Welcome to the Q3 2023 newsletter from GFT Ventures! We hope you will benefit from our fund updates and portfolio company highlights, as well as our overall industry observations and thought leadership exchanges. Please feel free to share our newsletter with your colleagues and friends using the “Share” button at the bottom of this post. Any additional questions or comments may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. And you can always visit our GFT Ventures website to learn more about us.
GFT Ventures Fund I - Announcing Final Close
We are delighted to share that we have officially closed our inaugural Fund I with a fund size of $140M, well over our original target of $100M (link to press release). We attribute the continued interest in GFT Ventures, from both new and existing investors, to our shared and unwavering “conviction” that modern AI and Data Science techniques will continue to transform virtually every business, and every industry, over the coming decades. We consider it a great honor and privilege to manage the Fund on your behalf, and are excited to continue sharing with you our passion to support the world’s best and brightest AI, data science, and frontier technology entrepreneurs that are solving the world’s hardest problems for the largest markets.
GFT Ventures continues to see exponential growth opportunities ahead of us in our core focus areas. In fact, developments in the field of AI this past year have been nothing short of amazing. The incredibly rapid and widespread adoption of large language models such as ChatGPT have ushered in what we are internally referring to as “the second big bang” of AI, which (as eloquently stated by Jensen Huang of NVIDIA) is now truly beginning to experience its “iPhone moment.” Our belief is that the “mainstream” excitement, and associated infrastructure buildout, around these transformer models will lead to more (and more frequent) cycles of AI framework and application development spanning areas well beyond images, video and voice. And just further confirms our strong and early conviction that the technology wave we are now surfing is truly at the “beginning” of what we believe will be a multi-decade cycle. Capitalizing on this opportunity, GFT Ventures has staked out a very early AI thought leadership position, helping to drive the largest technology disruptions we will likely see in our lifetimes, and ultimately producing some of the most valuable technology franchises the world has ever seen.
At this time, we’re also excited to announce that the Fund has recently invested in two new AI-centric companies, Qortex and Artisight, each sourced through our proprietary deal flow pipeline. More details on each of them can be found below.
As always, we very much appreciate the strong support we’ve received from our investors, partners, colleagues and friends as we continue to expand the GFT Ventures franchise. We are ecosystem builders and supporters at heart, and we couldn’t be more excited by the industry reception we’ve received. We love what we do, and we do it with passion.
Jeff Herbst and Jay Eum
Founding Managing Partners, GFT Ventures
Jeff Herbst on CNBC to Discuss GFT Ventures Fund I Final Closing
Ex-Nvidia executive on latest fund raised for his new VC firm: ‘We look to fund the next Databricks’
Jeff Herbst, Co-Founder & Managing Partner at GFT Ventures, appeared on CNBC to discuss the final closing of GFT Ventures Fund I. Jeff explained that, despite today’s difficult funding environment, GFT’s $140M fund was well oversubscribed from the original $100M target. He also elaborated upon GFT’s strategy to focus its investments on early stage startups “solving really hard problems for really big markets with incredible founders.”
You can watch some excerpts from the interview here. We will share the entire interview when it becomes available.
Featured Portfolio Companies
GFT Ventures led Qortex’s $5M Series A round
What it does:
Qortex is a video advertising and insights company that has built a remarkable end-to-end AI-enabled technology platform. They are the first company ever to deliver AI-driven, customized, in-video overlay ads — both at scale in real time. Qortex’s advanced AI creates a new dataset from videos called “moments,” which allows brands to serve ads that are relevant to those audiences who will be the most receptive. This real-time creation of a programmatic (i.e. not pre-baked) advertising unit has been named On-Stream by Qortex; it requires less than 3 lines of code, and works seamlessly with any brand and Demand Side Platform, as well as with publishers and over 30 different media players.
Why we found it exciting:
In a world with so much video content across many channels, how do advertisers break through noise and engage customers? Qortex’s On-Stream technology is a unique, elegant solution to this problem — because Qortex ads are served “on-the-fly” without interrupting the video content and are contextually relevant, audiences are engaged for longer, take action more frequently, and purchase at a higher rate compared to traditional video ads (6.8x the attention metrics of traditional video ads). Publishers also benefit from the Qortex platform. The less interruptive nature of Qortex ads provides greater capacity to integrate ads into the video without changing the consumer experience, which results in increased inventory and 30% more revenue opportunity per stream for publishers.
