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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: 2016
Sep 2, 2016

Kathryn Minshew is the Founder & CEO @ The Muse, named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Media and Inc.’s 15 Women to Watch in Tech. Before founding The Muse, Kathryn worked on vaccines in Rwanda and Malawi with the Clinton Health Access Initiative and was previously at McKinsey. Kathryn has spoken at MIT and Harvard, appeared on The TODAY Show and CNN, and contributes on career and entrepreneurship to the Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business Review.

 

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Kathryn came to be Founder of The Muse following charity work in Rwanda?

2.) Question from Adam Quinton (investor): What is it about Kathryn and Alex's relationship that works so well? How do they deal with founder disputes?

3.)  Prior to The Muse, Alex and Kathryn founded another business with 2 other founders. What did they learn from the breakup and how have they applied to The Muse?

4.) How has Kathryn managed to maintain startup ownership culture as the team has grown to over 100 people ?

5.) The Muse has now raised large Series A & B rounds. What were the lessons Kathryn learnt along the way and what would she do differently for the C round?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Kathryn’s Fave Blog and Newsletter: The Atlantic, The New York Times

Kathryn’s Fave Book: Arcadia by Tom Stoppard 

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

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

Eve make 1 perfect mattress – made with 3 layer technology and next generation memory foam. It comes packaged in a beautiful box and arrives the day after you order. You get 100 nights to try it with free return pick-up – it really is the perfect mattress for everyone. Just go online to evemattress.co.uk and enter the code 20VC for £50 off. Everybody deserves the perfect start with Eve.
 

Did you know companies that regularly communicate with stakeholders regularly are 200% more likely to get follow on funding? Visible.vc is the leader in stakeholder communication & engagement powering updates & reports for over 1,600 companies including customers Amazon and Skyscanner. They integrate with apps you already use to run your business like Google Sheets, Quickbooks, Xero, Salesforce, Stripe and more.

Listeners make sure to check out visible.vc/20 to get an exclusive deal just for you and schedule a call with your own data analyst.

Aug 31, 2016

Jesse Middleton is a General Partner @ Flybridge Capital Partners. Prior to joining Flybridge, Jesse was an early executive at WeWork, one of the fastest growing and most valuable startups in history. He co-founded WeWork Labs in 2011, and ran WeWork X, M&A, startup investments, business and digital product development as well as inside sales during his five-year tenure at the company. Prior to WeWork, Jesse was the co-founder and CEO of Backstory, a venture backed startup. Jesse also has experience as a prolific angel investor having invested in the like of Fitmob (acq by ClassPass) YourTrove acq by LiveNation and inDinero, who you might remember we had Jessica Mah, Founder @ inDinero on the show.

 

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jesse made the transition from operator with WeWork to General Partner @ Flybridge?

2.) At what stage does founder vision transition to become stubbornness? How does Jesse approach the situation of telling a founder when it is not working?

3.) How does Jesse's investment mindset shift from making the move from angel to VC with fiduciary responsibility?

4.) How does Jesse look to develop pattern recognition as a new entrant to VC? How important a role does mentorship play for Jesse?

5.) What are the characteristics Jesse looks for in a founder that suggest an innate problem solver? How does Jesse deal with problems when the 'shit hits the fan?'

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Jesse’s Fave Blog and Newsletter: Purple, The Skimm

Jesse’s Fave Book: Leadership & The Challenge of Self Deception

Jesse’s Most Recent Investment: Squire

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

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

Eve make 1 perfect mattress – made with 3 layer technology and next generation memory foam. It comes packaged in a beautiful box and arrives the day after you order. You get 100 nights to try it with free return pick-up – it really is the perfect mattress for everyone. Just go online to evemattress.co.ukand enter the code 20VC for £50 off. Everybody deserves the perfect start with Eve.

Aug 29, 2016

Peter Pham is a Co-Founder at Science, the startup studio that helps incubate companies co-building them alongside CEO's, with recent companies like Dollar Shave Club (acquired by Unilever for $1B) and leading marketplace, DogVacay. More recently Science created created one of the top 100 iOS Apps called Wishbone. Peter has also helped his portfolio raise over $350M in that time. Previously as an operator, he led Photobucket to its $300M acquisition by Fox Interactive Media as well as CEO of BillShrink (acquired by MasterCard.)

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Peter made the transition from operator to company builder with Science?

2.) How does Peter approach the fundraising process itself? How does he instruct founders about the right ways to approach and enter the fundraising game?

3.) How can entrepreneurs determine whether a VC is saying not to them? What are the signs that an investor is genuinely interested?

4.) With 3,000 no's from investors, how does that affect Peter's mentality? How does he avoid the negativity surrounding a VC saying no?

5.) What are Peter's major learnings on how companies scale effectively today? How important are network effects to this scaling?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Peter’s Fave Blog and Newsletter: Recode

Peter’s Fave Book: How To Win Friends & Influence People

Peter's Most Recent Investment: Handstand App

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

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

Eve make 1 perfect mattress – made with 3 layer technology and next generation memory foam. It comes packaged in a beautiful box and arrives the day after you order. You get 100 nights to try it with free return pick-up – it really is the perfect mattress for everyone. Just go online to evemattress.co.uk and enter the code 20VC for £50 off. Everybody deserves the perfect start with Eve.
Aug 26, 2016

Sean Brecker is the CEO @ Headspace where he is the driving force behind all financial and commercial matters including overseeing the company's growth of it's product line which now has over 8m downloads. Sean was also instrumental in attaining the first  institutional round of financing which included investment from the likes of LinkedIn's Jeff Weiner, Jim Breyer, Jessica Alba and Jared Leto, just to name a few. Prior to Headspace, Sean spent 15 years in banking with the likes of JP Morgan, Lehmann Brothers and Citigroup.

