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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: January, 2019
Jan 28, 2019

Josh Kopelman is Founder & Partner @ First Round, one of the world’s leading seed funds with a portfolio including the likes of Uber, Warby Parker, Flatiron Health, Square, HotelTonight, GOAT and more incredible companies. As for Josh, he founded First Round in 2004 to reinvent seed stage investing. Since he has invested in over 200 startups and been ranked 4th in Forbes Midas List and named one of the top ten ‘angel investors’ in the US by Newsweek magazine. Josh has previously sat on the boards of Flatiron Health, Clover Health, AppNexus and more. 

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Josh made his way into the wonderful world of venture from angel investing and what the inspiration behind the founding of First Round was?

2.) How does Josh think about price sensitivity today? What were his learnings from being priced out of the seed round for Twitter and Dropbox? How has Josh seen his relationship to price change over time? How did witnessing the boom and bust both as operator and investor affect his investing mentality today?

3.) How does Josh and First Round think about reserve allocation? How has their thinking changed and evolved over time? Does Josh believe that ownership is fundamentally built on first check? What does the investment decision-making process look like for reserves? In terms of allocation, how does Josh think about time allocation across portfolio? Spend it with the winners, they return the fund or the strugglers and save cents on the dollar?

4.) Josh has spent over 3,000 hours on boards, what have been some of the biggest inflection points that have changed the way he thinks about being a good board member? How has he seen his style and approach change over time? What advice would Josh give to an individual that has just gained their first institutional board seat?

5.) Why does Josh believe that we fundamentally neglect "the pick" today in startup world? Why does Josh believe a high degree of startup mortality begins at the pick (idea) stage? How do the very best founders aproach this stage? How should these founders approach picking their investors? What should they look for? What should they be wary of?

6.) Why does Josh want to be known as a better picker of partners than investments? How has Josh thought about the building ou of the first round partnership over time? If there was anything he would have done differently, what would it be? Why does Josh fundamentally disagree with attribution? How does Josh think about generational transition? What are the steps required to do it well?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Josh’s Fave Book: Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts

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

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

Are you thinking about life insurance in the new year? Ladder is the smart and easy way to get term life insurance online. With Ladder there are no commissioned agents and no policy fees — you can be done in minutes. Even better, coverage can start today, if you qualify, and you can cancel anytime. Ladder is licensed and backed by trusted partners, with billions in coverage. Visit ladderlife.com to apply and get an instant decision on fully underwritten term life insurance, and check life insurance off your list TODAY.


Ready for tax season? Wishing you’d kept a closer eye on your books this year? Set yourself up for success in 2019 with Pilot. Pilot is a bookkeeping company focused on the needs of startups. Their team of SF-based bookkeepers are assisted by engineers to automate the most error-prone parts of bookkeeping, so you know you’re getting an accurate report every month. Plus, Pilot does accrual basis bookkeeping in Quickbooks Online, so you’re never locked into a proprietary platform. Learn more and sign up here. Don’t wait – the first 100 members of the Twenty Minute VC community get 20% off Pilot Core for six months.

Jan 25, 2019

Olof Mathé is the Founder & CEO @ Mixmax, the startup that provides powerful analytics, automation and enhancements for your outbound communications. In the past, Mixmax achieved the almost the impossible in SaaS, true viral growth and a $0 CAC. As a result, Olof has raised over $13m in funding from some dear friends of the show in the form of Jason @ SaaStr, Mike @ Harrison Metal, Mike @ Floodgate and Carl @ Creandum, to name a few. As for Olof, prior to Mixmax he led the team that built Inkling Habitat, now adopted by the world’s largest publishers and before that he was an entrepreneur and worked at Skype and McKinsey.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Olof made his way from the world of McKinsey and Skype to changing the way we interact with our email today with Mixmax?

2.) What does Olof mean when he says that founders go through 3 stages of denial when scaling their team? How does Olof think about the right time to add certain roles? What have been some of his big learnings here? Where do people make mistakes in the timing of hires? How does Olof think about the transition from generalist to specialist with scale?

3.) Why does Olof believe that in the majority of cases, it is not optimal or possible for founders to hire through their network? What is the right way for founders to approach building candidate pipe? What is the right way for founders to engage with recruiters? What is required in the recruiter/founder relationship for it to be a success?

4.) Why does Olof get worried when he hears "they will grow into the role"? What are the core leading indicators that suggest someone has the ability to scale vs not scale with the role? How much time does one give an employee to provide value and show their ability in the team? How does Olof think about the right way to let someone go?

