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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
Mar 16, 2018

Mike Silagadze is the Founder & CEO @ Top Hat, the market leader in student engagement software, and is used by millions of students at three-quarters of the top 1,000 colleges and universities in North America. To date, they have raised over $47m in VC funding from many friends and former guests on the show including Albert Wenger @ USV, Boris Wertz @ Version One, Uncork Capital, Felicis and Emergence just to name a few. As for Mike, prior to TopHat, he was a developer at MioVision Technologies.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Mike made his way into the world of startups and came to realise the current method of learning was so broken?

2.) Why does Mike believe that investors have an automatic dislike to edtech? Why does he believe it is the most difficult to market to enter? Why is go to market one of the biggest challenges? How can on innovate on this antiquated go-to-market to enable the rapid scaling required? How did TopHat achieve this?

3.) Why does Mike believe that most companies hire in fundamentally the wrong way? How does Mike balance the complex elements of raw IQ over culture when hiring? If there was one predictive factor Mike uses to hire, what is it? What is the framework and methodology Mike has constructed to ensure the best hires?

4.) What were the biggest mistakes Mike made in scaling out the sales team? Why does Mike think he made them? If he were to advise a younger self, what would be the biggest advice and tips with regards to scaling the sales team, from an engineer's mindset?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Mike’s Fave Book: Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder

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

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

Leesa is the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Leesa have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is ordered completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10-inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com to start the New Year with better nights sleep!

Zoom, fastest growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an array of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one easy platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. Don’t take our word for it. Zoom is the top rated conferencing app across various user review sites including G2Crowd and Trust Radius. And you can sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

Mar 12, 2018

Alex Taussig is a Partner @ Lightspeed Venture Partners, one of the leading firms of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Snapchat, Mulesoft, Max Levchin’s Affirm, The Honest Company and many more incredible companies. As for Alex, at Lightspeed, he has made investments in Zola, Daily Harvest, Vector & Poncho. Before moving to the West Coast, Alex spent 7 years at Highland Capital Partners, where, as a Partner, he made investments in thredUp, JauntVR and RentJuice (acq by Zillow) and was involved in several IPOs. Alex is also the writer of a fantastic newsletter: Drinking From The Firehose.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Alex was inspired by being at Harvard at the time of Facebook to make the move into tech and how that landed a role in VC with Highland Capital Partners?

2.) Why is Alex optimistic about the current state of the retail environment, despite media skepticism? What are the value propositions that physical retail provides online retailers (Warby Parker, Real Real etc)? How does Alex believe we will see the re-platforming of retail in the future?

3.) In today's incumbent world, how can consumer apps demonstrate breakout growth? What does Alex mean when he discusses the importance of product channel fit? Once found, should fuel be poured on the fire to exploit the fit? What would suggest sustainable vs non-sustainable product channel fit to Alex? Who has done this particularly well?

4.) Why does Alex believe that Amazon's cash flow is one of the main reasons for it's success? What is the key working capital metric? How does this unpack into 3 core elements? What is "negative working capital"? What are the core benefits of this? How can startups use these mechanics to use cash flow as their prime advantage?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Alex’s Fave Book: The Divine Comedy

Alex’s Most Recent Investment: The Daily Harvest

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

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

Leesa is the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Leesa have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is ordered completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10-inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com to start the New Year with better nights sleep!

Zoom, fastest growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an array of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one easy platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. Don’t take our word for it. Zoom is the top rated conferencing app across various user review sites including G2Crowd and Trust Radius. And you can sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

Mar 9, 2018

Leore Avidar is the Founder & CEO @ Lob, the startup that provides a powerful suite of API's to deliver robust automation and scale for anything with a stamp. To date, Lob has raised close to $30m in funding from some of the greats of the investing world including Floodgate, Initialized, First Round and most recently YC's Continuity Fund. As for Leore, prior to Lob he spent time in the technical business development team at Amazon Web Services and before that was a derivatives trader on Wall St with Citigroup.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Leore made the move from the world of trading on Wall St to founding one the game-changing companies in the world of API's, Lob?

2.) What does Leore believe are the 2 levers that founders must use when fundraising? How can founders create a sense of VC FOMO when raising their round? How can founders enter a round with leverage? What does always having the upper hand in fundraising look like?

3.) How does Leore define "sustainable growth"? Why does Leore believe that most fast-growing companies do go bankrupt? What is Leore's biggest fear with regards to "sustainable growth"? How does Leore advise founders to think about macro funding conditions when operating their company and thinking about expenditure?

4.) How has Leore seen his role as CEO change with the scaling of the company? Why does Leore believe the main job of the CEO is to hire and replace yourself? What have been the biggest challenges for Leore in the scaling of himself?

5.) Leore wants to create a company where people stay for 30+ years, what are the foundations to a workplace culture with such deep routes? What must be done from management to ensure this? How does Leore approach accountability and responsibility amongst the team?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Leore’s Fave Book: Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter

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

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

Leesa is the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Leesa have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is ordered completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10-inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com to start the New Year with better nights sleep!

Zoom, fastest growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an array of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one easy platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. Don’t take our word for it. Zoom is the top rated conferencing app across various user review sites including G2Crowd and Trust Radius. And you can sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

Mar 5, 2018

Anu Hariharan is a Partner @ Y Combinator's Continuity Fund, the growth stage investing arm of Y Combinator that has made investments in the likes of Segment, Lob (coming on Friday), Convoy, where Anu is a board member and RazorPay. Prior to YC, Anu was an investment partner at Andreessen Horowitz, where she worked actively with the management teams of portfolio companies including Airbnb, Instacart, Medium, OfferUp and Udacity. Before that Anu was a Principal at The Boston Consulting Group's Private Equity practice where she led multiple growth equity due diligences in the consumer and fintech sector.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Anu made her way from engineer to consultant to Andreesen investment partner to now, one of the leading members of YC's growth stage investing vehicle?

2.) How does Anu truly define "network effect"? Where does Anu think startups most commonly misunderstand network effects? Which form of network effect does Anu find most exciting? Why? How has this evolved over the years?

3.) What are the 2 core indicators that show the sustainability of network effect? Looking at past examples of products and founders, who has best executed on this? What are the signs that founding teams fundamentally analyze and optimize network effect virality?