 

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Sean made the move from banking to CEO of meditation service, Headspace?

2.) Meditation can be viewed with some hippy stereotypes, how does Sean look to optimise the onboarding for new users and incorporate elements of education?

3.) How does Sean implement a strategy of habit forming within the users? In the words of Nir Eyal, how do we get them ‘hooked’? How long on average does it take for an action to be completed before it becomes a habit?

4.) How does Sean try and optimise the transition from free to paid user with Headspace? How does Sean try and remove as much friction as possible in the process?

5.) How has Sean seen the growth of the health and wellness space over the last few years? We obviously have the likes of Calm, is this market a winner takes all and how does Sean approach market competition at Headspace?

6.) How was the fundraising process for Sean? How did he come to meet investors like Jeff Weiner, Jim Breyer, Jessica Alba and Jared Leto?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Sean’s Fave Blog and Newsletter: The Information, Recode

Sean’s Fave Book: The Hard Thing About Hard Things, A Man In Full

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

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

WeAreLATech is the number one resource uniting the LA startup community. Immediately integrate into the explosive LA tech scene by visiting WeAreLATech.com/VC. WeAreLATech offers a unique combination of curated offline experiences, the #1 LA Tech podcast called “WeAreLATech”, and the only mobile app that keeps you in the know with a full calendar of events. Make sure go to WeAreLATech.com/VC to explore and learn all about everything LA tech and silicon beach. You’ll also get access to a private LA tech immersion call exclusively for 20 Minute VC listeners.

Eve make 1 perfect mattress – made with 3 layer technology and next generation memory foam. It comes packaged in a beautiful box and arrives the day after you order. You get 100 nights to try it with free return pick-up – it really is the perfect mattress for everyone. Just go online to evemattress.co.uk and enter the code 20VC for £50 off. Everybody deserves the perfect start with Eve.

 

Aug 24, 2016

Chad Byers is a General Partner @ Susa Ventures and very exciting news, Susa last week announced the raise of Susa II, a new $50m fund, testament to the quality of fund 1 which included the likes of former guests Lyst, RobinHood, LendUp and many more incredible companies. As for Chad, he focuses on investments in enterprise software, fintech, and healthcare. Prior to Susa, Chad spent time in various marketing and product management roles. As well as being a prolific angel investor in over 30+ companies.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Chad made the transition from angel investor to General Partner @ Susa?

2.) How was the fundraise with Susa 1? How was the fundraise for Susa II? How did the funding rounds change for each fund?

3.) How does Chad assess LP fit? Is all LP money not equal? What does Chad look for in his LPs?

4.) Question from Michael Kim @ Cendana: How does Chad look to establish the mindshare with entrepreneurs and other VCs for Susa in today's competitive environment?

5.) How does Chad approach the reserve structure of Susa fund II? How did Chad come tot hat conclusion as the optimal amount for follow on?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Chad’s Fave Blog and Newsletter: Coding VC, Bill Gurley: Above The Crowd

Chad’s Fave Book: When Breathe Becomes Air

Chad's Most Recent Investment: Modsy

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

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

Aug 22, 2016

Greg Bettinelli is a Partner at Upfront Ventures where he specialises in businesses at the juncture of retail and technology. Prior to Upfront, Greg was the CMO for HauteLook, a leading online flash-sale retailer that was acquired by Nordstrom for $270mm. Before HauteLook, Greg was Executive Vice President of Business Development and Strategy at Live Nation, responsible for strategic direction and key business partnerships for Live Nation’s ticketing and digital businesses. Before Live Nation, Greg held a number of leadership positions at eBay and StubHub and was the business leader who led eBay’s acquisition of StubHub in 2007.

 

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Greg made his way into VC from the unconventional world of retail and consumer?

2.) How has Greg's unconventional background altered how he views investments and founders? How does Greg test for the 'grit' required to be a founder?

3.) With the rise of direct to consumer, will we see the end of the physical retail store? Why do big retailers still have such little e-commerce presence?

4.) To what extent does Greg view brand as a form of IP in a prospective investment? How have we seen changing brand loyalty in the last decade?

5.) What are the fundamentals for growing a consumer brand successfully? Who has exemplified this?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Greg’s Fave Blog and Newsletter: Dan Primack: Term Sheet

Greg’s Fave Book: Michael Lewis

Greg's Most Recent Investment: Happy Returns

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

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

WeAreLATech is the number one resource uniting the LA startup community. Immediately integrate into the explosive LA tech scene by visiting WeAreLATech.com/VCWeAreLATech offers a unique combination of curated offline experiences, the #1 LA Tech podcast called "WeAreLATech", and the only mobile app that keeps you in the know with a full calendar of events. Make sure go to WeAreLATech.com/VC to explore and learn all about everything LA tech and silicon beach. You'll also get access to a private LA tech immersion call exclusively for 20 Minute VC listeners.

Eve make 1 perfect mattress – made with 3 layer technology and next generation memory foam. It comes packaged in a beautiful box and arrives the day after you order. You get 100 nights to try it with free return pick-up – it really is the perfect mattress for everyone. Just go online to evemattress.co.uk and enter the code 20VC for £50 off. Everybody deserves the perfect start with Eve.

