Meet a VC: Adam Goulburn .

Nasdaq is highlighting the venture capitalists that built the startup landscape we know today. 

This week, meet VC: Adam Goulburn of Lux Capital

Meet a VC: Adam Goulburn


*Photo credit: Mark Thompson

How did get your start in the venture capital community?

It was a non-obvious path. I actually came through the research academic route. I have a PhD in stem cell biology and was researching at Cornell Med as a post-doc, but also had a business degree and I really wanted to focus on commercialization and innovation. I came across Lux based in NY and knocked on the door and essentially said "use me!" They gave me an internship position and then I just hustled for 9 months. Best piece of advice I got from my colleague was "make yourself indispensable". That was the mission and it worked.

What’s a day in your life as a VC like?

Coffees, pitches, panels, board calls, planes, trains, Ubers, standing desks, team partnership meetings, google hangouts, emails, Slack, dinners. No day is the same.

How many companies have you invested in and what is your overall investment?

We have four funds and have invested in 60+ companies. Our focus is solely on futuristic developments ranging from robots to satellites to nuclear waste to 3D printing. We're all generalists but most of my time is spent in the healthcare, life science and technology worlds. Companies I'm directly involved with range from Hometeam (caregiver co) to Kallyope (biotech) to Drone Racing League (Nascar meets Twitch).

What stage do you focus on and how much capital do you look to deploy for each portfolio addition?

We're seed and Series A so we do check sizes that range from $100K for the idea on the back of a napkin to $10M to lead a Series A financing. We also start companies internally, sometimes taking operational roles until we find the right people. Companies like Kallyope and Kurion were built at Lux.

What matters to you most when evaluating a company as a potential fit for your firm and how does that relate to the ambitious companies that you have worked with in the past?

We're investing in the earliest stages of businesses that have incredibly high levels of technical difficulty. It begins and ends with a team that execute on the mission.

What advice do you offer to a first time founder?

Surround yourself with amazing people that aren't afraid to give you a good dose of reality.

What is the one common denominator that stands out to you across all great investments your firm has made during its history?

People. People that dare big. Are crazy ambitious. Resilient. Committed. Persistent. And team players.

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