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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: Category: investing
Apr 20, 2018

Marco Zappacosta is the Founder & CEO @ Thumbtack, the startup that allows you to find local professionals for pretty much anything. To date, Thumbtack has raised over $270m in funding from some of the very best including Sequoia Capital, CapitalG (Google Growth), Ali and Hadi Partovi, Scott and Cyan Banister and Jason Calacanis. Due to Marco's incredible success scaling Thumbtack to helping millions of Americans today, he has been recognized by Forbes as 30 under 30 and Thumbtack was recently acknowledged as one of GlassDoor’s best places to work.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Marco made his way into the world of startups and came to create one of the most prominent marketplaces of the day in Thumbtack?

2.) What does Marco mean when he says "founders must treat board members as employees"? How does Marco view the optimal structure for a board meeting? What are the core elements that founders must takeaway? Where do most first time founders go wrong with board management?

3.) Thumbtack has raised over $250m in VC funding, how can one look to achieve both operational efficiency and capital efficiency with such large injections of capital? What is core to maintaining this sense of frugality despite such large investments? How does Marco think about when is the right time to raise that warchest round?

4.) How does Marco suggest that marketplace founders can entice the supply side in the early days? How has Marco seen his supply-side acquisition change and develop with time? What has worked and what has not? Does Marco agree with Leah Busque that in marketplace, the NPS for one side will always be down?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Marco’s Fave Book: The Wizard and The Prophet

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

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

Cooley is a global law firm built around supporting start-ups and the venture capital firms that fund them. Now we have spoken before about their forming the first venture fund in Silicon Valley, and forming more VC funds than any other law firm in the world but Cooley also represents more than 6,000 high-growth startups across the globe – through the full company life cycle. They are the #1 law firm for VC-backed exits (M&A and IPO) ranked by PitchBook, and since 2014 has represented more companies in their IPOs than any other law firm.  Simply head over to Cooley.com or you can check them out at Cooleygo.com.

Apr 16, 2018

Zal Bilimoria is Founding Partner @ Refactor Capital, one of Silicon Valley's newest entrants to the early stage scene with a $50m fund looking to back founders solving fundamental human problems. Prior to co-founding Refactor, Zal was a Partner @ a16z where he co-led investments in Omada Health, Branch.co, AltSchool, Honor, and more, while helping to launch the firm's Bio Fund. Before becoming an investor, Zal spent 10 years as a PM at Microsoft, Google, Netflix, and LinkedIn. He worked on emerging markets for Windows, became one of the first monetization team members at YouTube, and then  became the 1st Head of Mobile at Netflix and helped start the Sales Solutions business at LinkedIn.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Zal made his way into the world of VC with a16z from the very corporate worlds of Microsoft, Google, Netflix and LinkedIn?

2.) What were Zal's 3 biggest learnings from seeing the internal processes and scaling of a16z? How does a16z use NPS in such a compelling way that it automatically improves founder treatment and interaction within the firm? What was it about a16z that led Zal to believe being insanely curious is the biggest skill of an investor?

3.) What are the signs and leading indicators that a scientist has the mental plasticity and ability to translate into a CEO and business leader? What are the biggest challenges as a VC in assessing whether this plasticity is present? Why does David believe that the very best founders are looking to solve "fundamental human problems"?

4.) Over the last few years we have seen an explosion of deep tech capital, Elad Gil suggested this reminded him of the 2007 cleantech days, does Zal agree with this suggestion? How does Zal think about the common concern of having to carry companies for longer given the extended milestones to prove progress?

5.) Zal has said before his goal is "to build a seed firm to last among the 100s of others", what does Zal believe is crucial to this sustainability of fund and brand? How does Zal evaluate the insanely crowded seed market today?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Zal’s Fave Book: Seveneves

Zal’s Most Recent Investment: Solugen

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

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

Cooley is a global law firm built around supporting start-ups and the venture capital firms that fund them. Now we have spoken before about their forming the first venture fund in Silicon Valley, and forming more VC funds than any other law firm in the world but Cooley also represents more than 6,000 high-growth startups across the globe – through the full company life cycle. They are the #1 law firm for VC-backed exits (M&A and IPO) ranked by PitchBook, and since 2014 has represented more companies in their IPOs than any other law firm.  Simply head over to Cooley.com or you can check them out at Cooleygo.com.

