Harry Stebbings

The Twenty Minute VC: Venture Capital | Startup Funding | The Pitch

The Twenty Minute VC takes you inside the world of Venture Capital, Startup Funding and The Pitch.
The Twenty Minute VC: Venture Capital | Startup Funding | The Pitch

Description

The Twenty Minute VC takes you inside the world of Venture Capital, Startup Funding and The Pitch. Join our host, Harry Stebbings and discover how you can attain funding for your business by listening to what the most prominent investors are directly looking for in startups, providing easily actionable tips and tricks that can be put in place to increase your chances of getting funded. Although, you may not want to raise funding for a startup. The Twenty Minute VC also provides an instructional guide as to what it takes to get employed in the Venture Capital industry, with VCs giving specific advice on how to get noticed from the crowd and increasing your chances of employment. If that wasn't enough our amazing Venture Capitalists also provide their analysis of the current technology market, providing advice and suggestions on the latest investing trends and predictions. Join us so you can see how you can get BIG, powerful improvements, fast. Would you like to see more of The Twenty Minute VC, head on over to www.thetwentyminutevc.com for more information on the podcast, show notes, resources and a more detailed analysis of the technology and Venture Capital industry.

Categories

Business
Technology

Episodes

20VC: Raising A $1.35Bn Fund I, The Emerging Secondary Opportunity For Early Stage Managers and Founders & What It Takes To Win The Best Growth Deals Today with Ravi Viswanathan, Founder & Managing Partner @ NewView Capital

Apr 6, 2020 39:17

Description:

Ravi Viswanathan is the Founder and Managing Partner @ NewView Capital, launched in 2018 with their $1.35Bn Fund I, they have already set themselves as leaders in the world of growth funding with 3 massive exits in less than 2 years in the form of Plaid, sold to Visa for $5.3Bn, Acquia, sold to Vista Equity for $1Bn and then Scout, sold to WorkDay for $540M. Prior to founding NewView Ravis spent 14 years at one of the largest venture firms in the business, NEA where he co-led their venture growth equity practice and in 2016, became COO @ Nea. Before the world of venture, Ravi spent 4 years as a VP @ Goldman Sachs and before that was at McKinsey & Co.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Ravi made his way into the world of venture from investment banking and how that led to his founding the monster $1.35Bn Fund I for NewView Capital?

2.) Given the first fund being $1.35Bn, how did Ravi find the fundraising process for NewView? On reflection, what did he and the team do well that they would do again? What did they not do well that they would alter? What advice would Ravi give to first-time fund managers raising today?

3.) Would Ravi agree with Bill Gurley, "the biggest challenge today is the sheer quantum of capital flowing into the industry"? What does Ravi make of the rise of private equity (PE) houses entering the venture landscape? How does it change the exit landscape?

4.) How does Ravi think about the right way for funds to navigate and approach the secondary market? What advice would he give to emerging managers? How does Ravi feel about founder secondaries? What framework does he use to determine whether the amount is reasonable?

5.) How does Ravi think about what it take to truly win the best deals in competition today? If one does not have the budget of a16z, how does one build a venture platform? Where do the majority of investors make mistakes when it comes to VC value add?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Ravi's Fave Book: Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE, Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

Ravi’s Most Recent Investment: Plaid

As always you can follow Harry, Ravi and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

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20VC: The Framework to Scale A Team From 20 to 190 in 24 Months, How To Structure The Perfect Investor Updates & How To Create A Culture of Distributed Ownership with Radical Transparency with Jean-Charles Samulian, Co-Founder & CEO @ Alan

Apr 3, 2020 38:05

Description:

Jean-Charles Samulian is the Co-Founder & CEO @ Alan, the startup revolutionising health insurance with a service centred on people, simplicity and comfort. To date, Jean-Charles has raised over $85M in funding with Alan from some of the best in the business including Jan Hammer @ Index, Shakil Khan, Tom Stafford @ DST, Xavier Niel and Brent Hoberman to name a few. Prior to changing the healthcare insurance system, Jean-Charles founded Expliseat, revolutionising airline seating for economy class, now used by some of the world's leading airlines.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jean-Charles made his way from re-inventing the airline seating industry to re-inventing the way consumers experience healthcare insurance? How did re-inventing the airline seat prepare and impact Jean-Charles' mindset going into the highly regulated healthcare market with Alan?

2.) How does JC structure his investor updates? What framework does JC believe these investor updates should take? Does he include thank you's at the end? Does he include requests for help? How does he involve the team in the writing of these updates? How does JC insert core strategic thinking into his updates? How much time does JC allocate to writing updates? How does JC think about transparency when coming investor updates?

3.) How has JC created a culture of distributed ownership combined with radical transparency? What are the key elements to achieve this? Where do so many go wrong with culture maintenance and creation? What have been the biggest challenges in scaling from 20 to 190 people in just 2 years? What has worked? What has not worked?

4.) How does JC structure the hiring process at Alan? Why does JC believe in the importance of "shadowing" for people to be excellent at hiring? How does JC define "excellence" in a potential candidate? What questions does JC most like to ask candidates? How does JC think about the right way to optimise new employee onboarding? Where do many go wrong with onboarding? What have been their core lessons at Alan as to what it takes to make it great?

5.) How does JC think about extreme self-organization today? How does JC structure his day and his time? How would JC summarise his relationship to his phone? What does he actively do to reduce his dependence on his phone? What has worked and what has not worked with regards to increasing productivity? How does JC advise others looking to make their first steps in increasing their productivity?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Jean-Charles’s Fave Book: The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Jean-Charles and on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Carta simplifies how startups and investors manage equity, track cap tables, and get valuations. Go to carta.com/20vc to get 10% off. More than 800,000 employees and shareholders use Carta to manage hundreds of billions of dollars in equity and Carta now offers Fund Administration so you can see real-time data in the Carta platform and work with Carta’s team of experienced fund accountants. Go to carta.com/20vc to get 10% off.

20VC: Howard Marks on How COVID-19 Impacts Our Economy, Liquidity and National Debt, Why The Theory of Falling Knives and Market Bottoms is Wrong & Why The Best Investors Are Fundamentally Unemotional

Mar 30, 2020 25:47

Description:

Howard Marks is the Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of Oaktree Capital Management, a leading investment firm with more than $120 billion in assets. Prior to founding Oaktree, Howard spent 10 years at The TCW Group, where he was responsible for investments in distressed debt, high yield bonds, and convertible securities. Previously, Howard was with Citicorp for 16 years, where he served as Vice President and senior portfolio manager in charge of convertible and high yield securities. Howard has also written two books, most recently Mastering the Market Cycle: Getting the Odds on Your Side, and it was Warren Buffet who said, “When I see memos from Howard Marks in my mail, they’re the first thing I open and read. I always learn something.”

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Howard first made his way into the world of finance over 50 years ago? How did not getting an investment banking job change the course of Howard’s life?

2.) What does Howard believe is the fundamental economic crisis occurring today? How does Howard expect liquidity availability to change over the next few years? What analogies of prior downturns and recessions can we look to learn from? How does this downturn differ and align to prior recessions and downturns? What policies would Howard like to see governments enact to prevent the worst-case scenario?

3.) In conditions of such uncertainty, how does Howard think about how to manage and move forward with such volatility? What are Howard's frameworks and mechanisms to analyse crises events like this? Taking the analysis one level further, how bad does Howard believe this could get? If short of The Great Depression, are there scenarios that could lead there? What are the leading signals?

4.) Being proactive, how does today's situation change the mentality and activity at Oaktree? Why does Howard not agree with the notion of "the falling knife"? How does Howard think about market bottoms? How does Howard determine the right insertion point? Why does Howard believe the best investors are unemotional? How can one manage the psychology of catching a falling knife that falls further?

5.) What advice would Howard give to the may millions of working professionals today that have never seen a recession in their professional career? What makes Howard the most nervous when he looks at and assess the landscape today? What does Howard believe is the biggest misconception people believe with regards to the current economic crisis?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Howard’s Fave Book: Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Howard on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

 

20VC: How To Solve The Chicken and Egg Problem in Marketplaces? How Important Is Differentiated Supply? How To Prevent Leakage? How to Create Marketplace Defensibility and more with Alyssa Ravasio, Founder & CEO @ Hipcamp

Mar 27, 2020 30:46

Description:

Alyssa Ravasio is the Founder & CEO @ Hipcamp, the startup that allows you to book unique camping experiences on over 300,000 campsites, cabins, RV parks, public parks and more. To date, Alyssa has raised over $41M in funding from some of the best in the business including Benchmark, a16z, Brad Feld, Dave Morin, Sam Shank @ Hotel Tonight and more. Prior to founding Hipcamp, Alyssa enjoyed numerous diverse roles including being Director of Sales & Marketing @ Revel Systems to working on International Information and Communication Policy in the US State Department.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Alyssa made her way from the US State Department to founding the game-changer of camping experiences in the form of Hipcamp?

2.) How did Alyssa solve the classic chicken and egg problem for marketplaces in the early days with Hipcamp? How important does Alyssa believe it is for marketplaces to have truly differentiated supply? How does Alyssa think about what it takes to prevent leakage in marketplaces today? How can marketplace founders be strategic in building moats around their business? What works? What does not work when building marketplace defensibility?

3.) How does Alyssa manage the psychology of being CEO? What does Alyssa find to be the most challenging element of the role? What have been Alyssa's biggest lessons from her last 12 months in the role? How has she seen her style of leadership change and develop over time? How does Alyssa deal with the shit hit the fan moments?

4.) How did Alyssa find the fundraising process for Hipcamp? Why did Alyssa wait 5 years before raising the Series A? What changed in the business that made Alyssa realise then was the right time to raise big? How did the Series B with a16z and Andrew Chen catalyse so fast? Why did Alyssa select the investors she did? What investors did Alyssa not select or not select her that she would also loved to have worked with?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Alyssa’s Fave Book: The Overstory: Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2018, Uncanny Valley: A Memoir

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Alyssa on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Carta simplifies how startups and investors manage equity, track cap tables, and get valuations. Go to carta.com/20vc to get 10% off. More than 800,000 employees and shareholders use Carta to manage hundreds of billions of dollars in equity and Carta now offers Fund Administration so you can see real-time data in the Carta platform and work with Carta’s team of experienced fund accountants. Go to carta.com/20vc to get 10% off.

20VC: Multi-Stage Funds Investing At Seed Are Option Value Investing, Why The Biggest Enemy For Venture Firms Is Group Think and How Running Companies Changes Your Investment Mentality with Manu Kumar, Founder @ K9 Ventures

Mar 23, 2020 32:54

Description:

Manu Kumar is the Founder @ K9 Ventures, one of the leading seed firms of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Carta, Lyft, Twilio, Auth0 and Lucidchart to name a few incredible companies. Prior to K9, Manu was either the founder or co-founder of 4 companies, 3 of which with successful exits and the 4th being the fantastic Carta. Manu also has an incredible model with K9 where he not only invests in companies but also founds them and is currently the founder and CEO @ HiHello, the company that allows you to network smarter providing digital business cards designed to help you curate and grow your network. 

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Manu made his way into the world of venture having founded 4 prior companies and how he came to found K9 and be one of the OG's of pre-seed funding, having coined the term?

2.) What does Manu believe have been the biggest and most significant changes in the early stage market over the last 7 years? How does Manu evaluate the rise of operator and scout funds? Would Manu agree with Semil Shah, "founders are voting with their feet and taking multi-stage money at seed?" What advice does Manu give to founders on taking multi-stage money at seed? How does Manu evaluate their aggressive movement back into the seed stage? Why is it?

3.) Given Manu only makes 3-4 new investments per year, how does Manu think about and assess his own portfolio construction today? How does Manu think about building temporal diversification into the portfolio? What does Manu believe is the biggest mistake early-stage managers make in the first few years? Why does Manu believe that "group think" is so dangerous for funds today? What can they do deliberately to avoid it?

4.) Manu not only invests but also founds companies at the same time, how does Manu split his time and what does his day look like? What are the benefits of investing and operating simultaneously? What are the biggest challenges and drawbacks? What elements did Manu believe as an investor before starting his new company, HiHello, that he has now changed his mind on, post founding the company?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Manu’s Fave Book: How to Win Friends and Influence People

Manu’s Most Recent Investment: Workona: A Better Way To Work

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Manu on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

 

20VC: How To Assess Risk and Value Creation, Why It Would Be Better If VCs Had Smaller Portfolios & How To Optimise Internal Decision-Making with Misha Esipov, Founder & CEO @ Nova Credit

Mar 20, 2020 28:09

Description:

Misha Esipov is the Founder & CEO @ Nova Credit, the startup that allows you to use your international credit history to apply for credit cards, apartment rentals, loans and more. To date, Misha has raised over $69M with Nova from some of the best in the business Kleiner Perkins, Index, First Round, Pear and Core Innovation Capital to name a few. As for Misha, prior to changing the world of credit history, he spent over 5 years in the more traditional world of finance including time at Apollo in the world of private equity and then also Goldman Sachs in the world of investment banking. If that was not enough, due to the incredible impact Nova is having, Misha also sits on the board of World Education Services.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Misha made his way from the world of investment banking and private equity with Goldman and Apollo to changing the way we think about international credit with the founding of Nova?

2.) How does Misah think about and asses both risk and value creation? How did Misha's time at Goldman Sachs influence his operating mentality and how he thinks about the value of data today? Why does Misha find the growth at all costs and revenue later mindset challenging? What core fundamentals around unit economics did Misha establish early with Nova? How does Misha advise founders when it comes to unit economics?

3.) Misha has raised over $69M from some of the best, how did Misha find the process of fundraising? Where specifically does Misha believe his investors provide outside value? What is the optimal way to use an investor in the recruitment process? Where does Misha believe investors could do better and improve? How does Misha advise founders when it comes to manager selection?

4.) How does Misha manage the psychology of being CEO? How does he deal with the shit hit the fan moments? How has his role changed over the last 3 years? What elements have been the most challenging to learn and scale?

5.) How does Misha advise founders on building a diverse pipeline of recruitment candidates from day 1? Why does Misha believe that no recruitment firm can solve for diversity? What is his process as a result for ensuring a truly diverse team? What works? What does not? How does Misha building a culture of accountability? How does Misha think about optimising internal decision-making?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Misha’s Fave Book: Mastery (The Robert Greene Collection)

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Misha on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Carta simplifies how startups and investors manage equity, track cap tables, and get valuations. Go to carta.com/20vc to get 10% off. More than 800,000 employees and shareholders use Carta to manage hundreds of billions of dollars in equity and Carta now offers Fund Administration so you can see real-time data in the Carta platform and work with Carta’s team of experienced fund accountants. Go to carta.com/20vc to get 10% off.

20VC: True Ventures' Toni Schneider on How Being CEO @ Automattic (Wordpress) Made Him A Better Investor, The Biggest Lessons from Automattic on Running Successful Remote Teams and The Right Way For Investors To Show Founders They Have Their Support (Note

Mar 16, 2020 31:31

Description:

Toni Schneider is a Partner @ True Ventures, one of the valley's leading early-stage firms with a portfolio including the likes of Peloton, Hashicorp, Fitbit, Automattic (Wordpress) and Tray.io to name a few. As for Toni, he has spent 14 years as a Partner @ True but during that tenure, he was also the CEO of Automattic for 8 years where he helped WordPress.com become a top 10 global internet destination with close to a billion monthly visitors. Before that, he was a VP @ Yahoo post their acquisition of the company he was CEO of Oddpost, much of their work formed the basis for Yahoo mail. 

(Note: Recorded Pre-Coronavirus)

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Toni made his way into the world of venture following two turns in the seat of CEO and then joining Yahoo?

2.) Does Toni fundamentally believe it helps when investing to have been both an operator with Automattic and Partner @ True? How did being CEO @ Automattic shape how he thinks about investing today? How did Toni manage the balancing act of a being a CEO and Partner at a venture fund for 7 years? Having been a CEO and having worked with the best, what does Toni believe are the qualities that make the great CEO of today?

3.) Why does Toni believe that startups do not have to be as stressful as they are or are portrayed to be? How does Toni deal with the shit hit the fan moments? What can an investor do in times of high stress when the founder is not performing? What is the right way for them to express that the performance is not where it needs to be? On the flip side, what is the right way for investors to show their support to the founders?

4.) What are Toni's biggest learnings from the Wordpress days on what it takes to run a truly successful remote team? Where does Toni see many people going wrong today? What does Toni advise those considering going remote first? What does Toni believe are the biggest pros and cons of the model? What infrastructure does one need to have in place to make it seamless? Does it still make sense for companies to be in the valley?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Toni’s Fave Book: Their Eyes Were Watching God, Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

Toni’s Most Recent Investment: Piavita

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Toni on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: 3 Addictions Of Early-Stage Startup Founders, How Founders Should Strategically Think Through Unit Economics From Day 1 & Why Micromanagement Can Be Beneficial In The Early Days with Adena Hefets, Co-Founder @ Divvy Homes

Mar 13, 2020 34:17

Description:

Adena Hefets is Co-Founder @ Divvy Homes, the startup that turns your monthly rent into a down payment allowing you to get on the property ladder, sooner. To date, Adena has raised over $189M with Divvy from some of the best in the business including a16z, Ray Tonsing @ Caffeinated, Max Levchin, DFJ and Threshold Ventures to name a few. Prior to founding Divvy, Adena was an early-stage fintech investor at DF. Before the world of venture, Adena was part of the original team that started Square Capital and grew the product to over 10,000 advances ($50M) within 1 year. Finally, before that, Adena started her career in the world of private equity with TPG.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Adena made her way from the world of venture with DFJ to changing the way we think about homeownership with Divvy?

2.) What does Adena believe are the 3 addictions of many early-stage startup founders? How does Adena advise founders on the right way to think about paid marketing? What have been some surprising lessons from seeing Divvy's CAC change over time? How does Adena advise founders to construct a playbook and cadence for hiring?

3.) How does Adena think differently about unit economics today? Is it fundamental to have this mindset from Day 1? Where does Adena believe many founders go wrong when it comes to unit economics? Who is to blame for this desire for synthetic growth? The founders? The VCs?

4.) Considering female founders get a tiny portion of VC funds raised, how was the fundraise for Adena with Divvy? How does Adena advise other female founders and minorities on fundraising successfully? Does Adena believe that founders should always be raising? How does raising debt differ to raising equity? Why is it so much more challenging?

5.) Why does Adena believe that micromanagement can be beneficial in the early days? How does Adena ensure that it does not lead to dependencies and dejected team members? What does Adena to do push people to really get the most out of them? What works? What does not?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Adena’s Fave Book: Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Adena on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Carta simplifies how startups and investors manage equity, track cap tables, and get valuations. Go to carta.com/20vc to get 10% off. More than 800,000 employees and shareholders use Carta to manage hundreds of billions of dollars in equity and Carta now offers Fund Administration so you can see real-time data in the Carta platform and work with Carta’s team of experienced fund accountants. Go to carta.com/20vc to get 10% off.

20VC: Matt Mochary, Coach To Silicon Valley's Leading VCs & Founders on How To Deal with Imposter Syndrome and Self-Doubt, How To Manage Fear and Anger & Why Board Seats Are The Death of Investors

Mar 9, 2020 37:51

Description:

Matt Mochary coaches some of the world's leading venture capitalists and founders helping them to build the best organizations possible. On the VC side, Matt has worked with Peter Fenton @ Benchmark, several Sequoia Partners, Hemant @ GC and Mamoon @ Kleiner to name a few. As for founders, Matt has worked with the founders of Brex, Coinbase, Plaid, Reddit, Flexport and more. Prior to coaching, Matt began his business career as an investor with Spectrum Equity Investors.  He then co-founded Totality, eventually sold to MCI/Verizon.  In his own words, Matt went on to have fun (making the Academy Award short-listed documentary Favela Rising) and do good (starting the Mochary Foundation).

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Matt made his way from growth investor to immensely successful founder to now coaching the world's leading investors and founders?

2.) How does Matt advise founders to think about their relationship towards fear and anger? Why doe they generate bad quality of decision-making? What should be done when one recognises they are fearful or angry? Where do many founders and investors go wrong here?

3.) How does Matt advise founders who struggle with issues of self-doubt and imposter syndrome? What process should they go through to gain their confidence? What should they not do? How should they communicate their self-doubt to their team and the world?

4.) How does Matt advise founders in terms of the optimal communication strategy both with their team and their co-founders? Does radical transparency need to be instant or should it be timed correctly? What are the best conflict resolution strategies between founding teams?

5.) Why does Matt believe boards are the death of investors? Why are board members not optimally placed to advise their founders? What does Matt believe makes the best board members having worked with the likes of Peter Fenton? What does Matt advise new board members to be the best board member they can be?

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Matt on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Why Most Founders Do Not Structure Their Fundraise Correctly, The Pros Of Having An MBA As A Startup Founder & How To Manage The Psychology Of Being CEO and Overcome Self Doubt with Iman Abuzeid, Founder & CEO @ Incredible Health

Mar 6, 2020 34:10

Description:

Iman Abuzeid is the Founder & CEO @ Incredible Health, the startup that connects hospitals with nurses and other high shortage healthcare professionals to dramatically speed up the hiring process. To date, Iman has raised over $17M with Incredible Health from some dear friends of the show including NFX, a16z, Charles Hudson @ Precursor and Obvious Ventures to name a few. As for Iman, prior to Incredible, she was a medical doctor, a McKinsey alumnus and led product management at AliveCor, a Khosla-backed health tech startup.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Iman made her way into the world of startups from a family of surgeons and then through being a medical doctor herself?

2.) How was the fundraising process for Iman as a female minority founder? What advice would Iman give to other women and/ or minority when it comes to getting the very best investors? Where does Iman see so many founders make mistakes raising? How should founders structure their meetings with VCs?

3.) Where does Iman believe VCs can be most helpful? Where do many think VCs are helpful but they are actually not? What does Iman think of the "VC Twitter" ecosystem at play today? What investors said no along the way but Iman really liked? Why? Why does Iman believe MBA's provide such an advantage to startup founders today?

4.) How does Iman manage the psychology of being a CEO? How does Iman deal with moments of self-doubt and imposter syndrome? How has Iman seen herself evolve and change as a leader over the last 3 years? What elements have been the most challenging to come to grips with?

5.) Why does Iman still believe if you are not building your startup in the bay, you are missing out? What is so special about Silicon Valley? What advice does Iman give to founders looking to build a diverse team from day 1? How does Iman think about inevitable hiring mistakes? When is the right time to pull the plug?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Iman’s Fave Book: The Hard Thing About Hard Things

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Iman on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Index Ventures Partner, Mark Goldberg on The Questions Founders Must Ask A Multi-Stage Fund Before Taking Their Money At Seed, Why Most Angels Will Lose Their Money & Why We Will See Our First $100Bn Neo-Bank Shortly

Mar 2, 2020 32:42

Description:

Mark Goldberg is a Partner @ Index Ventures, one of the leading venture firms of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Dropbox, Revolut, Supercell, Plaid and Transferwise to name a few. As for Mark, since joining Index he has largely specialised on all things financial services and sits on the board of Plaid, Nova Credit, Intercom, Pilot and more incredible companies. Prior to Index, Mark spent 3 years in BizOps at Dropbox where the company increased tenfold during his time there.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Mark made his way into the world of venture with Index having spent 3 years at Dropbox during a transformational time for the company? What were Mark's biggest takeaways from seeing the growth cycle at Dropbox? How did that impact his investing mindset with Index?

2.) Why does Mark believe that venture as an asset class is commoditising? What does Mark believe the best funds will have to do to stay ahead? How does Mark build relationships of trust and authenticity so early with founders? What works? What does not? What is the right way to deliver direct and tough feedback to founders?

3.) How does Mark feel about multi-stage funds re-entering seed investing again? What are the right questions seed founders should ask multi-stage funds when determining whether to take their money? What does Mark believe it takes to be competitive and win the very best of deals? How is the Founder VC dynamic changing with capital supply?

4.) Why does Mark believe that most angels are going to lose their money? What does Mark wish all angels knew when they started? How does Mark feel about the rise of founders investing alongside operating? What are the pros? What are the cons? How does Mark feel about the rise of scout funds? Where is there place in the ecosystem?

5.) We are seeing unparalleled levels of activity in fintech, is this a boom or are we at the start of a fundamental shift in the landscape? Why does Mark believe we will soon see our first $100Bn neo-bank? Why does Mark believe we will see a strong rise in the consolidatory environment for fintech moving forward?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Mark’s Fave Book: Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Mark on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Gusto Co-Founder, Tomer London on Why Most Founders Approach Fundraising With The Wrong Mindset Today, How To Construct A Values/Motivation Alignment Test To Determine The Right Investors For You & Why Delight Is So Crucial To The Success of Any Con

Feb 28, 2020 33:42

Description:

Tomer London is the Co-Founder @ Gusto, the people platform for small businesses providing one place to run payroll, manage benefits, and support your team. To date, Tomer and the team have raised over $520M with Gusto from some of the industry's leading investors including General Catalyst, CapitalG, Kleiner Perkins, T Rowe, Fidelity and more and then individuals including Shopify Founder Tobias Luttke, Sam Altman, Max Levchin, Matt Mullenweg, Kevin Hartz and Elad Gil to name a few. Prior to Gusto, Tomer did a PHD in Electrical Engineering at Stanford and before that was Founder and CEO @ Vizmo, mobile self-service technologies for enterprise to try to fix customer care.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Tomer made his way from creating inventory management software for his Father's small business in Israel to Stanford and founding the unicorn that is Gusto?

2.) Why does Tomer believe that most founders approach fundraising with the wrong mindset today? What does he mean when he says, "fundraising = creating change"? What is the "values motivation alignment"? How can founders use it to help them select the right investor for them? Why should you add investors just as you would new team members?

3.) Having raised over $200M in the latest financing, how does Tomer think about when is the right time to pour fuel on the fire and go big? Is it a fundamentally different mindset when you have so much cash thrown on you? What would Tomer advise founders with suddenly expanded budgets? With 111 investors on the Gusto cap table, what would Tomer advise founders when it comes to cap table management?

4.) What have been Tomer's biggest learnings when it comes to building a delightful product at scale across different segments? How important does Tomer feel time to delight from the UX perspective is? How does Tomer think about testing levels of user delight? NPS? Product analytics? How does Tomer think about the balance between product development and going all out for scaling?

5.) How has Tomer seen himself change and evolve as a leader of the last 5 years? What elements has he found super challenging to come to grips with? Where does Tomer believe he has a superpower on the flip side? Question from Laela @ CapitalG, what specifically did you do to create the culture that you did in the early days?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Tomer’s Fave Book: No Room for Small Dreams: Courage, Imagination and the Making of Modern Israel

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Tomer on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Vinod Khosla on What Venture Assistance Really Means, Why Many VCs Are Not Qualified To Advise Founders & Why Startups Can Innovate So Much Faster Than Incumbents

Feb 24, 2020 36:18

Description:

Vinod Khosla is the Founder @ Khosla Ventures, one of the valley’s most renowned firms of the last decade with a portfolio including Square, Affirm, DoorDash, Impossible Foods and OpenDoor just to name a few. As for Vinod, he started his career as a Founder, founding Daisy Systems, a company that went on to IPO. Then in 1982, Vinod founded Sun Microsystems where he pioneered open systems and commercial RISC processors. In 1986, Vinod joined his longtime friend, John Doerr and became a General Partner @ KPCB where he helped incubate Juniper Networks and helped transform the telecommunications business with Cerent Corporation, which was acquired by Cisco Systems in 1999 for $7.2 billion.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Vinod made his way into the world of startups with the founding of Daisy and Sun Microsystems and how that led to his entry into the world of venture with KPCB and ultimately founding Khosla Ventures?

2.) How does Vinod feel about the term "venture assistance" today? Where does Vinod believe VCs can really drive value? How does Vinod allocate his time to drive as much value for the portfolio as possible? How does Vinod get involved when it comes to talent acquisition for the portfolio?

3.) Why does Vinod believe that most board members are not qualified to advise entrepreneurs today? Why does Vinod believe that most value is driven outside of the board? What can founders to do make their boards as efficient as possible? How does Vinod advise founders to determine which advice to take vs which to disregard?

4.) How does Vinod assess his own approach and attitude to risk today? What does Vinod believe are acceptable vs unacceptable risks in startups? How does Vinod believe the very best founders think about risk management? Does Vinod agree time is the biggest killer of startups? Why does Vinod believe startups are so much quicker to innovate than incumbents?

5.) Why does Vinod believe that tolerance for failure has gone down in Silicon Valley? How does Vinod determine between the realism of when something is not work and to give up vs the visionary persistence to see a project through to the very end? What experience of his own have really led his thinking here?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Vinod’s Fave Book: Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum BiologyThe Third Pillar

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Vinod on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Twitch Founder & CEO Emmett Shear on When To Persist vs When To Give Up For Entrepreneurs, The Fundamental Tension When Scaling Orgs and How To Optimise Them & How The Role of CEO Fundamentally Changes with Scale

Feb 21, 2020 35:14

Description:

Emmett Shear is the Co-Founder & CEO @ Twitch, the world's leading live streaming platform for gamers and the things we love. Prior to Twitch's exit to Amazon for a reported $970M, Emmett raised over $42M in funding from some of the best including Thrive Capital, Bessemer, Mike Maples, Aydin Senkut, Paul Graham and Y Combinator. Emmett is also a part-time Partner @ Y Combinator, advising YC companies on everything from fundraising strategy to product decisions to hiring and firing. Before Twitch, Emmett co-founded Kiko, a company he later sold on eBay for 6 figures.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Emmett made his way into the world of startups with Kiko? How he ended up selling that for 6 figures on eBay? How that led to the creation of Justin.TV & Twitch?

2.) Why does Emmett believe starting a startup is like "deciding to take on the burden of Sisyphus?" At what point in the journey does is start to get easier? Does Emmett agree with many on the show who say, "it does not get easier, it just gets different"? How does one know when to give up vs when to persist and follow the vision?

3.) How does Emmett think about structuring an org at 1,500 people? Why does Emmett believe there is a fundamental tension when scaling teams between centralisation and decentralisation? How does one structure a reorg without causing instability? How does one communicate the reorg to the team? Where does Emmett see many go wrong here?

4.) Does Emmett agree the best CEOs are the best resource allocators? How does Emmett approach internal resource allocation today between both functions and projects? What does he find most challenging here? What does the decision-making process look like? What are his taekaways from Apple, Amazon and Microsoft in how they determine and process resource allocation internally?

5.) How does Emmett believe he has changed and evolved as a leader over the last 10 years with Twitch? What elements has he found the most challenging to master? What has he done to combat those weaknesses? Where has he always been naturally strong? What makes him so good at those particular functions?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Emmett’s Fave Book: Order without Design: How Markets Shape Cities

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Emmett on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Ashton Kutcher on Early Lessons From Investing in Airbnb and Spotify, Why VC Ownership Requirements Are Becoming More and More Egregious & What Being Good At Product Truly Means

Feb 17, 2020 38:18

Description:

Ashton Kutcher is a Founder & General Partner @ Sound Ventures. Over the last 5 years, Ashton and his partner, Guy Oseary, have built Sound into one of the West Coast's leading new entrants with a portfolio including Lambda School, Calm, Gitlab, Affirm, Bird and many more incredible companies. As for Ashton, he started his investing career as an angel with early home runs including Spotify, Alibaba, Skype, Airbnb and Optimizely. Due to his immense success both in media and technology, Ashton has been named one of TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World”.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Ashton made his way into the world of startups with his foray into angel investing in Skype, Spotify etc? How did that lead to his founding Sound Ventures most recently?

2.) How does Ashton's background in the world of media impact Sound's investment strategy and the type of deals they get excited by? Question from Daniel Ek @ Spotify: How did your deal sourcing look lin the early days? How has that changed over time and with the institutionalisation of Sound?

3.) Why does Ashton believe people creating the future are perpetually young? What question does Ashton always like to ask founders? What does he look for in their answer? How does Ashton ensure founders feel comfortable with him? What does he do to allow them to open up? What is the hardest thing Ashton feels he has persevered through?

4.) How does Ashton build strong product intuition about products in areas he is not familiar with? In terms of great product, Ashton backed Spotify with Daniel Ek and Shak Khan, what did Ashton see in Spotify way back then? How did Shak and Daniel innovate on distribution and customer acquisition with him and Spotify?

5.) What have been Ashton's learnings in what it takes to truly win the best and most competitive deals? Before as an angel, Ashton's check size was friendly, now with Sound it is competitive with VCs, how does Ashton approach the element of now competing with many VCs he once co-operated with? What does Ashton make of the rise of many celebrity investors today?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Ashton’s Fave Book: The Undoing Project: A Friendship that Changed the WorldScale: The Universal Laws of Life and Death in Organisms, Cities and Companies

Ashton’s Most Recent Investment: Community

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Ashton on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

 

20VC: How Founders Should Think Through Distribution and Customer Acquisition Today, The Challenges of the Digital Advertising Duopoly Currently & How To Structure Company Post Mortems Effectively with Gabriel Weinberg, Founder & CEO @ DuckDuckGo

Feb 14, 2020 31:44

Description:

Gabriel Weinberg is the Founder & CEO @ DuckDuckGo, the Internet privacy company that empowers you to seamlessly take control of your personal information online, without any tradeoffs. Over the last 12 years, Gabe has scaled DuckDuckGo to doing 1.6Bn private searches every month, a team of 83 full time fully remote employees, raising funding from some of the best in the business; USV and most importantly, being a profitable company. If that was not enough, Gabe has also written two phenomenal books, Traction and Super Thinking. 

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Gabriel made his way into the world of startups and came to found one of today's leading search engines and privacy companies in DuckDuckGo?

2.) Gabriel decided to raise $13M from USV 4 years into the life of DDG, why did he believe that was the right time? Why does Gabe believe that DDG never needed any primary capital? How does Gabe advise founders to think when it comes to chasing profitability early? How does Gabe view the relationship between growth and capital? Are they in conflict or aligned? What does Gabe make of the many $100M rounds getting done today?

3.) How does Gabe feel about the lack of free and open distribution today? How does Gabe strategise when it comes to channel diversification? What is the right level of marketing channel diversification to have? How do you know when to really double down on one that is working? How should founders be thinking about channel saturation rates? What have been Gabes biggest lessons on payback period over the last 12 years with DDG?

4.) How does Gabe feel about the digital advertising duopoly on the internet between Facebook and Google? Why does Gabe argue that this duo of incumbents are so much more powerful than any other prior generation of incumbents? How does Gabe think about strategies to reduce their data monopolies?

5.) DDG is 83 people and fully remote, what have been Gabe's biggest lessons on what it takes to run a fully-remote team from Day 1? What mistakes did they make? WHat would Gabe advise founders contemplating the fully remote strategy? Why does Gabe have nor formal hierarchy or org chart internally at DDG? Why is this so important for culture and employee morale?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Gabe’s Fave Book: The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Gabe on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Lessons from 150 Angel Investments into the likes of Carta, Gusto, Airtable and Superhuman, Creating Algorithms and Models For Investing At Seed & Why Younger Investors Have An Advantage When It Comes To Finding Deals Early with Jude Gomila, Angel I

Feb 11, 2020 49:53

Description:

Jude Gomila is the Founder & CEO @ Golden, creating the world's first self-constructing knowledge database built by artificial and human intelligence. To date, Jude has raised from some of the best in the business including Founders Fund, a16z, SV Angel and one of my dearest friends, Josh Buckley. Jude is also a prolific angel having invested in over 150 companies including Carta, Airtable, Superhuman, Gusto, Linear and many more incredible companies. Prior to Golden, Jude started Heyzap (now used by 100,000 mobile apps) alongside former guest Immad, now Founder of Mercury.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jude made his way into the world of tech and Silicon Valley having been born and raised in Harrow, London? How did he then make his way into the world of investing?

2.) What models should investors and founders have common ground on? Where are founders and investors often misaligned? What does Jude mean when he says he uses "algorithms for investing"? How are these algorithms structured? What is within them? How can/should people build their own?

3.) Why does Jude very much disagree with spray and pray to be the dominant model to make money at seed? How does Jude think about portfolio construction having now made 180 investments? How has Jude's approach and attitude to ownership changed over time?

4.) Does Jude agree with Semil Shah that founders are voting with their feet and taking multi-stage money at seed today? How does Jude evaluate the approach of multi-stage funds back into seed? How does Jude think about VC value add? Where does he believe they really can add value? Where do people think they do but they actually do not?

5.) How does Jude foresee the future of the early-stage market? Will we see a generation of old school venture firms die out? Why does Jude believe younger investors have a higher chance of finding and winning the next best deal? How does Jude believe the angel ecosystem will shake out? Will we fundamentally see the unbundling of capital?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Jude’s Fave Book: Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

Jude's Most Recent Investment: Linear

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Jude on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Why You Never Want To Fight A Fair Fit For Distribution, Why No Great Company Is Built with 1 Product and When To Release Your Second & What Founders Can Do To Extract The Most From Their Cap Table with Shoaib Makani, Founder & CEO @ KeepTruckin

Feb 7, 2020 31:07

Description:

Shoaib Makani is the Co-Founder & CEO @ KeepTruckin, the modern fleet management platform building solutions that make drivers and fleets safer, smarter, and more efficient. To date, Shoaib has raised over $229M from some of the world's leading investors including Index, GV, Greenoaks, IVP & Scale Venture Partners. Pre-founding KeepTruckin, Shoaib was an investor @ Khosla Ventures where he led investments in Instacart, Everlane and Indiegogo to name a few. Before venture with Khosla, Shoaib was on the operations side enjoying roles at both Google and Admob.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Shoaib made his way from the very comfortable world of venture to changing the way trucking fleets are managed today with KeepTruckin? How does Shoaib analyse and assess his own attitude to risk today?

2.) How has Shoaib seen himself change and evolve as a leader over the last few years? How did his time investing impact how he approaches the role of CEO? How does Shoaib think about appropriate market sizing today? What advice does he give to founders on this? What is a reasonable market penetration to assume if successful?

3.) What advice would Shoaib give founders when it comes to successful board management? How does Shoaib ensure investors have the right context at the right time to provide advice? What does that information flow to investors look like? How does Shoaib determine between the advice to accept vs what to reject?

4.) Shoaib thought about distribution and customer acquisition long before he launched the product, why? What did this thought process conclude with? Does Shoaib believe you have to own your own lines of distribution to succeed? How does Shoaib feel when it comes to current CAC's on incumbent platforms?

4.) As a founder, what does Shoaib say is his biggest mistake made in the KeepTrickin journey? How does Shoaib think about what it takes to acquire the very best talent? How does Shoaib advise founders work with recruiters? What can they do to really get the most out of them? When can this function be brought in house?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Shoaib’s Fave Book: Presidents of War

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Shoaib on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Breaking News: Meet First Round Capital's Newest Partner, How To Approach Generational Transition as a Venture Firm & The Dangers of Attribution In Venture

Feb 4, 2020 39:03

Description:

Todd Jackson is First Round Capital's newest Partner (announced today) having spent the last 2 years as a Founder-in-Residence working with the FRC portfolio. Prior to his time in venture, Todd spent close to 3 years at Dropbox as VP Product & Design. Before that he was with Twitter as Director of Product Management, following his startup, Cover, being acquired by Twitter in 2014. Before founding Cover, Todd was a Product Manager @ Facebook where he helped lead major redesign of Newsfeed. Finally, Todd started his career at Google as a Product Lead taking Gmail from 0 to 200m users in 4 years.

Todd is joined today by his Partner @ First Round, Phin Barnes. Phin also writes the most fantastic blog, sneakerheadVC, that really is a must-read.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) Phin, what is the exclusive news you would like to break on the show today? Todd, taking one step back, how did you make your way to this stage, what was your entry into technology and how did you come to be a Partner @ First Round Capital today? What were Todd's biggest takeaways from working on some of the most transformative social products in Gmail, Twitter, Newsfeed @ Facebook and Dropbox?

2.) What advice does Phin have for Todd when it comes to entering a venture partnership? Where do many people go wrong in their first year in venture? What should Todd be optimising for in the partnership? In terms of measurement, how does one measure success of the first year of work as a Partner?

3.) Todd, making the move from angel to institutional VC is a mindset shift, how does Todd think his investment mentality will be impacted by the shift from angel to institutional VC? Having raised funding as a founder, what type of founder experience and investor does Todd want to be and bring?

4.) Phin, it has been a long time since FRC added a Partner, walk me through the recent changes at the top of FRC? What are the most important qualities for First Round when adding a Partner? What are the biggest tips to doing generational transition well? Where do many firms go wrong in generational transition?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Todd’s Fave Book: Creative Selection: Inside Apple's Design Process During the Golden Age of Steve JobsTrillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Handbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell

Todd’s Most Recent Investment: Papaya PaymentsSnackpass

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Todd on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

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20VC: Alexa Von Tobel on Raising NYC's Largest Ever Female Led Fund , Portfolio Construction, Compression of Fundraising Timelines, Reserves Management & Personal Branding in Venture

Jan 31, 2020 38:06

Description:

Alexa Von Tobel is the Founder & Managing Partner @ Inspired Capital, announced in 2019 as the largest ever female-led VC fund based in NYC. Prior to co-founding Inspired, Alexa founded LearnVest where she enjoyed an incredible 11-year journey culminating in their $250M exit to Northwestern Mutual in 2015. Alexa is also the author of New York Times Bestseller "Financially Fearless" and is an inaugural member of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship for the White House.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Alexa made her way into the world of startups with the founding of LearnVest? How did that experience running LearnVest lead to her founding NYC's largest-ever female-led VC fund in the form of Inspired?

2.) How does Alexa think about portfolio construction with the new $200M fund? What does she mean when she says they have segmented it into 3 distinct and separate buckets? How much is in each bucket? How does Alexa think about reserves and re-investment decision making? What is the process here?

3.) As a former entrepreneur, how does Alexa think about those moments when the VC and the Founder are no longer aligned? What are those moments? How does Alexa approach the aspect of saying no to founders? What is the right way? How does Alexa feel about the compression in fundraising timelines? How does Alexa meet founders before they raise their round?

4.) Why does Alexa believe that capital is no longer the differentiator? How does Alexa think about personal brand in venture today? Where does Alexa believe are the most crucial times for reputation building? How does Alexa approach time allocation across the portfolio? What is the correlation between decision-making and reputation?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Alexa’s Fave Book: The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact

Alexa’s Most Recent Investment: Snackpass

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Alexa on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Moxxie Ventures' Katie Stanton on What It Takes To Raise A First Time Fund As A Solo GP, The Entrance of Multi-Stage Funds Into Seed Rounds and The Inverse Relationship of Those That Fund Diverse Managers and Those That Say They Do

Jan 27, 2020 38:24

Description:

Katie Stanton is the Founder and General Partner of Moxxie Ventures, investing in founders who make life and work better. Prior to Moxxie, Katie was a Founding Partner of #angels and has the most incredible angel portfolio including Airtable, Carta, Cameo, Coinbase and Modern Fertility to name a few. Katie also served in numerous executive operating roles at TwitterGoogleYahoo, and Color and also served in the (Obama) White House and State Department. If that was not enough, Katie is also on the board of Vivendi and previously sat on the board of Time Inc.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Katie made her way into the world of tech with Yahoo? How did that translate into her investing in Lowercase Fund I? How did the angel investing lead to founding Moxxie? How has Katie found her investment mindset has changed moving from angel to VC?

2.) How did Katie find the fundraise for Moxxie? How many LPs did Katie meet and how did she structure the process? What does Katie think she did well in the fundraise? What would she look to improve or change when raising for Fund II? What advice was Katie given in the process by Semil Shah which really changed her thinking? What advice would Katie give to other emerging managers raising today?

3.) Does Katie agree with Semil Shah that "founders are voting with their feet in taking multi-stage money at seed"? What advice does Katie give to founders who do have these offers from multi-stage funds at seed? How does Katie assess these later stage funds moving earlier? How should smaller micro-managers respond to this?

4.) How does Katie think about portfolio construction today with Moxxie? What are the hard rules that mean Katie is willing to walk away from a deal? How does Katie think about and assess her own price sensitivity? In terms of decision-making, what support system has Katie built around herself to enhance her decision-making process?

5.) How does Katie advice founders when it comes to selecting their VC? What are the most common ways founders look for and need to help with? How does Katie think about party rounds? When are they good? When are they not? Why does Katie believe so much of the power has shifted to the hands of the founders?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Katie’s Fave Book: Becoming by Michelle ObamaAngel by Jason Calacanis

Katie’s Most Recent Investment: ethel's club

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Katie on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: The Most Successful Companies Are Not Where Employees Work The Most, How To Know When To Promote From Below Or Bring in External Candidates & Why It Is A Unique Advantage To Be Building A Company Outside A Tech Hub with Rick Nucci, Founder & CEO @ G

Jan 24, 2020 41:01

Description:

Rick Nucci is the Co-Founder & CEO @ Guru, the knowledge management platform that delivers everything you need so you can spend less time searching and more time doing. To date, Rick has raised over $38m with Guru from some of the best in the business including Thrive, Emergence Capital, Firstmark, Slack and Salesforce. Prior to Guru, Rick was the Founder of Boomi, which defined and led a new segment as the first-ever cloud integration platform-as-a-service. Boomi was ultimately acquired by Dell where Rick went on to grow the organisation into the industry leader it is today.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Rick made his way into the world of startups originally and how he came to change the way we think about knowledge management with his founding of Guru?

2.) How would Rick describe his leadership style today? How has he seen his style change over the years? What have been those learnings and the inflexion points causing them? Does Rick believe can be learned as a leader? What does he recommend to founders wanting to become more empathetic?

3.) Culture is a fluffy and overused term, what does it mean to Rick? What has Rick done to purposefully build a very specific culture that he wanted to create? What specific initiatives have worked well? What have not worked so well? How does Rick think about culture maintenance with scale? What are the challenges with scaling culture?

4.) How does Rick think about the interview process when adding to the team at Guru? How do they literally structure it? What does their culture interview encompass? How heavily is it weighted? What specific questions do they ask and responses they look for? If it does not work out, what have been Rick's biggest lessons on letting people go?

5.) Rick is based in Philadelphia, often people say if you are not in a tech hub it is not possible to get the best talent, does Rick agree with this? In what roles does it make sense to hire from a tech hub for? What are the advantages of hiring outside of a hub? Fundraising wise, does Rick believe you have to have a presence in a core hub to raise from Tier 1 VCs?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Rick’s Fave Book: The 9 Types of Leadership: Mastering the Art of People in the 21st Century Workplace

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Rick on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Oaktree Capital’s Howard Marks on The Most Important Skill An Investor Can Have, The Right Way To Think About Price Sensitivity & Where Are We At Today; Take More Risk or Less?

Jan 20, 2020 32:15

Description:

Howard Marks is co-chairman and co-founder of Oaktree Capital Management, a leading investment firm with more than $120 billion in assets. Prior to founding Oaktree, Howard spent 10 years at The TCW Group, where he was responsible for investments in distressed debt, high yield bonds, and convertible securities. Previously, Howard was with Citicorp for 16 years, where he served as Vice President and senior portfolio manager in charge of convertible and high yield securities. Howard has also written two books, most recently Mastering the Market Cycle: Getting the Odds on Your Side, and it was Warren Buffet who said, “When I see memos from Howard Marks in my mail, they’re the first thing I open and read. I always learn something.”

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Howard first made his way into the world of finance over 50 years ago? How did not getting an investment banking job change the course of Howard's life?

2.) Where does Howard think we are in the cycle today? What leads his thinking here? What is it crucial for all investors to remember at any point in the cycle? From a risk distribution and diversification perspective, does Howard believe now is a better or worse time to increase risk?

3.) Having worked through and been at the forefront of some of the most significant downturns of financial markets, what have been Howard's biggest learnings from seeing the booms and busts? How did it impact his investment mindset? At a point in 2008, Oaktree were deploying $600M per week for 15 weeks running, so how does Howard think about when is the right time to be aggressive vs when to pullback?

4.) How does Howard think about and assess his own price sensitivity? If there is one thing Howard wants to know to determine the right price, what is it? How does Howard believe we are seeing pro-risk mindsets alter investors attitude to price? How does Howard think about his right vs wrong and consensus vs non-consensus matrix?

5.) Howard and his Partner, Bruce have a very special relationship, what have they done to foster a relationship of radical intellectual honesty and that environment of safety? What are some things Howard will say to his team to encourage productive disagreement? What to Howard is the most important skill an investor can have is?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Howard’s Fave Book: Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Howard on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Portfolio Construction, Optimising SPVs, Opportunity Investing "Between Rounds", Being Distribution-Centric Over Product-Centric and Capital Concentration Within Funds With Sumeet Gajri, Chief Strategy Officer @ Carta

Jan 17, 2020 57:24

Description:

Sumeet Gajri is the Chief Strategy Officer @ Carta, the startup that helps companies and investors manage their cap tables, valuations, investments, and equity plans. Sumeet is largely responsible for all things fundraising and M&A and Carta have raised over $485m from a16z, USV, Thrive, Spark, K9, Lightspeed and Meritech to name a few. Sumeet is also Managing Partner @ Original Capital, where he has partnered with companies including Front, Tonal, Instabase, Everlywell and Cockroach Labs to name a few. Finally, Sumeet is also an LP in world-leading firms such as USV and Valar Ventures.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Sumeet made his first foray into the world of venture in NYC having grown up in Scotland? How that led to his move to operations with Carta? How his learnings from Carta led to his establishing Original Capital?

2.) How is Original Capital different from every other micro-fund? How does Sumeet approach portfolio construction with the fund? What is the optimal number in a portfolio? How does Sumeet think about loss ratio? What 3 criteria dos every new investment have to pass to make it into the portfolio? How does check size vary by deal?

3.) How does Sumeet invest in some of the best companies in between "official rounds"? What does this conversation look like with the founders? How does Sumeet analyse reserve allocations? What makes the right strategy? What are his capital concentration limits per company? How does Sumeet think about using SPVs effectively?

4.) Sumeet helps his companies fundraise a lot, what does the first step look like? How does he advise on investor selection? How does he advise on pipeline management? Should founders speak to investors when they are not raising? How open should they be in these meetings? What can founders do to catalyse the process? Where does Sumeet see many founders make mistakes?

5.) How does Sumeet think about distribution vs product? What can founders do to adopt a more distribution first mindset? What have been some of Sumeet's biggest lessons in turning Carta from a single product company to a multi-product company? Do companies have to own their own lines of distribution today?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Sumeet’s Fave Book: Howard Marks: The Value of Predictions

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Sumeet on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Khosla Ventures Founding Partner, Samir Kaul on Why Pro Rata Is A Cop Out, Why He Likes Technical Risk and Does Not Take Market Risk & How To Approach Time Allocation Across The Portfolio In Venture

Jan 13, 2020 37:10

Description:

Samir Kaul is a Founding Partner and Managing Director at Khosla Ventures, one of the valley's most renowned firms of the last decade with a portfolio including Square, Affirm, DoorDash, Impossible Foods and OpenDoor just to name a few. As for Samir, he led the firm's investment in Guardant Health, Impossible FoodsNutanix [NASDAQ: NTNX], Oscar, among others. Prior to Khosla, Samir spent five years at Flagship Ventures where he started and invested in early-stage biotechnology companies, including Helicos Biosciences which went on to IPO. Samir was also founding CEO of Codon Devices and led the Arabidopsis Genome Initiative at Craig Venter’s Institute for Genomic Research.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Samir made his way into the world of venture from the world of biotech and came to found one of the leading firms of the last decade?

2.) How did seeing the booms and busts of the last 2 decades impact Samir's investing mindset? Why does Samir think it is dangerous for a VC to have a "conservative mindset"? How does Samir analyse and think about upside maximisation when investing today? How does Samir think about when to sell your position and how to determine the right time?

3.) What does investment decision-making look like at Khosla? What are the criteria that re-investments are made upon? Why does Samir believe that pro-rata is a kop out? Which should be the core questions that determine whether to double down or not? How does Samir and the partnership think about time allocation across the portfolio?

4.) How does Samir approach the exercise of market sizing? Why does Samir never want to take a risk when it comes to market? Why does Samir want to maximise his risk when it comes to technological risk? How does Samir think through having to carry these deep tech companies for longer? What were his learnings from the clean tech days on this?

5.) How would Samir analyse his own price sensitivity today? What was his most formative inflexion moment as an investor? What did he learn from it? From a people side, who had the biggest impact on Samir as an investor? What were the core elements he learned from them? How does Samir deal with the element of self-doubt? How does he get through those moments?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Samir’s Fave Book: Start Something That Matters

Samir’s Most Recent Investment: Lightship: Direct to Patient Clinical Trials 

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Samir on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Raising $105m in Just 13 Months Over 3 Separate Rounds, The 5 Core Ways VCs Can Add Value & How Founders Can and Should Fully Leverage Their Cap Table with Kurt Rathmann, Founder & CEO @ ScaleFactor

Jan 10, 2020 35:29

Description:

Kurt Rathmann is the Founder & CEO @ ScaleFactor, the startup providing an automated bookkeeping solution at its core, bringing all of your company’s important financial information into one place. To date, Kurt has raised over $105m with ScaleFactor from the likes of Byron Deeter @ Bessemer, Coatue, Canaan Partners, Stripes Group and Firebrand to name a few. As Michael @ Coatue told me before the show, there is no way Kurt was not going to be the founder of a bookkeeping company given his background. Prior to ScaleFacotr, Kurt was the CFO of KNS Communications and a Senior Audit Professional @ KPMG.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Kurt make his way into the world of startups and come to found the gamechanger for bookkeeping in the form of ScaleFactor? Does Kurt believe that Founders do need to be mission-driven or can founding a company be a more analytical exercise?

2.) How did it come to be that Kurt raised 3 separate funding rounds and over $105m in just 13 months? How does Kurt feel about the saying, "when there is money on the table, take it"? Having had his B and C pre-empted, how does Kurt feel about the rise of pre-emptive rounds today? How did Kurt approach the mental challenge of transitioning from resource-starved to relative resource abundance? Was that tough to do?

3.) What is Kurt's biggest advice to founders when it comes to investor selection? What does Kurt believe are the 5 things that VCs can do to add value? Why does Kurt believe it is the responsibility of the founder to extract that value from the VC? What can founders do to really get the most out of their investors? What has Kurt found to be the biggest value from his cap table? Where do founders think VCs add value but they do not?

4.) What are some very unique and deliberate things that Kurt does to create an amazing culture at ScaleFactor? How does he advise on creating great energy in the office itself? How does Kurt think about retaining that core ethos with the expansion to multiple offices? What have been some of the biggest challenges in scaling communications internally?

5.) Does Kurt believe that being outside of a core tech hub severely limits his ability to hire the best talent? What do founders outside of these hubs need to very strategically do? How does being outside of a core hub also impact how Kurt thinks founders need to approach fundraising? What specifically can they do to increase their odds?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Kurt’s Fave Book: The Empowered Challenger Playbook: How Brands Can Change the Game, Steal Market Share, and Topple Giants

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Kurt on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

 

20VC: Why Now Is The Hardest Time To Raise an Institutional Pre-Seed in the Last Decade, What To Do When The Founder and VC Interests Do Not Align & The Rise of Pre-Emptive Rounds with Gaurav Jain, Founder & Managing Partner @ Afore Capital

Jan 6, 2020 39:10

Description:

Gaurav Jain is Co-Founder & Managing Partner @ Afore Capital, one of the west coast's leading pre-seed funds with a $124M fund focused purely on pre-seed. To date, they have backed the likes of Petal, BetterUp, BenchSci and Modern Health to name a few. Prior to co-founding Afore, Gaurav was a Principal @ Founder Collective where he was directly involved with some incredible companies including Cruise (Acq. by General Motors for $1B+), Periscope (acq. by Twitter), Airtable and Dia & Co. Before venture, Gaurav spent time in operations both at Google as one of the first engineers for Android and then also founding his own company, Polar, a leading mobile solutions provider with $10m in funding.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Gaurav made his way into the world of venture with Founder Collective and how that led to the realisation that Afore needed to exist in the funding landscape? What were the 3 biggest takeaways for Gaurav from his time at Founder Collective?

2.) Why does Gaurav believe now is the hardest time in the last decade to raise your first institutional round of funding? What is driving these capital reductions at pre-seed? How does Gaurav assess the rise of operator funds and super angels we have seen in the last 5 years? How does Gaurav advise founders on investor selection at pre-seed?

3.) What does Gaurav make of large multi-stage funds entering into pre-seed? Why does Gaurav strongly believe that you cannot apply the same financing product to a different market? Does this mean the multi-stage funds will revert back to later stages?

4.) How is Gaurav seeing Series A funds behaving? Why are they more aggressive now than ever before? What does Gaurav make of the rise of pre-emptive rounds? How does he advise founders on pre-emptive rounds?

5.) How does Gaurav think about portfolio construction today with Afore? What is the right level of diversification across the portfolio to be sufficiently diversified at pre-seed? How does Gaurav think about reserve allocation today? How does the decision-making process compare when comparing initial to re-investment decision?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Gaurav’s Fave Book: Trillion-Dollar Coach: The Leadership Handbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell

Gaurav’s Most Recent Investment: Modern Health

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Gaurav on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

 

20VC: Rahul Vohra @ Superhuman, The Most Downloaded Founder Episode of 2019

Jan 3, 2020 41:27

Description:

Rahul Vohra is the Founder and CEO @ Superhuman, the fastest email experience in the world. Fun fact, users get through their inbox twice as fast — and many see Inbox Zero for the first time in years! To date, they have raised funds from our friends at Boldstart, First Round, John Collison, Sam Altman, Wayne Chang, Mike Ghaffery and Yes VC just to name a few. Previously, Rahul founded Rapportive, the first Gmail plugin to scale to millions of users. Rapportive was ultimately acquired by LinkedIn.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Rahul make his way into the world of startups with the founding of Rapportive and how did that transition to changing the world of email with Superhuman?

2.) What does Rahul mean when he says, “you can reverse engineer a process to get to product-market fit”? What does Rahul believe is the defining metric which determines your “product-market fit score”? What is Julie Supan’s framework? How did Dropbox and Airbnb use it to increase their product-market fit? How can founders implement it into their process?

3.) What can founders do to expand the customer base to include users that currently are “somewhat disappointed”? What are the right questions to ask? What do we do with this feedback? How do we further segment the user base? Why should we “disregard the users whereby the primary benefit of the product does not resonate”?

4.) How does Rahul approach product roadmap and prioritisation? How can founders ensure that continuous tracking and user feedback is engrained within the organisation? What tools does Rahul do to monitor and capture this? What are some of Rahul’s biggest lessons from going through this painstaking process stage by stage?

5.) Finally on fundraising, what does Rahul mean when he says, “always be raising but never be actively raising”? What are the benefits of this? How can founders transition catch up coffee into fundraising subtly? How does Rahul feel about party rounds? What are the pros? What are the downsides? How does Rahul advise founders here?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Rahul’s Fave Book: The Art of Game Design

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Rahul on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Inside The Acquisition Decision-Making Process at Cisco, How To Measure True Success in M&A Evaluation & Why By Not Speaking To Corp Dev Teams You Are Closing The Door On The Biggest Potential Accelerator To Your Business with Rob Salvagno, VP of Co

Dec 30, 2019 45:41

Description:

Rob Salvagno is VP of Corporate Development and Cisco Investments at Cisco, where he is responsible for leading all M&A efforts as well as managing Cisco’s strategic venture capital which invests hundreds of millions of dollars annually. At Cisco, Rob led the $1.2 billion acquisition of Meraki, one of the most successful platform acquisitions in Cisco’s history, and the $3.7 billion acquisition of AppDynamics, cementing Cisco’s place in the business intelligence, analytics and IT operations market. Most recently, Rob engineered the $2.3 billion acquisition of Duo, the leading provider of unified access security and multi-factor authentication delivered through the cloud. Prior to the world of M&A, Rob was a technology investment banker at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Rob made his way from investment banking to leading the M&A and venture activity for one of the world's largest tech players of the last decade?

2.) How do M&A teams like to get to know startups that they could invest in or acquire? How does Rob like to work with the venture ecosystem? How does Rob think on Paul Graham's comment of "do not talk to corp dev"? What are the nuances here? How does it differ for consumer vs enterprise? 

3.) How does Rob define true success when it comes to M&A evaluation? Should corp dev be strategy first or transaction first? What have been Rob's biggest lessons on successful integration? Where do so many go wrong with integration post M&A? What questions can be asked ahead of time to know if integration and culture will be a fit? 

4.) How does Rob reflect on his own price sensitivity today? How does Rob feel about the multiples enterprise companies are currently trading at? What have Rob's most successful acquisitions taught him about price and price sensitivity? How does Rob deal with the inherent conflict of investing and also acquiring companies? How does he communicate that to the companies he invests in? 

5.) What does the acquisition-decision making process look like at Cisco? How does it differ on a deal by deal basis? What do Cisco do to allow them to move so much faster than any other M&A teams? What have been Rob's lessons on the importance of speed in winning the best transactions? 

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Rob’s Fave Book: The Poisonwood Bible

Rob’s Most Recent Acquisitions: CloudCherryVoicea

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Rob on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Most Downloaded Episode of 2019 with Bill Gurley, General Partner @ Benchmark Capital

Dec 23, 2019 34:31

Description:

Bill Gurley is a General Partner @ Benchmark Capital, one of the most successful funds of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Uber, Twitter, Dropbox, WeWork, Snapchat, StitchFix, eBay and many many more. As for Bill, widely recognised as one of the greats of our time having worked with the likes of GrubHub, NextDoor, Uber, OpenTable, Stitch Fix and Zillow. Prior to Benchmark, Bill was a partner with Hummer Winblad Venture Partners. Before entering venture, Bill spent four years on Wall Street as a top-ranked research analyst, including three years at CS First Boston where his research coverage included such companies as Dell, Compaq, and Microsoft, and he was the lead analyst on the Amazon IPO.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Bill make his way into the world of VC from Credit Suisse and come to be GP at one of the world’s leading funds in the form of Benchmark? What were Bill’s biggest takeaways from seeing the boom and bust of the dot com? How did that impact Bill’s investment mentality today?