 

Aug 19, 2016

Paul Berberian is the CEO of Orbotix, the company that created Sphero, the robotic ball controlled from your smartphone. They have investment from our friends in Boulder, Brad Feld and David Cohen. Prior to Sphero, Paul was the co-founder of Raindance Communications (NASDAQ: RNDC). Paul also founded Market Force Information, an emerging information company with a vision to provide retailers. As well as, LINK-VTC, a video teleconferencing company, which was sold in 1995 to Frontier Communications. 

In Today’s Episode with Paul You Will Learn:

1.) How Paul came to be CEO @ Sphero?

2.) Paul has founded and run 7 businesses, How has Paul seen his style of leadership change over the past decade or so?

3.) Question from Brad Feld: When Paul disagrees with his board, how does he resolve it? What have been Paul's learnings in maintaining a happy board environment?

4.) Sphero have raised, at last count, $80m? How has Paul seen investor sentiment to hardware alter over the 5-6 years? How did he meet his investors? What did Paul do well and what would Paul like to improve upon for next time?

5.) Question from Brad Feld: ‘Sphero looks like a massive success but every startup has had failures, so what have Paul's failures been and what did he learn from them?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Paul’s Fave Blog and Newsletter: Quora

Paul’s Fave Book: The Black Box

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

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

Eve make 1 perfect mattress – made with 3 layer technology and next generation memory foam. It comes packaged in a beautiful box and arrives the day after you order. You get 100 nights to try it with free return pick-up – it really is the perfect mattress for everyone. Just go online to evemattress.co.uk and enter the code 20VC for £50 off. Everybody deserves the perfect start with Eve.

Aug 17, 2016

Ben Einstein is Founder and General Partner @ Bolt, Bolt is a fund designed to address the unique needs of early-stage startups at the intersection of hardware and software, investing up to $500K in pre-seed, pre-product companies. They have created and backed some world class businesses that have received later funding from Khosla, Kleiner Perkins, NEA, and Softtech just to name a few.

In Today’s Episode with Ben You Will Learn:

  • How Ben made his way into VC from such a product centric background?
  • Why have we seen a rise in hardware investing over the last 5 years? How has this affected the hardware ecosystem?
  • To what extent do hardware and software integrate today? Why have we seen the rise of software determining the hardware winners?
  • Why is brand the most important thing in consumer hardware? Who has done it best? Who has not done it well?
  • What is Ben’s biggest advice to hardware founders today? Why is raising too much money extremely dangerous for hardware founders?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Ben’s Fave Blog and Newsletter: Ben Evans

Ben’s Fave Book: The Box

Ben’s Most Recent Investment: Grow: Redesigning Gardening

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

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

Eve make 1 perfect mattress – made with 3 layer technology and next generation memory foam. It comes packaged in a beautiful box and arrives the day after you order. You get 100 nights to try it with free return pick-up – it really is the perfect mattress for everyone. Just go online to evemattress.co.uk and enter the code 20VC for £50 off. Everybody deserves the perfect start with Eve.

Aug 15, 2016

Dave McClure is the founding partner of 500 Startups, who have made over 1500 investments in the likes of Twilio, SendGrid, Intercom and Makerbot just to name a few. Prior to 500 Dave was on the investment team at Founders Fund, he also led the Facebook Fund Incubator and was Head of Marketing @ Paypal pre IPO.

In Today’s Episode with Dave You Will Learn:

  • How Dave made his way into VC and came to found 500 Startups?
  • Do you need unicorn exits to have significant venture returns? What is the 500 view with regards to the hit ratio of finding unicorns?
  • How much ownership does 500 typically take? Does this allow Dave enough of a right to follow on in further rounds with such a small initial slice?
  • How does Dave and 500 avoid the inherent signalling risk involved with their fund and accelerator? How prominent is signalling in today’s market?
  • What did Dave think of Sam Altman’s statement on YC not accepting companies from other accelerators? How does Dave view YC companies?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Dave’s Fave Blog and Newsletter: Brad Feld, AVC, Mark Suster

Dave’s Fave Book: Guns Germs and Steel, The Mystery of Capital

Dave’s Most Recent Investment: Markhor

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

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

Eve make 1 perfect mattress - made with 3 layer technology and next generation memory foam. It comes packaged in a beautiful box and arrives the day after you order. You get 100 nights to try it with free return pick-up - it really is the perfect mattress for everyone. Just go online to evemattress.co.uk and enter the code 20VC for £50 off. Everybody deserves the perfect start with Eve.

Aug 12, 2016

Adam Nash is the President and CEO of Wealthfront, where he is on a mission to put the client first and change the bad practices of the financial services industry. Adam joined Wealthfront from Greylock Partners, where he was an Executive-in-Residence. Prior to Greylock, he was VP of Product Management at LinkedIn, where he built the teams responsible for core product, user experience, platform and mobile. Adam also held a number of roles at Ebay, Atlas Venture Preview Systems and Apple.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Adam came to be President and CEO @ Wealthfront?

2.) What makes a great product person and how does that compare to Adam's role now as CEO and the skills required to be a great CEO?

3.) Is it fair to suggest that PMs are the CEO of a mini product? How transferrable are the skills of product managers to the skills required of CEOs?

4.) How was the transition for Andy in making the move from PM to COO to CEO? What were the biggest challenges and surprises?

5.) Why does Andy believe that building software through hierarchy does not work? How can leaders empower their team with a sense of ownership?

