Joe Raffa

Venture Partner

Joe is the first member of team in the US seeking new global opportunities for Downing Ventures from his home in Silicon Valley.


One of his favourite things to do outside of work is race his sailboat in San Francisco Bay. Joe says “Competitive racing requires a combination of teamwork, skill building, technology, strategy and real-time tactics… just like a start-up”.


A memorable moment in Joe’s career was joining a group of Japanese image scientists who were forming a company in Tsukuba, Japan, as their first CEO. They explored a variety of markets for their advanced algorithms suitable for venture capital, eventually choosing camcorders and cameras. Partnering with researchers from the most demanding camera companies, they created a product plan, business plan and funding pitch, moved the headquarters to Silicon Valley and raised $30 million in venture capital across multiple rounds. Their chips and software were designed into flagship cameras from Panasonic, JVC, Sony and Nikon, eventually leading to acquisition of the company by MediaTek.


Joe’s favourite invention is language as its impact on humankind has been unprecedented, as it has enabled the accumulation of knowledge across generations and the creation of intellectual property.