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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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Nov 8, 2019

Ryan Denehy is the Founder & CEO @ Electric.ai, the company that provides a world-class IT solution that's centralized, secure, and lightning-fast. To date, Ryan has raised over $37m in funding from some dear friends of the show in Rich @ GGV, Bessemer, Primary, Bowery, just to name a few. As for Ryan, he started his career at the tender age of 17 launching an action sports video production company, which was acquired just 4 years later. Ryan then spent 5 years at USA Today in numerous different roles. Following USA Today, Ryan started his second company, Swarm, acquired by Groupon just 3 years later.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Ryan made his way into the world of startups from launching an action sports video production company at the age of 17?

2.) Having founded 2 prior companies, would Ryan agree with Joe Fernande @ JoyMode in saying that "serial entrepreneurship is overrated"? What did he do right in the first 2 companies that he would look to do again? What did not work that he is avoiding? Where does Ryan most often see first-time founders make mistakes scaling?

3.) How does Ryan think about and assess wartime leadership? What is the right leadership style and approach to battle through the really tough times? Ryan's investors talk of his speed of execution, how does Ryan balance the speed with the quality when it comes to execution? How has Ryan seen both his role and the way in which he executes it change with the scale of the company and of himself? 

4.) How does Ryan thnk about and assess forward planning when it comes to recruitment? How should this recruitment planning align to fundraising? Why must it start before the fundraise? How does Ryan think about levelling up individuals internally vs hiring external candidates? How does Ryan think about and present internal expectation setting? 

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Ryan’s Fave Book: Barbarians At The Gate

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

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

Nov 1, 2019

Vlad Magdalin is the Founder & CEO @ Webflow, the startup that allows you to build better business websites, faster, without coding. To date, Vlad has raised over $73m with Webflow from some dear friends of the show including Accel, Ron @ Rainfall, Brianne @ Work Life, Benjamin Ling and Y Combinator to name a few. Prior to founding Webflow, Vlad was a Senior Software Engineer @ Intuit. Before Intuit, Vlad co-founded Chatterfox, a web application allowing people to stay in touch with groups of friends, family, or co-workers.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Vlad made his way into the world of startups? How did the original idea to democratise the world of design and site creation with Webflow come about?

2.) Webflow has had an unorthodox funding path with their recent $73m Series A, how was it for Vlad raising the seed round with Webflow? What lessons did he learn from that raise? Why did they drive to be breakeven so much earlier than others might? Why did Vlad believe now was the right time to go big and raise the Series A?

3.) Vlad chose to partner with Accel, what advice does Vlad give to founders in determining which funding partner to choose? What makes for the best VC <> founder relationships? What is the optimal way to build those relationships? Where does Vlad believe that VCs can strategically move the needle? Where do many think VCs can really help but they most often cannot?

4.) What have been Vlads biggest lessons when it comes to successful board management? What advice would Vlad give Harry when it comes to joining boards as new board member? What does Vlad mean when he says, the best board members come to the board with the mindset of "servant leadership"? How do they show that in their actions? How can investors create an environment of trust at the board?

5.) Vlad AMA: Why does Vlad believe that it is a distraction for founders to be angel investing alongside their role as a founder? How does he believe this creates a wedge between them and the team? How has having kids impacted how he thinks about operating today? What have been the big takeaways from fatherhood?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Vlad’s Fave Book: Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't

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

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

Sep 23, 2019

Matt Harris is a Partner @ Bain Capital Ventures, a leading US venture fund with a portfolio that includes the likes of LinkedIn, Lime, SendGrid, Jet.com and more incredible companies. As for Matt, he specialises in financial technology and services and has led investments in the likes of Acorns, OpenFin, SigFig, Ribbon and Billtrust. Prior to joining BCV, Matt founded Village Ventures, which he ran for 12 years and where he focused on early-stage fintech investing. Before Village Matt actually started his investing career Bain Capital private equity in 1995.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Matt made his way into the world of venture from private equity and what led him to specialise as he has done in the world of fintech?

2.) How did seeing the boom and bust of the dot com impact Matt's investing mindset today? How has Matt's fear of the cyclicality of markets actually lost him a lot of money in the past? What has that taught Matt on trying to time markets? What were the main takeaways for Matt from running his own firm? How does it differ to a partnership?

3.) Why does Matt believe we are seeing late-cycle momentum investing today? What is the evidence to suggest this? How does Matt think about the right cadence to invest through market cycles? What does Matt mean when he says, "Series A valuation does not matter anymore"? Why? How does Matt assess his own price sensitivity today?

4.) Why does Matt believe that investing in improbable ideas is a good strategy? What does this mean the internal investment decision-making process looks like at Bain? Why is full consensus sometimes a concern? How does Matt approach market sizing? Why does it not matter at Series A? When does it really start to matter?

