Q&A: RTP Ventures’ Jalak Jobanputra Weighs in on New $120M Fund

3/14/12Follow @jpruth

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seeing what these mobile devices are going to be doing for us. I’m thinking across advertising, banking, and payments, and content consumption. That is of particular interest to me. Mobile is spurring the intersection of the online and offline worlds. That goes across social networks as well as retail and commerce. That’s an area that I’m tracking closely. Healthcare and education are areas I’ve invested in the past that we’re looking at.

X: Are there any specific innovations or technologies that have stood out and helped evolve these segments?

J: If you look at smartphones and tablets, what Apple has done creating a very user-friendly interface coupled with higher bandwidth allows for easier data consumption on these devices. That’s been key. As smartphones become more ubiquitous around the world, we’re going to see similar consumption patterns around different types of applications. Looking at the offline and online intersection, it’s a realization on the part of many bricks-and-mortar businesses and industries that technology is now ubiquitous. All media is digital now or should be digital now. You’re seeing the breakdown of those delineations. That’s creating an awareness and desire to experiment more with new technology around digital.

X: Where will you look, geographically speaking, for investment opportunities?

J: I’ve certainly spent a lot of time in New York over the years. What’s happening there right now in terms of the tech startup community is extremely exciting in terms of the energy and support from all different sectors including government and larger industries such as real estate. It’s making it a great environment to start company right now in technology. I definitely will be looking very deeply in New York. I view New York as this great test bed for new technology because of the diversity the city provides, it has many different industries, many different types of people what live in a small geographic area. Beyond New York, you can never ignore Silicon Valley. That’s also where I spent much time and lived for many years. We can help entrepreneurs access customers and business development partners. We’re seeing quite a bit of entrepreneurial activity throughout the United States. We’re not going to limit it to those regions. We’ll opportunistically look at entrepreneurs throughout the country and expand the footprint outside of the U.S. if it makes sense to do so.

X: What kind of influence do the larger companies like AOL, Facebook, and Google, have on the New York innovation scene?

J: It provides benefits to the startup community on many levels. One is because of the number of talented people they are employing locally or bringing to New York, what we’ve seen happen in Silicon Valley and Seattle around Microsoft is a lot of these larger companies spawn startups. People work there, then after a certain time they leave and start their own companies. I see the presence of more companies in New York accelerating that process. They also help create a voice for the technology community. I think the presence of larger companies can influence policy decisions by sheer numbers and the size of the industry.

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at jpruth@xconomy.com and followed on Twitter @jpruth. Follow @jpruth

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