Cover image ‘Android’ by Ashley Zelinskie
Wolf. Twins. Rome. REMUS.
Who is REMUS? What do we really know about the twins who founded an empire along the Tiber? About the brother who has spent so much of history cloaked in shadow?
In recent years, I’ve become hooked by the untold story of REMUS, a mystery of mythology that moved from Athens to Rome. We all know the usual story, but the source code reveals much more depth to REMUS who, in many of the earliest versions, may have in fact been the sole founder of Rome. His resolve and resilience prompted him to challenge the most entrenched kind of status quo – the relationship with a sibling – for the sake of building the best foundation. REMUS was a rebel building the next big thing.
Since I founded Romulus in my MIT dorm room as a 21-year-old punk, a lot has changed in the world. Technology is life. Founders are cool. Venture capital is exploding. The decade ahead signals vast dislocation and opportunity for capitalists who have seen this story before and have the ability to take a long-term perspective. Having started the firm at the beginning of the last “dislocation” in 2008, our team has been part of many success stories; we are thus excited about the future, including the human-machine interface, the intersection of healthcare and software, and the next industrial revolution.
I’ve realized, however, that the untold stories – the less-traveled paths taken by underdogs like REMUS who dream about changing the world – are the ones I find most interesting. I’ve found that I’m deeply contrarian, viscerally opposed to the prevailing way of thinking and doing. I’ve built my business around an idea that shouldn’t be revolutionary but often is: that great companies aren’t built in a day and require strategic building – not wishful betting. I’m most interested in the businesses upending the hype cycles, not promoting them, in the companies disrupting the status quo. I’m most interested, I’ve come to learn, in the rebels.
To code the future by rewiring history – this is what excites us.
Today, we are rewiring the story of REMUS. He is reborn, renewed, reimagined. And so am I: today I announce that I’m rebranding my next steps to REMUS.
REMUS might have said ‘Finis origine pendet’ – the end depends on the beginning. We are beginning this evolution with the intention to grow our platform into one of the world’s great ones. LET’S GO!
If you would like to be part of our journey, please sign up here for our monthly newsletter. Read below for more detail on how REMUS will evolve.
THE REMUS REMIT
REMUS is a new firm as much as it is a rebrand. Much of what we have built over the past decade – from people to principles – will continue to hold, but we will more actively incorporate what we have learned from working with so many entrepreneurs to refresh our offering.
REMUS is Romulus redux in some ways. We will still partner with the most ambitious entrepreneurs leveraging technology and/or science to create massive value. We will still focus on building, not betting – we are not interested in a spray-and-pray approach. We have renewed the founding hunger and ambition that characterized our earliest days.
REMUS will, however, be an edgier, more audacious evolution of that firm. I’ve evolved as a person, as an entrepreneur, and as an investor over the past decade. In this new iteration, we will be bolder and act on intuition in a more agile manner. We will take the necessary steps toward becoming a platform, leaning into the unique duality that defines us: a young and scrappy outlook paired with hard-won experience.
REMUS’ centers of gravity will be more equally distributed across Boston, San Francisco, and London – geographies in which our team has had extensive experience. Our first three deals have centered in each of these three cities.
REMUS will be even more connected to global markets, particularly in Asia. Contrary to a certain sentiment, we believe Western companies should engage more deeply with China, India, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East – but on their own terms. We will place a Venture Partner in Asia and will ramp up our engagement with the region through our own firm and through portfolio companies.
REMUS will make a more proactive effort to be inclusive and diverse. To that effect, we announced our search for a Black EIR a few weeks ago. We are actively in discussions with candidates and hope to announce our EIR by the end of summer. We are similarly focused on expanding our engagement with female entrepreneurs, executives, and board members.
REMUS will adopt a more technically-forward worldview. Most of the people we hire and support will be engineers. I have always had a bias toward engineers as (a) we are natural problem-solvers and (b) the world’s biggest opportunities are increasingly technical.
REMUS is born from the ashes of the COVID crisis, much as Romulus was born in the midst of the Great Recession. Once again, we will leverage our leanness and entrepreneurial hunger to build great companies in what we believe will be a recessionary environment.
There is much more to come as we grow – we look forward to sharing it over time.