I was the first to report that Nan Li, Adam Goulburn, and Zavain Dar were setting out to create a venture capital firm back in August 2022. So when the trio finally announced their $350 million life sciences and technology-focused venture firm, called Dimension, I had to have them on the podcast.
I wanted to hear why Goulburn and Dar, general partners at Lux Capital, and Li, a general partner at Obvious Ventures, decided to embark on the long, hard trek of building their own firm.
The three investors have become true believers about the rapid developments happening at the intersection of life sciences and software.
Software engineers have made their way into the drug development process and the laboratory wet bench.
Li describes having a realization, “Wow, this seemingly small area that we used to cover when we were coming up in the industry together is now reorganizing the entire industry. And we’re seeing signs of that everywhere.”
He explained how the speed of lab experiments is opening the door for a bigger role for software in laboratory research.
“Experiments are getting very high throughput. They’re very cheap to run. And labs are generating data streams that look kind of like internet platform companies. There are certain biotechs that we work with, that generate more data per day than Twitter does,” Li said on the podcast. “And that’s where data science and software must come in. It’s really out of necessity. The way a modern lab works today looks nothing like 20 years ago.”
So, at probably the worst time to raise a new venture capital firm in recent memory, the trio set out to build a new one. On the podcast, Li, Goulburn, and Dar tell me how they did it. I ask them what technologies they are most optimistic about in the life sciences. And I pester them about whether healthy billionaires are getting vastly better healthcare than the rest of us — or are they just driving themselves crazy with tests?