Walden Catalyst Ventures Closes Inaugural over $550 Million Fund to Target Deep-Tech Investments
Leading deep tech visionaries Lip-Bu Tan and Young Sohn will lead the new firm.
SAN FRANCISCO, November 1, 2021-- Walden Catalyst Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm dedicated to deep-tech investments focused on Data & AI across the U.S., Europe and Israel, today announced the closing of its inaugural fund at over $550 million, surpassing its original target of $400 million. Investors in the fund include leading institutional LPs, as well as the CEOs of some of the world’s largest tech corporations.
Walden Catalyst is led by Young Sohn and Lip-Bu Tan, two tech pathbreakers with proven track records of creating outsize value across the semiconductor, cloud and electronics industries. They are early investors in many of the most recognizable names in the tech industry, including Zoom, Inphi, Berkeley Lights, Habana and Nuvia.
With more than 30 years of industry experience, Lip-Bu is the founder and chairman of Walden International. Most recently, he served concurrently as CEO of Cadence Design Systems. Young previously held the position of Corporate President and Chief Strategy Officer of Samsung Electronics, where he spearheaded Samsung’s global innovation, M&A and venture investing initiatives.
Young and Lip-Bu have collaborated on numerous investments over the past 15 years, serving on one another’s boards of directors and scaling startups from zero to tens of thousands of employees. Walden Catalyst formalizes their longstanding partnership and fuses their operational and investing expertise in one firm.
The founding partners are joined at Walden Catalyst by a management team of seasoned investors with a history of exceptional returns. This team of four additional partners—Shankar Chandran, Roni Hefetz, Francis Ho, and Andrew Kau— has decades of experience working together on numerous investments and exits in the deep-tech space. The team stands out for its ability to diligence investments and support portfolio companies in the core focus areas of big data, AI, semiconductors, cloud, and the intersection of biology and technology.
Filling a Critical Gap
Walden Catalyst fills a critical gap in the venture ecosystem. Over the past 20 years, there has been a steady flight of capital away from deep-tech—those science- and tech-related breakthroughs on which world-changing businesses are built. While many traditional VC firms have chosen to focus on consumer and enterprise software ideas, every member of the Walden Catalyst team has stayed true to the deep-tech category.
Walden Catalyst has a firm belief in the ability of data and AI to transform the way we live, work and play. To that end, the fund is targeting startups that take a revolutionary approach to massive industry opportunity by using data as the “fuel” and AI as the “engine.”
“Data paints a picture. It tells a story that informs and enlightens,” says Young. “The amount of data in the world keeps doubling every two years but only about 2% of all data is analyzed, so there is much more we can do to gather meaningful insights. We are excited and honored to work with the next generation of deep-tech entrepreneurs across the U.S., Europe and Israel, who are seizing on the data explosion and will ultimately change the world.”
Walden Catalyst partners with the bold and the brave to turn their visions into reality and power the future of technology. The firm has made six deep-tech investments to date. Three of those startups remain in stealth mode and the other three are:
• AI21 Labs, an AI lab and product company whose mission is to reimagine the way we read and write by making the machine a thought partner to humans.
• MindsDB, a disruptive in-database Machine Learning platform that plugs to enterprise databases like Postgres, MySQL, Snowflake to name a few, unlocking for its users the power to create and query sophisticated Machine Learning models using simple SQL.
• Speedata, a developer of the world's first dedicated accelerated processor for big data analytics across industries.
Investing in Incredible Entrepreneurs
Walden Catalyst believes that entrepreneurs are the heart of economic growth and innovation. The firm is committed to leveraging its operational and investing experience, as well as its unique access to thought leaders and industry captains, to help early-stage entrepreneurs rapidly scale and innovate as they build the next generation of category-defining businesses.
The firm also has close ties to the Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC), an organization co-founded by Young Sohn. XTC is the world’s largest startup competition and ecosystem for entrepreneurs addressing global challenges aligned with UN Sustainable Development Goals. Walden Catalyst shares XTC’s mission of finding the next great disruptive startups that can reach massive scale while having a meaningful impact on our planet.
About Walden Catalyst
Walden Catalyst is a venture capital firm helping early-stage companies in the U.S., Europe, and Israel build the next generation of category-defining businesses in deep tech. We back the bold and the daring—trailblazers who are changing the world and making life better for all of us. The firm is led by Young Sohn and Lip-Bu Tan, deep-tech industry pioneers who between them have invested in more than 560 startups across the globe, of which 115 have gone on to IPO. Walden Catalyst’s inaugural fund has announced a closing at over $550 million and is focused on early stage deep-tech investments and their team of innovators and entrepreneurs are passionate about disruptive technologies and committed to excellence. For startups, this translates into unparalleled access to operational expertise, global reach, and a network of industry captains eager to help build and scale the companies of the future.
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