5.) What are the 3 interview questions that all founders must ask in the hiring process? What answers indicate a candidate that is best suited for the role and company? What are red flags to watch for both in their answer and tone? How has Olof changed his hiring style over the last few years with Mixmax?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Olof’s Fave Book: SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome

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

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

Are you thinking about life insurance in the new year? Ladder is the smart and easy way to get term life insurance online. With Ladder there are no commissioned agents and no policy fees — you can be done in minutes. Even better, coverage can start today, if you qualify, and you can cancel anytime. Ladder is licensed and backed by trusted partners, with billions in coverage. Visit ladderlife.com to apply and get an instant decision on fully underwritten term life insurance, and check life insurance off your list TODAY.


Ready for tax season? Wishing you’d kept a closer eye on your books this year? Set yourself up for success in 2019 with Pilot. Pilot is a bookkeeping company focused on the needs of startups. Their team of SF-based bookkeepers are assisted by engineers to automate the most error-prone parts of bookkeeping, so you know you’re getting an accurate report every month. Plus, Pilot does accrual basis bookkeeping in Quickbooks Online, so you’re never locked into a proprietary platform. Learn more and sign up here. Don’t wait – the first 100 members of the Twenty Minute VC community get 20% off Pilot Core for six months.

Jan 21, 2019

Hunter Somerville is a Partner at Greenspring Associates, a leading venture firm and fund of funds. On the direct side their portfolio includes the likes of Sonos, App Annie, Docusign and Alibaba just to name a few. As for their fund investing, they have backed the likes of Accel, Founders Fund, Thrive, Lightspeed, Foundry Group and many more incredible managers. As for Hunter, he is actively involved in the assessment of micro-vc managers for the Firm where he sits on the LP advisory boards for the likes of Pear, Foundry Group, Scale Venture Partners and BullPen Capital just to name a few. Prior to joining Greenspring, Hunter worked as an Associate for Camden Private Capital.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Hunter made his way into the world of fund investing and came to be a Partner @ Greenspring?

2.) How does Hunter assess the world of micro-VC today? Does Hunter think we will see the market start to shrink as LPs become over-allocated to the space? Why does Hunter believe the barriers for micro VCs to raise are lower than ever? What does this mean for the future of early stage?

3.) How does Hunter fundamentally approach the assessment of new funds? Is it all about track record? How does he look to build a framework/model to predict future performance? What makes Hunter sceptical when assessing new opportunities? Where do many managers go wrong in the fundraising process? How does Hunter think about loss ratio?

4.) As an LP having to allocate to multiple different stages, why does Hunter feel there is a shortage of dedicated A and B round funds? How does Hunter expect both reserve allocation and loss ration to alter as we move from early to later stage? How does Hunter feel about opportunity funds? How does Hunter and other LPs assess GP led restructurings?

5.) Why is Hunter bullish on the future for direct secondaries? Why does he believe this is fundamentally good for the ecosystem? How does Hunter think about early stage managers in their needs for early liquidity? To what extent will early stage managers need to navigate the private secondaries market to attain this liquidity?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Hunter’s Fave Book: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Hunter’s Most Recent Investment: Amplify Partners

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

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

Are you thinking about life insurance in the new year? Ladder. Is the smart and easy way to get term life insurance online. With Ladder there are no commissioned agents and no policy fees — you can be done in minutes. Even better, coverage can start today, if you qualify, and you can cancel anytime. Ladder is licensed and backed by trusted partners, with billions in coverage. Visit ladderlife.com to apply and get an instant decision on fully underwritten term life insurance, and check life insurance off your list TODAY.


Ready for tax season? Wishing you’d kept a closer eye on your books this year? Set yourself up for success in 2019 with Pilot. Pilot is a bookkeeping company focused on the needs of startups. Their team of SF-based bookkeepers are assisted by engineers to automate the most error-prone parts of bookkeeping, so you know you’re getting an accurate report every month. Plus, Pilot does accrual basis bookkeeping in Quickbooks Online, so you’re never locked into a proprietary platform. Learn more and sign up here. Don’t wait – the first 100 members of the Twenty Minute VC community get 20% off Pilot Core for six months.

Jan 18, 2019

Assaf Wand is the Founder & CEO @ Hippo, a new kind of insurance company that provides smart coverage for homeowners with a quote in just 60 seconds. To date, Assaf has raised over $109m in funding for Hippo from some dear friends of the show in the form of Felicis Ventures, GGV Capital, Fifth Wall, Zeev Ventures and Lennar just to name a few. Prior to re-imagining the world of insurance, Assaf founded Sabi, creating products that improve everyday life with superior functionality and design. Sabi was acquired by Urbio in 2015. Before that Assaf held numerous different roles including as a consultant at McKinsey and Investment Associate at Intel Capital.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Assaf being the worst employee in the world lead to his entrance into the world of early-stage startups and the founding of Hippo?

