Thomvest Turns 25: Reflections on the Road Less Traveled in Venture

Our Origins
This year marks the 25th anniversary of our firm’s first significant venture investment. As we reflect on our twenty-five years of investing, our journey in the VC industry has been unique: we are one of the few family-owned venture firms to have grown to an institutional scale while remaining backed by the same founding individual. Our firm has leveraged the cultural grounding of our Canadian origins while becoming a top-performing investor in Silicon Valley.

The genesis of Thomvest can be traced back to when our Founder, Peter Thomson, started to learn programming with one of the first IBM PCs produced in 1981. Peter taught himself BASIC using the manuals with his PC and later learned Pascal. Peter realized the impact technology would have on both consumers and businesses and shifted his attention from an interest in programming to an interest in investing in technology startups.

Our First Investment
Certicom was our first significant startup investment twenty-five years ago. Certicom pioneered encryption technology for use in cell phones, and following Peter’s investment, the company grew and was listed on the NASDAQ before being acquired by Blackberry. That experience set him on the path toward venture investing as a calling. Peter brought on board one of our founding colleagues, Bill Dodds, to begin investing not only in Canada but also in Silicon Valley.

Our work in our early days in the Valley was reminiscent of what we see with the entrepreneurs we work with daily — a focus on grit and scrappiness while building (Read more...)