John Thompson has over 40 years of experience in the technology industry, serving on the Board of Microsoft and Illumina, as well as past CEO and other executive roles at Virtual Instruments, Symantec, and IBM.
John is an active investor and advisor in early-stage technology companies in Silicon Valley. In 2018, he became a partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners. In this Q&A with Reviver founder Neville Boston, John discusses his early support for Reviver and why he believes in the game-changing potential of digital license plates.
Q: Why did you first invest in Reviver? What did you see that made you interested?
A: Well, first off, investing in a company where the founders are people of color. That was top of my list. And I thought, my gosh, I’m in Silicon Valley – there are not enough of us here. It’s important for me to support those who are trying to accomplish something unique and different, quite frankly, in our community. But the other thing was we’re in a digital age now, and the notion that people are going to have metal license plates on their cars and have to get one of these silly stickers sent to them every year just doesn’t make any sense.
So, my notion was this is about applying technology to something as simple as the 100-plus year old license plate. Why wouldn’t you reinvent the license plate?
Q: Our platform has evolved a lot over the years – how do you see that evolving further in the future?
A: Well, the platform has already evolved quite a bit. There are two versions of the hardware product now. And I think the big question becomes: can the platform become an aggregator for data, or can it be integrated more tightly with the car itself? I think as we get closer to some of the car manufacturers, it may be interesting to see how that can become a part of the development or engineering process where the license plate is built in from the beginning, not added later.
Q: Reviver has gone through a journey getting to where we are now. What do you see in the future for the company?
A: I certainly did not anticipate that when I invested in the company, how bureaucratic the regulatory process would be when you started the company.