4.) Why does Anu believe that growth teams will be a fundamental requirement for companies in the future? What are the 2 mistakes startups make when establishing their growth team? How does one know when is the right time to build their growth team? What are the core challenges in scaling growth teams? How does this drive decision-making?

5.) How does Anu describe "Phase 1" and "Phase 2" of company scaling? What transition must the CEo adopt when making this scaling transition? Comparing founders, what are the commonalities in those that succeed with the transition and those that do not?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Anu’s Fave Book: Grit by Angela Duckworth

Anu’s Most Recent Investment: Convoy

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

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

Leesa is the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Leesa have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is ordered completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10-inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com to start the New Year with better nights sleep!

Zoom, fastest growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an array of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one easy platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. Don’t take our word for it. Zoom is the top rated conferencing app across various user review sites including G2Crowd and Trust Radius. And you can sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

Mar 2, 2018

Mariam Naficy has pioneered consumer Internet models since 1998, when she co-founded the first online cosmetics retailer, Eve.com, which was sold for over $100 million. Today, Mariam is the Founder & CEO @ Minted, the startup that uses crowdsourcing and analytics to bring the best designs to market faster than anyone. To date, Mariam has raised &89m in VC funding with Minted from some of the best in the business including our favourites Floodgate, Benchmark, Menlo, Slow, Ridge Ventures and then prominent individuals such as Marissa Meyer and Jeremy Stoppelman. In addition, Mariam sits on the Board of Yelp and Every Mother Counts.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Mariam made her way into startups from investment banking and came to sell her first startup, Eve, for $100m in cash within a year before founding Minted?

2.) What were the biggest lessons Mariam learnt from Eve and applied to Minted? Why did Mariam not want to pursue VC funding in the beginning with Minted? What was the inflection point in not taking VC to taking VC funds?

3.) How did Mariam think about capital efficiency in the early days of Minted? How did Mariam see that change with the sudden injection of VC capital? In the heavily funded landscape today, would Mariam have raised VC money from the start, if starting today?

4.) Mariam is a master of internal upscaling, what is the secret to creating a culture of internal continuous learning? Why is rotation within the company roles such a core element? How has Mariam's assessment of people talent changed over the years?

5.) What would Mariam say is her greatest strength and he greatest weakness as a CEO? How has she seen this change with her 20 years of founding companies? How did having children change her outlook on managing people?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Mariam’s Fave Book: The Effective Executive

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

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

Cooley are the global law firm built around startups and venture capital.  Since forming the first venture fund in Silicon Valley, Cooley has formed more venture capital funds than any other law firm in the world, with 50+ years working with VCs. They help VCs form and manage funds, make investments and handle the myriad issues that arise through a fund’s lifetime. So to learn more about the #1 most active law firm representing VC-backed companies going public. Head over to cooley.com and also at cooleygo.com.

Zoom, fastest growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an array of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one easy platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. Don’t take our word for it. Zoom is the top rated conferencing app across various user review sites including G2Crowd and Trust Radius. And you can sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

Feb 26, 2018

Steve Vassallo is a General Partner @ Foundation Capital where he sits or has sat on the boards of Pocket (acquired by Mozilla), PrivateCore (acquired by Facebook), Sunrun [RUN], Sentient Energy and many more. Prior to Foundation, Steve was Senior Vice President of Product and Engineering @ Ning, the social platform he helped launch in 2004. Before that, Steve was a project leader at IDEO, where he developed more than a dozen successful products for companies including Cisco, Nike, BMW and McDonalds. In addition, this year, Steve published The Way to Design, a guidebook for becoming a designer founder and building a design-centric company.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Steve made his way into the world of VC with Foundation from the land of product management?

2.) Why does Steve believe we have seen design move from a styling exercise to the main stage and a foundation of product? How does Steve feel the current crop of VC's analyse and appreciate design? What are they getting wrong? What can be done to engender a new sense of appreciation for good design?

3.) What advice would Steve give to a young person entering the workforce considering founding a startup, joining one or joining an incumbent? Where do they make their biggest mistakes? What is the optimal choice for learning and personal growth?

4.) Why does Steve have a problem with the term "product-market fit"? Where do people misunderstand about PMF? What is one looking to achieve with product market fit? How does Joe Gebbia @ Airbnb best present this idea?

5.)Steve has worked with dozens of 1st time founders over the last decade, what are the commonalities in the mistakes they make? What advice does Steve hear most commonly given that he disagrees with?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Steve’s Fave Book: Poor Charlie's Almanack

Steve’s Most Recent Investment: forusall

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

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

Cooley are the global law firm built around startups and venture capital.  Since forming the first venture fund in Silicon Valley, Cooley has formed more venture capital funds than any other law firm in the world, with 50+ years working with VCs. They help VCs form and manage funds, make investments and handle the myriad issues that arise through a fund’s lifetime. So to learn more about the #1 most active law firm representing VC-backed companies going public. Head over to cooley.com and also at cooleygo.com.

Zoom, fastest growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an array of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one easy platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. Don’t take our word for it. Zoom is the top rated conferencing app across various user review sites including G2Crowd and Trust Radius. And you can sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

Feb 23, 2018

Chris Hutchins is the Founder & CEO @ Grove, the startup reinventing financial planning allowing you to reach your goals with personalized financial advice. Just last week they announced their seed round from some of the best in the business including First Round Capital, Lowercase Capital, Box Group and SV Angel. Prior to Grove, Chris was an Partner & EiR with Google Ventures and before that co-founded Milk (acq by Google) alongside Kevin Rose.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Chris made the move from Google acquired Founder to Partner @ Google Ventures to now, founding First Round backed, Grove?

2.) What does Chris believe are the foundational elements founders must consider pre-fundraise? How does Chris suggest founders structure the process? How important is a fundraise deadline? How does Chris advise founders on getting warm intros, what is best?

3.) How can founders really optimise VC interactions? What is the biggest mistake founders make when meeting VCs? What should founders be looking to take from these meetings? How transparent should founders be about their meetings with other investors?

4.) What are Chris' view on the rise of SAFE's vs priced equity rounds? In what situations do SAFE's make sense? How did Chris think about this with his own fundraise recently? Does Chris believe there is too much money in the ecosystem? Where are there gaps and where is there overfunding?

