Led by industry veterans Jeff Herbst, formerly with NVIDIA, and Jay Eum, previously of Samsung Ventures and TransLink Capital, Fund I will invest in innovative Seed and Series A startups based in the US and Israel, working on disruptive technologies addressing significant global challenges.
The fund’s debut coincides with a challenging period for startups as they grapple with raising new capital amidst the current economic downturn and the presence of elevated interest rates, which create hurdles for borrowing by these emerging companies.
In a statement, Jeff Herbst, Co-Founder of GFT Ventures, said: “Modern artificial intelligence and data science techniques have ushered in a new era of accelerated computing, raising the bar for software, hardware, and systems development across all industries.”
Herbst added, “The code-driven programming generation of the past has given way to a new, data-driven approach where software can essentially write itself by gleaning patterns from massive data sets. Traditional business models will become obsolete if they do not quickly evolve and adopt these new approaches. At the same time, history tells us that extreme, disruptive innovation has tended to be difficult to absorb within many large enterprises. The startups that we partner with will benefit from an increased reliance on and collaboration with, enterprises as we move deeper into the most exponential technology cycle we will likely see in our lifetimes.”
“Given the transformational shift (caused by AI and data science), there’s a huge opportunity to invest in startups that are leveraging those technologies. We believe we’re in one of the biggest technology boom cycles,” Herbst said.
Before founding GFT, Herbst held a prominent role at Nvidia, a major player in the AI industry, where he led business development efforts and made investments in startups. He served as the Vice President of Business Development at Nvidia for an impressive two decades. His co-founder, Jay Eum, has an extensive background as well, having co-founded TransLink Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm that now manages over $850 million in assets, with the backing of prominent Asian technology firms.
Eum’s track record also includes his role as the founding Managing Director of Samsung Ventures, where he established and oversaw the U.S. venture capital operations for Samsung. In this capacity, he was responsible for managing U.S.-based investments and portfolios.
“We are incredibly excited to launch Fund I and embark on this transformative journey in the realm of AI and other frontier technology investments,” said Jay Eum, Co-Founder of GFT Ventures.
Eum added: “Jeff and I have been friends and co-investors for over 20 years, and we forged a deep bond through our early morning workouts at a Bay Area boxing gym for over a decade. Our track records investing in AI and other deep technologies over the last two decades give us a significant leg-up in understanding and identifying the underlying technologies that will power the next waves of advancements in AI and Data Science across all industries. In addition, our already vast network of founders and corporates, combined with a history of nurturing and advising them, will allow us to position our portfolio companies for unmatched success.”
GFT Ventures has previously invested in various noteworthy companies, including Mars Auto, an autonomous trucking company based in South Korea, Switchboard, a U.S. data engineering platform automation platform, and Mighty Health, a U.S. health tech startup.