2.) Why does Bill believe that one of the biggest challenges today is the abundance of capital? Subsequently, does Bill agree with Peter Fenton statement, “never turn down a deal based on the valuation it is a mental trap”? How does Bill assess his own price sensitivity? What was his learning here in meeting Larry and Serge early on with Google?

3.) How does Bill think about and approach market sizing today? How important is it to him when analysing an investment? Where does Bill believe a lot of managers make mistakes when assessing market sizing today? What was his big lesson here with Uber? How does Bill think about and evaluate market creation and market expansion plays?

4.) Bill has spent over 3,000 hours on some of the most famed boards of the last decade, how has Bill seen his style of board membership change over the last 10 years? What advice would you give to someone who has just joined their first board? How does Bill think about time allocation across the portfolio? What is the right ratio?

5.) How does Bill and Benchmark approach the element of partner selection today? What are the 5 core things that Bill looks for when adding to the partnership? What have Benchmark done that have allowed them to be so successful in generational transition? Why is an equal partnership so transformative when it comes to generational transition?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Bill’s Fave Book: Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos

Bill’s Most Recent Investment: Good Eggs

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Bill on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Inside UiPath, The World's Fastest Growing Startup, How The Best Leaders Approach Decision-Making & WhY Vulnerability Is Central To SuccessFul Leadership Today with Brandon Deer, VP of Operations & Strategy @ UiPath

Dec 20, 2019 37:10

Description:

Brandon Deer is VP of Operations & Strategy @ UiPath, one of the world's fastest-growing companies providing a complete software platform to help organizations efficiently automate business processes through robotic process automation. To date, UiPath has raised over $977m in funding from some of the best in the world including Sequoia, Accel, Meritech, IVP, CapitalG, Kleiner Perkins, Coatue and more. As for Brandon, prior to UiPath he spent 4 years as Vice President @ OpenView Partners where he made investments in Expensify, Logz.io, VTS and Pipefy to name a couple. Before OpenView, Brandon spent close to 4 years at Intuit in Strategy and Business Development.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Brandon made his way from being a rising star in the world of venture with Openview to leading one of the fastest-growing companies in history in UiPath? What has been the most surprising element in making the transition from investor to operator?

2.) How does Brandon think about decision-making today? How does he determine what to spend time on vs what to delegate? What does he mean when he says, "you have to think whether it is rubber or crystal?" How does that ultimately guide decision-making?

3.) What does the UiPath software actually do? What is the relationship between RPA and AI? Where do they differ? Where do they intersect? Recently, RPA has seen a meteoric rise, is this sustainable over the long term? How does Brandon respond to the suggestion that RPA is replacing human jobs? What is the human and societal impact?

4.) How does Brandon think about vulnerability in leadership? Why does Daniel and Brandon's relationship work so well today? What has Daniel (Founder) taught Brandon about communicating that vulnerability the right way and authentically? What does Brandon advise founders in terms of being open to their vulnerabilities?

5.) What are the biggest challenges in scaling an organisation to the 1,000+ person organisation that UiPath is today? What breaks When does it break? How does one maintain culture wit such scale? What have been the challenges of building a truly global business from Day 1? How do they look to mitigate them?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Brandon’s Fave Book: The Five Temptations of a CEO: A Leadership Fable

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Brandon on Twitter here!

   

20VC: How To Think Through Portfolio Construction and The Business Model of VC, Why You Cannot Grow Ownership In Your Best Companies Over Time & How To Make The Space for Serendipity To Strike in VC with Adam D'Augelli, Partner @ True Ventures

Dec 16, 2019 31:46

Description:

Adam D’Augelli is a Partner @ True Ventures, one of the West Coast’s leading early-stage funds with a portfolio including the likes of Fitbit, Peloton, Hashicorp, Tray.io, Ring, Automattic (makers of WordPress) and many more amazing companies. As for Adam, he has spent close to 10 years at True where he has led investments in Hashicorp, Ring, Splice and Namely, just to name a few. Prior to joining the world of venture with True, Adam was an instructor at The University of Florida in Business Finance. Before that Adam was the Founder of Perfect Wave Records, a donation-based record label - helping bands better monetize the relationships with their fans.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Adam made his way into the world of venture with True having had a slightly unorthodox start as an Instructor at The University of Florida?

2.) How does Adam think about portfolio construction today with True? Is it still possible to get 20% ownership on first check? Does Adam believe you can build ownership in subsequent rounds? Does this mean we are seeing the end to rounds being co-led? What does Adam make of pre-emptive rounds? How do True respond to them today?

3.) How does True think about initial vs re-investment decision-making? How do the decision processes differ? Does Adam believe it is possible to stack rank companies and allocate capital accordingly? What is the right way to tell a founder you will not be re-investing? How does Adam think about risk maximisation at a company level?

4.) As a partnership, how does True look to create an environment of safety where both conviction and concerns can be expressed? What should partnerships not do? Why is attribution so dangerous to this EQ of the partnership? How does the partnership work with the companies at a company level? How does True view board seats? How does True think about when is the right time to roll off boards?

5.) What were Adam's biggest takeaways from leading Ring's seed to their acquisition by Amazon? How does Adam think about the importance of market vs the importance of people when investing? How does Adam think about company failure, post-mortems and subsequent next steps?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Adam’s Fave Book: Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy: Markets, Speculation and the State

Adam’s Most Recent Investment: Membio

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Adam on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Unusual Ventures’ John Vrionis on Why We Need To Raise The Bar In Venture, Why Taking Multi-Stage Money At Seed Is Not In The Best Interest of Founders & Why To Be The Best, You Have To Specialise To Be The Best

Dec 9, 2019 33:50

Description:

John Vrionis is the Founder and Managing Partner @ Unusual Ventures, the firm that is redefining seed investing and raising the bar for what entrepreneurs should expect from a seed investment firm. Prior to founding Unusual, John spent 11 years as a Partner @ Lightspeed where his investments included Mulesoft, AppDynamics, Nimble Storage and Heptio to name a few. Before Lightspeed John spent time in product management and sales @ Determina and Freedom Financial Network.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did John make his way into the world of venture and come to be a Partner @ Lightspeed? How did that lead to his founding Unusual? How did his father's MS diagnosis change his mentality towards both investing and how he views the world? What were John's biggest takeaways from his 12 years with the Lightspeed partnership?

2.) Where does John feel the bar needs to be raised in venture? What does the current product not offer? What do seed-stage founders fundamentally need? How have Unusual structured the firm to provide this? How was the fundraise for John? What does John know post-closing that he wishes he had known at the beginning? What advice would John give to aspiring emerging managers? Why is LP diversity so important to John?

3.) Why does John believe taking multi-stage money at seed is not in the best interests of the founder? How does John explain this logically to founders? Does John agree with Semil Shah, "founders are voting with their feet and choosing multi-stage funds"? Why does John believe to be truly best in class, you have to specialise? Does this not go against the data of Benchmark, Sequoia, Founders Fund, all generalist funds, having the best returns?

4.) How does John think about being company vs being founder first? What does one do when alignment erodes between the interest of the firm and the interest of the founder? How does John look to build a relationship of trust and honesty with his founders? What works? What does not work? How does John feel about VCs being friends with their founders?

5.) What is the most challenging element of John's role today with Unusual? Who is the best board member John has ever sat on a board with? Why and what did he learn? What would John most like to change about the world of venture today? What would he like to remain the same?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

John’s Fave Book: Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKEGive and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success

John’s Most Recent Investment: Shujinko

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and John on Twitter here!

20VC: Why Raising A Mega-Round Makes Your Life Harder Not Easier, Why Your Board Is Not Your Boss and Lessons on Successful Board Management & The Biggest Breakpoints in Company Scaling with Emmanuel Schalit, Founder & CEO @ Dashlane

Dec 6, 2019 38:25

Description:

Emmanuel Schalit is the Founder & CEO @ Dashlane, the company that provides your all-in-one internet shortcut for passwords, payments and personal info. To date, Emmanuel has raised over $192m in funding for Dashlane from some of the best in the business including Jim Goetz @ Sequoia Capital, Rick @ Firstmark, Alex @ Bessemer and Habib @ Rho, just to name a few. As for Emmanuel, prior to founding Dashlane, he was the CEO @ CBS Outdoor in France and before that COO @ La Martiniere Group.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Emmanuel made his way from CEO of 5,000+ people companies to founding Dashlane and changing the world of passwords and identification? How does Emmanuel asses his own risk profile moving from CEO of a large company to starting Dashlane?

2.) Is Emmanuel concerned by the excess capital available today? Why does Emmanuel believe that raising a mega-round makes your life as a founder harder, not easier? What specifically becomes harder? How does Emmanuel advise founders when it comes to burn and capital efficiency? How does Emmanuel think about when is the right time to pour fuel on the fire? 

3.) Where does Emmanuel think that VCs do tangibly add real value? Where does Emmanuel believe that despite what some think, VCs do not add value in certain areas? What have been Emmanuel's biggest lessons of operating and managing a VC board? What does he advise founders starting out on this learning curve?

4.) What does Emmanuel believe are the core challenges of scale? What breaks at what specific points? How has Emmanuel seen himself scale in his role as CEO? What have been the most challenging element to scale into? How did Emmanuel get through them and what does he do to mitigate them now?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Emmanuel’s Fave Book: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Emmanuel on Twitter here!

20VC: BoxGroup's David Tisch on Whether Concentrated Investing At Seed Works, Do Founders Really Want Direct Feedback and Is It Good For Them & Why Consumer Social Is Interesting Again

Dec 2, 2019 39:19

Description:

David Tisch is the Founder & Managing Partner @ BoxGroup, one of the leading early-stage firms in NYC with a portfolio that includes the likes of Flexport, RigUp, Ro, Glossier, Clearbit, PillPack and Plaid, to name a few. Recently they raised their first external capital with 2 separate vehicles totalling over $160m. David is also Professor and Head of Startup Studio @ Cornell Tech. Prior to BoxGroup, he was Managing Director of Techstars NYC and before that was an Executive Vice President @ KGB.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How David made his way into the world of early-stage investing? How he made the transition from prolific angel investor to raising $160m+ in external capital? Why did David feel now was the right time to raise external funding after 10 years of self-funding? How has taking on external capital changed his investing mindset?

2.) Many suggest that "concentrated seed investing does not work", how does David think about and assess portfolio construction? May others also suggest that, "seed investors are not company builders", does David agree with that? Does David believe investors can change the trajectory of a company? Where can they help the most? Where do many think they help but they actually do not?

3.) Why does David believe that founders do not speak openly about bad experiences with VCs? What have been David's biggest lessons on the right way to turn down an opportunity? Do founders really want direct and honest feedback? Is it actually damaging to give it to them? Why? How does David approach this?

4.) Why does David believe "consumer social is interesting again"? Why was it not interesting for a while? How does that mean David is approaching the category? What does David mean when he says, "for the first time ever there is no channel to arbitrage on the internet"? Is David concerned by the state of CACs today? How much attention does David pay to CAC/LTV in the early days? What are the key signals?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

David’s Fave TV Show: Survivor

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and David on Twitter here!

20VC: Why Startup Valuations Are Not As Overpriced As You Think, How To Determine Whether An Investor Is Truly Aligned To Your Mission and What 2 Traits Make The Truly Special Board Members with Jason Brown, Founder & CEO @ Tally

Nov 29, 2019 30:24

Description:

Jason Brown is the Founder & CEO @ Tally, the startup that allows you to pay off your credit card debt faster and save money. To date, Jason has raised over $92m for Tally from the likes of Mamoon @ Kleiner, Angela @ a16z, Nikhil @ Shasta and Aileen @ Cowboy just to name a few. As for Jason, prior to Tally, he spent 5 years as the Founder and CEO Kleiner Perkins backed, Gen110. Before that Jason founded Bask, a company providing both technical support and pro-active maintenance.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jason came to change the world of consumer finance with Tally having spent 5 years in the solar financing sector and even a year in venture? Given his prior entrepreneurial activities, does Jason agree with Joe Fernande @ JoyMode that "serial entrepreneurship is overrated"?

2.) Does Jason believe that founders should always be raising? What is the right way to truly determine whether an investor is aligned to your mission? What should you look for in how they behave and speak? How does Jason like to build relationships with investors pre-term sheet? Is Jason concerned by the compressed fundraising timelines today?

3.) Why does Jason believe that VC funded companies are largely not over-priced? What elements of the macro-economy does Jason attribute as the reason for the high valuations today? Why does Jason believe that we should not celebrate new fundraising? Is the celebration not good for the morale of the team? What should we celebrate instead?

4.) Why does Jason believe that the target for investors is they provide no value? What are you looking to avoid? What are the core ways an investor can damage the success of a company? What can founders do to truly extract the most from their investor base? Does Jason believe one should focus on the VC partner or the firm? Why?

5.) What does Jason believe makes the best board members? What advice would Jason give to new board members on how they can truly be the best board member? Why does Jason do onboarding sessions for all new board members? What does he look to instil in this process? What behaviour at the board should not be tolerated? How should the founder communicate this to their investor?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Jason’s Fave Book: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Jason on Twitter here!

20VC: Why The Best Entrepreneurs Are Cockroaches, What Everyone Underestimates About Customer Acquisition & What You Don't But Need To Know About Payback Periods with Josh Buckley, Founder & Chairman @ Mino Games

Nov 25, 2019 34:28

Description:

Josh Buckley manages a $50m early-stage fund and as an angel has built a portfolio that includes the likes of Clearbit (Chairman), Rippling, Boom Supersonic, Lattice, Embark and many more incredible companies. Josh is also the Founder & Chairman @ Mino Games, the gaming studio he scaled to $20m in annual revenue and raising $40m in funding for the company.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Josh make his way into the world of startups at the age of just 15? How did that lead to becoming the youngest YC founder ever?

2.) What does Josh mean when he says, "the best entrepreneurs are cockroaches"? How does Josh think about capital efficiency today? Does Josh agree with Bill Gurley in stating the biggest challenge today is "the oversupply of capital"? How does Josh advise his portfolio today on raising big rounds? Capital efficiency? Burn rates?

3.) As both a fund manager and founder, what have been some of Josh's biggest takeaways from now investing in 100+ companies as an angel? How has investing impacted Josh's operating mentality? What are the benefits of angel investing? What are the potential dangers? What advice would Josh give to founders entering the world of angel investing?

4.) What are the biggest elements people underestimate when it comes to CAC? What have been Josh's biggest lessons on the volatility of CAC over time? How are we seeing the platforms evolve and develop their tech and pricing? How important is channel diversity to Josh? What is balanced? What is not? What have been Josh's biggest lessons when it comes to payback period and it changing over time?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Josh’s Fave Blog/ Newsletter: Paul Graham Blog

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Josh on Twitter here!

20VC: Ash Fontana on The 5 Core Characteristics That Make Data Valuable, What VCs Can Learn From Italian Craftsmen and Howard Marks & The Importance of Vertical Integration In Scaling Today

Nov 18, 2019 40:15

Description:

Ash Fontana is a Managing Director @ Zetta Venture Partners, the fund that invests in AI-first companies with B2B business models. As for Ash, prior to Zetta he started the money side of AngelList, where, he launched online investing, created the first startup ‘index fund’. He also ran special projects like AngelList’s expansion into Europe and the UK. Simultaneously, Ash led syndicates and made investments in Canva, Mixmax and others. Before AngelList, Ash co-founded Topguest, a Founders Fund-backed company that built customer analytics technology and was ultimately sold in an 8 figure transaction 18 months after the company was founded.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Ash made his way into the world of venture with AngelList and how that led to his joining Zetta today, investing exclusively in AI? What did Ash's time working on his family farm teach him about vertically integrated businesses? What were his biggest takeaways from AngelList and working alongside Naval?

2.) What does AI-first really mean to Ash? How crucial is it for companies to have proprietary datasets today? Are data moats truly defensible and real? What are the 5 characteristics that determine the level of defensibility of a dataset? How does Ash analyse the quality of a dataset? What does Ash do to determine if they are predictive of value?

3.) We often hear the term, "system of record", why is Ash so much more excited by the "system of intelligence"? Why is the basis of competitive advantage shifting from SaaS today as a model? How do the margin structure vastly differ when comparing AI-first companies to SaaS companies? How does that mean one should view capital efficiency?

4.) What does Ash believe drives business model quality? What are the commonalities in the business models of those that have made it big? Why does Ash believe it is difficult for incumbent companies to become AI-first? How difficult is it for incumbents to acquire smaller AI-first firms and integrate their policies and technology?

5.) Why does Ash love Howard marks and what has been his biggest learnings from studying him? How has Ash applied these learnings to his investing today? What has Ash also learned from the Italian masters of design? How has this study helped Ash as a VC? What has Ash optimised lately? What is Ash's favourite optimisation?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Ash’s Fave Book: The Strategy of Life: Teleology and Mechanics in Nineteenth-Century German Biology

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Ash on Twitter here!

 

20VC: Why Speed Is The Biggest Differentiator a Founder Can Have, How To Hire Seasoned Tier 1 Talent To An Early Stage Startup & How To Start, Scale and Manage Remote Teams with Domm Holland, Founder & CEO @ Fast

Nov 15, 2019 37:42

Description:

Dom Holland is the Founder & CEO @ Fast, the world's fastest login and checkout with no more passwords, no more typing credit card details or shipping addresses. The special announcement today, Fast have just raised their seed round led by Jan Hammer @ Index, joined by Susa Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, Global Founders Capital and then angels including Nick Molnar, Founder @ Afterpay and proud to say I joined the round as an angel also. Prior to Fast, Domm was a Director @ Tap Tins, a network of smart tap-to-donate collection terminals. Domm was also the Founder & CEO @ Tow, an on-demand towing platform which transacted $50m in its first 4 years.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Domm made his way from founding an on-demand towing company in Queensland, Australia to founding one of Silicon Valley's hottest new startups in Fast?

2.) What did Domm do in prior companies that worked and he will do again with Fast? What did not work and he will look to avoid? Does Domm agree with Joe Fernandez @ JoyMode in saying, "serial entrepreneurship is overrated"? What advice does Domm give to first-time founders? Where do they most often make mistakes?

3.) Over the last few years we have seen incredible innovation on the merchant side of payments with Stripe and Adyen but why does Domm believe we have seen no innovation on the consumer side? Why have large internet platforms not built it themselves? Does it have to be an independent 3rd party, external to Google, Facebook, Amazon etc?

4.) With the war for talent, rising rents and a lower standard of living, why did Domm choose SF as the base for Fast? How has the move been? What have been the biggest challenges? What would Domm advise founders contemplating moving to SF? How has Domm been able to hire some big hitter valley operators so early on? How does Domm think about equity sharing and optimising ESOP plans?

5.) Jan Hammer @ Index has discussed Domm's work mentality, so how does Domm structure his day? What does Domm do to ensure he optimises every minute? What work habits has Dom found to be most effective? What has not worked? How does Domm think about balancing speed and quality when executing today?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Dom's Fave Productivity Tool: Superhuman

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Domm on Twitter here!

20VC: Firstmark's Rick Heitzmann on The Rise of Pre-Emptive Rounds, His Biggest Learnings From The Pinterest Board, 2 Things VCs Can Do To Prepare Their Companies For The Downturn and Why Now Is A Good Time to Be Contrarian and Invest In Consumer

Nov 11, 2019 44:03

Description:

Rick Heitzmann is a Founder and Partner @ Firstmark Capital, one of the leading East Coast venture funds of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Airbnb, Pinterest, InVision, Shopify and Discord to name a few. As for Rick, he led the seed round for Pinterest and also led the deals from Firstmark in Ro, Riot Games, Draft Kings, Discord and Airbnb. Prior to founding FirstMark, Rick was an entrepreneur as a founding member at First Advantage which he helped grow and sell to First American (NYSE: FAF). Rick has been recognized by CB Insights and the New York Times as a Top 100 Venture Capitalist globally.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Rick made his way into the world of venture and came to found one of NYC's leading venture funds in the form of Firstmark?

2.) How did seeing the booms and bust of the macro impact Rick's investment mentality today? With the impending crash, what 2 things does Rick advise managers need to prepare their portfolio by doing? Does Rick agree with Bill Gurley in saying, "the biggest challenge of today is the over-supply of capital"?

3.) How has Rick seen his style of investing change over the last 20 years? How does Rick think about price sensitivity today? How has that changed over the years? How has Rick seen himself change and evolve as a board member? What does Rick believe makes the best board members? What advice would Rick give to someone who has gained their first board seat?

4.) How does Rick think about the structure of the Firstmark portfolio today? How important does Rick believe it is to have temporal diversification within the portfolio? How does Rick think about optimising investment decision-making processes at Firstmark? Why does Rick believe, despite the negatives, that attribution is fundamentally important?

5.) Does Rick believe that we are in a consumer bubble today? What are the core elements that pique Rick's interest when analysing a consumer investment today? How does Rick think about CAC's scaling way faster and higher than anyone expected? Why does Rick believe the duopoly of FB and Google is now over? Why does Rick believe that true venture size exits can still occur in consumer?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Rick’s Fave Book: Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

Rick’s Most Recent Investment: Crisp

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Rick on Twitter here!

20VC: Why Pre-Product Market Fit Is About Systems Design Not Engineering, The Right Way For Leaders To Approach Wartime Leadership Today & A Guide To Recruitment Forward Planning with Ryan Denehy, Founder & CEO @ Electric

Nov 8, 2019 36:59

Description:

Ryan Denehy is the Founder & CEO @ Electric.ai, the company that provides a world-class IT solution that's centralized, secure, and lightning-fast. To date, Ryan has raised over $37m in funding from some dear friends of the show in Rich @ GGV, Bessemer, Primary, Bowery, just to name a few. As for Ryan, he started his career at the tender age of 17 launching an action sports video production company, which was acquired just 4 years later. Ryan then spent 5 years at USA Today in numerous different roles. Following USA Today, Ryan started his second company, Swarm, acquired by Groupon just 3 years later.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Ryan made his way into the world of startups from launching an action sports video production company at the age of 17?

2.) Having founded 2 prior companies, would Ryan agree with Joe Fernande @ JoyMode in saying that "serial entrepreneurship is overrated"? What did he do right in the first 2 companies that he would look to do again? What did not work that he is avoiding? Where does Ryan most often see first-time founders make mistakes scaling?

3.) How does Ryan think about and assess wartime leadership? What is the right leadership style and approach to battle through the really tough times? Ryan's investors talk of his speed of execution, how does Ryan balance the speed with the quality when it comes to execution? How has Ryan seen both his role and the way in which he executes it change with the scale of the company and of himself? 

4.) How does Ryan thnk about and assess forward planning when it comes to recruitment? How should this recruitment planning align to fundraising? Why must it start before the fundraise? How does Ryan think about levelling up individuals internally vs hiring external candidates? How does Ryan think about and present internal expectation setting? 

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Ryan’s Fave Book: Barbarians At The Gate

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Ryan on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Inside The Mind of A Leading LP: How LPs Evaluate New Fund Managers on Everything from First Meeting to Portfolio Construction To Fees and Carry with Lisa Edgar, Managing Director @ Top Tier Capital Partners

Nov 4, 2019 32:48

Description:

Lisa Edgar is a Managing Director @ Top Tier Capital Partners, one of the leading venture fund of funds over the last decade. Included in their stellar fund portfolio is the likes of Index, Initialized, True Ventures, a16z and Boldstart, to name a few. Prior to Top Tier, Lisa was part of the asset management team at WR Hambrecht + Co focusing on new and emerging private equity funds. Before that, Lisa spent ten years at Horsley Bridge.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Lisa make her way into the world of investing in funds and how did that lead to her becoming Managing Director at one of the leaders, Top Tier?

2.) Lisa has seen the boom and bust of the macroeconomy twice now, how has that impacted her mindset today when investing in funds? What have been the most prominent changes in the venture ecosystem that Lisa has seen over the last 20 years? What changes have been good? What changes have been bad?

3.) What is the best way to get in the room with LPs? Does it have to be through warm intro? What are the signs for the GP that that first meeting went well? If an LP does not respond to emails, does that mean they don't want to do it? How does Lisa and Top Tier structure the investment decision-making process? How does that differ when re-investing in existing managers? Is it worth it for first-time funds to pitch institutions for fund 1 when they know they will not invest in the fund?

4.) How does Lisa think about GP commits today? How does Lisa look at what is reasonable and what is required? Is it individual and context-based? How does Lisa feel about different carry structures? Are kickers when past a certain return profile amenable to LPs?

5.) Lisa has seen some of the best emerging managers in the US over the last decade, what learnings does she have from them in terms of what separates the good from the great? How do they think about partnership dynamics? How do they think about firm culture? How do they think about generational transition?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Lisa’s Fave Book: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Lisa’s Most Recent Investment: Boldstart Ventures

As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!

20VC: Webflow's Vlad Magdalin on The Journey To Breakeven and Raising A Monster $72m Series A, The Single Most Important Question To Ask When Determining Which Investor To Select & The Challenges of Founders Angel Investing

Nov 1, 2019 40:38

Description:

Vlad Magdalin is the Founder & CEO @ Webflow, the startup that allows you to build better business websites, faster, without coding. To date, Vlad has raised over $73m with Webflow from some dear friends of the show including Accel, Ron @ Rainfall, Brianne @ Work Life, Benjamin Ling and Y Combinator to name a few. Prior to founding Webflow, Vlad was a Senior Software Engineer @ Intuit. Before Intuit, Vlad co-founded Chatterfox, a web application allowing people to stay in touch with groups of friends, family, or co-workers.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Vlad made his way into the world of startups? How did the original idea to democratise the world of design and site creation with Webflow come about?

2.) Webflow has had an unorthodox funding path with their recent $73m Series A, how was it for Vlad raising the seed round with Webflow? What lessons did he learn from that raise? Why did they drive to be breakeven so much earlier than others might? Why did Vlad believe now was the right time to go big and raise the Series A?

3.) Vlad chose to partner with Accel, what advice does Vlad give to founders in determining which funding partner to choose? What makes for the best VC founder relationships? What is the optimal way to build those relationships? Where does Vlad believe that VCs can strategically move the needle? Where do many think VCs can really help but they most often cannot?

4.) What have been Vlads biggest lessons when it comes to successful board management? What advice would Vlad give Harry when it comes to joining boards as new board member? What does Vlad mean when he says, the best board members come to the board with the mindset of "servant leadership"? How do they show that in their actions? How can investors create an environment of trust at the board?

5.) Vlad AMA: Why does Vlad believe that it is a distraction for founders to be angel investing alongside their role as a founder? How does he believe this creates a wedge between them and the team? How has having kids impacted how he thinks about operating today? What have been the big takeaways from fatherhood?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Vlad’s Fave Book: Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Vlad on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: a16z's Ben Horowitz on How To Create An Environment of Trust with Founders, How and Why Creating Shocking Rules Is So Impactful To Culture & What The Samurai, Shaka Senghor and Toussaint Teach Us About Company Culture Building

Oct 28, 2019 32:38

Description:

Ben Horowitz is a Co-Founder and General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz, one of the leading and most prestigious venture firms of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Facebook, Github, Slack, Lyft, Coinbase and many more incredible companies. Ben is also the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Hard Thing About Hard Things, and the upcoming Harper Business book, What You Do Is Who You Are, available October 29. Prior to a16z, Ben was Co-Founder and CEO of Opsware, acquired by Hewlett-Packard for $1.6 billion in 2007. Previously, Ben ran several product divisions at Netscape Communications, including the widely acclaimed Directory and Security product line.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Ben make his way into the world of venture having previously co-founded Opsware? What was the original thinking for a16z? How did seeing the booms and busts of the market as an operator, impact how Ben thinks about investing today?

2.) In the book Ben says, "If soldiers trust the general, communication will be vastly more efficient". What have been Ben's biggest lessons on how to create an environment of trust quickly? As a board member, how does Ben create an environment of trust for the founder? What is Ben's advice to Harry having just gained his first board seat last year?

3.) Ben has said before of the importance of creating "shocking rules". What are the rules for creating these shocking rules? What are the best rules composed of? Given their shocking nature, how does one instil them in the organisation? What does Ben think is the most shocking rule he has implemented at a16z?

4.) What does ben believe that founders can take away from the rituals of the Samurai? Why does Ben believe that "meditating on company downfalls will enable you to build your culture the right way". Why is the negativity so helpful in forming the right culture? How does ben advise founders when their company is struggling, the team knows it and morale is low? What happened at Okta? How did they turn the culture and business around?

5.) Ben has previously spoken about bringing in external leadership from the cultures you want to master. How does one know when is the right time to bring in this external influence? What can we learn from observing Google Cloud's strategy? How does one retain the old culture but augment it with the new? What were some of Ben's biggest hiring lessons when operating? How does Ben get employees to "feel a sense of urgency", when a change needs to occur?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Ben’s Fave Book: The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Ben on Twitter here!

20VC: Reddit CEO Steve Huffman on Scaling Teams; What Works and What Does Not, A CEO's Relationship with Stress and Managing It & How To Structure Internal Decision-Making Effectively

Oct 25, 2019 34:02

Description:

Steve Huffman is the Co-Founder & CEO @ Reddit, home to thousands of communities, endless conversation, and authentic human connection. To date, Reddit has raised over $550m in funding from some of the world's leading investors including Sequoia Capital, Marc Andreesen, Peter Thiel, Ron Conway, Sam Altman, Josh Kushner, Alfred Lin and Tencent, just to name a few. Steve started his career at Y Combinator as one of their first alumni back in 2005. At YC, Steve co-founded Reddit with Alexis Ohanian, which they sold in 2006 to Conde Naste Publications. In 2010, Steve co-founded Hipmunk, making business travel seamless and easy. Then in 2015, Steve re-joined Reddit as their CEO.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Steve made his way into the world of startups and came to be one of the very first ever entrants in the now hailed Y Combinator? How did that lead to the founding of Reddit? Why did Steve return to Reddit, the company he founded, in 2015?

2.) What were Steve's biggest lessons from his journey with Hipmunk when it came to product feedback and iteration? How does Steve assess people's reliance on data today to drive product decisions? Why does he believe 3 criteria must be considered? What are the other two? What time did Steve see the confidence of his own intuition really increase?

3.) How does Steve think about stress management today? What was he like when he was younger in his relationship to stress? What did he actively do to change his relationship to stress? How has Steve seen himself change and develop as a CEO? What have been the inflection points? What has he struggled and also made mistakes in the journey?

4.) What have been Steve's biggest lessons when it comes to hiring truly A* talent at scale? What are the commonalities in the very best hires Steve has made? In the cases of it not working, what does Steve advise founders on the right way to let someone go? How does one do it with efficiency and compassion?

5.) Why does Steve believe that in dense cities, self-driving cars will not be that useful? How does Steve envisage the future of consumer transportation? What does he believe are the alternatives to self-driving cars? How does Steve see the future for the unbundling of social networks? Will they be unbundled into specific communities? How will this look?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Steve’s Fave Book: Shogun: The First Novel of the Asian saga: A Novel of Japan

As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Lightspeed's Arif Janmohamed on Why Market Risk Is The Most Dangerous Risk To Underwrite As A VC, How To Determine When to Stretch vs Not on Price Today & The $TRN of Market Cap Up For Grabs Today In Enterprise

Oct 21, 2019 32:18

Description:

Arif Janmohamed is a Partner @ Lightspeed Venture Partners, one of the leading firms of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Snapchat, Mulesoft, Max Levchin’s Affirm, AppDynamics and many more incredible companies. Some of Arif's most notable companies that he has led or been involved with for LSVP includel; TripActions, Blend, Nutanix, AppZen, MoveWorks and more. Prior to Lightspeed, Arif worked in the corporate business development team @ Cisco as part of transaction leadership and execution on a number of deals including WebEx. Before WebEx, Arif founded WVP Ventures, a student-run venture capital organization.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Arif made his way into venture and came to be one of the valley's leading enterprise investors with Lightspeed?

2.) We are seeing pricing hit 100x ARR multiples, does Arif believe we are seeing enterprise investing as past it's peak? Are we seeing late-cycle momentum investing? Would Arif agree with matt Harris, "Series A pricing does not matter anymore?" How does Arif assess his own price sensitivity today? How has it changed over time?

3.) Why does Arif believe that market risk is the most dangerous risk to underwrite as a VC? How does Arif think about and assess market timing? What has changed over the last few years to unlock such quantums of capital into the enterprise market? With the acquisitions of Duo, Mulesoft, Qualtrics, will we have a next-gen incumbent set or will it be an environment of existing incumbent consolidation?

4.) What does Arif specifically believe founders need to get right when it comes to company design, in order to scale to a $5-10Bn market leader? In terms of the go-to-market, who does Arif think has nailed it most recently? Why? How does Arif test for a founding team's ability to execute on go-to-market when meeting them early on?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Arif’s Fave Book: Stumbling on HappinessHow Not To Die: Discover the foods scientifically proven to prevent and reverse disease

Arif’s Most Recent Investment: TripActions

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Arif on Twitter here!

20VC Exclusive: Roy Bahat on Bloomberg Beta's New Fund, The Truth About Valuation That Very Few VCs Will Tell You & Why Founders of Venture Backed Startups Make The Best Angels

Oct 18, 2019 41:33

Description:

Roy Bahat is the Head of Bloomberg Beta, one of the leading early-stage funds in the valley and NYC with a portfolio that includes the likes of Flexport, Kobalt, Textio, Rigetti Computing and more incredible companies. Prior to Bloomberg Beta, Roy was the Co-Founder & Chairman @ Ouya, the company that created a new kind of games console and raised over $33m from the likes of Kleiner, Alibaba and even $8.6m on Kickstarter. Before the world of startups, Roy held numerous incredible and fascinating roles including Director of International Strategy at New York's bid for the 2012 Olympic Games and also was a Senior Policy Director in the Office of the May of New York City.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Roy made his way from policy director for Mike Bloomberg to entering the world of venture and leading Bloomberg Beta?

2.) What is the big news when it comes to Bloomberg Beta? Roy has previously said, "your fund size is your strategy", what did he mean by this? What does that mean for BB moving forward? How has Bill seen what founders want from their VC change over the last 6 years? How is being "founder-friendly" vs the founder being your "customer" different?

3.) Investment Decision-Making: Does Roy believe that speed is the biggest determinant in winning deals today? What else does Roy believe is crucial? What have been some of Roy's biggest lessons in how to build trust early with founders? How does Roy and BB approach investment decision-making on initial investment? How does this change when it comes to reserve allocation decisions?

4.) Price sensitivity: Roy has said before that, "price is the dependent variable", what does he mean by this? Why is it wrong to assume that the price a VC is willing to pay shows their level of belief in your company? How does fund size change this? How does Roy think about large multi-stage funds playing at seed? How has it impacted seed?

5.) Boards: Why does Roy call boards "b-o-r-e-d-s"? When does Roy think it is important to instil a board? Why is it dangerous to have a board too early in the life of a company? What have been some of Roy's biggest lessons from sitting on a board with Alfred Lin @ Sequoia?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Roy's Fave Book: Ain't No Makin' It: Aspirations and Attainment in a Low-Income Neighborhood

Roy’s Most Recent Investment: States Title

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Roy on Twitter here!

20VC: Worklife Ventures' Brianne Kimmel on Why More Operators Should Start Their Own Fund, How To Structure Your Round for the Highest Signal Round & What The Multi-Stage Funds Playing At Seed Means For The Rest of The Asset Class

Oct 14, 2019 42:20

Description:

Brianne Kimmel is the Founder and Managing Partner @ Work Life Ventures, a very new firm focused on the future of work backed by some of the best in the valley including Marc Andreesen, Chris Dixon, Zoom's Eric Yuan, InVision's Clark Valberg and then dear friends of the show, Alexis Ohanian, Garry Tan and Matt Mazzeo. To date, Brianne has invested in the likes of Webflow, Tandem, Lunchclub and Girlboss to name a few. Prior to starting Work Life, Brianne spent 2 years at Zendesk on their GTM strategy; building Zendesk for startups, ultimately representing 3,000 startups and 250 accelerators. From 2013-2017 Brianne also taught over 5,000 students at General Assembly all things user acquisition and growth marketing.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Brianne made her way into the world of startups and SaaS, how that led to her angel investing and what was that a-ha moment for the founding of Work Life? Why did Brianne choose to structure Work Life as a holding company?

2.) With the fund, how does Brianne think about portfolio construction? What is the right check size for her? Why does Brianne think we are seeing more angel funds than ever today? Why are we seeing so many celebrity names on the cap tables of great companies? How does Brianne think about scout programs? What impact have they had? Why is Brianne against founders actively angel investing?

3.) What does Brianne advise founders on how to structure a high-signal round? What are the two types of angels that exist in the world today? What can founders do to keep their angels actively engaged? How have what founders expect from their angels changed over the last few years? How does one measure the true value of an angel?

4.) Does Brianne agree with Semil Shah, we are seeing "founders vote with their feet and bypass seed funds for multi-stage funds"? How does Brianne advise founders when choosing between a boutique seed firm and a large multi-stage firm? What does Brianne believe are the pros and cons of taking multi-stage money at seed?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Brianne’s Most Recent Investment: Pace

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Brianne on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Guild Education's Rachel Carlson on The Benefits of Scaling Startups Outside of Silicon Valley, Why Mission and Margin Are So Tightly Integrated & Why Mums Are The Most Under-Utilised Asset In The Economy

Oct 11, 2019 34:22

Description:

Rachel Carlson is the Co-Founder and CEO @ Guild Education, the leader in education benefits offering the single most scalable solution for preparing the workforce of today for the jobs of tomorrow. To date, Rachel has raised over $71m in funding with Guild from some of the best in venture with the likes of Michael Dearing @ Harrison Metal, Wes Chan @ Felicis, Byron Deeter @ Bessemer, Aileen @ Cowboy Ventures and Scott Raney @ Redpoint, all backing Guild. As for Rachel, prior to Guild, Rachel was the Founder of Student Blueprint, providing students with academic and career planning tools. 

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Rachel made her way into the world of startups having started her career in politics and how insights gleaned from politics formed the idea for Guild Education?

2.) Why does Rachel believe that ambitious Mums are the most under-utilized asset in the economy? What are the biggest misconceptions people have about hiring and working with Mums? How can founders really implement practically facilities, tools and an environment where one can be both ambitious personally and professionally?

3.) Before the show, Byron Deeter @ Bessemer said, "Rachel has been among the best at recruiting star execs across their portfolio”. What have been Rachel's biggest lessons when it comes to hiring the very best talent? Where do most go wrong? How has her hiring style changed over the years? What are Rachel's favourite questions to ask candidates?

4.) Why does Rachel believe that mission and margin are tightly integrated? How did Rachel acquire Walmart as one of their first clients? What are the positives and negatives of having a client so huge, so early? What advice would Rachel have for other early-stage companies when they have such behemoths as clients in the early days?

5.) Why did Rachel make the move from SF to Colorado? What did Rachel strategically do to ensure the chances of success were higher? How does Rachel feel about keeping leadership teams in SF and then the rest elsewhere? How did the move impact their ability to hire the best talent? How did their move impact their ability to access the best capital? Between customers, capital and employees, who is it most important to be near?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Rachel’s Fave Book: To the End of June: The Intimate Life of American Foster CareWhere The Crawdads Sing

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Rachel on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: The Ultimate Episode For Emerging Managers: How To Determine How Big A Fund To Raise, What Is The Right Closing Strategy With LPs & Why We Will Not See The Eradication of Pre-Seed with John Fein, Founder & Managing Partner @ Firebrand Ventures

Oct 7, 2019 39:25

Description:

John Fein is the Founder and Managing Partner @ Firebrand Ventures, one of the leading early-stage funds in the midwest with a portfolio including the likes of ScaleFactor, Replica, Dwolla and more fantastic companies. As for John, prior to founding Firebrand, he was the Managing Director of Techstars based in Kansas City and before that spent close to 9 years at OptumRx where he managed multi-billion dollar large-scale programs for the $15B pharmacy benefit manager division of UnitedHealth Group.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How John made his way into the world of venture from scaling a pharmaceuticals business to almost $2Bn in revenue and how that led to founding Firebrand?

2.) What was it like for John raising the first fund for Firebrand with no existing network of LPs or high-net-worth individuals? How did John approach his closing strategy? How did he decide the amount of money to raise for the fund? How did Techstars Founder, David Cohen change and impact his thinking here? Was John surprised by how long the fund took to raise?

3.) What does John know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning of the fundraise for the first fund? Does it ever get easier? What does John believe are the biggest challenges in managing your own fund? What does he do to mitigate them? How does running your own fund differ from operating in a venture partnership?

4.) "Seed" is so confused in meaning today so what does "seed stage" really mean to John? Does John agree with Harry that we are seeing the eradication of the pre-seed stage? Where does John believe is the ideal insertion point? Does John believe that ownership can be built over time? How does John think about reserve allocation?

5.) How does John think about the relationship-building process with founders? Is John worried by the compressed fundraising timelines we are seeing today? What can investors do to build trust with founders quickly? What signs impress John in the early days of getting to know the founder? What are some common red flags for John?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

John's Fave Book: Reboot: Leadership and the Art of Growing Up by Jerry Colonna

John’s Most Recent Investment: The Minte

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and John on Twitter here!

20VC: How To Drop The BS and Relationship Build With Investors, What Investors Can vs Cannot Help Your Company With & Why When There Is Doubt There Is No Doubt In Hiring

Oct 4, 2019 39:08

Description:

Jason Boehmig is the Founder & CEO @ Ironclad, the startup that provides powerful legal contracting for modern legal teams. To date, Jason has raised over $84m with Ironclad from some of the best in the business including Sequoia, Accel, Greylock, Emergence, IA Ventures, Semil Shah's Haystack and Ali Rowghani who led their recent $50m Series C from Y Combinator Continuity Fund. As for Jason, prior to founding Ironclad, he was both a corporate attorney with Fenwick & West and then also an adjunct professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jason left the world of law and made his way into the world of startups and came to be founder of one of Silicon Valley's hottest startups, Ironclad? How did Jason's experience at Lehmann Brothers impact his operating mentality today as a founder? What were his big lessons on personal conviction from seeing Lehmann unravel?

2.) Ironclad is famed for their customer discovery process, so how does Jason think about product development in the early days? What core questions does Jason ask to understand customer needs and desires? How does Jason determine what to implement and what to prioritise? How does Jason think about the balance between data vs gut in product decision-making? What have been his lessons here?

3.) When it comes to hiring, how does Jason approach keeping top of funnel constantly full? Why does Jason believe that when hiring, "when there is doubt, there is no doubt"? What are the common reasons that Jason does not hire a potentially strong candidate? How does Jason determine between a stretch VP and a stretch too far?

4.) How does Jason think about relationship building with VCs? Where do so many founders make mistakes in this process? What advice does Jason have on successfully negotiating with VCs? What works? What does not? What value-add has Jason realised VCs really can and do provide? Where is there a suggestion that they do but rarely do?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Jason’s Fave Book: Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Jason on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

 

20VC: Brad Feld on Why Market Size At Early Stage Is Not Helpful, His Biggest Learnings From The Boom & Bust of The Dot Com and How The Best VCs Work For Their CEOs

Sep 30, 2019 50:56

Description:

Brad Feld is Managing Director @ Foundry Group, one of the most successful venture firms of the last decade with a portfolio that includes the likes of Zynga, Fitbit, SendGrid and many more incredible companies. Prior to co-founding Foundry Group, he co-founded Mobius Venture Capital and, prior to that, founded Intensity Ventures. Brad is also a co-founder of Techstars, the worldwide network of entrepreneurs in 150 countries and 300,000 alumni. Brad is also the co-author of the incredible, Venture Deals, for your chance to win a signed copy email venturedeals@foundrygroup.com with the code "First Episode".

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Brad made his way into the world of venture following 40 angel checks and how that led to his co-founding Foundry Group? Why did Brad find the transition from angel to VC in the early days such a challenge? What 2 core things did he focus on when writing angel checks? How has that changed now as a VC?

2.) How did seeing the boom and bust of the dot com impact Brad’s investing mindset today? How does Brad think about investing through market cycles and the right way to think about investment cadence? Why does Brad believe that to be successful as a VC you have to be fundamentally optimistic?

3.) Where does Brad believe we are today in the cycle? Does he agree with Bill Gurley on the biggest challenge being the "oversupply of capital"? What must entrepreneurs understand with regards to market cycle dynamics and how they can and need to future-proof their business?

4.) From analysing his best investments, why has Brad come to the conclusion that TAM in the early days is really not helpful? What are the commonalities in how Brad's most successful companies approach experimentation?

5.) What does Brad mean when he says, "don't have fake CEO or fake VC days"? What does he mean when he often says, "run your fucking business"? What in Brad's mind would constitute a "fake day" vs moving the needle for your business? What does Brad think is the best way for VCs to truly get to know one another? Why is, "hey let's do a deal together one of the most hollow and fake statements in venture?"

6.) Brad has sat on some of the most meaningful boards of the last 2 decades, what have been Brad's biggest learnings on what it takes to be a great board member? How does that change with the progression of your career? What advice would Brad give to me, having just gained my first board seat? If the VC does not support the CEO, what is the right process? Why does Brad believe the VC should work for the CEO?

7.) What is Brad's biggest advice when it comes to learning how to say no? What advice does Brad hear most often that he commonly disagrees with? Why does Brad feel we are in a moment of peak noise in the ecosystem today? To be a great leader, what 2 skills does Brad believe you need to have?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Brad’s Fave Book: Reboot: Leadership and the Art of Growing Up by Jerry ColonnaThe Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by Melinda Gates

Brad’s Most Recent Investment: Boundless

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Brad on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

 

20VC: Kapwing Founder Julia Enthoven on Why Marketing Innovation Is As Important As Product Innovation, Why Every Company Is Becoming A Media Company & The Benefits Of Not Raising Money Too Early

Sep 27, 2019 33:58

Description:

Julia Enthoven is the Founder & CEO @ Kapwing, the startup that provides a new, collaborative platform for creating images, videos, and GIFs. To date they have raised $13m from some dear friends of the show including Saar Guur @ CRV, Mamoon Hamid @ Kleiner Perkins, Niv Dror @ Shrug and Nikhil Basu Trivedi @ Shasta. Prior to founding Kapwing, Julia was an Associate Product Manager @ Google where she worked on everything from image search to sign up workflows.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Julia made her way into the world of startups and came to found the future of content editing with Kapwing?

2.) What does Julia believe are the 4 benefits to building a website over an app today? How does this change your development cadence and speed of product iteration? How does this change your economics and margin structure? Where does Julia see many founders making mistakes here?

3.) Why does Julia believe that marketing innovation is as important as product innovation? Kapwing is now at 1m users per month, what has been Julia's biggest lessons in scaling a customer base to this size with very little spend? How does Julia think about marketing channel mortality rate? How should founders approach this?

4.) Why did Julia decide it was better to bootstrap than straight away trying to raise VC dollars? What were the benefits of this? Was it the right decision? What was the turning point when Julia realised was the moment to raise external funding? How did her mindset change as a result of the funding? How does bootstrap life compare to VC funded startup?

5.) How is Julia finding the personal scaling journey from PM to CEO? What have been some of the biggest challenges? What has she done to overcome them? What advice would Julia have for other newly minted CEOs? What have been some of Julia's biggest lessons in what it takes to hire the very best talent early?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Julia’s Fave Book: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Julia on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Bain's Matt Harris on Why Valuation And Market Size Are Not The Most Important Thing At Series A, Why Backing Sociopaths Can Work & Late Cycle Momentum Investing & The Changes That Will Stay in Venture Forever

Sep 23, 2019 35:43

Description:

Matt Harris is a Partner @ Bain Capital Ventures, a leading US venture fund with a portfolio that includes the likes of LinkedIn, Lime, SendGrid, Jet.com and more incredible companies. As for Matt, he specialises in financial technology and services and has led investments in the likes of Acorns, OpenFin, SigFig, Ribbon and Billtrust. Prior to joining BCV, Matt founded Village Ventures, which he ran for 12 years and where he focused on early-stage fintech investing. Before Village Matt actually started his investing career Bain Capital private equity in 1995.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Matt made his way into the world of venture from private equity and what led him to specialise as he has done in the world of fintech?

2.) How did seeing the boom and bust of the dot com impact Matt's investing mindset today? How has Matt's fear of the cyclicality of markets actually lost him a lot of money in the past? What has that taught Matt on trying to time markets? What were the main takeaways for Matt from running his own firm? How does it differ to a partnership?

3.) Why does Matt believe we are seeing late-cycle momentum investing today? What is the evidence to suggest this? How does Matt think about the right cadence to invest through market cycles? What does Matt mean when he says, "Series A valuation does not matter anymore"? Why? How does Matt assess his own price sensitivity today?

4.) Why does Matt believe that investing in improbable ideas is a good strategy? What does this mean the internal investment decision-making process looks like at Bain? Why is full consensus sometimes a concern? How does Matt approach market sizing? Why does it not matter at Series A? When does it really start to matter?

5.) Matt has said before that "backing sociopaths can work". What did he mean by this? What founder type does Matt most like to back? Does one have to manage the relationship with them very differently to other founder types? What are the acceptable risks vs unacceptable risks with this founder type?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Matt’s Fave Book: The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food

Matt’s Most Recent Investment: Finix

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Matt on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Mercury Founder Immad Akhund on Why Angel Investing Makes Founders Better Operators, The Right Way For Founders To Discuss and Present Competition To Investors & How To Think About Your Initial Wedge Into The Market and How It Expands Over Time

Sep 20, 2019 34:22

Description:

Immad Akhund is the Founder & CEO @ Mercury, the startup that makes bank accounts that help tech companies scale. To date, Immad has raised funding from some of the best in the business including a16z and CRV on the fund side and then individuals including Elad Gil, Airtable's Howie Liu, Plaid's Zach Perret, Naval Ravikant, Justin Kan and OpenDoor's Eric Wu. Prior to founding Mercury, Immad held enjoyed numerous different roles including being a part-time partner at Y Combinator and then also founding HeyZap, building developer tools for mobile game developers, ultimately acquired in 2016.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Immad made his way from studying in the UK to being a YC Partner in 2017 and building one of the valley's hottest startups today in the form of Mercury?

2.) What does Immad want to do differently this time around with Mercury vs his time with HeyZap? What 1-2 mistakes that he made the first time round is Immad looking to avoid? How does being a serial founder impact one's ability to acquire the best talent? What does Immad think is harder the second time around? How has becoming a parent changed the way that Immad thinks about founding and building companies?

3.) How does Immad approach the process of picking the idea? What was the specific process with Mercury, step by step? Why does Immad believe it is an advantage to not have a background or prior career in the space you are looking to innovate in? What advice does Immad have for founders looking to move into highly regulated industries?

4.) How does Immad approach and assess the element of competition? What is the right way for founders to present competition when pitching to investors? Why is a 2x2 matrix the wrong approach? What does Immad advise portfolio founders he has invested in with regards to competition and the landscape in front of them?

5.) What have been some of Immad's biggest learnings from making over 120 angel investments? How has angel investing specifically helped certain parts of how he thinks about operating and being a founder today? What advice does Immad give with regards to investor updates? What makes the best ones? What makes the worst? How often should they be?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Immad’s Fave Book: The Accidental Superpower: The Next Generation of American Preeminence and the Coming Global Disaster

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Immad on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Haystack’s Semil Shah on Whether Founders Are Bypassing Seed Funds in Favour Of Less Dilutive Multi-Stage Funds, How Fund Strategy Changes With Fund Scaling & Why The Hardest Challenge is Price Discipline

Sep 16, 2019 42:10

Description:

Semil Shah is the Founder & General Partner @ Haystack, one of the valley's leading seed funds of the last 5 years with a portfolio including the likes of Instacart, DoorDash, Carta, OpenDoor, Hashicorp and more $Bn companies. Alongside his role at Haystack, Semil is also a Venture Partner @ Lightspeed Venture Partners. Prior to founding Swell, Semil was on the operating side as an early advisor and employee at Concept.io (Swell), acquired by Apple in August 2014.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Semil make his way into the world of venture from his start writing about startups and financing rounds? How did that also lead to his role as Venture Partner @ Lightspeed today?

2.) What does Semil mean when he says, "the most talented founders are bypassing seed firms and seed rounds"? How does this mean that seed funds need to respond? For founders, what are the pros and cons of taking a multi-stage fund at seed? Will they really get GP time with such a small check? How should they also think about potential signalling risk?

3.) Does Semil share Harry's concern with regards to pricing today? What do multi-stage funds investing at seed do to pricing? Why is staying disciplined on price the biggest challenge for Semil? How does Semil assess his own price sensitivity and when to stretch? Does Semil believe that ownership is built on first check or overtime?

4.) How does the strategy for Semil change moving from a $25m fund to a $50m fund? Why does Semil think that temporal diversification is such an important element to bake into a portfolio? What are the benefits? How does Semil think about effective reserve allocation today? What does that investment decision-making process look like the 2nd time?

5.) How has Semil seen the ecosystem for VC fundraises change over the last 5 years? What would Semil like to change about the ecosystem of LPs? What blanket rule does Semil believe that LPs should introduce for new managers to ensure discipline? For Semil, how did the fundraise differ for the latest $50m fund compared to the prior $25m fund?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Semil’s Fave Book: Reboot by Jerry Colonna

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Semil on Twitter her

20VC: Clearbit Founder Alex MacCaw on How To Successfully Negotiate with Investors, What Value-Add Do VCs Really Bring & Why You Should Only Have Operators on Your Board

Sep 13, 2019 31:47

Description:

Alex MacCaw is the Founder & CEO @ Clearbit, the marketing data engine for all of your customer interactions, from customer understanding to prospect identification to personalising every sales and marketing interaction. To date, Alex has raised $17m in financing from some incredible people including Geoff Lewis @ Bedrock, Ash Fontana @ Zetta Venture Partners, First Round Capital, Battery Ventures and then former guest Ilya Sukhar, Naval Ravikant and Josh Buckley. Prior to founding Clearbit, Alex spent time in the engineering teams at both Twitter and Stripe.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Alex made his way from the UK to becoming one of the hottest founders in the valley with the rise of Clearbit? What does Alex believe is more important mission and vision or organisational discipline? What does Alex mean when he says he started the company as a "vehicle for growth thinking and self-actualisation"?

2.) What did Alex mean when he said, "when you hit product-market-fit, it is time to move into company making"? What does company making mean to Alex? What would Alex like to fundamentally change about the way we manage companies today? When is the right time to make this transition? What needs to be in place to do it successfully?

3.) What does Alex mean when he says, "The 6 Pillars Behind Clearbit"? What elements does Alex think the team should not have full transparency on? How does Alex approach transparency when it comes to fundraising and M&A opportunities? What have been some of Alex's biggest learnings on both delivering and absorbing feedback? What can one do to create an environment of radical candor and rich feedback?

4.) Why does Alex believe that health has to be the #1 priority for every founder? What does that look like in practice? What can one provide the team to encourage this? How does Alex respond to those that might say, "fine but we cannot afford it"? How does Alex suggest there are 3 ways you can become more self-aware as an individual?

5.) What advice does Alex give to founders on successfully negotiating with investors? What value has Alex found that VCs really do bring? What does Alex optimise for when selecting his investor base? What value do most think that VCs bring but they actually do not? When does Alex think one should establish a board? Why does Alex think your board should only have operators and no investors on it?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Alex’s Fave Book: The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Alex on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Matrix’s Ilya Sukhar on How The Seed Ecosystem Could Be Optimised, Why The Bar For The Break-Out Series A Has Risen & The Art of Effective Referencing

Sep 9, 2019 35:08

Description:

Ilya Sukhar is a General Partner @ Matrix Partners, the firm steeped in 40 years of history with over $4Bn invested enjoying 110 acquisitions and 65 IPOs. As for Ilya, at Matrix he has led deals in the likes of FiveTran, Flock Safety, Slab and Height just to name a few. Prior to Matrix, Ilya was a part-time investing partner @ Y Combinator and before that was Head of Developer Products at Facebook. His time at Facebook came about as a result of his former company, Parse, being acquired by them for close to $100m in April 2013. If that was not enough, Ilya also has one of the best angel tracks in the business with a portfolio including the likes of former guest Scale, Checkr, Algolia, Airtable, Gitlab the list goes on.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Ilya made his way into the world of technology and startups having moved to SF from the Soviet Union? How did his growing up in the Soviet Union and moving to the US shape his thinking, operating and investing mentality today?

2.) How did Ilya's mindset change with the shift from angel investing to institutional investing? How does Ilya assess how his operating experience has impacted the way he works and engages with founders today? What are the pros? What are the cons? Why does Ilya believe the engineering CEO is so crucial?

3.) How does Ilya feel the seed ecosystem is serving startups today? What are the core ways that Ilya believes it is not optimised? How does Ila think about advising founders on the right amount to raise and the appropriate amount of runway? How does Ilya feel on the subject of bridge rounds? How does Ilya approach price and price sensitivity? What have been his learnings on price from observing his angel portfolio?

4.) Why does Ilya believe that "referencing is one of the most important skills for founders and investors"? How should founders structure their referencing? Who should they speak to? How many people is an appropriate dataset? What are the core questions to ask? How can references lead one astray? What must you watch out for?

5.) How has becoming a father changed Ilya's investing mentality today? How has it affected how he selects the projects he wishes to work on? How has it changed his relationship to time and productivity? Why in many ways does Ilya wish he had had kids earlier?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Ilya’s Fave Book: When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long Term Capital ManagementThe Stranger

Ilya’s Most Recent Investment: FiveTran

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Ilya on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Scale Founder Alex Wang on How To Hire Incredible Talent Before You Are A Hot Company, Why Beating Competition Is Not As Clear Cut As Investors Believe & Why AI Is Under-Hyped Today In Terms of Total Impact

Sep 6, 2019 31:05

Description:

Alex Wang is the Founder & CEO @ Scale, the data platform for AI providing high-quality training and validation data for AI applications. To date, they have raised over $123m in financing from some of the best investors in the business including Founders Fund, Index Ventures, Thrive, Spark and Coatue and then also some of the world's best operators and founders of Dropbox, Instagram, Quora, Github and Twitch to name a few. Prior to founding Scale, Alexandr was a Tech Lead at Quora, directly responsible for all speed projects and before that a software engineer at Addepar responsible for building and maintaining financial models.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Alex made his way from growing up in Los Alamos to being one of the hottest founders in the valley with Scale's new round giving them a unicorn valuation? How did growing up outside the ether of the valley shape Alex's operating mindset today?

2.) Why does Alex believe that AI is under-hyped relative to the state of technology today? Would Alex agree that most projects claiming to be AI are merely rebrandings from actuarial science, data science etc etc? What questions does Alex ask to determine true AI or BS?

3.) How does Alex think about how AI can deal better with ambiguity of data? What other core areas would Alex like to see meaningful step-function improvements in? How does Alex think about the value of data-set size? How does he think about the utility value of data reducing with every incremental data point? How does Alex think about the rise of synthetic data? How does this change the landscape?

4.) What are Alex's biggest lessons on what it takes to hire incredible people before you are a hot company? How does Alex determine whether someone has the right risk profile and desire to work in a startup? What questions reveal that? Where does Alex believe that many go wrong in the early days of hiring? What would he do differently now?

5.) For the $100m Series C, how did the round come together? What did the process look like? How did this round compare to the other rounds? How does Alex think about and approach the element of investor selection? How can founders build relationships with investors in these hyper-compressed fundraising timelines? What have been Alex's biggest lessons when it comes to CEO growth and then also board management?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Alex’s Fave Book: 7 Powers: The Foundations of Business Strategy

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Alex on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

 

20VC: How Founders Can Gain Leverage in Fundraising Negotiations, The Metrics You Need To Raise Your Series A in Consumer & What We Have To Change About Cap Table Construction with Jana Messerschmidt, Partner @ Lightspeed Venture Partners

Sep 2, 2019 43:03

Description:

Jana Messerschmidt is an investor @ Lightspeed Venture Partners, one of the best performing funds of the last decade with a portfolio including Snapchat, Mulesoft, Max Levchin's Affirm, Cameo, StitchFix and many many more incredible companies. Prior to LSVP, Jana co-founded #Angels in 2015, a first of its kind investment collective specifically designed to get more women on the cap tables of successful companies. Her portfolio includes the likes of Carta, Lambda School, Bird, Forward and Cameo to name a few. In addition to #Angels, Jana spent 6 years at Twitter as VP of Global Business Development and Platform where she led the 150+ person organization responsible for Twitter's global strategic partnerships. Finally, before Twitter, Jana spent 2 years at Netflix as Director of Business Development. 

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jana made her way from the worlds of Twitter and Netflix to founding #Angels and becoming an angel to today, investing on the front lines with Lightspeed?

2.) What were some of Jana's biggest takeaways from her time with Netflix? How did that experience impact her operating mentality today? How can leaders determine the true quality of their team and their conviction in them? What is "the leaver test"? What does Netflix do internally to drive such high performance? What does Jana mean when she says, "leaders have to provide context, not control"?

3.) Does Jana believe that founders should "always be raising"? What is the right way for founders to approach OKR setting with regards to requirements for the next round? When should this OKR discussion for the next round take place? Who should be involved? How can founders get potential investors to do the work upfront and determine interest?

4.) In terms of metrics for the Series A, they depend based on the vertical and business model but what is required, metric wise, to raise a Series A in:

A D2C brand? What revenue levels would be expected? What growth levels would be expected? A consumer subscription business? What level of churn is acceptable? What does Jana see as a good CAC/LTV? Why does Jana believe that you cannot grow your business on ad spend perpetuity? How does Jana think about the cost of advertising today? What have been her biggest lessons when it comes to how CAC changes over time?

5.) What tips and advice does Jana give to founders to allow them to enter fundraising negotiations with leverage? What can founders do to gain leverage if their numbers are not in place? What does Jana think should be some of the biggest considerations for founders when it comes to their cap table?

