Seeing the Peak and Navigating the Path: An Inside Look at ICONIQ Ascent 2023

October 24, 2023

Earlier this month in Healdsburg, California, ICONIQ Growth’s extraordinary community of CEOs, founders, and luminaries gathered for ICONIQ Ascent, our first portfolio company conference where we explored how to navigate the peaks and valleys of entrepreneurship, celebrated where we are and where we’re going, and found inspiration and ideas to fuel our continuing journeys. Over three days we connected with one another to exchange insights that drive action and fostered new relationships in ways that only come from spending meaningful time together. We were inspired by global visionaries on topics like the next era of AI, the science and wisdom of world-class leaders, how to create customer loyalty through uncommon care, and so much more:

  • In an “Ask Me Anything” session with Bret Taylor, CEO and co-founder of Sierra and former co-CEO of Salesforce, participants were eager to hear his views on topics as diverse as the pluses and minuses of proprietary AI models, the trials and tribulations of leadership, the complexities of pricing, product-led growth, and the most effective way to sell through listening.

  • Will Guidara, restaurateur and author of Unreasonable Hospitality, reminded us that thoughtfulness and human connection are more valuable to customers than anything else.

  • Olivier Pomel, co-founder and CEO of Datadog, revealed some of the unconventional ways he built his company, including growing fast by experimenting in small increments; building teams from the bottom-up; and bringing together groups of people who typically did not work together, such as developers and individuals from operations.

  • Alex Gorsky, former Chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson, and Jennifer Aaker, author and behavioral scientist at Stanford Graduate School of Business, discussed the physicality of leadership, vulnerability, levity, public pressure, and why storytelling is a superpower.

  • The promise and pitfalls of AI were laid out before us in an interview with Mustafa Suleyman, CEO and co-founder, Inflection AI, and co-founder, DeepMind, conducted by esteemed technology chronicler John Markoff, formerly of the New York Times.

  • May Habib, CEO and co-founder of Writer, and Alex Pall, co-founder of the Chainsmokers, discussed the ways in which we are all learning to partner with technology, including AI, to amplify human creativity.

  • And finally, Will Griffith, Partner at ICONIQ, shared our current perspectives on the market.

As we all know, the entrepreneurial path is not an easy one. There are many things that leaders can control, many we cannot, and an unending series of trials and tests. It is not a smooth path up but it is so gratifying when you can see the peak in sight. We are grateful to the ICONIQ Growth community for partnering with us in ascending that mountain.

The views expressed in this presentation are those of ICONIQ Growth ("ICONIQ" or the "firm"), are the result of proprietary research, may be subjective, and may not be relied upon in making an investment decision. This presentation is for educational purposes only and does not constitute investment advice or an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any securities which will only be made pursuant to definitive offering documents and subscription agreements, including, without limitation, any investment fund or investment product referenced herein. Any reproduction or distribution of this presentation in whole or in part, or the disclosure of any of its contents, without the prior consent of ICONIQ, is prohibited. This presentation may contain forward-looking statements based on current plans, estimates and projections. The recipient of this presentation ("you") are cautioned that a number of important factors could cause actual results or outcomes to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, the forward-looking statements. The numbers, figures and case studies included in this presentation have been included for purposes of illustration only, and no assurance can be given that the actual results of ICONIQ or any of its partners and affiliates will correspond with the results contemplated in the presentation. No information is contained herein with respect to conflicts of interest, which may be significant. The portfolio companies and other parties mentioned herein may reflect a selective list of the prior investments made by ICONIQ. Certain of the economic and market information contained herein may have been obtained from published sources and/or prepared by other parties. While such sources are believed to be reliable, none of ICONIQ or any of its affiliates and partners, employees and representatives assume any responsibility for the accuracy of such information. All of the information in the presentation is presented as of the date made available to you (except as otherwise specified), and is subject to change without notice, and may not be current or may have changed (possibly materially) between the date made available to you and the date actually received or reviewed by you. ICONIQ assumes no obligation to update or otherwise revise any information, projections, forecasts or estimates contained in the presentation, including any revisions to reflect changes in economic or market conditions or other circumstances arising after the date the items were made available to you or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. For avoidance of doubt, ICONIQ is not acting as an adviser or fiduciary in any respect in connection with providing this presentation and no relationship shall arise between you and ICONIQ as a result of this presentation being made available to you. ICONIQ is a diversified financial services firm and has direct client relationships with persons that may become limited partners of ICONIQ funds. Notwithstanding that a person may be referred to herein as a "client" of the firm, no limited partner of any fund will, in its capacity as such, be a client of ICONIQ. There can be no assurance that the investments made by any ICONIQ fund will be profitable or will equal the performance of prior investments made by persons described in this presentation.