Joe Lonsdale (September 12, 1982) is an American entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist. Lonsdale is a founding partner at Formation 8 Partners, a Silicon Valley technology investment fund that operates mostly between the United States and Asia. Lonsdale also founded and serves as Chairman of Addepar, a private wealth management technology company. Previously, Lonsdale co-founded Palantir Technologies, a private company focused on analyzing, integrating and visualizing data especially in the global defense and finance space. Palantir was recently valued at as much as $8 billion on secondary markets. Prior to Palantir, Lonsdale was an early executive at Clarium Capital, a multi-billion dollar hedge fund founded by Peter Thiel. Lonsdale has founded a number of other companies and organizations, including OpenGov, Zanbato, as well as working with Lady Gaga to launch Backplane. He also served as founding Chairman of The Seasteading Institute,California Common Sense, and is the Chairman of ONEHOPE Wine. Lonsdale has invested in dozens of early stage technology companies.
Lonsdale grew up in Fremont, California and attended Mission San Jose High School. He was a two-time scholastic chess champion.
Lonsdale graduated from Stanford University in 2003 with a degree in Computer Science. He also studied financial markets and macro-economics, and served as Editor-in-Chief of The Stanford Review, the university's conservative/libertarian newspaper. Lonsdale was a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.
Lonsdale joined the financial arm of PayPal while still a student at Stanford. After graduation he left to work in a variety of roles with PayPal co-founder, Peter Thiel. Most notably, Lonsdale served as an early executive at Clarium Capital, a macro hedge fund founded by Thiel. At Clarium's peak the fund had nearly $7 billion in assets under management.
In 2004, Lonsdale co-founded Palantir Technologies with Thiel, Alex Karp, Stephen Cohen, and Nathan Gettings. Palantir's software allows human analysts to explore data from many sources, specifically in the intelligence and financial services sectors. Palantir is said to have one of the top engineering teams in Silicon Valley, as well as one of the most unique corporate cultures. Lonsdale initially served as co-head of product at Palantir. After the core leadership and engineering teams were established, Lonsdale and Eric Poirier built Palantir Finance (now known as Metropolis) as a separate division within Palantir. They created a technology platform analogous in scope to the government platform but focused on time series data and financial ontologies.
Palantir Finance became the backbone of Palantir Commercial which is reportedly responsible for half of Palantir's revenues.
Lonsdale co-founded Addepar in 2009 with Jason Mirra, who serves as Chief Technology Officer. Addepar works with Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs), major private banks, and family offices to provide transparency into client portfolios. Currently Addepar has over $100 billion in assets managed on the platform. The company has attracted a cadre of supporters from the finance industry including Stanley Druckenmiller, Kenneth Langone, Harrison LeFrak, Poju Zabludowicz, Justin Rockefeller and a number of others.
Lonsdale currently serves as Executive Chairman at Addepar.
Angel Investor and Venture Capitalist:
In 2010, Lonsdale launched Anduin Ventures, a seed fund focused on helping the best technology teams in Silicon Valley build information technology companies across a variety of industries. Anduin's advisors included Alex Moore, Steve Loughlin, Matt Michelsen, and Brian Koo. Anduin's portfolio companies include Addepar, Any.do, The Backplane, Badgeville, Blueprint Labs, Wish (ContextLogic), Edmodo, Healthtap, JoyTunes, Karma, Onramp, Ostendo, Ness, Practice Fusion and Vicarious.
Formation 8 Partners:
In 2011, Lonsdale co-founded Formation 8 Partners with Brian Koo and Jim Kim. Other senior members of Formation 8 include Gideon Yu, Tom Baruch, and James Zhang. The fund has a broad mandate, investing across stages in both IT and energy companies. Lonsdale manages the IT investments, focusing on entrepreneurs building "Smart Enterprise" companies (see below). Lonsdale represents Formation 8 on the board of RelateIQ, Wish (ContextLogic), Revinate, and OpenGov (formerly Delphi). Other Formation 8 investments include AKAStudy, Blend Labs, BuildZoom, Foro Energy, PeopleCo (formerly Hyperdyadic), LearnSprout,Oculus VR, and Thalmic Labs.
Other business activities:
Lonsdale has co-founded a number of other companies. Examples include OpenGov, Zanbato, and The Backplane.
Lonsdale serves as Chairman of Addepar, ONEHOPE Wine, OpenGov, Zanbato, and The Backplane. He also serves on the Board of RelateIQ, Wish (ContextLogic), and Revinate.
Lonsdale serves as Chairman of California Common Sense ("CACS.org"), a non-partisan non-profit dedicated to opening government to the public, developing data-driven policy analysis, and educating citizens about how their governments work. In July 2010, CACS.org launched California's first-ever data transparency portal. The platform, which combines sophisticated analysis with data visualization, stands as one of the most advanced government data platforms in the country. Lonsdale also serves on the Board of Strive for College and ONEHOPE Wine, a social enterprise company devoted to donating a portion of their profits to charity. He was formerly on the Board of the Social Profit Foundation and was the founding Chairman of The Seasteading Institute.
Lonsdale often speaks at technology events and conferences around the world. Some notable appearances include:
On February 12th 2014 Lonsdale and Marc Andreessen were featured as the Keynote for the 2014 Goldman Sachs Technology Conference in San Francisco with Gary Cohn. They discussed a variety of issues including bitcoin, valuations of technology companies, and the impact of mobile.
In 2013 Lonsdale was featured as a speaker at the Fortune Global Forum in Chengdu, China alongside a host of international business and political leaders.
On June 6, 2013 Lonsdale spoke after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the CyberSecurity Innovation Showcase at Tel Aviv University.
On May 1, 2013, Lonsdale was featured as a panelist at 2013 NYC TechCrunch Disrupt, where he spoke widely about venture capital investing, entrepreneurship and macroeconomic trends affecting the world today. Of particular note, Lonsdale advocated for the country's top engineers to aspire to tackle the world's problems. Lonsdale's comments were parallel to a number of entrepreneurs who made similar calls to action (including Chamath Palihapitiya), and echoed similar comments made by Lonsdale in a January 20, 2013 TechCrunch article.
Lonsdale has been featured twice on CNBC's SquawkBox. Following the Edward Snowden affair, Lonsdale discussed big data and security in a June 26, 2013 episode titled "Big Data's Past Present and Future." On April 29, 2013 Lonsdale was featured in an episode titled "The Disruptors" on which he discussed how Silicon Valley technology is beginning to emerge as a force on Wall Street.
In 2011, Lonsdale participated in TEDxSilicon Valley. Lonsdale gave a speech titled "Learning from Numbers" where he discussed technology's role within finance.
In 2010 Lonsdale participated in TEDx La Jolla, giving a speech entitled "Man Machine Symbiosis."
On August 25, 2008 Lonsdale was hosted by Glenn Beck on CNN, where he discussed the Seasteading Institute.
The Smart Enterprise Wave:
A common theme across the majority of Lonsdale's public speaking and written work is Smart Enterprise. Lonsdale has coined the term to describe the companies leading the 6th wave of Innovation occurring in Silicon Valley.
Specifically, Smart Enterprise companies leverage recent IT advances in order to integrate heterogeneous big data and empower knowledge workers to solve non-linear problems across major economic industries. By doing so, these companies gain the potential to harness network effects within their industry vertical and become platforms, increasing innovation by enabling novel applications to quickly spread throughout the industry.