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Social Capital has hired Tony Bates to run its new growth unit

More expansion from the venture investment firm.

Tony Bates

Social Capital has hired longtime tech executive Tony Bates as CEO of a new growth unit.

The venture company is expanding its offerings, including adding a growth arm that will be aimed at investing in later-stage companies and could even do buyouts. Social Capital declined to comment on fundraising activities, but such investing would require a large amount of capital.

Social Capital, the Silicon Valley investment firm founded by Chamath Palihapitiya, had also recently hired Marc Mezvinsky as its vice chairman. The hiring of the investment banker and hedge fund founder is part of a wider effort by Social Capital to morph itself well beyond its venture roots.

Next up, growth. In an interview Bates — who most recently was president of GoPro and has previous worked at Cisco, Skype and Microsoft — said he decided to join to next focus on helping operators.

“I loved the idea of helping transform many companies, not just one,” he said. “Social Capital is trying to be much more like a company, one that applies technology to investing. We want to become stage agnostic, from incubation through public investing, helping entrepreneurs across the lifecycle.”

Bates added that “growth is just a part of a strategy that’s really end-to-end ... We’re not thinking about these things in the traditional buckets.”

Currently, Social Capital has been making venture and seed investments, as well as some public ones, and also has a unit devoted to incubating startups. It has also been developing a software-based product-market fit platform called 8-ball, to do the quantitative part of due diligence for possible investments. But, as part of a longer-term master plan, it has been exploring a wide range of other financial products to support its companies.

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