6.) How does Jana think that founders can put their cap table to work in the most effective way? Is there a way to stress their suggested "value-add" prior to their investment? What can be done to actively improve the lack of women and underrepresented minorities on cap tables? What would Jana like to see change here?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Jana’s Fave Book: Elad Gil's High Growth HandbookDark Money

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Jana on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

 

20VC: InVision Founder Clark Valberg on Why True Leadership is Like Writing, How To Be Truly Self-Aware & The Fundamental False Premise of Entrepreneurship

Aug 30, 2019 33:36

Description:

Clark Valberg is the Founder & CEO @ InVision, the digital product design platform powering the world's best user experiences. To date, Clark has raised over $350m with InVision from some of the world-leading investors including Iconiq, Spark Capital, Accel, Battery Ventures, Tiger Global, FirstMark and even Atlassian. Prior to founding InVision, Clark spent 8 years as the Co-Founder of Epicenter Consulting, a leading web application design business. If that was not enough, Clark is also a leading angel with a portfolio including Algolia, Voiceflow, Unsplash and BentoBox, just to name a few.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Clark made his way from running a successful design agency to fundamentally changing the way designers design products and consumer experience them through InVision?

2.) Why does Clark believe that all aspiring entrepreneurs questions have a false premise? What is the fundamental false premise of entrepreneurship? How does Clark assess the importance of vision and mission over alternate elements? What advice does Clark give to the many aspiring entrepreneurs that ask for his advice?

3.) How does Clark think about market timing today as an entrepreneur? How does Clark think investors should approach and think about market timing? How does Clark look to measure impact not just size of the market? How has angel investing changed Clark's operating mentality as an entrepreneur with InVision?

3.) Why does Clark believe that enlightenment is a daily task? What does Clark do to fundamentally make himself present enough to appreciate those inflection points and moments of enlightenment? How can everyone use note-taking to gain this level of self-consciousness? How are the notes structured? What routine needs to be built around them?

4.) How does Clark think about taking the time to appreciate the milestones that are achieved? Why do we have to make celebrating a ritual? What can be done to ensure these moments of company and personal growth are recognised? What have been Clark's biggest moments of realisation on this theme?

5.) With InVision being an almost fully remote team, what have been Clark's biggest breakthroughs in making it work so well with his marriage and his family? What are "date days"? How does Clark use them to ensure the right balance of work and romance? What has Clark found to be the weirdest thing of operating a 900-person remote firm?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Clark’s Fave Book: Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind: The Battle for Your Mind

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Clark on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Sequoia's Mike Vernal on His Biggest Lessons From 8 Years of Hyper-Growth at Facebook, Why The Strength of Data Moats Is Over-Rated Today and The Challenge of "Overthinking Investments" In Venture

Aug 26, 2019 26:20

Description:

Mike Vernal is a General Partner @ Sequoia, one of the world’s leading and most renowned venture firms with a portfolio including WhatsApp, Zoom, Stripe, Airbnb, Github and many more incredible companies. As for Mike he has led and sits on the board of Citizen, rideOS, Rockset, Threads and Houseparty (acquired by Epic). Prior to venture, Mike spent 8 years at Facebook as VP of Product & Engineering leading multiple different teams including Search, Commerce, Profile, and Developer product groups. Prior to Facebook Mike spent 4 years at Microsoft as a PM lead in Microsoft's Developer Division.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Mike made the move from VP of Product & Engineering at Facebook to General Partner at the world-famous, Sequoia Capital? What were Mike's biggest takeaways from his 8 years at FB seeing the hyper-growth first hand?

2.) Mike has previously said that he has struggled in the past when it comes to "overthinking investments". What does he mean by this? How does it play out in reality? How does Mike balance between trusting his gut and relying on the data? How does Mike think venture partnerships should participate in this balancing act?

3.) Why does Mike believe decision-making in venture to be fundamentally different to decision-making in operations? How do they compare? How does the decision-making process and approach change as a result of this contrast? How does Mike think about his own time allocation now in venture? What is the most challenging element?

4.) How does Mike evaluate the proliferated SaaS landscape today? Why does Mike believe that the notion of SaaS as a construct will fade over the coming years? What does Mike believe is the reasoning for SaaS apps becoming more and more niche? What problem does that pose for VC? Will we enter a period of consolidation in SaaS? What size do the incumbents have to be to really engage in the M&A process moving forward?

5.) Why does Mike struggle to see the strength of data moats? What are the major downfalls associated with the argument of their strength? At what point is the asymptotic point of the utility value of the data for models today and how does that change over the coming years? What does Mike instead see as durable and sustainable moats?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Mike’s Fave Book: One Hundred Years of Solitude 

Mike’s Most Recent Investment: Verkada 

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Mike on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Cruise's Daniel Kan on Lessons From Scaling The Team From 40 To 1,500 People, How Daniel Thinks About Continuous Learning & Self-Development and Why CEOs Hiring Themselves Out Of Roles Is Wrong

Aug 16, 2019 24:33

Description:

Daniel Kan is the Chief Product Officer @ Cruise, the company building cutting-edge hardware and software that work seamlessly together to transform the way we all experience transportation. In 2016, Cruise was acquired by GM for a reported $1Bn. Since the acquisition Cruise has raised $7.25 billion in committed capital and has attracted SoftBank, Honda, and T. Rowe Price as investors. As for Daniel, he started his career at a startup called UserVoice. He then founded Exec, an on-demand hospitality service company, and successfully sold Exec to Handy. As a result of his many success, Daniel was listed as number 7 on Fortune’s 2016 40 under 40 list for the most influential people in business.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Daniel made his way into the world of startups and came to co-found the game-changing company of the next movement mega wave of transport innovation in Cruise?

2.) What have been Daniel's biggest lessons on what works for leaders in scaling themselves? How can a leader ensure their team feel real ownership and accountability for their roles? How does Daniel think about KPI and goal-setting? How does Daniel look to strike the balance between ambitious but achievable goals and then unrealistic?

3.) How does Daniel think about micro-management? Is there ever a time for it? What are the leading indicators you or someone on the team is micro-managing? What can they do to correct it? What are the dangers of micro-management? How does Daniel think about assessing human potential in terms of a stretch VP and a stretch too far?

4.) Why does Daniel believe that "if you are not growing, you are dying"? What has been transformational to Daniel in increasing his own level of self-development and learning? How does the organisation need to be set up to ingest these learnings in real-time and improve? Where do many go wrong when it comes to mistakes and learnings?

5.) At acquisition, Cruise had just 40 team members, today the team consists of 1,460. What have been some of Daniel's biggest lessons in the process of scaling the team with such rapidity? What have been some of the core challenges? How has Daniel's style of leadership had to change and evolve with the growth?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Daniel’s Fave Book: Shogun: The First Novel of the Asian saga: A Novel of Japan

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Daniel on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: True Ventures' Puneet Agarwal on Why EQ Is Going To Separate The Best Firms In Venture Over The Next Decade, The Negatives of Attribution in Venture & What Makes A Truly Efficient Venture Partnership

Aug 12, 2019 42:02

Description:

Puneet Agarwal is a Partner @ True Ventures, one of the leading early-stage VC funds of the last decade with big wins including Fitbit, Peloton, Ring, Hashicorp, Duo Security and Blue Bottle Coffee, just to name a few. As for Puneet, at True he has led deals in Duo Security, Tray.io, Lumity, Solo.io and more. Before the world of VC, Puneet spent 6 years in product management with Geodesic Securities and BEA. Before product management, Puneet actually cut his teeth in the world of VC as an associate at Mayfield which he joined post a 2-year stint at JP Morgan.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Puneet made his way into the world of venture from JP Morgan? How seeing the boom and bust cycle impacted his investing mindset today? How his career in operations led to his joining True?

2.) Why does Puneet believe that EQ is going to separate the good from the great in venture firms over the next decade? What can VCs do to remove the barriers to access them? What have been Puneet's biggest lessons on what it takes to build real relationships of trust and respect with founders? What is a test of a strong founder VC relationship?

3.) What does Puneet believe are the 2 feelings a board member can bring to a board meeting? Why would an investor bring fear to the board meeting? Why is this a sign and result of the culture of their own venture partnership? What have been Puneet's biggest lessons on how investors can bring the feeling of safety to a board meeting? How has Puneet changed his style of board membership over the last decade?

4.) Why does Puneet strongly advocate for a venture structure without attribution? What are the benefits of not having attribution? How does this also impact the re-investment decision-making process? How does Puneet think about how he spends his time across the portfolio? What have True done to optimise the investment decision-making process? Why is unanimity not required?

5.) How does Puneet and True think about portfolio construction today? What amount of initial checks give them enough diversification to feel comfortable but also enough reserves to double down? Does Puneet believe that ownership can be built over time? Where does Puneet believe there is a whole in the funding environment? How does True think about minimizing risk on the first check?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Puneet’s Fave Book: Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World

Puneet’s Most Recent Investment: Upsie

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Puneet on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Hiten Shah on The Right Way To Think About Depression, Control and Burnout, Why Nobody Really Knows What They Are Doing and How One Should Receive Advice As A Result & How To Gain Self-Awareness As A Leader

Aug 9, 2019 49:47

Description:

Hiten Shah is the Co-Founder @ FYI, the startup that allows you to find your documents in 3 clicks or less. Before FYI, Hiten co-founded QuickSprout alongside Neil Patel, together they scaled the platform to over 500,000 readers every month. Before QuickSprout, Hiten was the Co-Founder and CEO of KISSmetrics, raising over $19m in the process for the company from the likes of True Ventures, Uncork Capital and Felicis Ventures just to name a few. Finally, Hiten is also the Co-Founder @ Crazy Egg, the heat mapping tool used by thousands to improve the effectiveness of their websites. Finally, Hiten is also an angel investor with a portfolio including Buffer, Clearbit, Front, Gusto and more incredible companies.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Hiten made his way into the world of startups, growth market and SaaS and how that led to his co-founding FYI today? Having founded multiple startups, does Hiten agree with Joe Fernandez @ JoyMode that "serial entrepreneurship is overrated"? Why does Hiten believe that fundamentally, nobody knows what they are doing?

2.) How does Hiten feel about the compression of fundraising timelines today? How does Hiten advise founders on building authentic relationships with investors? What is it crucial that founders understand about the investing class? How does Chetan advise founders on building hype and urgency within their fundraising? What works? What does not?

3.) Why does Hiten believe that we have seen the eradication of the friends and family round? What other large trends has Hiten observed in the early stage over the last few years? How does Hiten advise founders on how to approach which seed investors they take on board? Does Hiten think founders and investors can be friends?

4.) How has Hiten seen himself change and evolve as a leader over the last decade? What have been the biggest learnings on what great leadership really means? What are the 5 core elements that all great leaders must focus on? How does he split his time across these 5 disciplines? Where do founders often not spend adequate time among the 5?

5.) How does Hiten think about the element of "burnout" and depression today? Has Hiten ever felt burned out himself? How does this stress manifest itself? How does Hiten think that burnout and control are correlated? What can one do to change their relationship to control? What has worked for Hiten? What has not?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Hiten’s Fave Book: The Courage To Be Disliked 

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Hiten on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Benchmark’s Chetan Puttagunta on The One Question To Ask When Analysing Market Size, How To Compete in Today’s War for Talent & Why We Have Seen An Over-Rotation In Running Businesses Based on Metrics

Aug 5, 2019 31:19

Description:

Chetan Puttagunta is a General Partner @ Benchmark, one of the most successful funds of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Uber, Twitter, Dropbox, WeWork, Snapchat, StitchFix, eBay and many many more. As for Chetan, at Benchmark he has led deals in the likes of Duffel, Sketch and Pachyderm. Before Benchmark, Chetan was a General Partner @ NEA where he led investments in Elastic, MongoDB and Mulesoft to name a few.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Chetan made his way into the wonderful world of venture, came to invest in Mulesoft and Elastic and how that led to becoming a GP with Benchmark today?

2.) How does Chetan feel about the push to run businesses based on metrics and benchmarks relative to other companies? What are the metrics they should hone in on? What are the metrics they should disregard? How does Chetan advise his portfolio on the right way to view competition? What is core to analysing competition effectively?

3.) How does Chetan assess the "war for talent" in terms of startup recruiting today? How do the very best CEOs recruit the best talent to their team? Who has done this best from Chetan's portfolio that comes to mind? How much weight does Chetan place on references? What should one watch out for with references?

4.) With the rise of remote, does Chetan believe that a startup even has to have an office in SF today? How does Chetan think about the "tribal knowledge" that remains within the valley? What does Chetan advise his companies that are not in the valley and contemplating it? What works? What does not?

5.) How does Chetan think about market size today when considering new opportunities? Where does Chetan think most managers go wrong when assessing TAM? How does Chetan think about time allocation across the portfolio? What have been his biggest lessons on managing his time effectively as an investor and board member?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Chetan’s Fave Book: Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE

Chetan’s Most Recent Investment: Duffel

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Chetan on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Why Passion Is Overrated When It Comes To Starting Companies, Why VC Is Overrated As A Financing Mechanism & Why You Should Never Sell Your Company with Waseem Daher, Founder & CEO @ Pilot

Aug 2, 2019 31:52

Description:

Waseem Daher is the Founder and CEO @ Pilot, the startup that takes care of your bookkeeping from start to finish so you can focus 100% on making your business succeed. To date, Waseem has raised over $58m in funding from some of the very best firms and people in the business including Index, Stripe, Okta's Frederic Kerrest, Gusto's Josh Reeves, Stripe's Patrick and John Collison and Lola's Paul English, just to name a few. As for Waseem, Pilot is the 3rd business he has founded with his co-founders, the first being Ksplice and the second Zulip, which was acquired by Dropbox in 2014. He has also enjoyed spells with the likes of Oracle and Dropbox in the interims.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Waseem made his way into the world of startups over 15 years ago and how that lead to his founding of Pilot today, changing the world of accounting? Does Waseem agree with Joel Fernandez at JoyMode that "serial entrepreneurship is overrated? What has Waseem done differently this time as a result of his 2 prior founding experiences?

2.) Why does Waseem believe that "passion is overrated when it comes to starting companies"? If passion is not fundamental, what does Waseem believe is fundamental to ensuring one sticks the course? How does Waseem think about the craft of company building as a passion in itself?

3.) What is it about Waseem's relationship with his 2 co-founders that makes it so successful for the third time around this time? What do they do to ensure that unity and trust remains? Where do they have weaknesses and flaws in the co-founding relationship as a result of it's maturity? What advice does Waseem give to newer co-founding partners?

4.) Waseem has previously said that "VC is overrated". What does he mean by this? How does Waseem think about the decision to bootstrap vs to raise VC? What are Waseem's biggest lessons when it comes to investor selection? How much of a role does brand play? What core questions should the founders ask the VC?

5.) What does Waseem mean when he says, "never sell your company"? What were his biggest lessons from exiting two companies to Oracle and Dropbox? How did it shape his thinking on M&A and exits? How has Waseem seen his role scale and develop as a leader and as CEO? What are the biggest challenges he has found in his personal scaling?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Waseem’s Fave Book: Harry Potter

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Waseem on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Smart executives and business owners know that harnessing the power of
AI, embracing the cloud, and prioritizing cybersecurity are the cornerstones of growth. Every day, Wrike helps thousands of companies worldwide do this by revolutionizing how they approach work. Our secure, automated,cloud-based work management tool helps businesses future proof their cultures and evolve fast. How? Wrike ‘s award-winning, collaborative, all-company platform keeps everything in one easily-accessible space. Time to embrace next-gen work management at the executive level and encourage lean thinking from the top down. With Wrike, crushing your objectives and mitigating risks at scale is a cinch. Give Wrike a try for free.

20VC: Former Tinder CPO Brian Norgard on His Biggest Product Takeaways from Launching the Top Grossing App in the World, The Top 10 Reasons Why Products Fail Today & How The Best Founders Assess Risk and Use It

Jul 26, 2019 34:45

Description:

Brian Norgard is the Former Chief Product Officer at the top-grossing mobile app in the world, Tinder. In less than 3 years, Tinder created over $11Bn in market value and with Brian's creation of Tinder Gold, Superlike and Boost, the platform has seen over 200m downloads and created millions of matches. Prior to Tinder, Brian founded Tappy, a mobile messaging application backed by Kleiner Perkins and acquired by Tinder. Before that, Brian built one of the fastest-growing Facebook applications in history (Chill) which reached over 30MM people. Fun fact about Brian also, at 25, Brian was the youngest GM/VP in the history of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp after the acquisition of his first company Newroo where he served as the GM of MySpace News. If that was not enough, Brian is also a prolific angel investor with investments in Tesla, SpaceX, AngelList and Coinmine.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Brian made his way into the world of startups and came to be the youngest VP at News Corp at the tender age of 25? How did that lead to his becoming CRO then CPO @ Tinder?

2.) What is the No 1 reason that products fail today? What can founders and designers do to retain the simplicity of product over time? How does complexity change the product experience? Why does Brian believe that product experience is an art? Bring in science, to what extent does Brian believe testing and iteration is key to success in product? How does one know how long is enough time to test for vs too short and not enough data?

3.) When thinking about distribution, what does Brian look for in the way that people describe a product to their friend? How does Brian think that the most successful products bake distribution into the core user behaviour? How does Brian think about community building around product? Who has done this best in Brian's mind?

4.) How should the very best founders and product people think about product risk? How can they know when to use risk to their advantage vs be mindful of excessive risk? On the features themselves, how important is it for a product to be 10x cheaper/faster etc? Why does Brian believe that is largely VC jargon?

5.) What were Brian's biggest takeaways from launching Tinder Gold and seeing Tinder become the Top Grossing App in the world? How does that sort of event also impact the team? How does Brian think about whether one should celebrate those moments or push forward to the next goal?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Brian’s Fave Book: The Old Man and The Sea

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Brian on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Smart executives and business owners know that harnessing the power of AI, embracing the cloud, and prioritizing cybersecurity are the cornerstones of growth. Every day, Wrike helps thousands of companies worldwide do this by revolutionizing how they approach work. Our secure, automated,cloud-based work management tool helps businesses future proof their cultures and evolve fast. How? Wrike ‘s award-winning, collaborative, all-company platform keeps everything in one easily-accessible space. Time to embrace next-gen work management at the executive level and encourage lean thinking from the top down. With Wrike, crushing your objectives and mitigating risks at scale is a cinch. Give Wrike a try for free.

20VC: IA Ventures' Jesse Beyroutey on Game Theory and How It Impacts Investor Mindset, How To Avoid "The Pressure To Deploy" Today In Venture & Why Ownership Is The Single Most Important Parameter When Investing

Jul 22, 2019 35:40

Description:

Jesse Beyroutey is a General Partner @ IA Ventures, one of the top-performing early-stage funds of the last decade. Their incredible portfolio includes the likes of TransferWise, DataDog, Digital Ocean, X.ai and The Trade Desk, just to name a few. As for Jesse, his investments at IA include Digital Ocean, IronClad, TransferWise, Sight Machine and more fantastic companies. Prior to joining the world of venture, Jesse studied Systems Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jesse made his way into the world of VC pretty much straight out of University and how that led to his being a GP with IA today?

2.) What is Game Theory? What does it mean to Jesse and how does it impact his investing mindset today? How does Jesse think about and assess startup positioning today? How important is positioning in the early days of the company? How does Jesse think about data as a sustainable moat or not? Does Jesse think in today's excess supply of capital environment that cash alone can be a moat?

3.) How does Jesse and IA think about portfolio construction today? Does Jesse ever feel the "pressure to deploy"? How have IA structured their own fundraises to ensure they never feel that pressure? How important a role does ownership play for Jesse when making an investment? Does Jesse believe ownership is built on first check?

4.) How does Jesse assess his own price sensitivity? How has it changed over the last 8 years? How does Jesse and IA approach both investment decision-making and reserve allocation decisions? How does the lead rely on the rest of the team when making decisions? Why does capital efficiency become a core question when determining reserve allocations?

5.) Why does Jesse feel that the reading to writing ratio that currently exists between founders and investors needs to change? What should the ratio be? How does the relationship between founder and investor change when the investor provides more content? How does Jesse look to avoid news cycles in the week? What works? What does not? What is Jesse's advice for anyone looking to do the same?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Jesse’s Fave Book: 7 Powers: The Foundations of Business Strategy

Jesse’s Most Recent Investment: Gauntlet 

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Jesse on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Gitlab Founder, Sid Sijbrandji on Lessons From Scaling from 400 to 1,000 People in 1 Year, Why You Have To Have A Low Level Of Shame On The Product You Release & The Secret To Making Remote Work So Effectively At Scale

Jul 19, 2019 25:43

Description:

Sid Sijbrandij is the Founder & CEO @ Gitlab, a single application for the entire software development lifecycle. From project planning and source code management to CI/CD, monitoring, and security. To date, Sid has raised over $145m in funding for Gitlab from the likes of GV, August Capital, YC, Khosla and Goldman Sachs just to name a few. What is incredible, Sid has scaled the team to over 762 team members across 55 countries and is famed for his openness and transparency on how he builds both the product and company. You can find the fantastic Gitlab handbook here.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Sid made his way into the world of startups, learned Ruby in the early days and came to found Gitlab? What was that a-ha moment?

2.) In 2019 Gitlab is growing from 400 to 1,000 people, what are the biggest challenges that come with such operational growth? How does one hire at such pace and retain quality? How does Sid think about the right way to onboard new employees? How does Sid think about KPI and goal setting in the early days? 

3.) Today all 750 Gitlab employees are remote, what does Sid believe is the secret to making remote teams work at scale? How does Sid think about the balance between fast shipping cadence and perfect product releases? Why does Sid believe, "you have to have a low level of shame on the product you release"?

4.) How does Sid think about operating Gitlab as a totally transparent company? What does that mean both in reality and in process? Why does Sid believe it is optimal to have a roadmap that is open for everyone to see? What are the pros? What are the cons of such transparency? How do competitors respond? 

5.) If every great business is bundling or unbundling, where does Sid believe he and Sid are in the process today? How does Sid think about being too much to too many people? How does the open-source community really come into play in the development of Gitlab?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Sid’s Fave Book: High Output Management

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Sid on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Zoom From Series A to IPO, How VCs Can Provide CEOs with Additional Leverage and Why The Negative Effects of Signalling Are Very Real with Santi Subotovsky, General Partner @ Emergence Capital

Jul 15, 2019 40:50

Description:

Santi Subotovsky is a General Partner @ Emergence Capital, one of the valley's leading venture firms of the last decade focusing on enterprise & SaaS applications. Within their incredible portfolio is the likes of Salesforce, Zoom, Box, Veeva Systems, SuccessFactors and many more. As for Santi, he has led deals in the likes of Zoom, Crunchbase, Clearbanc, Top Hat and Chorus.ai to name a few. Before Emergence, Santi founded AXG Tecnonexo, a SaaS e-learning company in Argentina which he expanded to 150+ employees across Latin America and the U.S. Santi is also a founding board member of Puente Labs, an organization that helps founders of Latin American high-potential growth companies scale their businesses globally.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Santi made his way from founding a Latin American EdTech business to being one of the valley's most successful investors of 2019 with Zoom's IPO? What was the biggest barrier he faced when getting into VC? How did he overcome it?

2.) What does Santi believe his superpower as an investor is? What did Santi see in Eric Yuan and the 30 person team at the time that made him believe they would be successful? What made how Eric thinks about presents product so special? What did the relationship building process look like between Eric and Santi in the early days?

3.) How does Santi like to work with his portfolio companies? How does Santi think about time allocation across the portfolio? Why does Santi believe it is crucial to not just spend time with the CEO but the exec team also? Where does Santi most like to provide value and leverage to the CEO? Why does Santi believe all VCs are just sales reps?

4.) Why does Santi believe that a vertically focused fund is the optimal strategy to pursue today? What are the benefits? What are the drawbacks? How does Santi think about the obvious overlap between consumer and enterprise today? With the thematic focus, how does Santi think about loss ratio and batting average? How does Emergence approach the element of both ownership and price? Where do they optimise?

5.) With larger and larger funds, how does Santi see the future of venture? Why does he believe that we will see vertically focused capital-as-a-service? What does this look like in reality? Is Santi concerned by the extended window of privatisation that is now present in today's capital markets? How concerned is Santi by the compression of fundraising timelines and what does that to investor founder relationships?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Santi’s Fave Book: Candide by Voltaire

Santi’s Most Recent Investment: Openpath

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Santi on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: HitRecord's Joseph Gordon-Levitt on How Show Business Prepared Him For Life As An Entrepreneur, What Founders Should Look For Most In Their Investor Base & Why The Current Ad Model of Social Is Harming The World's Creative Spirit

Jul 12, 2019 33:12

Description:

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the Founder @ HitRecord, the startup that allows you to be creative, together, encouraging less self-promotion and more collaboration, so you can create things you couldn't have made on your own. To date, Joe has raised funding from some personal favourites of mine in the form of Alex @ Javelin, Masterclass Founder David Rogier, Twitch Founder Kevin Lin and CrossLink Capital just to name a few. Alongside his role with HitRecord, Joe is also an A-List Hollywood Actor and filmmaker starring in some of my favourite films of all time including The Dark Knight Rises, Inception, 10 Things I Hate About You and many many more.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Joseph made his way into the world of technology and startups with the founding of HitRecord? How did much of Joe's early acting career inform much of the HitRecord product today?

2.) Having had such success in the acting world, what caused Joe to really push forward with HitRecord? Question from David @ Masterclass: who has been Joe's biggest mentors in his transition to tech? What have been his biggest takeaways from them? How does Joe balance both being an actor and entrepreneur at the same time? What are the challenges?

3.) Why did Joe decide now was the time to raise VC funds for HitRecord this late into the company life? How does Joe approach the element of investor selection? What specific value add did Joe want to see in his potential investor? How did the pitch process go? How does it compare to presenting for a role in the acting world? What was Joe's biggest lesson about what successful technology pitches do?

4.) When Joe thinks about the HitRecord community, what has surprised him the most with the growth of the community? Why have they purposefully decide to never spend on user acquisition or traffic? What is the strategy behind this? What is Joe's biggest advice to individuals wanting to scale their community and the essentials?

5.) How does Joe assess both the content and social media landscape today? Why is the creative spirit of the world being killed by the current ad model of social platforms? How does Joe think this can be countered and where does HitRecord fit into this evolving landscape?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Joe’s Fave Book: Letters To A Young Poet

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Joe on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Bessemer’s Byron Deeter On Lessons From Investing in 14 $Bn Companies, What The Heck Is Going On In Cloud Today and Why Cloud IPO Floodgates Are About To Burst Open

Jul 8, 2019 32:51

Description:

Byron Deeter is a Partner @ Bessemer Venture Partners where he has established himself as one of the leading investors in SaaS and Cloud authoring the iconic laws on the state of cloud computing. In terms of track record, fourteen of Byron’s investments are valued above one $1 billion, including eight IPOs and counting. Byron's investments include the likes of Twilio, Intercom, SendGrid, Gainsight, Box, DocuSign and many more. Prior to the world of venture, Byron was a Bessemer Founder raising his Series A from them back in 2000 with Trigo Technologies. The company rapidly scaled to profitability and was acquired by IBM.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Byron made his way into the world of venture from founding Trigo Technologies and selling to IBM in 2005? How have seeing multiple booms and busts impacted Byron's investment mentality today?

2.) What the heck is going on in cloud today? Is Byron concerned by the very rich multiples being paid in the ecosystem today? How does Byron think about how public market performance impacts his day to day role investing? Why does Byron believe that the floodgate for cloud IPOs is about to burst open?

3.) Having seen so many cloud IPOs, what should founders take from the lessons of those that have already been so successful? With 14 $Bn companies, what does Byron attribute his investing success to today? How does Byron think about what he wants to invest in today? Are we in an entirely new wave of cloud?

4.) As a former founder, how does Byron think that he engages differently with founders than more financial backgrounded VCs? What can board members really do to build that trusted relationship with the founder in the early days? Is it good for founders and board members to be friends? Is there a line of professionalism that has to be drawn?

5.) How has Byron seen his style of board membership change over the last decade? What would his advice be to someone who has just gained their first institutional board seat? What does Byron believe makes the best board members? What founder he has worked with most excels when it comes to board management? What made them so extraordinary?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Byron’s Fave Book: AI SuperpowersLegacy

Byron’s Most Recent Investment: ScaleFactor

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Byron on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Why Self-Driving Is Still Under-Hyped in The Medium To Long Term, What Will The Ownership Mechanism Be Both In Physical Assets & Data and How To Assemble A World Class Exec Team As A Young Founder with Alex Rodrigues, Founder & CEO @ Embark

Jul 5, 2019 34:13

Description:

Alex Rodrigues is the Founder & CEO @ Embark, the world's leading developer of self-driving trucks. Embark operates the longest automated freight route in the world. To date, Alex has raised over $47m in funding for Embark from some of my favourites in the form of Pat Grady @ Sequoia, Matt Ocko @ Data Collective, SV Angel and Y Combinator, just to name a few. As for Alex, it started early with his winning a World Robotics Championship while he was in Middle School (the championship was for adults). Post that incredible achievement he dropped out of Waterloo, became a Thiel Fellow, worked as a software engineer @ Nuance Communications, before joining Khan Academy as a software engineer and also teaching robotics @ Khan Lab School.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Alex made his way from winning World Robotics Championships while he was in Middle School to founding the leader developer of autonomous trucks in Embark?

2.) Why does Alex believe in the medium to long term, self-driving is still under-hyped? What is the market analysis to support this? How did his meetings with the world's best public markets investors impact his thinking here? How does Alex think about adoption timelines for self-driving? How do investors think about this when investing?

3.) Does Alex believe that when it comes to self-driving vehicles, they will largely be a public utility? What ownership mechanism does Alex expect to see? What are the pros and cons associated with each? How does Alex think about ownership of the data generated through self-driving? How do we balance privacy and public safety?

4.) With such large milestones and proof points in self-driving, how does Alex think about effective goal setting? What are the core KPIs to be driving for? How can they be broken into more meaningful and achievable wins for the team to get around? What is the core challenge to morale maintenance when the challenge is so long term?

5.) Where does Alex see the commonalities in the biggest mistakes that young founders make? What does Alex know now that he wishes he had known at the start? What have been Alex's biggest lessons on hiring the world's best in their respective fields? What have been Alex's biggest takeaways when it comes to successful board management?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Alex’s Fave Book: High Output Management

As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!

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20VC: Sequoia's Pat Grady on What Sequoia Is Focused On Today, How Sequoia Think About Investment Decision-Making Processes & Why It Is Important To Trade A Few Points of Efficiency for Culture When It Comes To Attribution

Jul 1, 2019 37:24

Description:

Pat Grady is a Partner @ Sequoia, one of the world's leading and most renowned venture firms with a portfolio including WhatsApp, Zoom, Stripe, Airbnb, Github and many more incredible companies. As for Pat, at Sequoia he co-leads the firms growth investment team and has been involved with some of the true greats, Hubspot, Zoom, Okta, Qualtrics, the list goes on. Prior to Sequoia Pat spent three years with Summit Partners.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Pat made his way from Summit Partners to co-leading Sequoia's growth investment team? Was it intimidating for Pat entering a partnership with Jim Goetz, Don Valentine, Roelof Botha? How did he manage those nerves?

2.) So many different funds and activities, so what is Sequoia focused on today? Where does Sequoia think about their ideal insertion point today? How do they see the deployment of their blended capital across rounds? Does Pat believe in ownership on first check or building ownership over time? How does Pat think about the extended window of privatisation with IPOs being continuously delayed?

3.) Does Pat believe that VC really is a team sport today? Does Pat agree with Josh Kopelman's statement, "I would rather be a better picker of partners than investments"? What are the core requirements, skills and traits that Sequoia looks for when adding to their partnership?

4.) What is the investment decision-making process at Sequoia? How do they feel about unanimity vs conviction based investment decisions? What are the pros and cons of each? What does Pat believe is the most non-obvious investment decision that Sequoia have made? Sequoia run an incredibly rigorous process when investing, how does Pat balance between that level of rigour with the speed to win the deal?

5.) What advice would Pat give to someone that has just gained their first institutional board? What does Pat know now that he wishes he had known when he started in VC? How does Pat think about time allocation across the portfolio? Concentrate on winners or the strugglers are where your reputation is built? Leading Sequoia Growth and with a beautiful family, how does Pat approach work/life balance?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Pat’s Fave Book: God Friended Me

Pat’s Most Recent Investment: Embark: Revolutionizing Commercial Transport 

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Pat on Twitter here!

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20VC: Cameo's Steven Galanis on Why You Must Fall In Love With Your Mission Not Your Product, How To Extract As Much Value From Your Investor Base As Possible & Should You Really Hire For 6 Months Ahead of What You Need?

Jun 28, 2019 32:02

Description:

Steven Galanis is the Founder & CEO @ Cameo, the startup that allows you to book personalised shoutouts from your favourite people. To date, Steven has raised over $65m in VC funding for Cameo from some of the very best in the business including Bedrock, Nicole Quinn @ Lightspeed, Kleiner Perkins and Spark Capital, just to name a few. Prior to founding cameo, Steven was a Senior AE @ LinkedIn and before that was an options trader in Chicago. With their immense success, they have been featured in all major publications including The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Cameo has also been voted as "The Best Place To Work In Chicago" by GlassDoor.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Steven made his way from AE @ LinkedIn to revolutionising what an autograph means today with his founding of Cameo?

2.) What does Steven believe is the No 1 reason that startup founders fail with their startup today? Why does Steven believe that you have to give up your job to pursue your startup, even in the earliest of days? What advice does Steven give to founders and young graduates who approach him for advice in the earliest of days?

3.) As the company scales, how does Steven think about and approach role allocation internally? How does he prioritise hiring for them? How does he think about internal upscaling? How has he dealt with letting go of responsibilities and delegating to the team? What are the core challenges here? What does he advise founders facing this?

4.) Steven has said before, "don't let good get in the way of great", what did he mean by this? How does he determine between good enough and a stretch too far? How does Steven think about the statement of hiring for 6 months ahead of where you are? What have been his biggest lessons from scaling internationally so fast?

5.) How does Steven think about and approach investor selection? What can founders really do to leverage their investor base and get the most value from them? How does Steven think about the incredibly high CACs of the core channels today? What must founders in the world of consumer do to acquire customers more efficiently?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Steven’s Fave Book: Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies

As always you can follow HarrySteven and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!

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20VC: Benchmark's Bill Gurley on 5 Traits Benchmark Look For When Adding To The Partnership, Why The Abundance of Capital Is Today's Biggest Challenge in VC & The Right Way To Think About Market Size When Assessing Opportunities

Jun 24, 2019 34:51

Description:

Bill Gurley is a General Partner @ Benchmark Capital, one of the most successful funds of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Uber, Twitter, Dropbox, WeWork, Snapchat, StitchFix, eBay and many many more. As for Bill, widely recognised as one of the greats of our time having worked with the likes of GrubHub, NextDoor, Uber, OpenTable, Stitch Fix and Zillow. Prior to Benchmark, Bill was a partner with Hummer Winblad Venture Partners. Before entering venture, Bill spent four years on Wall Street as a top-ranked research analyst, including three years at CS First Boston where his research coverage included such companies as Dell, Compaq, and Microsoft, and he was the lead analyst on the Amazon IPO.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Bill make his way into the world of VC from Credit Suisse and come to be GP at one of the world's leading funds in the form of Benchmark? What were Bill's biggest takeaways from seeing the boom and bust of the dot com? How did that impact Bill's investment mentality today?

2.) Why does Bill believe that one of the biggest challenges today is the abundance of capital? Subsequently, does Bill agree with Peter Fenton statement, "never turn down a deal based on the valuation it is a mental trap"? How does Bill assess his own price sensitivity? What was his learning here in meeting Larry and Serge early on with Google?

3.) How does Bill think about and approach market sizing today? How important is it to him when analysing an investment? Where does Bill believe a lot of managers make mistakes when assessing market sizing today? What was his big lesson here with Uber? How does Bill think about and evaluate market creation and market expansion plays?

4.) Bill has spent over 3,000 hours on some of the most famed boards of the last decade, how has Bill seen his style of board membership change over the last 10 years? What advice would you give to someone who has just joined their first board? How does Bill think about time allocation across the portfolio? What is the right ratio?

5.) How does Bill and Benchmark approach the element of partner selection today? What are the 5 core things that Bill looks for when adding to the partnership? What have Benchmark done that have allowed them to be so successful in generational transition? Why is an equal partnership so transformative when it comes to generational transition?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Bill’s Fave Book: Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos

Bill’s Most Recent Investment: Good Eggs

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Bill on Twitter here!

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20VC: Justin Kan on Why We Have To Normalize Vulnerability in Startups Today, Why Attaching Happiness To Future Outcomes Will Only Lead To Suffering & Why It Is Total BS That You Have To "Suffer" When Doing A Startup

Jun 21, 2019 34:48

Description:

Justin Kan is the Founder and CEO @ Atrium, the startup providing a full-service corporate law firm that uses modern technology to give startups a legal experience that is fast, transparent, and price-predictable. To date, Justin has raised over $75m in funding from some of the best in the business including Founders Fund, a16z, First Round, General Catalyst, Thrive, Initialized and more. Prior to founding Atrium, Justin was a Partner @ Y Combinator, the globally renowned accelerator and the birthplace of some of today's largest startups. Before that Justin was the Co-Founder @ Twitch, the world’s leading video platform and community for gamers which was acquired by Amazon for $970m. If that was not enough, Justin is also a prolific angel investor with investments in the likes of Cruise Automation, Rippling, Zenefits, Triplebyte and more.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Justin made his way into the world of startups and YC? How that led to the founding of Justin.TV, later Twitch? What was that a-ha moment for Atrium?

2.) Why did Justin feel that being an investor full time was not for him? How does Justin think about and approach the learning process as a founder? What advice does Justin give to those who want to quit? What was it that made Justin embrace the series of self-improvement habits he now practices?

3.) What does Justin mean when he says, "attaching yourself to outcomes will only cause your own suffering”? How does Justin think about and advise founders when it comes to burnout? How does Justin feel about the "crushing it" culture in tech? What can we do to normalise vulnerability? What were Justin's biggest takeaways from "The Score takes Care of Itself"?

4.) What have been Justin's experiences with therapy? How does he advise founders thinking of engaging with therapists? What have been his biggest lessons that drive success in therapy? How does Justin look to show authenticity through positivity? What does that really mean?

5.) What have been Justin's biggest takeaways from "The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership"? What are the core principles? What is required to roll out these values and principles within an organisation? What are the fundamental challenges to successfully roll this out on a large scale within your company?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Justin’s Fave Book: The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership

As always you can follow HarryJustin and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!

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20VC: Why Historical Loss Ratios Are Simply Too High, Why Data Is The #1 Most Important Piece When Evaluating Effective Reserve Allocation & Why Nothing Is Truly Defensible Today with Jonathan Hsu, Co-Founder and General Partner @ Tribe Capital

Jun 17, 2019 30:15

Description:

Jonathan Hsu is Co-Founder & General Partner @ Tribe Capital, one of Silicon Valley's newest funds on the block being founded by Jonathan, Arjun Sethi and Ted Maidenberg. To date, Tribe has invested in the likes of Carta, Cover, Mode Analytics, Prodigy and SFOX. As for Jonathan, before founding Tribe he was a Partner @ Social Capital where he utilized data and technology to augment sourcing, evaluation of investment opportunities and the management and value add for portfolio companies. Before that he led the creation of the analytics and data science team at Facebook, including leading the hiring of 200 of the world's leading data scientists and analysts.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jonathan made his way from leading 200 data scientists at Facebook to the world of venture and founding his own firm in the form of Tribe Capital today?

2.) If we structure VC simplistically, there are 4 core components:

Sourcing: How does Jonathan think about the role of data in actively surfacing the best opportunities? that are the leading data fields that Jonathan would track? Why does Jonathan believe most early-stage firms are just using Linkedin Sales Navigator intelligently? Evaluating: How does Jonathan think about the potential for data to really aid in the picking process? At what stage does this really become possible? How much data is required for data to evaluate opportunities? Winning: Winning deals is seemingly a case of human relationships but how does Jonathan think intelligent data usage and benchmarking can actually help firms win the most competitive deals? Value Add: How does Jonathan think about portfolio management with data? How does this differ from the more traditional "value add" that other VCs provide? Where are the common pitfalls Series A companies you work with face in not achieving product-market fit?

3.) Given the data-driven nature of the approach, does Jonathan think that there is an optimal portfolio construction? Why does Jonathan strongly believe that historical loss ratios are too high? Does data allow firms to really intelligently price these assets at the Series A and B? What are the challenges in pricing these assets so early?

4.) How does Jonathan think about reserve allocation? Why is data more critical than ever in the decision to re-invest or not? What are the leading data signals that Jonathan looks for when determining reserve allocation? Why does Jonathan think that so many firms go wrong in how they approach reserve management and distribution?

5.) Question from Henry Ward @ Carta: What does N of 1 markets mean to you Jonathan? Why are they so inherently attractive? How do pricing dynamics play out in markets that are N of 1? How does Jonathan think about defensibility when analysing opportunities today? Is anything truly defensible anymore?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Jonathan’s Fave Book: The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution

Jonathan’s Most Recent Investment: Carta

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Jonathan on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Lime CEO Brad Bao on How Lime Assess The Micro-Mobility Landscape and Competition Today, What It Takes To Launch and Win A New City & Why Lime Have Spent $0 on Marketing To Date

Jun 14, 2019 33:16

Description:

Brad Bao is the Co-Founder & CEO @ Lime, the startup that provides distribution of shared scooters, bikes and transit vehicles, with the aim to reduce dependence on personal automobiles for short distance transportation. To date they have raised over $775m in funding from the likes of Andreessen Horowitz, GV, IVP, Uber, Fifth Wall, GGV, Atomico and Bain Capital Ventures just to name a few. As for Brad, prior to founding Lime he was Managing Partner @ Kinzon Capital for close to 6 years and before that spent an incredible 8 years at Tencent in numerous different roles including VP of Business Development for Tencent Games and General manager for Tencent's US branch where he was responsible for Tencent's US operations.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Brad made his way into the world of technology with Tencent, how that led to the world of investing and then what was that a-ha moment for the founding of Lime? How did Brad's time with Tencent impact his operating mentality today with Lime?

2.) With significant levels of competition, how does Brad assess the competitive landscape today for micro mobility? Does Brad believe customer loyalty comes into play in the segment? Is capital itself a defensible moat in this market? Why is Brad adamant that it is important to spend $0 on marketing? What does this say about the product?

3.) How does Brad think about technological innovation within the space? Does it subscribe to Moore's law in the advancement of the core components? How does Brad think about inherent trade-offs that have to be made in product decisions? How does Brad think about prioritising for unit cost vs product superiority? Why can you not have it all?

4.) How does Brad think about launching new cities? What does it take to win in those geographies? What are all the necessary parts to setup when entering a new location? What is the biggest determinant of a location success? Density? Maturity?

5.) Brad has assembled a truly world-class exec team, what does Brad think it takes to attract truly A* talent? When should founders really start to think about building out their own exec team? What does Brad believe it is that makes his partnership with Toby Sun work so well? What have been his learnings from the development of that relationship?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Brad’s Fave Book: Good To Great by Jim Collins

As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!

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20VC: a16z's Scott Kupor on The Biggest Learnings From Scaling a16z from $300m to $7Bn AUM, The Biggest Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make When Pitching VCs & Why VC Is Simply A Customer Service Business

Jun 10, 2019 29:59

Description:

Scott Kupor is Managing Partner @ Andreessen Horowitz, one of the world's most renowned venture funds with a portfolio including the likes of Facebook, Airbnb, Github, Lyft, Coinbase, Slack and many more. As for Scott, he has been with the firm since its inception in 2009 and has overseen its rapid growth, from three employees to 150+ and from $300 million in assets under management to more than $7 billion today. Before a16z, Scott was a VP @ HP where he managed a $1.5 billion (1,300 person) global support organization for HP Software product portfolio. Scott joined HP as a result of his prior company Opsware, being acquired, where he served as a Senior VP across numerous roles across an incredible 8-year journey. 

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Scott made his way from the world of law to startups to being Managing Partner at one of the world's most renowned venture firms in the form of a16z?

2.) How did seeing the boom and bust of the dot com bubble and 2008 impact Scott's operating mindset today? Why does he argue that those times are so drastically different to today? How do public markets fundamentally diffferent? How do teams approach to capital efficiency and scaling differ significantly?

3.) What does Scott believe entrepreneurs get most wrong when pitching VCs? Why does Scott argue that product is not the core when pitching VCs? Does Scott agree with Fred @ Okta in weighing it: 70% market, 20% team, 10% product? What is Scott's weighting? Why does Scott believe that the compression of fundraising timelines is a problem? What pitch sticks out to Scott above all others? What made it so memorable?

4.) How does Scott advise founders on determining the right amount to raise for? Does Scott believe that founders should ask for a specific number or a range? Why does Scott believe raising for "runway" is the wrong mindset? Does Scott believe that most bridges are bridges to nowhere? If so, what is the next step? How does one relay that information to the founders?

5.) What have been some of Scott's biggest learnings from building the firm with Marc and Ben? What does Scott believe have been the biggest inflexion points in the public status of a16z? What have been the biggest challenges for Scott in the scaling of the firm? How does he foresee that changing in the future?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Scott’s Fave Book: Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Scott on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Plaid's Zach Perret on Why You Have To Hire For Spikes and What That Really Means, Fintech Predictions From Incumbent Entrants To The Rise of Europe & The 2 Big Questions That CEOs Should Ask Themselves

Jun 7, 2019 32:47

Description:

Zach Perret is the Founder & CEO @ Plaid, the startup providing the easiest way for users to connect their bank accounts to an app whether it be transactions, identity or authentication. To date, Zach has raised over $300m with Plaid from some of the best in the business including Mary Meeker, Index Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Felicis, Spark and Homebrew, just to name a few. As for Zach, as CEO he has scaled Plaid to today with over 300 employees, 3 international offices and over 10Bn transactions analysed. Prior to founding Plaid, Zach was a consultant @ Bain.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Zach made his way into the world of startups from consulting at Bain and what led to the founding of Plaid and the mission to unlock consumer finance? What advice would Zach give to emerging grads today, questioning whether to join or start a startup?

2.) What does great leadership and CEOship look like to Zach? How has Zach seen himself evolve and develop as a leader over the last few years? How does Zach think about prioritisation? How does Zach determine what to say yes vs what to say no to? What has Zach found the most challenging in scaling as a CEO? What has he done to mitigate this?

3.) How does Zach think about constructing the optimal recruitment process? What have been some of Zach's biggest lessons in what it takes to really recruit world-class talent? What does Zach mean when he says, "you have to hire for spikes"? How does Zach manage the tension of keeping the high-quality bar whilst also sustaining the very steep growth curve?

4.) Plaid recently raised $275m, how does Zach think about capital efficiency with Plaid today? How does Zach determine when is the right time to transition from the mindset of lean and iteration to raising a war chest and going for the home run? What is Zach's biggest advice to founders when it comes to investor selection? Is it possible for the investor and the founder to be "friends"?

5.) When assessing the fintech landscape today, what is Zach most excited to see develop over the next 12-18 months? How are we seeing much larger incumbents like Goldman innovate in the proliferated world of fintech startups? How does the US view the fintech innovation that has occurred in the UK? What does this mean for US fintechs?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Zach’s Fave Book: Hard Drive: Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Zach on Twitter here!

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20VC: Why Portfolio Construction Is Inefficient, Why The Only Thing That Matters In Venture Is Pricing & The Future of Venture; Bundled or Unbundled with Zach Coelius

Jun 3, 2019 37:05

Description:

Zach Coelius is Managing Partner @ Coelius Capital and in his own words, "a pretty eclectic investor who loves to see just about any deal". To date, Zach has made investments in the likes of mParticle, Cruise Automation, Branch Metrics, SkySafe, ProsperWorks and more. In addition, Zach is or has been an advisor to LiveRamp, Hellosign, Art19, Loom.ai, Survata and StartGrid just to name a few. Prior to his investing career, Zach was CEO @ Triggit, an online adtech company which he raised over $18m for and was ultimately acquired in 2015. If that was not enough, Zach is also a Senior Advisor to McKinsey & Co.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Zach made his way from the world of operating and adtech to investing and advising startups today? When does Zach feel the ecosystem really started to take him seriously as an investor? What did Zach learn from being in the adtech space that he has applied to his investing today?

2.) The Future of Venture: Naval has previously said we will see "the unbundling of VC", does Zach agree with this view? Why does Zach feel we are seeing both the bundling and the unbundling of venture platforms? What unique challenges does this pose for both sides of the equation? How should entrepreneurs evaluate the different options, bundled vs unbundled?

3.) Portfolio Construction: Why does Zach believe that portfolio construction is fundamentally inefficient? What 2 core areas of venture does portfolio construction cause issues for? When does Zach view to be the ideal insertion point if optimising for absolute returns and not following portfolio construction?

4.) Reserve Allocation and Pricing: Why does Zach think that the current mechanism for reserve allocation is broken? Why is it a fundamentally bias process? What does the optimal investment decision-making process look like to Zach? How does Zach think about the asymmetric information that is gained from being early into a company? How can investors really use it to their advantage? Why do they not?

5.) Why does Zach compare being an entrepreneur to being a gladiator and a rocketship? Why does Alex believe the transition from space articulation to product articulation is the most important thing an entrepreneur can do? What is the true sign of this transition in customer interactions? Where do many entrepreneurs make mistakes here?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Zach’s Fave Book: The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life

Zach’s Most Recent Investment: Mud\Wtr

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Zach on Twitter here!

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20VC: Why You Must Have A Customer Acquisition Strategy From Day 1, How To Test and Validate Ideas At Speed & Why You Should Speak To Investors Before Starting Work On Your Idea with Kulveer Taggar, Founder @ CEO @ Zeus Living

May 31, 2019 31:49

Description:

Kulveer Taggar is the Founder & CEO @ Zeus Living, the startup providing a home of your own for business travel with smartly furnished homes for extended stays. To date, Kul has raised over $14m in VC funding from some dear friends of the show in the form of Garry and Alexis @ Initialized, James and Pete @ NFX, Mike @ Floodgate, Y Combinator, GV and Naval Ravikant just to name a few. Prior to Zeus, Kul co-founded Auctomatic alongside Stripe's Patrick Collison, they ultimately sold the company for $5m. Before that, Kul co-founded Bosco, alongside former 20VC guest, Monzo's Tom Blomfield, they raised seed funding from YC before moving to the states to start Auctomatic. If that wasn't enough, Kul has also made several angel investments in the likes of Boom, Airhelp, Meetings.io and more.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Kul made his way from Oxford University to being at the centre of one of tech's most powerful hubs of YC and then with the founding of Zeus? What were Kul's biggest takeaways from his first 2 startups? How did that impact his operating mentality?

2.) What did the idea generation process look like for Kul with Zeus? How was James Currier @ NFX so foundational helping here? Why does Kul believe that the idea "really is everything" today? Why does Kul believe that customer acquisition channels are a core part of the product that must be considered from Day 1?

3.) Before hitting on Zeus, Kul and the team had many ideas, what did that idea validation process look like? How did Kul keep morale high in the team when continuously trying and stopping work on new projects? How does Kul think you can use culture as a superpower? As a leader, how can you be both vulnerable and strong at the same time?

4.) Kul has previously said that "tech-enabled businesses are just much harder than pure software plays". Why is that? What makes them so much more challenging? How do the required skills to be successful change when moving from pure software to tech-enabled? What single question remains the most important to ask when innovating in either?

5.) VCs are not so used to such operationally heavy businesses so how did Kul find the fundraising process? Why does Kul advocate that all founders should speak to investors and A/B test their idea before starting work on it? How did investors differ when comparing SF vs NYC? How did the messaging have to change? What was the most common pushback or concern? What have Initialized done to have such a foundational impact? What makes Garry such a special investor to have on board?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Kul’s Fave Book: How The Mind Works by Steven Pinker

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Kul on Twitter here!

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20VC: Y Combinator's New President, Geoff Ralston on The Single Most Important Perspective An Investor Can Provide A Founder, The Biggest Lessons From Working Alongside Paul Graham & Why You Will Lose As An Investor If You "Profile Invest"

May 27, 2019 34:07

Description:

Geoff Ralston is President @ Y Combinator, the world's leading accelerator with a portfolio that includes the likes of Stripe, Airbnb, Dropbox, Coinbase, Instacart, DoorDash, Flexport and so many more. As for Geoff, he started his career running engineering at Four11, where he built RocketMail, which in 1997 became Yahoo! Mail. At Yahoo! Geoff worked in engineering, then ran a business unit, then became Chief Product Officer. After Yahoo! he was CEO of Lala, which was acquired in 2009 by Apple. Post Lala, Geoff then co-founded the world’s first educational technology accelerator, Imagine K12 which funded dozens of edtech companies including ClassDojo, Remind, and Panorama Education. Imagine K12 merged with YC in 2016.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Geoff made his way into the world of technology and startups, came to found Imagine K12 and how that led to becoming President @ Y Combinator today?

2.) What were Geoff's biggest takeaways from seeing the boom and bust of the macro environment in the dot com and 2008? How did those times impact both his operating and investing mentality? Why does Geoff believe 2000 was "purifying"? Why can the same not be said for 2008? How was 2008 so different?

3.) Frederic Kerrest @ Okta said: "it is 70% market, 20% team and 10% product", would Geoff agree with this weighting? How has his weighting changed over time? YC has "10 Minute Meetings", how can YC really determine whether someone is investable in 10 mins? How does Geoff think about the hailed VC term, "pattern matching"? Why does Geoff believe you lose as an investor if you fall back on "profiles"?

4.) Geoff has worked with 100s of founders in the idea validation stage, how does Geoff know when a founder has the right idea? How does Geoff think about the balance between mission and vision but then also being realistic about when something is not working? When do you quit? Why is the decision internal not external? What is the most important perspective any investor can give a founder?

5.) How does Geoff think about the coined term "product-market fit" and how does he analyse it in terms of retention and growth? If they have some signs of it, how should founders think about when is the right time to raise their first round? How does Geoff think about the benefits for founders of convertibles and now SAFE's? What does Geoff believe will be the future of legal round mechanics?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Geoff’s Fave Book: Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Geoff on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Front's Mathilde Collin on Why Discipline Is More Important Than Vision, The Right Way To Approach Investor Updates and Director Reports & How To Effectively Structure 1-1s

May 24, 2019 33:06

Description:

Mathilde Collin is the Co-Founder & CEO @ Front, reinventing the email inbox with new workflows and efficient collaboration so people can accomplish more together. To date, Mathilde has raised over $79m in VC funding with Front from some of the best in the business including Bryan Schreier @ Sequoia, Initialized, Uncork Capital, Boldstart and individuals including Andrew Chen, Elad Gil, Ray Tonsing the list goes on. With 4,500+ customers, and 100+ employees, in Paris, San Francisco and Amsterdam, Front is one of the fastest growing companies in SaaS and Mathilde has become a thought leader for the next generation of SaaS CEOs, read more on her blog here. 

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Mathilde made her way from product manager in Paris to founding one of the hottest and fastest growing companies in the world of SaaS in the form of Front?

2.) What does Mathilde mean when she says, "I would choose discipline over vision any day of the week"? What does discipline really mean to Mathilde? Why is it a priority in the early days? How can a VC stress test and determine the level of discipline a founder has in first meetings? What are the signs or leading indicators?

3.) Communications:

Investor Updates: What is Mathilde's biggest advice to founders when it comes to investor updates? What should they contain? How often should they go out? How should founders ask for help in updates? Where do founders often make mistakes? Revenue Updates: Why does Mathilde do revenue updates with the team? Is there a danger of being too transparent? What are the benefits of this transparency? What is the structure of the update? Who is privy to it? Direct Reports: How does Mathilde communicate with her direct reports? Why does Mathilde believe that CEOs should have their calendar public? What is the right cadence for these direct reports?

4.) How does Mathilde approach and think about fundraises with Front today? How can founders know when is the right time to raise? How does Mathilde think about building relationships with investors when she is not raising? How transparent should founders be when they are not raising? What are Mathilde tips for always overshooting her numbers? How does Mathilde conduct DD on potential investors in the company?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Mathilde’s Fave Book: The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Mathilde on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Softbank Managing Partner, Jeff Housenbold on How Softbank Approach Portfolio Construction, Their Optimal Investment Decision-Making Process and What Excites Softbank Most In Opportunities Today

May 20, 2019 33:46

Description:

Jeff Housenbold is a Managing Partner @ Softbank Vision Fund, the leading and most influential firm in the venture space investing more than $93 billion in the businesses and technologies they believe will enable the next stage of the information revolution. To date, Jeff has backed the likes of OpenDoor, DoorDash, Wag, Clutter, Brandless and Katerra just to name a few. Prior to Softbank, Jeff spent 11 years as President and CEO @ Shutterfly, during his tenure the company enjoyed incredible growth with the growth of the team from 103 to 2,600 employees. In the past, Jeff has sat on the board of Caesers Entertainment (the world's largest casino entertainment company), Groupon and Chegg and is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of Carnegie Mellon University.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jeff made his way from being President and CEO of Shutterfly for 11 years to writing $200m-2Bn checks as Managing Partner @ Softbank Vision Fund?

2.) We have Wag on the small end and Uber on the high end, so how does Softbank think about portfolio construction and insertion point today? Blended, at what stage would Softbank like their capital to be most concentrated? Does Jeff believe that ownership is largely built on the first check or built over time?

3.) What does the internal investment-decision making process look like for Softbank? How does this decision-making process change when considering reserve allocation? How does Softbank think about and approach reserves given their later entry into companies? Given the size of check being written, what does diligence look like in the standard process for Softbank?

4.) Given the forthy pricing environment today, how does Jeff assess his own price sensitivity? Does this differ depending on the stage of entry? With many suggesting Softbank have extended the period of privatisation for companies, how does Jeff and the team think about liquidity? How does Jeff think about the future of secondaries for seed managers and angels?

5.) Question from Eric Wu @ Opendoor: How does Jeff think about and analyse the opportunity in fragmented categories? What is the bottoms up thought process to this thesis? Speaking of Opendoor, how does Jeff most like to work with the founders he backs? How does Jeff think about he allocates his time across the portfolio?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Jeff’s Fave Book: The Fountainhead

Jeff’s Most Recent Investment: Katerra

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Jeff on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

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20VC: How To Build True Human Relationships with VC Pre-Investment, Why Valuation Is Not The Only Term and When To Take Lower Offers & How To Approach Mental Health As A Founder with Jon Dishotsky, Founder & CEO @ Starcity

May 17, 2019 31:00

Description:

Jon Dishotsky is the Founder & CEO @ Starcity, the startup on a mission to make cities more affordable to everyone allowing you to live with great people in the city you love. To date, Jon has raised over $28m in funding for Starcity from the likes of Social Capital, Y Combinator, Bullpen Capital, NEA and Kima Ventures in Paris, just to name a few. Prior to founding Starcity, Jon did over 3M square feet of commercial real estate transactions for clients including Optimizely, Cruise Automation, Weebly, Zenefits and many more. Before that he spent 8 years at the prestigious Cushman & Wakefield. Jon is also an active angel investor with investments in the likes of Remote, Fond and Savvy.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jon made his way from doing real estate transactions for clients including YC to being one of the hottest prop tech startups making cities affordable with Starcity?

2.) Why did it take so long for the venture ecosystem to get excited by the rise of proptech? What was the catalyst? When advising VCs, how do you advise them to get comfortable investing in these heavy asset, non-lean startup businesses? What are the biggest mistakes investors make when analysing proptech?

3.) What were some of Jon's biggest takeaways from his time at YC? How does Jon advise other founders looking to get into YC today? When it comes to investor selection, in what cases would Jon take a lower valuation against other offers? How does Jon advise founders on investor selection? What questions should they ask? Why is it like hiring? What are the common mistakes that Jon sees founders make when selecting investors?

4.) How does Jon advise founders when it comes to improving the quality of their mental health? Where do Jon struggle? How does Jon engage with social media knowing the psychological effects it has? What have been some major breakthroughs for him? Why does Jon believe having kids has made him a better founder? Why does Jon believe that older entrepreneurs are actually more successful than younger founders?

5.) What is Jon's biggest advice to founders when it comes to building relationships with VCs? Should founders "always be raising"? How transparent should founders be with VCs both in the relationship building process and the fundraise itself?

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Jon on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Kleiner Perkins' Mamoon Hamid on The Strategy Behind The New $600m "Back To The Future" Fund, The Truth To Price Sensitivity at Series A & Why Venture Team Building Is Like Basketball Team Building

May 13, 2019 32:32

Description:

Mamoon Hamid is a Partner @ Kleiner Perkins, one of Silicon Valley's most prestigious venture firms counting Google, Airbnb, Amazon, Spotify, Square and many more $Bn companies among their portfolio. As for Mamoon, he has invested in and served on the boards of some of the most innovative software companies of recent times including Box, Figma, Intercom, Netskope, Slack and Yammer. Prior to joining Kleiner Perkins, Mamoon was a Co-Founder and General Partner at Social Capital and before that Mamoon was a Partner at U.S. Venture Partners (USVP), where he spent six years.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Mamoon make the transition from electrical engineer to VC and how did that translate to his role today as Partner @ KPCB?

2.) With Kleiner's new $600m early stage fund, Mamoon had a blank canvas, how does Mamoon think about portfolio construction from a bottom-up perspective? Why is that strategy optimal? How important does Mamoon believe it is for VCs to have a sector focus today? What does he mean when he says, "VCs need to have both majors and minors"?

3.) In today's heated early stage ecosystem, how does Mamoon analyse and reflect on his own price sensitivity? What deal has changed the way he thought about price and he either regrets not paying it or is thrilled he did pay it? How does Mamoon feel about the compressed fundraising timelines we are seeing today? Is this a concern?

4.) How does KPCB think about reserve allocation with the new $600m fund? How do they approach the opportunity cost of dollar deployment in terms of when to stop following on? How does the investment decision-making process change when comparing initial to reserve investment?

