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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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Jul 13, 2018

Rachel Blumenthal is the Founder & CEO @ Rockets of Awesome, the startup that is reinventing the way parents shop for their kids clothes. To date, Rachel has raised over $19m in VC funding from the likes of Kirsten Green @ Forerunner, August Capital, General Catalyst, Gwyneth Paltrow and Female Founders Fund to name a few. Prior to Rockets of Awesome, Rachel founded fashion jewelry brand, Rachel Leigh. Rachel scaled the business to being available in over 300 stores worldwide and being named one of Oprah's "Favourite Things". Before that Rachel began her career in the publicity department at Yves Saint Lauren.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Rachel went from founding a company that created one of Oprah's "favourite things" to reinventing the way parents shop for their children today?

2.) Why does Rachel believe that "fundraising is like dating"? What does Rachel mean when she says "you have to play the game"? What does this literally look like in practice? What works in generating investor interest? What does not? Where does Rachel see many make mistakes in the fundraising process?

3.) How does Rachel think about capital efficiency with the evolution of her business? What tips and suggestions does Rachel give to increasing burn flexibility when future growth is ambiguous? Why does Rachel disagree with the thesis of raise money when you don't need it? What length of time does Rachel believe is the right time to raise for?

4.) Rachel has said before that, "the best investors are operators". What makes Rachel believe this? What are the drawbacks to operator VCs? What are the benefits to non-operator investors? What makes the truly special investor? How can a founder stress test this prior to their investment? What advice would Rachel give to a non-operator VC to improve their empathy and experience with founders?

5.) Rachel previous sly said to me that "being a woman in this male-dominated environment is everything the stereotype suggests", what moment or story particularly resonates for Rachel when saying this? How did she respond? How can less confident first time minority founders respond in these situations?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Rachel’s Fave Book: Fast CompanyInc

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.

Whether you’re starting your own small business or getting serious about making your small business more efficient, you need to invite FreshBooks to the table. FreshBooks makes cloud accounting software that’s so ridiculously easy to use and you’ll quickly understand why over 10 million people use it to radically streamline how they deal with their admin and paperwork. Plus, FreshBooks can handle a lot more than accounting related tasks. Using FreshBooks is kind of like having your own admin assistant who’s got your back, 24/7. To claim your 30-day unrestricted free trial, click here enter Twenty Minute VC in the “how did you hear about us section”.

Highfive makes meetings better for thousands of organizations with insanely simple video conferencing designed for meeting rooms. It’s the easiest-to-use solution, with all-in-one hardware and intuitive cloud software. Plus, it’s a high-quality experience with industry-leading audio powered by Dolby Voice. It’s so easy to use, that there’s no pin codes or app downloads. Just click a link in your browser, and you’re in the meeting. With customers in over 100 countries, Highfive is already trusted by the likes of Warby Parker, Evernote, Expensify, and Betterment and you can learn more by simply heading over to highfive.com.

Jul 9, 2018

Pete Flint is a Managing Partner @ NFX, one of Silicon Valley's newest and most exciting funds with the recent announcement of their new $150m fund late last year. Prior to VC, Pete was a serial entrepreneur building one of today's most successful marketplaces, as the co-founder of Trulia. Pete led the company from inception to more than 50 million monthly unique users, $250m in VC funding from the likes of Sequoia and Accel culminating in their merger with Zillow in 2015 that valued Trulia at $3.5 billion. Before Trulia, Pete was part of the founding team of lastminute.com, a leading European online travel site that was acquired in 2005 for over $1 billion.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Pete made his way into the world of startups joining the founding team of lastminute.com and how that led to the founding of Trulia and entry into VC?

2.) Why does Pete believe that startup timing is so crucial? How does Pete analyze market timing risk when investing? What is the right way for investors to think about the innovation cycle we are in today? On review, what does Pete believe lastminute.com did most right? What would he most want to change?

3.) What are the leading indicators that suggest potential in a network effect business? Would Pete agree with Josh @ Jackson Square that not all GMV is created equal? How does Pete anlyse the lack of free and open distribution today and how that affects marketplace scaling? Why does Pete still believe marketplaces are some of the most capital efficient businesses to grow?

