multinational BCG Digital Ventures lives in California, but some distance away from Silicon Valley.
He prefers the attractions of Manhattan Beach which puts the surf on his doorstep and ski-able mountains a short drive away. He also shares some insights into two of his famous pals; South Africa’s most famous entrepreneurial export, Elon Musk, and the Pretoria-born genius’s former business partner, Donald Trump advisor Peter Thiel.
I’m with Jeff Schumacher who is the Chief Executive of BCG Digital Ventures, I mean my kinda guy. You invest in digital companies….
We do, we’re a unique venture capital firm in that we both invent and invest, we’re also unique in that everything we invent or invest in has a corporate partner and we’re unique in our size, with over 500 people now globally.
You bring start-ups together with big corporates. That’s kind of what I read from the resume.
We do, we create early stage growth platforms for corporates and typically portfolios behind those and if they exist in the market we bring those entrepreneurs and start-ups to the corporate and if they don’t we invent them ourselves. We’ve founded 20 companies this year.
Where do you get your ideas from?
We have an innovation method that we use, that basically extracts everything from the corporate platform. It goes to our parent and integrated with BCG, so we go to BCG, and we take everything from them.
Then we’ve acquired a number of startups, I’ve acquired six last year alone, so we look at our IP portfolio and then we formulate a team of about ten to 15 people and we take about 90 days to create a portfolio of growth against, say I want to grow in China or in millennials, or in health, we create a portfolio around that.
It’s all early stage stuff and if it exists we’ll invest in it and if it doesn’t we’ll invent it, so it’s quite a unique offering. We really don’t have a competitor. I guess if I had said maybe Rocket Internet, that’s kind of like what we do, but they’re a fast follower fund and we’re not that, but that’s probably the closest to what we are.