5.) Where does Mamoon believe that founders need the most help from their venture investors? Where does Mamoon see the commonalities in founders struggles to scale themselves with their role? What are the biggest mistakes Mamoon sees being made when initial traction has been hit and they start to scale? How can founders avoid these?

6.) How does Mamoon think about and address what it takes to build the most successful and efficient venture partnership? How does Mamoon compare this to a basketball team? Is venture really a team sport today? what are some of the biggest challenges in scaling venture firms over time?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Mamoon’s Fave Book: Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio

Mamoon’s Most Recent Investment: Viz.ai

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Mamoon on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Clearbanc's Michele Romanow on Why 40% of VC $ Raised Today Goes To Google and Facebook, How To Create A Financing Mechanism For The Repeatable Parts Of Your Business & Why We Need To Stop Celebrating Fundraises

May 10, 2019 31:10

Description:

Michele Romanow is the Founder & CEO @ Clearbanc, the startup that provides entrepreneurs capital to grow without giving up a piece of their company. In 2019 alone, Clearbanc plans to invest $1B in 2,000 companies. To fund these ambitious plans, they have backing from some of the best in the business including Founders Fund, Santi @ Emergence, Social Capital, Precursor Ventures and Y Combinator just to name a few. As for Michele, prior to Clearbanc, she founded SnapSaves, a leading mobile savings platform that was acquired by Groupon. Before Snapsaves, Michele founded Buytopia, one of Canada’s leading e-commerce companies with over 2.5m customers. If that was not enough Michele is also a Dragon on Dragons Den Canada, the youngest dragon ever.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Michele made her way from serial entrepreneur with exits to Groupon and being a Dragon on Dragons Den to changing the way we fund today's businesses with Clearbanc?

2.) Why does Michele fundamentally believe we need to rethink the way we fund our businesses? Why does giving away equity to buy FC and Google ads not make sense? What is the solution? What types of business with what types of revenue does this work for? Why does Michele believe we need to fundamentally stop celebrating fundraisings?

3.) So if Clearbanc lends on repeatable revenue from Google and Facebook, how does Michele think about the volatility of CACs we see as businesses progress? Is Michele concerned by the large incumbents pushing up CACs on traditional platforms? Investors can also be wise strategic advisors, how does Michele think about the potential loss of these advisors and board members with an alternative financing mechanism?

4.) From Clearbanc's data, what have been the big learnings on how venture is currently distributed across the US? To what extent does Michele believe that unconscious bias pervades into the decision-making of much of venture? What have Clearbanc discovered in terms of the diversity of the founders they back, purely through objective data analysis of their businesses?

5.) How does Michele respond when shit hits the fan? What is her coping mechanism? How would Michele advise young founders today in coping with tough times? What were Michele's lessons from her first sturgeon caviar business not being a success?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Michele’s Fave Book: Little Black Stretchy Pants

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Michele on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Want to book your own travel and not have the admin team chasing you for every receipt? Take your business travel program to the next level with TravelPerk. They’ve built the world’s largest inventory of low-cost flights, hotels, airbnb, trains, cars, you name it, all in one gorgeous booking experience. AND they’re built for business. Book, manage, support, analyze, and optimize your business travel, all in one place. Add to this a support team made up of dedicated travel experts who deliver a 7-star experience around the clock, and you’re taking corporate travel out of the dark ages. 20VC listeners can score a free lounge pass to over 1200 airports for a whole year. Not only will you be able to add “company savior” to your email signature, but you can also enjoy the luxury of amazing airport lounges all over the world. Click here to find out more!

20VC: Why Consumer Brands Must Embrace Physical Retail To Avoid Inflated Online CACs, How To Alter Fund Strategy When Investing In Consumer Retail & Why The Era of The 1,000 Store Brand Is Over with Brendan Wallace, Founder and Managing Partner @ Fifth Wa

May 6, 2019 37:54

Description:

Brendan Wallace is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner @ Fifth Wall, the fund with the core thesis being the physical world around us is colliding with technology. Within their portfolio is the likes of Lime, OpenDoor, Clutter, ClassPass, Lyric and Hippo just to name a few. As for Brendan, before co-founding Fifth Wall he co-founded Identified, a data & analytics company focused on workforce optimization that was acquired by Workday in 2014. Prior to that, Brendan co-founded Cabify, the largest ridesharing service in Latin America. If that was not enough, Brendan has been an active angel investor having led over 60 angel investments including Bonobos, Dollar Shave Club, Lyft, SpaceX, Clutter, Philz Coffee and Zenefits.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Brendan made his way from founding the largest ridesharing platform in Latin America to changing the face of early stage real estate and consumer retail investing with Fifth Wall?

2.) What is really going on in retail today? Is "retail apocalypse" a fair term to give to the landscape today? What formats does physical retail no longer work for? What is it perfect for? How does Brendan think about the distribution of physical retail for emerging brands? Will they need 1,000s of stores or is the 1,000 store brand era over?

3.) Why do digitally native brands fundamentally need retail? How much of consumer US spend relies on physical retail still today? When do these DNVB's need to expand into physical retail? From speaking to DNVB CEO's what are the most common challenges they face when making the expansion?

4.) How does expanding into physical retail change the game in terms of customer acquisition for DNVBs? At what point do DNVBs hit the invisible asymptote where acquiring customers through traditional online channels is no longer efficient? How have Amazon impacted the CACs for DNVBs in recent years?

5.) Given the consumer retail focus of the fund, one would expect a lower loss ratio, is it right to assume the lower loss ratio? How does Brendan think about portfolio construction with the fund? How does reserve allocation differ when investing in physical retail vs pure software plays? Is Brendan concerned by the lack of downstream capital in the physical retail space?

6.) How does Brendan assess outcome potential when comparing physical retail to pure software plays? Why des Brendan believe we will see a ton of intermediate outcomes? How does this change the type of entrepreneur that Brendan looks to back with the retail fund?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Brendan’s Fave Book: The Great Gatsby

Brendan’s Most Recent Investment: Heyday

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Brendan on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Want to book your own travel and not have the admin team chasing you for every receipt? Take your business travel program to the next level with TravelPerk. They’ve built the world’s largest inventory of low-cost flights, hotels, airbnb, trains, cars, you name it, all in one gorgeous booking experience. AND they’re built for business. Book, manage, support, analyze, and optimize your business travel, all in one place. Add to this a support team made up of dedicated travel experts who deliver a 7-star experience around the clock, and you’re taking corporate travel out of the dark ages. 20VC listeners can score a free lounge pass to over 1200 airports for a whole year. Not only will you be able to add “company savior” to your email signature, but you can also enjoy the luxury of amazing airport lounges all over the world. Click here to find out more!

20VC: Okta Founder Frederic Kerrest on Why You Want To Be A Monopolist In A Small Market, The Biggest Challenges in Scaling Okta To IPO and Being a16z's First Ever Fund Check

May 3, 2019 36:01

Description:

Frederic Kerrest is the Founder & COO @ Okta, the independent and neutral platform that securely connects the right people to the right technologies at the right time. To date Frederic has raised over $415m with Okta from some of the best in the business including Doug Leone @ Sequoia, Marc Andreessen @ a16z, a dear friend of the show in Mike Maples @ Floodgate, Aneel Bhusri @ Greylock and Vinod Khosla, just to name a few. Okta IPO'd in April 2017 at a stock price of $17, today they sit at $102. Before founding Okta, Frederic enjoyed roles with Hummer Winblad on the other side of the table as a VC and also at Salesforce and Sun Microsystems on the operations side.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Frederic came to found the now public Okta having spent time with Salesforce, Sun Microsystems and Hummer Winblad as a VC?

2.) What about an idea makes it worth pursuing and investing in? Does Frederic agree with the advice he was given, "it is 70% market, 20% people and 10% product"? When evaluating a market, what characteristics make for the most attractive markets? How does Frederic think about insertion points into markets? How does he evaluate market adjacencies? Why is it so good to be a monopolist in a small market?

3.) What were some of the hardest times Okta went through? How does Frederic determine the balance between vision and realism? How does Frederic as the leader personally deal with these challenging times? How can a founder determine from their hiring process whether they have product-market fit? What were the key turnings points that contributed to Okta's success? What did you have to get right to keep scaling?

4.) A little birdy told me there was an amazing story behind the a16z investment, what is that story? How did Frederic meet Marc and Ben and how did his relationship with them evolve over time? When analysing his investor base, where did each add real strategic value? What advice does Frederic give to founders today on the theme of investor selection? What should the core considerations be?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Frederic’s Fave Book: Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Frederic on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Why Lead Lime's Series D Funding Round, Why Engineers Are Underpaid & Why 74% of US Venture Firms Still Do Not Have Female GPs

Apr 29, 2019 45:16

Description:

Sarah Smith is a Partner @ Bain Capital Ventures, a leading US venture fund with a portfolio that includes the likes of LinkedIn, Lime, SendGrid, Jet.com and more incredible companies. As for Sarah, what a start she has had to her time at Bain leading investments in the likes Perksy and the unicorn that is Lime. Prior to joining Bain, Sarah spent 5 years at Quora both as VP of Advertising Sales and Operations and then also from 2012-2016 as VP of HR, Recruiting, and Operations scaling the company from 40 to 200 employees. Before Quora, Sarah spent 4 years at Facebook as Director of Online Operations where her team scaled revenue to $1 billion ARR while reducing churn and increasing customer satisfaction.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Sarah made her way into the world of venture having seen the hyper-growth of both Facebook and Quora over 9 years in operations? What were the biggest takeaways from her time with Facebook and Quora? What lessons did Sarah learn as an elementary school music teacher that she has applied to her role in VC?

2.) Sarah and Bain led the Series D in Lime, so how does Sarah think about:

Market Size: How did Sarah think about and assess market size when evaluating Lime? How does Sarah respond to Peter Fenton's statement, "I always laugh when I hear investors say they look for big markets"? Competition: How did Sarah look to get comfortable entering such a fiercely competitive space? Is capital itself a defensible moat? Dilution: With such huge future funding requirements for these companies, how did Sarah get comfortable with the level of dilution that will surely occur? Hardware & Unit economics: How does Sarah think about and respond to the current level of break rates? How does Sarah believe Lime can have positive unit economics within 18 months?

3.) Why does Sarah believe that engineers are fundamentally underpaid? How does this tie into their mindset and attitude to equity? Why does Sarah believe the 4-year vesting schedule is fundamentally outdated? What would Sarah advise founders in terms of comp package to put in it's place? Does Sarah believe the high attrition rate in the valley is a feature or a bug?

4.) Why does Sarah believe it is glib to say the lack of equality is merely the problem of VC being an old boy club? What are the more foundational and systemic problems that have caused this inequality? Why does GP commit fundamentally inhibit diversity? For firms looking to add a female partner, what is their literal next step? What does that process look like? What can they do to ensure their success in the first year? Where does Sarah see many firms going wrong here? What must firms avoid?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Sarah’s Fave Book: Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys' Club of Silicon ValleyThe Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You

Sarah’s Most Recent Investment: Perksy

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Sarah on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Why Startup Founders Have One Core Job, How To Reduce Risk & Increase Probability In Your Startup & Why You Should Not Send A Pitch Deck Pre-Investor Meeting with David Rogier, Founder & CEO @ Masterclass

Apr 26, 2019 30:51

Description:

David Rogier is the Founder & CEO @ Masterclass, the startup that brings you online classes taught by the world's greatest minds including Steve Martin, Natalie Portman, Margaret Attwood and more. To date, David has raised over $140m in funding for Masterclass from the likes of IVP, NEA, Javelin, Michael Dearing @ Harrison Metal, Atomico and past guests of the show Sam Lessin and Philip Krim. As for David, prior to founding Masterclass, he was on the other side of the table as an investor with Harrison Metal. Before venture, David spent time with IDEO helping to create new consumer products and brands.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How David made his way into the world of startups? How a lesson from his grandmother when he was only 7 shaped the type of company David wanted to build?

2.) David has previously said, "as a founder, you have one job". What is that job? How does David think about how raising VC changes outcomes? Why does David think many founders approach fundraising the wrong way? What questions must founders always ask a VC pre-term sheet? How can founders do their work and diligence on the VC?

3.) Why does David try at all costs to not send the deck to the VC ahead of meeting? Why can this be damaging? How can founders say no politely? Does David agree with the conventional wisdom that "founders must always be raising"? What is the optimal way to structure relationship building with investors?

4.) What does David mean when he says, "pick your investors as board members, not investors"? What does David believe makes the truly special board members? What were David's biggest learnings from Michael Dearing @ Harrison Metal when it comes to boards? What does David believe are big red flags in potential future board members?

5.) When validating the idea and the product, how does David think founders should use testing to prove their thesis at every stage of the business? Why, if proved, does this automatically secure your funding for the next round? What do VCs like to see in this testing? How does David think about when is the right time to go and raise big?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

David’s Fave Book: Creativity Inc

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and David on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Lightspeed's Jeremy Liew on Why It Is More Important To Be Right Than Contrarian, The Most Common Mistakes Made By Hyper-Growth Companies & 3 Characteristics That Make An Individual Incredible At Sourcing

Apr 22, 2019 35:36

Description:

Jeremy Liew is a Partner @ Lightspeed Venture Partners, one of the leading firms of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Snapchat, Mulesoft, Max Levchin’s Affirm, AppDynamics and many more incredible companies. As for Jeremy, he is best known for being the 1st investor in Snapchat and has also led investments in StitchFix, Affirm, Ripple, Giphy and Bonobos just to name a few. Previously, Jeremy was with AOL, first as SVP of corporate development and chief of staff to the CEO, and then as general manager of Netscape. Due to his incredible investing success, Jeremy has been featured on the Forbes Midas List multiple times.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jeremy made his way into the world of venture with Lightspeed and came to be one of the valley's leading consumer investors and minds?

2.) How does Jeremy think about and approach sourcing today? How has mindset on sourcing shifted over the last decade? For a new VC, what would Jeremy advise them in terms of building them benchmark for distinguishing between good and great? How does Jeremy distinguish between good and great? Who does Jeremy believe is the most naturally gifted sourcer and hunter he has worked with?

3.) What does Jeremy mean when he says, "it is more important to be right than contrarian"? From winning some of the hottest deals, what have been Jeremy's lessons on what it takes to win the most competitive? What does he mean when he says, "you have to find your home advantage"? Should investors spend time amplifying their strengths or improving their weaknesses? How does Jeremy think about the round compression timelines on hot deals today? How can investors and founders build relationships fast?

4.) Why does Jeremy believe that founder to VC engagement can be similar to a driving instructor and student? What are the biggest mistakes startups make when they hit initial traction and start to scale? WHat patterns has Jeremy seen? How can founders avoid them?

5.) How does Jeremy fundamentally structure his week and time? What time is devoted to internal meetings and partnership meetings? How much time is allocated to the existing portfolio? How much time is spent with new prospective companies? What is Jeremy's favourite and least favourite activities within the role?

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Jeremy on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Figma Founder Dylan Field on The Biggest Mistakes Young Founders Most Often Make, How To Go Slow To Go Fast With Venture Dollars & How The Design Process Will Fundamentally Change Over The Next 5-10 Years

Apr 19, 2019 35:12

Description:

Dylan Field is the Founder & CEO @ Figma, the startup that provides a better way to design, prototype and collaborate, all in the browser. To date, Dylan has raised over $82m in funding from some of the world's best investors including Sequoia, Greylock, Kleiner Perkins, Founders Fund, Index Ventures and more. Prior to changing the world of design with Figma, Dylan held roles at Flipboard, Microsoft and LinkedIn and was part of the renowned Thiel Fellowship.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Dylan made his way from Thiel fellow to changing the world of design and prototyping with Figma?

2.) What is the story behind the 4-year journey to the launch of their first product? How did Dylan maintain morale with such an extended window between creation and launch? What are the core challenges of building tools companies and getting initial traction? How did Dylan satiate VCs desire for fast growth with such a long period to launch? Is it possible to "go slow to go fast" with VC dollars?

3.) Sequoia led Figma's Series C, how did the round come together? What was it that made Dylan choose the lead investors for each of his rounds? How did this round compare to prior rounds led by Index, Kleiner and Greylock? How does Dylan advise founders to build relationships of trust and transparency with their VC in short period of time?

4.) How did Dylan approach the topic of board construction? What did he most want to get out of his board? What have been some of Dylan's biggest learnings when it comes to board management? What has Dylan found the most challenging element?

5.) As a young founder himself, where does Dylan see commonalities in the mistakes that other young founders make today? As a young founder, how has Dylan been able to hire A** talent execs? What have been some of the biggest learnings on team assembly and construction through the process?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Dylan’s Fave Book: Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Dylan on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: So You Want To Be Acquired? Instacart VP of Corp Dev, Dave Sobota on His Biggest Lessons From 10 Years in Google's M&A Team Working on The Acquisitions of Motorola, Waze & Android

Apr 15, 2019 27:43

Description:

Dave Sobota is the Vice President of Corporate Development @ Instacart, the company that delivers your groceries in as little as 1 hour. To date the company has raised over $1.9Bn in funding from some of the very best investors and operators including Mike Moritz @ Sequoia, Jeff Jordan @ a16z, Aaron Levie @ Box, Sam Altman, Garry Tan and more incredible names. As for Dave, prior to Instacart, he was Director of Corporate Development @ Google for over 10 years and before that was with leading law firm, Wilson Sonsini.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Dave made his way from the world of law to Director of Corporate Development at Google to his position at Instacart today?

2.) In 2016, we had 513 BC backed exits, 499 were M&A, so how does Dave assess the M&A landscape today? Why id Dave bullish on the future M&A environment, at least for the next 12 months? Where are his concerns around M&A clustering? How does Dave view the entrance of large scale PE into the tech M&A arena?

3.) From leading Google's M&A practice, what have been Dave's core learnings on whether an entrepreneur should sell their company or remain independent? Paul Graham once said, "startups only talk to corp dev when they are doing really well or really badly". Does Dave agree? What are the reasons a startup would not speak to corp dev? What is the right way for them to communicate this while leaving the door open for future conversations?

4.) How does Dave operationalise the tracking of the startup market and determine what startups he wants to meet? How does Dave like to and think about working with the VC community here? What does that relationship building process look like? In those early meetings, what are the core questions that founders must ask? How much of a role does price play for Dave when considering an acquisition?

5.) How can founders ensure when they sell their company, that it will be properly integrated? What answers from the acquirer suggest it will or will not be? From countless M&A processes, what do the best integrations look like post-acquisition? Where are mistakes often made? Does Dave agree with Paul Graham in stating it is a "gruelling" process?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Dave’s Fave Book: Lonesome Dove

Dave’s Most Recent Acquisition: Tenor

As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!

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20VC: Carta Founder Henry Ward on Why The Best Companies Are Not Product Led But Distribution Led, 3 Requirements Needed For A New Market/Investment To Be Exciting and Why Small Markets Are So Attractive

Apr 12, 2019 42:10

Description:

Henry Ward is the Founder & CEO @ Carta, the startup that helps private companies, public companies, and investors manage their cap tables, valuations, investments, and equity plans. To date, Henry has raised over $147m in funding from some of the industries leading investors in USV, Spark, K9 Ventures and Meritech and then also leading founders including Flexport's Ryan Petersen, Transferwise's Taavet Hinrikus and Slack's Stewart Butterfield. Prior to founding Carta, Henry was Founder of SecondSight, a portfolio optimization platform for retail investors.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Henry made his way into the world of startups and came to found the gamechanger of cap tables and valuations with Carta?

2.) What does Henry mean by the term "executive half-life"? How does Henry determine between an exec that can scale with the company and an exec that cannot? What are the leading indicators? When weaknesses are revealed, how does this manifest itself? Does the exec open up and admit to it or does the leadership team have to be proactive?

3.) Question from Manu @ K9: As a first time CEO, what have been the biggest personal challenges for Henry in the scaling of himself? Why does Henry think it is unfair founders are given exemption from blame in scaling but execs are not? How does Henry make decisions differently now to the early days? What have been the improvements?

4.) How does Henry buck the conventional wisdom with his willingness to go after very small markets? What does the N of 1 vs 1of N rule mean here? Why does Henry believe the N of 1 markets is the most attractive? What are the core advantages to owning your market? How can founders think about insertion points? When is the right time to add additional products? How does Henry respond to the traditional notion of "focus"?

5.) Why does Henry believe most founders are afraid to put investors to work? If fundraising is, as Henry suggests "an auction process", what can founders do to optimise it? How does Henry approach the element of value creation and value extraction? How does this influence his approach to pricing? How does Henry think more tech founders can leverage acquiring services businesses and automating their processes over time? Where is the arbitrage in pricing here?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Henry’s Fave Book: The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Henry on Twitter here!

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20VC: NEA Partner, Dayna Grayson on Sourcing, Picking, Winning, Gut vs Data in Investment Decision-Making & The Evolution of Entrepreneurial Expectations of Venture

Apr 8, 2019 42:25

Description:

Dayna Grayson is a Partner @ NEA, one of the leading venture firms over the last 4 decades with a portfolio including the likes of Opendoor, Jet.com, Uber, WorkDay, Plaid, Box and many more incredible companies. As for Dayna, she has led the firm's investments in the likes of Desktop Metal, Formlabs, Onshape, Glamsquad, Framebridge and Curalate, just to name a few. Prior to joining NEA, Dayna was an investor at North Bridge Venture Partners where she championed companies including Camiant (acquired by Tekelec) and Tapjoy. Before venture Dayna was an engineer at Eye Response Technologies, later acquired by Dynavox Mayer-Johnson and also a product designer at Blackbaud (BLKB), the leading global provider of software to nonprofit organizations.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Dayna made her way into the world of venture and came to be a Partner at NEA from her roots in product design and engineering?

2.) Sourcing: How does Dayna approach the sourcing component of venture today? What does the deck filtering process look like to Dayna, prior to meeting? What has Dayna found works best in really building rapport in the first meetings? What does the conviction building process look like for Dayna from there? If negative, how has Dayna found is the most effective way to say no?

3.) Decision-Making: How does Dayna think about optimising the investment decision-making process? How does Dayna balance between data vs gut? Does NEA require unanimous decision-making? Why does Dayna believe that at A or earlier, the price really does not matter? When does price really become a big issue?

4.) Evolution of Expectations: How does Dayna believe entrepreneurial expectations of VC has changed over the last decade. Where does Dayna believe investors can really provide the most value? Which board member has been the most impressive to Dayna when sitting alongside them on the board? Why?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Dayna’s Fave Book: Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors and the Drug Company that Addicted America

Dayna's Most Recent Investment: WhireWheel

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Dayna on Twitter here!

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20VC: One Question Founders Must Ask Themselves When Approaching Investor Selection, Why Series B Is One Of The Most Challenging Phases & What Makes For A Successful CEO Transition with Jeff Russakow, CEO @ Boosted

Apr 5, 2019 37:21

Description:

Jeff Russakow is the CEO @ Boosted, the startup producing vehicle grade electric skateboards rethinking how we travel. To date, they have raised $74m in funding from the likes of Khosla Ventures, iNovia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz and our friends at Initialized. Prior to Boosted, Jeff was CEO @ Gimbal where he doubled revenue in his first year and added 80 new enterprise clients. Before that, Jeff was the CEO @ Findly where he grew the company to 450 employees and 20m end users. Jeff also enjoyed prior roles with the likes of Symantec, Adobe, SAP and Yahoo.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jeff made his way from leading enterprise CEO to re-thinking the way we travel today as CEO of Boosted?

2.) How does Jeff analyse the current sentiment to fundraising in the valley, specifically with regards to business construction? How has Jeff seen the investor class fundamentally transition over the last 20 years? When approaching investor selection, what is the 1 question that Jeff always asks? Where do founders often make mistakes here?

3.) Having raised the $60m round in 2018, how does Jeff approach the theme of capital efficiency today with Boosted? How does Jeff determine when is the right time to pour fuel on the fire? Why is Series B often the most challenging phase when considering the focus on unit economics and vision simultaneously?

4.) What is Jeff's gut reaction to the statement, "hardware is hard"? Why does Jeff feel this to be a glib statement that misses the point? How does Jeff respond to the criticism of the commodity element of hard, easy to replicate and copy? How would Jeff like to see the investor class change their mindset to hardware? What is the right way to approach it?

5.) What are the core elements required for a successful CEO transition? For a potentially incoming CEO, what must they be wary of with regards to the information conveyed to them by investors of the company? Where has Jeff seen many go wrong in CEO transitions? What can the founders do to make this process as smooth as possible?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Jeff’s Fave Book: The Missing Piece 

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20VC: Initialized's Garry Tan on The Most Important Thing A Seed Investor Can Do For Founders, How Ownership Requirements Change With Evolution of Funds & Why There Is Not Too Much Capital Chasing Too Few Deals

Apr 1, 2019 32:41

Description:

Garry Tan is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner @ Initialized Capital, one of the West Coast's leading early-stage funds with a portfolio including the likes of Coinbase, Instacart, Cruise, Flexport and Opendoor, just to name a few. As for Garry, before co-founding Initialized, he was a partner at Y Combinator for nearly five years where he advised and funded over 600 companies. He was also co-founder of YC-backed blog platform Posterous (acquired by Twitter in 2012). Before that he was employee #10 at Palantir, where he was a founding member of the engineering team for Palantir's financial analysis product, and also fun fact, Garry designed Palantir's logo.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Garry made his way from Founder and YC Partner to managing over $500m AUM today with his leading of Initialized? How did Garry's investment mindset change with the transition from angel to an institutional investor?

2.) What does Garry believe is the one thing pre-seed and seed investors must do that is more important than anything else? What relationship to the very best founders have with failure? How do they think about and approach it? How has Garry seen his own conviction building process in founders change over time? How does Garry approach the turning down of opportunities? What is the right way to deliver that feedback?

3.) Ownership: Initialized's funds have scaled from Fund I being $7m to Fund 4 being $225m, how have their ownership requirements changed with the evolution of their fund size? How does Garry think about collaboration and co-opetition with others funds as a result? What are the core challenges here?

4.) Price Sensitivity: With the larger fund and slightly more flexibility, how does Garry evaluate his own price sensitivity? What deal has Garry passed on due to price and it has stuck with him and taught him a valuable lesson? On pricing, how does Garry and Initialized approach reserve allocation?

5.) Investment Decision-Making: Garry has previously said "decision-making is a differentiator", what do Initialized do to ensure the highest quality of internal discussion and decision-making? How do they approach unanimous vs single partner decision-making? How does Initialized approach internal attribution with this in mind?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Garry’s Fave Book: Peter Thiel's Zero To OnePaul Graham's Hackers and Painters

Garry’s Most Recent Investment: Standard Cognition

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Garry on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Buffer's Joel Gascoigne on The Moment The Founder Is No Longer The Boss, The Questions Founders Must Ask Their VCs and Why We Need A Spectrum of Different Financing Mechanisms Other Than VC

Mar 29, 2019 32:09

Description:

Joel Gascoigne is the Co-Founder & CEO @ Buffer, the social media management tool that makes it easy for businesses and marketing teams to schedule posts, analyze performance, and manage all their accounts in one place. They had raised both seed and Series A rounds but last summer, spent $3.3m to buy out the majority of their Series A investors, making them much more independent. Joel now runs Buffer as a profitable business with $2m in profit in 2017 and $3m in 2018. Before co-founding Buffer, Joel co-founded OnePage and StartupMill and was a web developer in the UK.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Joel made his way from web developer in the UK to founder of Buffer, in 2018 a business that did $3m in profit?

2.) What does Joel mean when he says that "fundraising is a bigger decision than most people realise"? At what moments does Joel believe that the founders are no longer the boss? When did Joel feel he was no longer the boss? What does Joel wish founders knew more about the VC process and mechanics? What questions must they ask VCs?

3.) Would Joel agree with Anand Sanwal, previously on the show that "VCs foie-gras their startups", forcing synthetic growth? What is the right way for founders to respond to this pressure? How did Joel personally handle the pressure? How does Joel assess and analyse the current VC ecosystem? What would he most like to change?

4.) There was a time when individuals did not want Joel to be CEO, how did Joel deal with that? What would Joel advise founders in the same position? What are the right steps to take? Joel then lost his co-founder, how was that process for Joel? What does he know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning of that process? How does he look to retain that level of support and guidance from someone other than a co-founder?

5.) What does Joel mean when he says, "leaders must lean into transparency"? Are there any limitations to being overly transparent? Now as a profitable company, how does Joel think about profit sharing with the team? What does profitable status allow the team to achieve and do that is not normally possible for VC backed co's?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Joel’s Fave Book: A Little Life

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Joel on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Spark Capital's Alex Clayton on How The Best Growth Investors Source, Evaluate and Win Deals, Why Market Depth Is Crucial When Analysing Markets & Why Capital Is Only A Temporary Competitive Advantage

Mar 25, 2019 31:20

Description:

Alex Clayton is a Partner @ Spark Capital, one of the leading firms of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Slack, Postmates, Oculus, Cruise, Twitter, the list goes on. As for Alex, he co-led Spark's investments in Pendo and Outreach and then led Spark's investments in Justworks, Braze (Appboy) and JFrog. Before Spark, Alex spent three years at Redpoint Ventures as a senior associate where he sourced or was actively involved in the firm's investments in Duo Security, JustWorks, RelateIQ (Salesforce.com), Infer, Lifesize and Sourcegraph. Prior to joining Redpoint, Alex was in the TMT investment-banking division of Goldman Sachs where he worked with Intuit, Yelp, SanDisk, and others. Fun fact, in the past Alex played on the ATP World Tennis Tour, competing in the U.S. Open and many other ATP events.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Alex made his way from the world of investment banking with Goldman Sachs to one of the valley rising stars in the world of enterprise investing? What were Alex's biggest takeaways from his time at Redpoint and working with Tom Tunguz?

2.) How does Alex think about and approach sourcing today? How does Alex find most of his deals? How does Alex breakdown both thesis and network driven sourcing? How does sourcing at growth differ to sourcing at the early stage? If Alex has to meet founders when they are not raising, what does Alex advise founders who are told that you should not "always be raising"?

3.) How does Alex think about market sizing and evaluation today? What does he mean when he says he closely examines "market depth"? How does Alex determine whether a company has the ability to scale from a niche into a much larger TAM? What are the risks Alex is willing vs not willing to take when it comes to market?

4.) How does Alex think about competitor analysis when evaluating an opportunity today? In a world of almost infinite capital, does Alex believe that cash alone is a significant moat for competition? In customer calls when they discuss competition, what excites Alex to hear? How does Alex structure those customer reference calls?

5.) Alex has studied some of the best in class when it comes to SaaS, what do the best in class look like when it comes to: 1.) Quota attainment. 2.) Payback period. 3.) Net dollar retention and churn? 4.) Capital efficiency? Growth rate? Ultimately, what does Alex believe that it takes to go public having studied so many S1s?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Alex’s Fave Book: Zero to One by Peter Thiel

Alex’s Most Recent Investment: Braze

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Alex on Twitter here!

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20VC: The Acceptable vs Unacceptable Risks To Take When Seed Investing, Why Loss Ratio Is Not A Consideration & Why Series A Is The Right Time To Establish A Board with Mike Hirshland, Co-Founder @ Resolute Ventures

Mar 18, 2019 24:52

Description:

Mike Hirshland is the Co-founder of Resolute Ventures, one of the leading pre-seed and seed stage funds of the last decade having recently announced their new $75m Fund IV. In prior funds they have the likes of OpenDoor, Mixmax, Greenhouse, AppZen and more incredible companies. As for Mike, prior to founding Resolute, he founded Dogpatch Labs, the community which helped launch over 350 companies including Instagram. Before Dogpatch, Mike was a partner with Polaris Venture Partners from 1999-2011, where he was the original seed investor behind Automattic, Q1 Labs (acquired by IBM for $600 million), Quantcast and KISSmetrics.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Mike made his way from a legal clerk in the US Supreme Court to founding his own venture firm in the form of Resolute Ventures?

2.) What does Mike mean when he says Resolute invest at the "old seed stage?" What stage of development and traction are the companies at this stage? Why does seed investing out of a $Bn fund not make sense to Mike? What are the acceptable vs unacceptable risks at this stage?

3.) How does Mike think and assess portfolio construction today? How many lines in the portfolio is enough to be sufficiently diversified? How does Mike think about ownership given his thesis on diversification? How does Mike assess his own price sensitivity today? How does Mike think about loss ratio within the portfolio today?

4.) What are the ideal attributes of the founder/VC relationship to Mike? Is it right for the investor to also be friends with their founders? What can founders do to really build and deepen relationships with investors both during and outside of official fundraises? Where does Mike often see founders making mistakes here?

5.) How does Mike think about the right time to establish a board? What does Mike advise founders in terms of board composition in the early days? How does Mike look to build a sense of "board intimacy" with his founders? Why does Mike believe that there is a "counter-productivity to boards at seed"?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Mike’s Fave Book: A Little Life

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Mike on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Why The Current VC Financing Mechanism For Consumer Brands Is Broken, Why The Infrastructure To Power Emerging Brands Is Broken and What The Re-Platforming of Retail Means For The Next Decade in Consumer with Adam Pritzker, Chairman & CEO @ Assemble

Mar 15, 2019 29:18

Description:

Adam Pritzker is the Chairman & CEO @ Assembled Brands, a holding company providing working capital and financial services to emerging brands. In October 2018, they raised $100m in development capital from the prestigious Oaktree Capital Management. As for Adam, he is also a co-founder of General Assembly where during his tenure, prior to its acquisition by Addecco Group, he served as Chief Creative Officer, Chief Product Officer, and Chairman. For his entrepreneurial endeavors, Adam was featured in Forbes’ 30 Under 30, Vanity Fair’s The Next Establishment, Inc. Magazine’s 30 Under 30, and Business Insider’s Silicon Alley 100.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Adam made his way into the world of startups with the co-founding of General Assembly and how that led to his founding Assembled Brands and financing the future of brands?

2.) Why is Adam optimistic about the current state of the consumer brand and retail environment? How does Adam respond to Alex Taussig @ Lightspeed's suggestion of the "re-platforming of retail"? How does Adam approach the changing demographic of consumer spend? What does this mean for both the brands and the channels they use to acquire customers? Does Adam believe we are in a consumer bubble today?

3.) How does Adam think about the lack of free and open distribution today for consumer companies? Are the traditional channels now too expensive to acquire customers on? How does Adam advise consumer founders on the saturation rate of marketing channels? How can they foresee the ceiling ahead of time?

4.) Adam has previously stated that Instagram is the new QVC, what did he mean by that? What type of consumer brand is Instagram best suited for? Why does Adam believe that in many cases the venture financing method is suboptimal and wrong for these scaling brands? What can founders who have taken VC funds and now seen it was potentially a mistake do?

5.) Why does Adam believe that the "infrastructure to power emerging brands is broken"? How can the current stack and infrastructure for brands be improved? What metrics should consumer founders really hone in on today? What sort of metrics suggests a brand is VC backable vs is not VC backable? How does Adam think about the ability of the consumer brand space to provide venture returns at scale?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Adam’s Fave Book: (1.) The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure. (2.) The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You, and How to Get Good at It

Adam's Most Recent Investment: Felix Gray 

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Adam on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: What It Takes To Be The Most Effective Coach To Startup Founders, The Biggest Surprises and Challenges About Transitioning To Venture From Operations & 3 Trends Shaking The World of Consumer Today with Victoria Treyger, General Partner @ Felicis Ven

Mar 11, 2019 38:16

Description:

Victoria Treyger is a General Partner & Managing Director @ Felicis Ventures, one of the leading venture firms of the last decade backing 2 unicorns per year since founding including Shopify, OpenDoor, Flexport, Adyen, Twitch, Fitbit and many more. At Felicis, Victoria led the firm’s investments in prior 20VC guest Assaf Wand @ Hippo, Sentio, Sentilink, Blume, Floravere, and other stealth brands. Prior to joining Felicis, Victoria was Chief Revenue Officer of Kabbage. During her six-year tenure, Victoria and her team were instrumental in scaling revenue into the hundreds of millions of dollars and delivered a compound annual growth rate of over 100%. Victoria’s deep operating experience also includes leadership roles at Amazon, American Express, Travelocity, and RingCentral.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Victoria made her way into the world of VC as GP @ Felicis today having scaled revenue into the 100s of millions with Kabbage on the operating side of the table?

2.) Having just made the move from the world of operations, what are the most surprising aspects of venture? What elements have you found to be the most challenging? How does Victoria think about what it takes to be the most effective coach? What can the investor do to build that level of trust and transparency with the founder?

3.) In terms of being a board member, how involved does Victoria think the board member should be? Who is the best board member Victoria has worked with? What made them so special? What are Victoria's biggest pieces of advice to founders when it comes to how to run an efficiency board? What is the right way for founders to think about board composition?

4.) What 3 trends in the world of consumer and CPG make Victoria so excited to be investing in the space today? What has fundamentally changed about the distribution of those products that changes the way we consume the products? Does this mean Victoria would disagree we are in a D2C bubble today?

5.) Speaking of distribution, how does Victoria respond to the suggestion "there is a lack of free and open distribution today" with customer acquisition costs being so expensive? How does Victoria think about the consumer and CPG space's ability to provide venture returns at scale moving forward?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Victoria’s Fave Book: Mindset: How You Can Fulfil Your PotentialPersonal History

Victoria’s Most Recent Investment: SentiLink

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Victoria on Twitter here!

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20VC: Lambda School Founder, Austen Allred on Why Unemployment Is An Optimisation Problem That Will Be Solved Over The Next 20 Years, Why The Speed and Quality of Decisions Are Not Mutually Exclusive & The 1 Question All Founders Must Ask Themselves Befor

Mar 8, 2019 36:12

Description:

Austen Allred is the Founder & CEO @ Lambda School, a 9 month, immersive program that gives you the tools and training you need to launch your new career—from the comfort of your own home. As a Lambda student, you pay nothing until you’re earning $50k or more. And if you don’t, it’s free. To date, Austen has raised over $48m with Lambda from a personal favourite of mine Bedrock, GGV, GV, Stripe and Ashton Kutcher just to name a few. Prior to founding Lambda, Austen was Senior Manager for Growth @ LendUp and before that co-founded Grasswire.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Austen made his way from being broke, sleeping in a car to founding one of Silicon Valley's hottest startups in the form of Lambda School?

2.) Austen lived in his car for many months in Palo Alto, what did Austen come to learn about himself from that experience? Before Austen has said, "it is not about money", so how would Austen describe his personal relationship to money? Consequently, what does this mean for Austen's relationship to risk?

3.) Austen previously stated he was "determined to never raise VC again before Lambda School". 2 years and $47m later, what changed in his attitude to raising VC? How mus every founder examine their business model before raising VC? What is the one question they must ask pre-raise?

4.) Austen recently raised a $30m Series B round, how did that round come about? What is Austen's biggest advice when it comes to investor selection? How does Austen think about when is the right time to raise big? How does that impact and affect operating mentality? What was it about Geoff Lewis that made Austen take his offer over others?

5.) Question from Geoff @ Bedrock: How does Austen iterate on all aspects of the business so fast? Why does Austen believe that the speed and quality of decisions are not mutually exclusive? Why does Austen believe the faster you ship, the higher quality they will be? How does Austen determine which experiments to stick with vs drop?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Austen’s Fave Book: Les MiserablesThe Wright Brothers

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Austen on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: The Transition From Founder To CEO, How To Determine When To Stretch On Price in Venture & The Benefits of Attribution for Partnership Dynamics with Jeff Richards, Managing Partner @ GGV Capital

Mar 4, 2019 35:50

Description:

Jeff Richards is Managing Partner @ GGV Capital, one of the leading venture firms of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Alibaba, Slack, Square, Xiaomi, Peloton, OpenDoor, just to name a few. As for Jeff, he sits on the board of or is an observer at BigCommerce, Brightwheel, Gladly, Lambda School, Namely and Tile just to name a few. Jeff also led GGV’s investments in Buddy Media (acquired by Salesforce), HotelTonight, Flipboard and has been actively involved in GGV’s investments in Opendoor, Domo, Square and Wish. Prior to joining GGV, Jeff founded two software companies: R4 (acquired by VeriSign), and QuantumShift, backed by Texas Pacific Group (TPG).

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jeff made his way into the world of VC with GGV from founding and scaling 2 software companies in the 90s? What were Jeff's 2 biggest takeaways from having the company he founded raise over $100m then go to $0 in the crash?

2.) How does Jeff approach and see the transition from founder to CEO today? When does this transition need to occur? How do first-time founders differ compared to experienced serial entrepreneurs when it comes to building their teams? Where do they often struggle or make mistakes? What advice does Jeff offer them?

3.) Jeff has previously said, "do not raise for the highest valuation", what is his thinking here? What specific examples does Jeff have of why it can hurt and damage both the founder and the company? How does Jeff think about his own price sensitivity today? How does he determine when a stretch is a stretch too far? From backing the likes of Alibaba, Xiaomi and Didi, what were his biggest takeaways when it came to price?

4.) Decision-making is one of the only products venture has, how does Jeff and GGV approach decision-making as a firm today? Being a slightly later stage firm, how do they think about reserve allocation? What does the re-investment decision-making process look like? How does GGV think about attribution as a firm today? What are the benefits?

5.) What advice would Jeff give to an individual that has just entered VC? What does Jeff know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning? How does Jeff think about what it takes to be a truly special board member? What one or two things can a board member do to move the needle in their relationship with their founder?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Jeff’s Fave Book: In an Uncertain World: Tough Choices from Wall Street to Washington

Jeff’s Most Recent Investment: Lambda SchoolElectric

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Jeff on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: How To Optimise Decision-Making Frameworks, How To Really Get The Most Out Of Your Board and When Your Brother Is Also Your Co-Founder; The Secret To Working with Family with Rob Sadow, Founder & CEO @ Scoop

Mar 1, 2019 33:15

Description:

Rob Sadow is the Founder & CEO @ Scoop, the startup that dramatically improves your commute providing convenient carpools with co-workers and neighbours. To date, Rob has raised over $37m in funding for Scoop from the likes of Danny Rimer @ Index, Brook Porter @ G2VP, Zaw Thet @ Signia Venture Partners and BMW i Ventures just to name a few. Before founding Scoop, Rob was a Manager @ Bain & Company and before that spent time in Israel with Better Place, working to provide electric vehicle networks to help accelerate the global transition to sustainable transportation.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Rob made his way from the world of consulting and Bain to founding the future of convenient commutes with Scoop?

2.) How does Rob approach key decisions? What does Brook Porter @ G2VP mean when he says, "from a first principles perspective"? How does Rob determine when to make decisions with the head or the heart? Does Rob agree with Fred Destin, "as a founder, decisions are never perfect, it is about batting average"? Where does Rob see many make mistakes when it comes to decision-making?

3.) How does Rob find the dynamics of working with his brother as his co-founder? What are some of the core challenges? How does one make it scale and how does the relationship need to change over time? What is Rob's biggest advice to others when thinking about the person they partner with?

4.) How does Rob think about board construction? What have been some of Rob's biggest lessons in really using your board to get the most out of them? What works well for this? What does not work? How can founders create this level of relationship with their board members? Should founders direct their ask to specific individuals when soliciting help from their board?

5.) Why does Rob believe that they have next to no attrition of employees at Scoop? What have been some of Rob's biggest lessons when it comes to both culture creation and maintenance? How does Rob think leaders can invest more in their employees? What does this look like? Where do many go wrong or misallocate?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Rob’s Fave Book: The Wheel of Time

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Rob on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: a16z Partner Frank Chen on The Future of Car Ownership, Whether The High Employee Attrition Rate in The Valley Is A Feature or A Bug & His Biggest Lessons From Netscape, Loudcloud & Opsware

Feb 25, 2019 33:18

Description:

Frank Chen is a Partner @ Andreessen Horowitz, one of the world's most prestigious venture firms with a portfolio including the likes of Airbnb, Coinbase, Github, Lyft, Slack and many more incredible companies. As for Frank, prior to joining the world of venture, he was a VP of Products & UI Design at HP Software and before that held the same title at Opsware. Before that, even cooler, Frank was Director of Product Management @ Netscape where he led a cross-functional team that defined, shipped, and marketed Netscape's award-winning LDAP directory and security products. 

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Frank made the move from the world of operations with Opsware and HP to being a Partner at Andreessen Horowitz?

2.) How does Frank view the current state of play for AI and machine learning? How does the rise of automation shift the economy as we know it? What does it do to class distinctions? How does Frank view it's impact on the labour market? How does Frank think about the value of truly large datasets? Where is the asymptotic moment where the utility value of data is realised?

3.) With the rise of self-driving, how does Frank perceive the future of car ownership? Who will fundamentally own and operate the vehicles? Will it be a horizontal play or a vertical play? In terms of adoption, why is Frank negative towards a driver assisted transition phase and believe in a more binary transition?

4.) How does Frank perceive the rise of automation and self-driving cars impacting public infrastructure? How will the layout of our cities change over time? How does Frank believe urban real estate could be optimised in a more efficient manner? Which nations does Frank believe will be the first to innovate here?

5.) What is the most challenging element of Frank's position as Partner @ a16z? How does Frank think about the right way to say not to an entrepreneur? How does Frank look to scale the learning curve rapidly when investigating new industries? What are the challenges here? What advice would Frank give to someone looking to scale learning curves?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Frank’s Fave Book: The Chronicles of NarniaThe Lord of The Rings

Frank’s Most Recent Investment: Branch

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Frank on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Superhuman's Rahul Vohra on How To Measure Product Market Fit, How To Construct A Process To Increase It & How To Implement A Strong Feedback and Reporting Cycle To Sustain It

Feb 22, 2019 41:30

Description:

Rahul Vohra is the Founder and CEO @ Superhuman, the fastest email experience in the world. Fun fact, users get through their inbox twice as fast — and many see Inbox Zero for the first time in years! To date, they have raised funds from our friends at Boldstart, First Round, John Collison, Sam Altman, Wayne Chang, Mike Ghaffery and Yes VC just to name a few. Previously, Rahul founded Rapportive, the first Gmail plugin to scale to millions of users. Rapportive was ultimately acquired by LinkedIn.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Rahul make his way into the world of startups with the founding of Rapportive and how did that transition to changing the world of email with Superhuman?

2.) What does Rahul mean when he says, "you can reverse engineer a process to get to product market fit"? What does Rahul believe is the defining metric which determines your "product market fit score"? What is Julie Supan's framework? How did Dropbox and Airbnb use it to increase their product market fit? How can founders implement it into their process?

3.) What can founders do to expand the customer base to include users that currently are "somewhat disappointed"? What are the right questions to ask? What do we do with this feedback? How do we further segment the user base? Why should we "disregard the users whereby the primary benefit of the product does not resonate"? 

4.) How does Rahul approach product roadmap and prioritisation? How can founders ensure that continuous tracking and user feedback is engrained within the organisation? What tools does Rahul do to monitor and capture this? What are some of Rahul's biggest lessons from going through this painstaking process stage by stage? 

5.) Finally on fundraising, what does Rahul mean when he says, "always be raising but never be actively raising"? What are the benefits of this? How can founders transition catch up coffee into fundraising subtly? How does Rahul feel about party rounds? What are the pros? What are the downsides? How does Rahul advise founders here?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Rahul’s Fave Book: The Art of Game Design

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Rahul on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: AOL Founder, Steve Case on Why The Best Venture Investments of The Next 10 Years Will Likely Not Be In The Valley, Why The CEO Must Be The Shock Absorber For Company Morale and Why Vision Without Execution is Hallucination

Feb 18, 2019 30:40

Description:

Steve Case is Chairman and CEO of Revolution with the mission being to establish themselves as the premier venture firm outside of Silicon Valley. On the other side of the table, Steve is recognised as one of America’s best-known and most accomplished entrepreneurs as the co-founder of America Online (AOL). Under his leadership, AOL was the first internet company to go public and became the world’s largest and most valuable internet company delivering an 11,616% return to shareholders. In 2000, Steve negotiated the largest merger in business history, bringing together AOL and Time Warner. Among many other achievements, in 2014, Steve was named a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship. Steve has also been a leading voice in shaping government policy and was instrumental in passing the JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act. Finally, Steve is also Chairman of the Case Foundation, where he and his wife, Jean, have invested in hundreds of organizations, initiatives and partnerships.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Steve made his way into the world of technology with the founding of AOL in 1985 and how that led to his founding of Revolution and investing today in the "rise of the rest" today?

2.) Having sat on both sides of the table both as founder and VC, what does Steve thinks make the truly special VCs? How do they engage with entrepreneurs? How do they actively move the needle for their companies? How would he like to see VCs of the future change and adapt their ways?

3.) How does Steve think about market timing when investing today? What were some of Steve's biggest lessons from seeing the dot com bubble and 2008 in both the role of entrepreneur and investor? What does he mean when he says, 'it can be dangerous to have a depression mentality' when investing?

4.) How does Steve analyse and assess the current fundraising environment today? Why does Steve see an incredible opportunity in funding companies outside the 3 traditional hubs of Silicon Valley, NYC and Boston? What needs to happen to drive this equalisation of funding further? What would Steve like to see change?

5.) What does Steve think are the 3 seminal roles of the CEO? What does Steve mean when he says that the CEO 'must be a shock absorber for company morale'? How does Steve deal with s*** hit the fan moments? What are his coping mechanisms and how does he advise entrepreneurs on them?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Steve’s Fave Book: The Third WaveBe Fearless: 5 Principles For A Life of Breakthroughs and Purpose

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Steve on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Brex Founder Henrique Dubugras on Why Being Mission Driven Is Not The Only Way To Build A Massive Business, Why You Should Not Associate Fundraising with The Cash Needs of Your Business & Why You Don't Have To Follow Startup Theory When It Comes To

Feb 15, 2019 26:39

Description:

Henrique Dubugas is the Founder & CEO @ Brex, the first corporate card for startups offering instant online application, no personal liability, and tailored rewards. In a staggering 2 years, Henrique has grown Brex to a $1.1Bn valuation having raised over $180m in funding from some of the best in the business including Peter Thiel, Max Levchin, Elad Gil, DST, Y Combinator and IVP just to name a few. As for Henrique, prior to founding Brex he founded Pagar.me, a payments solution that he sold in Sept 2016, a year that the platform processed over $1.5 billion in GMV.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Henrique made his way from learning to code games in Brazil to starting a leading payment processor to founding one of the world's fastest growing B2B companies in Brex?

2.) How does Henrique think about hiring the very best people? How has that strategy shifted and changed over time? What is the best advice Henrique has been given on hiring? What interview questions does Henrique think are crucial to ask? What are leading indicators that an individual has the ability to scale with the company?

3.) Why does Henrique think it is wrong to down people for being "compensation motivated"? How does Henrique think about compensation structures? Should candidates have to take pay cuts to join startups? What have been some of Henrique's biggest learnings and challenges here?

4.) How does Henrique approach the current sentiment to fundraising in the valley today? Why does Henrique disagree with founders who have periods of not speaking to VCs? What does Henrique believe is the right way to build VC relationships? How does Henrique think about the right time to raise? What advice does Henrique have for founders when it comes to investor selection?

5.) How does Henrique think about his own personal development? Where would he personally like to improve and strengthen? What is he doing to make this happen? How has Henrique seen himself as CEO change over the last 2 years with Brex? What have been some of the challenges of scaling himself as CEO?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Henrique’s Fave Book: 7 Powers: The Foundations of Business Strategy

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Henrique on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Techstars Founder David Cohen on Why Seed Investing Is A Different Asset Class To Venture, What Makes The Best And The Worst Board Members & Why Every Company Has To Have A Pessimist In The Room

Feb 11, 2019 30:55

Description:

David Cohen is the Founder and co-CEO of Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed. To date, David has backed hundreds of startups including the likes of Uber, SendGrid, Twilio, ClassPass, PillPack and more. In total, these investments have gone on to create more than $80B in value. Prior to Techstars, David was a co-founder of Pinpoint Technologies which was acquired by ZOLL Medical Corporation in 1999. Later, David was the founder and CEO of earFeeder, a music service that was sold to SonicSwap. If that was not enough, David is also theco-author (with Brad Feld) of Do More Faster; Techstars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How David made his way from, his words "geeky hacker" to the founder of one of the world's largest accelerators, Techstars and investor in multiple unicorns?

2.) What does David mean when he says that when assessing founders he studies "the moment of integrity"? What does he want to see from founders in those moments? What are some potential red flags? If a negative response, what are the subsequent actions an investor must take in this situation?

3.) How does David think about the right time to establish a board? What are the benefits of establishing your board with the seed round? What does David believe is the key to highly efficient boards? How has David changed as a board member over the years? Why does David believe, when building a company, "you always have to have a pessimist in the room"?

4.) When negotiating deals, what does David mean when he says "the terms must match the story"? How does David determine between a bridge and a bridge to nowhere? What can investors do to protect themselves if the targets of the business are not met and they have an uncapped note in place? How should they communicate this?

5.) Techstars today invests in over 500 companies per year, how does David think about reserve allocation across the portfolio? How does David feel about stack ranking portfolio co's quarterly and concentrating capital accordingly? Why is this not effective? Why should seed and angel investing be an entirely different asset class to VC?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

David’s Fave Book: The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life

David’s Most Recent Investment: Ordermark

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and David on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: What Makes The Best Venture Firms Today So Special, The 3 Structural Impediments That Face Venture Today and Why The Debate on AR vs VR is BS with Anjney Midha, Founder & CEO @ Ubiquity6

Feb 8, 2019 33:04

Description:

Anjney Midha is the Founder & CEO @ Ubiquity6, the startup that allows you to edit reality together, turning any location into a space for real-time, shared AR and VR experiences. To date, Anjney has raised over $38m in funding for Ubiquity6 from some of the very best in the business including Phin @ First Round, Mike Volpi @ Index and Mitch @ Benchmark. Prior to Ubiquity6, Anjney spent 4 years on the other side of the table as an investor @ Kleiner Perkins and then as Founding Partner @ KPCB Edge, Kleiner's program helping founders get off the ground in AR, VR and Computer Vision.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Anjney made his way into the world of startups on the investing side of the table with Kleiner Perkins and how that transitioned to his founding of Ubiquity6?

2.) What does Anjney believe is structurally wrong with venture now more than ever? How does the extended period of privatisation affect emerging partners in venture firms? How does Anjney think the very best of investors think about and analyse history? Why does Anjney believe venture is the business of financing "creative hits"?

3.) What are the 3 structural impediments facing venture today? Why and how does Anjney believe we will see a new class of VC enter the space and be very successful? In what form could this take? How can they outcompete the current crop of VCs? What does Anjney mean when he discusses the "squishy middle" of VC?

4.) Anjney is backed by Index, Benchmark and First Round, what are the commonalities among those firms that make them so special? How do the very best of firms engage and build relationships with their entrepreneurs? How does Anjney believe that focus can be successfully applied to venture? What is the right way for VCs to evaluate themselves?

5.) What do VCs really want to know when they are approaching risk assessment with founders? What can founders do to mitigate risk when pitching to VCs? How do the very best founders attract the very best talent to their team? What are the commonalities? Where do some go wrong in building the optimal team?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Anjney’s Fave Book: Rainbows End

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Anjney on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Slow Ventures' Sam Lessin on How VC Forces Certain Companies To Exist and Makes It Difficult To Finance Others, Why Cities Won't Let Scooter Companies Be Profitable and Why Dapps Are A Concern and Where Emphasis Should Be Placed In Crypto

Feb 4, 2019 36:53

Description:

Sam Lessin is a Founding Partner @ Slow Ventures, one of the leading early-stage funds on the West Coast with a portfolio including the likes of Robinhood, Gusto, Pinterest, Casper, Postmates and many more incredible companies. Sam is also the Co-Founder & Co-CEO @ Fin Analytics, the startup that provides precision measurement and coaching for high-performance operations teams. Before founding Fin and Slow, Sam spent 4 years at Facebook as a VP of Product Management following their acquisition of his prior company, Drop.io.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Sam made his way into the world of venture with the founding of Slow following the acquisition of his company and 4 years in product at Facebook?

2.) How does Sam think about the difference between investing small personal checks vs managing institutional funds? What is the subsequent effect on mindset when investing? How does one prevent an increased conservatism? What does Sam mean when he says "VC forces some businesses into existence and makes others hard to fund?

3.) Why does Sam believe that man + machine must have a symbiotic relationship in the future? What does this look like in reality? When comparing today to the industrial revolution, is Sam concerned by the increased rate of adoption today? What does this mean for different categories of work? Why does Sam believe we will need more philosophers?

4.) Why does Sam believe that too much emphasis in the world of crypto is placed on Dapps? Why is he concerned by Dapps? What are of crypto does Sam believe is most exciting and investable today? Does Sam agree with Elad Gil that we will see the re-centralisation of talent back to the valley with the scaling of crypto co's?

5.) On governments, why does Sam not believe that both local and national governments will allow scooter companies to become meaningfully profitable in the future? How does Sam think about the balance and trade-off between privacy and security that faces many governments today?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Sam’s Fave Book: Lessons of History

Sam’s Most Recent Investment: Fetcher.ai

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Sam on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: How To Build Meaningful Relationships With Your Investors, 4 Key Elements CEOs Must Focus On In Scale Mode & How Top Optimise Leadership Team Dynamics with Joel Flory, Founder & CEO @ VSCO

Feb 1, 2019 31:20

Description:

Joel Flory is the Founder & CEO @ VSCO, the startup that allows you to take your photography to the next level, with the mission to help everybody fall in love with their own creativity. To date, Joel has raised over $70m in funding with VSCO from some of the best in the business including Accel, Glynn Capital Management and Goldcrest Investments. Prior to founding VSCO, Joel founded his own photography company which he ran successfully for 10 years.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Joel made his way from photographer to one of San Francisco's hottest startup founders today?

2.) How does Joel approach the current sentiment and approach to fundraising? Why were Joel and his co-founder unable to raise in the early days? How does Joel approach the element of investor selection? Brand name or partner? How does Joel look to really build relationships with VCs in compressed timeframes? What is Joel's litmus test to determine if a VC is interested? What single value add can a VC provide that is most important?

3.) What does Joel mean when he says, "you have to align your business model with your mission?" How can one really determine if they are aligned? How does this alignment change and alter with scale? What was the thinking behind the shift to a subscription business with VSCO? Was Joel worried it would impact the valuation and change the valuation mechanism to a multiple of revenue assessment?

4.) What do the optimal leadership team dynamics look like to Joel? What has worked well for Joel in binding the leadership team together? What have been some of the biggest challenges? How does Joel think about cross-functional communication across the leadership team?

5.) How does Joel think about his personal development today? Where would he like to improve? Where is he already strong? With a family and company in hyper-growth, how does Joel think about attaining that work-life balance? What advice would he have for other here? How does Joel determine what to say yes vs no to? What are some tips and hacks to this?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Joel’s Fave Book: How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk 

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Joel on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Are you thinking about life insurance in the new year? Ladder is the smart and easy way to get term life insurance online. With Ladder there are no commissioned agents and no policy fees — you can be done in minutes. Even better, coverage can start today, if you qualify, and you can cancel anytime. Ladder is licensed and backed by trusted partners, with billions in coverage. Visit ladderlife.com to apply and get an instant decision on fully underwritten term life insurance, and check life insurance off your list TODAY.

Ready for tax season? Wishing you’d kept a closer eye on your books this year? Set yourself up for success in 2019 with Pilot. Pilot is a bookkeeping company focused on the needs of startups. Their team of SF-based bookkeepers are assisted by engineers to automate the most error-prone parts of bookkeeping, so you know you’re getting an accurate report every month. Plus, Pilot does accrual basis bookkeeping in Quickbooks Online, so you’re never locked into a proprietary platform. Learn more and sign up here. Don’t wait – the first 100 members of the Twenty Minute VC community get 20% off Pilot Core for six months.

20VC: First Round's Josh Kopelman on Why Price Is Both An Art and A Science, Why Ownership Must Be Built on First Check and The Negative Consequences of Attribution in Venture

Jan 28, 2019 41:24

Description:

Josh Kopelman is Founder & Partner @ First Round, one of the world’s leading seed funds with a portfolio including the likes of Uber, Warby Parker, Flatiron Health, Square, HotelTonight, GOAT and more incredible companies. As for Josh, he founded First Round in 2004 to reinvent seed stage investing. Since he has invested in over 200 startups and been ranked 4th in Forbes Midas List and named one of the top ten ‘angel investors’ in the US by Newsweek magazine. Josh has previously sat on the boards of Flatiron Health, Clover Health, AppNexus and more. 

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Josh made his way into the wonderful world of venture from angel investing and what the inspiration behind the founding of First Round was?

2.) How does Josh think about price sensitivity today? What were his learnings from being priced out of the seed round for Twitter and Dropbox? How has Josh seen his relationship to price change over time? How did witnessing the boom and bust both as operator and investor affect his investing mentality today?

3.) How does Josh and First Round think about reserve allocation? How has their thinking changed and evolved over time? Does Josh believe that ownership is fundamentally built on first check? What does the investment decision-making process look like for reserves? In terms of allocation, how does Josh think about time allocation across portfolio? Spend it with the winners, they return the fund or the strugglers and save cents on the dollar?

4.) Josh has spent over 3,000 hours on boards, what have been some of the biggest inflection points that have changed the way he thinks about being a good board member? How has he seen his style and approach change over time? What advice would Josh give to an individual that has just gained their first institutional board seat?

5.) Why does Josh believe that we fundamentally neglect "the pick" today in startup world? Why does Josh believe a high degree of startup mortality begins at the pick (idea) stage? How do the very best founders aproach this stage? How should these founders approach picking their investors? What should they look for? What should they be wary of?

6.) Why does Josh want to be known as a better picker of partners than investments? How has Josh thought about the building ou of the first round partnership over time? If there was anything he would have done differently, what would it be? Why does Josh fundamentally disagree with attribution? How does Josh think about generational transition? What are the steps required to do it well?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Josh’s Fave Book: Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Joel on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Are you thinking about life insurance in the new year? Ladder is the smart and easy way to get term life insurance online. With Ladder there are no commissioned agents and no policy fees — you can be done in minutes. Even better, coverage can start today, if you qualify, and you can cancel anytime. Ladder is licensed and backed by trusted partners, with billions in coverage. Visit ladderlife.com to apply and get an instant decision on fully underwritten term life insurance, and check life insurance off your list TODAY.