4.) What has been Pete's greatest time of failure in his career? What is the framework Pete uses to analyse and assess his own ego? What are the commonalities in how Pete has seen truly great founders overcome failure? How does Pete balance between realism when something is not working and the mission and vision of the founder?

5.) How does Pete think about optimising decision-making, both in investing and operating? How does Pete approach the balance of head vs heart? When is the right time to decide with your head? When is the right time to decide with your heart? Why does Pete argue early stage investing must be decided with your heart?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Pete’s Fave Book: Leonardo Da Vinci 

Pete’s Most Recent Investment: Ribbon

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

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

Whether you’re starting your own small business or getting serious about making your small business more efficient, you need to invite FreshBooks to the table. FreshBooks makes cloud accounting software that’s so ridiculously easy to use and you’ll quickly understand why over 10 million people use it to radically streamline how they deal with their admin and paperwork. Plus, FreshBooks can handle a lot more than accounting related tasks. Using FreshBooks is kind of like having your own admin assistant who’s got your back, 24/7. To claim your 30-day unrestricted free trial, click here enter Twenty Minute VC in the “how did you hear about us section”.

Highfive makes meetings better for thousands of organizations with insanely simple video conferencing designed for meeting rooms. It’s the easiest-to-use solution, with all-in-one hardware and intuitive cloud software. Plus, it’s a high-quality experience with industry-leading audio powered by Dolby Voice. It’s so easy to use, that there’s no pin codes or app downloads. Just click a link in your browser, and you’re in the meeting. With customers in over 100 countries, Highfive is already trusted by the likes of Evernote, Expensify, and Betterment and you can learn more by simply heading over to highfive.com.

Jun 15, 2018

Amanda Bradford is the Founder & CEO @ The League, the exclusive dating app that wants you to spend your time a little more intelligently when it comes to finding the perfect match online. They have raised funding from the likes of Aileen Lee @ Cowboy Ventures, Sherpa Ventures and Alex Rosen @ Ridge Ventures just to name a few. Prior to founding The League, Amanda spent time at Evernote as a Product Manager, as an investor with Sequoia Capital and started her career in the strategic partnerships team at Google.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Amanda made her way into the world of startups and how she came to want to change the world of dating with The League?

2.) Why does Amanda totally disagree with the conventional wisdom that you cannot be a single founder? What are the benefits of being a single founder? How has Amanda used this to incentivize her team further? What are the core challenges that remain in being a single founder? What 2 reasons does Amanda feel 90% of startups fail?

3.) What does Amanda really mean when she says about "the art of the launch"? How can founders pre-game their launch to have existing users on day 1? What benchmarks does Amanda set when launching a new product, to determine the success of the launch? How core is the 7-day retention number to Amanda in her metric stack?

4.) How does Amanda think about the right time to turn on monetization? How can founders determine the level of consumer appetite for premium products, pre-developing them? What are the main challenges when turning on monetization? How does monetization affect investor appetite?

5.) Amanda has raised from Cowboy, Sherpa, Ridge, how was the fundraising process for Amanda? Why did Amanda choose to pursue the party round approach at seed? What are the core benefits of doing so? Has the lack of lead investor meant a reduced willingness to help from the investor base?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Amanda’s Fave Book: The Giver

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

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

Highfive makes meetings better for thousands of organizations with insanely simple video conferencing designed for meeting rooms. It’s the easiest-to-use solution, with all-in-one hardware and intuitive cloud software. Plus, it’s a high-quality experience with industry-leading audio powered by Dolby Voice. It’s so easy to use, that there’s no pin codes or app downloads. Just click a link in your browser, and you’re in the meeting. With customers in over 100 countries, Highfive is already trusted by the likes of Warby Parker, Evernote, Expensify, and Betterment and you can learn more by simply heading over to highfive.com.

Culture Amp is the platform that makes it easy to collect, understand and act on employee feedback. From onboarding surveys to company-wide engagement, individual effectiveness and more, the platform manages multiple sources of feedback and connects the dots for you and that is why companies like Slack, Nike, Oracle and Lyft all trust CultureAmp. So put your people and culture first and find out more on cultureamp.com.

