Calibrate Ventures Welcomes Adrien Gaidon as Partner

February 28, 2024 / Calibrate Ventures Staff

The entire Calibrate Ventures team is thrilled to welcome our newest partner, Dr. Adrien Gaidon!

We could not be more excited about Adrien joining our investment team. He shares deep expertise in AI and machine learning (ML) and an expansive technical network that will add outsized value to our current and future founders and CEOs. Adrien joins us after seven years as Head of ML at Toyota Research Institute (TRI), where he was responsible for strategy, research, and building Toyota’s ML foundations across a variety of applications. While at Calibrate, Adrien will remain a trusted advisor to TRI, as well as continue in his role of Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University, where he advises students and co-teaches CS131 (Computer Vision Foundations and Applications). He has a PhD in Mathematics and Computer Science, more than 100 patents, and over 100 highly-cited publications.

Clearly, Adrien has the technical know-how to understand where AI is headed–and how emerging deep-tech companies can leverage the latest advances to build defensible business models. As a partner at Calibrate, Adrien will source and vet new investment opportunities and support our entire portfolio, bringing knowledge and experience in ML, computer vision, and autonomous systems to help our founders scale successfully.

But we didn’t just hire Adrien for his technical chops. Far more than just a technologist, Adrien is a visionary optimist and connector. We’d love to share more about why we hired Adrien, why now, and what this move means for Calibrate Ventures. 

Why Adrien?

We first got to know Adrien in 2021 when we asked him to join the inaugural advisory board for EON, the applied AI event we started to spark conversation about overcoming the non-technical barriers to widespread adoption of AI in industry. The inaugural EON focused on computer vision, and Adrien was a natural fit to help us shape the agenda given his tenure at TRI. We’re looking forward to our third-annual EON this fall, and the growing prestige and success of the event and community has roots with Adrien.

Anyone who meets Adrien will soon see his infectious and unbridled enthusiasm for ML. We watched him open his network and eagerly connect us to the right folks in academia and big-tech to ensure a rich and vibrant conversation at EON among accomplished technologists and researchers. As we got to know Adrien, he demonstrated key attributes of a successful investor: optimism, passion, energy, critical thinking, and connections. And pairing these traits with his intellectual rigor, technical know-how, and industry insights makes for a potent–and rare–combination in venture capital investing.

More importantly, however, Adrien innately holds and demonstrates the important values upon which we founded Calibrate. Be wide-eyed and intellectually honest. Keep clear priorities. Pay it forward. Though as VCs we invest in technology, we know through experience that success is all about the people. Values are what binds us and aligns us, and in working together for three years, we realized that Adrien is a natural extension of our value system with high integrity, exceptional technical aptitude, and passion for helping drive successful outcomes for founders.

So why now?

The landscape for investing in deep tech has shifted dramatically since we first met Adrien. Technology is moving faster and faster. AI–a domain that has been around for decades–has finally hit its stride. People are leaving big-tech companies, academia, and startups to become AI founders themselves. It is an exciting moment in the history of technology (and humanity!), one we believe is far bigger than when the internet hit its inflection point.

Because of this tech acceleration and the corresponding opportunity to invest in the next wave of visionary AI founders, we decided last year to expand and augment our investment team. In January, we added Katie Vasquez in the role of investor. She joined existing venture partners Dr. Paolo Pirjanian and Dan Murray, and advisors Dr. Henrik Christensen, Don Barnett, and John Morrissey. Adding Adrien as a partner further extends Calibrate’s platform, network, and reach to partner with the most promising deep-tech startups of our time.

What does this mean for Calibrate?

In many ways, Adrien is an unconventional addition to an investment team. Deeply technical, he is at home as much in a Stanford classroom as in the executive boardroom of a top-20 global enterprise, or presenting a technical paper at an international AI conference. But for Calibrate, where we invest in deep tech at scale, his background is a perfect fit. We’re looking for founders on the bleeding edge who peer into the future to invent entirely new ways of doing things. Adrien joining Calibrate validates our position as a top early-stage investor in deep tech, with our finger on the pulse of how applied AI will reshape industries. So Adrien’s hire means we have expanded Calibrate’s capabilities to source, partner with, and help scale the next generation of outlier technology companies solving the world and industry’s most challenging problems.

It means we’re just getting started!