6.) Why do humans suck at investing? Will we see the domination of full scale financial robo advisors in the next 10 years?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Adam’s Fave Book: Foundation by Isaac Asimov

Adam’s Fave Blog and Newsletter: Nuzzel

As always you can follow The Twenty Minute VCHarry and Adam on Twitter here!
 
Eve make 1 perfect mattress – made with 3 layer technology and next generation memory foam. It comes packaged in a beautiful box and arrives the day after you order. You get 100 nights to try it with free return pick-up – it really is the perfect mattress for everyone. Just go online to evemattress.co.uk and enter the code 20VC for £50 off. Everybody deserves the perfect start with Eve.
Aug 10, 2016

David Pakman is a Partner at Venrock and the man behind Venrock’s leading of the Series A and B rounds for Dollar Shave Club. Prior to Venrock David spent 12 years as an internet entrepreneur. Including being CEO of eMusic, the world’s leading digital retailer of independent music, second only to iTunes. Prior to eMusic, David co-founded Myplay in 1999, which he later sold, in 2001, to Bertelsmann’s ecommerce Group. 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 did David make his way into the world of VC with Venrock?
  • David invested in Dollar Shave when subscription ecommerce funding was largely out of favour. What was it that excited Dave about Dollar Shave and why did he choose to invest?
  • To what extent do we see the existence of party rounds in today’s funding environment?
  • Venrock took the rather unusual position to lead both the A and B rounds for Dollar Shave. What was the internal conversations like within Venrock towards this decision?
  • Dollar Shave was growing at phenomenal rates with impressive growth, what was behind the decision to sell at this time? What were the incentives behind selling to Unilever?
  • Will we see other large e-commerce exits in the future? What does the future M&A environment look like for consumer businesses?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Matt’s Fave Book: Mindset by Carole Dweck

Matt’s Most Recent Investment: Pearl

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

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

Eve make 1 perfect mattress – made with 3 layer technology and next generation memory foam. It comes packaged in a beautiful box and arrives the day after you order. You get 100 nights to try it with free return pick-up – it really is the perfect mattress for everyone. Just go online to evemattress.co.uk and enter the code 20VC for £50 off. Everybody deserves the perfect start with Eve.

Aug 8, 2016

Matt Ocko is the Co-Managing Partner and Co-Founder @ Data Collective and has over 3 decades of experience as a tech entrepreneur and VC and has made investments in the likes of Facebook, Zynga, Uber and AngelList just to name a few. If that was not enough he is also an inventor on over 40 granted or in process patents. A truly deep thinker and one of my fave ever shows to record.

In Today’s Episode with Matt You Will Learn:

  • How Matt made his way into VC and came to co-found Data Collective?
  • Why does Matt believe “All Fund Size Models are Wrong”. Does the current bifurcation of VC into angels/micro-VCs, small seed/A funds, big bruisers, and post-C/pre-IPO make for sub-optimal returns both on a societal and monetary perspective?
  • What does the opportunity fund allow Data Collective? How do they use the initial fund to invest for insight in into companies at the earliest stages? How do they avoid the negative signalling risk that is normally ensued with an opportunity fund?
  • How important is thesis driven venture firms? Does specialisation aid or hinder venture returns and why?
  • How does Matt view the lifecycle of current venture? Matt has previously said it is inherently inefficient, why?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Matt’s Fave Blog and Newsletter: MIT Technology Review

Matt’s Fave Book: The Way Things Work

Matt’s Most Recent Investment: Tradeshift

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

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

Eve make 1 perfect mattress - made with 3 layer technology and next generation memory foam. It comes packaged in a beautiful box and arrives the day after you order. You get 100 nights to try it with free return pick-up - it really is the perfect mattress for everyone. Just go online to evemattress.co.uk and enter the code 20VC for £50 off. Everybody deserves the perfect start with Eve.

Aug 5, 2016

Dhananja Jayalath is the Co-Founder & CEO @ Athos, creating the new standard for fitness by changing the way we train the human body. Athos have funding from our friends at Social Capital, Felix Capital and DCM Ventures just to name a few of their investors. Prior to Athos, DJ turned down a job with Apple straight from University to pursue his vision of creating the next generation of consumer fitness wearables with Athos.

In Today’s Episode with DJ You Will Learn:

  • How DJ went from University to turning down Apple to founding Athos?
  • How did DJ come to meet Chamath @ Social? How was the fundraising experience? What did Athos do well and what would DJ like to improve for the next round?
  • How does DJ approach iteration and testing within product testing at Athos?
  • What are the lessons DJ has learned in the manufacturing and iteration process with Athos?
  • How does DJ approach business models for Athos today? Does DJ agree that the winners of hardware will be determined by software?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

DJ’s Fave Book: Velocity: The 7 New Laws For A World Gone Digital

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

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

Aug 3, 2016

Steve Schlafman is an early stage investor @ RRE Ventures, where he specialises on marketplaces, mobile services, and hardware. Steve is responsible for RRE’s investments in theSkimm, Hightower, TinyBop, Breather, and Managed by Q. Prior to joining RRE as a Principal, Steve was a Principal and rockstar seed investor at Lerer Ventures. Before becoming a venture capitalist, Steve worked at Stickybits Inc. and Turntable.fm, and served as Director of Venture Investments at The Kraft Group. Steve also worked at Massive Inc. and at Microsoft, where he focused on Biz Dev Strategy and Corporate Finance.   