5.) Why does Chris think hiring is a "big data problem"? Where do many founders make mistakes in recruiting in the early days? What hacks can be done to ensure a quality stream of candidates continuously?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Chris' Fave Book: Happy Money

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

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

Cooley are the global law firm built around startups and venture capital.  Since forming the first venture fund in Silicon Valley, Cooley has formed more venture capital funds than any other law firm in the world, with 50+ years working with VCs. They help VCs form and manage funds, make investments and handle the myriad issues that arise through a fund’s lifetime. So to learn more about the #1 most active law firm representing VC-backed companies going public. Head over to cooley.com and also at cooleygo.com.

Zoom, fastest growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an array of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one easy platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. Don’t take our word for it. Zoom is the top rated conferencing app across various user review sites including G2Crowd and Trust Radius. And you can sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

Feb 19, 2018

Jeremy Liew is a Partner @ Lightspeed Venture Partners, one of the leading firms of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Snapchat, Mulesoft, Max Levchin's Affirm, The Honest Company and many more incredible companies. As for Jeremy, he is best known for being the 1st investor in Snapchat and has also led investments in StitchFix, Affirm, Ripple, Giphy and Bonobos just to name a few. Previously, Jeremy was with AOL, first as SVP of corporate development and chief of staff to the CEO, and then as general manager of Netscape. Due to his incredible investing success, Jeremy has been featured on the Forbes Midas List multiple times.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jeremy made his way from AOL and Netscape to one of the most successful consumer investors of the last decade?

2.) How did the Snapchat deal come about? What did Jeremy see in the early Evan Spiegel that made him so excited? How has Jeremy seen him alter and grow with the company? What did the economics of the deal look like?

3.)Why does Jeremy disagree with much of the pessimism over consumer? How does Jeremy think about the lack of distribution channel availability with Google, Amazon, Apple owning them? How can this also present an opportunity in consumer?

4.) How does Jeremy think about price and price sensitivity? Would he agree with Peter Fenton on, "never turn down a deal based on valuation, it's a mental trap"? How does Lightspeed think about reserve utilization? What does the conviction building process look like for reserve deployment?

5.) Jeremy has sat on the boards of Snapchat, Giphy, Bonobos and had 1,500 hours of board experience, so what makes the truly special board members? Who does Jeremy most like to work with on boards?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Jeremy’s Fave Book: World War Z

Jeremy's Fave Blog: The Information

Jeremy’s Most Recent Investment: Rothy's

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

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

Cooley are the global law firm built around startups and venture capital.  Since forming the first venture fund in Silicon Valley, Cooley has formed more venture capital funds than any other law firm in the world, with 50+ years working with VCs. They help VCs form and manage funds, make investments and handle the myriad issues that arise through a fund’s lifetime. So to learn more about the #1 most active law firm representing VC-backed companies going public. Head over to cooley.com and also at cooleygo.com.

Zoom, fastest growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an array of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one easy platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. Don’t take our word for it. Zoom is the top rated conferencing app across various user review sites including G2Crowd and Trust Radius. And you can sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

Feb 16, 2018

Nadia Boujarwah is the Founder & CEO @ Dia & Co, the startup that provides premier plus size clothing and styling for women. To date they have raised over $20m in funding from some of the best in the business including the likes of Alfred Lin @ Sequoia and the team @ NextView Ventures. Prior to Dia&Co Nadia was the CFO and COO @ Frieda and Nellie and also enjoyed time in the marketing and strategy team @ Diane von Furstenberg.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Nadia made her way from HBS grad to founding one of the hottest e-commerce companies of the day backed by Sequoia, Dia&Co?

2.) Why does Nadia believe that the biggest opportunity for value creation is through category creation? What does Nadia mean when she discusses category re-architecture? How does she think of the inherent cons (CAC, consumer education, distribution etc.)

3.) Despite the likes of Sequoia being invested now, the first year of Dia gained no institutional money. Why does Nadia think this is? What was the inflection point for VC interest? Is there anything that Nadia would change about how she has run the fundraising process?

4.) What does Nadia suggest as some core solutions to ensuring that more females become VCs? How does Nadia believe this will impact the types of companies that are being funded and built? What remain the core issues today?

5.) How does Nadia differentiate between customer centricity and customer devotion? Why is this so crucial in today's proliferated world of e-commerce? How does Nadi and Dia determine with data, the extent to which they achieve their customer devotion targets?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Nadia's Fave Book: Competing Against Luck

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

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

Cooley are the global law firm built around startups and venture capital.  Since forming the first venture fund in Silicon Valley, Cooley has formed more venture capital funds than any other law firm in the world, with 50+ years working with VCs. They help VCs form and manage funds, make investments and handle the myriad issues that arise through a fund’s lifetime. So to learn more about the #1 most active law firm representing VC-backed companies going public. Head over to cooley.com and also at cooleygo.com.

Zoom, fastest growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an array of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one easy platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. Don’t take our word for it. Zoom is the top rated conferencing app across various user review sites including G2Crowd and Trust Radius. And you can sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

Feb 12, 2018

Dick Costolo is the Chief Executive and co-founder of Chorus, a startup that is reimagining the path to personal fitness. Dick is also a Mentor @ Index Ventures, one of the world's leading venture funds, which he joined in 2016. Costolo was most recently Chief Executive of Twitter from 2010 to 2015, where was at the forefront for their hypergrowth onto the main stage of tech. Prior to joining Twitter, Dick co-founded and ran three startups, including FeedBurner, which sold to Google in 2007. The former improv comedian has been a consultant on HBO’s “Silicon Valley” and currently sits on the boards of Patreon and IfOnly.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Dick made his way from Improv Comedian to founding a startup acquired by Google and then becoming CEO of Twitter?

2.) Why does Dick believe that starting a company is like an improv stage? What were Dick's biggest personal learnings from his drama career that he has applied to being a better leader today?

3.) Having given up the comedy dream for tech, how does Dick balance the entrepreneurial unwavering vision with a realism of when things are not working? What is the inflection point?

4.) What was the biggest challenge over the 5 years in scaling Twitter? What strategies did Dick utilise to combat this? How does Dick think about creating a culture of accountability without fear? How does this change the ownership of decisions?