Ready for tax season? Wishing you’d kept a closer eye on your books this year? Set yourself up for success in 2019 with Pilot. Pilot is a bookkeeping company focused on the needs of startups. Their team of SF-based bookkeepers are assisted by engineers to automate the most error-prone parts of bookkeeping, so you know you’re getting an accurate report every month. Plus, Pilot does accrual basis bookkeeping in Quickbooks Online, so you’re never locked into a proprietary platform. Learn more and sign up here. Don’t wait – the first 100 members of the Twenty Minute VC community get 20% off Pilot Core for six months.

20VC: The 3 Stages of Denial For Founders When Scaling, Why You Will Likely Be Unable To Hire Through Your Network & The Interview Question All Founders Must Ask with Olof Mathé, Founder & CEO @ Mixmax

Jan 25, 2019 32:00

Description:

Olof Mathé is the Founder & CEO @ Mixmax, the startup that provides powerful analytics, automation and enhancements for your outbound communications. In the past, Mixmax achieved the almost the impossible in SaaS, true viral growth and a $0 CAC. As a result, Olof has raised over $13m in funding from some dear friends of the show in the form of Jason @ SaaStr, Mike @ Harrison Metal, Mike @ Floodgate and Carl @ Creandum, to name a few. As for Olof, prior to Mixmax he led the team that built Inkling Habitat, now adopted by the world’s largest publishers and before that he was an entrepreneur and worked at Skype and McKinsey.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Olof made his way from the world of McKinsey and Skype to changing the way we interact with our email today with Mixmax?

2.) What does Olof mean when he says that founders go through 3 stages of denial when scaling their team? How does Olof think about the right time to add certain roles? What have been some of his big learnings here? Where do people make mistakes in the timing of hires? How does Olof think about the transition from generalist to specialist with scale?

3.) Why does Olof believe that in the majority of cases, it is not optimal or possible for founders to hire through their network? What is the right way for founders to approach building candidate pipe? What is the right way for founders to engage with recruiters? What is required in the recruiter/founder relationship for it to be a success?

4.) Why does Olof get worried when he hears "they will grow into the role"? What are the core leading indicators that suggest someone has the ability to scale vs not scale with the role? How much time does one give an employee to provide value and show their ability in the team? How does Olof think about the right way to let someone go?

5.) What are the 3 interview questions that all founders must ask in the hiring process? What answers indicate a candidate that is best suited for the role and company? What are red flags to watch for both in their answer and tone? How has Olof changed his hiring style over the last few years with Mixmax?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Olof’s Fave Book: SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Olof on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Are you thinking about life insurance in the new year? Ladder is the smart and easy way to get term life insurance online. With Ladder there are no commissioned agents and no policy fees — you can be done in minutes. Even better, coverage can start today, if you qualify, and you can cancel anytime. Ladder is licensed and backed by trusted partners, with billions in coverage. Visit ladderlife.com to apply and get an instant decision on fully underwritten term life insurance, and check life insurance off your list TODAY.

Ready for tax season? Wishing you’d kept a closer eye on your books this year? Set yourself up for success in 2019 with Pilot. Pilot is a bookkeeping company focused on the needs of startups. Their team of SF-based bookkeepers are assisted by engineers to automate the most error-prone parts of bookkeeping, so you know you’re getting an accurate report every month. Plus, Pilot does accrual basis bookkeeping in Quickbooks Online, so you’re never locked into a proprietary platform. Learn more and sign up here. Don’t wait – the first 100 members of the Twenty Minute VC community get 20% off Pilot Core for six months.

20VC: The Framework LPs Use To Assess Emerging Managers, What Concerns and Excites LPs in Potential Opportunities & The Current State of Seed Today with Hunter Somerville, Partner @ Greenspring Associates

Jan 21, 2019 38:21

Description:

Hunter Somerville is a Partner at Greenspring Associates, a leading venture firm and fund of funds. On the direct side their portfolio includes the likes of Sonos, App Annie, Docusign and Alibaba just to name a few. As for their fund investing, they have backed the likes of Accel, Founders Fund, Thrive, Lightspeed, Foundry Group and many more incredible managers. As for Hunter, he is actively involved in the assessment of micro-vc managers for the Firm where he sits on the LP advisory boards for the likes of Pear, Foundry Group, Scale Venture Partners and BullPen Capital just to name a few. Prior to joining Greenspring, Hunter worked as an Associate for Camden Private Capital.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Hunter made his way into the world of fund investing and came to be a Partner @ Greenspring?

2.) How does Hunter assess the world of micro-VC today? Does Hunter think we will see the market start to shrink as LPs become over-allocated to the space? Why does Hunter believe the barriers for micro VCs to raise are lower than ever? What does this mean for the future of early stage?

3.) How does Hunter fundamentally approach the assessment of new funds? Is it all about track record? How does he look to build a framework/model to predict future performance? What makes Hunter sceptical when assessing new opportunities? Where do many managers go wrong in the fundraising process? How does Hunter think about loss ratio?

4.) As an LP having to allocate to multiple different stages, why does Hunter feel there is a shortage of dedicated A and B round funds? How does Hunter expect both reserve allocation and loss ration to alter as we move from early to later stage? How does Hunter feel about opportunity funds? How does Hunter and other LPs assess GP led restructurings?

5.) Why is Hunter bullish on the future for direct secondaries? Why does he believe this is fundamentally good for the ecosystem? How does Hunter think about early stage managers in their needs for early liquidity? To what extent will early stage managers need to navigate the private secondaries market to attain this liquidity?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Hunter’s Fave Book: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Hunter’s Most Recent Investment: Amplify Partners

As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Are you thinking about life insurance in the new year? Ladder. Is the smart and easy way to get term life insurance online. With Ladder there are no commissioned agents and no policy fees — you can be done in minutes. Even better, coverage can start today, if you qualify, and you can cancel anytime. Ladder is licensed and backed by trusted partners, with billions in coverage. Visit ladderlife.com to apply and get an instant decision on fully underwritten term life insurance, and check life insurance off your list TODAY.

Ready for tax season? Wishing you’d kept a closer eye on your books this year? Set yourself up for success in 2019 with Pilot. Pilot is a bookkeeping company focused on the needs of startups. Their team of SF-based bookkeepers are assisted by engineers to automate the most error-prone parts of bookkeeping, so you know you’re getting an accurate report every month. Plus, Pilot does accrual basis bookkeeping in Quickbooks Online, so you’re never locked into a proprietary platform. Learn more and sign up here. Don’t wait – the first 100 members of the Twenty Minute VC community get 20% off Pilot Core for six months.

20VC: Why Every Company Looks One Round Earlier Than It Should Be, Why Investors Don't Understand Term Sheet Psyche & How The Brand Behind The Investor Can Overweight The Attention Their Opinion Is Given with Assaf Wand, Founder & CEO @ Hippo

Jan 18, 2019 33:18

Description:

Assaf Wand is the Founder & CEO @ Hippo, a new kind of insurance company that provides smart coverage for homeowners with a quote in just 60 seconds. To date, Assaf has raised over $109m in funding for Hippo from some dear friends of the show in the form of Felicis Ventures, GGV Capital, Fifth Wall, Zeev Ventures and Lennar just to name a few. Prior to re-imagining the world of insurance, Assaf founded Sabi, creating products that improve everyday life with superior functionality and design. Sabi was acquired by Urbio in 2015. Before that Assaf held numerous different roles including as a consultant at McKinsey and Investment Associate at Intel Capital.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Assaf being the worst employee in the world lead to his entrance into the world of early-stage startups and the founding of Hippo?

2.) How does Assaf analyse the current sentiment and approach to fundraising in the valley today? Why does Assaf believe that every company looks one round earlier than it should be for the VCs? How does Assaf think about investor selection? What is the single biggest value a VC partner can provide? Does Assaf agree that founders should "always be raising"? Why does Assaf believe that top funds should not get significant discounts?

3.) What does Assaf believe are the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make when building their board? On boards, why does Assaf believe there is a danger that partners from top funds have their ideas overweighted due to the prestige of their fund? What can be done to prevent this? What does Assaf believe is the right screening process for new board members?

4.) What does Assaf believe separates the good from the great when it comes to board members? How does Assaf really look to building meaninful relationships with his board members? What has worked well? On the flip side, why does Assaf believe the No 1 element of a board is "do no harm"? Where can board members actually be damaging?

5.) Hippo is growing 30% MoM and will be in 80% of the US in the next 12 months, how does Assaf think about when is the right time to put the pedal to the metal? What are those leading indicators? Where do many founders go wrong here? Is it simply a case of whenunit economics work, one is ready to scale?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Assaf’s Fave Book: The FountainheadThe Pillars of The Earth

As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Are you thinking about life insurance in the new year? Ladder. Is the smart and easy way to get term life insurance online. With Ladder there are no commissioned agents and no policy fees — you can be done in minutes. Even better, coverage can start today, if you qualify, and you can cancel anytime. Ladder is licensed and backed by trusted partners, with billions in coverage. Visit ladderlife.com to apply and get an instant decision on fully underwritten term life insurance, and check life insurance off your list TODAY.

Ready for tax season? Wishing you’d kept a closer eye on your books this year? Set yourself up for success in 2019 with Pilot. Pilot is a bookkeeping company focused on the needs of startups. Their team of SF-based bookkeepers are assisted by engineers to automate the most error-prone parts of bookkeeping, so you know you’re getting an accurate report every month. Plus, Pilot does accrual basis bookkeeping in Quickbooks Online, so you’re never locked into a proprietary platform. Learn more and sign up here. Don’t wait – the first 100 members of the Twenty Minute VC community get 20% off Pilot Core for six months.

20VC: Stride's Fred Destin on The Acceptable vs Non-Acceptable Risks When Investing, How Startup Founders Can Improve The Quality of Their Decision-Making and Must Play for Batting Average & Why Plans Do Not Matter and No Board Member Should Bash An Entre

Jan 15, 2019 39:10

Description:

Fred Destin is a Founding Partner @ Stride.VC, one of Europe's newest seed funds with a portfolio including the likes of Cazoo and Forward Health. Over his 17 year career in venture, Fred has established himself as one of Europe's leading VCs with the exit value of 3 of his portfolio companies alone last year totalling more than $4.5Bn with PillPack's $1Bn sale to Amazon, Zoopla to Silverlake for $3Bn and Integral Ad Science to Vista for $850m. Fred has also led investments as a General Partner @ Accel in Deliveroo, the world leader of food on demand and Carwow, the number 1 for new car sales in the UK.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Fred made his way into the world of venture and early stage? What was behind his decision to leave Accel to found Stride with Harry?

2.) Why does Fred think many today misunderstand "risk" in venture? How does that apply across the portfolio? Does Fred agree with Brian Singerman, "venture is a game of upside maximisation"? What risks does Fred define as acceptable vs non-acceptable risks? How does Fred really look to strength test the quality and depth of a founder pre-investment? What are the benefits of going through conflict early?

3.) How does Fred think about price sensitivity? What are the core questions a VC can ask when considering the pricing of an opportunity? How does Fred think about reserve allocation? How does Fred analogize this to the best traders? To what extent does TAM play a dominant role in Fred's evaluation? What does Fred mean when he says "we have to remember, we are the ones that get picked also"?

4.) How does Fred think about and assess innovation within venture? How does Fred perceive the role of data to impact venture over the coming years? Why does Fred believe it is exaggerated that data will disrupt the early stage in the coming years? Where would Fred like to see further innovation in the mechanics of venture?

5.) What does Fred believes separates the good from the great when it comes to board members? How can board members create an environment where the entrepreneur feels they can say all that is wrong? Where do many board members go wrong? Why are board members so wrong to bash a founder for missing their numbers? Why does Fred believe that plans are fiction? WHy is the framework of the plan what really matters?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Fred’s Fave Book: Man's Search for Meaning

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Fred on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Are you thinking about life insurance in the new year? Ladder. Is the smart and easy way to get term life insurance online. With Ladder there are no commissioned agents and no policy fees — you can be done in minutes. Even better, coverage can start today, if you qualify, and you can cancel anytime. Ladder is licensed and backed by trusted partners, with billions in coverage. Visit ladderlife.com to apply and get an instant decision on fully underwritten term life insurance, and check life insurance off your list TODAY.

Ready for tax season? Wishing you’d kept a closer eye on your books this year? Set yourself up for success in 2019 with Pilot. Pilot is a bookkeeping company focused on the needs of startups. Their team of SF-based bookkeepers are assisted by engineers to automate the most error-prone parts of bookkeeping, so you know you’re getting an accurate report every month. Plus, Pilot does accrual basis bookkeeping in Quickbooks Online, so you’re never locked into a proprietary platform. Learn more and sign up here. Don’t wait – the first 100 members of the Twenty Minute VC community get 20% off Pilot Core for six months.

20VC: How Founders Can Really Get The Most Out of Their Board, Why Culture Fit At The Board Level Is Not Discussed Enough & Why Growth and Culture Are 2 Sides of The Same Coin with Avi Meir, Founder & CEO @ TravelPerk

Jan 11, 2019 29:32

Description:

Avi Meir is the Founder & CEO @ TravelPerk, the startup that allows you to book, manage and report all your business travel in one place. To date, Avi has raised over $73m with TravelPerk from the likes of Felix Capital, Yuri Milner, Spark Capital, Sunstone and LocalGlobe to name a few. Before founding TravelPerk, Avi founded HotelNinjas, a web-based hotel management software platform that was ultimately acquired by Booking.com. Prior to that, Avi was VP Product at Budgetplaces.com, which was acquired by Palamon in 2011.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Avi made his way from the world of hotels to the world of founding startups and what was his entry point? How did Avi's experience with HotelNinja's impact his operating mindset with TravelPerk today?

2.) How does Avi think about attaining the right board composition? What is the ideal structure? How important is it to have industrial experience around the table? What are the 2 other core skills that Avi believes are required on the board? What can founders do to ensure plasticity of mindset at a board level?

3.) What makes the truly special board members? What do they do both in the good and the bad times to make them so good? What does Avi believe makes the more challenging board members to work with? Why does Avi believe that culture fit at the board level is not discussed enough? What can be done by the founder to improve this?

4.) TravelPerk has now raised over $75m in funding, what does Avi believe they have done well to date to allow them to raise this? For the next round, what would Avi like to improve upon and pushback on further? What advice does Avi have for founders entering negotiations when it comes to both valuation and option pool?

5.) Why does Avi believe that culture and growth are 2 sides of the same coin? What have been some of the biggest challenges in scaling the team with the scaling of the company? How does one retain startup culture when no longer a startup? What would Avi do differently with regards to expansion with the benefit of hindsight?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Avi’s Fave Book: Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Avi on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Scott Belsky on Why We Must Challenge Our Faith In The Strength of Resources, Why We Must Rethink The Product Creation and Design Process & How To Determine Between The Good and The Truly Great When Assessing Individuals

Jan 7, 2019 38:25

Description:

Scott Belsky is an executive, entrepreneur, author, and investor. He currently serves as Adobe's Chief Product Officer and Executive Vice President, Creative Cloud. Before Adobe, Scott co-founded Behance in 2006 and served as CEO until Adobe acquired Behance in 2012. Alongside his role at Adobe, Scott is a Venture Partner at one of the world's leading venture firms, Benchmark. Scott also actively advises and invests in startups personally having one of the most incredible angel portfolios with early checks in Pinterest, Uber, Periscope, Warby Parker, Carta, Flexport and more. Scott is also the author of Harry's favourite book of 2018, The Messy Middle.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Scott made his way into the world of startups with Behance, how that translated to the world of angel investing and being Chief Product Officer @ Adobe? WHat does Scott mean when he discusses the correlation between utilisation and happiness?

2.) What does Scott mean when he says he looks for people whereby 'conversations improve by step function?" What are the best examples of this? How have they shown this? How does Scott think startups founders can manufacture motivation? How has Scott seen the best founders hire the very best team? How do the best founders determine between a stretch and a stretch too far?

3.) In terms of product, what does Scott mean when he refers to the "value of slow cooking"? How does that relate to product creation? Why does Scott often have issues with the MVP approach seen today? How does Scott think about the importance of product simplicity? How can one maintain that over time? Why does Scott believe more founders should spend more time crafting the last mile user experience than they do?

4.) Simplicity is great but VCs often suggest, non-defensible, how does Scott think about building defensibility with simplicity? Simplicity often also narrows market size, how does Scott think about and analyse market size today when investing? Where does Scott think many investors go wrong today when trying to measure market size?

5.) What does Scott mean when he says "resources are like carbs, resourcefulness is muscle"? Why does Scott believe we need to challenge our faith in the strength of resources? What advice does Scott given when founders ask, "when is the right time to raise big"? How has Scott's writing of the book influenced his mindset when engaging with founders today and investing?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Scott’s Fave Book: Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage to the Antarctic

Scott’s Most Recent Investment: Assembled Brands

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Scott on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Most Downloaded Founder Episode of 2018: Andrew Dudum, Founder & CEO @ Hims

Dec 28, 2018 30:21

Description:

Andrew Dudum is the Founder & CEO @ Hims, one of the fastest growing consumer brands of our time and the fastest growing men’s health and wellness brand. To date, they have raised over $97m in VC funding from some of the best in the business including Thrive, Founders Fund, Forerunner, IVP, Redpoint and SV Angel just to name a few. Andrew is also Venture Partner at Atomic, a venture-builder backed by Peter Thiel, Marc Andreesen and many of the world’s best investors who recently announced their new $150m fund to start companies solving the world’s problems. Prior to Atomic and Hims, Andrew led Product at TokBox.com, the leader in web-based communication and In 2012 TokBox was acquired by the global telecommunications company Telefonica ($TEF).

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Andrew made his way into the world of startups, came to build a venture builder backed by Thiel and Andreesen before starting the fastest growing men’s health and wellness brand in Hims?

2.) How does Andrew view the world of online and offline marketing in today’s proliferated D2C space? What were the core elements that allowed Hims to achieve such success with their branding? How does Andrew respond to suggestions that there is a lack of free and open distribution due to incumbents paying up for traditional channels making CAC unachievable for startups? How does Andrew look to solve for this?

3.) What does Andrew believe it is that has allowed Hims to execute faster than any other D2C brand in history? How does Andrew distinguish between people and process when considering the scaling at different stages of the business? What are the pros and cons of having such constraints on headcount? When is the right time to pour fuel on the fire?

4.) Hims raised their last round at a $200m valuation in less than a year of operating, how did Andrew evaluate this one? Does this not effectively price Hims out of the majority of M&A?  What leads Andrew’s thesis with his suggestion that he thought the valuation was “quite frankly, a great price for investors”? What advice would Andrew have for founders entering the fundraising process?

5.) Andrew is also the co-founder @ Atomic, so what really is a venture builder? How have Atomic built a framework around idea generation? How do Atomic determine which ideas to pursue and which to disregard? How does data and benchmarking play a central role in this process?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Andrew’s Fave Book: Creativity Inc

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Andrew on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Much like how Carta changed how private companies manage their cap tables and 409A valuations, Carta are now doing the same for fund administration. With Carta’s new, modern fund administration software and services, you get a real-time dashboard of your general ledger, can securely share info with your LPs, and issue capital calls–from the same platform, you accept securities and request cap table access. So essentially, Carta simplifies how startups and investors manage equity, fund administration, and valuations. Go to carta.com/20VC to get 10% off.

20VC: A Framework For Approaching Risk and How It Affects Portfolio Construction | Lessons and Advice From Working with Dropbox's Drew Houston | Why Being A Learning Animal Is The Most Important Factor For Success with Ted Wang, Partner @ Cowboy Ventures

Dec 17, 2018 33:00

Description:

Ted Wang is a Partner @ Cowboy Ventures, one of Silicon Valley's leading early-stage funds with the likes of Philz Coffee, Dollar Shave Club, Brandless, DocSend, Accompany and Brit + Co all in their portfolio. As for Ted, prior to VC, Ted spent X years as a leading Silicon Valley lawyer with Fenwick & West where he worked with some of the most notable companies of our times including Facebook, Dropbox, Twitter, Square and Spotify just to name a few. Ted also created the Series Seed Documents - a set of open-sourced financing documents posted on Github used by thousands around the world today.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Ted made his way from one of the most renowned lawyers in the valley with Fenwick & West to partner @ Cowboy alongside Aileen Lee?

2.) How does Ted fundamentally approach risk today? Given this mindset, how does this impact Ted's thinking on optimizing portfolio construction? On the flip side, how has Ted seen many founders wrongly approach the theme of risk? What is the question they need to be asking? What is Ted's story about risk related to his time working with Jet?

3.) What is it that makes Ted believe that "advice is often oversimplified"? If so, how can VCs provide tangible advice to their portfolio companies today? How can founders determine what is the right advice to accept and integrate vs listen and disregard? How does this lead Ted's thinking on the 2 core value adds a VC can provide? What advice did Dropbox Founder, Drew Houston give Ted on when to accept advice?

4.) What does Ted mean when he says "there are 4 parts to venture"? How does Ted think about the theme of learning and self-improvement when assessing founders? How does he look to do this pre-investment? What questions reveal the most? Applying it to himself, where will Ted place his biggest efforts on learning within the realm of venture over the next 12 months?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Ted’s Fave Book: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Ted’s Most Recent Investment: Fullcast

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Ted on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Much like how Carta changed how private companies manage their cap tables and 409A valuations, Carta are now doing the same for fund administration. With Carta’s new, modern fund administration software and services, you get a real-time dashboard of your general ledger, can securely share info with your LPs, and issue capital calls–from the same platform, you accept securities and request cap table access. So essentially, Carta simplifies how startups and investors manage equity, fund administration, and valuations. Go to carta.com/20VC to get 10% off.

20VC: Why Founders Should Not Always Be Raising, How To Build Relationships with VCs In A Condensed Timeframe, Why The Founder To VC Relationship Is Not Like A Marriage with Dave Vasen, Founder & CEO @ Brightwheel

Dec 14, 2018 31:40

Description:

Dave Vasen is the Founder & CEO @ Brightwheel, the child management software solution you need and now the #1 platform for early education. To date, with Brightwheel, Dave has raised over $33m in funding from some of the best in the business including Bessemer, GGV Capital, Lowercase Capital, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, our friends at Eniac Ventures and then the likes of Mark Cuban and Chris Sacca. As for Dave, prior to Brightwheel, he was a VP of Product @ AltSchool and before that spent 3 years at Amazon in numerous different roles including Head of K-12 Education on Kindle and developed and launched the “Made for Kindle” licensing program – both domestic and global.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Dave made his way into the world of edtech and startups from being a consultant at Bain and product manager at Amazon?

2.) Why does Dave fundamentally disagree that founders should always be raising? What is the right way that founders should approach the fundraise? How can founders turn down investor meetings politely when requested and they are not raising? What is the right way to think about capital as a weapon today and the effective allocation of it?

3.) Why does Dave disagree with many elements that the Founder/VC relationship is a marriage? What one element, other than capital, does Dave most look for in a potential investor? What can founders do to really compress the fundraise timeline? How can founders build relationships with VCs under these compressed conditions?

4.) In the valley there is a large amount of glorification around the scaling and founding of companies, how does Dave feel personally about this glorification? How would Dave like to see this mindset fundamentally change? In terms of mindsets, why does Dave push back against the suggestion of VC "pattern recognition"? How has being an older founder and father changed the way he thinks about building Brightwheel today?

5.) How does Dave interpret the meaning of focus today with regards to company building? How does Dave determine the elements to really double down on? How does Dave think about saying no to opportunities? What framework does he use? What have been some of Dave's biggest learnings on culture and being prescriptive around it?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Dave’s Fave Book: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Dave on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Top 3 Considerations When Evaluating Consumer Businesses Today | 700 Meetings, 70 LPs, 2 Years, What It Takes To Raise a First Time Fund| The Power of The Female Network In Action Today with Anu Duggal, Founding Partner @ Female Founders Fund

Dec 10, 2018 28:28

Description:

Anu Duggal is the Founding Partner @ Female Founders Fund, a leading early-stage fund investing in female-founded technology companies. Within their incredible portfolio is the likes of Zola, Rent The Runway, Maven Clinic, Tala and previous guest, Rockets of Awesome. They also have the most incredible mentor network including the founders of Stitchfix, Care.com, Zola and Tala. Prior to founding Female Founders Fund Anu was CEO @ Doonya, a dance fitness and media company inspired by Bollywood and fun fitness. Before that, Anu was Founder @ Exclusively.In where she headed up New Business Development.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Anu made her way into the world of VC with her founding of Female Founders Fund?

2.) What does Anu mean when she says she likes to focus on "non-obvious opportunities"? What are some clear examples of this? These non-obvious opportunities often appear to have smaller markets, how does Anu think about market size and evolution when investing? Can one blame male VCs for sometimes not identifying with the problem set being solved? What can be done to solve this problem?

3.) What 3 elements do Anu most look for when investing in consumer today? How does Anu respond to the statement that consumer may produce healthy revenue but at the end of the day they will never really produce venture return and be sold for 1.6x EBITDA? How does Anu assess the state of the M&A market today in the world of CPGs?

4.) How was the first fundraising for Female Founders Fund? What did the process look like in terms of amount of meetings, total committed LPs and duration spent raising? What were the common pushbacks from LPs in the fundraise? What did Anu do well that she would do again? How did the raise of the 2nd fund compare to the raise of Fund I?

5.) What does Anu mean when she states, "the power of the female network"? How has Anu seen this work in the real world? How does this allow Anu to see the best deals? How does Anu think about scaling check size and ownership with fund II? How does Anu think about reserve allocation when re-investing?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Anu’s Fave Book: Educated: The international bestselling memoir

Anu’s Most Recent Investment: Co-Star, Hyper-Personalized, Real Time Horoscopes

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Anu on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: CB Insights' Anand Sanwal on The Most Dangerous Myth Some Investors Have Promoted, Why Most B2B Content Is Crap and How To Make It Successful & Why Predigree Is Overrated and The Right Way To Scale Teams

Dec 7, 2018 34:41

Description:

Anand Sanwal is the Founder & CEO @ CB Insights, the tech market intelligence platform that ingests massive datasets, to answer complex questions and predict future trends. CB is the 9th best place to work in the US according to GlassDoor and one of the fastest growing SaaS companies in the US. To date, CB Insights has raised over $11m in VC funding, a topic Anand discusses at length in our episode today! Prior to founding CB, Anand held numerous roles at American Express including running a $50m Innovation Fund and managing the company's discretionary investment spend ($4-5Bn p.a.). Before American Express, Anand was one of the early team @ Kozmo.com, one of the most well-funded and infamous startups in NYC history.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Anand came to found CB Insights from running American Express' $50m Innovation fund and the a-ha moment there?

2.) Why does Anand believe that revenue funding is the best kind of funding? What 3 elements does Anand believe it fundamentally allows? What does Anand mean when he says "most have 3 masters, you can only serve two of them at once"? Does Anand believe that founders today are treating their investors as customers?

3.) How does Anand distinguish between business that can be funded from revenue vs those that cannot? How does Anand think about the relationship between growth and margin? Why does it make sense for VCs today to push for the suggestion that startups need to raise big to grow? How can founders think about and respond to this?

4.) Why does Anand believe that most B2B content today is crap? What are the core pillars that make great B2B content today? How does Anand think about potentially going too far when it comes to the risque nature of the content? What advice would Anand give to B2B founders wanting to ramp up their game in content? Where do many go wrong?

5.) What does Anand mean when he says that "pedigree is often overrated"? How has that led Anand's thinking when building out the team at CB? Where does Anand see most founders make mistakes when it comes to both team and company scaling? What interview question does Anand find most revealing of an individuals' character?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Anand’s Fave Book: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Anand on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Index's Danny Rimer on His Biggest Lessons On Price, Ownership, Board Dynamics & Building Consumer Businesses from Backing The Likes of King, Skype, Farfetch, Glossier and more...

Dec 3, 2018 40:42

Description:

Danny Rimer is a Partner @ Index Ventures, one of the world's leading venture funds with a portfolio including the likes of Dropbox, Skype, King, Bird, Slack and many more incredible companies. As for Danny, he is known for his investments in Dropbox, leading the company's Series B, Etsy, King (makers of world famous, Candy Crush), Skype and more recently many retail and fashion businesses such as Farfetch, Glossier and GOAT. He's been on the coveted Forbes Midas List for more than a decade and in 2017 was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to business and charity and the New York Times included him in its list of the top 20 venture capitalists worldwide.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Danny made his way into the world of venture and came to be a Partner @ Index Ventures?

2.) Having backed the likes of King, Skype, Glossier, how does Danny respond to Peter Fenton and Jeremy Levine's suggestions of a "consumer downturn"? Does Danny believe there is a lack of free and open distribution today? Can startups compete with such inflated CACs? Henry Davis @ Glossier asks: how have you seen acquisition models change over time? How do you envision acquisition models of the future?

3.) Peter Fenton said on the show previously, he always laughs when he hears VCs say they like big markets, how does Danny assess market sizing today? What have been Danny's biggest lessons on assessing market size when looking at his portfolio? How does Danny think about niche markets today in such an Amazon dominant world? How does Danny assess price today? How does Danny determine when to stretch vs stay firm?

4.) Having helped many companies scale to global success, what does Danny believe to be the core considerations in getting your startup ready for global expansion? How did Danny find Index's expansion when opening up their first US office in 2011 in SF? What were some of the biggest challenges? How does Danny think about and assess generational transition within venture and Index more specifically today?

5.) Danny has spent over 3,000 hours on boards to date, how has Danny seen himself evolve as a board member over that time? What were some inflection moments in those hours that fundamentally changed the way Danny thinks? What advice would Danny give me, having just gained my first institutional board seat?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Danny’s Fave Book: Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami

Danny’s Most Recent Investment: Goodeggs

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Danny on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Monzo's Tom Blomfield on The 3 Phases of Startup Scaling, The Secret To Building a 1.2m Community with No Advertising & How To Use Boards As A Tool To Instil Operational Excellence

Nov 30, 2018 35:54

Description:

Tom Blomfield is the Founder & CEO @ Monzo, in it's simplest words, the bank of the future allowing you to open a full UK bank account in minutes, from your phone. To date, Tom has raised over $190m in funding for Monzo from the likes of Thrive, Accel, General Catalyst, Stripe, Mike Moritz and Goodwater just to name a few. As for Tom, prior to Monzo he was the Co-Founder of another of London's rocketship startups in the form of GoCardless and before that co-founded student marketplace Boso.com alongside Triplebyte Founder, Harj Taggar.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Tom made his way into the world of startups from University and came to found the bank of the future in Monzo?

2.) Why does Tom believe that scaling a company today can really be broken up into 3 distinct phases? What are those phases? How does what one needs for each phase differ accordingly? What elements has Tom found most challenging to navigate in the scale-up phase? Are there challenges or elements that are the same across every company?

3.) Why does Tom believe that product decision-making is both an art and a science? How does Tom determine when is the right time to add ancillary products? How can one really stress-test true customer love for the first product? How does Tom balance between product expansion vs geographical expansion? How does Tom balance between being customer-driven vs customer informed?

4.) Tom has grown Monzo to 1.2m users with virtually no advertising, how does Tom respond to the statement that there is a lack of free and open distribution today? What does Tom mean when he says "when it comes to customer acquisition you have to play a different game"? In building community, what have Monzo done so right? Where have they made mistakes? What have been some big lessons on early community building?

5.) Having raised over $190m in VC funding, what have been some of Tom's biggest lessons when it comes to fundraising? Why does Tom believe that so few boards are managed and run well? Where do they go wrong? What do great board managers do to run an efficient process? What does Tom mean when he says "use board meetings as a tool to instil operational excellence?"

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Tom’s Fave Book: The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Tom on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Why Raising A First Time Fund Is Like Raising A Seed Round, Why We Need New and Different Fund Models & Why Longevity Is The Most Rewarding Place To Invest with Laura Deming, Founding Partner @ The Longevity Fund

Nov 26, 2018 30:16

Description:

Laura Deming is Founding Partner @ The Longevity Fund, the first VC firm dedicated to funding high-potential longevity companies. To date, Laura has raised $26m across 2 Longevity funds and has backed the likes of Unity BiotechnologyPrecision BiosciencesMetacrineNavitor, and Alexo Therapeutics. Prior to Longevity, Laura was accepted to MIT at the age of 14 to study physics and then dropped out to join the Thiel Fellowship and start The Longevity Fund. If that wasn't enough, Laura most recently founded Age1, a four-month startup accelerator program focused on founders creating longevity companies.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Laura made her way from studying physics at MIT at just 14 to founding The Longevity Fund and dropping out to join The Thiel Fellowship?

2.) As a 16-year-old, looking to raise a fund to invest in longevity, how was the fundraise process for Laura? Why does Laura believe that raising your first fund is very much like raising a seed round for a company? What was the catalytic moment when the fundraise started to come together? What were the biggest challenges of the raise?

3.) Why does Laura believe that there is a shortage of young biotech founders today? What can be done to solve this and increase pipe? How does Laura find biotech founders compare to more traditional consumer and B2B founders she engages with? How does what they look for from their investor base differ?

4.) Laura has spoken before of "the importance of going against the herd"? How does Laura assess the current landscape for biotech investing? Is Laura concerned to see the entrance of much more traditional VCs into the space? How does Laura look to try and avoid groupthink? What is crucial to this?

5.) How does one need to think about portfolio construction when investing in an inherently riskier biotech space? Does Laura agree with the conventional wisdom around the lack of follow-on funding for biotech companies? How does Laura think about reserve allocation with Longevity today?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Laura’s Fave Book: The Mysterious Stranger by Mark Twain,

Laura’s Most Recent Investment: System1

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Laura on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Investing Lessons From Observing Doug Leone and Bill Gurley, Why It Is Easier To Be Contrarian As A VC Than As An Angel & What It Takes To Run Tinder's Product and Revenue Alongside A Seed Fund with Jeff Morris Jr, Founder @ Chapter One

Nov 19, 2018 35:26

Description:

Jeff Morris Jr is the Founder of Chapter One, an early stage seed fund investing in blockchain assets, mobile and subscription businesses. Chapter One's Portfolio includes the likes of Lyft, Brandable, Crypto Kitties and many more incredible companies. However, Jeff is unique as Chapter One is only one of his hats, Jeff is also the Director of Product & Revenue @ Tinder and when asked to lead the revenue team they were ranked #17 in the app store. Within a year, under Jeff's leadership, Tinder became the #1 top grossing app in the world.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jeff made his way into the world of startups and angel investing, how that lead to his role as Director of Product and Revenue @ Tinder and a leading early-stage investor with Chapter One?

2.) Jeff has previously said, "apply an investor mindset to every product decision I make". What are the foundational questions involved? What are the inherent challenges of being so deep in product and investing simultaneously? What does Jeff think of VCs giving product advice to founders? What should the founders look for? What advice does Jeff give to the common question of "how do I get into investing and VC"?

3.) Why does Jeff disagree with the platform shift and the downturn in consumer mobile? What core innovations will drive the next wave of consumer mobile? Valuations in the space are often lofty, how does Jeff think about price and evaluate his own price sensitivity? How does Jeff think about scalable customer acquisition today in a world where incumbents dominate and price up the traditional channels?

4.) Jeff has said before that "investors treat crypto teams as if they are superhuman", what makes Jeff think this? How do their interactions differ than towards non-crypto teams? Why are lofty expectations dangerous for valuations? How does that put undue pressure on employees? Why are lofty expectations dangerous for product development? How do they affect the product roadmap negatively?

5.) How does Jeff approach the diligence aspect when it comes to investing? What have been some of his major lessons from making over 35 investments on the right diligence framework? How do shortened fundraising cycles negatively affect investor diligence processes? What can founders and investors do under these constrained time frames?

6.) Having worked with some of the greats from Doug Leone to Bill Gurley, what are some of the common traits in how the very best investors engage with founders? What were Jeff's personal learnings from seeing these greats in action? How did it change the way Jeff thinks about founder interaction and engagement?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Jeff’s Fave Book: The Catcher In The RyeGoogled

Jeff’s Most Recent Investment: Radar Relay

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Jeff on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Why Warm Intros Are Mostly Dumb, Why Ownership is Built On First Check and 4 Crucial Elements To Make Cold Inbound Attractive with Leo Polovets, General Partner @ Susa Ventures

Nov 12, 2018 34:02

Description:

Leo Polovets is a General Partner @ Susa Ventures, one of the valley's leading early-stage seed funds with a portfolio including the likes of Flexport, Robinhood, Lendup, Qadium, Rigetti, the list goes on. As for Leo, prior to joining the world of VC, he started his career as the second non-founding engineer at LinkedIn. After two years at LinkedIn, Leo spent 3 years at Google, largely working on real-time payment fraud detection. Finally, his last stop pre-Susa involved spending 4 years at Factual, a location data platform.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Leo made his way into the world of VC from being the 2nd non-founding engineer at LinkedIn?

2.) Why does Leo believe that the hailed "warm intro" is actually dumb? What are the biggest drawbacks to this being commonplace in our ecosystem? What does Leo believe the mindset of investors should be instead? How does Leo filter through cold inbound? What are the 4 elements Leo looks for in all inbound? What can founders do to really make them stand out?

3.) Leo has previously heavily emphasised the importance of moats, how does Leo define moats and defensibility? When do founders have to think about moat building? Pre-product? Pre-launch? Pre-scaling? What questions suggest that a founders mindset is heavily oriented to moat building? With the majority of incumbents being usurped by platform shifts, does that not render moats significantly futile in the long term?

4.) What does Leo believe is the right way for investors to pass on an opportunity and communicate that to founders? What is wrong with the current way many do it? How does Leo present his opinion without getting into an argument with the founder on reasoning? What feedback has Leo been given from founders that has changed the way he thinks about being an investor?

5.) Controversial capitals Round:

Ownerships is built on first check? Agree or disagree and why? Whether it is a $6m, $8m or $12m, if it is at seed, it is so early that price really does not matter so much? Agree or disagree and why? There is no point VCs spending their time with struggling companies in the portfolio. At best they return cents on the dollar. Only work with the outperformers to drive returns. Agree or disagree and why?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Leo’s Fave Book: Elad Gil's High Growth Handbook

Leo’s Most Recent Investment: Interviewing.io

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Leo on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

 

20VC: Being A Wartime Leader in a Time of Peace, Why Marketing Channel Diversification Is Like The Life of A Scientist and Why Small and Mighty Beats Loud and Weak with Ooshma Garg, Founder & CEO @ Gobble

Nov 9, 2018 32:52

Description:

Ooshma Garg is the Founder & CEO @ Gobble, the startup that allows you to cook a fresh homemade dinner in just 15 minutes. To date, Ooshma has raised over $30m in funding for Gobble from some of the best in the business including Initialized Capital, Keith Rabois, Reid Hoffman, Founder Collective, Felicis, Andreesen Horowitz and Thrive just to name a few. As for Ooshma, prior to founding Gobble she founded Anapata, an online site that matches students looking for jobs with potential employers. The company was ultimately acquired by LawWerx.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Ooshma made her way from Wall St to changing the way America eats with Gobble today?

2.) Everyone has an opinion on the food delivery space with the public nature of Blue Apron, what does Ooshma mean when she says "small and mighty beats loud and weak"? Why did Ooshma not take the path of other competitors in the space of racing big and running fast? What is Ooshma's advice to founders on dilution and raise amounts?

3.) Would Ooshma agree with Alex @ LSVP that marketing portfolios are like venture portfolios, diversified and then double down? Would Ooshma agree with the concern around unfeasible CACs due to incumbents bidding them up on major platforms? Where does Ooshma see blue ocean when it comes to marketing channel success?

4.) What does Ooshma mean when she says "success is survival"? Why is capital efficiency even more important in online/offline businesses? What are some of Ooshma's examples of her "wartime approach" to capital efficiency? How does Ooshma explain this more sustainable growth to the growth-hungry VC community? Who is to blame for the insatiable desire for unreasonable growth; the founders or the VCs?

5.) Ooshma has raised over $30m with Gobble, analysing herself in fundraising, what does Ooshma believe she did particularly well during the raise and advise other founders to do? What elements would she like to improve upon for the next round? What is the story behind how Ooshma sprinted down the 101 to get Keith Rabois as an angel?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Ooshma’s Fave Book: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle 

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Ooshma on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Why The Engineer Will Replace The MBA As CEO, Why The Peace Dividends From The Autonomous Car Wars Will Generate More Value Outside of Transport & Why Old and Boring Industries Are The Most Exciting To Build In with Avidan Ross, Founding Partner @ R

Nov 5, 2018 34:37

Description:

Avidan Ross is the Founding Partner @ Root Ventures, one of Silicon Valley's most exciting newer generation of funds dedicated to backing bold engineers at seed. To date they have backed some incredible companies such as Nautilus Labs, Dusty Robotics, Tortuga AgTech and Instrumental.ai just to name a few. Prior to founding Root, Avidan was CTO at The CIM Group, with an aggregate of $15Bn AUM, Avidan was responsible for establishing the company’s technical vision and leading all aspects of the company's technology investment. Before that, he built algorithmic trading platforms as Director of Technology at WHW Capital. 

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Avidan went from building algorithmic trading platforms to back the next generation of revolutionary engineers with Root?

2.) What does Avidan mean when he says "the peace dividends of the autonomous car wars will generate more value outside of transportation?" How does the commoditisation of these core components affect subsequent industries? With their commoditisation, does it not become a raise to the bottom on price and margin?

3.) How does Avidan approach the layering on new software products to emerging hardware devices? What does this mean for the margin required both for the hardware and the software? How does Avidan's investor mentality alter when investing in hardware vs software?

4.) Why does Avidan believe "old and boring industries are the most exciting to build software in?" How does Avidan approach the common problem of customer education and selling to a customer base that does not want to talk to you and does not believe in your product? What do founders selling in these industries need to focus on to break through?

5.) How does Avidan assess the current landscape in terms of the quality and quantity of engineer CEOs? Why does Avidan believe the MBA CEO will be replaced by engineers? How has Avidan seen a variance in the background in the entrepreneurs innovating in "old and boring" industries?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Avidan’s Fave Book: Drive by Daniel Pink

Avidan’s Most Recent Investment: Dusty Robotics

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Avidan on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Ryan Caldbeck on Why The Business Model of VC is Broken, Who is To Blame, How The Best Funds Will Use Data Intelligently Moving Forward & Whether We Are In A Consumer Bubble Or Not?

Nov 2, 2018 34:45

Description:

Ryan Caldbeck is the Founder & CEO @ CircleUp, the startup creating a transparent and efficient market to drive innovation for consumer brands. To date, Ryan has raised over $50m with CircleUp from some friends and prior guests of the show including USV, Collaborative Fund and Canaan Partners just to name a few. Prior to CircleUp, Ryan spent nearly 7 years investing in consumer products with the likes of TSG Consumer Partners and Encore Consumer Capital. As a result of Ryan's success with CircleUp he has been recognised as a "Titan of Retail" by Bloomberg and "40 Under 40" by the San Francisco Business Times.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Ryan made his way into the world of consumer investing and what the realisation moment was for him that the market needed a solution, CircleUp?

2.) Why does Ryan believe that venture capital has a fundamental problem? What is it about the economics of funds that Ryan has a problem with? Who is to blame for this situation; the LPs who fund it or the AUM hungry VCs? Why does Ryan believe the majority of micro VCs are micro as that is all they could raise? Is that really fair or true?

3.) Why does Ryan fundamentally believe the LP ecosystem and mechanism for backing funds is inherently broken? What is so wrong with current LP incentives? What does Ryan believe can be done to encourage more risk-taking and innovation from within the LP class?

4.) Recognising the antiquated nature of much of VC, what does Ryan believe the future of VC looks like? How will we see the use of data impact both sourcing and investment decision-making? Where does Ryan believe it has the most potential? Where is data so sparse that it will be challenging? How does Ryan believe the best managers of the future will use data?

5.) Consumer brands and DNVBs are riding high today, does Ryan believe we are in a consumer bubble? What does Ryan believe is so wrong about how the majority of the current crop of VCs analyse consumer businesses? How should they be analysed? Why does Ryan believe consumer exits will be smaller? Is it fair to say consumer is more capital intensive and largely sells for 1.6-1.8 EBITDA?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Ryan’s Fave Book: The Hard Thing About Hard Things

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Ryan on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: The 2 Core Roles Played By The Best Seed Investors Today, What To Look For In Potential Co-Investors & Why Seed Funds Can Grow Ownership in Their Best Companies Across Rounds with Ron Bouganim, Founder @ Govtech Fund

Oct 29, 2018 45:38

Description:

Ron Bouganim is the Founding Partner @ Govtech Fund, the first-ever venture capital fund dedicated to government technology startups. To date, he has backed some incredible category leaders including mark43, Neighbourly, MindMixer and SeamlessDocs just to name a few. Prior to GovTech, he was Accelerator Director @ Code for America and was an active angel investor and advisor working with more than twenty startups including ShareThrough, HelloSign, PagerDuty, and Close.io.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Ron made his way into the world of technology and startups and became angel investing? How that led to the founding of Govtech and the belief in the space today?

2.) There is the notion that there many challenges to investing in Govtech and scaling companies in the space, how does Ron respond to the suggestion the sales cycles when selling to government are too long for startups to navigate successfully? How does Ron respond to the suggestion that the growth rates in the space are to low for venture returns? How does Ron respond to the suggestion that founders in the space are inherently older as only they have experienced the problems of government tech?

3.) Why does Ron believe that a vertically focused fund is the right strategy is creating a massively outperforming fund? How does Ron respond to the possibility of missing moonshots in alternate categories? What does Ron most look for in the co-investors that he invests with? What do they bring to the table?

4.) What does Ron believe are the 2 fundamental roles of a seed investor today? How does that differ from previous generations of seed funds? Why does Ron believe that fundraising and hiring help is now merely table stakes? What else can seed investors do to meaningfully move the needle for their portfolio?

5.) Why does Ron advocate for a highly concentrated portfolio? How does Ron respond to LP concerns around a lack of diversification? Does Ron believe that you can grow ownership of your best companies over subsequent rounds? What is the sign of success for Ron when the founder comes back for re-financing?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Ron’s Fave Book: Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson

Ron’s Most Recent Investment: Sema: Automated Code Maintenance

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Ron on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Phil Libin on Why The Concept of A Silicon Valley Style Startup Is Made To Benefit VCs, Why The Very Structure of Companies Is Outdated and Inefficient & What It Means To Build The Netflix of Product

Oct 26, 2018 31:23

Description:

Phil Libin is the Co-Founder & CEO @ All Turtles, the startup that believes they have a better way to make technology products, placing products first and companies later. Today they are building AI products in San Francisco, Paris and Tokyo. As for Phil, prior to All Turtles he was a Managing Director @ General Catalyst. Before that he spent 23 years founding different companies including founding Evernote, taking it from idea generation to productivity powerhouse raising over $160m in VC funding in the process, from some of the very best including Sequoia Capital. Phil is also an extremely successful angel with a portfolio including Gusto, TellApart and Binary Thumb just to name a few.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Phil made his way into the world of tech startups many years ago, how that led to his entering VC with General Catalyst and to now, founding All Turtles?

2.) How does Phil assess the state of Silicon Valley today? Why does Phil believe that Silicon Valley has been becoming increasingly redundant over the last 20 years? Why does Phil argue that the VC Silicon Valley model has been primarily effective at serving it's own needs? What needs to occur for this to change?

3.) Why does Phil argue that the balance of power between startups and incumbents is shifting for 5 core reasons? Why does Phil believe that the data incumbency argument with AI startups is largely overstated and a fear tactic? How does Phil believe people's attitude toward working for incumbents has been shifting over the last few years?

4.) Why does Phil believe that the concept of a "company" is fundamentally outdated? What is so broken about this model? What does Phil believe will be the model of the future for the world's best product creators? Why does the idea of a generalist VC in this model largely not make logical sense to Phil? What does Phil believe the future of VC is?

5.) Why does Phil believe that his time in VC has made him a better CEO than even his time in operations? What have been his core learnings? How has his operating mindset fundamentally shifted? Why does Phil argue the core role of the CEO is not management upscaling? Why does Phil argue it is wrong to assume the only mindset is growth?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Phil’s Fave Book: Clock of The Long Now

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Phil on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Scalar Capital's Linda Xjie on Who Will Win The Smart Contract War, The Future of Exchanges: Centralised or Decentralised & The Pros and Cons of Differing Privacy Coins

Oct 22, 2018 45:14

Description:

Linda Xie is a Co-Founder & Managing Director @ Scalar Capital, one of the leading crypto asset funds to have been born over the last few years with Linda becoming one of the most prominent figures in the space. Prior to co-founding Scalar, Linda was a product manager at Coinbase where she worked with regulators and law enforcement. Before Coinbase, she was a portfolio risk analyst at AIG. If that was not enough, Linda is also an advisor to 0x, the critical infrastructure layer in the emerging financial stack built on a foundation of Ethereum token standards.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Linda made her move into the world of crypto joining Coinbase back in 2014 and how that led to her founding of Scalar? What were her biggest takeaways from seeing the first-hand scaling of Coinbase?

2.) What is a privacy coin and why does it matter? What are some of the dominant legitimate uses for privacy coins? From ZCash to Monero to Dash, there are many players in the space, what are some of the core benefits and tradeoffs of each platform? What is the fundamental problem with privacy coins today?

3.) What is a decentralised exchange, why does Linda believe it is inherently important? How does Linda assess the current exchange environment today? Where does she see it moving over the coming years? What have been some of Linda's biggest learnings advising 0x?  Given the mission and ethos of crypto, does Linda believe that centralised exchanges fundamentally go against the core ethos of the space?

4.) How does Linda perceive the state of ethereum today? What are some of the core challenges facing ethereum today? How does ethereum compare to alternative smart contract platforms? What is their differentiation? Will we see a winner take all/most market within smart contract platforms? Will we see smart contract platforms be regionally fragmented?

5.) How does Linda address the fundamental challenge of valuing tokens today? What has been her preferred model in doing this to date? How does Linda assess the mega raises we have seen over the last year? How does Linda think about preventing projects from raising huge rounds just to stay in step with the mega raises of their competitors?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Linda’s Fave Book: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Linda’s Most Recent Investment: Kadena

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Linda on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Why Too Many People Give Up Too Quickly, Why You Should Never Start A Venture Without Owning The Underlying Data & Why We Have Over-Estimated The Ability of Automation with Dennis Mortensen, Founder & CEO @ X.ai

Oct 19, 2018 35:20

Description:

Dennis Mortensen is the Founder & CEO @ X.ai, the startup that realises scheduling sucks and provides ridiculously efficient AI software that solves the hassle of meeting scheduling. To date, Dennis has raised over $44m in VC funding from the likes of Firstmark, IA Ventures, Lerer Hippeau, DCM and more fantastic names. As for Dennis, he is an expert in leveraging data to solve enterprise use cases and prior to X.ai he was the Founder & CEO of 3 companies, 2 of which were acquired and one which went bust or as he describes a rather expensive MBA. Dennis is also the author of Data Driven Insights, on collecting and analyzing digital data.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Dennis made his way from Copenhagen to New York, the world of startups and came to found one of the hottest AI companies of our day in X.ai?

2.) What were Dennis' biggest lessons from enjoying 3 successful exits prior to X.ai? What were Dennis' learnings from his one failed startup? What would he do differently if he were to start another company? How does Dennis navigate the balance of between pursuing a vision and miss vs when something is just not working?

3.) Does Dennis believe that there really is such a thing as an AI first company? What is the right mentality to approach a company solving a problem through AI with? How does Dennis view the standardisation of AI tools today (Tensor Flow, libraries etc etc)? Does this remove barriers and defensibility for AI companies? What is the key to success for all AI companies?

4.) What does a truly differentiated data acquisition strategy look like? How can one determine the different utility value between different sizes of data? At what point does Dennis believe utility value of data diminishes due to the sheer size of existing data?

5.) Does Dennis believe that conversational UI is truly a paradigm shift in the way we interact with our devices or an iterative improvement? What have been some of the biggest lessons for Dennis in designing conversational UI products? What have been some of the fundamental challenges?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Dennis’ Fave Book: The Narrow Road: A Brief Guide to the Getting of MoneyShoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKEMike Tyson: Undisputed Truth

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Dennis on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

 

20VC: First Round's Phin Barnes on How The Best Founders Optimize for Learning Per Dollar Spent, What Makes A Truly Special Founder/VC Relationship and Why Pattern Recognition is Another Term For Intellectual Laziness

Oct 15, 2018 41:07

Description:

Phin Barnes is a Partner @ First Round Capital, one of the most prestigious and successful early-stage funds of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Uber, Square, Warby Parker, HotelTonight, GOAT, PatientPing, Atrium and more incredible companies. As for Phin, in his own words, he learned the business of startups helping grow AND1 from $15M to $225M in revenue as Creative Director for Footwear, and started his own fitness video-game company, producing Yourself!Fitness, the first game of its kind for Xbox and PlayStation 2 where he built partnerships with the likes of Procter & Gamble and McDonald’s. Phin also writes the most fantastic blog, sneakerheadVC, that really is a must read.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Phin came to be a Partner @ First Round by working for free, with no plans to be a Partner?

2.) What were Phin's biggest lessons from learning from and observing Josh Kopelman? How does Phin define true success as a VC today? Why is the model of determining success according to returns fundamentally flawed? How does Phin approach the need for VCs to be both curious and competitive? What is the nuance there?

3.) Why does Phin believe that the commonly discussed "pattern recognition" is another term for intellectual laziness? What does Phin do to prevent his forming assumptions on the founders he meets? Why does Phin fundamentally disagree with the common VC habit of looking for weaknesses in founders?

4.) Does Phin agree that we have an oversupply of capital in market today? How does Phin determine when a stretch on price is a stretch too far? Why does Phin think that more emphasis should be placed on the business model that VCs have? What does Phin mean when he says that he is on the "sell side"?

5.) What does Phin mean when he says that "VCs should focus on a founders ability to optimise for learning per dollar spent"? Is cash ever a defensible moat in it's own right? What does Phin believe is the right way for founders to use capital as a weapon?

6.) How does Phin and First Round think about the right way to allocate reserves effectively? What does that look like in reality? What does the decision-making process look like on re-investments? Why does Phin believe that the framework of "pro-rata is largely lazy?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Phin’s Fave Book: Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer WithinBoyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War

Phin’s Most Recent Investment: Ubiquity6

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Phin on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: 7 Key Themes To Building A Great Company To IPO, The Right Way To Assess Market Timing & How To Balance Between Speed and Inspection When It Comes To Decision-Making with Patrick Morley, CEO @ Carbon Black

Oct 12, 2018 26:04

Description:

Patrick Morley is the President and CEO @ Carbon Black, the company that combines unfiltered data collection, predictive analytics, and cloud-based delivery to provide superior endpoint protection. Prior to their IPO in April 2018, Carbon Black had raised over $150m in VC funding from the likes of Sequoia Capital, Accomplice, Kleiner Perkins and Highland Venture Partners just to name a few. As for Patrick, under his leadership, he has taken Carbon Black from startup to market leader with over 800 employees. Before Carbon Black, he was CEO of Imprivata Corporation and held senior leadership positions with six venture-backed software companies, including three that had successful IPOs.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Patrick made his way into the world of startups and came to be CEO @ Carbon Black where he turned a startup into a public company and market leader with 800 employees?

2.) Patrick has previously said "there are 7 key themes to building a great company", what are those themes? From taking 4 companies public what are the patterns in building a business the right way? How does Patrick look to create a culture of accountability but also with a risk-taking mentality? How does one retain startup culture with scale?

3.) How does Patrick view his role as CEO today? What 3 characteristics do all great CEOs need to embody and then act on? Would Patrick agree that some people are destined for certain stages of a company's life? How does Patrick determine between a stretch and a stretch too far in a VP? What does that subsequent communication look like?

4.) Mike Dauber @ Amplify previously said on the show "timing kills more startups than dollars", would Patrick agree with this? How does he view market timing? What advice would Patrick give to founders who are 3-4 years ahead in market? What are the challenges? What are the right ways to communicate the path to timing it right?

5.) Why did Patrick choose this year to take Carbon Black public? What are the fundamental pros and cons of being a public company today? How does Patrick assess the role that VCs played in the building of Carbon Black to IPO? What must investors always remember in their interactions with founders? What must founders be cognizant of when selecting their investors and board members?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Patrick’s Fave Book: Built To Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies

As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Learnings From Backing The Likes of Spotify and Airbnb, The World of Growth Investing Today and The Right Way For Investors To Think About Liquidity with Woody Marshall, General Partner @ TCV

Oct 8, 2018 31:04

Description:

Woody Marshall is a General Partner @ TCV, one of the most successful growth funds of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Facebook, AirBnB, Spotify, LinkedIn and many more incredible companies. Woody joined TCV in 1995 and has since led investments in Spotify, Netflix, AirBnB, Peloton, Groupon and the list goes on. Due to this phenomenal success, Woody has been named numerous times to the Midas List by Forbes as one of the industry’s top technology investors. Prior to joining TCV, Woody spent 12 years at Trident Capital, where he focused on the payments, internet, and mobile markets.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Woody made his way into the world of VC over 23 years ago and came to invest in products of a generation such as AirBnb, Spotify and Netflix?

2.) What have been the foundational changes Woody has seen over his last 23 years in venture? How did witnessing the boom and bust affect his operating and investing mentality? How does Woody approach price sensitivity? When is stretching on price a stretch too far?

3.) How does Woody analyse and assess the extended period of privatisation for companies today? How does the mega raises of funds from Softbank, Sequoia, GC, Lightspeed etc change the competitive landscape for Woody? Is there a surplus of capital in market today? Why does Woody believe the pie is larger than it has ever been?

4.) Does Woody agree that the dominant role of CEO is management upscaling? From Woody's portfolio, on hearing this, who is the first CEO that comes to mind and what is the story behind it? What are the mistakes that CEOs tend to make most often when scaling into hypergrowth? What are the 2-3 things that all companies need to focus on when product market fit is apparent and they need to scale?

5.) Woody has spent over 3,500 hours in the board seat, how has he seen himself evolve and develop over time as a board member? What were the biggest learning curves and points of development for Woody? How do the best founders manage and operate their board? Who exemplifies this best from recent memory? What do they do?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Woody’s Fave Book: The Boys in the Boat

Woody’s Most Recent Investment: Peloton

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Woody on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Why Entrepreneurs Should Let Everyone Rip Apart Their Business Idea, How To Construct Frameworks for Success & Why You Should Not Always Test Your MVP with Afton Vechery, Founder & CEO @ Modern Fertility

Oct 5, 2018 31:55

Description:

Afton Vechery is the Co-Founder & CEO @ Modern Fertility, the startup that guides you through your fertility hormones now so you have options later. To date they have raised over 7m in funding from some of the leading players in venture including USV, First Round Capital, Maveron, SV Angel and Y Combinator. As for Afton, prior to Modern Fertility, Afton was a Product Manager @ 23andMe where she was the sole product manager responsible for all consumer-facing genetic tools. Before 23andMe, Afton was a Strategy and Finance Consultant @ Willow Pump where she participated in fundraising that led to successful $15M fundraise.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Afton made her way into the world of startups with 23andMe and then came to change the way we think about fertility with Modern Fertility?

2.) Afton has previously emphasised the importance of having "frameworks for success". What does that mean? How do those frameworks break down? How does Afton think about the decision-making process around prioritisation? How does Afton think about the difference between being customer informed and customer driven?

3.) Why does Afton believe that there are times when you should not test the MVP? Why is this? What would Afton do differently in the MVP process if she had her time again? How does Afton think about and respond to the statement "move fast and break things"?

4.) Why does Afton believe it is important to let everyone "rip apart your business"? What are the fundamental benefits of this? From the ripping aparts, Afton has experienced, what have been the biggest takeaways? What was their argument? How did Afton respond? How did her thinking and mentality change as a result?

5.) Why does Phin Barnes @ First Round say Afton is "hard as nails"?  What were some of Afton's biggest learnings from her early engineering role? How does Afton think about entrepreneurial resilience today? What advice does Afton give to emerging entrepreneurs and first-time founders?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Afton’s Fave Book: Motherhood Rescheduled

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Afton on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: USV's Rebecca Kaden on Whether Venture Returns Can Be Made At Scale In Consumer Today & How To Navigate Consumer Investing In A World of Amazon

Oct 1, 2018 31:37

Description:

Rebecca Kaden is a General Partner @ Union Square Ventures, one of the most successful funds of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Twitter, Twilio, Zynga, Soundcloud, Tumblr, Lending Club and many more. As for Rebecca, prior to USV, Sarah was a General Partner @ Maveron, a consumer-only seed and series A fund where she invested in the likes of Allbirds, Dia & Co, Periscope, Earnest and Eargo just to name a few. Before Maveron, Rebecca took the route of many great VCs and was a journalist, working as Special Projects Editor @ Narrative Magazine.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Rebecca made her way into the world of VC from journalism? How her journey with Maveron led to her becoming a General Partner with the prestigious USV?

2.) Having mastered the craft of VC in the world of consumer, how does Rebecca respond to Peter Fenton and Jeremy Levine's statement, "we are in a consumer downturn"? How does Rebecca think about the lack of free and open distribution today? How can startups compete with incumbents for cost-efficient customer acquisition?

3.) How does Rebecca evaluate the role of Amazon today? How does Rebecca look to get comfortable that Amazon is not moving into the space of a portfolio company? Does Rebecca agree, "if you are not a top 3 priority", you have a couple of years on them? How can startups learn from the execution advantage shown by Amazon over the last decade?

4.) With several recent consumer acquisitions under $200m, does Rebecca still believe that venture returns can be made at scale in consumer? How does Rebecca analyse how to think about multiple on revenue when evaluating consumer companies? Why Does Rebecca believe we are in a moment of fragmentation, not consolidation?

