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Autochrome: Theses & Themes

Vaughn Blake

 

Autochrome is an early color photography process. Patented in 1903[1] by the Lumière brothers in France and first marketed in 1907,[2] it was the principal color photography process in use before the advent of subtractive color film in the mid-1930s.

 

Interestingly enough, it’s also the name of a Los Angeles based inception stage venture capital fund.  

 

The name was chosen because it reflects how far reaching the impact technological breakthroughs can have on our every day lives, as well as the innate ephemerality inherent in those breakthroughs – the inevitable obsolescence of what at the time seems magical and beyond imagination.

 

As an upstart fund, we’ve attempted to cultivate a unique approach to the inception stage landscape through systems thinking, our theses and our themes.

 

Theses

 

Autochrome’s theses are the fundamental building blocks of our investment philosophy.  We approach each and every prospective investment through the lens of these contentions.

 

Thesis 1: Legacy players in complex industries that have historically enjoyed high-barriers to entry have never been more vulnerable to retrenchment.

 

We believe industries that have enjoyed relative stability over the course of the late 20th and early 21st century – finance, insurance, marketing, healthcare, government, education, transportation among others – are now poised to be most significantly affected by technological adoption.  With generational shift, the ubiquity of mobile, and the rise of machine intelligence, legacy industries that have been able to stave off disruption through the means of bureaucracy or limits on internal technological literacy will now not only be forced to make changes, but will be cannibalized by new entrants that are leaner, more technologically advanced and more efficient.  

 

At Autochrome, we’re of the mind that billions of dollars await to be captured by directly antagonizing these industries through the lever of technology and anticipate companies operating in this vein will comprise the bulk of our portfolio.

 

Thesis 2: Sustainability is an essential investment criterion.

 

Collectively, we’re finally beginning to recognize the value of holding a sustainable outlook when beginning to build a business.   We’ve witnessed the unbridled economic success of founders with a sustainable outlook and foresee a future where awareness of how one’s business affects the earth and its inhabitants becomes increasingly important.

 

It’s a requirement for Autochrome that the founders and teams in which we invest value working towards a sustainable future – not broadly defined by a nebulous concern for the environment, but a direct and specific vision for how their business will have a lasting contributive effect on the world.

 

Themes:

 

While our theses endure and are applied unequivocally, the thematic drivers of our investments are flexible and open to continuous evolution and revision. 

Ideally, thematic overlap will occur in each investment.

Data Echo: Deep, specified data aggregation/analysis resulting in reverberating impact.

Distributed Future: Extending technology’s lever to austere portions of society and the world.

Future of Work: Forward thinking solutions to fast approaching changes in global labor dynamics.

Legacy Retrenchment: Capitalizing on the technological attenuation of former industry stalwarts.