May 14, 2018

Boris Wertz is the Founding Partner @ Version One Ventures, one of North America's leading early-stage funds with a portfolio including the likes of previous guests Coinbase, AngelList, Shippo, TopHat, Polychain Capital and many more incredible companies. As for Boris, prior to VC, Boris was the COO @ Abe Books, where he led a team of 60 people until their acquisition in 2008 by Amazon. In addition to this, Boris is also a Board Partner with a16z and the lead independent director @ Ether Capital, a Toronto-based technology company aiming to become the central investment hub for the Ethereum ecosystem.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Boris made his way from creating the largest European marketplace for used books to becoming one of North America's leading investors with Version One?

2.) How does Boris analyze where we are at now in the development and hype cycle of crypto? How does it compare to the internet bubble of 99'? Does Boris get concerned by the amount of dumb money entering the space? What resources and tools does Boris advice for people looking to learn the foundations as quickly as possible?

3.) Why does Boris believe you have to apply a new mental model when investing in crypto? What do existing VCs need to do to ensure they are not left behind by the emerging world of crypto? What does Boris believe would need to happen for the existing institutional LP class to embrace crypto?

4.) Does Boris believe existing investors can transition into this space or will vertically specialised funds be the clear winner? If existing investors can, what is required within their partnerships to make this happen? What does Boris make of VCs investing in ICOs? How does Boris evaluate the Telegram ICO?

5.) How does Boris view the future of VC in tandem with the world of crypto and ICOs? What would VCs becoming small cap hedge funds mean for the industry? How would life change? What have been Boris' biggest learnings from watching first hand a16z's attempts to innovate the VC model at scale?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Boris' Fave Book: Shoe Dog

Boris' Most Recent Investment: Coinbase

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

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

We also speak about Movidiam – as brands turn to smarter ways of creating video and digital content, the Movidiam platform offers faster turnarounds whilst maintaining or improving quality. They’re already working with some of the biggest, most innovative companies to help compare teams and freelancers across the global curated network of creative talent. Producers and marketers looking for the best creatives can get a shortlist from Movidiam’s account managers in hours – tailored to their project’s needs. Submit a brief or check out the platform at Movidiam.com.

May 11, 2018

Andrew Dudum is Co-Founder & CEO @ Hims, the fastest growing men’s health and wellness brand that has raised over $45m in VC funding from some of the best in the business including Thrive Capital, Forerunner Ventures, IVP, Redpoint and SV angel just to name a few. Andrew is also co-founder and General Partner at Atomic, a venture-builder backed by Peter Thiel, Marc Andreesen and many of the world’s best investors. Prior to Atomic and Hims, Andrew led Product at TokBox.com, the leader in web-based communication. In 2012 TokBox was acquired by the global telecommunications company Telefonica ($TEF).

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Andrew made his way into the world of startups, came to build a venture builder backed by Thiel and Andreesen before starting the fastest growing men's health and wellness brand in Hims?

2.) How does Andrew view the world of online and offline marketing in today's proliferated D2C space? What were the core elements that allowed Hims to achieve such success with their branding? How does Andrew respond to suggestions that there is a lack of free and open distribution due to incumbents paying up for traditional channels making CAC unachievable for startups? How does Andrew look to solve for this?

3.) What does Andrew believe it is that has allowed Hims to execute faster than any other D2C brand in history? How does Andrew distinguish between people and process when considering the scaling at different stages of the business? What are the pros and cons of having such constraints on headcount? When is the right time to pour fuel on the fire? 

4.) Hims raised their last round at a $200m valuation in less than a year of operating, how did Andrew evaluate this one? Does this not effectively price Hims out of the majority of M&A?  What leads Andrew's thesis with his suggestion that he thought the valuation was "quite frankly, a great price for investors"? What advice would Andrew have for founders entering the fundraising process?

5.) Andrew is also the co-founder @ Atomic, so what really is a venture builder? How have Atomic built a framework around idea generation? How do Atomic determine which ideas to pursue and which to disregard? How does data and benchmarking play a central role in this process? 

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Andrew’s Fave Book: Creativity Inc

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

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

We also speak about Movidiam – as brands turn to smarter ways of creating video and digital content, the Movidiam platform offers faster turnarounds whilst maintaining or improving quality. They’re already working with some of the biggest, most innovative companies to help compare teams and freelancers across the global curated network of creative talent. Producers and marketers looking for the best creatives can get a shortlist from Movidiam’s account managers in hours – tailored to their project’s needs. Submit a brief or check out the platform at Movidiam.com.

