“I was drawn by nature to people who, like me, were eager to see what might come next and wanted to try to make it happen. From my youth, I’d never stopped thinking in the future tense.”
— Paul G. Allen
In the 1990s, Paul believed humanity was on the cusp of becoming a “wired world" and some of his earliest investments after leaving Microsoft fueled the bleeding edge of this digital transformation. For Paul, this wired world was the future. It held the promise of high-speed connectivity and would fundamentally change communication, information, entertainment, and commerce. He could envision these rapid transformations coming. “I invested in more than a hundred internet, media, and communications companies, expecting some to pan out and some not,” he said. In 1992 he founded Asymetrix, his first post-Microsoft company, a software firm focused on the web presentation and e-learning markets. He also created Interval Research, which focused on the development of next-generation technology and applications, launching seven start-ups and registering 300 patents. (The company’s creations included precursors to the QR code and iPad.)
Paul then went on to create his investment firm, Vulcan Capital, where early investments included AOL, Ticketmaster, DreamWorks, and Starwave (parts of which would evolve into ESPN.com) — all perfect examples of how he could see the future companies’ successes would often hinge on interactive and internet-driven content.
In more recent years, Paul's investments included several paradigm-shifting industries and companies. Notable examples include: Redfin, at the rise of mobile-first applications; Juno Therapeutics, creators of a pipeline of cancer immunotherapy drugs; BlackSky, a next-generation space company dedicated to democratizing space accessibility; and Transparent Financial Systems, a firm at the forefront of the digital B2B payments revolution.