2.) How does Assaf analyse the current sentiment and approach to fundraising in the valley today? Why does Assaf believe that every company looks one round earlier than it should be for the VCs? How does Assaf think about investor selection? What is the single biggest value a VC partner can provide? Does Assaf agree that founders should "always be raising"? Why does Assaf believe that top funds should not get significant discounts?

3.) What does Assaf believe are the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make when building their board? On boards, why does Assaf believe there is a danger that partners from top funds have their ideas overweighted due to the prestige of their fund? What can be done to prevent this? What does Assaf believe is the right screening process for new board members?

4.) What does Assaf believe separates the good from the great when it comes to board members? How does Assaf really look to building meaninful relationships with his board members? What has worked well? On the flip side, why does Assaf believe the No 1 element of a board is "do no harm"? Where can board members actually be damaging?

5.) Hippo is growing 30% MoM and will be in 80% of the US in the next 12 months, how does Assaf think about when is the right time to put the pedal to the metal? What are those leading indicators? Where do many founders go wrong here? Is it simply a case of whenunit economics work, one is ready to scale?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Assaf’s Fave Book: The FountainheadThe Pillars of The Earth

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

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

Are you thinking about life insurance in the new year? Ladder. Is the smart and easy way to get term life insurance online. With Ladder there are no commissioned agents and no policy fees — you can be done in minutes. Even better, coverage can start today, if you qualify, and you can cancel anytime. Ladder is licensed and backed by trusted partners, with billions in coverage. Visit ladderlife.com to apply and get an instant decision on fully underwritten term life insurance, and check life insurance off your list TODAY.


Ready for tax season? Wishing you’d kept a closer eye on your books this year? Set yourself up for success in 2019 with Pilot. Pilot is a bookkeeping company focused on the needs of startups. Their team of SF-based bookkeepers are assisted by engineers to automate the most error-prone parts of bookkeeping, so you know you’re getting an accurate report every month. Plus, Pilot does accrual basis bookkeeping in Quickbooks Online, so you’re never locked into a proprietary platform. Learn more and sign up here. Don’t wait – the first 100 members of the Twenty Minute VC community get 20% off Pilot Core for six months.

Jan 15, 2019

Fred Destin is a Founding Partner @ Stride.VC, one of Europe's newest seed funds with a portfolio including the likes of Cazoo and Forward Health. Over his 17 year career in venture, Fred has established himself as one of Europe's leading VCs with the exit value of 3 of his portfolio companies alone last year totalling more than $4.5Bn with PillPack's $1Bn sale to Amazon, Zoopla to Silverlake for $3Bn and Integral Ad Science to Vista for $850m. Fred has also led investments as a General Partner @ Accel in Deliveroo, the world leader of food on demand and Carwow, the number 1 for new car sales in the UK.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Fred made his way into the world of venture and early stage? What was behind his decision to leave Accel to found Stride with Harry?

2.) Why does Fred think many today misunderstand "risk" in venture? How does that apply across the portfolio? Does Fred agree with Brian Singerman, "venture is a game of upside maximisation"? What risks does Fred define as acceptable vs non-acceptable risks? How does Fred really look to strength test the quality and depth of a founder pre-investment? What are the benefits of going through conflict early?

3.) How does Fred think about price sensitivity? What are the core questions a VC can ask when considering the pricing of an opportunity? How does Fred think about reserve allocation? How does Fred analogize this to the best traders? To what extent does TAM play a dominant role in Fred's evaluation? What does Fred mean when he says "we have to remember, we are the ones that get picked also"?

4.) How does Fred think about and assess innovation within venture? How does Fred perceive the role of data to impact venture over the coming years? Why does Fred believe it is exaggerated that data will disrupt the early stage in the coming years? Where would Fred like to see further innovation in the mechanics of venture?

5.) What does Fred believes separates the good from the great when it comes to board members? How can board members create an environment where the entrepreneur feels they can say all that is wrong? Where do many board members go wrong? Why are board members so wrong to bash a founder for missing their numbers? Why does Fred believe that plans are fiction? WHy is the framework of the plan what really matters?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Fred’s Fave Book: Man's Search for Meaning

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

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

Are you thinking about life insurance in the new year? Ladder. Is the smart and easy way to get term life insurance online. With Ladder there are no commissioned agents and no policy fees — you can be done in minutes. Even better, coverage can start today, if you qualify, and you can cancel anytime. Ladder is licensed and backed by trusted partners, with billions in coverage. Visit ladderlife.com to apply and get an instant decision on fully underwritten term life insurance, and check life insurance off your list TODAY.