In Today’s Episode with Steve You Will Learn:

  • How Steve made his way into VC from Microsoft, to Kraft to startup to VC?
  • Why does Steve think Seed to Series A is such a different ball game? What are the different characteristics encompassed within each?
  • With such little data at seed, what does Steve’s DD process look like? How does that affect his investment decision making process @ RRE?
  • What is the valuation comparison between Seed and Series A? How is this determined and how has this changed since Steve’s time at Lerer?
  • Why do the best markets often appear small and become meaningful? How does Steve look to detect these small markets?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Steve’s Fave Book: Who (Hiring Process), Work (Hiring @ Google), Leading (Michael Moritz)

Steve’s Fave Blog or Newsletter: AVC, Stratechery, The Skimm

Steve’s Most Recent Investment: Brightwheel

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

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

Aug 1, 2016

Justin Kan is a Partner @ world renowned, Y Combinator. The birthplace of the likes of Airbnb, Reddit, Dropbox, Stripe, Zenefits and many more incredible companies. Prior to YC, Justin co-founded SocialCam, acquired by Autodesk for $60m and Twitch.tv, the world's leading video platform and community for gamers, acquired by Amazon for $970m in 2014.  

In Today’s Episode with Justin You Will Learn:

  • How Justin came to found Twitch.tv and then later made the transition into VC with YC?
  • Having been a YC alum, how has Justin seen YC as an institution change over time? How have the interviews, demo days, mentoring arrangements altered? How can YC keep the same quality of startup treatment with the mass scaling taking place?
  • YC always positions itself as an accompaniment to the VC industry, does the new $700m YC growth fund not directly compete against VCs?
  • What 3 qualities does Justin believes all good investors must have? How has Justin looked to establish his own personal brand? What has worked and what has not?
  • Justin is very bullish on Snapchat, why so? What makes Justin so excited for the platform? How does Justin use it to such success? What would Justin like to see change in the platform?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Justin’s Fave Book: Shogun

Justin’s Fave Blog or Newsletter: Nuzzel & The Information

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

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

Jul 29, 2016

Amir Elaguizy is the Founder & CEO @ YC backed, Cratejoy, the website builder and backend for subscription e-commerce stores. Cratejoy have funding from the likes of General Catalyst, Andreesen Horowitz, Y Combinator and Charles River Ventures With regards to Amir, he previously founded Market Zero, a poker software company which was acquired by Zynga, where he then spent time as a game CTO.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Amir came to be an entrepreneur, got acquired by Zynga and then started Cratejoy?

2.) With the recent acquisition of Dollar Shave Club, the subscription e-commerce business is hot, why does Amir think most people misunderstand the space?

3.) Amir previously said, ‘owning recruiting is the single most important thing you can do’, why does he believe this? Does Amir believe that the early team might not necessarily be the team to evolve from a $1m business to a $20m business? 

4.) What is the difference between foundational team members and mercenary team members? What are the signs an individual is worth spending time to grow with?

5.)  Amir previously said, 'most people have never received true direct feedback on performance’, how does Amir look to differentiate himself? Is it suitable for the leadership to be the bad guy?

6.) How can the firing process be approached with respect and dignity? Should it ever be a surprise? If it is a surprise what does that suggest about your leadership previously?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Amir’s Fave Book: Hard Thing About Hard Things

Amir’s Fave Podcasts: The Twenty Minute VCSaaStr

As always you can follow The Twenty Minute VCHarry and Amir on Twitter here!
 
This episode was brought to you by DesignCrowd, the online marketplace for custom graphic, logo and web design that helps startups, entrepreneurs, web developers and agencies outsource design projects to designers from around the world.
 
 
How Does It Work?
Once you have launched your brief, designers will begin submitting quality designs for you to review. With some constructive feedback, you can quickly generate a large gallery of designs that really do fit your needs. You can have exactly what you need within just three days. Once you have selected your favourite design, you will be sent all the files you require to update your branding. If you don’t like any of the submitted designs, then DesignCrowd offers a money back guarantee. So checkout designcrowd.com/VC and enter the promo code VC100 to get an astonishing $100 off your next project.
 
Jul 27, 2016

Sean Flynn is a Managing Partner @ Shasta Ventures where he invests in mobile-enabled consumer Internet and enterprise software companies. Sean has led Shasta's investments in Dollar Shave Club, Whisper and serves on the board of directors for the likes of TimeHop, Zefr, Swipely, Bloc and TigerText. Before joining Shasta, Sean worked at Yahoo, where he focused on growing the company's communication and messaging products such as Yahoo! Mail, Messenger, Groups and Flickr.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Sean made his way into VC from the titan that is Yahoo?

Now today I want to do something slightly different and do a myth busting episode, take a couple of sectors and discuss whether they are truths and complexities to the core statement.

2.) Starting with the most common assumption in VC that it is all about team, to what extent does Sean place team ahead of product and is this a slight misconception?

3.) Many are saying mobile is a dying space. Sean previously said, 'it is not dead yet'. Why is there promise for mobile? What will be the catalyst of it's death? How does this affect Sean's investment decision making?

4.) Another much hyped topic is AR/VR, is the excitement surround AR and VR justified? Where does Sean stand on investing in the installation phase of cycles?

5.) Similar to AR/VR is the hype surround bots justified? What will be the sustainable business model for bots?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Sean’s Fave Book: What Do You Do With An Idea 

Sean’s Fave Blog or Newsletter: Nuzzel538 Blog

Sean’s Most Recent Investment: Tally

As always you can follow The Twenty Minute VCHarry and Sean on Twitter here!
If you would like to see a more colourful side to Harry with many a mojito session, you can follow him on Snapchat here!
 
