Editor’s Note: TechCrunch columnist Semil Shah currently works at Votizen and is based in Palo Alto. You can follow him on Twitter @semil
“In the Studio” continues this week with a mechanical engineer who built and tested materials used in spacecraft, spent years on Sand Hill Road as a venture capitalist focused on semiconductors, software, and networking industries, and out of a desire to build something new in his career while in Silicon Valley, co-founded a new venture capital firm to invest in what he and his partners believe represents the next mass wave of innovation.
Rob Coneybeer isn’t your run-of-the-mill venture capitalist. You wouldn’t know it from first glance, but Coneybeer has a deep technical and operating background, and spent time in industries which provided him a foundation to understand technology platforms across many different sectors over long periods of time. After spending nearly a decade as an investor, Coneybeer didn’t want to spend his career in the Valley without getting into the game himself, and thus he and his partners co-founded Shasta Ventures, a venture firm focused on software, mobile, and collaborative consumption and which has made stage-agnostic investments across an impressive array of companies in a short period of time.
I invited Rob into the studio because I’ve been reading his blog for a while, and he’s always thinking about new themes and matching investments to those themes. One of those areas which we focus on in this video is what many refer to as “an Internet of things.” This means different things to different people, and even more mainstream brands like McKinsey & Co. and The Economist have been exploring the intersection of connected devices and “things.” In Coneybeer’s view, this comes down to three inputs: mobile devices (phones or tablets), sensors, and what he refers to as “actuators,” the pistons that route information between things, such as ifttt. We are seeing this come into the mainstream via consumer products such as the Nest thermostat (Shasta has invested) and the Jawbone Up wristband.
In our discussion, Coneybeer dives deeper into his thesis, and explains the Internet of things in greater detail. We also go so far as to touch on advanced in unmanned aerial drone aircraft (sadly, no Tacocopter) and eventually end up at the self-driving car. For any technologist or entrepreneur working on the intersection of connected hardware and mobile control interfaces, take a few minutes and see how Coneybeer envisions the “Internet of things.”
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