Feb 12, 2018

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

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

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

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

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

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

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

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Dick’s Fave Book: Creativity Inc.

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

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

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

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

Jan 22, 2018

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

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

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

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

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

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

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

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Eurie’s Fave Book: Blue Ocean Strategy 

Eurie's Fave Blog: Business of Fashion

Eurie’s Most Recent Investment: Shop Shops

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

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

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

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

Jan 15, 2018

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

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

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

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

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

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

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

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Emilie’s Fave Book: The Bonfire of the Vanities 

Emilie’s Most Recent Investment: Heighten

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

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

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

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

Jan 5, 2018

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

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

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

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

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

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

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

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Ben’s Fave Book: The Wealth of Nations

Ben’s Fave Blog: Social Capital Newsletter

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

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

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

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

 

Dec 6, 2017

Jake Flomenberg is a Partner @ Accel, one of the top performing venture funds of the last decade with investments in the likes of Dropbox, Slack, Facebook, Deliveroo and Atlassian, just to name a few. As for Jake, at Accel he specializes on all things Big Data and has led investments in the likes of Demisto, Origami Logic, Sumo Logic, Trifacta, and Zoomdata.  Prior to Accel, Jake was director of product management at Splunk, where he was responsible for the product’s user interface and big data strategy. Before that, he worked at Cloudera where he helped the founding team tackle a broad array of sales, marketing and product issues.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jake made the transition from the world of operations with Cloudera and Splunk to the other side of the table, as Partner at Accel?

2.) Why does Jake believe a large element of his role is "how to make AI not BS"? How does he approach this from the three-legged stool of machine learning, data and workflow? How do each subsequently rank?

3.) To what extent is Jake concerned by the data incumbency advantages that are present in the market with Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple (GAFA)? Where is the room for real opportunity and innovation? When should a startup be concerned about GAFA entering?

4.) How does Jake respond to Aaron Van Devender's suggestion that the value of large datasets is overplayed? Where are the inflection points in dataset value? How does David compare the value of initial data vs derivative data and the subsequent value?

5.) How does Jake assess the current state of the cybersecurity market? Is this increased investment period sustainable or due to more macro attention and events? Where does Jake feel the real opportunity is in cyber today? Where is it overplayed?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Jake’s Fave Book: Ready Player One

Jake’s Fave Blog: The Morning Paper (Harry's Favourite also)

Jake’s Most Recent Investment: Radar

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

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

Namely is the all-in-one HR, payroll, and benefits platform your employees will love to use. It’s as intuitive as social media, but powerful enough to support the complexity of today’s workforce. Namely’s mission is to help mid-sized companies build a better workplace. See how Namely can transform your workplace at www.Namely.com.

Eero is the world’s best-reviewed wifi. A system of eero and eero Beacons wirelessly connects to blanket your home in fast, reliable WiFi, so despite the increased number of devices with Christmas coming, you’ll still be able to get powerful mesh WiFi in every nook and cranny of your home, backyard included. No more dead spots, slow spots, drop-offs, or buffering — right out of the box. Eero is only available in the US and Canada and you can check it out here!

Nov 20, 2017

Mark Pincus is a serial entrepreneur and investor, best known for founding Zynga, the first company to introduce the mass market to social gaming. To date, more than one billion people around the world have played Zynga’s games, which include hits like FarmVille and Words with Friends. Mark is also known for his investments in some of the internet’s largest and most successful companies, including Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb, Snapchat and Xiaomi. One of the earliest pioneers in social networking, Mark founded multiple startups including support.com and tribe.net, before going on to create Zynga. A fun fact - recognizing the importance of social networking, in 2003 Mark teamed up with his friend Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn, to purchase the fundamental Six Degrees patent –  which broadly covers social networks – in order to keep it out of the hands of patent trolls and guarantee that all players could innovate on this technology.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) Having founded one of the first social networks, Tribe and seed invested in Facebook, what convinced you that 2007 was the right time to start a social games company, Zynga?

2.) Having mastered distribution with Zynga, does Mark believe we are in a "fallow" period for consumer with a lack of distribution channel availability? If distribution is not the core problem, what does Mark believe is the fundamental issue?

