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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. 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.
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Now displaying: July, 2015
Jul 31, 2015

Matt Williams is Founder and CEO of Pro.com. Prior to Pro.com, Matt served as entrepreneur-in-residence at Andreessen Horowitz, following his time at Digg where he led the complete overhaul of Digg which he joined as CEO in 2010 to rebuild the site from the ground up and contributed to its successful acquisition by Betaworks in 2012. Before Digg, Matt spent 12 years at Amazon where he managed Amazon’s Auctions and Marketplace, Community and Cross Merchandising, Tech Alliances, Web Store, and Consumer Payments divisions. Prior to Amazon, Matt founded and was the CEO of Livebid, which was acquired by Amazon in 1999.

In Today's Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Matt made his way into entrepreneurship and then later the VC world?

2.) How did LiveBid come about when Matt was only 23 and how did he build the product and the initial user base?

3.) What was the hardest aspect of the entire LiveBid journey and how did Matt overcome it?

4.) How did Matt's life and work change moving from your own startup to working in a massive organization like amazon? What would Matt advise founders who have sold or are thinking of selling their companies to large corporations?

5.) Following a number of years at Amazon. How did you attempt to turn Digg around as CEO and was their anything you would have done differently? 

6.) As EIR at Andreessen Horowitz what was it like, for Matt, working at a16z? Was there anything that surprised Matt about the move to venture?

7.) What would Matt say was the biggest lesson from working at these tech titans was? How has that affected how Matt runs Pro.com today?

Jul 29, 2015

David Wu is a General Partner at Maveron, which he joined in 2012 to help identify new investments in Web companies that have the potential to become leading consumer brands. He sourced and led Maveron's investment, Eargo and Darby Smart, also serving on their board. David is very much founder focussed and you’ll often find him coaching entrepreneurs at top Bay Area incubators such as Y CombinatorAngelPad500 Startups, and Stanford’s StartX and was previously EIR at Redpoint Ventures. His close ties to the Silicon Valley entrepreneurial community have led him to invest personally in over 30 start-ups, including Practice FusionPostmatesTileJaunt VR, and SeatMe.

In Today's Episode You Will Learn:

  • How David made his move into the world of venture capital?
  • How David perceives the current seed funding environment?
  • What makes Stanford the breeding ground of tech unicorns that it is?
  • How to create a bay area style culture?
  • What is the most frequent problem David sees startups encounter and how do they overcome it?
  • How can entrepreneurs know which funding source to go for? Crowdfunding, VC, Angel?
  • Why should startups take seed VC money over angel money? What is the difference?
  • What are the key traits required to be a great founder?
  • How can products with early adopter usage transition to a mass market product?

Items Mentioned In Today's Show:

As always you can follow HarryDavidThe Twenty Minute VC and Maveron on Twitter right here!

Jul 27, 2015

Did you know: The name Point Nine Capital originates from the 0.9 version of a product that is early but has great potential.

Nicolas Wittenborn is a VC at Point Nine Capital, one of the leading seed funds in Europe. Prior to Point Nine, Nicolas worked for the Team Europe Seed Fund. You can follow Nicolas' incredible blog here, which include my favourite ever blog post, outlining the exemplar pitch deck that startups should follow!

In Today's Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Nicolas made the move from iPhone sales arbitrage to VC analyst!!
  • How big does a market have to be to get VCs excited?
  • Do VCs have preferences with regards to teams? Technical or not? Multiple founders or not?
  • At the Seed stage what do VCs expect in the product itself?
  • What are the key metrics investors look for when viewing startups for the 1st time?
  • What are the different types of competition and how can founders determine whether they are a real threat?
  • How can startups and mobile apps in particular, grow organically in the early stages?

Items Mentioned in Today's Episode:

As always you can follow HarryNicolasThe Twenty Minute VC and Point Nine Capital right here!

Similarly if you want to see Harry in a more colourful light, head over to Instagram for copious amount of mojitos!

Jul 24, 2015

Mutaz Qubbaj is Founder @ Squirrel, a financial wellbeing platform that allows employees to  regain control of their financial lives. Mutual has celebrated much recent success with Squirrel having been named winner of WIRED 2014 and Pitch @ The Palace. Mutaz is also an expert on all things accelerator having been an alum at Barclays Techstars London with Squirrel, which you may remember from our interview with Greg Rogers, where Greg named Squirrel the next company to disrupt an industry.  Prior to Squirrel, Mutaz has had a financial career that includes an LBS Masters in Finance and more than a decade at Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and PIMCO as a trader, strategist and marketer.

