Jim Breyer: biography of a billionaire and investor in IT startups, how he achieved success
The founder and CEO of a global venture company, one of their most successful investors in the 2011 and 2012 rankings according to leading American publications, Jim Breyer is rightfully considered an expert in the field of investing in IT technologies. Novice investors are interested in what led him to success and what kind of money management strategy he adheres to.
Breuer ‘s early biography
Jim Breyer is the son of Hungarian immigrants who left their country after the 1956 uprising and moved to the United States. Initially, the family lived in a quiet New Haven, but over time, when things went uphill, they moved to Boston, the capital of Massachusetts.
In 1979, Jim enrolled at Stanford to study economics and computer science. The future successful investor had a training internship at Silicon Valley enterprises, including Apple. Jim’s idol as a student was Steve Jobs, and his main hobby is personal computers.
After graduating from Stanford, Jim Breyer traveled to Europe, and upon his return got a job on Wall Street. There he earned enough to continue his studies at Harvard. His goal of graduating from Harvard Business School was achieved in 1987 with an MBA.
In the same year, Breyer began sending out resumes and he managed to get a place in the Accel venture capital company in San Francisco. It took three years to delve into the company’s investment strategy, and in 1995 Breuer was appointed managing partner. Jim worked at Accel as a managing partner for more than ten years and eventually took the position of president and CEO.
In 2000, Breyer co-founded the joint American-Chinese venture ACCR, as well as the private investment company KKR.
Over the years, the revenue from the transactions of the company where Jim worked has exceeded the initial investments of investors several times. Accel has successfully invested in Redback Networks, Foundry Networks and other IT-related companies. However, in 2000, most investors still chose to withdraw their money due to the collapse of the dot-com market. Investor confidence in the Internet has fallen, but not Jim Breyer.
A fateful investment
The beginning of the 2000s was not the most successful period for Accel Partners. Many large investors left the company, but Breyer was not going to give up.
The turning point in his career was marked by a meeting with an unknown Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg. Then in 2004, an Accel intern was looking for a promising startup and when he learned about the Harvard students’ project, he began to persistently seek a meeting. It is noteworthy that neither Sean Parker nor Mark Zuckerberg were eager to contact Accel, considering the company a “downed duck”, but the meeting still took place. The result was the conclusion of an agreement that returned Accel Partners to the number of successful venture companies. So the world opened the largest social network – Facebook.
Activity in Asset management and participation in other companies did not prevent Breyer from realizing his own ambitions, and in 2006, a successful investor founded Breyer Capital. Now, on behalf of his own company, Breuer continued to implement promising projects, investing in the development of highly efficient social and commercial companies.
Very quickly, Breyer Capital turned into a global investor focused on the emerging markets of India, Brazil, and China. One of the key partners of Breyer Capital is the Chinese corporation IDG Capital Partners. This is the largest venture corporation, which owns brands such as Tencent, Baidu, Xiaomi.
Now the billionaire is interested in long-term projects in the field of IT and artificial intelligence, which account for the lion’s share of all investments. Breyer publishes a lot as an expert in the field of investments, and in 2020, Breyer Capital opened a second office, which is located in Texas.
Investment strategy and Breuer’s Rules
In his interviews, Jim never tires of repeating the three main components of the success of his companies, these are: the balance of people’s judgments, market intuition and luck, and the latter, in his opinion, is the most important. Breyer believes that it was thanks to luck that he made the most significant deals in his life.
Breyer Capital’s strategy is classic, which implies, in particular, risk minimization in 4 stages:
- elimination of technical risks – in the first year;
- elimination of risks associated with marketing strategies and sales – in the second year;
- implementation of international transactions and formation of decent working capital – in the third year;
- making the company public is in the fourth year.
Based on personal experience, Breuer summarizes: when pessimism prevails, you need to increase investments and vice versa, you can relax during a period of optimism.
Opinion about the IT industry and cryptocurrency
Breuer is optimistic about IT technologies. He believes that now this is one of the most promising areas of investment. However, in his opinion, no more than 10% of companies promoting such technologies are waiting for real success in the future. Most will be left behind due to the overestimation of their potential, which is due to the great popularity of IT. Many venture funds, to the detriment of foresight, place high hopes on young companies, which is why they lose most of their investments.
Cryptocurrencies, as a separate IT direction, are also promising, so Breuer is actively investing in them. His portfolio includes Circle, Ethereum, and VeChain.
The field of cryptocurrencies, like any other, is subject to ups and downs, therefore, investors’ interest in this area will change periodically. In 2018, Breyer even announced that the “nuclear winter of cryptocurrencies” was near. And it is possible that he will be right. One way or another, but according to the billionaire, the crypto industry is still young enough to abandon it completely. The best of the best are employed in the blockchain, which means that the industry has potential.
Published: 12 June, 2022