5.) What is Dick's biggest superpower and super weakness? Why must all entrepreneurs have to have a fundamental ability to compartmentalize? In terms of temperament, what were Dick's biggest lessons from watching Youtube CEO, Susan Wojcicki, operate?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Dick’s Fave Book: Creativity Inc.

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

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

Cooley are the global law firm built around startups and venture capital.  Since forming the first venture fund in Silicon Valley, Cooley has formed more venture capital funds than any other law firm in the world, with 50+ years working with VCs. They help VCs form and manage funds, make investments and handle the myriad issues that arise through a fund’s lifetime. So to learn more about the #1 most active law firm representing VC-backed companies going public. Head over to cooley.com and also at cooleygo.com.

Zoom, fastest growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an array of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one easy platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. Don’t take our word for it. Zoom is the top rated conferencing app across various user review sites including G2Crowd and Trust Radius. And you can sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

Feb 5, 2018

Brian Garrett is the Founding Partner @ Crosscut Ventures, one of LA's leading venture funds today with a portfolio including Super Evil Mega Corp, The Black Tux and Mobcrush just to name a few. Incredibly during the early days of Crosscut, Brian went back into a full-time operating role with a Public-company turnaround at Quepasa.com before co-founding vertical eCommerce brand StyleSaint.com. After surviving with the equivalent of two full-time jobs for roughly 6 years, Brian the attention of institutional capital, which enabled CrossCut to scale into a fund with $75M raised for CrossCut 3 in 2015. This has snowballed to their latest fund raised in December being $125m.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Brian made his way into the world of VC and came to found one of LA's leading funds in the form of Crosscut?

2.) What does Brian believe are the 3 core components that make for a successful VC? How important is the presence of humility for VCs today? How does Brian look to balance between arrogance and confidence? How is this shown in the entrepreneurial class?

3.) Why does Brian believe that vulnerability is actually a strength today? How can entrepreneurs be honest and vulnerable without ruining market perceptions and future fundraising aspirations?

4.) How does Brian look to place his relationship with the entrepreneur at the very core of every investment he makes? What does this relationship onboarding process look like? Is this possible in the fast-moving world of US deals today?

5.) What was the most challenging fundraise for Brian? Why was this case? How has he seen the evolution of Californian tech over the last few years since Fund III? What was the most memorable LP meeting for Brian?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Brian's Fave Book: The Alchemist

Brian’s Most Recent Investment: Fuzzy Pet Health

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

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

Cooley are the global law firm built around startups and venture capital.  Since forming the first venture fund in Silicon Valley, Cooley has formed more venture capital funds than any other law firm in the world, with 50+ years working with VCs. They help VCs form and manage funds, make investments and handle the myriad issues that arise through a fund’s lifetime. So to learn more about the #1 most active law firm representing VC-backed companies going public. Head over to cooley.com and also at cooleygo.com.

Zoom, fastest growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an array of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one easy platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. Don’t take our word for it. Zoom is the top rated conferencing app across various user review sites including G2Crowd and Trust Radius. And you can sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

Feb 2, 2018

Andy Pflaum is the Founder & CEO @ Astrothe startup that brings email, calendar, and an AI-powered assistant together to help you focus on what’s most important. They have raised over $10m from leading West Coast investors such as Satish @ Redpoint, former guests Kent Goldman @ Upside and Michael Dearing @ Harrison Metal. As for Andy, prior to founding Astro, he spent 15 years in the valley, serving as the CMO @ Zimbra where he saw their immense scaling to their $350m acquisition by VMware where he then spent time on the other side of the table before moving to Chile to manage a family winery for 1.5 years.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Andy made his way into the world of startups, made the transition to large corporates with VMware and Yahoo, came to run a Winery in Chile before founding Astro?

2.) Found a startup, work in early-stage startup or work at large incumbent; where does Andy believe young people today have the biggest growth opportunities? How does this mean emerging startups have to react to attain that talent?

3.) Why does Andy disagree with the notion that more and more incumbents are falling? Why is it harder than ever to compete against such a strong set of incumbents? What are the dangers of dependency on paid growth?

4.) How does Andy feel about distributed workforces? What is core to attaining the individuals and then scaling them successfully as a team, in a distributed fashion? How does Andy feel about hiring technical talent in the bay today?

5.) Why does Andy also argue, despite the incumbents, that it is also easier than ever to operate a business today What are the core changes that have allowed for this to happen? How does Andy break down the tech stack they use for Astro?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Andy’s Fave Book: The Wright Brothers

Andy’s Fave Blog: Tom TunguzMichael Dearing: Harrison Metal

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

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

NatureBox Unlimited snack plans offer all you can eat snacks for one fixed price per employee. Naturebox use simple ingredients you can trust to create bold flavors you can’t find anywhere else. All NatureBox snacks are free from artificial junk and variety is endless with options from sweet or savory to vegan or gluten-free. Simply choose the plan that fits your team’s unique snacking habits and select any of NatureBox’s time-saving add-on’s. And beyond Unlimited snacks, you’ll receive perks such as free kitchen setup, no contracts, a dedicated account manager and more. Simply click here to and use the offer code VC20 to get 20% of your first Naturebox month.

Leesa is the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Leesa have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is ordered completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10-inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com to start the New Year with better nights sleep!

Jan 29, 2018

Andrew Parker is a General Partner @ Spark Capital, one of the best performing funds of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Twitter, Slack, Oculus, Medium, PostMates, Cruise (acq $1Bn) the list goes on. As for Andrew, he has led Spark’s investments in CartaKik, PanoramaEducationSocraticSplashParticle and Quantopian. Prior to joining Spark in 2010, Andrew was a member of the investment team at Union Square Ventures. Before becoming an investor, Andrew did UI design and user-experience testing at Homestead Technologies and was a web developer at Groupspace.org.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Andrew made his way from UI design and user-experience testing to joining the investment team @ USV and then joining Spark?

2.) Andrew credits USV with 2 big takeaways that influence how he invests today, what are they? What were his big lessons from working alongside Fred Wilson and Brad Burnham? How did this experience change and improve his thinking of developing and investing in a thesis??

3.) Question from Henry Ward @ eShares: What is the most important quality in a CEO? How does Andrew balance between founder naivety and realism? What are the signs that although a vision is present, a founder is also realistic?

4.) What is the most important quality in being a board member to a CEO? How has Henry @ eShares constructed his board to allow them to have maximum impact in the internal operations of the company? How does this further improve board meeting? What does Andrew view as his biggest strengths and weaknesses as a board member?

