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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: 2018
Dec 28, 2018

Andrew Dudum is the Founder & CEO @ Himsone 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.

Dec 17, 2018

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.

Dec 14, 2018

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.

Dec 10, 2018

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.

Dec 7, 2018

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.

Dec 3, 2018

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.

Nov 30, 2018

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.

Nov 26, 2018

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.

Nov 19, 2018

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.

Nov 12, 2018

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.

 

Nov 9, 2018

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.

Nov 5, 2018

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.

Nov 2, 2018

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.

Oct 29, 2018

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.

Oct 26, 2018

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.

Oct 22, 2018

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.

Oct 19, 2018

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.

 

Oct 15, 2018

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.

Oct 12, 2018

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.

Oct 8, 2018

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.

Oct 5, 2018

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.

Oct 1, 2018

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.

Sep 28, 2018

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.

Sep 24, 2018

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.

Sep 21, 2018

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.

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