In Today's Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Mutaz made his movement from banking to being a startup founder?
  • Was it difficult for Mutaz to leave the security of banking for the risky journey of entrepreneurship?
  • What would Mutaz advise anyone looking to make the jump into the world of entrepreneurship?
  • How did joining Techstars, help Squirrel as a company and Mutaz as a Founder?
  • What is the Barclays Techstars process like?
  • How can Founders decide which accelerator is right for them?
  • What red flags should founders look for when investigating accelerators?
  • How much equity do traditional accelerators take?
  • What tips does Mutaz have to get the most out of the accelerator experience?
  • How do individuals know when to give up the day job and become an entrepreneur?

Items Mentioned in Todays Show:

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

 

Jul 22, 2015

Quote of the Day: 'Invest in people who do what they say they are going to do and have done what they said they would do'. Guy Turner, 20VC

Guy Turner is a Partner at Hyde Park Venture Partners where he focuses on fast growing companies run by ambitious entrepreneurs with disruptive ideas. All of his incredible findings can be found through his blog at vcwithme.co. Guy joined Hyde Park Venture Partners in 2011 from Boston Consulting Group where he focused on corporate strategy across a variety of industries; he started his investing career as an Associate and then actively investing Member of Hyde Park Angels in 2009. Guy has led investments in numerous B2B software companies and is a Director at GeofeediaInContext Solutions and Iris Mobile. Guy is also a Siebel ScholarKauffman Fellow and a co-inventor on two US Patents.

In Today's Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Guy made his move into the investing industry?
  • How did Guy find the transition from academia to venture?
  • Why is it crucial for startups to innovate, test and sell quickly?
  • How can a startup determine whether their project is successful or if they should pivot?
  • What are the three steps to the 18 month runway, all startups need?
  • Do investors mind providing more financially to increase the runway?
  • What can startups do to maximise the hype surrounding their business?
  • Can hype ever be detrimental to a startup?
  • What are Guy's preferences in terms of founders?
  • How can a startup know when VCs are subtly rejecting them?

Items Mentioned in Today's Show:

  • Guy's Fave Book: Thinking in Time
  • Guys Most Recent Investment: 250ok
  • FarmLogs
Jul 20, 2015

Quote of the Day: 'Advisors are the most crucial element to success for the young generation'. Jonathon Triest, 20 Min VC

Jonathon Triest is the Founder and Managing Partner of Ludlow Ventures and Sandwich Fund. Prior to launching Ludlow, Jonathon worked as creative director for New York’s Discovery Productions. He founded and operated Triest Group, a design firm with a deep UI/UX focus. In addition to his role at Ludlow, Jonathon is a Kauffman Fellow and a mentor at numerous technology accelerators including Silicon Valley’s Up West Labs, Cincinnati’s The Brandery, and San Francisco’s Highway 1. He is board member of The Trico Foundation and Venture for America.

In Today's Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Jonathon made his unorthodox way into starting his own fund at the age of 27?
  • What was Jonathon's first investing strategy and how has it developed?
  • What Jonathon believes is wrong with the typical VC? How are Ludlow different?
  • How does Jonathan find the fundraising process as a VC?
  • Other than capital what are the benefits of fundraising?
  • How does Jonathon differentiate Ludlow from the huge amount of seed funds?
  • What are the benefits of accelerators for Jonathon and Ludlow?
  • How does Jonathon approach deal flow?
  • What does Jonathon look for in founders?
  • Does Jonathon have design input in his investments?
  • How important are advisors for the young generation coming into this community?
  • How Jonathon managed to convince the likes of Brad Feld and Eric Ries to mentor him?

Items Mentioned In Todays Show

Jonathon's Fave BookThe Thief of Always by Clive Barker

Jonathon's Most Recent InvestmentRapify

Jul 17, 2015

Will Sacks is Co-Founder and CEO at Kindara, the fertility awareness app that provides tools to understand fertility and be in control of their own body. Kindara has achieved phenomenal success having significant press in the likes of Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, New York Times and Forbes. Their first product Kindara Fertility for iPhone has been ranked #1 on the App Store Medical Charts.  In this incredibly diverse conversation our talk ranges from wire framing and programming to vasectomies and uterus', it's a must listen!