3.) What have been Mark's biggest lessons when it comes to assembling truly great teams? What does Mark mean when he says that he looks for people with "broken resumes"? Why is that so beneficial to potential candidates?

4.) When investing, how does Mark determine timing on when to ride winner and cut losers? What does Mark really mean when he says, ''you have to instill a mindset of expected value over loss avoidance"?

5.) What are the 2 biggest lies in Silicon Valley told by founders and VCs? How can founders truly test the alignment with their VC? How did Mark do this in pitches with Zynga? What were Mark's learnings on optimising board composition and performance?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Mark’s Fave Book: Ready Player One

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

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

Available in carry-on and check-in sizes, Raden is the case for better, smarter travel. By pairing the lightest and most durable materials with technology, travelers can charge their devices on the go, weigh, and track their cases. Visit Raden.com to use code 20VC at checkout. With purchase, receive credit towards Tablet Hotels for the next year. If a UK listener, head over to Selfridge’s and shop Raden today.

The Simba Hybrid. The most advanced mattress in the world. With a unique combination of two thousand five hundred conical pocket springs and responsive memory foam, it offers the perfect support for two people. A mattress that responds to you and your partner’s sleeping patterns. Delivered free, with a one hundred night sleep trial, free returns and a ten year guarantee. Start your free trial at simbasleep.com

 

Oct 11, 2017

Samir Kaji is what one might call, a master of all things seed stage and micro VC financing. Over his 18 years in venture capital, Samir has assisted or advised over 700 companies and 300 VC firms and has completed tech financing transactions totaling over $4.0 billion in committed capital. Today, Samir is the Senior Managing Director @ First Republic Bank where leads the technology banking team managing venture capital and startup company relationships. He joined First Republic in 2013 from Silicon Valley Bank, where he was also a managing director.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Samir made his entry into the world of VC from the ground up and has come to advise and assist on over $4Bn worth of capital commitments?

2.) Where is the micro VC and seed market today? What is the overview? What has fundamentally changed over the last few years? Are all increases in capital supply good or is this too much? Why is Samir concerned by valuation bloat at seed?

3.) How are LPs reacting to this explosion in seed and micro fund managers? How does this differ when assessing the differing classes of LP from institutions to HNWs and family offices? What are the likelihoods of 1st-time funds attaining institutional capital?

4.) How should potential managers think about the right fund size to raise? How long a timeline should be given to the raising of micro and seed funds? What exceptions are there to this timeline? How does the role of multiple closings play into this timeline?

5.) How does Samir differentiate between raising a fund and building a franchise? What does this mean about how a certain set of anagers not only engages in the fundraising process but also depicts the narrative?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Samir’s Fave Book: Hard Thing About Hard Things

Samir’s Fave Blog: Strictly VCAVC by Fred Wilson

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

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

Lattice is the #1 performance management solution for growing companies. With Lattice, it’s easy to launch 360 performance review cycles as often as you want. And you also get a continuous feedback system with OKR goal tracking, real-time feedback, and 1-on-1 meetings to make sure employees get feedback between reviews. Find out why the likes of CoinBase, PlanGrid, Birchbox and WePay trust Lattice as their performance management solution by heading over to lattice.com to start investing in your people. That’s Lattice.com.

Recurly, the company powering subscription success, with Recurly’s enterprise-class subscription management platform providing rapid time-to-value without requiring massive integration effort and expense and they have the ability to not only increase revenue by 7% but also reduce the all-important churn rate. That is why thousands of customers from Twitch to HubSpot to CBS Interactive trust Recurly as their subscription management platform. Check them out on recurly.com that really is a must.

Oct 2, 2017

Matt Switzer is the Senior Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Development @ Hootsuite, the social media management platform that has raised venture funding from some of the best in the world including Accel, Insight Venture Partners and Fidelity. At HootSuite, Matt and his team have raised over $250m in funding, acquired 8 companies and launched 4 new products. Prior to Hootsuite, Matt was on the other side of the table as a VC, where he helped to establish a new fund and manage an incubator.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Matt made his way into the world of VC and then decided to jump to the other side of the table as acquirer with Hootsuite?

2.) What is the build, buy or partner thinking process? When analysing markets, what does that deep dive and examination look like and entail? How does Hootsuite identify and select startups within the identified markets?

