VC Trae Stephens Discusses Founders Fund And Anduril In Exclusive Interview


Last night, Trae Stephens, a former government intelligence analyst and early Palantir employee, sat down for an exclusive interview with StrictlyVC. The conversation covered a wide range of topics, including his involvement with Founders Fund and the success of Anduril, a defense tech company he co-founded. Here are the key highlights from the interview:

Key Takeaway

Trae Stephens sheds light on Founders Fund’s unique approach and discusses Anduril’s innovative strategies to address global threats through autonomy and cost-effective solutions.

Founders Fund’s Unique Approach

  • Board seats are rare at Founders Fund, setting it apart from other firms.
  • The firm does not reserve money for follow-on investments, and consensus is largely avoided.
  • Each investor at Founders Fund runs their own strategy, allowing for diverse perspectives and approaches.

Anduril’s Rise and Trae Stephens’ Involvement

Stephens, who is deeply involved in Anduril’s day-to-day operations, discussed the company’s focus on addressing the evolving global threats. He emphasized the need to reduce the cost of engagement and the importance of autonomy in achieving this goal.

Concerns and Investments

  • Stephens addressed concerns about Elon Musk’s extensive ventures, highlighting the unique talents and trade-offs associated with Musk’s approach.
  • He also shared insights into OpenAI’s secondary sale and the impact of employee equity on company performance.
  • Regarding defense tech investments, Stephens discussed Anduril’s efforts to build autonomous systems and its approach to mass production, challenging the traditional views of established defense companies.

Autonomous Systems and Global Conflict

Stephens delved into the potential of autonomous systems, emphasizing the need for responsible and precise lethal action to prevent the loss of human life. He also addressed concerns about AI and the role of democratic societies in controlling technological advancements.

Anduril’s Role in Conflict Zones

Stephens revealed Anduril’s deployment in conflict zones, including Ukraine, and the company’s goal of building capabilities to support allies with advanced technologies.

Personal Insights and Future Endeavors

  • Stephens shared personal insights, including his passion for the country and his involvement with Peter Thiel in supporting elected public officials.
  • He also humorously mentioned having a bunker and discussed the possibility of running for public office, revealing his wife's strong opposition to the idea.

Overall, Trae Stephens provided valuable insights into Founders Fund’s approach and Anduril’s innovative strategies, shedding light on the evolving landscape of defense technology and global security.

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