 

In Today's Episode You Will Learn:

  • Why Will started Kindara and how he got the initial product off the ground, without being able to code?
  • Should Founders learn to code or learn how to be the best CEO they can be?
  • How and what was the wire framing process like? What advice does Will have for other non-technical co-founders?
  • How does Will feel being a male CEO for a female product?
  • How has Will created this community of incredibly engaged users?
  • How has Will managed to grow his audience so effectively?
  • What has Will learnt from raising $1.7m in angel and VC funding?
  • What is the hardest aspect of fundraising?
  • What advice would will give to a startup thinking of raising funds?
  • How is Will planning to transition into the world of hardware?
  • What theories of The Lean Startup did not work for Will?

Items Mentioned in Today's Show:

 

Jul 15, 2015

Quote of the Day: 'A great entrepreneur has the ability to bend the world to their will'. David Pakman, 20VC

David Pakman is a Partner at Venrock, having spent the past 12 years as an internet entrepreneur. This includes David's appointment as CEO of eMusic, the world’s leading digital retailer of independent music, second only to iTunes. Prior to joining eMusic, David co-founded Myplay in 1999, which he later sold, in 2001, to Bertelsmann’s ecommerce Group. Before Myplay, he was Vice President at N2K Entertainment, which created the first digital music download service. If that wasn't enough David is also the co-creator of Apple Computer’s Music Group.

In Today's Episode You Will Learn:

  • How David started his career as an entrepreneur and later made the move to VC?
  • How David found the transition from entrepreneur and CEO to being a VC?
  • What is the main value add that both Venrock and David provides to their investments?
  • What makes a great entrepreneur for David?
  • How long do VCs need to know entrepreneurs before making investments?
  • What 3 tips would David give for best sourcing deals as a VC?
  • What areas does David believe are soon to be disrupted? How does David predict the next big industries to be disrupted?
  • What did David think of Jay Z's launch of Tidal?
  • Who will dominate in the music streaming sector in the coming years?

Items Mentioned in Today's Episode:

As always you can follow HarryDavidThe Twenty Minute VC and Venrock on Twitter here!

 

Jul 13, 2015

Quote of the Day: 'Keep an open mind from an early age'. Jonathan Libov, 20VC

Jonathan Libov joined the investment team at Union Square Ventures in September of 2014. Jonathan hails from New York but has lived for the last few years in Tel Aviv, where he most recently worked as a Product Manager at Appsfire. He's a graduate of Vassar College with a degree in Cognitive Science and began his career in neuroscience research. He designs and codes, with Fifty among his side projects.

In Today's Show You Will Learn:

  • How Jonathan made his move from product guy to VC at USV?
  • What is the key determinant for USV's success?
  • How Fred Wilson and USV use blogging to market USV as 'smart money'?
  • Is SMS dead? What is and will it be used for in the future?
  • What sectors are ripe for disruption?
  • How can technology and sport be integrated?
  • Apple Music: Success or failure?

Items Mentioned in Today's Show:

Favourite Book: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

OB1: Making Trade free for everyone, everywhere

 

Jul 10, 2015

Phil Jacobson is Co-Founder At PumpUp, a community for healthy and active living, with over 2m users. Phil leads the operations, finance, marketing, business development and external relations for PumpUp, with great success having accumulated over 220,000 Instagram followers! Prior to PumpUp, Phil held brand management positions at Unilever and PepsiCo.

In Today's Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Phil started PumpUp?
  • How Phil got 1,500 downloads in day one?
  • What marketing strategies are PumpUp working on to continue growing?
  • What social media strategies Phil recommends founders attempting to build an online presence?
  • How did Phil accumulate the 220,000 instagram followers organically?
  • What has Phil done to create such a heavily engaged user base?
  • Who are Phil's biggest competitors and how does PumpUp aim to stay ahead of them?
  • Where are PumpUp in the fundraising process, what has Phil learnt from the $2m seed round?
  • How can startups determine how much they need to raise?
  • What are PumpUp doing to ensure customer retention rates remain high?

 

Items Mentioned In Today's Show:

As always you can follow HarryPhilThe Twenty Minute VC and PumpUp on Twitter here!

A new one recommended by Phil, click here to follow the awesome Instagram pages of Harry and PumpUp!

 

Jul 8, 2015

Ari Helgason is a VC at Dawn Capital in London and a former entrepreneur with operational experience in both London and New York. Prior to Dawn, Ari founded SaaS sales and workflow management system World on a Hanger and ecommerce clothing marketplace Fabricly.com. More recently, he launched ecommerce sites for fashion and luxury brands in London and New York. Ari is an alumnus of the Y Combinator startup accelerator and he regularly visits Silicon Valley where he has extensive relationships.