5.) Matt has said before that "backing sociopaths can work". What did he mean by this? What founder type does Matt most like to back? Does one have to manage the relationship with them very differently to other founder types? What are the acceptable risks vs unacceptable risks with this founder type?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Matt’s Fave Book: The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food

Matt’s Most Recent Investment: Finix

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

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

Sep 20, 2019

Immad Akhund is the Founder & CEO @ Mercury, the startup that makes bank accounts that help tech companies scale. To date, Immad has raised funding from some of the best in the business including a16z and CRV on the fund side and then individuals including Elad Gil, Airtable's Howie Liu, Plaid's Zach Perret, Naval Ravikant, Justin Kan and OpenDoor's Eric Wu. Prior to founding Mercury, Immad held enjoyed numerous different roles including being a part-time partner at Y Combinator and then also founding HeyZap, building developer tools for mobile game developers, ultimately acquired in 2016.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Immad made his way from studying in the UK to being a YC Partner in 2017 and building one of the valley's hottest startups today in the form of Mercury?

2.) What does Immad want to do differently this time around with Mercury vs his time with HeyZap? What 1-2 mistakes that he made the first time round is Immad looking to avoid? How does being a serial founder impact one's ability to acquire the best talent? What does Immad think is harder the second time around? How has becoming a parent changed the way that Immad thinks about founding and building companies?

3.) How does Immad approach the process of picking the idea? What was the specific process with Mercury, step by step? Why does Immad believe it is an advantage to not have a background or prior career in the space you are looking to innovate in? What advice does Immad have for founders looking to move into highly regulated industries?

4.) How does Immad approach and assess the element of competition? What is the right way for founders to present competition when pitching to investors? Why is a 2x2 matrix the wrong approach? What does Immad advise portfolio founders he has invested in with regards to competition and the landscape in front of them?

5.) What have been some of Immad's biggest learnings from making over 120 angel investments? How has angel investing specifically helped certain parts of how he thinks about operating and being a founder today? What advice does Immad give with regards to investor updates? What makes the best ones? What makes the worst? How often should they be?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Immad’s Fave Book: The Accidental Superpower: The Next Generation of American Preeminence and the Coming Global Disaster

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

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

Aug 16, 2019

Daniel Kan is the Chief Product Officer @ Cruise, the company building cutting-edge hardware and software that work seamlessly together to transform the way we all experience transportation. In 2016, Cruise was acquired by GM for a reported $1Bn. Since the acquisition Cruise has raised $7.25 billion in committed capital and has attracted SoftBank, Honda, and T. Rowe Price as investors. As for Daniel, he started his career at a startup called UserVoice. He then founded Exec, an on-demand hospitality service company, and successfully sold Exec to Handy. As a result of his many success, Daniel was listed as number 7 on Fortune’s 2016 40 under 40 list for the most influential people in business.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Daniel made his way into the world of startups and came to co-found the game-changing company of the next movement mega wave of transport innovation in Cruise?

2.) What have been Daniel's biggest lessons on what works for leaders in scaling themselves? How can a leader ensure their team feel real ownership and accountability for their roles? How does Daniel think about KPI and goal-setting? How does Daniel look to strike the balance between ambitious but achievable goals and then unrealistic?

3.) How does Daniel think about micro-management? Is there ever a time for it? What are the leading indicators you or someone on the team is micro-managing? What can they do to correct it? What are the dangers of micro-management? How does Daniel think about assessing human potential in terms of a stretch VP and a stretch too far?

4.) Why does Daniel believe that "if you are not growing, you are dying"? What has been transformational to Daniel in increasing his own level of self-development and learning? How does the organisation need to be set up to ingest these learnings in real-time and improve? Where do many go wrong when it comes to mistakes and learnings?

5.) At acquisition, Cruise had just 40 team members, today the team consists of 1,460. What have been some of Daniel's biggest lessons in the process of scaling the team with such rapidity? What have been some of the core challenges? How has Daniel's style of leadership had to change and evolve with the growth?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Daniel’s Fave Book: Shogun: The First Novel of the Asian saga: A Novel of Japan

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

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

Apr 15, 2019

Dave Sobota is the Vice President of Corporate Development @ Instacart, the company that delivers your groceries in as little as 1 hour. To date the company has raised over $1.9Bn in funding from some of the very best investors and operators including Mike Moritz @ Sequoia, Jeff Jordan @ a16z, Aaron Levie @ Box, Sam Altman, Garry Tan and more incredible names. As for Dave, prior to Instacart, he was Director of Corporate Development @ Google for over 10 years and before that was with leading law firm, Wilson Sonsini.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Dave made his way from the world of law to Director of Corporate Development at Google to his position at Instacart today?

