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“Where marginal stupidity is about  “how there is a turning point where further information or complexity can befuddle us and simply raise costs without any concomitant value,”  what I am seeing in hard science investing is an outsourcing of thought,  a reliance on the splashy marketing one-pager instead of the agonizingly long technical research with the diligence to match.

None of this bodes well for many of the new VC entrants who have suddenly become enamored by the capital return potential of science. We have a  view that real advances in science are relatively rare, that they are hard to produce, and they tend to be signaled by clear research evidence years if not decades in advance. Venture capital is not a fit for the needs of academic researchers who require long time horizons of open exploration without commercial considerations. Skillful diligence is critical to making thoughtful investments, and investors must have a  well of resilience to draw upon, since most diligence will come back relatively negative in the hard sciences compared to software.

We need the right dose of vaporware skepticism. We can’t allow the excitement of science fiction to occlude the challenges of realizing it into science fact. Condensing fact from the vapor of nuance means finding the rare but tangible scientific advancements and propelling them forward on the path to commercialization. Otherwise, you’re investing in steam, and those returns on capital will just evaporate right through your fingers.” – Danny CrichtonLux Capital‘s “Securities” newsletter edition: Vaporware skepticism by Danny Crichton

“Securities” podcast is produced and edited by Chris Gates

Lux Recommends: 

The nuclear situation with North Korea has been transformed over the past few months, with changes that will ripple across the Asia-Pacific region and into U.S. foreign policy. Kim Hyung-jin and Kim Tong-hyung in the AP have a great explainer on the latest evolution of nuclear strategy emanating from the DPRK.

Our scientist-in-residence Sam Arbesman brings us an article from Nature on the Long-Term Evolution Experiment (LTEE), in which scientists have saved tens of thousands of generations of E. coli over 34 years in order to improve our understanding of evolutionary biology. The scientists are retiring and the bacterial cultures are moving homes in order to continue their lengthy evolutionary run.

Shaq Vayda recommends a podcast and attached transcript between Eric J. Topol of Medicine and the Machine and Demis Hassabis, founder of DeepMind. The two discuss the advancements that deep learning affords medical advancements.

“Securities” by Lux Capital: (Week of June 20, 2022)