5.) How does Andrew think about pricing and how the importance of pricing changes along the investing spectrum from seed to later stage? What does an investor's response to price reveal about the proposition? How does Andrew analyze capital allocation on reserve financing? What does this decision-making process look like?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Andrew’s Fave Book: Snow Crash

Andrew’s Fave Blog: Money Stuff by Matt Levine

Andrew’s Most Recent Investment: Particle

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

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

NatureBox Unlimited snack plans offer all you can eat snacks for one fixed price per employee. Naturebox use simple ingredients you can trust to create bold flavors you can’t find anywhere else. All NatureBox snacks are free from artificial junk and variety is endless with options from sweet or savory to vegan or gluten-free. Simply choose the plan that fits your team’s unique snacking habits and select any of NatureBox’s time-saving add-on’s. And beyond Unlimited snacks, you’ll receive perks such as free kitchen setup, no contracts, a dedicated account manager and more. Simply click here to and use the offer code VC20 to get 20% of your first Naturebox month.

Leesa is the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Leesa have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is ordered completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10-inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com to start the New Year with better nights sleep!

Jan 26, 2018

Neil Young is the Founder & CEO @ N3twork, the next generation mobile games maker and publisher with their services already touching millions of customers. They have raised over $17m in VC funding from some of the very best in the business including Mike Maples @ Floodgate, Bing Gordon @ KPCB and the team at Google Ventures. Prior to N3TWORK, Neil founded ngmoco, a leading social mobile games company, acquired by DeNA for a reported up to $400m. Before ngmoco, Neil spent many years at Electronic Arts where he was responsible for producing some of EA's most successful game franchises including: The Lord of the Rings, The Sims, Medal of Honor and Command and Conquer, among others.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Neil made his way from telling his mother in the UK he was not going to university to producing world-leading games, to selling a company for a reported $400m?

2.) What are the 2 questions Neil believes everyone should ask when evaluating the potential of a new platform? How does Neil think about the platform shifts at present given his publishing to mobile? Where do most people make mistakes when assessing platform shifts?

3.) Peter Fenton stated on the show: "startups are starved of free and open distribution". How does Neil think about incumbency advantages with regards to distribution? Would an open platform yield greater potential distribution? How does Neil view the world of paid and performance marketing today? How has his views changed on the space?

4.) What are the 3 things that Neil believes all founders must do in order to assemble and manage a board successfully? Why is it important to listen to board members on their own and as a group and compare? Where do most founders go wrong in board management?

5.) Neil sold ngmoco for a reported $400m, what does Neil believe are the 2 big questions that all founders must ask themselves when contemplating a potential sale? What are the 2 different types of acquisitions that exist today?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Neil’s Fave Book: The Second World War

Neil’s Fave Blog: Gaming Insiders

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

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

NatureBox Unlimited snack plans offer all you can eat snacks for one fixed price per employee. Naturebox use simple ingredients you can trust to create bold flavors you can’t find anywhere else. All NatureBox snacks are free from artificial junk and variety is endless with options from sweet or savory to vegan or gluten-free. Simply choose the plan that fits your team’s unique snacking habits and select any of NatureBox’s time-saving add-on’s. And beyond Unlimited snacks, you’ll receive perks such as free kitchen setup, no contracts, a dedicated account manager and more. Simply click here to and use the offer code VC20 to get 20% of your first Naturebox month.

Leesa is the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Leesa have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is ordered completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10-inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com to start the New Year with better nights sleep!

Jan 22, 2018

Eurie Kim is a General Partner @ Forerunner Ventures, the early stage firm dedicated to investing in entrepreneurs defining the next generation of commerce. Fun fact, they are the only firm to have investments in both Jet.com and Dollar Shave Club, two of the biggest and highest-profile e-commerce exits in recent years. Forerunner also counts Birchbox, Bonobos, Glossier, Hotel Tonight, Warby Parker and Zola among its portfolio companies. Prior to Forerunner, Eurie was a consultant at Bain and before that an investor at Castanea Partners. Eurie currently sits on the boards of companies such as Away, MoveWith and The Farmers Dog, just to name a few.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Eurie made her into the world of VC and investing in the next generation of commerce with Forerunner?

2.) How does Eurie look to argue that commerce deals do attain the same revenue multiple on exit as enterprise deals? Do Forerunner think about exit potential when investing in companies? How does this Eurie's thesis on both ownership and price sensitivity? What are the required fund-returning ownership levels today?

3.) With the time it takes for brands to flourish, how does Forerunner think about reserve allocation? How does Forerunner determine which companies to double down on and which to constrain capital? Why does Eurie believe that it takes less time than ever for brands to flourish today? What is a good example of this?

4.) How does Eurie define the term "digitally native vertically integrated brand"? What are the core components that make those all star brands of today shine in the early days? What are the commonalities in those successful founders that build these mega brands?

5.) Given the rise of some prominent new brands eating incumbent market share, does Eurie believe this is a market of consolidation or new incumbents will be made? How does Eurie view the role of Amazon? To what extent does Eurie observe and analyse Amazon's activity?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Eurie’s Fave Book: Blue Ocean Strategy 

Eurie's Fave Blog: Business of Fashion

Eurie’s Most Recent Investment: Shop Shops

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

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

NatureBox Unlimited snack plans offer all you can eat snacks for one fixed price per employee. Naturebox use simple ingredients you can trust to create bold flavors you can’t find anywhere else. All NatureBox snacks are free from artificial junk and variety is endless with options from sweet or savory to vegan or gluten-free. Simply choose the plan that fits your team’s unique snacking habits and select any of NatureBox’s time-saving add-on’s. And beyond Unlimited snacks, you’ll receive perks such as free kitchen setup, no contracts, a dedicated account manager and more. Simply click here to and use the offer code VC20 to get 20% of your first Naturebox month.

Leesa is the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Leesa have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is ordered completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10-inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com to start the New Year with better nights sleep!

