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February 5, 2019

Why the ex-CEOs of Flex and Motorola Mobility are joining Eclipse

 

Earlier this month, we closed Eclipse Fund III, a $500-million early-stage fund focused on investing in full-stack companies. Since starting Eclipse four years ago, the full-stack model is proving to be the optimal approach for disrupting legacy industries. Simply, full-stack, which vertically integrates multiple technologies into one solution, is the foundational layer upon which the next generation of world-changing businesses will be built.

To that end, I’m honored to share that two experienced, accomplished tech executives – both former CEOs of Fortune 500 companies – have joined Eclipse as General Partners: Sanjay Jha and Mike McNamara. Each brings a different perspective that I believe our growing portfolio’s founders will find immensely valuable.

Mike McNamara is an unrivaled manufacturing and supply chain expert. For the past 12 years, he was the CEO of Flex, one of the world’s largest, multinational technology manufacturing companies with 200,000 employees and operations in over 30 countries. I’ve known Mike since 2012 when I began working for him as a partner at Flex’s investment arm, Lab IX. As a former entrepreneur with almost no experience of corporate culture, I was an unconventional choice for the role, but Mike and I spoke the same language. We both firmly believed the next opportunity for disruptive innovation was to digitize the physical world – to rebuild complex systems such as transportation, manufacturing, healthcare, and construction using “stacks” of today’s technology to meet tomorrow’s needs. Mike’s advice and guidance was invaluable to me as I sought to build and scale my new venture. Plus, his robust network accelerated the growth of my enterprise. I couldn’t be more excited for him to roll up his sleeves and share his skills and knowledge with Eclipse’s founders.

Sanjay Jha is a veteran of the semiconductor and consumer telecom industries. His past roles as electrical engineer, executive, board member, investor, and mentor are all compelling, but it’s his innate curiosity, ability to methodically solve complex problems, and passion for growing startups that make him cut from the same cloth as us at Eclipse. For the past four years, Sanjay was the CEO of Global Foundries whose pioneering semiconductor technology has powered the recent explosive growth of IoT and AI. Before joining Global Foundries in 2014, he was Chairman and CEO of Motorola Mobility and the COO of Qualcomm. Sanjay’s achievements are too numerous for this post but over the years we’ve observed his ability to spot and work with incredible entrepreneurs in both corporate M&A or angel investments. Founders want to work with Sanjay, and he wants to work with them.

More important than what distinguishes each from the other is the rare asset they both share: expertise running full-stack companies. The operational depth required to build and manage a full-stack company at scale is in limited supply, especially at the early-stage level. Such operational depth is a hallmark of all Eclipse team members. We believe there’s no substitute for experience, and our team’s experience is rooted in complex, multdisciplinary companies.

In the four years since we started Eclipse, our resolve to focus on building full-stack companies has only strengthened. During that time, startups have begun to challenge the status quo in some of the world’s most traditional and offline industries. This can’t be achieved with software alone – you must build the full-stack. Consider that in August last year, for the first time in history, a US company’s value exceeded $1 trillion. Five weeks later, another American company’s value exceeded $1 trillion. Both—Apple then Amazon—are full-stack companies. That’s not a coincidence.

At a closer level, we see the progress of our own portfolio: companies solving enormous problems in transportation, manufacturing, consumer health, advanced compute, and logistics – not with point solutions, but from the ground up. And, thanks to the growing full-stack ecosystem, they’re doing it faster and with less capital than before. It’s still not an approach for the faint-hearted, but this is not a niche. It’s the essential approach for the next crop of giant technology companies.

I’m not saying that every full-stack company will be a trillion-dollar company, but I’m sure that every trillion-dollar company will be full-stack—and that Mike and Sanjay, and the existing Eclipse team, will work alongside our founders to help build some of the most exciting companies of our generation.

 

Lior

February 5, 2019

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