Ready for tax season? Wishing you’d kept a closer eye on your books this year? Set yourself up for success in 2019 with Pilot. Pilot is a bookkeeping company focused on the needs of startups. Their team of SF-based bookkeepers are assisted by engineers to automate the most error-prone parts of bookkeeping, so you know you’re getting an accurate report every month. Plus, Pilot does accrual basis bookkeeping in Quickbooks Online, so you’re never locked into a proprietary platform. Learn more and sign up here. Don’t wait – the first 100 members of the Twenty Minute VC community get 20% off Pilot Core for six months.

Jan 11, 2019

Avi Meir is the Founder & CEO @ TravelPerk, the startup that allows you to book, manage and report all your business travel in one place. To date, Avi has raised over $73m with TravelPerk from the likes of Felix Capital, Yuri Milner, Spark Capital, Sunstone and LocalGlobe to name a few. Before founding TravelPerk, Avi founded HotelNinjas, a web-based hotel management software platform that was ultimately acquired by Booking.com. Prior to that, Avi was VP Product at Budgetplaces.com, which was acquired by Palamon in 2011.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Avi made his way from the world of hotels to the world of founding startups and what was his entry point? How did Avi's experience with HotelNinja's impact his operating mindset with TravelPerk today?

2.) How does Avi think about attaining the right board composition? What is the ideal structure? How important is it to have industrial experience around the table? What are the 2 other core skills that Avi believes are required on the board? What can founders do to ensure plasticity of mindset at a board level?

3.) What makes the truly special board members? What do they do both in the good and the bad times to make them so good? What does Avi believe makes the more challenging board members to work with? Why does Avi believe that culture fit at the board level is not discussed enough? What can be done by the founder to improve this?

4.) TravelPerk has now raised over $75m in funding, what does Avi believe they have done well to date to allow them to raise this? For the next round, what would Avi like to improve upon and pushback on further? What advice does Avi have for founders entering negotiations when it comes to both valuation and option pool?

5.) Why does Avi believe that culture and growth are 2 sides of the same coin? What have been some of the biggest challenges in scaling the team with the scaling of the company? How does one retain startup culture when no longer a startup? What would Avi do differently with regards to expansion with the benefit of hindsight?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Avi’s Fave Book: Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose

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

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

Jan 7, 2019

Scott Belsky is an executive, entrepreneur, author, and investor. He currently serves as Adobe's Chief Product Officer and Executive Vice President, Creative Cloud. Before Adobe, Scott co-founded Behance in 2006 and served as CEO until Adobe acquired Behance in 2012. Alongside his role at Adobe, Scott is a Venture Partner at one of the world's leading venture firms, Benchmark. Scott also actively advises and invests in startups personally having one of the most incredible angel portfolios with early checks in Pinterest, Uber, Periscope, Warby Parker, Carta, Flexport and more. Scott is also the author of Harry's favourite book of 2018, The Messy Middle.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Scott made his way into the world of startups with Behance, how that translated to the world of angel investing and being Chief Product Officer @ Adobe? WHat does Scott mean when he discusses the correlation between utilisation and happiness?

2.) What does Scott mean when he says he looks for people whereby 'conversations improve by step function?" What are the best examples of this? How have they shown this? How does Scott think startups founders can manufacture motivation? How has Scott seen the best founders hire the very best team? How do the best founders determine between a stretch and a stretch too far?

3.) In terms of product, what does Scott mean when he refers to the "value of slow cooking"? How does that relate to product creation? Why does Scott often have issues with the MVP approach seen today? How does Scott think about the importance of product simplicity? How can one maintain that over time? Why does Scott believe more founders should spend more time crafting the last mile user experience than they do?

4.) Simplicity is great but VCs often suggest, non-defensible, how does Scott think about building defensibility with simplicity? Simplicity often also narrows market size, how does Scott think about and analyse market size today when investing? Where does Scott think many investors go wrong today when trying to measure market size?

5.) What does Scott mean when he says "resources are like carbs, resourcefulness is muscle"? Why does Scott believe we need to challenge our faith in the strength of resources? What advice does Scott given when founders ask, "when is the right time to raise big"? How has Scott's writing of the book influenced his mindset when engaging with founders today and investing?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Scott’s Fave Book: Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage to the Antarctic

Scott’s Most Recent Investment: Assembled Brands

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

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

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