This episode was brought to you by DesignCrowd, the online marketplace for custom graphic, logo and web design that helps startups, entrepreneurs, web developers and agencies outsource design projects to designers from around the world.
 
 
How Does It Work?
Once you have launched your brief, designers will begin submitting quality designs for you to review. With some constructive feedback, you can quickly generate a large gallery of designs that really do fit your needs. You can have exactly what you need within just three days. Once you have selected your favourite design, you will be sent all the files you require to update your branding. If you don’t like any of the submitted designs, then DesignCrowd offers a money back guarantee. So checkout designcrowd.com/VC and enter the promo code VC100 to get an astonishing $100 off your next project.
 
Jul 25, 2016

Semil Shah is the founder of Haystack, an early stage investment firm now investing out of it’s third fund, with previous investments being Instacart, DoorDash, Managed by Q. In the past he has also been a consultant to some of the leading funds in the valley including the likes of Kleiner Perkins, DFJ, General Catalyst and more. If that was not enough, Shah also has an extensive career in media having been a contributor for both TechCrunch and the Harvard Business Review in the past. Due to all of this Shah was listed by Marc Andreesen as one of his '55 Unknown Rockstars in Tech'. 

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Semil made his way into VC? How did he come to create Haystack?

2.) What were the challenges and concerns for Semil in raising and establishing his own fund?

3.) Question from Michelle Tandler: How does Semil send deals through to Series A? What is his 'cool' process? What are the commonalities of those that make it to Series A and those that do not?

4.) How has Semil approached the aspect of personal VC branding? How does he evaluate the rise of the personal VC brand in the last few years?

5.) Why does Semil believe he is not 'founder friendly' in the conventional sense?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Semil’s Fave Book: Burmese Days by George Orwell

Semil’s Most Recent Investment: AquaCloud

As always you can follow The Twenty Minute VCHarry and Semil on Twitter here!
If you would like to see a more colourful side to Harry with many a mojito session, you can follow him on Snapchat here!
 
This episode was brought to you by DesignCrowd, the online marketplace for custom graphic, logo and web design that helps startups, entrepreneurs, web developers and agencies outsource design projects to designers from around the world.
 
How Does It Work?
Once you have launched your brief, designers will begin submitting quality designs for you to review. With some constructive feedback, you can quickly generate a large gallery of designs that really do fit your needs. You can have exactly what you need within just three days. Once you have selected your favourite design, you will be sent all the files you require to update your branding. If you don’t like any of the submitted designs, then DesignCrowd offers a money back guarantee. So checkout designcrowd.com/VC and enter the promo code VC100 to get an astonishing $100 off your next project.

 

Jul 22, 2016

David Helgason is the Founder and Board Member @ Unity 3D. The company that recently announced a new $181m Series C, valuing the company at $1.5bn. Unity’s platform has revolutionized the game industry by allowing any size studio from Indie to Triple-A to create beautiful and compelling games and experiences and monetize them with their advertising and analytics services. As for David, he served as CEO of Unity from its founding in 2003 right up until 2014 taking the company through numerous funding rounds including from the one and only Sequoia Capital.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How David came to found Unity 3D?

2.) How pivotal was the rise of the App stores to the rise of Unity 3D? What does David make of Apple's recent announcement to add paid search and subscription pricing?

3.) How does David evaluate the current gaming landscape? What does he not like abou the industry and how the major players are operating?

4.) What are David's thoughts on the emerging platforms like AR and VR? How does he incorporate them into Unity's future product roadmap?

5.) How was the fundraising process for David with Unity? How did the Sequoia investment happen and what has it been like to work with them and Roelof Botha?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

David's Fave Book: Guns, Germs & Steel 

As always you can follow The Twenty Minute VCHarry and David on Twitter here!
 
This episode was brought to you by DesignCrowd, the online marketplace for custom graphic, logo and web design that helps startups, entrepreneurs, web developers and agencies outsource design projects to designers from around the world.
 
How Does It Work?
Once you have launched your brief, designers will begin submitting quality designs for you to review. With some constructive feedback, you can quickly generate a large gallery of designs that really do fit your needs. You can have exactly what you need within just three days. Once you have selected your favourite design, you will be sent all the files you require to update your branding. If you don’t like any of the submitted designs, then DesignCrowd offers a money back guarantee. So checkout designcrowd.com/VC and enter the promo code VC100 to get an astonishing $100 off your next project.
 
Jul 20, 2016

Alex Bangash is a Managing Director @ Rumson Group where he helps his clients invest in some of the best performing funds around the world. Alex has done just that having made over 50 investments into funds across the globe. If that was not enough he is also the founder of Trusted Insight, the worlds largest platform for institutional investors and backing from the first investors or founder @ Facebook, LinkedIn, Mint and Match.com.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Alex made his way into the world of investing in VC funds?

2.) Why does Alex believe the whole finance industry is backward looking? Is this why he thinks there is so much VC churn?

3.) Why does Alex believe VC is always about access? Is this why Alex has such a strong preference for funds that are also platforms?

4.) Why does Alex believe true early stage is getting smaller and smaller? How does his return expectations differ according to the size of the fund?

5.) What happens when funds do not go to plan or do not have notable exits to raise fund II? What happens then?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Alex’s Fave Book: Ben Horowitz: Hard Thing About Hard Things, Peter Thiel: Zero To One

Alex’s Fave Blog or Newsletter: Paul Graham

As always you can follow The Twenty Minute VCHarry and Alex on Twitter here!
 
