1 hr 15 min

Ash Fontana – Investing in Artificial Intelligence - [Invest Like the Best, EP.90] Invest Like the Best

    • Investing

My guest this week is Ash Fontana, a managing partner at venture capital firm Zetta, who invests in companies which build software that uses artificial intelligence methods like machine learning to predict and prescribe outcomes. Ash’s combined experience as a founder, entrepreneur, and investor give him the perfect background to discuss with us one of the hottest topics in business and investing.
This conversation is useful for anyone trying to evolve their own way of dealing with data. Of particular interest are the ways that Ash and his team evaluate data sets and how they think about competitive advantage in this new world—where he advocates a new term to replace the concept of moat: loops. 
If we can use data to do things better than humans, or if we can supercharge our intuitions with predictive models, we can harness the power of this new technology. What Ash has taught me is that data itself is dumb. But great data sets can represent the fuel for incredible companies. Let’s dive into how that may be. Please enjoy this conversation on how AI is changing business, and how we might profit from that change.
 
For more episodes go to InvestorFieldGuide.com/podcast.
Sign up for the book club, where you’ll get a full investor curriculum and then 3-4 suggestions every month at InvestorFieldGuide.com/bookclub.
Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_oshag
 
Books Referenced
The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for The Thoughtful Investor
 
Links Referenced
Jerry Neumann Podcast Episode
Ali Hamed Podcast Episode
 
Show Notes
2:25 - (First Question) – A look at their very specific investment strategy
3:35 – Future of competitive advantage in the SaaS industry
6:45 – How startups and new companies can compete against software giants that are pretty well entrenched in the market
8:38 – How do copies with narrow focuses attract VC money which is looking for massive returns
12:28 – The stages in which AI will be enabled
15:55 – Framework of an AI company
18:49 – Importance of the feedback in the AI company framework
20:56 – Examples of AI companies
23:50 – Why companies that are AI from the start will have a significant advantage in the space
26:21 – How do companies change their thinking about compiling useful data
32:18 – Regulation of AI
35:03 – Preventing other companies from leap frogging you in the AI space
37:57 – Some of his favorite AI companies
40:43 – How much has he seen in the finance world
            41:07 – Jerry Neumann Podcast Episode
43:10 – Why the focus on B2B AI companies
45:34 – Major components of the enterprise stack that he focuses on for AI
49:30 – What impact will all of this AI have the daily lives of people
51:38 – Biggest problems that he is excited to see AI tacklet
53:04 – How do you value the intangible asset of an AI model
57:13 – How Ash thinks about getting other investors into firms they seeded
1::00:27 – Other investors that Ash really respects
            1:01:15 – The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for The Thoughtful Investor
            1:03:29 – Ali Hamed Podcast Episode
1:04:04 – Where would Ash invest outside of AI
1:07:11 – More about his family nut business
1:11:18 – Favorite macadamia nut story
1:12:05 – Kindest thing anyone has done for Ash
 
Learn More
For more episodes go to InvestorFieldGuide.com/podcast. 
Sign up for the book club, where you’ll get a full investor curriculum and then 3-4 suggestions every month at InvestorFieldGuide.com/bookclub
Follow Patrick on twitter at @patrick_oshag

My guest this week is Ash Fontana, a managing partner at venture capital firm Zetta, who invests in companies which build software that uses artificial intelligence methods like machine learning to predict and prescribe outcomes. Ash’s combined experience as a founder, entrepreneur, and investor give him the perfect background to discuss with us one of the hottest topics in business and investing.
This conversation is useful for anyone trying to evolve their own way of dealing with data. Of particular interest are the ways that Ash and his team evaluate data sets and how they think about competitive advantage in this new world—where he advocates a new term to replace the concept of moat: loops. 
If we can use data to do things better than humans, or if we can supercharge our intuitions with predictive models, we can harness the power of this new technology. What Ash has taught me is that data itself is dumb. But great data sets can represent the fuel for incredible companies. Let’s dive into how that may be. Please enjoy this conversation on how AI is changing business, and how we might profit from that change.
 
For more episodes go to InvestorFieldGuide.com/podcast.
Sign up for the book club, where you’ll get a full investor curriculum and then 3-4 suggestions every month at InvestorFieldGuide.com/bookclub.
Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_oshag
 
Books Referenced
The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for The Thoughtful Investor
 
Links Referenced
Jerry Neumann Podcast Episode
Ali Hamed Podcast Episode
 
Show Notes
2:25 - (First Question) – A look at their very specific investment strategy
3:35 – Future of competitive advantage in the SaaS industry
6:45 – How startups and new companies can compete against software giants that are pretty well entrenched in the market
8:38 – How do copies with narrow focuses attract VC money which is looking for massive returns
12:28 – The stages in which AI will be enabled
15:55 – Framework of an AI company
18:49 – Importance of the feedback in the AI company framework
20:56 – Examples of AI companies
23:50 – Why companies that are AI from the start will have a significant advantage in the space
26:21 – How do companies change their thinking about compiling useful data
32:18 – Regulation of AI
35:03 – Preventing other companies from leap frogging you in the AI space
37:57 – Some of his favorite AI companies
40:43 – How much has he seen in the finance world
            41:07 – Jerry Neumann Podcast Episode
43:10 – Why the focus on B2B AI companies
45:34 – Major components of the enterprise stack that he focuses on for AI
49:30 – What impact will all of this AI have the daily lives of people
51:38 – Biggest problems that he is excited to see AI tacklet
53:04 – How do you value the intangible asset of an AI model
57:13 – How Ash thinks about getting other investors into firms they seeded
1::00:27 – Other investors that Ash really respects
            1:01:15 – The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for The Thoughtful Investor
            1:03:29 – Ali Hamed Podcast Episode
1:04:04 – Where would Ash invest outside of AI
1:07:11 – More about his family nut business
1:11:18 – Favorite macadamia nut story
1:12:05 – Kindest thing anyone has done for Ash
 
Learn More
For more episodes go to InvestorFieldGuide.com/podcast. 
Sign up for the book club, where you’ll get a full investor curriculum and then 3-4 suggestions every month at InvestorFieldGuide.com/bookclub
Follow Patrick on twitter at @patrick_oshag

1 hr 15 min

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