It’s 1962. John Glenn orbits the Earth. Kennedy is in office. And Franklin “Pitch” Johnson is pioneering the modern venture capital industry when he partners with another Silicon Valley legend, Bill Draper, to form Draper and Johnson Investment Company. Three years later, Pitch started Asset Management Company and would go on to hire and mentor many venture capitalists including prominent KPCB partner Brook Byers. Pitch also went on to teach for 12 years at the Stanford Graduate School of Business including starting its first course on venture capital. Today,Pitch remains active in venture capital and a limited partner in AMV.
Asset Management has invested in companies that pushed innovation to new levels for nearly half a century. Some of those early investments included Boole and Babbage, one of the first software companies servicing large enterprises; Tandem Computer, the world’s first fault tolerant computers; and Coherent Laser, one of the first laser applications in health care. In the late 1970’s, Pitch began researching start-ups that were not only creating new innovations, but also a whole new industry – biotechnology. In 1980 he, along with Bill Bowes from USVP, founded and invested in Applied Molecular Genetics, known today as Amgen.
Consistent Diversified Strategy
Over the next 30 years, Asset Management continued its diversified approach to venture capital investing by deploying capital in both IT and health care markets. These investments include hardware, software, medical devices and therapeutics companies. Asset Management’s leadership team is comprised of former operators and tech savvy investors with expertise in scientific, engineering and medical fields.
Seeding Venture Capital Globally
The partners at Asset Management Ventures believe that venture capital is a local business. As former founders we appreciate a casual meeting with a CEO over coffee to discuss strategy. Our clients are our neighbors, our friends and because of that, the firm has most often invested in companies close to home in Silicon Valley. AMV does have strong relationships with firms in other geographies as well. Pitch Johnson has invested in, and been an advisor to, venture funds in Norway, Russia, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, and New Zealand.