This episode was brought to you by DesignCrowd, the online marketplace for custom graphic, logo and web design that helps startups, entrepreneurs, web developers and agencies outsource design projects to designers from around the world.
 
How Does It Work?
Once you have launched your brief, designers will begin submitting quality designs for you to review. With some constructive feedback, you can quickly generate a large gallery of designs that really do fit your needs. You can have exactly what you need within just three days. Once you have selected your favourite design, you will be sent all the files you require to update your branding. If you don’t like any of the submitted designs, then DesignCrowd offers a money back guarantee. So checkout designcrowd.com/VC and enter the promo code VC100 to get an astonishing $100 off your next project.
 
Jul 18, 2016

Jeff Bussgang is a Co-Founder and General partner @ Flybridge Capital, where has made investments in numerous incredible companies including 2 former guests of the show, Jeff Seibert @ Crashlytics (sold to Twitter) and Josh Udashkin @ Raden. Jeff is also a Senior Lecturer @ Harvard Business School where he has co-authored no less than 15 cases. He is also an author having written the renowned, Mastering The VC Game to the acclaim of The Financial Times, TechCrunch, BusinessWeek and more. Jeff also has an incredible blog, Seeing Both Sides, which you can find here.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jeff made his way into VC? How did he come to co-found Flybridge?

2.) To what extent does Jeff believe there is a glass ceiling for people without operations experience to progress up the VC ladder?

3.) How can companies establish cultures and processes when they have to change and reinvent every 6-12 months?

4.) What are venture returns? What metrics does Jeff use to determine his success?

5.) Is a focus on unit economics now one of the only ways to achieve equity value creation? How can consumer adoption drive equity value creation?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Jeff’s Fave Book: Man's Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Jeff's Fave Blog or Newsletter: Mattermark Daily

Jeff’s Most Recent Investment: Sentenai

As always you can follow The Twenty Minute VCHarry and Jeff on Twitter here!
If you would like to see a more colourful side to Harry with many a mojito session, you can follow him on Snapchat here!
 
This episode was brought to you by DesignCrowd, the online marketplace for custom graphic, logo and web design that helps startups, entrepreneurs, web developers and agencies outsource design projects to designers from around the world.
 
How Does It Work?
Once you have launched your brief, designers will begin submitting quality designs for you to review. With some constructive feedback, you can quickly generate a large gallery of designs that really do fit your needs. You can have exactly what you need within just three days. Once you have selected your favourite design, you will be sent all the files you require to update your branding. If you don’t like any of the submitted designs, then DesignCrowd offers a money back guarantee. So checkout designcrowd.com/VC and enter the promo code VC100 to get an astonishing $100 off your next project.
 
Jul 15, 2016

Kyle Hill is the Co-Founder & CEO @ HomeHero, one of the largest providers of non-medical home care in California. HomeHero has provided over 1 million hours of care to thousands of families and won "Best Employment Website of 2014". Due to this immense success Kyle has been on CNN, Forbes, Wall Street Journal and many more. HomeHero has raised funds from some of the world's best investors including Chamath & Mamoon @ Social Capital, Jason Calacanis @ TWIST and Peter & Michael @ Science Inc.

Click To Play

UPVOTE ON PRODUCTHUNT

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Kyle came to found HomeHero? What was the a-ha moment for him?

2.) Question from Mamoon @ Social Capital: Considering that this is not your typical software business; being largely people centric, how does Kyle think about the profitability of such a business?

3.) How much of a role does unit economics lay in the mind of Kyle? How does Kyle look to balance growth with profitability?

4.) How was the fundraising process for Kyle with Chamath & Mamoon @ Social Capital? What did Kyle do to prepare for the pitch? What did Kyle do well? What would Kyle look to improve upon? How would Kyle like VCs to treat him as a Founder?

5.) ?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Kyle's’s Fave Book: Black Swan

Kyle’s Fave Blog: The Best Designs.com

As always you can follow The Twenty Minute VCHarry and Kyle on Twitter here!
If you would like to see a more colourful side to Harry with many a mojito session, you can follow him on Snapchat here!
 
This episode was brought to you by DesignCrowd, the online marketplace for custom graphic, logo and web design that helps startups, entrepreneurs, web developers and agencies outsource design projects to designers from around the world.
 
How Does It Work?
Once you have launched your brief, designers will begin submitting quality designs for you to review. With some constructive feedback, you can quickly generate a large gallery of designs that really do fit your needs. You can have exactly what you need within just three days. Once you have selected your favourite design, you will be sent all the files you require to update your branding. If you don’t like any of the submitted designs, then DesignCrowd offers a money back guarantee. So checkout designcrowd.com/VC and enter the promo code VC100 to get an astonishing $100 off your next project.
Jul 13, 2016

Brad Burnham is the Co-Founder & Managing Partner @ Union Square Ventures. I feel Brad is far better described by his partner Fred Wilson, than I ever could so this is Fred's words on Brad. "Brad and I founded USV together in 2003. We had both been in the venture business for more than a decade, had made a fair bit of money, but were still hungry to prove ourselves. Brad is the strategist and the most principled investor in our firm. It was Brad's idea to write a treatise on venture capital and the internet before we set off to raise our first fund and that exercise we did together continues to be our guiding light. Brad is the person behind phrases like "the application layer of the technology stack" and "large networks of engaged users" that I use all the time. He gives me most of my good stuff which I often get credit for."

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Brad made his way into VC? How did he come to co-found USV with Fred in 2003?