5.) How does Rebecca compare the partnerships of US and Maveron having been a GP now at both firms? What are the similarities? What are the differences? What does Rebecca believe are the core advantages of small partnerships and controlled fund sizes? How does the addition of the thesis-driven investing style effect Rebecca's thinking?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Rebecca’s Fave Book: Pale Fire 

Rebecca’s Most Recent Investment: Modern Fertility

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Rebecca on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: How The Best Founders Approach Bet The Company Decisions, How to Put Your Board to Work & How To Optimise Strategic Thinking on Boards with Maynard Webb, Founder @ Webb Investment Network & Everwise

Sep 28, 2018 33:19

Description:

Maynard Webb is truly unique, he has worn 3 different hats and excelled in all of them. First, he is the Founder of The Webb Investment Network, the institutionalisation of his personal investing where he has invested in the likes of Zuora, GOAT, WePay, Okta, PagerDuty and many more incredible companies. He is also a Co-Founder and Board Member at Everwise, the startup that helps companies tailor, scale and run training at enterprise scale. Everwise has raised over $26m in funding from the likes of Sequoia Capital and Canvas Ventures. Finally, Maynard sits on the board of some of the biggest companies of our time including Salesforce and Visa. Previously Maynard was Chairman of the Board of Yahoo!, CEO of LiveOps, and COO of eBay.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Maynard made his way into the world of startups and came to invest in his first company, founded by Sequoia's Jim Goetz and how that led to eBay, LiveOps and more?

2.) Does Maynard believe we have an excess supply of capital in the market today? What does Maynard think of the mega $Bn+ funds being raised on a frequent basis? How does this distort pricing in the market? How does Maynard think about his own price sensitivity? What does this mean for his available reserve allocation?

3.) Does Maynard believe that the dominant role of CEO is management upscaling? How does Maynard advise on the transition from manager to inspirational leader? How do the vest best CEOs hire the very best execs? How does Maynard know when a stretch VP is a stretch too far? How should founders determine and approach "bet the company" decisions?

4.) When should a founder start installing their board? What does Maynard believe is the optimal board construction, both in characters and profiles? How has Maynard seen his own style of board membership changed over the years? What are the best board members talk to listen ratios? How can founders create alignment among their board?

5.) What is the right way for founders to deal with "s*** hit the fan moments"? What is the framework to approach this with? Where do many go wrong in their approach? How does one communicate this to the wider team, investors and board? What have been Maynard's biggest personal learnings here from eBay?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Maynard’s Fave Book: The Better Angels of Our Nature

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Maynard on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Benchmark's Sarah Tavel on Why Investing Success Lies In Small Markets Adjacent To Very Large Ones, Why You Have To Be Judicious On When To Pay Up vs Be More Price Sensitive & Why Crypto Investing Is Like The Early Days of AdTech Investing

Sep 24, 2018 36:31

Description:

Sarah Tavel is a General Partner at Benchmark, one of the world’s leading VC funds with a portfolio including the likes of Twitter, Uber, Snapchat, eBay, WeWork, Yelp and many more revolutionary companies of the last decade. As for Sarah, Sarah has led Benchmark's investments in and currently sits on the boards of Chainalysis and Hipcamp. Prior to Benchmark, Sarah was a Partner at Greylock Partners, where she led Greylock's investment in Sonder and another (unannounced) company. Before Greylock, Sarah was one of the first 35 employees at Pinterest where she led the company's international expansion and aided in the closing of the Series C financing. Sarah was also the product lead for search, recommendations, machine vision, and pin quality and led three acquisitions as she helped the company scale through a period of hyper-growth.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Sarah made her first foray into the world of venture with Bessemer over 10 years ago? How that led to Pinterest and how she came to be a GP at Benchmark today?

2.) Speaking of Sarah's operating career with Pinterest, Pat Grady said on the show "never has the rate of decay on operating experience been greater". How does Sarah think about and respond to this? How has operating made Sarah a strong investor? What are the drawbacks that this operating experience can present for investors?

3.) Moving to evaluation, Andy Rachleff, Founder @ Benchmark said on the show, "good team poor market, market wins; good market, poor team, market wins. How does Sarah think about the balance between founder vs market? Why is going after big markets so hard? What should investors look for in a market with that in mind? How does Sarah determine the right time to open up adjacent markets?

4.) There has never been a greater supply of capital in the market than today, does Sarah believe we have an excess supply today? Does Sarah agree with her Partner, Peter Fenton, "no good deal is too expensive in hindsight"? How does Sarah assess her own price sensitivity? How does it depend on the opportunity? How has it changed over time?

5.) Having 2,5000 hours on boards, how has Sarah seen herself develop and change as a board member? What have been some of the biggest learning curves? What are the commonalities in the very best board members Sarah works with? how doe the best entrepreneurs manage and use their boards effectively?

6.) Why does Sarah think that crypto today is very much like the world of adtech in the early days? How does Sarah think about the requirement for specialisation in the space? WIll this be a game for the specialised crypto funds or can generalist VC funds compete?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Sarah’s Fave Book: Creating the Kingdom of Ends

Sarah’s Most Recent Investment: Hipcamp

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Sarah on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: How To Build Credibility with Investors, Employees and Customers, How To Determine When A Stretch VP is A Stretch Too Far and The Right Way For Founders To Think About Dilution with Amol Deshpande, Founder & CEO @ Farmers Business Network

Sep 21, 2018 31:41

Description:

Amol Deshpande is the Co-Founder and CEO at Farmers Business Network, the farmer-to-farmer agronomic information network improving the livelihood of farmers by making data useful and accessible. To date, they have raised a whopping $193m in funding from the likes of Kleiner Perkins, T Rowe, GV, Temasek and more. As for Amol, prior to FBN, he was a Partner @ Kleiner Perkins where he invested in the likes of Harvest Power and Agilyx and before Kleiner, Amol was a Director @ Black River Asset Management.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Amol made his way into the world of startups, came to be a Partner @ Kleiner Perkins and then came to change the world of farming with Farmers Business Network?

2.) What were Amol's biggest takeaways from his time with Kleiner? Although important to think really big, how does Amol think about the Peter Thiel School of Thought, starting in a very small niche and expanding? Where does Amol see many founders go wrong when it comes to market size and assessment?

3.) How does Amol believe the very best CEOs hire the very best talent? What core characteristics does Amol look for when adding to his exec team? What are the leading questions and indicators that would excite/concern Amol? Why does Amol believe the smartest people do not always make the best hires? What are the core signs that a stretch VP is a stretch too far?

4.) What is the key to success for founders in building credibility with customers, investors and their board? What is the most challenging element of credibility building? Where does Amol see many founders go wrong and lose credibility today? How does your approach have to alter according to which class of individual you are looking to build with?

5.) How does Amol fundamentally approach the topic of capital efficiency? What does Amol believe is the right way for founders to think about dilution when raising? How does Amol determine when is the right time to raise big and pour fuel on the fire?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Amol’s Fave Book: Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Amol on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Lessons Learned Scaling PillPack from Seed to Amazon Acquisition, Why Investors Should Spend More Time Assessing Human Capital Risk Taken by Founders & The Right Way To Think About Capital Efficiency in Scaling with David Frankel, Managing Partner @

Sep 17, 2018 33:06

Description:

David Frankel is Managing Partner @ Founder Collective, one of the leading seed funds of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Uber, PillPack, Coupang, Hotel Tonight, Venmo, Buzzfeed and many more incredible companies. David himself sits on the board of PillPack, Olo, Adhawk and SeatGeek. Prior to founding Founder Collective, David was the Co-Founder and CEO of Internet Solutions, one of the largest ISP providers in Africa. This led to his entrance into angel investing where he enjoyed immense success investing in the likes of Chris Dixon's Hunch and Alex Rampell's TrialPay, just to name a few.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How David made his way into the world of startups and angel investing from founding Africa's largest ISP provider and how that led to his founding of Founder Collective?

2.) Does David agree with Andy McLoughlin on the inherent mindset shift required when moving from angel to institutional investor? What does David believe is the key to making a new venture partnership work well in the early days? How was the process between him and Eric Paley? What were some of the core challenges/ highlights and breakthroughs?

3.) What does founder-market fit truly mean to David? Why does David believe it is one of the most crucial elements to look for in all investment opportunities? How was this so perfectly evident in the case of Elliot and TJ @ PillPack? How does David navigate the balance between the perfectness of the fit and the investability of the market?

4.) From watching TJ and Elliot at PillPack, what does David believe the truly special founders do to continuously attract the best talent? When does David believe is the right time to really build out the exec team? How did Elliot and TJ align their scaling of the org chart with the growth of the business so well?

5.) How does David think about the lack of free and open distribution in acquiring new customer in a capital efficient manner today? Why does David believe the companies of the future will be advantaged in distribution? In what shape and form can this advantage take? How does David think about the right time to put the pedal to the metal and aggressively grow?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

David’s Fave Book: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

David’s Most Recent Investment: Adhawk

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and David on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

The reality is that hiring amazing developers is hard. Terminal.io is your dedicated partner in rapidly standing up world-class remote technical teams. How do they deliver both speed and quality? Terminal does this by focusing on everything necessary to successfully source, setup, and support these teams – from physical elements like beautiful workspaces and equipment to ongoing resources like HR, payroll, legal, professional learning and development. But don’t take my word for this, take the word of Eventbrite, former 20VC guest Hims, and Dialpad – all customers and lovers of Terminal. You can find out more today at Terminal.io.

20VC: Behind The Scenes of a $Bn IPO Process, What Startups Can Learn From Teddy Roosevelt's "Five Minute Meetings" and What John Lennon Teaches Founders About Storytelling with Howard Lerman, Founder & CEO @ Yext

Sep 14, 2018 35:21

Description:

Howard Lerman is the Founder & CEO @ Yext, the company that allows you to control your brand experience across the digital universe. Due in part to Howard's incredible leadership of the firm, Yext went public in April 2017 with an opening price of $11 a share, today the stock price sits at $26.85 and a market cap of $2.65Bn. Prior to the IPO, Yext raised over $117m in VC funding from Insight Venture Partners, IVP, SV Angel and CrunchFund to name a few. As for Howard, Yext is his 4th company and he is also Co-Founder and Chairman of Confide, a leading off-the-record messaging service.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Howard made his way into the world of startups and came to Partner with is co-founders to start the now public company that is Yext?

2.) Why must every founder know about Teddy Roosevelt and his "Five Minute Meetings"? Literally, what is the right way to structure these meetings? What one question is the right question to ask? How can a leader look to retain that startup culture and ethos with scale? Why does Howard believe running a global company is like running a country?

3.) What have Howard's biggest takeaways been from studying "John Lennon's Storytelling Trick"? How can founders use this trick both to inspire their team more effectively internally and then to present a better vision for the company, externally?

4.) Howard has said before "fundraising is not an end in itself". Does Howard believe that company financing should be celebrated? How was the IPO process for Howard? From a literal standpoint, how does the process run? How did Howard choose which banks to work with? How did the 10-day roadshow shape up? How did the pricing decision-making process look the night before IPO?

5.) Why does Howard believe it is fundamentally better being a public company? What does "public" status allow you? How does being public introduce a challenge never before seen to founders? Why must founders always examine the motives of the VC behind whether they are pushing them to remain private or go public?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Howard’s Fave Book: Five Stars: The Communication Secrets to Get From Good to Great

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Howard on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: The Biggest Lessons From Working Alongside John Doerr, How To Optimize The Speed of Investment Decision-Making & Why Saying No Graciously Is The Most Important Thing with Shabih Rizvi, Founding Partner @ Gradient Ventures

Sep 10, 2018 32:27

Description:

Shabih Rizvi is the Founding Partner @ Gradient Ventures, Google’s new AI-focused venture fund, which will invest in and connect early-stage startups with Google’s resources, innovation, and technical leadership in artificial intelligence. Prior to Gradient, Shabih was a Partner at KPCB, where he was actively involved with investments in TrueCaller, Mobcrush, Veem and Ujet. In addition, he helped the firm build their seed program and served as advisor to Flipagram and Victorious. Before KPCB, Shabih founded and led the startup outreach program for Google Play. Prior to Google Play, Shabih worked on the Mobile Apps Lab team which built SMB products. His primary focus was scaling TalkBin (Acquired by Google) to enterprise clients. Shabih joined Google after Google’s acquisition of AdMob, where he was a manager on the Business Development team.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Shabih made his way into the world of venture with Kleiner Perkins and how he came to be a Founding Partner @ Google's AI focused venture fund, Gradient? What were Shabih's greatest lessons from working side by side with John Doerr?

2.) Shabih has said to me before "founder relationships and their longevity really matter". What does Shabih mean by this? How has this played out for Shabih in an investing environment? What have been Shabih's subsequent learnings?

3.) How does Shabih identify the "3 buckets" that VCs source from? How does Shabih look to filter through opportunities at scale? What must he see in the deck? What are his quick no's? What is Shabih's framework for saying no both with efficiency and kindness? Why does Shabih believe this is one of the hardest parts of the role?

4.) What does the internal investment decision-making process look like at Gradient? Why do they believe that 2 partner meetings a week is optimal? Prior to that, how does Shabih structure his meetings with founders? Why does Shabih believe it is so important to go to them at their HQ? Should all investors go to the founder?

5.) Why is Shabih a strong believer in the decentralisation of talent away from the valley? What are the primary drivers for this decentralization? How does Shabih think about pricing in different regions? To what extent does it differ wildly? How does Shabih respond to traditional SaaS wisdom that you have to build your SaaS business in the valley?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Shabih’s Fave Book: Measure What MattersWhen Breathe Becomes Air 

Shabih’s Most Recent Investment: Scotty.ai

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Shabih on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

The reality is that hiring amazing developers is hard. Terminal.io is your dedicated partner in rapidly standing up world-class remote technical teams. How do they deliver both speed and quality? Terminal does this by focusing on everything necessary to successfully source, setup, and support these teams – from physical elements like beautiful workspaces and equipment to ongoing resources like HR, payroll, legal, professional learning and development. But don’t take my word for this, take the word of Eventbrite, former 20VC guest Hims, and Dialpad – all customers and lovers of Terminal. You can find out more today at Terminal.io.

20VC: The Mindset The Best Investors Assume When Assessing Opportunities, Why So Many Hardware Startups Fail Today & The Right Way To Think About Employee Retention with Andrew Farah, Founder & CEO @ Density

Sep 7, 2018 29:33

Description:

Andrew Farah is the Founder & CEO @ Density, the startup that measures real-time occupancy of every room in your office. To date, they have raised over $16m in funding from some great friends of the show in the form of Founders Fund, Mark Suster @ Upfront, Ludlow Ventures, Jason Calacanis, Hiten Shah and Arjun Sethi, just to name a few. As for Andrew, prior to founding Density, he was a Managing Partner @ Rounded, a software development agency & product studio. There, Andrew and the team built the first Density prototype.

 

In The Show Today:

1.) How Andrew made his way into the world of technology and product with Rounded and came to found the people counter of the next generation in Density?

2.) How does Andrew view the role of super-connectors today? What specific time has a super-connector really moved the needle for Andreq and changed the trajectory of Density? What can one do to first build relationships with these people? What can be done to sustain that relationship and really engage and deepen it?

3.) How does Andrew view the importance of "employee retention" in the ultimate success of a company? Density have never had an employee leave in 4 years, what does Andrew believe they have done right? What has not worked for them? What does he mean when he says, "the best leaders answer employees questions before they are asked"?

4.) What has Andrew found to be the commonalities in the truly special VCs? What do they do that makes them so special? How do they view the world and the assessment of companies that is so right? How does Andrew think about investor selection? Where does Andrew see many founders going wrong with this?

5.) Why does Andrew think that so many hardware startups fail today? What do they consistently underestimate and not understand? What are the core challenges in building a global supply chain? How does one have to think about cost of goods (COG) and unit economics when scaling hardware startups?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Andrew’s Fave Book: The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Andrew on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

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20VC: What It Takes To Found and Scale A Global Venture Firm Like Lightspeed, 3 Ways Firms Do Not Succeed in Generational Transition & What Makes The Truly Special Board Members Like Jim Goetz with Barry Eggers, Founding Partner @ Lightspeed Venture Partn

Sep 4, 2018 30:18

Description:

Barry Eggers is a Founding Partner @ Lightspeed, one of the world’s leading venture funds with a portfolio that includes the likes of Snapchat, Mulesoft, Affirm, StitchFix, AppDynamics, Nutanix and many more incredible companies. Barry himself has led investments in Snapchat, Metasolv Software (acquired post-IPO by ORCL), Calista Technologies (acquired by MSFT), Arbor Networks (acquired by DHR), Growth Networks (acquired by CSCO). As a result of his incredible success, Barry has been named to Forbes Midas List numerous times. Prior to VC, Barry held executive roles at Cisco Systems where he established many of the company’s largest distribution channels across OEMs, Service Providers, Distributors, and VARs. He also developed Cisco’s initial M&A process and directed the first wave of acquisitions and integrations for the company.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Barry made his way from the world of Cisco to the wonderful world of venture and came to found one of the most successful firms of the decade in Lightspeed?

2.) How does Barry break up the development of the venture ecosystem into 3 distinct stages? What does Barry believe have been the positive changes? What does Barry believe have been the negative changes? Does Barry believe there is an excess supply of capital today? Why does Barry believe there are too many first time funds? What is the outcome?

3.) Did Barry always aim to build the multi-stage, multi-geography firm that he has built with Lightspeed, from the start? What have been the fundamental inflexion points for Lightspeed both in the increase in brand value and liquidity to LPs? Why does Barry believe building a firm really is an art? What should managers most look for in their first LPs?

4.) What does Barry believe are the 3 ways a venture firm can fail in a generational transition? How can firms incentivise young partners to see the career path and trajectory ahead? What must the older partners at the firm be willing to do? What have been Barry's biggest lessons in their successful generational transition?

5.) Barry has sat on boards for over 21 years, how has Barry seen himself develop and evolve as a board member over time? What makes a truly functional board? What are the best practices? Who is the best board member Barry has ever sat on a board with? What makes Jim Goetz such a special board member?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Barry’s Fave Book: Quantum Computing: A Gentle Introduction (Scientific and Engineering Computation)

Barry’s Most Recent Investment: Audius

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Barry on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: Casper Founder Philip Krim on The Right Way To Think About Marketing Channel Diversification, When To Accept Strategic Investors & How To Successfully Build Out Your Exec Team

Aug 31, 2018 29:08

Description:

Philip Krim is the Founder & CEO @ Casper, the global sleep company that launched in 2014 offering perfect mattresses directly to consumers. Since then they have raised over $239m in funding from the likes of NEA, Lerer Hippeau, IVP, Norwest Venture partners and even include Leonardo Di Caprio on their cap table. As for Philip, he is a serial entrepreneur having founded 2 previous startups, launching his first business out of his very own dorm room at the University of Texas. Due to his immense success, he has been profiled in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and been awarded a TechCrunch Crunchie award for Best in E-commerce.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Philip made his way into the world of startups and came to launch one of the most successful consumer brands of our day in the form of Casper?

2.) We continuously hear about "the end of retail". What does retail done poorly mean to Philip? How does he perceive the future of retail and retail done right? How does retail fundamentally change the margin structure of an originally online brand like Casper? What does Philip perceive to be the biggest challenge to opening up retail significantly?

3.) Why does Philip think we have seen many online mattress brands struggle over the past year? How has this affected how he operates and executes the plan with Casper? How does Philip think about diversification within customer acquisition channels? How does Philip assess the saturation rate of different distribution channels?

4.) Casper's latest lead investor was a strategic investor, Target. How does Philip think about accepting strategic funds? What was the internal debate and decision-making process? What advice would Philip have to founders contemplating accepting strategic money? How can strategics sometimes have ulterior motives?

5.) Does Philip agree with many former CEOs on the show, the most important role of the CEO is management upscaling? What other functions does Philip consider core? How did Philip think about building out the core of his C-Suite? Does he wish he had done it earlier? What element of the C-Suite was the hardest to hire for?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Philip’s Fave Book: Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our FutureBad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Philip on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

20VC: The Commonalities In The Makings Of Truly Great People, How Silicon Valley Will Become The Home For Crypto and Frontier Tech Once Again & Why Games Are Such A Good Tool To Understand Human Motivation with Daniel Gross, Founder & Pioneer, Head of AI

Aug 27, 2018 33:55

Description:

Daniel Gross is the Founder @ Pioneer and the Head of AI @ Y Combinator. Taking them in turn, Pioneer is the home for ambitious outsiders of the world where they are building a community of creative young people working on interesting projects around the globe. YC is obviously the world’s most successful accelerator with alumni that includes the likes of Airbnb, Dropbox, Reddit, Flexport and many more incredible companies. Prior to Pioneer and YC, Daniel was a Director @ Apple where he focused on machine learning, as a result of his prior company, Cue (also a YC company) being acquired by Apple in 2013. Finally, Daniel also has one of the valley’s most impressive angel portfolios with investments in OpenDoor, Cruise (acquired by GM), Gusto and Github, just to name a few.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Daniel made his way from a military camp in Israel to start a company at YC to selling the company to Apple to now, creating a global community of the world's most ambitious people?

2.) What does Daniel believe is the commonality of truly great people? Why did Daniel decide to start Pioneers now? What are the terms for entering Pioneers? How is Daniel looking to create the global talent engine through gamification with Pioneers? Why is gamification such a strong tool to understand human motivation?

3.) Why did Daniel decide it was the right decision to bring the Pioneers to SF? In the world of decentralized entrepreneurship, why did Daniel feel it necessary to bring everyone to the valley? What does Daniel believe Silicon Valley needs to solve if it is to become the home for crypto and frontier tech? What role does optimism play in the success of SF?

4.) The program is funded through Stripe and Marc Andreesen, many have suggested this poses conflict with potential optionality on projects and talent, how does Daniel think about this conflict? Why is it not a concern? What other challenges does Daniel forsee as being the biggest barriers to the success of Pioneer?

5.) How does Daniel think about KPI's for the coming 12 months? What are his core KPI's? How does Daniel construct a framework that will allow him to love previously disliked tasks? How can anyone do this with success?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Daniel’s Fave Book: Finite and Infinite GamesEnders Game

Daniel’s Most Recent Investment: JumpRetool

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Daniel on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Joist has built the go-to platform for contractors. Joist enables contractors to professionally handle everyday tasks like estimating, invoicing, collecting payments, and manage projects, while also helping them grow their businesses as a streamlined CRM. More than 500 thousand contractors have used the Joist platform to manage more than $8.5 billion in invoiced work in North America, the UK, and Australia. Learn more at joist.com. WePay’s got a great case study about how another platform, TeamSnap, is working with WePay to make payments its #1 revenue stream… more than its subscription business. Get it at wepay.com/harry.

Lattice is the #1 people management solution for growing companies and helps companies like Asana, Reddit and Cruise build a strong company culture. With Lattice, it’s easy to launch 360 reviews, share ongoing feedback, facilitate 1:1s, set up goal tracking, and run employee engagement surveys. Lattice is the only solution that combines performance management and employee engagement, so operators can make sure top performers are happy. Lattice is giving away three months of Lattice free to 20VC listeners. Just go to lattice.com/20vc to receive the offer. Build an award-winning culture with Lattice. The #1 people management solution.

20VC: Lessons From Scaling Trulia to IPO, How To Maximise Your Impact within Your Organisation and Why No One Is Ever 100% Ready For The Next Job with Heather Fernandez, Founder @ CEO @ Solv

Aug 24, 2018 29:10

Description:

Heather Fernandez is the Founder & CEO @ Solv, the startup that simplifies everyday healthcare by providing access to high quality, last-minute care. To date, Heather has raised over $23m in funding from some of the great of the world of venture including Bill Gurley @ Benchmark, Theresia @ Aspect, James Slavet @ Greylock and Pete Flint @ NFX. Prior to Solv, Heather was part of the early team @ Trulia, where she led advertising product, marketing, and sales strategy and saw the team go from 20 people through to the $2.5B acquisition by Zillow Group. Before Trulia, Heather was at Morgan Stanley and more interestingly was National Deputy Press Secretary for Senator John McCain's 2000 presidential campaign. If all of that was not enough, Heather is also a Board Member at the global behemoth, Atlassian.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Heather made her way into the world of startups from the world of politics? How she came to be one of the early team at Trulia? What was the a-ha moment for Solv?

2.) How does Heather fundamentally define "culture"? What is the trust equation? Why does it play such a central role in successful culture building? What does Theather mean when she discusses "constructive candor"? What are the common mistakes Heather sees founders make when it comes to scaling culture? What literal actions can be done to instil trust and respect within the team?

3.) Does Heather agree with James @ ThredUp, "marketplaces founders have to be immensely stubborn"? Would Heather agree with Leah @ TaskRabbit with regards to marketplace NPS and "one side of the equation will always be less content"?

4.) What advice would Heather give to managers to maximize their impact in their organisation and their career? How does Heather think about bringing in the right people at various stages of the company? How does it change with scale? On funding, Solv has raised $23m, how does Heather think about when is the right time to pour fuel on the fire?

5.) Heather is also on the board of Atlassian, so what are the core benefits of simultaneously sitting on a board and managing your own board? What have been Heather's biggest learnings from her time on the Atlassian board? How do the best founders manage their boards successfully?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Heather’s Fave Book: The American Political Tradition and the Men Who Made it

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Heather on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Are you told your standards are too high, well The League is the app that tells you to keep them that way, they know your time is valuable so simply tell them your preferences and they will handle the scouting and vetting for you. Plus even better, your profile will only ever be seen by people who match your preferences, matches expire after 21 days and so there are no drawn-out games and they even require LinkedIn to protect your privacy and block you from matching with co-workers and business connections. You can apply now by downloading The League on the app store or heading to The League.com

Zoom is the fastest-growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an a variety of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. And you can see for yourself! Sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

Culture Amp is the platform that makes it easy to collect, understand and act on employee feedback. From onboarding surveys to company-wide engagement, individual effectiveness and more, the platform manages multiple sources of feedback and connects the dots for you and that is why companies like Slack, Nike, Oracle and Lyft all trust Culture Amp. It enables leaders to make better decisions, demonstrate impact and turn your company culture into a competitive edge.  Find out more on cultureamp.com.

20VC: The 2 Core Areas Value Will Accrue In Crypto, Why Crypto Will Drive The Re-Centralisation of Talent Back Into Silicon Valley & Why Regulation Is The Opposite of What We Should Be Concerned By in Crypto with Avichal Managing Partner @ Electric Capita

Aug 20, 2018 31:01

Description:

Avichal Garg is the Managing Partner @ Electric Capital, one of the leading crypto asset management firms today investing in both liquid and illiquid tokens that are emerging stores of value and rooted in novel technology. Prior to Electric they personally invested in Coinbase, Bitwise, Basecoin and more. As for Avichal as well as Electric, he is a part-time partner at YC and prior to YC, he was Director of Product Management at Facebook where he led the Local product team (a $3.5Bn line of business at the time). Before FB, Avichal worked on Search and Ads at Google, started and sold a few companies, and invested in startups including Optimizely, Boom, Color, Cruise, Instawork, CaseText, and many more.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Avichal made his way into the world of startups, began angel investing, discovering the power of crypto and why now for Electric Capital?

2.) How does Avichal break the world of crypto into 4 fundamentally distinct buckets today? Which 2 elements does Avichal believe will be the biggest value accruers? What is the core question to ask when assessing a crypto opportunity today? How does angel investing compare to crypto investing?

3.) Where are the majority of ICO dollars going today? Why does Avichal believe that ICOs in large part do not fundamentally make sense from an investment and pricing perspective? How does Avichal think about liquidity in the world of crypto? As an institutional manager, what mindset does Avichal embrace when liquidity is possible?

4.) Why does Avichal believe that regulation and government controls is the opposite of the real risk to the space? If this is not the biggest risk, what does Avichal believe is the biggest risk to the potential of the space? Why does Avichal believe that the US government have handled the space with nuance and intellect?

5.) Why does Avichal believe that decentralized teams will not work? How does this correlate to the progression of platform complexity with time? Why does Avichal believe this will lead to the re-centralization of talent back to Silicon Valley? What catalysts will act to speed this up or hamper it's re-centralisation?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Avichal’s Fave Book: Ender's Game

Avichal’s Most Recent Investment: Coda Cryptocurrency Protocol

As always you can follow HarryAvichal and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Are you told your standards are too high, well The League is the app that tells you to keep them that way, they know your time is valuable so simply tell them your preferences and they will handle the scouting and vetting for you. Plus even better, your profile will only ever be seen by people who match your preferences, matches expire after 21 days and so there are no drawn-out games and they even require LinkedIn to protect your privacy and block you from matching with co-workers and business connections. You can apply now by downloading The League on the app store or heading to The League.com

Zoom is the fastest-growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an a variety of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. And you can see for yourself! Sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

Culture Amp is the platform that makes it easy to collect, understand and act on employee feedback. From onboarding surveys to company-wide engagement, individual effectiveness and more, the platform manages multiple sources of feedback and connects the dots for you and that is why companies like Slack, Nike, Oracle and Lyft all trust Culture Amp. It enables leaders to make better decisions, demonstrate impact and turn your company culture into a competitive edge.  Find out more on cultureamp.com.

20VC: Why Founders Must Use VCs as a Barometer, How to Make Distributed Teams Work Successfully & The Biggest Mistake People Make Early In Their Career with Dylan Serota, Founder @ Terminal

Aug 17, 2018 30:27

Description:

Dylan Serota is the Founder & Chief Strategy Officer @ Terminal, the startup that helps you create world-class technical teams through remote operations as a service. They recently raised a phenomenal $13m Series A with some of the world's most renowned names including Lightspeed, KPCB, Craft, Thiel, Atomic and Jerry Yang just to name a few. As for Dylan, he is also a Founder-in-Residence @ Atomic, one of the valley's most exciting new institutions which both founds and funds companies and includes the likes of Hims, TalkIQ (acq by Dialpad) and more. Prior to Atomic and Terminal, Dylan was Head of Platform @ Eventbrite where he led platform product org, built third-party developer ecosystem and platform partnerships.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Dylan made his way into the world of startups with Eventbrite and how that led to his realisation on the future of development operations with Terminal?

2.) Why does Dylan believe that it is important for startups to build distributed teams earlier in their growth curve than often suggested? What are the key aspects to making remote teams work well? Why does Dylan believe that "companies overvalue their culture"? How does Dylan assess culture across remote teams?

3.) Jason lemkin says "startups can either hire a stretch VP or a burnt out mediocre VP", does Dylan agree with this? How does Dylan assess the balance between hiring functional specialists vs jack of all trades? When is the right time to make the transition from generalist to specialist?

4.) Hw does Dylan analyze and assess a startup leaderships team ability to adapt and prioritize speed? What is key to successful decision-making today in startups? How does Dylan think about the importance of speed when it comes to product ideation and iteration?

5.) What does Dylan believe is the biggest mistake many people make early in their career? What are the commonalities of the truly successful people in how they have structured their careers? How does Dylan think about the balance between title vs salary vs experience? What should one optimise for and when?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Dylan’s Fave Book: The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Dylan on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Are you told your standards are too high, well The League is the app that tells you to keep them that way, they know your time is valuable so simply tell them your preferences and they will handle the scouting and vetting for you. Plus even better, your profile will only ever be seen by people who match your preferences, matches expire after 21 days and so there are no drawn-out games and they even require LinkedIn to protect your privacy and block you from matching with co-workers and business connections. You can apply now by downloading The League on the app store or heading to The League.com

Zoom is the fastest-growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an a variety of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. And you can see for yourself! Sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

Culture Amp is the platform that makes it easy to collect, understand and act on employee feedback. From onboarding surveys to company-wide engagement, individual effectiveness and more, the platform manages multiple sources of feedback and connects the dots for you and that is why companies like Slack, Nike, Oracle and Lyft all trust Culture Amp. It enables leaders to make better decisions, demonstrate impact and turn your company culture into a competitive edge.  Find out more on cultureamp.com.

20VC: Why Partners Are There To Save Each Other From Themselves, Why Effective Reserve Allocation Is The Hardest Question In Venture & What Makes The Truly Special Board Members with Jeff Fagnan, Founding Partner @ Accomplice

Aug 13, 2018 38:00

Description:

Jeff Fagnan is Founding Partner @ Accomplice, one of the East Coast's leading early-stage funds with a portfolio including the likes of AngelList, PillPack (acq by Amazon), Freshbooks, Hopper, Secret Escapes and many more incredible companies. Accomplice is also unique as it is a platform builder creating incredible initiatives such as Spearhead, Maiden Lane and Boston Syndicates, really moving the needle in seeding local ecosystems. As for Jeff he is well known as a founding investor, working with most of his portfolio since inception, sometimes as a co-founder including Veracode (Sold to CA Technologies‍). Jeff also sits on the board of AngelList, PillPack, InsightSquared, Hopper, Freshbooks and more.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jeff made his way into the world of VC from consulting over 18 years ago? How did his experience of the bubble influence Jeff's mindset and thinking?

2.) What did Jeff learn about building an optimal venture partnership with the transition from the 23 partner Atlas to the tight-knit Accomplice? Where does Jeff believe most venture partnerships go wrong today? What does Jeff believe is the right size partnership in venture? Why does Jeff believe that partners are there to save each other from themselves?

3.) How did Jeff's experience with Atlas effect his views on portfolio construction? Why does Jeff advocate for the model of raising $200m every 2.5 years for a pure seed strategy? How does Jeff think about building an effective reserve strategy? Why does Jeff not believe pro-rata should be guaranteed? Why does Jeff believe force ranking a portfolio is dangerous?

4.) Jeff believes the best VCs are able to manage 2 things, what are those 2 things? From his 18 years on boards, what does Jeff believe makes the truly special board member? Who is the best he has worked with and why? How does Jeff look to gain the balance of being both proactive to opportunities and reactive to inbound?

5.) Accomplice has recently made it's foray into the West Coast, what was the thinking behind that move? How does Accomplice think about establishing mindshare as a new entrant in a hotly contested environment? What does Jeff believe is the key to successful geographic expansion in venture?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Jeff’s Fave Book: Where The Wild Things Are 

Jeff’s Most Recent Investment: Perch

As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Are you told your standards are too high, well The League is the app that tells you to keep them that way, they know your time is valuable so simply tell them your preferences and they will handle the scouting and vetting for you. Plus even better, your profile will only ever be seen by people who match your preferences, matches expire after 21 days and so there are no drawn-out games and they even require LinkedIn to protect your privacy and block you from matching with co-workers and business connections. You can apply now by downloading The League on the app store or heading to The League.com

Zoom is the fastest-growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an a variety of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. And you can see for yourself! Sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

Culture Amp is the platform that makes it easy to collect, understand and act on employee feedback. From onboarding surveys to company-wide engagement, individual effectiveness and more, the platform manages multiple sources of feedback and connects the dots for you and that is why companies like Slack, Nike, Oracle and Lyft all trust Culture Amp. It enables leaders to make better decisions, demonstrate impact and turn your company culture into a competitive edge.  Find out more on cultureamp.com.

20VC: Why Founding Your First Company Is Like Learning Through A Thousand Paper Cuts, The 3 Core Phases to Product Adoption and Why Valuation Obsession Must Change In The Valley with Armon Dadgar, Founder & CTO @ Hashicorp

Aug 10, 2018 29:51

Description:

Armon Dadgar is the Founder & CTO @ Hashicorp, the open-source software company that provides consistent workflows to provision, secure, connect and run any infrastructure for any application. To date, Hashicorp has raised over $74m in VC funding from many friends of the show including Scott Raney @ Redpoint, Glenn Solomon @ GGV, Semil Shah, True Ventures and Mayfield. As for Armon, today he leads the Hashicorp research group and focused on industrial research in the security and large-scale system management space. Prior to founding Hashicorp, Armon was a software engineer @ Kiip and Amazon.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Armon made his way from intern at Amazon to founding Hashicorp and creating the game-changing suite of tools in the world of DevOps?

2.) Hashicorp has enjoyed success after success with new products, so what does Armon believe is the secret to continuous product innovation? What does Armon mean when he says "there are really 3 phases to product adoption"? How does Armon determine between vision for a product and the realism when it is not working, when launching products?

3.) Hashicorp only recently started generating revenue, why was now the right time? At what point does one go from building products for the community to building products people will pay for? How does Armon assess professional services today? What does Armon believe are the 2 foundational problems with "professional services"?

4.) Many VCs suggest it's impossible to build big infrastructure businesses today given the commoditizing forces to open source and cloud computing. How have Hashicorp navigated that and bucked that conventional wisdom? How has Armon also bucked the conventional wisdom on the importance of focus? What core tenets must remain if one wants to go against this emphasis on focus?

5.) Armon and his co-founder brought on a CEO early, what was the realisation moment for the need to bring in an external CEO? How did Armon look to get comfortable with this transition? What advice would Armon give to founders contemplating bringing in an external CEO? With the benefit of hindsight, what would Armon do differently if he had the time again?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Armon’s Fave Book: To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Armon on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Are you told your standards are too high, well The League is the app that tells you to keep them that way, they know your time is valuable so simply tell them your preferences and they will handle the scouting and vetting for you. Plus even better, your profile will only ever be seen by people who match your preferences, matches expire after 21 days and so there are no drawn-out games and they even require LinkedIn to protect your privacy and block you from matching with co-workers and business connections. You can apply now by downloading The League on the app store or heading to The League.com

Zoom is the fastest-growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an a variety of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. And you can see for yourself! Sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

Culture Amp is the platform that makes it easy to collect, understand and act on employee feedback. From onboarding surveys to company-wide engagement, individual effectiveness and more, the platform manages multiple sources of feedback and connects the dots for you and that is why companies like Slack, Nike, Oracle and Lyft all trust Culture Amp. It enables leaders to make better decisions, demonstrate impact and turn your company culture into a competitive edge.  Find out more on cultureamp.com.

20VC: 3 Core Considerations When Investing In Physical Product Co's, Are We In A Direct-To-Consumer Bubble & Why Many Sub $100m Funds Are Moving Earlier and Earlier with Nick Brown, Managing Partner @ Imaginary

Aug 6, 2018 33:13

Description:

Nick Brown is Managing Partner @ Imaginary, founded alongside Net-A-Porter founder, Natalie Massenet, Imaginary invests in early–stage opportunities at the intersection of retail and technology. Included in their incredible portfolio is the likes of Glossier, Daily Harvest, Farfetch, Everlane and many more awesome companies. Prior to co-founding Imaginary, Nick was a Partner at 14W Venture Partners where he invested in the likes of Goop, Outdoor Voices, The Real Real and Business of Fashion just to name a few. Before that Nick was Head of New Media @ NV Investments.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Nick made his way into the world of venture and consumer investing from the days of investment banking?

2.) We have seen an explosion in the world of consumer with regards to D2C brands, does Nick believe we are in a D2C bubble? There is a lot of skepticism around physical product companies being venture businesses, so what are the core considerations for Nick when investing in physical product brands today?  

3.) Having backed the likes of Glossier, Farfetch, Everlane etc, what does Nick believe are some of the leading indicators from the early days whether a company has a sustaining and authentic brand? What does Nick believe is the future for direct to consumer of the next 24-36 months? What is he most excited by?

4.) How does Nick think about the interaction between D2C brands and wholesale and physical retail? When is the right time to pull the wholesale lever? What does Nick believe is a healthy ratio between paid to organic customer acquisition? What are the commonalities in the consumer brands that have broken out within his portfolio?

5.) In terms of character traits, what commonalities does Nick see in the most successful consumer founders he has backed today? We have seen a rise in the celebrity founder over the last few years, so what is the role of the celebrity founder? When does it work? When does it not work? How does the future of celebrity founder look to Nick?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Nick’s Fave Book: To Kill A Mockingbird

Nick’s Most Recent Investment: Fitplan

As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Are you told your standards are too high, well The League is the app that tells you to keep them that way, they know your time is valuable so simply tell them your preferences and they will handle the scouting and vetting for you. Plus even better, your profile will only ever be seen by people who match your preferences, matches expire after 21 days and so there are no drawn-out games and they even require LinkedIn to protect your privacy and block you from matching with co-workers and business connections. You can apply now by downloading The League on the app store or heading to The League.com

Zoom is the fastest-growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an a variety of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. And you can see for yourself! Sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

Culture Amp is the platform that makes it easy to collect, understand and act on employee feedback. From onboarding surveys to company-wide engagement, individual effectiveness and more, the platform manages multiple sources of feedback and connects the dots for you and that is why companies like Slack, Nike, Oracle and Lyft all trust Culture Amp. It enables leaders to make better decisions, demonstrate impact and turn your company culture into a competitive edge.  Find out more on cultureamp.com.

20VC: Lightspeed Partner Adam Goldberg on Why There Remains No Mass Market Crypto Consumer Product, The Future For The Token Economy, The Good and Bad of Telegram's ICO and Why The Rate of Founder Learning is The Most Important Element A VC Can Assess

Jul 30, 2018 28:37

Description:

Adam Goldberg is a Partner @ Lightspeed Venture Partners, one of the world's leading funds with a portfolio including the likes of SNAP, Mulesoft, Max Levchin’s Affirm, AppDynamics and many more incredible companies. As for Adam, at age 13, Adam enrolled as a full-time student at UC Berkeley, where he studied pure and applied mathematics and conducted research in number theory and machine learning. He went on to work as a mathematician for the Department of Defense and as a researcher Berkeley, Wisconsin-Madison and Stanford. Following that, Adam worked as an engineer at Palantir and Dropbox and was an early product manager at Rubrik. In 2016, Adam left Rubrik to become a partner at Lightspeed where he has invested in the likes of Basis, Vector and Totemic Labs, just to name a few.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Adam made his way into the world of venture from the department of defence and working at titans such as Palantir and Dropbox?

2.) Why does Adam believe the rate of founder learning is the most important skill that an investor can evaluate and assess? What does optimizing for learning really mean to Adam? In practice, what can one do to optimize for learning? What are the common traits and signs of those founders that do this well?

3.) Why does Adam believe that there remains today no mass market decentralised consumer product? What is needed for this to happen? How does Adam forsee the development of token economics over the coming years? What novel token financing solutions does Adam respect? What is required within token economics for Adam to gain real comfort?

4.) Why does Adam believe that the Telegram ICO got such attention? Why is Adam fundamentally bullish on the opportunity? What 2 core characteristics does Telegram have that are required for crypto projects to be successful? On the other side of the table, where is there cause for concern when reviewing the opportunity?

5.)How does Adam think about "betting on fundamental trade-offs in crypto"? What are the 4 key trade-offs that founders must contemplate? What are the trade-offs that Adam is willing to accept vs not accept? How does Adam envisage the willingness to accept trade-offs so widely, change over time in the space?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Adam’s Fave Book: Flowers for Algernon

Adam's Most Recent Investment: Strangeworks

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Adam on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Are you told your standards are too high, well The League is the app that tells you to keep them that way, they know your time is valuable so simply tell them your preferences and they will handle the scouting and vetting for you. Plus even better, your profile will only ever be seen by people who match your preferences, matches expire after 21 days and so there are no drawn-out games and they even require LinkedIn to protect your privacy and block you from matching with co-workers and business connections. You can apply now by downloading The League on the app store or heading to The League.com

Zoom is the fastest-growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an a variety of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. And you can see for yourself! Sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

Culture Amp is the platform that makes it easy to collect, understand and act on employee feedback. From onboarding surveys to company-wide engagement, individual effectiveness and more, the platform manages multiple sources of feedback and connects the dots for you and that is why companies like Slack, Nike, Oracle and Lyft all trust Culture Amp. It enables leaders to make better decisions, demonstrate impact and turn your company culture into a competitive edge.  Find out more on cultureamp.com.

20VC: GOAT's Eddy Lu on Pivoting From Failing Social Dining App To The World's Largest Sneaker Marketplace, How The Best Founders Pick Their Investors & Why It Is Better To Be Hated than Unknown

Jul 27, 2018 29:29

Description:

Eddy Lu is the Co-Founder & CEO @ GOAT, the largest marketplace in the world for buying and selling authentic sneakers. To date, GOAT have raised over $97m in VC funding from some of the best in the business including Accel, Index, Upfront and include angel investments from Elad Gil, Ashton Kutcher and Alexis Ohanian. Prior to GOAT, Eddy enjoyed numerous different roles including founding a chain of Japanese dessert stores building a slew of different 99c apps and started on Wall St with Lehmann Brothers and Deloitte.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Eddy made his way from Wall St to making 99c apps to creating a chain of Japanese desert stores to founding the world's largest sneaker marketplace in GOAT?

2.) Pivoting from social dining to sneaker marketplace, how does Eddy determine between mission and passion for the vision vs when something is simply not working? What core metrics made Eddy realise this pivot was needed? How did Eddy communicate the pivot to the existing investor base? How did he get them on board for the next chapter?

3.) Over the years, GOAT has had many investors wanting to invest, how does Eddy approach investor selection? What advice does Eddy have on optimising for valuation and the terms that founders should really focus on? What have been the biggest lessons from having former Twitter COO, Adam Bain on the GOAT board?

4.) Does Eddy agree with Paul at Canvas that marketplace founders should give up if they do not have differentiated supply? What does Eddy believe is the core characteristic of the most successful marketplaces? To what extent does Eddy believe that early marketplaces must rely on existing distribution and offline activities to scale?

5.) Eddy took the decision to merge with Flight Club, what was behind the decision to open up the business to physical retail? Why does Eddy believe that physical retail does not affect the margin structure massively when compared to it's online counterpart? How does Eddy assess the categories that make sense for physical retail between those that do not?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Eddy’s Fave Book: Crime and Punishment 

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Eddy on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Are you told your standards are too high, well The League is the app that tells you to keep them that way, they know your time is valuable so simply tell them your preferences and they will handle the scouting and vetting for you. Plus even better, your profile will only ever be seen by people who match your preferences, matches expire after 21 days and so there are no drawn-out games and they even require LinkedIn to protect your privacy and block you from matching with co-workers and business connections. You can apply now by downloading The League on the app store or heading to The League.com

Zoom is the fastest-growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an a variety of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. And you can see for yourself! Sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

Culture Amp is the platform that makes it easy to collect, understand and act on employee feedback. From onboarding surveys to company-wide engagement, individual effectiveness and more, the platform manages multiple sources of feedback and connects the dots for you and that is why companies like Slack, Nike, Oracle and Lyft all trust Culture Amp. It enables leaders to make better decisions, demonstrate impact and turn your company culture into a competitive edge.  Find out more on cultureamp.com.

20VC: The Metrics That Matter In Early-Stage Consumer, Why Moats Matter More Than Brand Today and How VCs Deal with S*** Hit The Fan Moments with Jason Stoffer, Managing Partner @ Maveron

Jul 23, 2018 30:57

Description:

Jason Stoffer is Managing Partner @ Maveron, the consumer-only venture fund backing a new breed of brands. Their stellar portfolio includes the likes of eBay, Zulily, General Assembly, Allbirds and Dia&Co, just to name a few. As for Jason, Jason is the master of all things consumer education, e-commerce and marketplace businesses. He has been a Board Member of a number of category-leading consumer businesses, such as zulily (Nasdaq: ZU), General Assembly (acquired by Adecco), Common and more. Prior to Maveron, Jason was Senior Director of Strategic Operations at Career Education Corp where he saw the business scale to a market cap of over $4.5Bn.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jason made his way into the world of VC from the world of journalism? What were his biggest takeaways from seeing the boom and bust cycle of 2001 and 2008?

2.) Why does Jason believe that moats matter as much, if not more than brand today? How can founders look to create the strongest form of defensibility? How does Jason analyze the 2 paths for consumer businesses today; raise large amounts of capital and buy growth or raise little, grow slowly, understand unit economics and channels over time? Does Jason think we will see a graveyard of immensely funded consumer businesses?

3.) How does Jason view paid acquisition today? Does Jason agree with Peter Fenton. "there is a lack of free and open distribution in consumer today"? When does Jason believe that consumer founders should really focus on CAC/LTV? What metrics really matter in the early days for consumer? How does Jason analyse acquisition channel mortality? When does he mean when he says, "CAC works, until it does not"?

4.) Jason has said before that "VC is a struggle". What elements does Jason find most challenging? How does Jason deal witht he shit hit the fan moments as a VC? Can VCs in this hyper-competitive world be openly vulnerable in Jason's eyes? How has Jason seen his approach to hard and challenging situations in VC develop over time?

5.) Does Jason believe we are in a consolidatory environment today or will we see the next generation of mega consumer brands being built? When investing, does Jason ask, who is the potential acquirer? Why? What multiple is achievable? Would Jason agree with Kirsten Green that "Amazon does more to make the market than destroy it"? How does Amazon affect Jason's investment philosophy and approach?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Jason’s Fave Book: 100 Years of Solitude

Jason's Most Recent Investment: Imperfect Produce

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Jason on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Are you told your standards are too high, well The League is the app that tells you to keep them that way, they know your time is valuable so simply tell them your preferences and they will handle the scouting and vetting for you. Plus even better, your profile will only ever be seen by people who match your preferences, matches expire after 21 days and so there are no drawn-out games and they even require LinkedIn to protect your privacy and block you from matching with co-workers and business connections. You can apply now by downloading The League on the app store or heading to The League.com

Zoom is the fastest-growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an a variety of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. And you can see for yourself! Sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

Culture Amp is the platform that makes it easy to collect, understand and act on employee feedback. From onboarding surveys to company-wide engagement, individual effectiveness and more, the platform manages multiple sources of feedback and connects the dots for you and that is why companies like Slack, Nike, Oracle and Lyft all trust Culture Amp. It enables leaders to make better decisions, demonstrate impact and turn your company culture into a competitive edge.  Find out more on cultureamp.com.

20VC: ClassPass CEO Fritz Lanman on Betting His Career Facebook Would Be A $10Bn Company, Lessons From Travis and Uber on Scaling A Global Marketplace & Whether Growth and Capital Efficiency Are Mutually Exclusive

Jul 20, 2018 35:43

Description:

Fritz Lanman is the CEO @ ClassPass, the startup that provides the most flexible fitness membership ever. To date, they have raised over $154m in VC funding from the likes of Thrive, GV, CRV, Fifth Wall and Temasek just to name a few. As for Fritz, prior to ClassPass he was the Founder & CEO @ Livestar, a mobile recommendations startup that was acquired by Pinterest. Before that, he was a Senior Director in the Corporate Strategy Group @ Microsoft where he led several multi-billion dollar M&A evaluations and strategy projects including the Facebook investment and Yahoo deal. If that was not enough, Fritz is also a tremendously successful angel with a portfolio including the likes of Square, Pinterest, Wish, Flexport, Everlane and 75 or so more companies.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Fritz made his way into the world of startups with Microsoft? How that led to angel investments in Wish, Flexport, Square and more? How he came to be CEO @ ClassPass?

2.) How did the $250m Microsoft investment in Facebook come about? What made Fritz so confident he told Steve Ballmer he was willing to bet his career it would be a $10Bn company? What was the decision-making process internally around that deal?

3.) How does Fritz assess his own asset allocation strategy? Why does Fritz not agree with thesis-driven angel investing? When starting angel investing, how did he approach portfolio construction? Why does Fritz believe it is immensely synergistic to be both an operator and angel? As a result, how does Fritz approach placing investors in a quadrant between helpfulness and high maintenance?

4.) Why does Fritz believe that your investor cannot be your recruiter? What have been Fritz biggest learnings on continuously attracting the best talent? Why does Fritz believe that it is BS that one should not celebrate fundraising? Ultimately, what does Fritz elieve fundraising signifies?

5.) ClassPass has expanded to 34 markets over the last few years, how does Fritz determine when is the right time to pour fuel on the fire? What are the 2 fundamental questions one must ask before you do? Does Fritz believe that aggressive growth and capital efficiency are mutually exclusive? How does Fritz think about capital efficiency with ClassPass today?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Fritz’s Fave Book: Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage to the Antarctic

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Fritz on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

The reality is that hiring amazing developers is hard. Terminal.io is your dedicated partner in rapidly standing up world-class remote technical teams. How do they deliver both speed and quality? Terminal does this by focusing on everything necessary to successfully source, setup, and support these teams – from physical elements like beautiful workspaces and equipment to ongoing resources like HR, payroll, legal, professional learning and development. But don’t take my word for this, take the word of Eventbrite, former 20VC guest Hims, and Dialpad – all customers and lovers of Terminal. You can find out more today at Terminal.io.

Whether you’re starting your own small business or getting serious about making your small business more efficient, you need to invite FreshBooks to the table. FreshBooks makes cloud accounting software that’s so ridiculously easy to use and you’ll quickly understand why over 10 million people use it to radically streamline how they deal with their admin and paperwork. Plus, FreshBooks can handle a lot more than accounting related tasks. Using FreshBooks is kind of like having your own admin assistant who’s got your back, 24/7. To claim your 30-day unrestricted free trial, click here enter Twenty Minute VC in the “how did you hear about us section”.

Highfive makes meetings better for thousands of organizations with insanely simple video conferencing designed for meeting rooms. It’s the easiest-to-use solution, with all-in-one hardware and intuitive cloud software. Plus, it’s a high-quality experience with industry-leading audio powered by Dolby Voice. It’s so easy to use, that there’s no pin codes or app downloads. Just click a link in your browser, and you’re in the meeting. With customers in over 100 countries, Highfive is already trusted by the likes of Evernote, Expensify, and Betterment and you can learn more by simply heading over to highfive.com.

20VC: Elad Gil's High Growth Handbook on The Commonalities of The Truly Great CEOs, How To Hire The Very Best Execs, Why Cash is A Defensible Moat Today & The Pros and Cons of M&A and IPOs

Jul 17, 2018 47:53

Description:

Elad Gil is the Founder @ Color, the startup that shows you your genes can help you make better health decisions. They have raised over $112m in funding from the likes of General Catalyst, CRV, 8VC, Aaron Levie and more incredible names. Elad is also an incredible angel, counting the likes of Airbnb, Stripe, Optimizely, Opendoor and Wish all in his portfolio. Now Elad is adding a new string to his very talented bow with the release of his book, High Growth Handbook, published by Stripe in which Elad interviews 14 leaders from the valley from Marc Andreesen to Reid Hoffman to Patrick Collison. Plus shares his own experiences from Google, growing from 1,500 to 15,000 and Twitter, growing from 100 to 1,500. Not only is this the first book I have read voraciously from cover to cover in a long time but it is now outselling Zero To One and Lean Startup as pre-order.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Elad made his way into the world of startups, came to found 2 companies that sold to Twitter and Google and came to invest in Airbnb, Stripe, Wish etc?

2.) How does Elad define the role of the CEO today? What are the commonalities in those truly great CEOs? How do the very best CEOs hire the very best execs? How do they address role allocation internally? How do they determine between employees that do and do not scale with the firm? Where do CEOs make the most fatal mistakes in high growth startups?

3.) Why are pre-emptive rounds so common today? Why does Elad believe many people will lose a lot of money in them? What advice does Elad give to founders when they are an option? Does Elad believe the lack of liquidity is good for venture this cycle? How does Elad assess the emergence of megafunds? How does this alter and distort the market?

4.) With regards to market share, how should founders prioritise between pricing and market share? Is cash ever a defensible moat? What does Elad mean when he says that "too many people are stuck on Amazon as the winning model"? Why does Elad believe that margins and capital leverage are the unsung heroes of tech?

5.) Why does Elad believe we have seen such a reduction in M&A? Why do many founders not fully assess the financial benefits of being bought by a high growth startup?  What are the big questions founders should ask when an M&A opportunity does arise? What does Elad believe are the reasons to avoid IPOing? What are the inherent benefits of going public?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Elad’s Fave Book: Ben HorowitzAndy Grove

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Elad on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

The reality is that hiring amazing developers is hard. Terminal.io is your dedicated partner in rapidly standing up world-class remote technical teams. How do they deliver both speed and quality? Terminal does this by focusing on everything necessary to successfully source, setup, and support these teams – from physical elements like beautiful workspaces and equipment to ongoing resources like HR, payroll, legal, professional learning and development. But don’t take my word for this, take the word of Eventbrite, former 20VC guest Hims, and Dialpad – all customers and lovers of Terminal. You can find out more today at Terminal.io.

Whether you’re starting your own small business or getting serious about making your small business more efficient, you need to invite FreshBooks to the table. FreshBooks makes cloud accounting software that’s so ridiculously easy to use and you’ll quickly understand why over 10 million people use it to radically streamline how they deal with their admin and paperwork. Plus, FreshBooks can handle a lot more than accounting related tasks. Using FreshBooks is kind of like having your own admin assistant who’s got your back, 24/7. To claim your 30-day unrestricted free trial, click here enter Twenty Minute VC in the “how did you hear about us section”.

Highfive makes meetings better for thousands of organizations with insanely simple video conferencing designed for meeting rooms. It’s the easiest-to-use solution, with all-in-one hardware and intuitive cloud software. Plus, it’s a high-quality experience with industry-leading audio powered by Dolby Voice. It’s so easy to use, that there’s no pin codes or app downloads. Just click a link in your browser, and you’re in the meeting. With customers in over 100 countries, Highfive is already trusted by the likes of Evernote, Expensify, and Betterment and you can learn more by simply heading over to highfive.com.

20VC: Why Fundraising Is Like Dating and How to Play The Game Successfully & How To Increase The Flexibility of Your Burn When Growth is Ambiguous with Rachel Blumenthal, Founder & CEO @ Rockets of Awesome

Jul 13, 2018 35:36

Description:

Rachel Blumenthal is the Founder & CEO @ Rockets of Awesome, the startup that is reinventing the way parents shop for their kids clothes. To date, Rachel has raised over $19m in VC funding from the likes of Kirsten Green @ Forerunner, August Capital, General Catalyst, Gwyneth Paltrow and Female Founders Fund to name a few. Prior to Rockets of Awesome, Rachel founded fashion jewelry brand, Rachel Leigh. Rachel scaled the business to being available in over 300 stores worldwide and being named one of Oprah's "Favourite Things". Before that Rachel began her career in the publicity department at Yves Saint Lauren.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Rachel went from founding a company that created one of Oprah's "favourite things" to reinventing the way parents shop for their children today?

2.) Why does Rachel believe that "fundraising is like dating"? What does Rachel mean when she says "you have to play the game"? What does this literally look like in practice? What works in generating investor interest? What does not? Where does Rachel see many make mistakes in the fundraising process?

3.) How does Rachel think about capital efficiency with the evolution of her business? What tips and suggestions does Rachel give to increasing burn flexibility when future growth is ambiguous? Why does Rachel disagree with the thesis of raise money when you don't need it? What length of time does Rachel believe is the right time to raise for?

4.) Rachel has said before that, "the best investors are operators". What makes Rachel believe this? What are the drawbacks to operator VCs? What are the benefits to non-operator investors? What makes the truly special investor? How can a founder stress test this prior to their investment? What advice would Rachel give to a non-operator VC to improve their empathy and experience with founders?

5.) Rachel previous sly said to me that "being a woman in this male-dominated environment is everything the stereotype suggests", what moment or story particularly resonates for Rachel when saying this? How did she respond? How can less confident first time minority founders respond in these situations?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Rachel’s Fave Book: Fast CompanyInc

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Rachel on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Whether you’re starting your own small business or getting serious about making your small business more efficient, you need to invite FreshBooks to the table. FreshBooks makes cloud accounting software that’s so ridiculously easy to use and you’ll quickly understand why over 10 million people use it to radically streamline how they deal with their admin and paperwork. Plus, FreshBooks can handle a lot more than accounting related tasks. Using FreshBooks is kind of like having your own admin assistant who’s got your back, 24/7. To claim your 30-day unrestricted free trial, click here enter Twenty Minute VC in the “how did you hear about us section”.

Highfive makes meetings better for thousands of organizations with insanely simple video conferencing designed for meeting rooms. It’s the easiest-to-use solution, with all-in-one hardware and intuitive cloud software. Plus, it’s a high-quality experience with industry-leading audio powered by Dolby Voice. It’s so easy to use, that there’s no pin codes or app downloads. Just click a link in your browser, and you’re in the meeting. With customers in over 100 countries, Highfive is already trusted by the likes of Warby Parker, Evernote, Expensify, and Betterment and you can learn more by simply heading over to highfive.com.

20VC: Lessons From 2x $Bn Exits in Trulia and lastminute.com, 3 Leading Indicators That Suggest Potential Marketplace Success & Why We Are Going To See A Fundamental Change To The World of VC with Pete Flint, Managing Partner @ NFX

Jul 9, 2018 36:03

Description:

Pete Flint is a Managing Partner @ NFX, one of Silicon Valley's newest and most exciting funds with the recent announcement of their new $150m fund late last year. Prior to VC, Pete was a serial entrepreneur building one of today's most successful marketplaces, as the co-founder of Trulia. Pete led the company from inception to more than 50 million monthly unique users, $250m in VC funding from the likes of Sequoia and Accel culminating in their merger with Zillow in 2015 that valued Trulia at $3.5 billion. Before Trulia, Pete was part of the founding team of lastminute.com, a leading European online travel site that was acquired in 2005 for over $1 billion.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Pete made his way into the world of startups joining the founding team of lastminute.com and how that led to the founding of Trulia and entry into VC?

2.) Why does Pete believe that startup timing is so crucial? How does Pete analyze market timing risk when investing? What is the right way for investors to think about the innovation cycle we are in today? On review, what does Pete believe lastminute.com did most right? What would he most want to change?

3.) What are the leading indicators that suggest potential in a network effect business? Would Pete agree with Josh @ Jackson Square that not all GMV is created equal? How does Pete anlyse the lack of free and open distribution today and how that affects marketplace scaling? Why does Pete still believe marketplaces are some of the most capital efficient businesses to grow?

4.) What has been Pete's greatest time of failure in his career? What is the framework Pete uses to analyse and assess his own ego? What are the commonalities in how Pete has seen truly great founders overcome failure? How does Pete balance between realism when something is not working and the mission and vision of the founder?