Jan 19, 2018

Florian Leibert is the Founder & CEO @ Mesosphere, the most flexible platform for containerized, data-intensive applications. They are trusted by some of the world's leading companies from Yelp to Yammer to Verizon and have raised over $120m in VC funding from the likes of a16z, Kleiner Perkins, Khosla, Data Collective and then incumbents such as Microsoft and Hewlett Packard. Prior to founding Mesosphere, Florian spent time with Twitter and Airbnb, both as a tech lead and if that was not enough, Florian also has a stellar angel portfolio including the likes of Away, Cockroach Labs, Drift and Buoyant.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Florian came to found Mesosphere? What were the big takeaways for him from his more formative years at Twitter and Airbnb?

2.) Why does Florian believe that sometimes "you should not listen to your investors"? What is the right way to communicate this disagreement to them? What supporting evidence is required to substantiate your thoughts? What method would Florian prefer to receive such feedback?

3.) What are the biggest benefits of having strategics such as Microsoft and Hewlett Packard on the cap table? What are some potential drawbacks? What advice would Florian give to founders contemplating taking strategic investment? When is the right time for these staretgics to insert themselves?

4.) With the scaling of Mesosphere, how have Florian's thoughts and approach to sales execution changed? What have been the core struggles? Why does Florian think it is imperative to build the sales team slowly?

5.) At what point does Florian think that operational efficiency must be front and centre for founders scaling their companies? What has Florian found to be the most challenging personally in achieving such operational efficiency?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Florian’s Fave Book: Alchemist: A Fable about Following Your Dream

Florian's Fave Blog: Seeking Alpha

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

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

NatureBox Unlimited snack plans offer all you can eat snacks for one fixed price per employee. Naturebox use simple ingredients you can trust to create bold flavors you can’t find anywhere else. All NatureBox snacks are free from artificial junk and variety is endless with options from sweet or savory to vegan or gluten-free. Simply choose the plan that fits your team’s unique snacking habits and select any of NatureBox’s time-saving add-on’s. And beyond Unlimited snacks, you’ll receive perks such as free kitchen setup, no contracts, a dedicated account manager and more. Simply click here to and use the offer code VC20 to get 20% of your first Naturebox month.

Leesa is the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Leesa have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is ordered completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10-inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com to start the New Year with better nights sleep!

Jan 17, 2018

Sam Altman is the president of Y Combinator, the world’s most successful accelerator with alumni that includes the likes of Airbnb, Dropbox, Reddit, Flexport and many more incredible companies. Sam is also the co-chair of OpenAI, thenon-profit AI research company, discovering and enacting the path to safe artificial general intelligence. Prior to YC, Sam was co-founder and CEO of Loopt, which was funded by Y Combinator in 2005 and acquired by Green Dot in 2012. Sam also founded Hydrazine Capital, whose stellar portfolio included the likes of Zenefits, Flexport and Soylent.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Sam made his way into the world of startups with Loopt and YC? How he came to invest with Hydrazine Capital and then rejoin YC as Partner and now President?

2.) Having watched and seen Paul Graham since Batch 1, what does Sam believe makes Paul Graham the special leader he is? What makes Sam and Paul such great Partners? How did they enact the transition of Sam to President? How did it change the relationship?

3.) What is Sam's tactic that he uses to fully evaluate the skills and execution of a founder? When investing where did Sam make his most frequent mistakes? Why does Sam expect seed stage investing as a whole, will compress? Is Sam concerned of too much capital in the market at present?

4.) Question from Jack Altman: what is the main difference between a great seed investor and a great Series A investor? Sam has said before he likes to invest in messy, somewhat broken companies". How does Sam determine between the fixable and the unfixable? How much of a role does price play in his evaluation of an opportunity?

5.) One of Sam's recent goals was "figure out how to scale YC 2x". How does Sam think about this in terms of stage? Will YC replace VC with lifecycle funding? How does Sam think about YC's expansion geographically into China? How does Sam assess the vertical expansion of deep tech and bio tech that YC is going after?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Sam’s Fave Book: The Making of The Atomic Bomb

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

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

NatureBox Unlimited snack plans offer all you can eat snacks for one fixed price per employee. Naturebox use simple ingredients you can trust to create bold flavors you can’t find anywhere else. All NatureBox snacks are free from artificial junk and variety is endless with options from sweet or savory to vegan or gluten-free. Simply choose the plan that fits your team’s unique snacking habits and select any of NatureBox’s time-saving add-on’s. And beyond Unlimited snacks, you’ll receive perks such as free kitchen setup, no contracts, a dedicated account manager and more. Simply click here to and use the offer code VC20 to get 20% of your first Naturebox month.

Leesa is the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Leesa have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is ordered completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10-inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com to start the New Year with better nights sleep!

Jan 15, 2018

Emilie Choi is Head of Corporate Development @ Linkedin where she has led 40+ acquisitions, acquihires or investments. In terms of acquisitions, Emilie led the acquisitions of Lynda, Bizo, Newsle, Bright, Pulse, SlideShare, and Rapportive just to name a few. On the strategic investment side, she led Linkedin's investment in Cornerstone On Demand and G2 Crowd. Before Linkedin, Emilie enjoyed roles such as Director of Digital Business Strategy and Operations at Warner Bros, International Strategy and Ops @ MySpace and Corp Dev and Strategy @ Yahoo. Emilie has also sat on the Naspers board for the last 10 years.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Emilie made her way into the world of M&A and came to lead over 40+ game-changing acquisitions for Linkedin?

2.) In 2016, M&A made up 95% of startup exits, how does Emilie evaluate the current state of exit environments? What 2 reasons have caused the drop in startup M&A? How does Emilie view the rise of PE and strategic investors to the acquisition markets?

3.) Paul Graham said ‘startups should only talk to corp dev when they are doing really well or really badly’. What are Emilie's thoughts on when is the right time for startups to have conversations with Corp Dev teams? When does Emilie you most like to begin the relationship? How does Emilie like to work with VCs in this relationship building?

4.) Paul Graham also described the structure of M&A as "grueling". Does Emilie agree with this? How does Emilie map out the structure of a typical M&A deal, from start to finish? How much of a role does price play in her evaluation of a deal? How does Emilie measure the success of an acquisition?