Apr 9, 2018

Paul Hsiao is a Founding Partner @ Canvas Ventures, one of Silicon Valley's leading and newer entrants to the Series A scene. At Canvas, Paul has made investments in the likes of Everwise, Fluxx Labs, Roofstock, Thrive Global, Transfix, and Zola. Before founding Canvas, Paul was a partner at NEA, where he led an early-stage investment in Houzz, as well as, had the privilege of helping eight companies go public on the NYSE or NASDAQ and seventeen companies with successful M&A exits during his 10-year tenure with the firm. Prior to VC, Paul was an entrepreneur with the founding of Mazu Networks, a pioneer in network security that was acquired by Riverbed Technologies.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Paul made his way into the world of VC with NEA and got Scott Sandell as his first mentor in VC?

2.) Question from Oren Zeev: Having been a partner at both, how does Paul compare the culture and strategy of two such differing firms of Canvas vs NEA? How does Paul's thinking on exit expectations and requirements change with the change of fund? How does a smaller fund fundamentally change the way you think about investing?

3.) What does Paul believe are the 5 fundamentals of building and scaling a successful marketplace? Why does Paul believe that it is the supply side that tells you if your marketplace is or is not working? Why does Paul believe stubbornness is good in marketplace founders?

4.) Why does Paul believe that raising $100m is critical for new companies if they want to go big? What does this mean for capital efficiency? What does this mean for ownership with multiple dilutive rounds impacting investor returns? How should founders then think about winning the "capital arms race"? What are the exceptions to these rules?

5.) Female founders receive 2.19% of VC funding, however, Paul has many more female founders in portfolio than the industry. Why does Paul think this is? What would Paul like to see change in the distribution of VC funds? What is the required steps to make this happen?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Paul’s Fave Book: The Innovator's Dilemma

Paul’s Most Recent Investment: Thrive GlobalRoofstock

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

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

Cooley is a global law firm built around supporting start-ups and the venture capital firms that fund them. Now we have spoken before about their forming the first venture fund in Silicon Valley, and forming more VC funds than any other law firm in the world but Cooley also represents more than 6,000 high-growth startups across the globe – through the full company life cycle. They are the #1 law firm for VC-backed exits (M&A and IPO) ranked by PitchBook, and since 2014 has represented more companies in their IPOs than any other law firm.  Simply head over to Cooley.com or you can check them out at Cooleygo.com.

Apr 6, 2018

Darian Shirazi is the Founder & CEO @ Radius, the startup that provides you with not just data but truth allowing you to gain clarity to reach and convert your best B2B prospects. To date, Darian has raised over $105m in VC funding with Radius from some of the very best in the business including our friends at Founders Fund, 8VC, Salesforce Ventures and rockstars like Jared Leto and Charlie Songhurst. Prior to Radius, Darian has enjoyed roles such as first external engineering hire at Facebook and working on the "Sell Your Item" team at eBay. Darian has also made several angel investments in the likes of MessageMe, Sprig and Try.com just to name a few.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Darian made his way into the world of tech as Facebook's first ever intern at the age of 17 and how that led to the founding of Radius?

2.) According to Joe Lonsdale @ 8VC, "Darian is one of the most respected founders and CEOs in the valley". How does Darian define great CEOship? What have been the commonalities he has seen in the great leaders he has engaged with from Mark @ Facebook to Mark Pincus?

3.) How did Darian approach the fundraising strategy for the $85m he has raised with Radius? How does Darian believe that founders can test quickly whether an investor is truly interested? Why is it so important to be fundraise as fast as possible? If an investor could only provide Darian one thing, what would it be and wh?

4.) How does Darian respond to investors that suggest founders should not be actively angel investing, as Darian is? What operational benefits does Darian gain from angel investing? How does Darian think about angel portfolio construction and specialisation? How has Darian seen investor attitudes alter when it comes to capital efficiency? 

5.) As an early Bitcoin miner, how does Darian evaluate the world of crypto today? Why does Darian believe BTC has reached escape velocity compared to other currencies? Why was Darian skeptical on Ethereum for so long? What are Ethereum's ongoing challenges? Why does Facebook have the chance to dominate the world of crypto?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Darian’s Fave Book: Sapiens

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

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

Cooley is a global law firm built around supporting start-ups and the venture capital firms that fund them. Now we have spoken before about their forming the first venture fund in Silicon Valley, and forming more VC funds than any other law firm in the world but Cooley also represents more than 6,000 high-growth startups across the globe – through the full company life cycle. They are the #1 law firm for VC-backed exits (M&A and IPO) ranked by PitchBook, and since 2014 has represented more companies in their IPOs than any other law firm.  Simply head over to Cooley.com or you can check them out at Cooleygo.com.