5.) How does Pete think about optimising decision-making, both in investing and operating? How does Pete approach the balance of head vs heart? When is the right time to decide with your head? When is the right time to decide with your heart? Why does Pete argue early stage investing must be decided with your heart?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Pete’s Fave Book: Leonardo Da Vinci 

Pete’s Most Recent Investment: Ribbon

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Pete on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Whether you’re starting your own small business or getting serious about making your small business more efficient, you need to invite FreshBooks to the table. FreshBooks makes cloud accounting software that’s so ridiculously easy to use and you’ll quickly understand why over 10 million people use it to radically streamline how they deal with their admin and paperwork. Plus, FreshBooks can handle a lot more than accounting related tasks. Using FreshBooks is kind of like having your own admin assistant who’s got your back, 24/7. To claim your 30-day unrestricted free trial, click here enter Twenty Minute VC in the “how did you hear about us section”.

Highfive makes meetings better for thousands of organizations with insanely simple video conferencing designed for meeting rooms. It’s the easiest-to-use solution, with all-in-one hardware and intuitive cloud software. Plus, it’s a high-quality experience with industry-leading audio powered by Dolby Voice. It’s so easy to use, that there’s no pin codes or app downloads. Just click a link in your browser, and you’re in the meeting. With customers in over 100 countries, Highfive is already trusted by the likes of Evernote, Expensify, and Betterment and you can learn more by simply heading over to highfive.com.

20VC: Why Serial Entrepreneurship is Overrated, Why You Will Get Fired If You Listen To Your Board & How To Construct Investor Update Emails The Right Way with Joe Fernandez, Founder & CEO @ Joymode

Jul 6, 2018 31:00

Description:

Joe Fernandez is the Founder & CEO @ JoyMode, the startup that allows you to lend everything you need to have the experiences you want. To date, Joe has raised over $16m in funding for Joymode from friends of the show including Homebrew, Slow Ventures, Founder Collective, Scott Belsky, Collaborative Fund and Lowercase, just to name a few. As for Joe, prior to founding JoyMode, Joe founded Klout, one of the leading social media analytics platforms of the day and raised $40m in funding from Kleiner Perkins, IVP, Venrock, Greycroft and more. Klout was ultimately acquired by Lithium Technologies where Joe sits on the board.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Joe made his way into the world of startups with the founding of Klout? Given his entrepreneurial start, would Joe say he is unemployable?

2.) Question from Craig Shapiro: What was your single greatest lesson from the Klout journey? How has that impacted how you operate JoyMode today? How has Joe approached fundraising fundamentally differently today than with Klout? How is Joe's team building strategy today different to his with Klout?

3.) Why does Joe believe that "serial entrepreneurs are over-rated"? What does Joe mean when he says, "you have to know which hill you are willing to die on"? How does Joe look to accurately ego check today? What innovative methods does Joe employ internally to ensure that his views are validated and not submitted to?

4.) What does Joe mean when he says, "you have to make big bets to win"? How can you implement this risk-taking mentality in larger teams? What is the right way for both the team and investor base to respond? How does Joe use continuous iteration and data-centricity to test and validate these theses?

5.) How does Joe approach investor update emails? Why does Joe look to terrify investors with each update? Does Joe believe that it is right to thanks specific individuals in those emails? Does like like to select individuals and request their help in the emails? How can past updates be used to attain future investors?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Joe’s Fave Book: The Accidental Superpower

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Joe on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Highfive makes meetings better for thousands of organizations with insanely simple video conferencing designed for meeting rooms. It’s the easiest-to-use solution, with all-in-one hardware and intuitive cloud software. Plus, it’s a high-quality experience with industry-leading audio powered by Dolby Voice. It’s so easy to use, that there’s no pin codes or app downloads. Just click a link in your browser, and you’re in the meeting. With customers in over 100 countries, Highfive is already trusted by the likes of Warby Parker, Evernote, Expensify, and Betterment and you can learn more by simply heading over to highfive.com.

20VC: Why Most The Value In Crypto Will Accrue in Governance, When Institutional Capital Will Enter The Space and How To Think About Liquidity In Crypto with Joel Monegro, Founding Partner @ Placeholder.VC

Jul 2, 2018 28:09

Description:

Joel Monegro is Founding Partner @ Placeholder.VC, one of the new venture capital partnerships that invest solely in crypto assets and more specifically in decentralized information networks. Prior to founding Placeholder, Joel spent three years at Union Square Ventures developing the firm's blockchain investment thesis and portfolio. Before USV, Joel started the Digital Economy Department at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce of the Dominican Republic, a government office in charge of developing the country's national and technology agenda.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Joel made his way into the world of VC with USV and what created his love of crypto and led to his leaving USV to found Placeholder? What were some of Joel's biggest investing lessons from his time with USV?

2.) How does Joel approach portfolio construction in building out a crypto portfolio? How does the use of reserves and building positions change when comparing VC to crypto? Why does Joel believe that the most interesting place to invest in crypto is in the assets themselves, rather than the companies?

3.) When does Joel think we will see institutional capital begin to move into the space in a meaningful way? What needs to happen/change for this institutional interest to materialize? How is the element of "custody" crucial to the entrance of institutions?

4.) In terms of fund construction, liquidity is often an attractive element to crypto, why does Joel believe that a traditional venture fund structure is necessary for Placeholder? What are the benefits both to the fund and the projects it backs? How do LPs both traditional and non-traditional respond to this?

5.) Joel has said before the 2 core elements are crypto economics and governance, why does Josh believe this? Why is governance the foundational layer where value will accrue in the space? How does the lack of defensibility of crypto projects make governance ever more valuable?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Joel’s Fave Book: Antifragile by Nassim Taleb

Joel’s Most Recent Investment: Decred Investment Thesis

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Joel on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Highfive makes meetings better for thousands of organizations with insanely simple video conferencing designed for meeting rooms. It’s the easiest-to-use solution, with all-in-one hardware and intuitive cloud software. Plus, it’s a high-quality experience with industry-leading audio powered by Dolby Voice. It’s so easy to use, that there’s no pin codes or app downloads. Just click a link in your browser, and you’re in the meeting. With customers in over 100 countries, Highfive is already trusted by the likes of Evernote, Expensify, and Betterment and you can learn more by simply heading over to highfive.com.

20VC: The 4 Key Skills All VCs Need To Be Successful, How To Build, Maintain and Scale Your Network in VC and What is The Process Through Which VCs Build Conviction in Opportunities with Max Motschwiller, General Partner @ Meritech Capital

Jun 25, 2018 35:31

Description:

Max Motschwiller is a Partner with Meritech Capital, one of the West Coast's leading growth investment firms with over $150Bn in IPOs and a portfolio that includes the likes of Facebook, Salesforce, Snap, Box, Mulesoft and Cloudera just to name a few. As for Max, prior to Meritech he spent 3 years with Kleiner Perkins (KPCB) where he was actively involved with investments in Dropcam (Nest/Google), Duolingo, MyFitnessPal (Under Armour), RelateIQ (Salesforce.com) and Stance. Before joining KPCB, Max worked for 3 years at Summit Partners and was actively involved across Summit’s technology portfolio.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Max make his way into the world of VC with Summit and KP from University? What did that decision-making process look like for Max?

2.) As a career VC, would Max agree with Pat Grady @ Sequoia, "the rate of decay on operating experience has never been greater"? What would Max say are the biggest elements he missed through lack of operational experience? How do the skills required from early to pre-IPO change the type of background required?

3.) Max has said before, "to be a good VC you have to do 4 things well", what are those 4 things? Why does Max believe that picking is the greatest skill to develop? At growth, what does Max mean when he says "the picking is around price"? How do the very best VCs approach price sensitivity?

4.) Question from Rob Ward: Max has mastered network development from an early age, what advice would Max give with regards to developing a network? What did he do well and works? What did he try and did not do well? How does Max think about depth vs breadth of network? How does he apply this to investing and due diligence?

5.) In a time of Softbank and Sequoia's $7Bn fund, how does a firm like Meritech look to compete in such frothy environments? How has growth bifurcated into 2 clear stages? What are the advantages of being a small pure-play growth firm? How does the portfolio construction and return expectation change for you given the fund size and stage of investment?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Max’s Fave Book: Home Deus

Max’s Most Recent Investment: Amplitude

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Max on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Highfive makes meetings better for thousands of organizations with insanely simple video conferencing designed for meeting rooms. It’s the easiest-to-use solution, with all-in-one hardware and intuitive cloud software. Plus, it’s a high-quality experience with industry-leading audio powered by Dolby Voice. It’s so easy to use, that there’s no pin codes or app downloads. Just click a link in your browser, and you’re in the meeting. With customers in over 100 countries, Highfive is already trusted by the likes of Evernote, Expensify, and Betterment and you can learn more by simply heading over to highfive.com.

20VC: General Catalyst's Hemant Taneja on Why We Are In A Golden Age For VC, Why Pro-Rata Is A Lazy Posture and Why He Does Not Focus On Price

Jun 18, 2018 25:50

Description:

Hemant Taneja is Managing Director @ General Catalyst, one of the world's leading venture firms of the last decade with Airbnb, Stripe, Snapchat, Hubspot and Gusto all in their portfolio. As for Hemant, he has led investments at GC in Stripe, SNAP, Grammarly, Gusto, Livongo, Color Genomics, Class Dojo and more. He also directs the GC Stripe Platform Fund, a $10 million initiative to help start new ventures that are built on top of the Stripe Connect platform. On the educational front, Hemant holds 5 degrees from MIT and sits on the board of Khan Academy.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Hemant made his way from 5 degrees at MIT and wanting to be an academic to pursuing startups in the world of VC with General Catalyst?

2.) Question from Sam @ ClassDojo: What were the hardest elements of establishing GC on the West Coast? With hindsight today, what would Hemant do differently given the chance? How does Hemant think about the development and ability to accelerate the creation of local reputation? What is crucial and works most effectively?

3.) How does Hemant respond to Elad Gil's "everyone is looking for the next truly deep dein to explore"? Why is Hemant so bullish that we are in the "golden age of venture capital"? Why does Hemant believe that "scale" as a key measure has run it's course? What does Hemant's thesis of the future of "unscaling" really mean?

4.) How does Hemant analyse price sensitivity in todays forthy environment? How has his relationship to price changed over time? With regards to price, what have been some of his biggest regrets and learnings drawn from real-world examples? How does Hemant assess reserve allocation? Why does he think pro-rata is a lazy posture?

5.) Hemant has said on boards for over 1,800 hours, so what does Hemant belive makes the truly special board members? How does Hemant think about first building that rapport and "intimacy" with the founder? Secondly, how important does Hemant believe it is to build similar relations with other board members? Which founder exemplifies the best board management in Hemant's mind?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Hemant’s Fave Book: Home Deus

Hemant’s Most Recent Investment: Spring Discovery

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Hemant on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Highfive makes meetings better for thousands of organizations with insanely simple video conferencing designed for meeting rooms. It’s the easiest-to-use solution, with all-in-one hardware and intuitive cloud software. Plus, it’s a high-quality experience with industry-leading audio powered by Dolby Voice. It’s so easy to use, that there’s no pin codes or app downloads. Just click a link in your browser, and you’re in the meeting. With customers in over 100 countries, Highfive is already trusted by the likes of Evernote, Expensify, and Betterment and you can learn more by simply heading over to highfive.com.

Culture Amp is the platform that makes it easy to collect, understand and act on employee feedback. From onboarding surveys to company-wide engagement, individual effectiveness and more, the platform manages multiple sources of feedback and connects the dots for you and that is why companies like Slack, Nike, Oracle and Lyft all trust Culture Amp. It enables leaders to make better decisions, demonstrate impact and turn your company culture into a competitive edge.  So put your people and culture first and find out more on cultureamp.com.

20VC: Why VCs Are Wrong About Single Founders, The Benefits of Party Rounds At Seed and How To Pre-Game Your Launch To Have Customers From Day 1 with Amanda Bradford, Founder & CEO @ The League

Jun 15, 2018 28:40

Description:

Amanda Bradford is the Founder & CEO @ The League, the exclusive dating app that wants you to spend your time a little more intelligently when it comes to finding the perfect match online. They have raised funding from the likes of Aileen Lee @ Cowboy Ventures, Sherpa Ventures and Alex Rosen @ Ridge Ventures just to name a few. Prior to founding The League, Amanda spent time at Evernote as a Product Manager, as an investor with Sequoia Capital and started her career in the strategic partnerships team at Google.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Amanda made her way into the world of startups and how she came to want to change the world of dating with The League?

2.) Why does Amanda totally disagree with the conventional wisdom that you cannot be a single founder? What are the benefits of being a single founder? How has Amanda used this to incentivize her team further? What are the core challenges that remain in being a single founder? What 2 reasons does Amanda feel 90% of startups fail?

3.) What does Amanda really mean when she says about "the art of the launch"? How can founders pre-game their launch to have existing users on day 1? What benchmarks does Amanda set when launching a new product, to determine the success of the launch? How core is the 7-day retention number to Amanda in her metric stack?

4.) How does Amanda think about the right time to turn on monetization? How can founders determine the level of consumer appetite for premium products, pre-developing them? What are the main challenges when turning on monetization? How does monetization affect investor appetite?

5.) Amanda has raised from Cowboy, Sherpa, Ridge, how was the fundraising process for Amanda? Why did Amanda choose to pursue the party round approach at seed? What are the core benefits of doing so? Has the lack of lead investor meant a reduced willingness to help from the investor base?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Amanda’s Fave Book: The Giver

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Amanda on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Highfive makes meetings better for thousands of organizations with insanely simple video conferencing designed for meeting rooms. It’s the easiest-to-use solution, with all-in-one hardware and intuitive cloud software. Plus, it’s a high-quality experience with industry-leading audio powered by Dolby Voice. It’s so easy to use, that there’s no pin codes or app downloads. Just click a link in your browser, and you’re in the meeting. With customers in over 100 countries, Highfive is already trusted by the likes of Warby Parker, Evernote, Expensify, and Betterment and you can learn more by simply heading over to highfive.com.

Culture Amp is the platform that makes it easy to collect, understand and act on employee feedback. From onboarding surveys to company-wide engagement, individual effectiveness and more, the platform manages multiple sources of feedback and connects the dots for you and that is why companies like Slack, Nike, Oracle and Lyft all trust CultureAmp. So put your people and culture first and find out more on cultureamp.com.

20VC: Why Process is Everything In Good Venture Firms, Why GPs Should Have More Empathy For LPs and Lessons from 32 Years In VC, Chairing Over 25 Boards with Peter Parker, Managing Partner @ Bioinnovation Capital

Jun 11, 2018 34:02

Description:

Peter Parker is the Managing Partner @ BioInnovation Capital, the $130m fund transforming life science investing through backing companies based in shared laboratories in Cambridge, San Francisco, San Diego, Durham, and NYC. For the past three decades, Peter has devoted his life to venture and startups, starting in 1986 with his establishing Ampersand Ventures life sciences platform which he managed until 2006. During this period he was the first institutional capital and a Director to over 2 dozen life sciences startups and enjoyed more exits than I have done podcasts. He is also a co-founder of LabCentral, Inc, a not-for-profit shared facility for companies who need biolab space enables more than 75 companies to pursue their biotech start-up ambitions.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Peter made his way into what was a very different VC industry back in 1986?

2.) Peter has seen the venture ecosystem develop enormously over the last 30 years, what have been the biggest changes and transformations? What are both the most positive and negative changes to hit venture? How has specialization changed the investing game? What would Peter like to change about the world of VC today?

3.) What does Peter mean when he says the best VCs understand the importance of process? What is the right way to construct your process in VC? How does this affect Peter's thinking on functioning partnerships in venture? What can one do to optimise the quality of those relationships and conversations with partners?

4.) Peter has chaired over 25 boards over the last 32 years in VC, how has Peter seen his style of board membership fundamentally change over that time? What have been the inflection points in his learning? How do OKRs play a crucial role in how he drives board operations? How has Peter approached removing the CEO? What is the right way to do it?

5.) Peter's most recent fund is a $130m seed fund, how was the latest fundraise for Peter? What drives Peter's passion and enthusiasm for fundraising and LP communications? What makes the best LP meetings for Peter? How has Peter seen his presentation style to LPs change over time? What has Peter learned is crucial for LP conversion?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Peter’s Fave Book: The Barbarian: A Surfing Life

Peter’s Most Recent Investment: Graphwear

As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Highfive makes meetings better for thousands of organizations with insanely simple video conferencing designed for meeting rooms. It’s the easiest-to-use solution, with all-in-one hardware and intuitive cloud software. Plus, it’s a high-quality experience with industry-leading audio powered by Dolby Voice. It’s so easy to use, that there’s no pin codes or app downloads. Just click a link in your browser, and you’re in the meeting. With customers in over 100 countries, Highfive is already trusted by the likes of Warby Parker, Evernote, Expensify, and Betterment and you can learn more by simply heading over to highfive.com.

Culture Amp is the platform that makes it easy to collect, understand and act on employee feedback. From onboarding surveys to company-wide engagement, individual effectiveness and more, the platform manages multiple sources of feedback and connects the dots for you and that is why companies like Slack, Nike, Oracle and Lyft all trust Culture Amp. It enables leaders to make better decisions, demonstrate impact and turn your company culture into a competitive edge.  So put your people and culture first and find out more on cultureamp.com.

20VC: From Sequoia To Accel To General Catalyst: What Makes The Best Board Member & The Hiring Methodology To Attract World Class Talent with KAYAK & Lola Founder, Paul English

Jun 8, 2018 37:20

Description:

Paul English is the Co-Founder of both Lola and Kayak. Starting on Lola, the company brings joy to business travelers by finding the best flights for busy schedules and perfect hotels that suit personal preferences. To date, Paul has raised over $44m with Lola from the likes of CRV, Accel, General Catalyst and GV just to name a few. Prior to Lola, Paul co-founded Kayak, the incredible success story that helps millions of travelers make confident travel decisions. Prior to their IPO, Paul raised over $229m in VC funding from Sequoia, Accel, IVP and General Catalyst before their reported $1.8Bn acquisition by Priceline. Paul is also a prolific philanthropist and due to his success has had much press attention including the Tracy Kidder book, A Truck Full of Money.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Paul made his way into the world of startups from having his first taste of entrepreneurship buying and refurbishing air conditioning units?

2.) Paul is behind many groundbreaking ideas of the last decade, so what does the idea generation process look like for Paul? How does Paul determine between a good and a great idea? How has this process changed over time? How does Paul pull other individuals into validating ideas or not?

3.) Paul's VCs stated "Paul is the best founder in the world for hiring", how does Paul approach team building? What does Paul think is required to attract truly world calls talent? Can this skill be taught? Where does Paul believe so many founders go wrong in recruitment? What does Paul mean when he says you want to see "arrogant humility"

4.) Having raised from Sequoia, GV, General Catalyst and more, what has Paul found to really encapsulate the truly special VCs? What are Paul's lessons on raising the highest quality capital possible? When is the right time to optimize for valuation and when is it not? What made Mike Moritz and Joel Cutler so special to work with on Kayak?

5.) How does Paul approach the aspect of board management? How has this changed over time for him? What relationship should founders desire with their VCs and then between the VCs themselves? How does one look to optimise for efficiency in board conversations? How does Paul look to handle board disputes?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Paul’s Fave Book: The Trumpet of Conscience

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Paul on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Highfive makes meetings better for thousands of organizations with insanely simple video conferencing designed for meeting rooms. It’s the easiest-to-use solution, with all-in-one hardware and intuitive cloud software. Plus, it’s a high-quality experience with industry-leading audio powered by Dolby Voice. It’s so easy to use, that there’s no pin codes or app downloads. Just click a link in your browser, and you’re in the meeting. With customers in over 100 countries, Highfive is already trusted by the likes of Warby Parker, Evernote, Expensify, and Betterment and you can learn more by simply heading over to highfive.com.

Culture Amp is the platform that makes it easy to collect, understand and act on employee feedback. From onboarding surveys to company-wide engagement, individual effectiveness and more, the platform manages multiple sources of feedback and connects the dots for you and that is why companies like Slack, Nike, Oracle and Lyft all trust CultureAmp. So put your people and culture first and find out more on cultureamp.com.

20VC: What John Doerr Taught Me About Great Investing, Why Not All A Rounds Are Post-Traction and Why Despite Overfunding, There Is Still Gaps In Venture Financing with Trae Vassallo, Founding Partner @ Defy.vc

Jun 4, 2018 31:49

Description:

Trae Vassallo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director @ Defy.VC, one of Silicon Valley's newest and most exciting Series A funds with the announcement of their debut $151m fund in Sept 2017. Prior to co-founding Defy, Trae was a general partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers where she invested in a number of leading companies including eero, Nest Labs, Dropcam, Aggregate Knowledge, and Opower. Before Kleiner, Trae founded Kleiner portfolio company, Good Technology which was ultimately acquired by Blackberry in 2015 for $425m. Trae is also the co-author of the incredible study, “Elephant in the Valley”, highlighting the underlying data around the experiences of women in technology.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Trae made her way into the world of VC and Silicon Valley with a cold reach out to John Doerr and how that led to a role with Kleiner Perkins?

2.) What were Trae's biggest learnings from having John Doerr on her board, as a first-time founder? What were some of the most memorable moments working with him? What was it about him that made him such a special board member? What was the moment that Trae realized what type of board member she is?

3.) What does Trae mean when she says "Kleiner taught me what a great investment looks like"? How does that affect her investing philosophy today? How did Trae's investing learnings differ between John DoerrVinod Khosla, and Kevin Compton?

4.) Why does Trae believe that the venture industry is simply "overfunded"? If so, what was her reasoning for the founding of Defy? How does Trae see the expansion of multi-stage funds as presenting a market opportunity? Why are the larger players no longer incentivized to play at the Series A stage?

5.) How did Trae find the fundraising process? What were some of the core challenges in terms of the raise itself? Were there commonalities in the pushbacks that LPs had for Defy? How did Neil and Trae respond to the first time team question? How does Trae think about the infrastructure element of funds? Can it all be outsourced?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Trae’s Fave Book: Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys' Club of Silicon Valley

Trae’s Most Recent Investment: Owl Car Cam: The First Security Camera For Your Car

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Trae on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Highfive makes meetings better for thousands of organizations with insanely simple video conferencing designed for meeting rooms. It’s the easiest-to-use solution, with all-in-one hardware and intuitive cloud software. Plus, it’s a high-quality experience with industry-leading audio powered by Dolby Voice. It’s so easy to use, that there’s no pin codes or app downloads. Just click a link in your browser, and you’re in the meeting. With customers in over 100 countries, Highfive is already trusted by the likes of Warby Parker, Evernote, Expensify, and Betterment and you can learn more by simply heading over to highfive.com.

Culture Amp is the platform that makes it easy to collect, understand and act on employee feedback. From onboarding surveys to company-wide engagement, individual effectiveness and more, the platform manages multiple sources of feedback and connects the dots for you and that is why companies like Slack, Nike, Oracle and Lyft all trust CultureAmp. So put your people and culture first and find out more on cultureamp.com.

20VC: Why Every Startup Will Either Fail or Rebrand, How To Do OKRs The Right Way & How To Know The Reversible From the Irreversible Mistakes with Jack Groetzinger, Founder & CEO @ SeatGeek

Jun 1, 2018 29:07

Description:

Jack Groetzinger is the Founder & CEO @ SeatGeek, the world's largest ticket inventory on the web serving more than 500,000 artists and teams in over 380,000 venues. To date, Jack has raised over $160m in VC funding with SeatGeek from the likes of John Locke @ Accel, Founder Collective, TCV and most recently a $57m Series D led by Glynn Capital Management. Prior to SeatGeek, Jack founded Scribnia, a web app that used collaborative filtering to recommend bloggers and blog content, sold to an ad network in 2009. Jack is also a Founder Partner @ Founder Collective and angel investor in Troops, Inc.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jack made his way into the world of startups and decided to reinvent the ticketing industry with SeatGeek?

2.) How does Jack think about the combination of technical vs commercial skills for founders today? Where has Jack struggled with this balance? What would his advice be to prospective founders? How does Jack use OKRs to drive efficiency at SeatGeek? How can OKRs be constructed the right way? What is a rate of failure that suggests you are being ambitious enough?

3.) Jack has raised multiple rounds and over $160m in funding, how have the rounds differed from round to round? How does what Jack wants from an investor differ with time? What one ability do truly unique board members have the ability to do? How does Jack think about board conflicts and the right way to communicate with boards?

4.) How does Jack determine when is the right time to raise big? What is the one core metric that says now is the right time? How does Jack think about both the diversification and mortality of customer acquisition channels? How have SeatGeek seen theirs fundamentally change over time?

5.) Jack led the $56m Toptix acquisition, how was the acquisition process for Jack? What were the big learnings for Jack in terms of buying something that is large? With the acquisition, how does Jack think about the balance between capital efficiency and aggressive growth? What would Jack have done differently with regards to their growth trajectory if he had his time again?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Jack’s Fave Book: Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Jack on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Highfive makes meetings better for thousands of organizations with insanely simple video conferencing designed for meeting rooms. It's the easiest-to-use solution, with all-in-one hardware and intuitive cloud software. Plus, it's a high-quality experience with industry-leading audio powered by Dolby Voice. It's so easy to use, that there's no pin codes or app downloads. Just click a link in your browser, and you're in the meeting. With customers in over 100 countries, Highfive is already trusted by the likes of Warby Parker, Evernote, Expensify, and Betterment and you can learn more by simply heading over to highfive.com.

Culture Amp is the platform that makes it easy to collect, understand and act on employee feedback. From onboarding surveys to company-wide engagement, individual effectiveness and more, the platform manages multiple sources of feedback and connects the dots for you and that is why companies like Slack, Nike, Oracle and Lyft all trust CultureAmp. So put your people and culture first and find out more on cultureamp.com.

20VC: Lessons From Slack and Opendoor on Price Sensitivity, Why The Best CEOs Are Able To Manage Momentum and Why Being A Board Member is a "Full Contact Sport" with Glenn Solomon, Managing Partner @ GGV Capital

May 29, 2018 31:52

Description:

Glenn Solomon is a Managing Partner @ GGV Capital, one of the world's leading venture funds with  $3.8Bn under management across 8 funds and a portfolio including the likes of Airbnb, Xiaomi, Alibaba, Slack, Square, the list goes on. As for Glenn, since joining GGV in 2005 Glenn has helped 7 companies go public including Pandora, Zendesk, Square, SuccessFactors and more and has led investments in Airbnb, Slack, Opendoor, DOMO and Hashicorp just to name a few. Prior to GGV, Glenn was a General Partner with Partech and before that spent time with Goldman Sachs. You must also check out Glenn's blog here.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Glenn made his way from tennis at Stanford to the walls of Goldman Sachs before entering the world of VC with Partech and then GGV?

2.) Having been in VC for over 20 years, how has Glenn fundamentally seen the startup and VC landscape alter? How did advice from John Doerr alter his thinking on platform shifts? Does Glenn agree with Elad Gil that we are all looking for the next vein of innovation to explore? How must VCs respond?

3.) How has Glenn seen the development of himself as an investor over the last 20 years? What has he found to be the commonalities amongst the very best VCs? How does Glenn think about the importance of investor specialisation?

4.) How does Glenn think about price sensitivity? When has Glenn made his biggest mistakes with regards to price? How does Glenn's opinions change with the differing insertion points from Series A to pre-IPO?

5.) What does Glenn believe makes the truly special board members? What does he mean when he says being on a board is a "full contact" sport? What are the foundational pillars that Glenn has learnt make the most productive and successful board meetings? What can both founders and VCs do to drive efficiency from their time in board meetings?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Glenn’s Fave Book: Shoe DogBorn A CrimeIrena's Children

Glenn’s Most Recent Investment: Unravel Data

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Glenn on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Highfive makes meetings better for thousands of organizations with insanely simple video conferencing designed for meeting rooms. It's the easiest-to-use solution, with all-in-one hardware and intuitive cloud software. Plus, it's a high-quality experience with industry-leading audio powered by Dolby Voice. It's so easy to use, that there's no pin codes or app downloads. Just click a link in your browser, and you're in the meeting. With customers in over 100 countries, Highfive is already trusted by the likes of Warby Parker, Evernote, Expensify, and Betterment and you can learn more by simply heading over to highfive.com.

Culture Amp is the platform that makes it easy to collect, understand and act on employee feedback. From onboarding surveys to company-wide engagement, individual effectiveness and more, the platform manages multiple sources of feedback and connects the dots for you and that is why companies like Slack, Nike, Oracle and Lyft all trust CultureAmp. So put your people and culture first and find out more on cultureamp.com.

20VC: The Core Lessons From Building a 150 Startup Angel Portfolio, Why Founders Who Angel Invest Have Such Strong Advantages and Why The Lean Startup Makes Less and Less Sense Today with Adrian Aoun, Founder & CEO @ Forward

May 25, 2018 37:33

Description:

Adrian Aoun is the Founder & CEO @ Forward, a health care system combining world-class doctors with advanced technology to empower patients to take control of their health. To date Adrian has raised funding from some of the true greats of the business including Marc Benioff, Eric Schmidt, Joe Lonsdale, Aaron Levie and Josh Kushner, to name a few. As a result of the incredible work at Forward, they were named to TIME’s Best Inventions of 2017. Before Forward, Adrian was the head of special projects for the CEO of Google/Alphabet and Adrian arrived at Google following the acquisition of his artificial intelligence (AI) company, Wavii. Adrian is also a prolific angel with the likes of WorkRamp, Atrium, Convoy and more in his incredible portfolio.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Adrian made his way from selling Wavii to running special projects for the CEO @ Google, to now changing the world of healthcare with Forward?

2.) Why does Adrian believe that ideas don't have to be inspiration based and you can follow a process to come to a startup idea? What is the framework for that process? What is it fundamental that one focuses on the problem not the solution? Post problem identification, what is the next step?

3.) Why does Adrian believe that today, the Lean Startup Methodology makes less and less sense? What leads Adrian to suggest that "regulation is not nearly as scary as people think? How does Adrian break regulation up into 3 different categories? How should investors assess and evaluate opportunities that do face regulation?

4.) What does Adrian believe are the core benefits he has received from investing in over 150 startups? What has Jason recognised with regards to the power law effect when investing? How does Adrian approach pro-rata? What has being on the other side of the table taught Adrian about good and bad actors in the world of VC?

5.) How can angels act as a check/balance on the behaviour of VCs? How does Adrian think about investor behavior in both the good and the bad times? How do the best in the business react in both situations?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Adrian's Fave Book: Sapiens

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Adrian on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

We also speak about Movidiam – as brands turn to smarter ways of creating video and digital content, the Movidiam platform offers faster turnarounds whilst maintaining or improving quality. They’re already working with some of the biggest, most innovative companies to help compare teams and freelancers across the global curated network of creative talent. Producers and marketers looking for the best creatives can get a shortlist from Movidiam’s account managers in hours – tailored to their project’s needs. Submit a brief or check out the platform at Movidiam.com.

20VC: Why The Days of Spray and Pray at Seed Are Over, How To Compete In A World of Sequoia Seed Funds & Why Price Doesn't Matter with Dan Scheinman, Angel Investor @ Zoom & Arista Networks

May 21, 2018 31:14

Description:

Dan Scheinman is one of the West Coast's leading angel investors with a portfolio including the likes of Zoom.us, Tango.me, TomFoolery (acquired by Yahoo) and Arista Networks, where he also sits on the board. Prior to angel investing, Dan spent 18 years at Cisco in numerous roles including Senior Vice President of Corporate Development where he rebuilt corp dev as a growth enabler for Cisco. Dan was also the Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Cisco Media Solutions Group (CMSG), an internal startup which successfully developed and marketed a hosted software.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Dan made his way into the world of angel investing following leading the M&A and Corp Dev teams at Cisco?

2.) Why does Dan believe that the days of spray and pray angel investing at seed are over? What does the re-entrance of large funds like Sequoia back into seed investing mean for angels and early-stage VCs? How must the early stage alter their approach with the re-entering of these giants?

3.) Why does Dan believe that the No 1 destroyer of value in a VC portfolio is founder drama? How does this lead his thinking when assessing opportunities? How can this be mitigated? Why does Dan believe it is much harder for people over 35 to raise VC funding?

4.) Why does Dan believe that in the best deals price does not matter? What opportunities has Dan passed on a deal due to price, what have been his subsequent learnings? How does Dan approach the aspect of reserve allocation? What is the decision-making process around reserves? What are the reasons he would not take his pro-rata? How does he communicate this to founding teams?

5.) Why are incumbents no longer so willing to acquire for technology and talent? What problems do these early-stage acquisitions cause for their internal dynamics and culture? When done, why are these early-stage acquisitions less and less friendly for the early investors of the company being acquired?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Dan's Fave Book: Moneyball

Dan’s Most Recent Investment: Cycognito

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Dan on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

We also speak about Movidiam – as brands turn to smarter ways of creating video and digital content, the Movidiam platform offers faster turnarounds whilst maintaining or improving quality. They’re already working with some of the biggest, most innovative companies to help compare teams and freelancers across the global curated network of creative talent. Producers and marketers looking for the best creatives can get a shortlist from Movidiam’s account managers in hours – tailored to their project’s needs. Submit a brief or check out the platform at Movidiam.com.

   

20VC: 3 Questions Founders Must Stress Test VCs with, What Separates the Good From The Great VCs & Why 80% of VC Detract Value From Board Meetings with Seth Sternberg, Founder & CEO @ Honor

May 18, 2018 24:18

Description:

Seth Sternberg is the Founder & CEO @ Honor, the startup that provides homecare your family will love. To date Seth has raised over $60m in funding with Honor from the likes of Thrive Capital, a16z, Homebrew and 8VC. Prior to Honor, Seth was the Co-founder & CEO of Meebo, a web communications platform backed by the likes of Sequoia, Khosla and True Ventures. Meebo reached $50M in revenue and close to half of the US internet population before being acquired by Google for $100M in 2012. At Google, Seth became a Product Director working on the Google+ Platform and GoogleX. Seth is also a prolific angel investor with a portfolio including the likes of Fitbit and Gusto to name a few.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Seth made his way into the world of startups with the founding of Sequoia backed, Meebo? How did he transition from social network to homecare provision?

2.) From his experience with Meebo, what are the biggest elements Seth has done differently with the building of Honor? What was successful the first time that he has carried with him to Honor? How does Seth approach the hiring process fundamentally differently the 2nd time around?

3.) Seth has worked with the likes of Sequoia, Khosla, Thrive and more, what are the commonalities that make the best VCs so special? Where does Seth believe VCs can add true value? Where do many seriously detract value? Why does Seth believe that 80% of VCs are actually detrimental to board meetings?

4.) What 3 questions must all founders ask when considering to take on a new investor? What is that investor-founder assessment structure? When there is a disagreement with investors, how does Seth approach this? What is the best method for doing this in as fast and efficient method as possible?

5.) Would Seth agree with David Barrett @ Expensify that we are going through a wave of founders creating companies for the quick flip? How does Seth's 20-year time horizon with Honor affect how he both thinks about hiring and individual scaling within the firm? Why is he so jealous of Google and Facebook with regards to this?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Seth’s Fave Book: The Firm

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Seth on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

We also speak about Movidiam – as brands turn to smarter ways of creating video and digital content, the Movidiam platform offers faster turnarounds whilst maintaining or improving quality. They’re already working with some of the biggest, most innovative companies to help compare teams and freelancers across the global curated network of creative talent. Producers and marketers looking for the best creatives can get a shortlist from Movidiam’s account managers in hours – tailored to their project’s needs. Submit a brief or check out the platform at Movidiam.com.

20VC: Why Crypto Is The Biggest Disruptor To Hit VC In A Decade, The State of Crypto Today & Why Investing In Decentralized Platforms Requires A New Mental Model with Boris Wertz, Founding Partner @ Version One Ventures

May 14, 2018 23:37

Description:

Boris Wertz is the Founding Partner @ Version One Ventures, one of North America's leading early-stage funds with a portfolio including the likes of previous guests Coinbase, AngelList, Shippo, TopHat, Polychain Capital and many more incredible companies. As for Boris, prior to VC, Boris was the COO @ Abe Books, where he led a team of 60 people until their acquisition in 2008 by Amazon. In addition to this, Boris is also a Board Partner with a16z and the lead independent director @ Ether Capital, a Toronto-based technology company aiming to become the central investment hub for the Ethereum ecosystem.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Boris made his way from creating the largest European marketplace for used books to becoming one of North America's leading investors with Version One?

2.) How does Boris analyze where we are at now in the development and hype cycle of crypto? How does it compare to the internet bubble of 99'? Does Boris get concerned by the amount of dumb money entering the space? What resources and tools does Boris advice for people looking to learn the foundations as quickly as possible?

3.) Why does Boris believe you have to apply a new mental model when investing in crypto? What do existing VCs need to do to ensure they are not left behind by the emerging world of crypto? What does Boris believe would need to happen for the existing institutional LP class to embrace crypto?

4.) Does Boris believe existing investors can transition into this space or will vertically specialised funds be the clear winner? If existing investors can, what is required within their partnerships to make this happen? What does Boris make of VCs investing in ICOs? How does Boris evaluate the Telegram ICO?

5.) How does Boris view the future of VC in tandem with the world of crypto and ICOs? What would VCs becoming small cap hedge funds mean for the industry? How would life change? What have been Boris' biggest learnings from watching first hand a16z's attempts to innovate the VC model at scale?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Boris' Fave Book: Shoe Dog

Boris' Most Recent Investment: Coinbase

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Boris on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

We also speak about Movidiam – as brands turn to smarter ways of creating video and digital content, the Movidiam platform offers faster turnarounds whilst maintaining or improving quality. They’re already working with some of the biggest, most innovative companies to help compare teams and freelancers across the global curated network of creative talent. Producers and marketers looking for the best creatives can get a shortlist from Movidiam’s account managers in hours – tailored to their project’s needs. Submit a brief or check out the platform at Movidiam.com.

20VC: Hims' Andrew Dudum on The Scaling Playbook of The Fastest Growing Mens Wellness Brand, How To Be Truly Innovative In Today's World of Online Marketing & Raising at a $200m Valuation within Year 1

May 11, 2018 28:35

Description:

Andrew Dudum is Co-Founder & CEO @ Hims, the fastest growing men’s health and wellness brand that has raised over $45m in VC funding from some of the best in the business including Thrive Capital, Forerunner Ventures, IVP, Redpoint and SV angel just to name a few. Andrew is also co-founder and General Partner at Atomic, a venture-builder backed by Peter Thiel, Marc Andreesen and many of the world’s best investors. Prior to Atomic and Hims, Andrew led Product at TokBox.com, the leader in web-based communication. In 2012 TokBox was acquired by the global telecommunications company Telefonica ($TEF).

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Andrew made his way into the world of startups, came to build a venture builder backed by Thiel and Andreesen before starting the fastest growing men's health and wellness brand in Hims?

2.) How does Andrew view the world of online and offline marketing in today's proliferated D2C space? What were the core elements that allowed Hims to achieve such success with their branding? How does Andrew respond to suggestions that there is a lack of free and open distribution due to incumbents paying up for traditional channels making CAC unachievable for startups? How does Andrew look to solve for this?

3.) What does Andrew believe it is that has allowed Hims to execute faster than any other D2C brand in history? How does Andrew distinguish between people and process when considering the scaling at different stages of the business? What are the pros and cons of having such constraints on headcount? When is the right time to pour fuel on the fire? 

4.) Hims raised their last round at a $200m valuation in less than a year of operating, how did Andrew evaluate this one? Does this not effectively price Hims out of the majority of M&A?  What leads Andrew's thesis with his suggestion that he thought the valuation was "quite frankly, a great price for investors"? What advice would Andrew have for founders entering the fundraising process?

5.) Andrew is also the co-founder @ Atomic, so what really is a venture builder? How have Atomic built a framework around idea generation? How do Atomic determine which ideas to pursue and which to disregard? How does data and benchmarking play a central role in this process? 

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Andrew’s Fave Book: Creativity Inc

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Andrew on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

We also speak about Movidiam – as brands turn to smarter ways of creating video and digital content, the Movidiam platform offers faster turnarounds whilst maintaining or improving quality. They’re already working with some of the biggest, most innovative companies to help compare teams and freelancers across the global curated network of creative talent. Producers and marketers looking for the best creatives can get a shortlist from Movidiam’s account managers in hours – tailored to their project’s needs. Submit a brief or check out the platform at Movidiam.com.

20VC: Andy McLoughlin on The Benefits of Backing Unsexy Businesses with Non-Obvious Founders, How To Distinguish Between A Good Bridge Round and A Bridge To Nowhere & Whether VCs Really Do Add Value?

May 8, 2018 32:39

Description:

Andy McLoughlin is Partner @ Uncork Capital, formerly SoftTech and one of the leading early-stage funds on the West Coast. In their incredible portfolio, they have the likes of Fitbit, SendGrid, PostMates, Front, PoshMark, Eventbrite and many more. As for Andy, he loves to invest in "unsexy ideas" with stellar teams and has led deals in the likes of Postmates, LaunchDarkly, Human Interest (previously Captain 401), and Focal Systems just to name a few. Prior to VC, Andy co-founded Huddle, an enterprise collaboration platform which raised more than $80M in venture funding before its acquisition in 2017. Andy also has a stellar angel portfolio with the likes of Buffer, Intercom and Pipedrive all angel investments.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Andy made the transition from Founder of one of the UK's hottest startups to one of the leading early-stage VCs in Silicon Valley?

2.) Why did Softtech decide to make the big decision to rebrand to Uncork several years into the journey? What is core to successfully relaunching a VC brand to the ecosystem?

3.) Andy likes to back "non-obvious founders" building "non-sexy businesses". What does Andy mean by "non-obvious founder"? How do they tend to behave differently to more seasoned serial entrepreneur founders from the valley? What does a "non-sexy business look like to Andy"? Why does he see such inherent opportunity within these segments?

4.) How does Andy evaluate the challenge of immensely long sales cycles within these industries? How can these be mitigated and measured against? How does this affect Andy's thinking on the right amount of runway to raise for? How does Andy assess the often issue of regulation? How does Andy distinguish between viable/ non-viable?

5.) How does Andy assess VC value add? Where does Andy believe he can provide the most value to his portfolio? Why does Andy believe startups are not just competing against other plays in their space but every startup in the valley?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Andy’s Fave Book: Venture Deals

Andy’s Most Recent Investment: Fritz

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Andy on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

We also speak about Movidiam – as brands turn to smarter ways of creating video and digital content, the Movidiam platform offers faster turnarounds whilst maintaining or improving quality. They’re already working with some of the biggest, most innovative companies to help compare teams and freelancers across the global curated network of creative talent. Producers and marketers looking for the best creatives can get a shortlist from Movidiam’s account managers in hours – tailored to their project’s needs. Submit a brief or check out the platform at Movidiam.com.

20VC: Why VCs Are Wrong About Bootstrapped Founders, How Content Can Be Used As A Key Customer Acquisition Tool & How To Use Humour When "S*** Hits The Fan" with Jesse Genet, Founder & CEO @ Lumi

May 4, 2018 28:55

Description:

Jesse Genet is the Founder & CEO @ Lumi, the startup that is used by thousands of e-commerce companies to get world-class packaging at unbeatable prices. To date, Jesse has raised close to $10m in VC funding from some of the best in the business and old friends of the show including Satya @Homebrew, Kirsten @ Forerunner, Spark Capital, Lowercase, Ludlow and more incredible names. Prior to Lumi, Jesse founded Inkodye, a bootstrapped business that Jesse scaled to 7 figures in revenue and was sold in retail stores around the world.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jesse made her way into the world of startups and VC having bootstrapped her prior business to 7 figures in revenue and being sold in 1,500 stores?

2.) Given that Lumi is Jesse's first VC backed business, does this make Jesse a first-time founder? How did the bootstrapping to 7 figures in revenue with her last business, influence her philosophy and mindset with Lumi? What has Jesse done differently as a result? What are the dangers that Jesse was aware of and looks out for?

3.) What types of companies does an active content strategy make significant sense for? What are the core benefits of a well-executed content strategy? What have been the core pillars to Jesse's success with content? Where does Jesse see many firms going wrong with their content strategy? How does Jesse look to measure the ROI from content?

4.) How was the fundraising experience for Jesse, given the "non-sexy" sector of packaging and supply chains? How did Jesse determine whether an investor was engaged or not? What does Jesse think she did well in the fundraising process? What would she like to improve for the next round? What is the common stereotype that VCs attribute to founders with bootstrapping experience?

5.) How does Jesse think about the benefits of her team being small vs her 10,000+ incumbent challenger teams? Why does this mean she has the advantage? How does Jesse manage the expectations of her employees when no one could do 1/10 of what Jesse does?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Jesse's Fave Book: Gone with the Wind

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Jesse on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

We also speak about Movidiam - as brands turn to smarter ways of creating video and digital content, the Movidiam platform offers faster turnarounds whilst maintaining or improving quality. They’re already working with some of the biggest, most innovative companies to help compare teams and freelancers across the global curated network of creative talent. Producers and marketers looking for the best creatives can get a shortlist from Movidiam’s account managers in hours - tailored to their project’s needs. Submit a brief or check out the platform at Movidiam.com.

20VC: Why Follow-On Investments Are Always A Better Investment, Why Spray and Pray Investing Is Like The Stock Market & Why Startups Need A Board From Day One with Jerry Neumann

Apr 30, 2018 28:50

Description:

Jerry Neumann is one of New York's leading angel investors with a portfolio including the likes of The Trade Desk (IPO: 2016), Datadog and Flurry (acquired by Yahoo) just to name a few. Prior to angel investing, Jerry built the first open market for the pricing and exchange of real-time consumer data in the form of Root Markets. Jerry was also the Managing Director @ Omnicom's Venture Capital Division where he enjoyed an incredible 5 IPOs from the portfolio.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jerry made his way into the world of VC in the 90s and why it was difficult to lose money in venture at that time?

2.) Why does Jerry believe that the vast portfolio construction model is "wrong" and a "dead end"? In what circumstances does Jerry believe "spray and pray" investing can work? Why does Jerry believe you can only have as many companies as you can actively help? How does this lead Jerry's thinking on his own portfolio construction?

3.) Why does Jerry believe that startups must have a board from Day 1? What are the inherent benefits of having a board so early? In the earliest of stages, how should those board meetings be run? Who are the best board members Jerry has worked with? Why were they so exceptional? How does Jerry think about building board intimacy?

4.) Why does Jerry disagree with the conventional wisdom of Silicon Valley that price does not matter because the exit will either be huge or a zero? How has Jerry seen the best firms in their thinking on market price vs indicated discount price? How has Jerry's thinking on price sensitivity changed over the years?

5.) Why does Jerry believe that the follow-on investment is always a much better investment? How does the risk-reward ratio change from initial to follow-on investment? How does Jerry assess and prioritize future financing risk when investing in an opportunity? How does he mitigate that as much as possible?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Jerry's Fave Book: Console Wars by Blake Harris

Jerry’s Most Recent Investment: Edmit

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Jerry on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

We also speak about Movidiam - as brands turn to smarter ways of creating video and digital content, the Movidiam platform offers faster turnarounds whilst maintaining or improving quality. They’re already working with some of the biggest, most innovative companies to help compare teams and freelancers across the global curated network of creative talent. Producers and marketers looking for the best creatives can get a shortlist from Movidiam’s account managers in hours - tailored to their project’s needs. Submit a brief or check out the platform at Movidiam.com.

20VC: Why Your Board Are Right 50% of The Time, Biggest Lessons From Being Mentored By Reed Hastings & Raising $130m in Funding and The Balance Between Growth and Capital Efficiency with James Reinhart, Founder & CEO @ ThredUp

Apr 27, 2018 26:59

Description:

James Reinhart is the Founder & CEO @ ThredUp, the world's largest online thrift store, and consignment store. To date, ThredUp has raised over $130m in VC funding from many friends of the show including Tim @ Redpoint, Patricia @ Trinity, Eric @ Founder Collective and Ian @ Goldman Sachs just to name a few. As for James, prior to ThredUp he was a Goldsmith Fellow in Social Enterprise at HBS and a Bill George Fellow at the Center for Public Leadership at the Kennedy School. Before that, James co-founded Beacon Education Network, a charter management organization serving low-income students on California's Central Coast.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How James' childhood dream of being an architect changed to founding the world's largest online thrift store?

2.) Tim Hale @ Redpoint: "James is one of the most naturally talented leaders I have ever worked with". So what does great leadership mean to James? How has James seen the way he communicates and inspires change with the scaling of the company? What has James observed as the core characteristics that great leaders share?

3.) Why does James believe that investors are inherently wary of the female and child clothing market? How did James see the funding rounds differ from round to round? What did James really look for in his early investors? How does investor value-add change with time and scaling?

4.) What have been James' core learnings in managing a board with transparency and efficiency? James has said before "your board is right 50% of the time". How does James look to determine which 50% is right vs wrong? What is a time when James has gone against the decision of the board? How did the situation result?

5.) Having raised over $130m in funding, how does James think about the balance between aggressive growth and capital efficiency? How does James assess when is the right time to pour fuel on the fire? How does James react to the mindset of "sustainable growth"? How do investors think about capital efficiency?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

James’ Fave Book: Sapiens

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and James on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Cooley is a global law firm built around supporting start-ups and the venture capital firms that fund them. Now we have spoken before about their forming the first venture fund in Silicon Valley, and forming more VC funds than any other law firm in the world but Cooley also represents more than 6,000 high-growth startups across the globe – through the full company life cycle. They are the #1 law firm for VC-backed exits (M&A and IPO) ranked by PitchBook, and since 2014 has represented more companies in their IPOs than any other law firm.  Simply head over to Cooley.com or you can check them out at Cooleygo.com.

20VC: The Biggest Trend Of Our Lifetime Is The Decentralisation of Entrepreneurship Away From The Valley, The Biggest Lessons From Learning The Craft of VC at Sequoia & The Benchmarks Required to Attract Growth Investors with Chris Olsen, Founding Partne

Apr 23, 2018 28:40

Description:

Chris Olsen is the Founding Partner @ Drive Capital, the venture firm that believes the Midwest is the opportunity of our lifetime with more entrepreneurs building billion-dollar companies in the Midwest than in the last 50 years combined. Since inception in 2012, Drive have built an exceptional portfolio including the likes of Duolingo, FarmLogs, LeadPages and Udacity. As for Chris, prior to founding Drive he was a Partner @ Sequoia Capital on the West Coast where he learned the craft from some of the very best in the business. Before that he spent time at both TCV and UBS.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Chris came to found the largest venture fund in the midwest, Drive, from being a Partner @ Sequoia Capital and learning the craft of venture there?

2.) Why does Chris believe that the biggest trend we will live through is the decentralisation away from Silicon Valley? What are the essential ingredients an ecosystem requires in order to foster this thriving tech hub? What does Chris believe it is fundamentally essential for companies to be in close proximity to?

3.) How does the lack of venture funds in the Midwest affect Chris' views on pricing? Would Chris agree with Peter Fenton, "never turn down a company based on valuation, it is a mental trap"? How does Chris look to differentiate between expensive and too expensive?

4.) How does Chris think about reserve allocation with Drive? What framework does Drive adopt to determine where to allocate reserve dollars? How does the shortage of follow-on investors in the midwest impact Chris' approach to follow on financing? What level does a company need to be in order to attract attention from larger growth funds?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Chris’ Fave Book: The Old Man and The Sea

Chris' Most Recent Investment: Duolingo

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Chris on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Cooley is a global law firm built around supporting start-ups and the venture capital firms that fund them. Now we have spoken before about their forming the first venture fund in Silicon Valley, and forming more VC funds than any other law firm in the world but Cooley also represents more than 6,000 high-growth startups across the globe – through the full company life cycle. They are the #1 law firm for VC-backed exits (M&A and IPO) ranked by PitchBook, and since 2014 has represented more companies in their IPOs than any other law firm.  Simply head over to Cooley.com or you can check them out at Cooleygo.com.

   

20VC: The Biggest Trend Of Our Lifetime Is The Decentralisation of Entrepreneurship Away From The Valley, The Biggest Lessons From Learnings The Craft of VC at Sequoia & The Benchmarks Required to Attract Growth Investors with Chris Olsen, Founding Partne

Apr 23, 2018

Description:

Chris Olsen is the Founding Partner @ Drive Capital, the venture firm that believes the Midwest is the opportunity of our lifetime with more entrepreneurs building billion-dollar companies in the Midwest than in the last 50 years combined. Since inception in 2012, Drive have built an exceptional portfolio including the likes of Duolingo, FarmLogs, LeadPages and Udacity. As for Chris, prior to founding Drive he was a Partner @ Sequoia Capital on the West Coast where he learned the craft from some of the very best in the business. Before that he spent time at both TCV and UBS.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Chris came to found the largest venture fund in the midwest, Drive, from being a Partner @ Sequoia Capital and learning the craft of venture there?

2.) Why does Chris believe that the biggest trend we will live through is the decentralisation away from Silicon Valley? What are the essential ingredients an ecosystem requires in order to foster this thriving tech hub? What does Chris believe it is fundamentally essential for companies to be in close proximity to?

3.) How does the lack of venture funds in the Midwest affect Chris' views on pricing? Would Chris agree with Peter Fenton, "never turn down a company based on valuation, it is a mental trap"? How does Chris look to differentiate between expensive and too expensive?

4.) How does Chris think about reserve allocation with Drive? What framework does Drive adopt to determine where to allocate reserve dollars? How does the shortage of follow-on investors in the midwest impact Chris' approach to follow on financing? What level does a company need to be in order to attract attention from larger growth funds?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Chris’ Fave Book: The Old Man and The Sea

Chris' Most Recent Investment: Duolingo

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Chris on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Cooley is a global law firm built around supporting start-ups and the venture capital firms that fund them. Now we have spoken before about their forming the first venture fund in Silicon Valley, and forming more VC funds than any other law firm in the world but Cooley also represents more than 6,000 high-growth startups across the globe – through the full company life cycle. They are the #1 law firm for VC-backed exits (M&A and IPO) ranked by PitchBook, and since 2014 has represented more companies in their IPOs than any other law firm.  Simply head over to Cooley.com or you can check them out at Cooleygo.com.

   

20VC: Thumbtack's Marco Zappacosta on The 3 Core Elements To All Board Meetings, Raising $250m from Sequoia and Why You Have To Win Supply Side Acquisition First For Marketplace Success

Apr 20, 2018 28:00

Description:

Marco Zappacosta is the Founder & CEO @ Thumbtack, the startup that allows you to find local professionals for pretty much anything. To date, Thumbtack has raised over $270m in funding from some of the very best including Sequoia Capital, CapitalG (Google Growth), Ali and Hadi Partovi, Scott and Cyan Banister and Jason Calacanis. Due to Marco's incredible success scaling Thumbtack to helping millions of Americans today, he has been recognized by Forbes as 30 under 30 and Thumbtack was recently acknowledged as one of GlassDoor’s best places to work.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Marco made his way into the world of startups and came to create one of the most prominent marketplaces of the day in Thumbtack?

2.) What does Marco mean when he says "founders must treat board members as employees"? How does Marco view the optimal structure for a board meeting? What are the core elements that founders must takeaway? Where do most first time founders go wrong with board management?

3.) Thumbtack has raised over $250m in VC funding, how can one look to achieve both operational efficiency and capital efficiency with such large injections of capital? What is core to maintaining this sense of frugality despite such large investments? How does Marco think about when is the right time to raise that warchest round?

4.) How does Marco suggest that marketplace founders can entice the supply side in the early days? How has Marco seen his supply-side acquisition change and develop with time? What has worked and what has not? Does Marco agree with Leah Busque that in marketplace, the NPS for one side will always be down?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Marco’s Fave Book: The Wizard and The Prophet

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Marco on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Cooley is a global law firm built around supporting start-ups and the venture capital firms that fund them. Now we have spoken before about their forming the first venture fund in Silicon Valley, and forming more VC funds than any other law firm in the world but Cooley also represents more than 6,000 high-growth startups across the globe – through the full company life cycle. They are the #1 law firm for VC-backed exits (M&A and IPO) ranked by PitchBook, and since 2014 has represented more companies in their IPOs than any other law firm.  Simply head over to Cooley.com or you can check them out at Cooleygo.com.

20VC: How a16z Uses NPS To Create Better Founder Experiences, Why Intellectual Curiosity Is The Most Important Investor Trait & Creating A Fund To Last Through The Ages with Zal Bilimoria, Founding Partner @ Refactor Capital

Apr 16, 2018 24:23

Description:

Zal Bilimoria is Founding Partner @ Refactor Capital, one of Silicon Valley's newest entrants to the early stage scene with a $50m fund looking to back founders solving fundamental human problems. Prior to co-founding Refactor, Zal was a Partner @ a16z where he co-led investments in Omada Health, Branch.co, AltSchool, Honor, and more, while helping to launch the firm's Bio Fund. Before becoming an investor, Zal spent 10 years as a PM at Microsoft, Google, Netflix, and LinkedIn. He worked on emerging markets for Windows, became one of the first monetization team members at YouTube, and then  became the 1st Head of Mobile at Netflix and helped start the Sales Solutions business at LinkedIn.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Zal made his way into the world of VC with a16z from the very corporate worlds of Microsoft, Google, Netflix and LinkedIn?

2.) What were Zal's 3 biggest learnings from seeing the internal processes and scaling of a16z? How does a16z use NPS in such a compelling way that it automatically improves founder treatment and interaction within the firm? What was it about a16z that led Zal to believe being insanely curious is the biggest skill of an investor?

3.) What are the signs and leading indicators that a scientist has the mental plasticity and ability to translate into a CEO and business leader? What are the biggest challenges as a VC in assessing whether this plasticity is present? Why does David believe that the very best founders are looking to solve "fundamental human problems"?

4.) Over the last few years we have seen an explosion of deep tech capital, Elad Gil suggested this reminded him of the 2007 cleantech days, does Zal agree with this suggestion? How does Zal think about the common concern of having to carry companies for longer given the extended milestones to prove progress?

5.) Zal has said before his goal is "to build a seed firm to last among the 100s of others", what does Zal believe is crucial to this sustainability of fund and brand? How does Zal evaluate the insanely crowded seed market today?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Zal’s Fave Book: Seveneves

Zal’s Most Recent Investment: Solugen

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Zal on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Cooley is a global law firm built around supporting start-ups and the venture capital firms that fund them. Now we have spoken before about their forming the first venture fund in Silicon Valley, and forming more VC funds than any other law firm in the world but Cooley also represents more than 6,000 high-growth startups across the globe – through the full company life cycle. They are the #1 law firm for VC-backed exits (M&A and IPO) ranked by PitchBook, and since 2014 has represented more companies in their IPOs than any other law firm.  Simply head over to Cooley.com or you can check them out at Cooleygo.com.

 

20VC: Why You Have To Raise $100m+ If You Want To Go Big Today, The 5 Fundamentals To Starting and Scaling A Successful Marketplace & Why Female Founders Under-Promise and Over-Deliver with Paul Hsiao, Founding Partner @ Canvas Ventures

Apr 9, 2018 23:50

Description:

Paul Hsiao is a Founding Partner @ Canvas Ventures, one of Silicon Valley's leading and newer entrants to the Series A scene. At Canvas, Paul has made investments in the likes of Everwise, Fluxx Labs, Roofstock, Thrive Global, Transfix, and Zola. Before founding Canvas, Paul was a partner at NEA, where he led an early-stage investment in Houzz, as well as, had the privilege of helping eight companies go public on the NYSE or NASDAQ and seventeen companies with successful M&A exits during his 10-year tenure with the firm. Prior to VC, Paul was an entrepreneur with the founding of Mazu Networks, a pioneer in network security that was acquired by Riverbed Technologies.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Paul made his way into the world of VC with NEA and got Scott Sandell as his first mentor in VC?

2.) Question from Oren Zeev: Having been a partner at both, how does Paul compare the culture and strategy of two such differing firms of Canvas vs NEA? How does Paul's thinking on exit expectations and requirements change with the change of fund? How does a smaller fund fundamentally change the way you think about investing?

3.) What does Paul believe are the 5 fundamentals of building and scaling a successful marketplace? Why does Paul believe that it is the supply side that tells you if your marketplace is or is not working? Why does Paul believe stubbornness is good in marketplace founders?

4.) Why does Paul believe that raising $100m is critical for new companies if they want to go big? What does this mean for capital efficiency? What does this mean for ownership with multiple dilutive rounds impacting investor returns? How should founders then think about winning the "capital arms race"? What are the exceptions to these rules?

5.) Female founders receive 2.19% of VC funding, however, Paul has many more female founders in portfolio than the industry. Why does Paul think this is? What would Paul like to see change in the distribution of VC funds? What is the required steps to make this happen?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Paul’s Fave Book: The Innovator's Dilemma

Paul’s Most Recent Investment: Thrive GlobalRoofstock

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Paul on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Cooley is a global law firm built around supporting start-ups and the venture capital firms that fund them. Now we have spoken before about their forming the first venture fund in Silicon Valley, and forming more VC funds than any other law firm in the world but Cooley also represents more than 6,000 high-growth startups across the globe – through the full company life cycle. They are the #1 law firm for VC-backed exits (M&A and IPO) ranked by PitchBook, and since 2014 has represented more companies in their IPOs than any other law firm.  Simply head over to Cooley.com or you can check them out at Cooleygo.com.

20VC: Why Facebook Will Be The Company To Succeed in Crypto, Why Founders Should Be Actively Angel Investing & Commonalities of Great Leadership From Mark Zuckerberg to Mark Pincus with Darian Shirazi, Founder & CEO @ Radius

Apr 6, 2018 32:57

Description:

Darian Shirazi is the Founder & CEO @ Radius, the startup that provides you with not just data but truth allowing you to gain clarity to reach and convert your best B2B prospects. To date, Darian has raised over $105m in VC funding with Radius from some of the very best in the business including our friends at Founders Fund, 8VC, Salesforce Ventures and rockstars like Jared Leto and Charlie Songhurst. Prior to Radius, Darian has enjoyed roles such as first external engineering hire at Facebook and working on the "Sell Your Item" team at eBay. Darian has also made several angel investments in the likes of MessageMe, Sprig and Try.com just to name a few.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Darian made his way into the world of tech as Facebook's first ever intern at the age of 17 and how that led to the founding of Radius?