5.) Matt Switzer @ Hootsuite stated the biggest M&A risk to be integration. What does smooth integrations look like for both consumer vs enterprise? Why do they differ? How can this integration work be de-risked and front loaded?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Emilie’s Fave Book: The Bonfire of the Vanities 

Emilie’s Most Recent Investment: Heighten

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

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

NatureBox Unlimited snack plans offer all you can eat snacks for one fixed price per employee. Naturebox use simple ingredients you can trust to create bold flavors you can’t find anywhere else. All NatureBox snacks are free from artificial junk and variety is endless with options from sweet or savory to vegan or gluten-free. Simply choose the plan that fits your team’s unique snacking habits and select any of NatureBox’s time-saving add-on’s. And beyond Unlimited snacks, you’ll receive perks such as free kitchen setup, no contracts, a dedicated account manager and more. Simply click here to and use the offer code VC20 to get 20% of your first Naturebox month.

Leesa is the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Leesa have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is ordered completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10-inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com to start the New Year with better nights sleep!

Jan 12, 2018

Henry Davis is the President and COO @ Glossier, a New York brand that has taken the beauty world by storm. To date they have raised close to $35m in VC funding from some of the best in the business including past guests on the show Kirsten Green @ Forerunner, Index Ventures, IVP and our friends at Thrive. As for Henry, prior to entering the world of beauty and brands with Glossier, he sat on the other side of the table as a VC with Index Ventures in London. Before that, for his sins, Henry spent time in the world of corporate finance with Citi Group.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Henry made his way from rising star in London VC with Index to President of New York's hottest beauty brand, Glossier?

2.) From a personal security standpoint, was it tough to move from a more secure role in VC to startups? Why does Henry believe the nature of risk is forgotten in entrepreneurship? Why does Henry believe the best entrepreneurs risk mitigate?

3.)What does branded e-commerce really mean to Henry? Why does Henry believe that Amazon have already won multi-brand? What 3 dimensions does Henry present for how Amazon has changed a consumer's expectations of e-commerce? Have Amazon done more to make the market than destroy it?

4.) Why does Henry not believe that brands have as much brand loyalty as they think they do? With that in mind and many recent acquisitions, is this not a market of consolidation? Why are acquisitions cheap for incumbents today? How does this compare to the supply of capital available to startups, ultimately, altering their willingness?

5.) Henry has stated before that there are 3 strategies that can be done to improve diversity in the workforce, what are they? How must your hiring process be structured? How must your culture be structured? Where do most people go wrong in hiring diverse teams?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Henry’s Fave Book: Anna Karenina

Henry’s Fave Blog: Human Rights Watch 

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

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

NatureBox Unlimited snack plans offer all you can eat snacks for one fixed price per employee. Naturebox use simple ingredients you can trust to create bold flavors you can’t find anywhere else. All NatureBox snacks are free from artificial junk and variety is endless with options from sweet or savory to vegan or gluten-free. Simply choose the plan that fits your team’s unique snacking habits and select any of NatureBox’s time-saving add-on’s. And beyond Unlimited snacks, you’ll receive perks such as free kitchen setup, no contracts, a dedicated account manager and more. Simply click here to and use the offer code VC20 to get 20% of your first Naturebox month.

Leesa is the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Leesa have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is ordered completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10-inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com to start the New Year with better nights sleep!

Jan 10, 2018

Crystal Huang is a Principal @ GGV Capital, one of the world's leading venture firms partnering with entrepreneurs in the world's largest markets, the US and China. At GGV Crystal led the firm's investment in Wigo (acquired by Cinemagram) and attends board meetings at Tile and Flightcar. Crystal is also a board member @ NextGen partners, the organization representing the future General Partners within the bay area. Prior to joining GGV, Crystal worked as an analyst in Blackstone's Technology M&A Advisory Group and due to her immense promise and success already, Crystal has been named to Forbes' 30 Under 30 Venture Capital.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Crystal made her way into the world of VC from Tech M&A with Blackstone?

2.) How does Crystal view the ongoing debate of operator vs non-operator experience? Does Crystal agree with Pat Grady that the rate of decay on operating experience has never been greater? What elements of operational experience, applied to VC, do stand the test of time?

3.) What does Crystal believe are the 3 key differences when comparing the US and Asian tech markets? How do deal sizes change across geographies? What does this do to the unit economics of the businesses? How does vendor engagement and sales cycles differ?

4.) In a world of Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent quickly acquiring or copying innovative ideas, is there a market for true later stage VC in Asia? Where are the market opportunities? How does incumbent power in Asia differ to incumbent power in the US?

5.) How does Crystal fundamentally see distribution models vary between the US and Asia? Has Asia enjoyed the same rise of the "self-service model" enacted by many in the US? What does this mean for internal org structures and unit economics?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Crystal’s Fave Book: The Code Book

Crystal’s Most Recent Investment: BitSight

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

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

NatureBox Unlimited snack plans offer all you can eat snacks for one fixed price per employee. Naturebox use simple ingredients you can trust to create bold flavors you can’t find anywhere else. All NatureBox snacks are free from artificial junk and variety is endless with options from sweet or savory to vegan or gluten-free. Simply choose the plan that fits your team’s unique snacking habits and select any of NatureBox’s time-saving add-on’s. And beyond Unlimited snacks, you’ll receive perks such as free kitchen setup, no contracts, a dedicated account manager and more. Simply click here to and use the offer code VC20 to get 20% of your first Naturebox month.

Leesa is the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Leesa have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is ordered completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10-inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com to start the New Year with better nights sleep!

Jan 8, 2018

Hans Tung is a Managing Partner @ GGV Capital, one of the world's leading venture firms partnering with entrepreneurs in the world's largest markets, the US and China. Evident when looking at Han's incredible investments in the likes of Wish, Poshmark, musical.ly, Slack and OfferUp in the US and then Xiaomi, Forgame, and Domob Ads in Asia. Previously, Hans was with Bessemer Venture Partners, where he helped global players such as Skype expand into China. Hans was also a founding member of two pan-Asian internet startups that were subsequently sold to telcos. Due to his incredible success, Hans has been ranked as a top VC on the Forbes Midas list since 2013 and was recognized by The Founder and CBN News magazines in the past as a Top 10 most entrepreneur-friendly VC in China.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Hans made his way into VC with Bessemer having founded and exited 2 prior startups?

2.) Why does Hans believe that the globalisation of consumer mobile companies is the biggest trend in his career? Why is Hans still so attracted to consumer with lacking distribution channel availability and incumbents like Amazon? Have Amazon already won?