2.) In 2016, we had 513 BC backed exits, 499 were M&A, so how does Dave assess the M&A landscape today? Why id Dave bullish on the future M&A environment, at least for the next 12 months? Where are his concerns around M&A clustering? How does Dave view the entrance of large scale PE into the tech M&A arena?

3.) From leading Google's M&A practice, what have been Dave's core learnings on whether an entrepreneur should sell their company or remain independent? Paul Graham once said, "startups only talk to corp dev when they are doing really well or really badly". Does Dave agree? What are the reasons a startup would not speak to corp dev? What is the right way for them to communicate this while leaving the door open for future conversations?

4.) How does Dave operationalise the tracking of the startup market and determine what startups he wants to meet? How does Dave like to and think about working with the VC community here? What does that relationship building process look like? In those early meetings, what are the core questions that founders must ask? How much of a role does price play for Dave when considering an acquisition?

5.) How can founders ensure when they sell their company, that it will be properly integrated? What answers from the acquirer suggest it will or will not be? From countless M&A processes, what do the best integrations look like post-acquisition? Where are mistakes often made? Does Dave agree with Paul Graham in stating it is a "gruelling" process?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Dave’s Fave Book: Lonesome Dove

Dave’s Most Recent Acquisition: Tenor

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

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

Apr 5, 2019

Jeff Russakow is the CEO @ Boosted, the startup producing vehicle grade electric skateboards rethinking how we travel. To date, they have raised $74m in funding from the likes of Khosla Ventures, iNovia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz and our friends at Initialized. Prior to Boosted, Jeff was CEO @ Gimbal where he doubled revenue in his first year and added 80 new enterprise clients. Before that, Jeff was the CEO @ Findly where he grew the company to 450 employees and 20m end users. Jeff also enjoyed prior roles with the likes of Symantec, Adobe, SAP and Yahoo.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jeff made his way from leading enterprise CEO to re-thinking the way we travel today as CEO of Boosted?

2.) How does Jeff analyse the current sentiment to fundraising in the valley, specifically with regards to business construction? How has Jeff seen the investor class fundamentally transition over the last 20 years? When approaching investor selection, what is the 1 question that Jeff always asks? Where do founders often make mistakes here?

3.) Having raised the $60m round in 2018, how does Jeff approach the theme of capital efficiency today with Boosted? How does Jeff determine when is the right time to pour fuel on the fire? Why is Series B often the most challenging phase when considering the focus on unit economics and vision simultaneously?

4.) What is Jeff's gut reaction to the statement, "hardware is hard"? Why does Jeff feel this to be a glib statement that misses the point? How does Jeff respond to the criticism of the commodity element of hard, easy to replicate and copy? How would Jeff like to see the investor class change their mindset to hardware? What is the right way to approach it?

5.) What are the core elements required for a successful CEO transition? For a potentially incoming CEO, what must they be wary of with regards to the information conveyed to them by investors of the company? Where has Jeff seen many go wrong in CEO transitions? What can the founders do to make this process as smooth as possible?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Jeff’s Fave Book: The Missing Piece 

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

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

 

Mar 15, 2019

Adam Pritzker is the Chairman & CEO @ Assembled Brands, a holding company providing working capital and financial services to emerging brands. In October 2018, they raised $100m in development capital from the prestigious Oaktree Capital Management. As for Adam, he is also a co-founder of General Assembly where during his tenure, prior to its acquisition by Addecco Group, he served as Chief Creative Officer, Chief Product Officer, and Chairman. For his entrepreneurial endeavors, Adam was featured in Forbes’ 30 Under 30, Vanity Fair’s The Next Establishment, Inc. Magazine’s 30 Under 30, and Business Insider’s Silicon Alley 100.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Adam made his way into the world of startups with the co-founding of General Assembly and how that led to his founding Assembled Brands and financing the future of brands?

2.) Why is Adam optimistic about the current state of the consumer brand and retail environment? How does Adam respond to Alex Taussig @ Lightspeed's suggestion of the "re-platforming of retail"? How does Adam approach the changing demographic of consumer spend? What does this mean for both the brands and the channels they use to acquire customers? Does Adam believe we are in a consumer bubble today?

3.) How does Adam think about the lack of free and open distribution today for consumer companies? Are the traditional channels now too expensive to acquire customers on? How does Adam advise consumer founders on the saturation rate of marketing channels? How can they foresee the ceiling ahead of time?