2.) According to Joe Lonsdale @ 8VC, "Darian is one of the most respected founders and CEOs in the valley". How does Darian define great CEOship? What have been the commonalities he has seen in the great leaders he has engaged with from Mark @ Facebook to Mark Pincus?

3.) How did Darian approach the fundraising strategy for the $85m he has raised with Radius? How does Darian believe that founders can test quickly whether an investor is truly interested? Why is it so important to be fundraise as fast as possible? If an investor could only provide Darian one thing, what would it be and wh?

4.) How does Darian respond to investors that suggest founders should not be actively angel investing, as Darian is? What operational benefits does Darian gain from angel investing? How does Darian think about angel portfolio construction and specialisation? How has Darian seen investor attitudes alter when it comes to capital efficiency? 

5.) As an early Bitcoin miner, how does Darian evaluate the world of crypto today? Why does Darian believe BTC has reached escape velocity compared to other currencies? Why was Darian skeptical on Ethereum for so long? What are Ethereum's ongoing challenges? Why does Facebook have the chance to dominate the world of crypto?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Darian’s Fave Book: Sapiens

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Darian on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Cooley is a global law firm built around supporting start-ups and the venture capital firms that fund them. Now we have spoken before about their forming the first venture fund in Silicon Valley, and forming more VC funds than any other law firm in the world but Cooley also represents more than 6,000 high-growth startups across the globe – through the full company life cycle. They are the #1 law firm for VC-backed exits (M&A and IPO) ranked by PitchBook, and since 2014 has represented more companies in their IPOs than any other law firm.  Simply head over to Cooley.com or you can check them out at Cooleygo.com.

20VC: Greylock's Jerry Chen on The 2 Fundamentals To Assessing Startup Risk, Why Good Investors Have To Be Optimistic & Why VCs Get In Trouble When They Move Outside Their "Strike Zone"

Apr 2, 2018 31:00

Description:

Jerry Chen is a Partner @ Greylock Partners, one of the world's most successful VC funds with prior investments in the likes of Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, AirBnB, Dropbox, AppDynamics, Coinbase and many more incredible companies. As for Jerry, Jerry invests in entrepreneurs building new enterprise SaaS applications and in all aspects of AI and cloud infrastructure. Jerry currently sits on the Board of Docker, Cato Networks, Gladly, Rhumbix, Spoke, and Blend. Prior to joining Greylock, Jerry was Vice President of Cloud and Application Services at VMware where he was part of the executive team that scaled the company from 250 to over 15,000 employees and $5B in revenue. Check out Jerry's recent writing on Risk: The Game of Strategic Investment here.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jerry made his way into the world of VC with Greylock from being on the exec team at VMWare, responsible for their scaling from 250 to over 15,000 people?

2.) What does Jerry believe are the different frameworks for how investors should measure risk? Why does Jerry believe to be a good investor, one has to be an optimist? What does Jerry find the most challenging element of risk assessment? What types of risk can Jerry tolerate and which can he not in a potential investment?

3.) How does Jerry break the theme of risk down into 2 very different categories? How does one define "uncertainty" in an investment? How does this compare to "probability"? How does both "uncertainty and probability" alter when comparing differing sectors? Does Jerry think that current pricing takes fair account of both "uncertainty and probability"?

4.) What does Jerry mean when he says, "you have to have product go-to-market fit"? Why does Jerry believe that platforms shifts are fundamentally distribution model shifts? Where does Jerry see an inherent opportunity within these net new nodes of distribution shift?

5.) How does Jerry evaluate the SaaS world today of bottoms up or top down? Why does Jerry believe that if you are budget additive, bottoms up with small ACVs is the current strategy? What does this mean for those that are budget replacements, both in sales model and ACV?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Jerry’s Fave Book: Skin In The Game 

Jerry's Most Recent Investment: Blend

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Jerry on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Cooley is a global law firm built around supporting start-ups and the venture capital firms that fund them. Now we have spoken before about their forming the first venture fund in Silicon Valley, and forming more VC funds than any other law firm in the world but Cooley also represents more than 6,000 high-growth startups across the globe – through the full company life cycle. They are the #1 law firm for VC-backed exits (M&A and IPO) ranked by PitchBook, and since 2014 has represented more companies in their IPOs than any other law firm.  Simply head over to Cooley.com or you can check them out at Cooleygo.com.

20VC: Tearing Up Term Sheets and Writing Your Own, Why Founders Must Do "VC Dating" Pre-Fundraise & The Benefits of Capital Constraints in The Early Days with Rachel Drori, Founder & CEO @ Daily Harvest

Mar 30, 2018 24:00

Description:

Rachel Drori is the Founder & CEO @ Daily Harvest, the direct-to-consumer brand that delivers real, unprocessed, unrefined foods in the most convenient format possible: frozen. To date, they have raised over $43m in funding from the likes of former guest Alex Taussig @ Lightspeed, Collaborative Fund and future 20VC guest Beth Ferreira who sits on the board. As for Rachel, prior to starting Daily Harvest, Rachel harnessed her skills as a customer-centric marketing executive, leading teams at Gilt Groupe, American Express, and Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Rachel made her way from the corporate world of American Express and The Four Seasons to founding Daily harvest, looking to change the eating habits of millions?

2.) Why did Rachel decide to deliberately raise small Seed and Series A rounds? What does Rachel believe these capital constraints allow companies in the early days? How did Rachel prioritize where to spend and where not to? How would Rachel advise emerging startup founders when it comes to capital efficiency today?

3.) Rachel recently raised $43m Series B, how did Rachel see the rounds differ from round to round? Why does Rachel believe it is imperative to VC date before the fundraising process begins? Why was Rachel's Series A very unconventional in the modern world of fundraising? What did Rachel look for most in the investors she chose from round to round? How is that different considering her single founder status?

4.) Question from Alex Taussig: How has Rachel seen the NYC ecosystem develop and evolve since the founding of Daily Harvest? Would Rachel agree that there remains a lack of early stage conviction investors in NYC? What are NYC's biggest strengths and then biggest weaknesses?

5.) Rachel has said before, "fake it till you make it" when was the last time Rachel did this and what was the outcome? Rachel also said previously, "ask for forgiveness not permission", when was the most recent occassion of this and what did it result in?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Rachel’s Fave Book: Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food: Volume 1

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Rachel on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Leesa is the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Leesa have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is ordered completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10-inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com to start the New Year with better nights sleep!

Zoom, fastest growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an array of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one easy platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. Don’t take our word for it. Zoom is the top rated conferencing app across various user review sites including G2Crowd and Trust Radius. And you can sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

20VC: How Great VCs Handle Themselves In An M&A Process, Why M&A Has Become The Primary Method of Exit & How The Best M&A Teams Operationalise Their Process with James Loftus, Corporate Development Lead @ Square

Mar 26, 2018 28:29

Description:

James Loftus is Corporate Development Lead @ Square where he has made multiple acquisitions and investments including the likes of acquiring OrderAhead and investing in Eventbrite. Prior to Square, James was responsible for strategy, business development and operations at STX Digital. Before that James was a Partner @ Andreessen Horowitz where he led strategic coverage for the firm’s 45+ consumer-facing portfolio, advising them on everything from capital raising to partnerships to M&A. Prior to VC with a16z, James was VP & Head of Corporate Development @ Yahoo and also spent time in the M&A team at Google.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How James made his way into the world of corporate development and M&A with Andreessen and how that translated to leading Square's M&A efforts today?

2.) Why does James fundamentally disagree with the notion that "companies are bought and not sold"? What are the nuances behind the scenes that make this wrong?

3.) 514 VC backed exits in 2017, 499 were M&A, so how does James assess the M&A landscape at present? Is it now the undeniable leader in primary exit method? How does James believe we will see the M&A market evolve over the next year? Who are the new entrants? How will their entering effect both volume and pricing of M&A?

4.) How does James respond to Paul Graham's article titled "Don't Talk To Corp Dev"? How does James and Square think about operationalizing the tracking of companies in the landscape? When is the right time for startups to relationship build with corp dev? How does James most like to interact with VCs in the processes? What makes the best so good?

5.) Paul Graham has also called the process "grueling", would James agree with this? What does James do to minimise pain and friction both for startup and acquirer? How does product play a pivotal role in this "grueling" process? How should cor dev also be thinking about the emotional and sentimental elements of selling companies?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

James’s Fave Book: A History Of The World In 10 1/2 Chapters

James’s Most Recent Investment: Eventbrite

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and James on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Leesa is the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Leesa have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is ordered completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10-inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com to start the New Year with better nights sleep!

Zoom, fastest growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an array of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one easy platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. Don’t take our word for it. Zoom is the top rated conferencing app across various user review sites including G2Crowd and Trust Radius. And you can sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

20VC: How To Strategically Build The Right Investor Base, Why Startup Timing is Like Surfing & How To Determine Whether Someone is Scaling with the Organisation or Not with Daniel Lewis, Founder & CEO @ Convoy

Mar 23, 2018 29:39

Description:

Dan Lewis is the Founder & CEO @ Convoy, the startup that really is the future of freight with trucking services powered by technology to drive reliability, efficiency and insights. To date they have raised over $80m in funding from some of the world's best-known investors and individuals including Y Combinator Continuity Fund, Greylock, Jeff Bezos, Marc Benioff, Drew Houston, Kevin Systrom and leading angels, Ali and Hadi Partovi. Before Convoy, Dan served as general manager of new shopping experiences at Amazon and spent time at Google and Microsoft in a number of logistics-related roles.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Daniel first fell in love with the logistics space as a little boy, made his move into the world of tech with Google and Microsoft and came to found Convoy?

2.) How does Dan truly define the differences between linear and non-linear businesses? Why does Dan believe that startup timing is like surfing? How must founders think about this through the different stages of the business?

3.) What was Dan's strategy for choosing the right investors and how did he think about board composition? How can investors be used to build customer trust? How does Dan analyze and look to enhance board chemistry? What was a time for Dan when he actively went against the advice of the board? How did that play out? 

4.) Why did Dan accept so many investors at the seed round? What changed between rounds that made Dan want to go big with the $62m Series B? Does Dan agree with Reid Hoffman, "if you can raise the money, do"? Why did Dan choose YC Continuity Fund as the lead growth investor of choice? What were the benefits?

5.) Why does Dan believe that scaling the first initial customers is the hardest of all? Why does Dan believe that a culture of experimentation is key across functions? How does Dan think about his own scaling as CEO? How has he seen his role change with the growth of the firm? What have been the biggest challenges of this personal learning?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Dan’s Fave Book: The Stranger by Albert Camus

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Dan on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Leesa is the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Leesa have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is ordered completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10-inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com to start the New Year with better nights sleep!

Zoom, fastest growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an array of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one easy platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. Don’t take our word for it. Zoom is the top rated conferencing app across various user review sites including G2Crowd and Trust Radius. And you can sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

20VC: Finding VC Partners That Look Beyond The Numbers, The Black Box of VC Secrets That Needs To Be Shared & The 1,000 Reasons A VC Won't Invest In You When It Has Nothing To Do With You with Leah Busque, General Partner @ Fuel Capital

Mar 19, 2018 35:43

Description:

Leah Busque is a General Partner @ Fuel Capital, one of Silicon Valley's leading seed funds with the most incredible portfolio including many previous 20VC guests Ryan @ Flexport, Florian @ Mesosphere, Alex @ Clearbit and Dan @ Convoy (episode Friday). As for Leah, prior to VC, she was a pioneer of the sharing economy with her founding of TaskRabbit, one of the leading online labor marketplaces in the US, raising over $37m in the process before their sale to IKEA last year. Due to this incredible success, Leah has been named to Fast Company's "100 Most Creative People in Business".

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Leah made her way from sitting on the couch discussing dog food with her husband to founding TaskRabbit and how that translated into the world of VC today?

2.) How did Leah's time in operations affect:

Question from Sean @ Shasta: the founders Leah backs and why she chooses them? Question from Craig @ Collaborative: the business models and unit economics Leah backs and why she backs them?

3.) Leah has said before that "authenticity and transparency between VC and founder are now table stakes", what more can be done to improve the VC product? How did Leah select the investors she worked with on TaskRabbit? How can founders truly determine "founder friendly" VCs?

4.) What have been Leah's biggest surprises on her move into the world of VC? What elements has Leah found most challenging? How has Leah looked to scale that learning curve?

5.) What does a successful marketplace look like? How does one know when is the right time to really scale a marketplace? What is the inflection point? How can marketplaces be efficient with their unit economics from day 1? How does one balance the NPS of the supply side with the NPS of the demand side?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Leah’s Fave Book: Founders at Work 

Leah’s Most Recent Investment: Bark: Parental Control Phone Tracker App

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Leah on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Leesa is the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Leesa have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is ordered completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10-inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com to start the New Year with better nights sleep!

Zoom, fastest growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an array of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one easy platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. Don’t take our word for it. Zoom is the top rated conferencing app across various user review sites including G2Crowd and Trust Radius. And you can sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

20VC: Why Virtually All Companies Hire The Wrong Way, Why EdTech Is The Most Brutal Market & How To Scale Your Sales Team for Engineering Founders with Mike Sliagadze, Founder & CEO @ Top Hat

Mar 16, 2018 26:38

Description:

Mike Silagadze is the Founder & CEO @ Top Hat, the market leader in student engagement software, and is used by millions of students at three-quarters of the top 1,000 colleges and universities in North America. To date, they have raised over $47m in VC funding from many friends and former guests on the show including Albert Wenger @ USV, Boris Wertz @ Version One, Uncork Capital, Felicis and Emergence just to name a few. As for Mike, prior to TopHat, he was a developer at MioVision Technologies.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Mike made his way into the world of startups and came to realise the current method of learning was so broken?

2.) Why does Mike believe that investors have an automatic dislike to edtech? Why does he believe it is the most difficult to market to enter? Why is go to market one of the biggest challenges? How can on innovate on this antiquated go-to-market to enable the rapid scaling required? How did TopHat achieve this?

3.) Why does Mike believe that most companies hire in fundamentally the wrong way? How does Mike balance the complex elements of raw IQ over culture when hiring? If there was one predictive factor Mike uses to hire, what is it? What is the framework and methodology Mike has constructed to ensure the best hires?

4.) What were the biggest mistakes Mike made in scaling out the sales team? Why does Mike think he made them? If he were to advise a younger self, what would be the biggest advice and tips with regards to scaling the sales team, from an engineer's mindset?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Mike’s Fave Book: Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Mike on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Snapchat here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Leesa is the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Leesa have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is ordered completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10-inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com to start the New Year with better nights sleep!

Zoom, fastest growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an array of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one easy platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. Don’t take our word for it. Zoom is the top rated conferencing app across various user review sites including G2Crowd and Trust Radius. And you can sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

20VC: Lightspeed's Alex Taussig on VC Risk Mentality, The Current State of Retail & The Mechanics of Cash Flow

Mar 12, 2018 34:47

Description:

Alex Taussig is a Partner @ Lightspeed Venture Partners, one of the leading firms of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Snapchat, Mulesoft, Max Levchin’s Affirm, The Honest Company and many more incredible companies. As for Alex, at Lightspeed, he has made investments in Zola, Daily Harvest, Vector & Poncho. Before moving to the West Coast, Alex spent 7 years at Highland Capital Partners, where, as a Partner, he made investments in thredUp, JauntVR and RentJuice (acq by Zillow) and was involved in several IPOs. Alex is also the writer of a fantastic newsletter: Drinking From The Firehose.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Alex was inspired by being at Harvard at the time of Facebook to make the move into tech and how that landed a role in VC with Highland Capital Partners?

2.) Why is Alex optimistic about the current state of the retail environment, despite media skepticism? What are the value propositions that physical retail provides online retailers (Warby Parker, Real Real etc)? How does Alex believe we will see the re-platforming of retail in the future?

3.) In today's incumbent world, how can consumer apps demonstrate breakout growth? What does Alex mean when he discusses the importance of product channel fit? Once found, should fuel be poured on the fire to exploit the fit? What would suggest sustainable vs non-sustainable product channel fit to Alex? Who has done this particularly well?

4.) Why does Alex believe that Amazon's cash flow is one of the main reasons for it's success? What is the key working capital metric? How does this unpack into 3 core elements? What is "negative working capital"? What are the core benefits of this? How can startups use these mechanics to use cash flow as their prime advantage?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Alex’s Fave Book: The Divine Comedy

Alex’s Most Recent Investment: The Daily Harvest

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Alex on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Snapchat here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Leesa is the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Leesa have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is ordered completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10-inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com to start the New Year with better nights sleep!

Zoom, fastest growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an array of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one easy platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. Don’t take our word for it. Zoom is the top rated conferencing app across various user review sites including G2Crowd and Trust Radius. And you can sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

   

20VC: 2 Levers To Fundraising: FOMO & Leverage and How To Use Them, How To Implement "A Sustainable Growth Mindset" & How To Put VCs To Work For You with Leore Avidar @ Lob

Mar 9, 2018 29:41

Description:

Leore Avidar is the Founder & CEO @ Lob, the startup that provides a powerful suite of API's to deliver robust automation and scale for anything with a stamp. To date, Lob has raised close to $30m in funding from some of the greats of the investing world including Floodgate, Initialized, First Round and most recently YC's Continuity Fund. As for Leore, prior to Lob he spent time in the technical business development team at Amazon Web Services and before that was a derivatives trader on Wall St with Citigroup.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Leore made the move from the world of trading on Wall St to founding one the game-changing companies in the world of API's, Lob?

2.) What does Leore believe are the 2 levers that founders must use when fundraising? How can founders create a sense of VC FOMO when raising their round? How can founders enter a round with leverage? What does always having the upper hand in fundraising look like?

3.) How does Leore define "sustainable growth"? Why does Leore believe that most fast-growing companies do go bankrupt? What is Leore's biggest fear with regards to "sustainable growth"? How does Leore advise founders to think about macro funding conditions when operating their company and thinking about expenditure?

4.) How has Leore seen his role as CEO change with the scaling of the company? Why does Leore believe the main job of the CEO is to hire and replace yourself? What have been the biggest challenges for Leore in the scaling of himself?

5.) Leore wants to create a company where people stay for 30+ years, what are the foundations to a workplace culture with such deep routes? What must be done from management to ensure this? How does Leore approach accountability and responsibility amongst the team?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Leore’s Fave Book: Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Leore on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Snapchat here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Leesa is the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Leesa have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is ordered completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10-inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com to start the New Year with better nights sleep!

Zoom, fastest growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an array of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one easy platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. Don’t take our word for it. Zoom is the top rated conferencing app across various user review sites including G2Crowd and Trust Radius. And you can sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

20VC: Why, How and When To Think About Growth Teams, The Right Way To Think About Network Effects & Scaling from Phase 1 To Phase 2 of Startup Life with Anu Hariharan, Partner @ YC Continuity Fund

Mar 5, 2018 33:09

Description:

Anu Hariharan is a Partner @ Y Combinator's Continuity Fund, the growth stage investing arm of Y Combinator that has made investments in the likes of Segment, Lob (coming on Friday), Convoy, where Anu is a board member and RazorPay. Prior to YC, Anu was an investment partner at Andreessen Horowitz, where she worked actively with the management teams of portfolio companies including Airbnb, Instacart, Medium, OfferUp and Udacity. Before that Anu was a Principal at The Boston Consulting Group's Private Equity practice where she led multiple growth equity due diligences in the consumer and fintech sector.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Anu made her way from engineer to consultant to Andreesen investment partner to now, one of the leading members of YC's growth stage investing vehicle?

2.) How does Anu truly define "network effect"? Where does Anu think startups most commonly misunderstand network effects? Which form of network effect does Anu find most exciting? Why? How has this evolved over the years?

3.) What are the 2 core indicators that show the sustainability of network effect? Looking at past examples of products and founders, who has best executed on this? What are the signs that founding teams fundamentally analyze and optimize network effect virality?

4.) Why does Anu believe that growth teams will be a fundamental requirement for companies in the future? What are the 2 mistakes startups make when establishing their growth team? How does one know when is the right time to build their growth team? What are the core challenges in scaling growth teams? How does this drive decision-making?

5.) How does Anu describe "Phase 1" and "Phase 2" of company scaling? What transition must the CEo adopt when making this scaling transition? Comparing founders, what are the commonalities in those that succeed with the transition and those that do not?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Anu’s Fave Book: Grit by Angela Duckworth

Anu’s Most Recent Investment: Convoy

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Anu on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Snapchat here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Leesa is the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Leesa have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is ordered completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10-inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com to start the New Year with better nights sleep!

Zoom, fastest growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an array of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one easy platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. Don’t take our word for it. Zoom is the top rated conferencing app across various user review sites including G2Crowd and Trust Radius. And you can sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

20VC: The Right Way For Founders To Think About Capital Efficiency, How To Create A Culture of Continuous Learning & The Secret To Talent Assessment and Optimisation with Mariam Naficy, Founder & CEO @ Minted

Mar 2, 2018 26:48

Description:

Mariam Naficy has pioneered consumer Internet models since 1998, when she co-founded the first online cosmetics retailer, Eve.com, which was sold for over $100 million. Today, Mariam is the Founder & CEO @ Minted, the startup that uses crowdsourcing and analytics to bring the best designs to market faster than anyone. To date, Mariam has raised &89m in VC funding with Minted from some of the best in the business including our favourites Floodgate, Benchmark, Menlo, Slow, Ridge Ventures and then prominent individuals such as Marissa Meyer and Jeremy Stoppelman. In addition, Mariam sits on the Board of Yelp and Every Mother Counts.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Mariam made her way into startups from investment banking and came to sell her first startup, Eve, for $100m in cash within a year before founding Minted?

2.) What were the biggest lessons Mariam learnt from Eve and applied to Minted? Why did Mariam not want to pursue VC funding in the beginning with Minted? What was the inflection point in not taking VC to taking VC funds?

3.) How did Mariam think about capital efficiency in the early days of Minted? How did Mariam see that change with the sudden injection of VC capital? In the heavily funded landscape today, would Mariam have raised VC money from the start, if starting today?

4.) Mariam is a master of internal upscaling, what is the secret to creating a culture of internal continuous learning? Why is rotation within the company roles such a core element? How has Mariam's assessment of people talent changed over the years?

5.) What would Mariam say is her greatest strength and he greatest weakness as a CEO? How has she seen this change with her 20 years of founding companies? How did having children change her outlook on managing people?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Mariam’s Fave Book: The Effective Executive

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Mariam on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Snapchat here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Cooley are the global law firm built around startups and venture capital.  Since forming the first venture fund in Silicon Valley, Cooley has formed more venture capital funds than any other law firm in the world, with 50+ years working with VCs. They help VCs form and manage funds, make investments and handle the myriad issues that arise through a fund’s lifetime. So to learn more about the #1 most active law firm representing VC-backed companies going public. Head over to cooley.com and also at cooleygo.com.

Zoom, fastest growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an array of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one easy platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. Don’t take our word for it. Zoom is the top rated conferencing app across various user review sites including G2Crowd and Trust Radius. And you can sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

20VC: Why The Current Crop Of VC Does Not Understand Design, Why Product Market Fit Is A Liquid Not A Solid & How Graduates Can Optimise Their Career for Personal Development with Steve Vassallo, General Partner @ Foundation Capital

Feb 26, 2018 29:42

Description:

Steve Vassallo is a General Partner @ Foundation Capital where he sits or has sat on the boards of Pocket (acquired by Mozilla), PrivateCore (acquired by Facebook), Sunrun [RUN], Sentient Energy and many more. Prior to Foundation, Steve was Senior Vice President of Product and Engineering @ Ning, the social platform he helped launch in 2004. Before that, Steve was a project leader at IDEO, where he developed more than a dozen successful products for companies including Cisco, Nike, BMW and McDonalds. In addition, this year, Steve published The Way to Design, a guidebook for becoming a designer founder and building a design-centric company.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Steve made his way into the world of VC with Foundation from the land of product management?

2.) Why does Steve believe we have seen design move from a styling exercise to the main stage and a foundation of product? How does Steve feel the current crop of VC's analyse and appreciate design? What are they getting wrong? What can be done to engender a new sense of appreciation for good design?

3.) What advice would Steve give to a young person entering the workforce considering founding a startup, joining one or joining an incumbent? Where do they make their biggest mistakes? What is the optimal choice for learning and personal growth?

4.) Why does Steve have a problem with the term "product-market fit"? Where do people misunderstand about PMF? What is one looking to achieve with product market fit? How does Joe Gebbia @ Airbnb best present this idea?

5.)Steve has worked with dozens of 1st time founders over the last decade, what are the commonalities in the mistakes they make? What advice does Steve hear most commonly given that he disagrees with?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Steve’s Fave Book: Poor Charlie's Almanack

Steve’s Most Recent Investment: forusall

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Steve on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Snapchat here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Cooley are the global law firm built around startups and venture capital.  Since forming the first venture fund in Silicon Valley, Cooley has formed more venture capital funds than any other law firm in the world, with 50+ years working with VCs. They help VCs form and manage funds, make investments and handle the myriad issues that arise through a fund’s lifetime. So to learn more about the #1 most active law firm representing VC-backed companies going public. Head over to cooley.com and also at cooleygo.com.

Zoom, fastest growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an array of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one easy platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. Don’t take our word for it. Zoom is the top rated conferencing app across various user review sites including G2Crowd and Trust Radius. And you can sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

   

20VC: The Fundamentals Of Optimising The Fundraising Process, SAFE's vs Priced Equity Rounds & Why Hiring Is Really A Big Data Problem with Chris Hutchins, Founder @ Grove & Former Partner @ Google Ventures

Feb 23, 2018 26:02

Description:

Chris Hutchins is the Founder & CEO @ Grove, the startup reinventing financial planning allowing you to reach your goals with personalized financial advice. Just last week they announced their seed round from some of the best in the business including First Round Capital, Lowercase Capital, Box Group and SV Angel. Prior to Grove, Chris was an Partner & EiR with Google Ventures and before that co-founded Milk (acq by Google) alongside Kevin Rose.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Chris made the move from Google acquired Founder to Partner @ Google Ventures to now, founding First Round backed, Grove?

2.) What does Chris believe are the foundational elements founders must consider pre-fundraise? How does Chris suggest founders structure the process? How important is a fundraise deadline? How does Chris advise founders on getting warm intros, what is best?

3.) How can founders really optimise VC interactions? What is the biggest mistake founders make when meeting VCs? What should founders be looking to take from these meetings? How transparent should founders be about their meetings with other investors?

4.) What are Chris' view on the rise of SAFE's vs priced equity rounds? In what situations do SAFE's make sense? How did Chris think about this with his own fundraise recently? Does Chris believe there is too much money in the ecosystem? Where are there gaps and where is there overfunding?

5.) Why does Chris think hiring is a "big data problem"? Where do many founders make mistakes in recruiting in the early days? What hacks can be done to ensure a quality stream of candidates continuously?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Chris' Fave Book: Happy Money

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Chris on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Snapchat here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Cooley are the global law firm built around startups and venture capital.  Since forming the first venture fund in Silicon Valley, Cooley has formed more venture capital funds than any other law firm in the world, with 50+ years working with VCs. They help VCs form and manage funds, make investments and handle the myriad issues that arise through a fund’s lifetime. So to learn more about the #1 most active law firm representing VC-backed companies going public. Head over to cooley.com and also at cooleygo.com.

Zoom, fastest growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an array of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one easy platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. Don’t take our word for it. Zoom is the top rated conferencing app across various user review sites including G2Crowd and Trust Radius. And you can sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

20VC: Lightspeed's Jeremy Liew on Being The First Investor in Snapchat, Why The Pessimism Around Consumer Is Wrong & Why Silicon Valley Is An Isolated Bubble and What Can Be Done To Change This

Feb 19, 2018 22:25

Description:

Jeremy Liew is a Partner @ Lightspeed Venture Partners, one of the leading firms of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Snapchat, Mulesoft, Max Levchin's Affirm, The Honest Company and many more incredible companies. As for Jeremy, he is best known for being the 1st investor in Snapchat and has also led investments in StitchFix, Affirm, Ripple, Giphy and Bonobos just to name a few. Previously, Jeremy was with AOL, first as SVP of corporate development and chief of staff to the CEO, and then as general manager of Netscape. Due to his incredible investing success, Jeremy has been featured on the Forbes Midas List multiple times.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jeremy made his way from AOL and Netscape to one of the most successful consumer investors of the last decade?

2.) How did the Snapchat deal come about? What did Jeremy see in the early Evan Spiegel that made him so excited? How has Jeremy seen him alter and grow with the company? What did the economics of the deal look like?

3.)Why does Jeremy disagree with much of the pessimism over consumer? How does Jeremy think about the lack of distribution channel availability with Google, Amazon, Apple owning them? How can this also present an opportunity in consumer?

4.) How does Jeremy think about price and price sensitivity? Would he agree with Peter Fenton on, "never turn down a deal based on valuation, it's a mental trap"? How does Lightspeed think about reserve utilization? What does the conviction building process look like for reserve deployment?

5.) Jeremy has sat on the boards of Snapchat, Giphy, Bonobos and had 1,500 hours of board experience, so what makes the truly special board members? Who does Jeremy most like to work with on boards?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Jeremy’s Fave Book: World War Z

Jeremy's Fave Blog: The Information

Jeremy’s Most Recent Investment: Rothy's

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Jeremy on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Snapchat here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Cooley are the global law firm built around startups and venture capital.  Since forming the first venture fund in Silicon Valley, Cooley has formed more venture capital funds than any other law firm in the world, with 50+ years working with VCs. They help VCs form and manage funds, make investments and handle the myriad issues that arise through a fund’s lifetime. So to learn more about the #1 most active law firm representing VC-backed companies going public. Head over to cooley.com and also at cooleygo.com.

Zoom, fastest growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an array of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one easy platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. Don’t take our word for it. Zoom is the top rated conferencing app across various user review sites including G2Crowd and Trust Radius. And you can sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

20VC: How To Think About Founder-Category Fit, Why The Biggest Opportunities Are In Category Re-Architecture & What Can Be Done To Increase The Amount of Women In VC with Nadia Boujarwah, Founder & CEO @ Dia & Co

Feb 16, 2018 25:12

Description:

Nadia Boujarwah is the Founder & CEO @ Dia & Co, the startup that provides premier plus size clothing and styling for women. To date they have raised over $20m in funding from some of the best in the business including the likes of Alfred Lin @ Sequoia and the team @ NextView Ventures. Prior to Dia&Co Nadia was the CFO and COO @ Frieda and Nellie and also enjoyed time in the marketing and strategy team @ Diane von Furstenberg.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Nadia made her way from HBS grad to founding one of the hottest e-commerce companies of the day backed by Sequoia, Dia&Co?

2.) Why does Nadia believe that the biggest opportunity for value creation is through category creation? What does Nadia mean when she discusses category re-architecture? How does she think of the inherent cons (CAC, consumer education, distribution etc.)

3.) Despite the likes of Sequoia being invested now, the first year of Dia gained no institutional money. Why does Nadia think this is? What was the inflection point for VC interest? Is there anything that Nadia would change about how she has run the fundraising process?

4.) What does Nadia suggest as some core solutions to ensuring that more females become VCs? How does Nadia believe this will impact the types of companies that are being funded and built? What remain the core issues today?

5.) How does Nadia differentiate between customer centricity and customer devotion? Why is this so crucial in today's proliferated world of e-commerce? How does Nadi and Dia determine with data, the extent to which they achieve their customer devotion targets?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Nadia's Fave Book: Competing Against Luck

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Nadia on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Snapchat here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Cooley are the global law firm built around startups and venture capital.  Since forming the first venture fund in Silicon Valley, Cooley has formed more venture capital funds than any other law firm in the world, with 50+ years working with VCs. They help VCs form and manage funds, make investments and handle the myriad issues that arise through a fund’s lifetime. So to learn more about the #1 most active law firm representing VC-backed companies going public. Head over to cooley.com and also at cooleygo.com.

Zoom, fastest growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an array of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one easy platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. Don’t take our word for it. Zoom is the top rated conferencing app across various user review sites including G2Crowd and Trust Radius. And you can sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

20VC: Dick Costolo on The Balance of Vision and Realism in Startups, The Biggest Challenge in Scaling Twitter & How To Optimise Decision Making Internally

Feb 12, 2018 23:37

Description:

Dick Costolo is the Chief Executive and co-founder of Chorus, a startup that is reimagining the path to personal fitness. Dick is also a Mentor @ Index Ventures, one of the world's leading venture funds, which he joined in 2016. Costolo was most recently Chief Executive of Twitter from 2010 to 2015, where was at the forefront for their hypergrowth onto the main stage of tech. Prior to joining Twitter, Dick co-founded and ran three startups, including FeedBurner, which sold to Google in 2007. The former improv comedian has been a consultant on HBO’s “Silicon Valley” and currently sits on the boards of Patreon and IfOnly.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Dick made his way from Improv Comedian to founding a startup acquired by Google and then becoming CEO of Twitter?

2.) Why does Dick believe that starting a company is like an improv stage? What were Dick's biggest personal learnings from his drama career that he has applied to being a better leader today?

3.) Having given up the comedy dream for tech, how does Dick balance the entrepreneurial unwavering vision with a realism of when things are not working? What is the inflection point?

4.) What was the biggest challenge over the 5 years in scaling Twitter? What strategies did Dick utilise to combat this? How does Dick think about creating a culture of accountability without fear? How does this change the ownership of decisions?

5.) What is Dick's biggest superpower and super weakness? Why must all entrepreneurs have to have a fundamental ability to compartmentalize? In terms of temperament, what were Dick's biggest lessons from watching Youtube CEO, Susan Wojcicki, operate?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Dick’s Fave Book: Creativity Inc.

As always you can follow Harry, The Twenty Minute VC and Dick on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Snapchat here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Cooley are the global law firm built around startups and venture capital.  Since forming the first venture fund in Silicon Valley, Cooley has formed more venture capital funds than any other law firm in the world, with 50+ years working with VCs. They help VCs form and manage funds, make investments and handle the myriad issues that arise through a fund’s lifetime. So to learn more about the #1 most active law firm representing VC-backed companies going public. Head over to cooley.com and also at cooleygo.com.

Zoom, fastest growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an array of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one easy platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. Don’t take our word for it. Zoom is the top rated conferencing app across various user review sites including G2Crowd and Trust Radius. And you can sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

20VC: Why Vulnerability Is A Strength In VC, 3 Core Components That Make The Most Successful VCs & How VCs and Entrepreneurs Can Build Meaningful Relationships Pre-Investment with Brian Garrett, Founding Partner @ Crosscut Ventures

Feb 5, 2018 25:40

Description:

Brian Garrett is the Founding Partner @ Crosscut Ventures, one of LA's leading venture funds today with a portfolio including Super Evil Mega Corp, The Black Tux and Mobcrush just to name a few. Incredibly during the early days of Crosscut, Brian went back into a full-time operating role with a Public-company turnaround at Quepasa.com before co-founding vertical eCommerce brand StyleSaint.com. After surviving with the equivalent of two full-time jobs for roughly 6 years, Brian the attention of institutional capital, which enabled CrossCut to scale into a fund with $75M raised for CrossCut 3 in 2015. This has snowballed to their latest fund raised in December being $125m.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Brian made his way into the world of VC and came to found one of LA's leading funds in the form of Crosscut?

2.) What does Brian believe are the 3 core components that make for a successful VC? How important is the presence of humility for VCs today? How does Brian look to balance between arrogance and confidence? How is this shown in the entrepreneurial class?

3.) Why does Brian believe that vulnerability is actually a strength today? How can entrepreneurs be honest and vulnerable without ruining market perceptions and future fundraising aspirations?

4.) How does Brian look to place his relationship with the entrepreneur at the very core of every investment he makes? What does this relationship onboarding process look like? Is this possible in the fast-moving world of US deals today?

5.) What was the most challenging fundraise for Brian? Why was this case? How has he seen the evolution of Californian tech over the last few years since Fund III? What was the most memorable LP meeting for Brian?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Brian's Fave Book: The Alchemist

Brian’s Most Recent Investment: Fuzzy Pet Health

As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Snapchat here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Cooley are the global law firm built around startups and venture capital.  Since forming the first venture fund in Silicon Valley, Cooley has formed more venture capital funds than any other law firm in the world, with 50+ years working with VCs. They help VCs form and manage funds, make investments and handle the myriad issues that arise through a fund’s lifetime. So to learn more about the #1 most active law firm representing VC-backed companies going public. Head over to cooley.com and also at cooleygo.com.

Zoom, fastest growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an array of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one easy platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. Don’t take our word for it. Zoom is the top rated conferencing app across various user review sites including G2Crowd and Trust Radius. And you can sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

20VC: The Biggest Growth Opportunities for Young People in Tech Today, Why Distributed Workforces Are The Secret To Beating Incumbents & Why It Has Never Been Easier To Operate A Company Than Today with Andy Pflaum, Founder & CEO @ Astro

Feb 2, 2018 28:37

Description:

Andy Pflaum is the Founder & CEO @ Astro, the startup that brings email, calendar, and an AI-powered assistant together to help you focus on what’s most important. They have raised over $10m from leading West Coast investors such as Satish @ Redpoint, former guests Kent Goldman @ Upside and Michael Dearing @ Harrison Metal. As for Andy, prior to founding Astro, he spent 15 years in the valley, serving as the CMO @ Zimbra where he saw their immense scaling to their $350m acquisition by VMware where he then spent time on the other side of the table before moving to Chile to manage a family winery for 1.5 years.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Andy made his way into the world of startups, made the transition to large corporates with VMware and Yahoo, came to run a Winery in Chile before founding Astro?

2.) Found a startup, work in early-stage startup or work at large incumbent; where does Andy believe young people today have the biggest growth opportunities? How does this mean emerging startups have to react to attain that talent?

3.) Why does Andy disagree with the notion that more and more incumbents are falling? Why is it harder than ever to compete against such a strong set of incumbents? What are the dangers of dependency on paid growth?

4.) How does Andy feel about distributed workforces? What is core to attaining the individuals and then scaling them successfully as a team, in a distributed fashion? How does Andy feel about hiring technical talent in the bay today?

5.) Why does Andy also argue, despite the incumbents, that it is also easier than ever to operate a business today What are the core changes that have allowed for this to happen? How does Andy break down the tech stack they use for Astro?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Andy’s Fave Book: The Wright Brothers

Andy’s Fave Blog: Tom TunguzMichael Dearing: Harrison Metal

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Andy on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Snapchat here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

NatureBox Unlimited snack plans offer all you can eat snacks for one fixed price per employee. Naturebox use simple ingredients you can trust to create bold flavors you can’t find anywhere else. All NatureBox snacks are free from artificial junk and variety is endless with options from sweet or savory to vegan or gluten-free. Simply choose the plan that fits your team’s unique snacking habits and select any of NatureBox’s time-saving add-on’s. And beyond Unlimited snacks, you’ll receive perks such as free kitchen setup, no contracts, a dedicated account manager and more. Simply click here to and use the offer code VC20 to get 20% of your first Naturebox month.

Leesa is the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Leesa have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is ordered completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10-inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com to start the New Year with better nights sleep!

20VC: Investing Lessons From Fred Wilson and Brad Burnham @ USV, How CEO's Can Operationally Utilise Their Board & The Single Most Important Quality of A CEO with Andrew Parker, General Partner @ Spark Capital

Jan 29, 2018 24:06

Description:

Andrew Parker is a General Partner @ Spark Capital, one of the best performing funds of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Twitter, Slack, Oculus, Medium, PostMates, Cruise (acq $1Bn) the list goes on. As for Andrew, he has led Spark’s investments in CartaKik, PanoramaEducationSocraticSplashParticle and Quantopian. Prior to joining Spark in 2010, Andrew was a member of the investment team at Union Square Ventures. Before becoming an investor, Andrew did UI design and user-experience testing at Homestead Technologies and was a web developer at Groupspace.org.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Andrew made his way from UI design and user-experience testing to joining the investment team @ USV and then joining Spark?

2.) Andrew credits USV with 2 big takeaways that influence how he invests today, what are they? What were his big lessons from working alongside Fred Wilson and Brad Burnham? How did this experience change and improve his thinking of developing and investing in a thesis??

3.) Question from Henry Ward @ eShares: What is the most important quality in a CEO? How does Andrew balance between founder naivety and realism? What are the signs that although a vision is present, a founder is also realistic?

4.) What is the most important quality in being a board member to a CEO? How has Henry @ eShares constructed his board to allow them to have maximum impact in the internal operations of the company? How does this further improve board meeting? What does Andrew view as his biggest strengths and weaknesses as a board member?

5.) How does Andrew think about pricing and how the importance of pricing changes along the investing spectrum from seed to later stage? What does an investor's response to price reveal about the proposition? How does Andrew analyze capital allocation on reserve financing? What does this decision-making process look like?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Andrew’s Fave Book: Snow Crash

Andrew’s Fave Blog: Money Stuff by Matt Levine

Andrew’s Most Recent Investment: Particle

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Andrew on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Snapchat here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

NatureBox Unlimited snack plans offer all you can eat snacks for one fixed price per employee. Naturebox use simple ingredients you can trust to create bold flavors you can’t find anywhere else. All NatureBox snacks are free from artificial junk and variety is endless with options from sweet or savory to vegan or gluten-free. Simply choose the plan that fits your team’s unique snacking habits and select any of NatureBox’s time-saving add-on’s. And beyond Unlimited snacks, you’ll receive perks such as free kitchen setup, no contracts, a dedicated account manager and more. Simply click here to and use the offer code VC20 to get 20% of your first Naturebox month.

Leesa is the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Leesa have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is ordered completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10-inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com to start the New Year with better nights sleep!

   

20VC: How To Analyse Platform Shifts Effectively, The Effects Of Not Having Free and Open Distribution & The Right Way To Think About Board Composition with Neil Young, Founder & CEO @ N3twork

Jan 26, 2018 31:01

Description:

Neil Young is the Founder & CEO @ N3twork, the next generation mobile games maker and publisher with their services already touching millions of customers. They have raised over $17m in VC funding from some of the very best in the business including Mike Maples @ Floodgate, Bing Gordon @ KPCB and the team at Google Ventures. Prior to N3TWORK, Neil founded ngmoco, a leading social mobile games company, acquired by DeNA for a reported up to $400m. Before ngmoco, Neil spent many years at Electronic Arts where he was responsible for producing some of EA's most successful game franchises including: The Lord of the Rings, The Sims, Medal of Honor and Command and Conquer, among others.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Neil made his way from telling his mother in the UK he was not going to university to producing world-leading games, to selling a company for a reported $400m?

2.) What are the 2 questions Neil believes everyone should ask when evaluating the potential of a new platform? How does Neil think about the platform shifts at present given his publishing to mobile? Where do most people make mistakes when assessing platform shifts?

3.) Peter Fenton stated on the show: "startups are starved of free and open distribution". How does Neil think about incumbency advantages with regards to distribution? Would an open platform yield greater potential distribution? How does Neil view the world of paid and performance marketing today? How has his views changed on the space?

4.) What are the 3 things that Neil believes all founders must do in order to assemble and manage a board successfully? Why is it important to listen to board members on their own and as a group and compare? Where do most founders go wrong in board management?

5.) Neil sold ngmoco for a reported $400m, what does Neil believe are the 2 big questions that all founders must ask themselves when contemplating a potential sale? What are the 2 different types of acquisitions that exist today?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Neil’s Fave Book: The Second World War

Neil’s Fave Blog: Gaming Insiders

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Neil on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Snapchat here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

NatureBox Unlimited snack plans offer all you can eat snacks for one fixed price per employee. Naturebox use simple ingredients you can trust to create bold flavors you can’t find anywhere else. All NatureBox snacks are free from artificial junk and variety is endless with options from sweet or savory to vegan or gluten-free. Simply choose the plan that fits your team’s unique snacking habits and select any of NatureBox’s time-saving add-on’s. And beyond Unlimited snacks, you’ll receive perks such as free kitchen setup, no contracts, a dedicated account manager and more. Simply click here to and use the offer code VC20 to get 20% of your first Naturebox month.

Leesa is the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Leesa have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is ordered completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10-inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com to start the New Year with better nights sleep!

20VC: Why Brands Can Have The Same Revenue Multiples As Enterprise Companies & The Right Way To Think About Amazon In Today's World of Commerce with Eurie Kim, General Partner @ Forerunner Ventures

Jan 22, 2018 30:05

Description:

Eurie Kim is a General Partner @ Forerunner Ventures, the early stage firm dedicated to investing in entrepreneurs defining the next generation of commerce. Fun fact, they are the only firm to have investments in both Jet.com and Dollar Shave Club, two of the biggest and highest-profile e-commerce exits in recent years. Forerunner also counts Birchbox, Bonobos, Glossier, Hotel Tonight, Warby Parker and Zola among its portfolio companies. Prior to Forerunner, Eurie was a consultant at Bain and before that an investor at Castanea Partners. Eurie currently sits on the boards of companies such as Away, MoveWith and The Farmers Dog, just to name a few.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Eurie made her into the world of VC and investing in the next generation of commerce with Forerunner?

2.) How does Eurie look to argue that commerce deals do attain the same revenue multiple on exit as enterprise deals? Do Forerunner think about exit potential when investing in companies? How does this Eurie's thesis on both ownership and price sensitivity? What are the required fund-returning ownership levels today?

3.) With the time it takes for brands to flourish, how does Forerunner think about reserve allocation? How does Forerunner determine which companies to double down on and which to constrain capital? Why does Eurie believe that it takes less time than ever for brands to flourish today? What is a good example of this?

4.) How does Eurie define the term "digitally native vertically integrated brand"? What are the core components that make those all star brands of today shine in the early days? What are the commonalities in those successful founders that build these mega brands?

5.) Given the rise of some prominent new brands eating incumbent market share, does Eurie believe this is a market of consolidation or new incumbents will be made? How does Eurie view the role of Amazon? To what extent does Eurie observe and analyse Amazon's activity?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Eurie’s Fave Book: Blue Ocean Strategy 

Eurie's Fave Blog: Business of Fashion

Eurie’s Most Recent Investment: Shop Shops

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Eurie on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Snapchat here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

NatureBox Unlimited snack plans offer all you can eat snacks for one fixed price per employee. Naturebox use simple ingredients you can trust to create bold flavors you can’t find anywhere else. All NatureBox snacks are free from artificial junk and variety is endless with options from sweet or savory to vegan or gluten-free. Simply choose the plan that fits your team’s unique snacking habits and select any of NatureBox’s time-saving add-on’s. And beyond Unlimited snacks, you’ll receive perks such as free kitchen setup, no contracts, a dedicated account manager and more. Simply click here to and use the offer code VC20 to get 20% of your first Naturebox month.

Leesa is the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Leesa have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is ordered completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10-inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com to start the New Year with better nights sleep!

20VC: Why You Should Not Always Listen To Your Investors, The Pros and Cons of Strategic Investors & How To Approach Operational Efficiency with Scaling with Florian Leibert, Founder & CEO @ Mesosphere

Jan 19, 2018 22:52

Description:

Florian Leibert is the Founder & CEO @ Mesosphere, the most flexible platform for containerized, data-intensive applications. They are trusted by some of the world's leading companies from Yelp to Yammer to Verizon and have raised over $120m in VC funding from the likes of a16z, Kleiner Perkins, Khosla, Data Collective and then incumbents such as Microsoft and Hewlett Packard. Prior to founding Mesosphere, Florian spent time with Twitter and Airbnb, both as a tech lead and if that was not enough, Florian also has a stellar angel portfolio including the likes of Away, Cockroach Labs, Drift and Buoyant.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Florian came to found Mesosphere? What were the big takeaways for him from his more formative years at Twitter and Airbnb?

2.) Why does Florian believe that sometimes "you should not listen to your investors"? What is the right way to communicate this disagreement to them? What supporting evidence is required to substantiate your thoughts? What method would Florian prefer to receive such feedback?

3.) What are the biggest benefits of having strategics such as Microsoft and Hewlett Packard on the cap table? What are some potential drawbacks? What advice would Florian give to founders contemplating taking strategic investment? When is the right time for these staretgics to insert themselves?

4.) With the scaling of Mesosphere, how have Florian's thoughts and approach to sales execution changed? What have been the core struggles? Why does Florian think it is imperative to build the sales team slowly?

5.) At what point does Florian think that operational efficiency must be front and centre for founders scaling their companies? What has Florian found to be the most challenging personally in achieving such operational efficiency?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Florian’s Fave Book: Alchemist: A Fable about Following Your Dream

Florian's Fave Blog: Seeking Alpha

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Florian on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Snapchat here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

NatureBox Unlimited snack plans offer all you can eat snacks for one fixed price per employee. Naturebox use simple ingredients you can trust to create bold flavors you can’t find anywhere else. All NatureBox snacks are free from artificial junk and variety is endless with options from sweet or savory to vegan or gluten-free. Simply choose the plan that fits your team’s unique snacking habits and select any of NatureBox’s time-saving add-on’s. And beyond Unlimited snacks, you’ll receive perks such as free kitchen setup, no contracts, a dedicated account manager and more. Simply click here to and use the offer code VC20 to get 20% of your first Naturebox month.

Leesa is the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Leesa have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is ordered completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10-inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com to start the New Year with better nights sleep!

20VC: Sam Altman, Y Combinator President on What Makes Truly Great Leaders, Why We Will See A Compression of Seed Funding & The Future Scaling of YC

Jan 17, 2018 25:30

Description:

Sam Altman is the president of Y Combinator, the world’s most successful accelerator with alumni that includes the likes of Airbnb, Dropbox, Reddit, Flexport and many more incredible companies. Sam is also the co-chair of OpenAI, thenon-profit AI research company, discovering and enacting the path to safe artificial general intelligence. Prior to YC, Sam was co-founder and CEO of Loopt, which was funded by Y Combinator in 2005 and acquired by Green Dot in 2012. Sam also founded Hydrazine Capital, whose stellar portfolio included the likes of Zenefits, Flexport and Soylent.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Sam made his way into the world of startups with Loopt and YC? How he came to invest with Hydrazine Capital and then rejoin YC as Partner and now President?

2.) Having watched and seen Paul Graham since Batch 1, what does Sam believe makes Paul Graham the special leader he is? What makes Sam and Paul such great Partners? How did they enact the transition of Sam to President? How did it change the relationship?

3.) What is Sam's tactic that he uses to fully evaluate the skills and execution of a founder? When investing where did Sam make his most frequent mistakes? Why does Sam expect seed stage investing as a whole, will compress? Is Sam concerned of too much capital in the market at present?

4.) Question from Jack Altman: what is the main difference between a great seed investor and a great Series A investor? Sam has said before he likes to invest in messy, somewhat broken companies". How does Sam determine between the fixable and the unfixable? How much of a role does price play in his evaluation of an opportunity?

5.) One of Sam's recent goals was "figure out how to scale YC 2x". How does Sam think about this in terms of stage? Will YC replace VC with lifecycle funding? How does Sam think about YC's expansion geographically into China? How does Sam assess the vertical expansion of deep tech and bio tech that YC is going after?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Sam’s Fave Book: The Making of The Atomic Bomb

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Sam on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Snapchat here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

NatureBox Unlimited snack plans offer all you can eat snacks for one fixed price per employee. Naturebox use simple ingredients you can trust to create bold flavors you can’t find anywhere else. All NatureBox snacks are free from artificial junk and variety is endless with options from sweet or savory to vegan or gluten-free. Simply choose the plan that fits your team’s unique snacking habits and select any of NatureBox’s time-saving add-on’s. And beyond Unlimited snacks, you’ll receive perks such as free kitchen setup, no contracts, a dedicated account manager and more. Simply click here to and use the offer code VC20 to get 20% of your first Naturebox month.

Leesa is the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Leesa have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is ordered completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10-inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com to start the New Year with better nights sleep!

20VC: LinkedIn's Head of Corp Dev on Why and When Startups Should Start Relationship Building With Corp Dev, What The Structure of M&A Traditionally Looks Like & How To Mitigate The Biggest Risk of M&A, Integration Risk

Jan 15, 2018 30:37

Description:

Emilie Choi is Head of Corporate Development @ Linkedin where she has led 40+ acquisitions, acquihires or investments. In terms of acquisitions, Emilie led the acquisitions of Lynda, Bizo, Newsle, Bright, Pulse, SlideShare, and Rapportive just to name a few. On the strategic investment side, she led Linkedin's investment in Cornerstone On Demand and G2 Crowd. Before Linkedin, Emilie enjoyed roles such as Director of Digital Business Strategy and Operations at Warner Bros, International Strategy and Ops @ MySpace and Corp Dev and Strategy @ Yahoo. Emilie has also sat on the Naspers board for the last 10 years.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Emilie made her way into the world of M&A and came to lead over 40+ game-changing acquisitions for Linkedin?

2.) In 2016, M&A made up 95% of startup exits, how does Emilie evaluate the current state of exit environments? What 2 reasons have caused the drop in startup M&A? How does Emilie view the rise of PE and strategic investors to the acquisition markets?

3.) Paul Graham said ‘startups should only talk to corp dev when they are doing really well or really badly’. What are Emilie's thoughts on when is the right time for startups to have conversations with Corp Dev teams? When does Emilie you most like to begin the relationship? How does Emilie like to work with VCs in this relationship building?

4.) Paul Graham also described the structure of M&A as "grueling". Does Emilie agree with this? How does Emilie map out the structure of a typical M&A deal, from start to finish? How much of a role does price play in her evaluation of a deal? How does Emilie measure the success of an acquisition?

5.) Matt Switzer @ Hootsuite stated the biggest M&A risk to be integration. What does smooth integrations look like for both consumer vs enterprise? Why do they differ? How can this integration work be de-risked and front loaded?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Emilie’s Fave Book: The Bonfire of the Vanities 

Emilie’s Most Recent Investment: Heighten

As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Snapchat here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

NatureBox Unlimited snack plans offer all you can eat snacks for one fixed price per employee. Naturebox use simple ingredients you can trust to create bold flavors you can’t find anywhere else. All NatureBox snacks are free from artificial junk and variety is endless with options from sweet or savory to vegan or gluten-free. Simply choose the plan that fits your team’s unique snacking habits and select any of NatureBox’s time-saving add-on’s. And beyond Unlimited snacks, you’ll receive perks such as free kitchen setup, no contracts, a dedicated account manager and more. Simply click here to and use the offer code VC20 to get 20% of your first Naturebox month.

Leesa is the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Leesa have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is ordered completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10-inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com to start the New Year with better nights sleep!

20VC: Why Risk Is Misunderstood In Entrepreneurship, Why Acquisitions Are Cheap For Incumbents Today & 3 Strategies To Improve Diversity In Your Team with Henry Davis, President & COO @ Glossier

Jan 12, 2018 35:58

Description:

Henry Davis is the President and COO @ Glossier, a New York brand that has taken the beauty world by storm. To date they have raised close to $35m in VC funding from some of the best in the business including past guests on the show Kirsten Green @ Forerunner, Index Ventures, IVP and our friends at Thrive. As for Henry, prior to entering the world of beauty and brands with Glossier, he sat on the other side of the table as a VC with Index Ventures in London. Before that, for his sins, Henry spent time in the world of corporate finance with Citi Group.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Henry made his way from rising star in London VC with Index to President of New York's hottest beauty brand, Glossier?

2.) From a personal security standpoint, was it tough to move from a more secure role in VC to startups? Why does Henry believe the nature of risk is forgotten in entrepreneurship? Why does Henry believe the best entrepreneurs risk mitigate?

3.)What does branded e-commerce really mean to Henry? Why does Henry believe that Amazon have already won multi-brand? What 3 dimensions does Henry present for how Amazon has changed a consumer's expectations of e-commerce? Have Amazon done more to make the market than destroy it?

4.) Why does Henry not believe that brands have as much brand loyalty as they think they do? With that in mind and many recent acquisitions, is this not a market of consolidation? Why are acquisitions cheap for incumbents today? How does this compare to the supply of capital available to startups, ultimately, altering their willingness?

5.) Henry has stated before that there are 3 strategies that can be done to improve diversity in the workforce, what are they? How must your hiring process be structured? How must your culture be structured? Where do most people go wrong in hiring diverse teams?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Henry’s Fave Book: Anna Karenina

Henry’s Fave Blog: Human Rights Watch 

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Henry on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Snapchat here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

NatureBox Unlimited snack plans offer all you can eat snacks for one fixed price per employee. Naturebox use simple ingredients you can trust to create bold flavors you can’t find anywhere else. All NatureBox snacks are free from artificial junk and variety is endless with options from sweet or savory to vegan or gluten-free. Simply choose the plan that fits your team’s unique snacking habits and select any of NatureBox’s time-saving add-on’s. And beyond Unlimited snacks, you’ll receive perks such as free kitchen setup, no contracts, a dedicated account manager and more. Simply click here to and use the offer code VC20 to get 20% of your first Naturebox month.

Leesa is the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Leesa have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is ordered completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10-inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com to start the New Year with better nights sleep!

20VC: 3 Key Differences Between US and Asian Tech Markets & With Such Large Incumbents Chasing Early Acquisitions, Is There A Market For Later Stage VC with Crystal Huang, Investor @ GGV Capital

Jan 10, 2018 30:18

Description:

Crystal Huang is a Principal @ GGV Capital, one of the world's leading venture firms partnering with entrepreneurs in the world's largest markets, the US and China. At GGV Crystal led the firm's investment in Wigo (acquired by Cinemagram) and attends board meetings at Tile and Flightcar. Crystal is also a board member @ NextGen partners, the organization representing the future General Partners within the bay area. Prior to joining GGV, Crystal worked as an analyst in Blackstone's Technology M&A Advisory Group and due to her immense promise and success already, Crystal has been named to Forbes' 30 Under 30 Venture Capital.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Crystal made her way into the world of VC from Tech M&A with Blackstone?

2.) How does Crystal view the ongoing debate of operator vs non-operator experience? Does Crystal agree with Pat Grady that the rate of decay on operating experience has never been greater? What elements of operational experience, applied to VC, do stand the test of time?

3.) What does Crystal believe are the 3 key differences when comparing the US and Asian tech markets? How do deal sizes change across geographies? What does this do to the unit economics of the businesses? How does vendor engagement and sales cycles differ?

4.) In a world of Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent quickly acquiring or copying innovative ideas, is there a market for true later stage VC in Asia? Where are the market opportunities? How does incumbent power in Asia differ to incumbent power in the US?

5.) How does Crystal fundamentally see distribution models vary between the US and Asia? Has Asia enjoyed the same rise of the "self-service model" enacted by many in the US? What does this mean for internal org structures and unit economics?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Crystal’s Fave Book: The Code Book

Crystal’s Most Recent Investment: BitSight

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Crystal on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Snapchat here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

NatureBox Unlimited snack plans offer all you can eat snacks for one fixed price per employee. Naturebox use simple ingredients you can trust to create bold flavors you can’t find anywhere else. All NatureBox snacks are free from artificial junk and variety is endless with options from sweet or savory to vegan or gluten-free. Simply choose the plan that fits your team’s unique snacking habits and select any of NatureBox’s time-saving add-on’s. And beyond Unlimited snacks, you’ll receive perks such as free kitchen setup, no contracts, a dedicated account manager and more. Simply click here to and use the offer code VC20 to get 20% of your first Naturebox month.

Leesa is the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Leesa have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is ordered completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10-inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com to start the New Year with better nights sleep!

20VC: Why This Is Just The Start for Consumer Mobile, 3 Lessons China Taught About How To Invest Better In The US & How To Think About The Opportunity Cost of Capital Deployment with Hans Tung, Managing Partner @ GGV Capital

Jan 8, 2018 25:00

Description:

Hans Tung is a Managing Partner @ GGV Capital, one of the world's leading venture firms partnering with entrepreneurs in the world's largest markets, the US and China. Evident when looking at Han's incredible investments in the likes of Wish, Poshmark, musical.ly, Slack and OfferUp in the US and then Xiaomi, Forgame, and Domob Ads in Asia. Previously, Hans was with Bessemer Venture Partners, where he helped global players such as Skype expand into China. Hans was also a founding member of two pan-Asian internet startups that were subsequently sold to telcos. Due to his incredible success, Hans has been ranked as a top VC on the Forbes Midas list since 2013 and was recognized by The Founder and CBN News magazines in the past as a Top 10 most entrepreneur-friendly VC in China.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Hans made his way into VC with Bessemer having founded and exited 2 prior startups?

2.) Why does Hans believe that the globalisation of consumer mobile companies is the biggest trend in his career? Why is Hans still so attracted to consumer with lacking distribution channel availability and incumbents like Amazon? Have Amazon already won?

3.) What were Hans' biggest lessons from investing in China that have allowed him to invest better in the US? How does Hans evaluate prior US companies entering strategies into China? How does he analyse Uber's entering into China?

4.) Hans has backed some of the hottest companies in the business from Airbnb to Wish, how does Hans respond to price sensitivity and having to pay up to get into the round? How does Hans think about the opportunity cost of capital deployment?

5.) Why does Hans remain so bullish on the globalisation of tech? In a world of Trump and Brexit are we not in ever more atomistic times? How does Hans see the convergence of millenial consumers when comparing the US and Asia?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Hans' Fave Book: The InformationStratechery

Hans' Most Recent Investment: iBotta

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Hans on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Snapchat here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

NatureBox Unlimited snack plans offer all you can eat snacks for one fixed price per employee. Naturebox use simple ingredients you can trust to create bold flavors you can’t find anywhere else. All NatureBox snacks are free from artificial junk and variety is endless with options from sweet or savory to vegan or gluten-free. Simply choose the plan that fits your team’s unique snacking habits and select any of NatureBox’s time-saving add-on’s. And beyond Unlimited snacks, you’ll receive perks such as free kitchen setup, no contracts, a dedicated account manager and more. Simply click here to and use the offer code VC20 to get 20% of your first Naturebox month.

Leesa is the W