Don Lucas Jr. knows that it’s not supposed to be personal. As a second-generation venture capitalist, he understands that his first professional responsibility is to help produce capital gains for the limited partners of RWI Group, the Palo Alto-based firm that he presides over as managing general partner. But Lucas also is the father of an 11-year-old daughter suffering from Type I diabetes, and he believes that VC protocol can be interpreted in a way that satisfies both his personal and professional interests. After all, Lucas says, what’s the use of being in a position of influence if you just bury your head in a pile of money?
VCJ: Your personal investment history is mostly marked by information technology and software deals, but last year you bought into a medical device company named DexCom, which is developing an implantable glucose sensor for people suffering from diabetes. Were you looking for a company in this space and, if so, why?
Lucas: I was looking at companies in the diabetes space for two particular reasons. One reason is obviously to find good investment opportunities. But, also, my eldest daughter was diagnosed with Type I diabetes about 31/2 years ago. So this is a disease my family deals with on a daily basis, and she needs to monitor herself five to eight times a day. It was plainly obvious that if there were a way to relieve that kind of regular finger pricking, it would help in the handling of the disease and make life a little easier to deal with for her.
Subscribers can read the transcript of VCj’s sitdown with Don Lucas Jr. in the