One of the common themes that we’re hearing from investors during Disrupt NYC has been that the areas that are ready to be disrupted might not be anywhere close to the sometimes sexier-appearing consumer space. Joe Lonsdale, co-founder of Palantir Technologies and current partner at Formation 8, discussed some of his thoughts on what will be and should be disrupted by way of technology.
The areas of interest for him and his firm are government, finance, healthcare, energy and logistics. Lonsdale’s history is an interesting one: “I think I was really lucky to work as a little kid at PayPal, grew up in the valley as a coder.”
Why aren’t more companies focusing on the areas that Lonsdale mentioned? He says it’s because younger entrepreneurs have no visibility into those verticals: “For example, there’s hundreds of problems in finance, but these kids haven’t worked with multi-million dollar backend security.” However, the need is clearly there, as any space with a lot of data flowing through it needs more tech: “There’s an explosion in information, so upgrading the technology in these industries is the fun thing now.”
Currently, Lonsdale’s Formation 8 firm is seeking out companies that are working on solving hard problems that turn into scalable platforms. The firm has raised a whopping $448 million fund and has been heavily involved in the Asian market, a location that Lonsdale says more U.S.-based entrepreneurs are starting to focus on.
Lonsdale even says that there might be more opportunities for smart ideas in Asia, due to a surplus of mobile devices among the population.
With a wider-than-tech worldy vision as a passionate former coder, entrepreneur and current investor and mentor, Lonsdale is very interested in Palantir’s pro-bono work against human trafficking and making sure that we don’t have a cyber 9/11: “There’s a cyber battle going on in the background, it’s good that we’re spending a lot of money to make sure that it doesn’t happen.”
Additionally, Lonsdale wants immigration reform immediately so that the U.S. can stay competitive enough to give smart people the support system that they need, rather than sending them through a process that demoralizes them. He called the current system “disgusting.”