Apr 2, 2018

Jerry Chen is a Partner @ Greylock Partners, one of the world's most successful VC funds with prior investments in the likes of Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, AirBnB, Dropbox, AppDynamics, Coinbase and many more incredible companies. As for Jerry, Jerry invests in entrepreneurs building new enterprise SaaS applications and in all aspects of AI and cloud infrastructure. Jerry currently sits on the Board of Docker, Cato Networks, Gladly, Rhumbix, Spoke, and Blend. Prior to joining Greylock, Jerry was Vice President of Cloud and Application Services at VMware where he was part of the executive team that scaled the company from 250 to over 15,000 employees and $5B in revenue. Check out Jerry's recent writing on Risk: The Game of Strategic Investment here.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jerry made his way into the world of VC with Greylock from being on the exec team at VMWare, responsible for their scaling from 250 to over 15,000 people?

2.) What does Jerry believe are the different frameworks for how investors should measure risk? Why does Jerry believe to be a good investor, one has to be an optimist? What does Jerry find the most challenging element of risk assessment? What types of risk can Jerry tolerate and which can he not in a potential investment?

3.) How does Jerry break the theme of risk down into 2 very different categories? How does one define "uncertainty" in an investment? How does this compare to "probability"? How does both "uncertainty and probability" alter when comparing differing sectors? Does Jerry think that current pricing takes fair account of both "uncertainty and probability"?

4.) What does Jerry mean when he says, "you have to have product go-to-market fit"? Why does Jerry believe that platforms shifts are fundamentally distribution model shifts? Where does Jerry see an inherent opportunity within these net new nodes of distribution shift?

5.) How does Jerry evaluate the SaaS world today of bottoms up or top down? Why does Jerry believe that if you are budget additive, bottoms up with small ACVs is the current strategy? What does this mean for those that are budget replacements, both in sales model and ACV?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Jerry’s Fave Book: Skin In The Game 

Jerry's Most Recent Investment: Blend

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

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

Cooley is a global law firm built around supporting start-ups and the venture capital firms that fund them. Now we have spoken before about their forming the first venture fund in Silicon Valley, and forming more VC funds than any other law firm in the world but Cooley also represents more than 6,000 high-growth startups across the globe – through the full company life cycle. They are the #1 law firm for VC-backed exits (M&A and IPO) ranked by PitchBook, and since 2014 has represented more companies in their IPOs than any other law firm.  Simply head over to Cooley.com or you can check them out at Cooleygo.com.

Mar 30, 2018

Rachel Drori is the Founder & CEO @ Daily Harvest, the direct-to-consumer brand that delivers real, unprocessed, unrefined foods in the most convenient format possible: frozen. To date, they have raised over $43m in funding from the likes of former guest Alex Taussig @ Lightspeed, Collaborative Fund and future 20VC guest Beth Ferreira who sits on the board. As for Rachel, prior to starting Daily Harvest, Rachel harnessed her skills as a customer-centric marketing executive, leading teams at Gilt Groupe, American Express, and Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Rachel made her way from the corporate world of American Express and The Four Seasons to founding Daily harvest, looking to change the eating habits of millions?

2.) Why did Rachel decide to deliberately raise small Seed and Series A rounds? What does Rachel believe these capital constraints allow companies in the early days? How did Rachel prioritize where to spend and where not to? How would Rachel advise emerging startup founders when it comes to capital efficiency today?

3.) Rachel recently raised $43m Series B, how did Rachel see the rounds differ from round to round? Why does Rachel believe it is imperative to VC date before the fundraising process begins? Why was Rachel's Series A very unconventional in the modern world of fundraising? What did Rachel look for most in the investors she chose from round to round? How is that different considering her single founder status?

4.) Question from Alex Taussig: How has Rachel seen the NYC ecosystem develop and evolve since the founding of Daily Harvest? Would Rachel agree that there remains a lack of early stage conviction investors in NYC? What are NYC's biggest strengths and then biggest weaknesses?

5.) Rachel has said before, "fake it till you make it" when was the last time Rachel did this and what was the outcome? Rachel also said previously, "ask for forgiveness not permission", when was the most recent occassion of this and what did it result in?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Rachel’s Fave Book: Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food: Volume 1

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

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram 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 26, 2018

James Loftus is Corporate Development Lead @ Square where he has made multiple acquisitions and investments including the likes of acquiring OrderAhead and investing in Eventbrite. Prior to Square, James was responsible for strategy, business development and operations at STX Digital. Before that James was a Partner @ Andreessen Horowitz where he led strategic coverage for the firm’s 45+ consumer-facing portfolio, advising them on everything from capital raising to partnerships to M&A. Prior to VC with a16z, James was VP & Head of Corporate Development @ Yahoo and also spent time in the M&A team at Google.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How James made his way into the world of corporate development and M&A with Andreessen and how that translated to leading Square's M&A efforts today?

