We still don’t know where Padmasree Warrior is headed for her next job, but it sounds as if the former Cisco and Motorola CTO has something lined up.
“Hopefully, it will be public in a few weeks,” Warrior said during a fireside chat session yesterday at the Intel Capital Global Summit.
She dropped only one hint: “I want to be in an industry which is really at the intersection of hardware information and software information,” something that involves the digitizing of something, she noted.
As CTO and chief strategy officer of Cisco, Warrior was involved in the company’s acquisitions, which came at a clip of 15 per year, she estimates. That was the impetus of having her speak at the summit, a gathering of 1,200 entrepreneurs and investors.
“The VC industry itself is kind of getting decomposed,” she said. Crowdfunding is not only a different way of getting money, but also a different way screening ideas. Separately, big companies such as Cisco, Intel, and Google are doing more to directly fund and nurture startups.
These alternatives to VC funding will increasingly specialize as their strengths become clearer, Warrior said: What stage of funding are their techniques best at? (Crowdfunding would seem best for a startup’s infancy, for instance.) What kinds of companies are they best at nurturing?
Warrior herself is an investor in Color Genomics, a biotech startup whose founders come from Twitter and Google. “Application of what we’ve learned in the consumer Internet into different models — that shift is happening,” she told us.
That’s true in enterprise software, too, which could benefit from what’s been learned about consumer-minded mobile apps, according to Warrior.
Warrior pointed out that she tends to be an optimist, but her optimism faded when the discussion turned to the issue of diversity.
“Things are terrible if you look at the numbers in the tech industry,” she said, citing lots of familiar and “pathetic” stats. For instance: In the 1980s, 37 percent of computer science graduates were women; that figure fell to 16 percent in 2012.
“I’m discouraged at how far behind we are, and we have to really put our heads together and figure out how to change that,” she said. Mentoring and coaching would help, but a bigger step would be to cultivate a work atmosphere where people “can be who they are.”
Photo: Warrior (right) with Andrew Serwer of Yahoo Finance.