In Today's Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Ari made his move into the VC scene?
  • Why Ari decided to bootstrap his first business?
  • Does Ari believe that Founders should always be fundraising?
  • Should Founders take more money than they need, 'a war chest'?
  • What type of goals do VCs want to see from founders?
  • What do investors expect from startups at Series A?
  • How can founders learn what KPI's make sense for their business?
  • How can founders know when is the right time to fundraise?
  • How can startup founders get their foot in the VC door?

Items Mentioned in Today's Episode:

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

Jul 6, 2015

Alessandra Sollberger is a VC at Mosaic Ventures, a new Silicon Valley style venture firm based in London, focussing on Series A rounds. Alessandra previously worked in private equity at Blackstone, covering sectors ranging from consumer brands to software. Prior to that, she worked in startups in the US and Europe and in M&A at Goldman Sachs. She is also the founder of Bright Mentors, an edtech non-profit teaching coding and science in secondary schools through a network of technology professionals.

                     In todays episode you will learn:

  • How Alessandra made her move into the VC world?
  • What are you Mosaic looking for? What is their typical investment size? 

     

  • What Alessandra thinks of the different paths into venture? 

  •  What advice would you give someone looking to enter venture?

  •  

    Why Alessandra believes there has been a resurgence in marketplaces? What is driving this growth? 

  • What startup marketplaces is Alessandra most excited about? 

     

  • Alessandra's thoughts on the next big sector to be disrupted and why?

 

As always you can follow HarryAlessandraThe Twenty Minute VC and Mosaic Ventures on Twitter here!

 

Jul 3, 2015

Today is a very special show as James Wise, Principal at Balderton Capital turns the tables on Host of The Twenty Minute VC, Harry Stebbings. In today's brilliant interview by James we delve into what has led to Harry's interest in the VC industry, why did Harry start The 20 Minute VC, how does Harry identify guests to interview, how does he approach those guests, how has Harry found his first experience in the venture industry, what has surpassed Harry about the VC industry, what traits has Harry spotted that are common among the great VCs interviewed, is Harry optimistic or not about the venture industry, what would Harry recommend for other people looking to go into venture.

Items Mentioned in Todays Show:

Harry's Favourite Books: Tim Ferris: 4 Hour Work Week4 Hour Body

Shyp

Crowdcube3DHubsTictail

MMC VenturesFounders Forum

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

Jul 1, 2015

Jason Lemkin is Managing Director at Storm Ventures focussing on early stage SaaS and enterprise startups. Jason is an acknowledged thought leader in SaaS through his creation of the SaaStr community, connecting thousands of SaaS entrepreneurs and generating upwards of 1,000,000 views a month around core SaaS topics, with a particular focus on accelerating revenue and early-stage SaaS sales and marketing. Prior to Storm, Jason served as CEO and co-founder of Storm Ventures-backed EchoSign, the web’s most popular electronic signature service. Jason led EchoSign from inception through its acquisition by Adobe Systems Inc. in 2011. He then served as Vice President, Web Services at Adobe, where he oversaw the growth of EchoSign and Adobe Document Services to $100,000,000+ ARR in 2013.

In Today's Episode You Will Learn:

How Jason made his way into the SaaS and VC industry?

What actions did Jason do to get his blog to 1m+ page views per month?

What advice would Jason give to founders thinking of selling to large companies?

What type of entrepreneur does Jason like to invest in?

How does Jason see SaaS valuations, with recent enormous rounds from Zenefits?

What areas of the SaaS industries are neglected or undervalued?

 

Is the 40% growth rule broadly correct and can this be applied to early stage tech companies?

What is Jason's pre-investment meeting approach like?

What makes a founder insane in a good way, rather than a bad way?

How are SaaS companies innovating to acquire new customers?

Quick Fire Round:

  1. Apple: Hit or Miss
  2. Most exciting SaaS companies and sectors
  3. Jason's favourite book and why?

Items Mentioned in Today's Episode:

SaaStr: Jason's Blog

Jason's Favourite Book: The Lion Who Shot Back

Mark Suster: Both Sides

Follow: @saleshacker (amazing content from VPs of Sales @ Top Tech Startups)

Emergence Capital: Joe Floyd

David SaksYammer

SlackStewart ButterfieldZenefitsParker Conrad

 

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