While the tangible and economic benefits of Qortex’s product offerings are clear, the vision does not stop there. The company has also developed a platform for the management of in-video experiences and the data derived from it. Applications include commerce, research, recommendations, and interactivity. Using Qortex’s platform, brands and publishers will gain new data-driven insights for the creation, use, and performance of video. We are confident that the next generation of video advertising will be increasingly AI-driven and moments-based, and are excited to support Qortex on their journey to become a market leader.
GFT Ventures invested in Artisight’s Series B round
What it does:
Artisight is an AI-powered ambient intelligence system that streamlines hospital operations and end-to-end patient care. Their HIPAA-compliant platform automates various clinical tasks by using digital sensor fusion (computer vision, voice recognition, best-in-class indoor positioning systems, etc.) to collect data from ambient hospital settings, structure the raw data through deep learning, and then feed the structured data into applications for clinics, operating rooms, and in-patient units.
Why we found it exciting:
Hospitals have historically relied on human-performed work to solve productivity problems. With labor shortages, increasing wages, and workforce unreliability, hospitals need more automation to survive and thrive. There are many clinical productivity software products today that are “point solutions” to help with these issues. However, hospitals have typically achieved less-than-acceptable ROI by managing dozens of different vendors addressing a long tail of issues. That’s where Artisight comes in — it is a single end-to-end platform that addresses multiple clinical and operational pain points and delivers a large ROI where point solutions can not.
Hospitals are extremely enthusiastic about Artisight’s value proposition. Notably, since their initial Series A funding, Artisight has built a customer pipeline consisting of nearly 20% of all U.S. hospitals, has deployed at over 2,600 facilities, and has completed 175M hours of patient monitoring. Jeff Herbst has known the company for four years and actually led Artisight’s Series A round of financing while he was still at NVIDIA. GFT Ventures is thrilled to support Artisight in this new Series B funding round, and we look forward to joining Artisight’s journey in building and scaling “Hospitals of the Future.”
GFT Ventures in the Spotlight
Jeff Herbst featured in GCV Webinar: "How to invest as generative AI startups spread to every industry"
Jeff Herbst, Founding Managing Partner of GFT Ventures, Vibhor Rastogi, Head of AI Investments at Citi Ventures, Marc d. Paradis Vice President of Data Strategy at Northwell Holdings, Gaurav Oberoi, CEO of AI company Lexion.ai brought together a strong panel discussion moderated by Robert Lavine of Global Corporate Venturing.
The dialogue was lively and constructive and included conversation on where to place smart “bets”, how to guard your data, IP protection, and where the real opportunity is tailoring generative AI for specific use cases and specific verticals. Tune in on the link above to get the details on this exciting conversation with industry leaders.
Jay Eum spoke in “The VC Landscape: Trends and Opportunities” at TIDE SPARK 2023
GFT Ventures Founding Managing Partner Jay Eum was featured as a panelist in the VC session at The Investment Diversity Exchange (TIDE) Spark Conference 2023, along with speakers from Cornell University Investment Office, Sapphire Partners, and Hamilton Lane.
Jeff Herbst co-hosted GCV Global AI Council’s AI Luncheon at Mayacama Resort
Jeff Herbst (Co-Chair of Global Corporate Venturing’s Global AI Council) and In-Q-Tel co-hosted an engaging AI Roundtable and Luncheon at Mayacama Golf Resort in August 2023. The event featured a curated group of AI experts, with representatives from top VCs, CVCs and several early stage startups in attendance.
Highlights of the event included a roundtable discussion with the corporate venture arms of Qualcomm, In-Q-Tel, HP, Microsoft, Wesco, and Sony, as well as a startup panel with Qortex, Emerge, Novathena, U+Nova, and Clink AI. A special thank you to Fenwick for sponsoring!
GFT Ventures hosted Korean LP dinner in Seoul
GFT Ventures’ Jay Eum and Jenny Park hosted over 20 LPs in Seoul, South Korea in July 2023 to celebrate the final closing of GFT Ventures’ Fund I. The event was a great opportunity to connect with our supporters abroad and share GFT Ventures’ approach to investing in the best AI, Data Science, and other frontier technology companies.