2.) Why does James fundamentally disagree with the notion that "companies are bought and not sold"? What are the nuances behind the scenes that make this wrong?

3.) 514 VC backed exits in 2017, 499 were M&A, so how does James assess the M&A landscape at present? Is it now the undeniable leader in primary exit method? How does James believe we will see the M&A market evolve over the next year? Who are the new entrants? How will their entering effect both volume and pricing of M&A?

4.) How does James respond to Paul Graham's article titled "Don't Talk To Corp Dev"? How does James and Square think about operationalizing the tracking of companies in the landscape? When is the right time for startups to relationship build with corp dev? How does James most like to interact with VCs in the processes? What makes the best so good?

5.) Paul Graham has also called the process "grueling", would James agree with this? What does James do to minimise pain and friction both for startup and acquirer? How does product play a pivotal role in this "grueling" process? How should cor dev also be thinking about the emotional and sentimental elements of selling companies?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

James’s Fave Book: A History Of The World In 10 1/2 Chapters

James’s Most Recent Investment: Eventbrite

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

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram 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 23, 2018

Dan Lewis is the Founder & CEO @ Convoy, the startup that really is the future of freight with trucking services powered by technology to drive reliability, efficiency and insights. To date they have raised over $80m in funding from some of the world's best-known investors and individuals including Y Combinator Continuity Fund, Greylock, Jeff Bezos, Marc Benioff, Drew Houston, Kevin Systrom and leading angels, Ali and Hadi Partovi. Before Convoy, Dan served as general manager of new shopping experiences at Amazon and spent time at Google and Microsoft in a number of logistics-related roles.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Daniel first fell in love with the logistics space as a little boy, made his move into the world of tech with Google and Microsoft and came to found Convoy?

2.) How does Dan truly define the differences between linear and non-linear businesses? Why does Dan believe that startup timing is like surfing? How must founders think about this through the different stages of the business?

3.) What was Dan's strategy for choosing the right investors and how did he think about board composition? How can investors be used to build customer trust? How does Dan analyze and look to enhance board chemistry? What was a time for Dan when he actively went against the advice of the board? How did that play out? 

4.) Why did Dan accept so many investors at the seed round? What changed between rounds that made Dan want to go big with the $62m Series B? Does Dan agree with Reid Hoffman, "if you can raise the money, do"? Why did Dan choose YC Continuity Fund as the lead growth investor of choice? What were the benefits?

5.) Why does Dan believe that scaling the first initial customers is the hardest of all? Why does Dan believe that a culture of experimentation is key across functions? How does Dan think about his own scaling as CEO? How has he seen his role change with the growth of the firm? What have been the biggest challenges of this personal learning?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Dan’s Fave Book: The Stranger by Albert Camus

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

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram 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 19, 2018

Leah Busque is a General Partner @ Fuel Capital, one of Silicon Valley's leading seed funds with the most incredible portfolio including many previous 20VC guests Ryan @ Flexport, Florian @ Mesosphere, Alex @ Clearbit and Dan @ Convoy (episode Friday). As for Leah, prior to VC, she was a pioneer of the sharing economy with her founding of TaskRabbit, one of the leading online labor marketplaces in the US, raising over $37m in the process before their sale to IKEA last year. Due to this incredible success, Leah has been named to Fast Company's "100 Most Creative People in Business".

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Leah made her way from sitting on the couch discussing dog food with her husband to founding TaskRabbit and how that translated into the world of VC today?

2.) How did Leah's time in operations affect:

  • Question from Sean @ Shasta: the founders Leah backs and why she chooses them?
  • Question from Craig @ Collaborative: the business models and unit economics Leah backs and why she backs them?

3.) Leah has said before that "authenticity and transparency between VC and founder are now table stakes", what more can be done to improve the VC product? How did Leah select the investors she worked with on TaskRabbit? How can founders truly determine "founder friendly" VCs?

4.) What have been Leah's biggest surprises on her move into the world of VC? What elements has Leah found most challenging? How has Leah looked to scale that learning curve?

5.) What does a successful marketplace look like? How does one know when is the right time to really scale a marketplace? What is the inflection point? How can marketplaces be efficient with their unit economics from day 1? How does one balance the NPS of the supply side with the NPS of the demand side?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Leah’s Fave Book: Founders at Work 

Leah’s Most Recent Investment: Bark: Parental Control Phone Tracker App

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

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram 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 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 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 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 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!

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