GV Partner Tyson Clark, Investor in Early-Stage Startups, Dies
(Bloomberg) -- Tyson Clark, a general partner at Alphabet Inc.’s venture arm GV and one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent Black startup investors, died on Wednesday. He was 43.
Clark died “due to sudden complications from a health issue,” GV said Thursday in a statement on its website.
As GV’s sole Black general partner, Clark gained prominence in Silicon Valley, whose venture capitalist ranks have long been criticized for being too White and male. He joined GV in August 2015, and made investments in Lightmatter, Ethos and Evident.io, which was acquired by Palo Alto Networks Inc.
“The most amazing part about Tyson is that if you saw his resume on paper, you’d think this was Superman,” Rick Klau, a former GV partner who worked alongside Clark for five years, said in an interview. “And he almost went out of his way to not make things about him.”
GV, formerly known as Google Ventures, was founded in 2009 to fund a broad range of young technology companies. The firm has more than $8 billion under management and has invested in Uber Technologies Inc., as well as Slack and Nest before their acquisitions.
Clark, who grew up in Southern California, served in the U.S. Navy for six years after receiving an undergraduate degree from Stanford University. He became a naval nuclear propulsion submarine officer and led the boat’s scuba diving team.
“I’ve always been fascinated by science and technology, and on the sub I had the opportunity to indulge those curiosities,” Clark said of the experience on his GV bio page.
After the Navy, Clark earned an MBA from Harvard Business School, which kicked off a career in corporate finance at blue-chip firms. He spent three years as a technology investment banking associate at Morgan Stanley, followed by a stint as a director of corporate development at Oracle Corp. from 2012 to 2015.
Clark entered the VC world as a partner of corporate development at Andreessen Horowitz, one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent investing firms. He then spent more than six years at GV. He served as a member of the board of trustees at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art for a year. He was also on the board of non-profits Summer Search, which assists students, and ReSurge International, which helps people with abnormalities and injuries, including burn victims.
Klau, who is now the chief technology innovation officer for the State of California, recalled how much Clark went out of his way to meet with and help those excluded by clubby Silicon Valley, whose startup ecosystem is dependent on networking and friendly introductions.
“He made himself available to a degree most people in his position choose not to,” Klau said. “There’s a lot we’re going to mourn in his absence. I think of the people for whom he would’ve been an introduction in the years to come. I hope others pick up the slack, but that’s a loss.”
Clark is survived by his wife, Abby, and three children.
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