3.) How does Hootsuite most like to interact with startups in pipe? What does the relationship building look like? What platforms and tools are used to monitor those relationships post initial meeting?

4.) What does the internal conviction building process look like around a potential deal? What is the traditional structure of such a deal? How does Matt assess price sensitivity and it's ties to product market fit achieved by the startup?

5.) From the other side of the table, when should startups look to be building their M&A pipe? In conversations with potential acquirers, what are the foundations for them to remember? What role do VCs play and value do they provide in these conversations?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Matt’s Fave Book: Red Notice

Matt’s Fave Blog: Tom Tunguz

Matt’s Most Recent Acquisition: AdEspresso 

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

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

If you are an early stage startup, the right infrastructure and support systems are critical, that is where First Republic is so good. First Republic’s resources network and expertise allow entrepreneurs to customise a solid foundation for their business. Why First Republic, well you get to leverage their incredible network of VC firms to prepare you for future fundraising events, you get to count on a single point of contact that will be there for you and your employees, you get access to exclusive events and networking opportunities. Their clients include the likes of Instacart, eShares and Wish just to name a few. Check it out by heading over to innovation.firstrepublic.com

Segment allows you to collect data from every platform (mobile, web, server, cloud apps) and load it into Segment. Segment then sends the customer data to your tools and destinations where it can be used most effectively, destinations include email, analytics, warehouses, helpdesks and more. With over 200 sources and destinations on the Segment platform that can empower your team, Segment really is the last integration you will ever do and that is why the world’s best companies use segment to drive growth and revenue including Atlassian, New Relic and Crate & Barrel. Simply head over to segment.com to find out more.

Sep 29, 2017

Roger Dickey is the Founder & CEO @ Gigster, the smart development service combining top developers and designers with artificial intelligence. They have raised over $30m in funding from the likes of a16z, Redpoint, Marc Benioff, Ashton Kutcher, Michael Jordan and then previous guests Rick Marini and Felicis Ventures. Prior to Gigster, Roger founded Mafia Wars, where he built the business to $1Bn in revenues and 100m users. Roger is also a prolific angel investor and LP in venture funds with a portfolio including the likes of Docker, ClassDojo and Addepar, just to name a few. If that was not enough Roger is also an advisor to 8VC, Lemnos Labs and OpenDoor.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Roger made his way from founding Mafia Wars to changing the world of software development with Gigster?

2.) Roger has said before "if you dislike VCs, you have never worked with a good one". So what makes a truly great VC to Roger? What does Roger believe are the core components VCs can add to a company? How should founders view investors when investing in them?

3.) Following Roger's discussion with Mike Vernal, Partner @ Sequoia, why does Roger believe that the Series A is a hiring decision? How does this change how founders should think about the A round & present themselves throughout the round?

4.) Why does Roger think it is important for startup founders to invest in other startups? What benefits does this bring to you and your own company? How does Roger prioritize, time-wise between LP, GP and founder?

5.) When angel investing, Roger admits that he takes the "market first" approach. Why is this? How does Roger assess the element of market creation? How does Roger look to balance between founder first vs company first?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Roger’s Fave Book: On Intelligence

Roger’s Fave Blog: Elad Gil

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

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

If you are an early stage startup, the right infrastructure and support systems are critical, that is where First Republic is so good. First Republic’s resources network and expertise allow entrepreneurs to customise a solid foundation for their business. Why First Republic, well you get to leverage their incredible network of VC firms to prepare you for future fundraising events, you get to count on a single point of contact that will be there for you and your employees, you get access to exclusive events and networking opportunities. Their clients include the likes of Instacart, eShares and Wish just to name a few. Check it out by heading over to innovation.firstrepublic.com

Segment allows you to collect data from every platform (mobile, web, server, cloud apps) and load it into Segment. Segment then sends the customer data to your tools and destinations where it can be used most effectively, destinations include email, analytics, warehouses, helpdesks and more. With over 200 sources and destinations on the Segment platform that can empower your team, Segment really is the last integration you will ever do and that is why the world’s best companies use segment to drive growth and revenue including Atlassian, New Relic and Crate & Barrel. Simply head over to segment.com to find out more.