2.) How did Brad approach team building with USV? What does he look for in his partners?

3.) Brad has previously stated his belief that 'history does not repeat itself but it does rhyme. How does this affect Brad's view toward market cycles, the way tech is adopted and ultimately replaced?

4.) What does Brad make of the extension of the private market? Are we entering a period of consolidation? What makes Brad believe this?

5.) Looking back at the history of USV, what have been the inflection points in both the stature of the firm and then Brad's learnings as a VC?

 

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Brad’s Fave Book: The Irrational Optimist

Brad’s Most Recent Investment: OB1

As always you can follow The Twenty Minute VCHarry and Brad on Twitter here!
If you would like to see a more colourful side to Harry with many a mojito session, you can follow him on Snapchat here!
 
This episode was brought to you by DesignCrowd, the online marketplace for custom graphic, logo and web design that helps startups, entrepreneurs, web developers and agencies outsource design projects to designers from around the world.
 
How Does It Work?
Once you have launched your brief, designers will begin submitting quality designs for you to review. With some constructive feedback, you can quickly generate a large gallery of designs that really do fit your needs. You can have exactly what you need within just three days. Once you have selected your favourite design, you will be sent all the files you require to update your branding. If you don’t like any of the submitted designs, then DesignCrowd offers a money back guarantee. So checkout designcrowd.com/VC and enter the promo code VC100 to get an astonishing $100 off your next project.
Jul 11, 2016

Albert Wenger is a partner at Union Square Ventures, one of the world's leading VC firms with investments in Twitter, Twilio, Zynga, Soundcloud, Tumblr, Lending Club and many more. Before joining USV, Albert was the president of del.icio.us through the company’s sale to Yahoo and an angel investor (Etsy, Tumblr). He previously founded or co-founded several companies, including a management consulting firm and an early hosted data analytics company. Albert also writes a fantastic blog at Continuations.com and did a brilliant Ted X Talk here!

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Albert made his way into the wonderful world of VC?

2.) Albert breaks down the differences between the instalment and the deployment phases of technology? At what stage USV choose to invest and why?

3.) How much of a role does valuation play in Albert's investment decision making process? At what level does speculation become irrational exuberance?

4.) Why does Albert want to limit network effects that are provided to winning companies? What does Albert think makes a contestable market? What are the characteristics?

5.) Why is Albert such a protagonist for the basic income guarantee? What are the challenges? How will this affect human's relationship to automation? What will mankind do with this increased abundance of time?

6.) Why does Albert believe that every individual has the right to be presented by a personal bot? What are the prominent use cases? How does it invert the power relationships between networks and their participants?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Albert’s Fave Book: Beginning of Infinity 

Albert’s Fave Blog or Newsletter: Azeem Azhar: The Exponential View

Albert’s Most Recent Investment: Clue: Period and Ovulation Tracker

As always you can follow The Twenty Minute VCHarry and Albert on Twitter here!
 
This episode was brought to you by DesignCrowd, the online marketplace for custom graphic, logo and web design that helps startups, entrepreneurs, web developers and agencies outsource design projects to designers from around the world.
 
How Does It Work?
Once you have launched your brief, designers will begin submitting quality designs for you to review. With some constructive feedback, you can quickly generate a large gallery of designs that really do fit your needs. You can have exactly what you need within just three days. Once you have selected your favourite design, you will be sent all the files you require to update your branding. If you don’t like any of the submitted designs, then DesignCrowd offers a money back guarantee. So checkout designcrowd.com/VC and enter the promo code VC100 to get an astonishing $100 off your next project.
Jul 8, 2016

Frank Mycroft is the Founder & CEO @ Booster Fuels, the on-demand fuel delivery service backed by the likes of our friends at Maveron and Version One. As for Frank himself, he is literally a former rocket scientist with Nasa and has more degrees that I have done podcast episodes, making him one of the smartest guests we have ever had on the show. Directly prior to Booster Fuels, Frank was the VP of Strategy @ Planetary Resources, the Redmond based, asteroid mining company. 

 In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Frank came to Found Booster Fuels from his days with Nasa?

2.) How important a role does naivety play for founders starting building their company?

3.) With Fuel being such a  low margin business, how does Frank balance growth vs profitability with Booster Fuels? What are the tips for doing so in the on-demand economy?

4.) When is the transition point between growth at all costs to focusing on profitability and unit economics?

5.) To what extent is regulation a limiting factor for the growth of Booster fuels?

6.) Question from Dave Wu @ Maveron: What did Frank look for in his Series A investors? Question from Angela @ Version One: What is Frank's wider vision for the future of on demand and Booster Fuels?

 

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Frank’s Fave Book: Oh The Places You'll Go

As always you can follow The Twenty Minute VCHarry and Frank  on Twitter here!
If you would like to see a more colourful side to Harry with many a mojito session, you can follow him on Snapchat here!
 
This episode was brought to you by DesignCrowd, the online marketplace for custom graphic, logo and web design that helps startups, entrepreneurs, web developers and agencies outsource design projects to designers from around the world.
 
How Does It Work?
Once you have launched your brief, designers will begin submitting quality designs for you to review. With some constructive feedback, you can quickly generate a large gallery of designs that really do fit your needs. You can have exactly what you need within just three days. Once you have selected your favourite design, you will be sent all the files you require to update your branding. If you don’t like any of the submitted designs, then DesignCrowd offers a money back guarantee. So checkout designcrowd.com/VC and enter the promo code VC100 to get an astonishing $100 off your next project.

 

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