3.) What were Hans' biggest lessons from investing in China that have allowed him to invest better in the US? How does Hans evaluate prior US companies entering strategies into China? How does he analyse Uber's entering into China?

4.) Hans has backed some of the hottest companies in the business from Airbnb to Wish, how does Hans respond to price sensitivity and having to pay up to get into the round? How does Hans think about the opportunity cost of capital deployment?

5.) Why does Hans remain so bullish on the globalisation of tech? In a world of Trump and Brexit are we not in ever more atomistic times? How does Hans see the convergence of millenial consumers when comparing the US and Asia?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Hans' Fave Book: The InformationStratechery

Hans' Most Recent Investment: iBotta

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

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

NatureBox Unlimited snack plans offer all you can eat snacks for one fixed price per employee. Naturebox use simple ingredients you can trust to create bold flavors you can’t find anywhere else. All NatureBox snacks are free from artificial junk and variety is endless with options from sweet or savory to vegan or gluten-free. Simply choose the plan that fits your team’s unique snacking habits and select any of NatureBox’s time-saving add-on’s. And beyond Unlimited snacks, you’ll receive perks such as free kitchen setup, no contracts, a dedicated account manager and more. Simply click here to and use the offer code VC20 to get 20% of your first Naturebox month.

Leesa is the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Leesa have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is ordered completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10-inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com to start the New Year with better nights sleep!

Jan 5, 2018

Ben Marcus is the Founder & CEO @ Airmap, the startups that provides everything one needs to unlock and scale drone operations in the ever-changing world of airspace. They have raised over $40m in funding from industry heavyweights Sony, Rakuten, Qualcomm, Airbus Ventures and then also many friends of the show including Semil Shah, Lux Capital, Microsoft Ventures, General Catalyst, BullPen Capital and David Waxman at TenOneTen, just to name a few. Prior to AirMap, Ben co-founded and was CEO of the world’s largest light business jet sales company, Jetaviva and before that started his career as a flight instructor and later became a flight test engineer. Fun fact, Ben is also an FAA-certified Airline Transport Pilot and Flight Instructor with over 4,500 hours of flight experience.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Ben made his way into the world of startups and drones from being a pilot and flight test engineer?

2.) What does Ben think is a strong investment strategy when investing in the drones? What 4 categories present nascent opportunities to Ben? What elements of the tech stack should potential investors further drill down on with potential investments?

3.) Question from Hemant Taneja: How does Ben assess the presence and desires of Amazon and Google with their pre-existing mission to win the airspace? Question from Semil Shah: Does this lead to a world of consolidation and startup M&A by incumbents?

4.) What does Ben believe are the core catalysts that will take drones to 100s of millions of people? How does Ben assess the similarties and differences in serving enterprise vs consumer drone markets? Does Ben agree with Jonathan Downey in his expression that enterprises like "boring" offerings?

5.) How does Ben evaluate the hardware vs software paradigm in the drone market? Does Ben see the commoditisation of drone hardware in the coming years? How does Ben evaluate the likes of DJI with their prominence? Does the weaponisation of drones cause significant alarm for Ben?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Ben’s Fave Book: The Wealth of Nations

Ben’s Fave Blog: Social Capital Newsletter

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

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

NatureBox Unlimited snack plans offer all you can eat snacks for one fixed price per employee. Naturebox use simple ingredients you can trust to create bold flavors you can’t find anywhere else. All NatureBox snacks are free from artificial junk and variety is endless with options from sweet or savory to vegan or gluten-free. Simply choose the plan that fits your team’s unique snacking habits and select any of NatureBox's time-saving add-on’s. And beyond Unlimited snacks, you’ll receive perks such as free kitchen setup, no contracts, a dedicated account manager and more. Simply click here to and use the offer code VC20 to get 20% of your first Naturebox month. 

Leesa is the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Leesa have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is ordered completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10-inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com to start the New Year with better nights sleep!

 

Jan 3, 2018

Kevin Thau is a General Partner @ Spark Capital, one of the best performing funds of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Twitter, Slack, Oculus, Medium, PostMates, Cruise (acq $1Bn) the list goes on. As for Kevin, he has led investments in Medium, LOLA, CTRL Labs, Aura and Haven. Prior to Spark, Kevin enjoyed an incredible 7 years at Twitter, when he joined they had less than 20 employees and 1m users and he carried roles such as Director of Mobile Products and VP of Business & Corporate Development. Before Twitter, Kevin was employee number 7 at Software.com (which became Openwave) where he helped ship the first mobile browser, mobile messaging services and mobile websites.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Kevin made his way into VC with Spark having spent years in operations with Twitter and Silicon Graphics?

2.) What were Kevin's biggest lessons from watching the hyper-scaling of Twitter? What are the most prominent challenges companies face at this stage? What were his takeaways from working with product visionaries like Jack Dorsey & Sonos' John MacFarlane?

3.) As an operator turned investor, how does Kevin characterise his approach to working with portfolio companies? What were Kevin's early VC learnings from his discussions with Fred Wilson and Bijan Sabet on VC profile and psychology?

4.) Why does Kevin believe that VC is a game of "maximizing serendipity"? How does Kevin assess personal time allocation, today as a VC? What has Kevin found most challenging since making the move to VC from operations?

5.) How does Kevin assess the consumer landscape at present? Does Kevin agree with Kirsten Green that "Amazon does more to make the market than crush it"? Why does Kevin find Instagram such a special tool for evaluating brands? What does he look for in the Instagram profiles of these emerging brands that really excites him?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Kevin’s Fave Book: Moneyball: The Art of Winning An Unfair Game

Kevin’s Most Recent Investment: CTRL-Labs

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

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

NatureBox Unlimited snack plans offer all you can eat snacks for one fixed price per employee. Naturebox use simple ingredients you can trust to create bold flavors you can’t find anywhere else. All NatureBox snacks are free from artificial junk and variety is endless with options from sweet or savory to vegan or gluten-free. Simply choose the plan that fits your team’s unique snacking habits and select any of NatureBox's time-saving add-on’s. And beyond Unlimited snacks, you’ll receive perks such as free kitchen setup, no contracts, a dedicated account manager and more. Simply click here to and use the offer code VC20 to get 20% of your first Naturebox month. 

Leesa is the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Leesa have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is ordered completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10-inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com to start the New Year with better nights sleep!

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