Sep 15, 2017

Charlie Lee is the creator of Litecoin, the most popular alternative currency to Bitcoin, which Charlie created as a side project in 2011 while working at Google. Today Litecoin has a market cap of $3.29Bn. As well as creating Litecoin, Charlie is also the Director of Engineering @ Coinbase, working alongside recent 20VC guest and Coinbase founder, Brian Armstrong. Prior to this, Charlie held roles at Microsoft, Google and Guidewire.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Charlie made his way from Google to Coinbase to founding Litecoin in his free time? What were Charlie's biggest takeaways from being at Coinbase?

2.) What does Charlie believe is the biggest barrier to the world of cryptocurrency and BTC? What is the holy grail to securing this and the future of the space within mass consumer usage?

3.) How does Charlie think about the largest problem for crypto and BTC, scaling? Why does Charlie believe that Ethereum will have large problems scaling? How does Charlie assess the balance of centralization, scaling and transaction efficiency?

4.) Why is Charlie's biggest concern the current ICO market? Why does he believe it is the "wild west"? What happens to alternative currencies when the ICO market crashes? Who are the ultimate winners in the ICO markets?

5.) How does Charlie analyse the differing communities when comparing ETH to BTC to LTC? Does community serve as a core form of IP for currencies and their stability moving forward?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Charlie’s Fave Book: Game of Thrones

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

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

If you are an early stage startup, the right infrastructure and support systems are critical, that is where First Republic is so good. First Republic’s resources network and expertise allow entrepreneurs to customise a solid foundation for their business. Why First Republic, well you get to leverage their incredible network of VC firms to prepare you for future fundraising events, you get to count on a single point of contact that will be there for you and your employees, you get access to exclusive events and networking opportunities. Their clients include the likes of Instacart, eShares and Wish just to name a few. Check it out by heading over to innovation.firstrepublic.com

Segment allows you to collect data from every platform (mobile, web, server, cloud apps) and load it into Segment. Segment then sends the customer data to your tools and destinations where it can be used most effectively, destinations include email, analytics, warehouses, helpdesks and more. With over 200 sources and destinations on the Segment platform that can empower your team, Segment really is the last integration you will ever do and that is why the world’s best companies use segment to drive growth and revenue including Atlassian, New Relic and Crate & Barrel. Simply head over to segment.com to find out more.

Sep 6, 2017

Jon Callaghan is a founder of True Ventures, one of the West Coast's leading early stage funds with a portfolio including the likes of Fitbit, recent unicorn Peloton, Automattic (makers of Wordpress) and more amazing companies. Jon also led the deals and sits on the board of Fitbit, Brightroll, Peloton and Glu Mobile, just to name a few. Prior to True, Jon founded 3 of his own companies, the first being in 1986 with Mountain Bike Outfitters Inc. Following several years founding companies, Jon made his move into VC with Summit Partners and then enjoyed roles with AOL's venture incubator, CMGi's Venture group and Globespan Capital.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jon made his first forays into the world of VC and came to co-found True with Phil Black?

2.) How does Jon look to straddle the divide of "founder/VC"? Why does Jon believe it is crucial to have an entrepreneurial mindset as an investor?

3.) Why does Jon believe VCs biggest bias is loss aversion? Why does Jon always believe that the role of the VC is to maximise risk? What 1 thing must all prospective investors get good at very quickly?

4.) How does Jon view reserve allocation? True invest -1% per deal in each company, how do they look to efficiently deploy reserves? What must the communication be between founder and VC with regards to attaining follow on funding?

5.) Why does Jon believe that current board meetings do not serve startup founders? What are the characteristics of the best board members and how they conduct themselves? What is the single biggest problem boards bring to founders?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Jon’s Fave Book: Moby Dick

Jon’s Fave Blog: Dave Pell: NextDraft

Jon’s Most Recent Investment: Brava

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

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

Pendo delivers the only complete platform that helps companies create great products. The Pendo Product Experience Platform enables product teams to understand product usage, collect user feedback, measure NPS, assist users, and promote new features in-app – all without requiring any engineering resources. This unique combination of capabilities helps companies improve customer satisfaction, reduce churn, and increase revenue. Pendo is the proven choice of Salesforce, Cisco, Optimizely Citrix, BMC and many more leading companies. Start a free trial at http://go.pendo.io/harry

Treehouse is an online school where you can learn how to build websites and apps. Their course library has thousands of hours of content, where you can learn all sorts of topics, including Javascript, iOS, Android and more.  With high-quality video instruction from real industry experts teaching you all you need to know, and quizzes and code challenges keep you engaged and on track. Learn on your own schedule and go from beginner to pro. Go to teamtreehouse.com to start your free trial.

