Ann Winblad, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners Co-Founder and partner, joins The First Trade with Alexis Christoforous and Brian Sozzi to discuss Amazon fulfillment centers potentially moving into malls, big tech, TikTok, diversity in Silicon Valley and much more.
BRIAN SOZZI: All right, Amazon is reportedly in talks with mall operator Simon Property Group to turn the once iconic stores into fulfillment centers. Wow. Here to discuss that more is Ann Winblad of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners. Ann, good to see you this morning here. Does this change the game for Amazon-- them opening up fulfillment centers in malls? Or is it just another day in the office for them?
ANN WINBLAD: It's probably just another day in the office for Amazon. I mean, they have demonstrated, especially given last quarter's earnings, that they are experts in logistics. And it's amazing that they're still tuning up the last mile to consumers. It's a pretty much a gift for the mall operators and probably a day in the life of Amazon.
BRIAN SOZZI: And what does this help Amazon do?
ANN WINBLAD: Well, certainly, the pandemic if anything, as we saw from Amazon's last earnings, for those who were not ordering everything from groceries to anything you can think from Amazon, everybody is now. And it really just gives them more efficiency in their management of the logistic, more points to position things-- ability for consumers to do pick up. I'm sure they have other reasons that they would consider doing this that we're not aware of. But I definitely trust their judgment in whatever they would do to optimize their logistics.
ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: And I know that you are pretty heavily invested in enterprise software. Tell us why you think this is a place investors should be looking at more closely. And which companies within that space do you like right now?
ANN WINBLAD: We have always been-- we were the first venture fund and created in 1980 to invest solely in software. And our focus has always been enterprise or business-to-business software. We have been seeing over the last few years that every corporation on the planet was engaged in digital transformation. And no one really expected they were going to get final exams in their digital transformation strategy in March of 2020. And I'm not sure many companies had finished their education in digital transformation.
So what that means is people are accelerating their spend in making their companies more digital. What that then means is people consume more enterprise software and all of the surround sound in enterprise software, security, consumer experience, marketing automation, beyond what you would do to optimize all your assets in the cloud. And that opens up tons of companies. We saw--
I'm sure if you sat in the boardrooms, any major corporation in April, May, June, or July, you had people talking about their IT spend where they found holes in their own digital engagement with all of their customers, employees, suppliers, et cetera, and how they were going to optimize their software platforms. That's why we like enterprise software.
BRIAN SOZZI: And speaking of next generation technology, I'm sure you're watching the talks and discussion between Microsoft and TikTok-- whatever degree that is going on right now. Why would TikTok be a good fit for Microsoft? Or would it be?
ANN WINBLAD: Well, interestingly enough, Microsoft's done a great job with LinkedIn. They have really made it a fantastic professional platform. In the consumer space, I'm not a TikTok user. So, you know, I don't relate to the platform personally. It's a little harder to understand how they would be successful on a consumer platform. But at the same time, they took in LinkedIn, have kept most of the management and leadership team there, really optimized their platform if nothing else.
So they've proven they're capable of taking a large platform and media platform and managing it well. So that speaks well to TikTok on their-- historical experience in the consumer space has been really good in some areas and mixed in others. But this is a new generation Microsoft. So I wouldn't really count them out in their ability to take in a large consumer platform and do a really good job of managing it. They are really great managers of the current generation and Microsoft leadership.
ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: And we're just a few months away from the presidential election. How closely is or should Silicon Valley be watching the election? We know that, you know, it seems to be a bipartisan issue-- the cracking down on big tech. We saw the CEOs of four of the largest tech companies in the world go before lawmakers last week. Are they leaning toward one candidate more than another to your mind?
ANN WINBLAD: Well, California through speaking at Silicon Valley here as the tech industry, we're a blue state. So we certainly-- it's not unexpected that large companies of scale are hauled before Congress. It's an industry that's scaling very, very fast. You know, the software industry is a big industry. And there will be more big players.
So that is not a surprise that regulators are looking at these companies and that the companies should be looked at closely for antitrust violations if they do exist. At the same time, I think that California will continue to be a blue state that it will be a Biden state. And that includes most of the people that work at tech companies, as well, that live in California. So I don't see any reason that California would not vote for Biden this coming election.
BRIAN SOZZI: All right, let's leave it there. Ann Winblad of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners. Good to see you this morning.
ANN WINBLAD: Thanks for having me on.