Aug 14, 2017

Jason Calacanis is arguably one of the world's greatest angel investors, as he says he has "got lucky" 7 times and counting with a portfolio that includes the likes of Uber, Thumbtack, Evernote, Tumblr and more incredible companies. Jason has also previously been a scout for Sequoia Capital, where he made the original Uber investment. On the operational side, Jason was previously a Sequoia Founder with Weblogs, sold to AOL for a reported $25-40m. Today he is the Host of This Week In Startups and Founder of The Launch Festival, bringing entrepreneurs together with potential investors. You can buy his fantastic new book, Angel here!

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Jason make his move into the world of angel investing? Why was now the right time to write, Angel?

2.) What does Jason believe are the 4 questions investors must ask founders? What response to those questions excited Jason to hear? What responses make him nervous?

3.) Why does Jason believe that founders having the option for early liquidity is good? Why does he believe it does the opposite of what VCs think and actually makes them continue to work? What are the dangers of offering early liquidity to those founders?

4.) Why does Jason believe that companies are always bought and not sold? Does VC access to corporate development teams then become a futile exercise?

5.) How does Jason view the scaling of Y Combinator? How does Jason evaluate the valuations placed on YC companies? Why does Jason believe that progressive term sheets are ridiculous?

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

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

Pendo delivers the only complete platform that helps companies create great products. The Pendo Product Experience Platform enables product teams to understand product usage, collect user feedback, measure NPS, assist users, and promote new features in-app - all without requiring any engineering resources. This unique combination of capabilities helps companies improve customer satisfaction, reduce churn, and increase revenue. Pendo is the proven choice of Salesforce, Cisco, Optimizely Citrix, BMC and many more leading companies. Start a free trial at http://go.pendo.io/harry

Treehouse is an online school where you can learn how to build websites and apps. Their course library has thousands of hours of content, where you can learn all sorts of topics, including Javascript, iOS, Android and more.  With high-quality video instruction from real industry experts teaching you all you need to know, and quizzes and code challenges keep you engaged and on track. Learn on your own schedule and go from beginner to pro. Go to teamtreehouse.com to start your free trial.

Mar 3, 2017

Dennis Mortensen is the CEO and Founder of X.ai, the artificial intelligence driven personal assistant that lets people schedule meetings using plain English and nothing more than a CC to amy@x.ai. Their female persona Amy is so lifelike that users have asked her on a date at a rate of one request per month! X.ai is now one of the best funded AI startups having raised over $30m from our friends at FirstMark and DCM and a big thanks to Matt Turck for making the intro and from DCM, who also helped us with some of the questions for Dennis!

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Dennis came to found one of the leading AI startups today with X.ai?

2.) Why is product market fit like porn? How does this analogy affect Dennis' evaluation of product market fit?

3.) What are the fundamental features required to turn a single user consumer product into an enterprise product? How should that transition be managed?

4.) Is Dennis concerned by large incumbents making their entrance into the world of more traditional enterprise companies with the likes of GSuite and Facebook for Work?

5.) How did Dennis evaluate the right pricing method for X.ai? What pricing mechanisms did he consider? What does Dennis believe is the future of enterprise pricing?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Dennis' Fave Book: Shoe Dog

Dennis' Fave Blog or Newsletter: Azeem Azhar: The Exponential View

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

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

X.ai is AI-poweredered personal assistant for scheduling meetings bringing you Amy or Andrew. The assistant you interact with like you would to any other person and it allows you to avoid the tedious hours of email ping pong in order to schedule one meeting. Even better, there is no sign in, no password, no download, all you do is cc amy@x.ai beautiful! And you can check it out now on x.ai it really is a must!

Workable is the all-in-one recruiting software for ambitious companies. From posting a job to tracking and managing candidates, Workable provides everything you need to hire better. Transparent communication, organized candidate profiles, structured interviews and a full reporting suite gives hiring teams the information they need to make the best choice. Workable is available for desktop and mobile and you can find out more on workable.com where you can try it for free.

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