4.) Adam has previously stated that Instagram is the new QVC, what did he mean by that? What type of consumer brand is Instagram best suited for? Why does Adam believe that in many cases the venture financing method is suboptimal and wrong for these scaling brands? What can founders who have taken VC funds and now seen it was potentially a mistake do?

5.) Why does Adam believe that the "infrastructure to power emerging brands is broken"? How can the current stack and infrastructure for brands be improved? What metrics should consumer founders really hone in on today? What sort of metrics suggests a brand is VC backable vs is not VC backable? How does Adam think about the ability of the consumer brand space to provide venture returns at scale?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Adam’s Fave Book: (1.) The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure(2.) The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You, and How to Get Good at It

Adam's Most Recent Investment: Felix Gray 

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

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

Dec 7, 2018

Anand Sanwal is the Founder & CEO @ CB Insights, the tech market intelligence platform that ingests massive datasets, to answer complex questions and predict future trends. CB is the 9th best place to work in the US according to GlassDoor and one of the fastest growing SaaS companies in the US. To date, CB Insights has raised over $11m in VC funding, a topic Anand discusses at length in our episode today! Prior to founding CB, Anand held numerous roles at American Express including running a $50m Innovation Fund and managing the company's discretionary investment spend ($4-5Bn p.a.). Before American Express, Anand was one of the early team @ Kozmo.com, one of the most well-funded and infamous startups in NYC history.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Anand came to found CB Insights from running American Express' $50m Innovation fund and the a-ha moment there?

2.) Why does Anand believe that revenue funding is the best kind of funding? What 3 elements does Anand believe it fundamentally allows? What does Anand mean when he says "most have 3 masters, you can only serve two of them at once"? Does Anand believe that founders today are treating their investors as customers?

3.) How does Anand distinguish between business that can be funded from revenue vs those that cannot? How does Anand think about the relationship between growth and margin? Why does it make sense for VCs today to push for the suggestion that startups need to raise big to grow? How can founders think about and respond to this?

4.) Why does Anand believe that most B2B content today is crap? What are the core pillars that make great B2B content today? How does Anand think about potentially going too far when it comes to the risque nature of the content? What advice would Anand give to B2B founders wanting to ramp up their game in content? Where do many go wrong?

5.) What does Anand mean when he says that "pedigree is often overrated"? How has that led Anand's thinking when building out the team at CB? Where does Anand see most founders make mistakes when it comes to both team and company scaling? What interview question does Anand find most revealing of an individuals' character?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Anand’s Fave Book: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

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

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

Dec 3, 2018

Danny Rimer is a Partner @ Index Ventures, one of the world's leading venture funds with a portfolio including the likes of Dropbox, Skype, King, Bird, Slack and many more incredible companies. As for Danny, he is known for his investments in Dropbox, leading the company's Series B, Etsy, King (makers of world famous, Candy Crush), Skype and more recently many retail and fashion businesses such as Farfetch, Glossier and GOAT. He's been on the coveted Forbes Midas List for more than a decade and in 2017 was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to business and charity and the New York Times included him in its list of the top 20 venture capitalists worldwide.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Danny made his way into the world of venture and came to be a Partner @ Index Ventures?

2.) Having backed the likes of King, Skype, Glossier, how does Danny respond to Peter Fenton and Jeremy Levine's suggestions of a "consumer downturn"? Does Danny believe there is a lack of free and open distribution today? Can startups compete with such inflated CACs? Henry Davis @ Glossier asks: how have you seen acquisition models change over time? How do you envision acquisition models of the future?

3.) Peter Fenton said on the show previously, he always laughs when he hears VCs say they like big markets, how does Danny assess market sizing today? What have been Danny's biggest lessons on assessing market size when looking at his portfolio? How does Danny think about niche markets today in such an Amazon dominant world? How does Danny assess price today? How does Danny determine when to stretch vs stay firm?

4.) Having helped many companies scale to global success, what does Danny believe to be the core considerations in getting your startup ready for global expansion? How did Danny find Index's expansion when opening up their first US office in 2011 in SF? What were some of the biggest challenges? How does Danny think about and assess generational transition within venture and Index more specifically today?

5.) Danny has spent over 3,000 hours on boards to date, how has Danny seen himself evolve as a board member over that time? What were some inflection moments in those hours that fundamentally changed the way Danny thinks? What advice would Danny give me, having just gained my first institutional board seat?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Danny’s Fave Book: Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami

Danny’s Most Recent Investment: Goodeggs

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

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

Nov 26, 2018

Laura Deming is Founding Partner @ The Longevity Fund, the first VC firm dedicated to funding high-potential longevity companies. To date, Laura has raised $26m across 2 Longevity funds and has backed the likes of Unity BiotechnologyPrecision BiosciencesMetacrineNavitor, and Alexo Therapeutics. Prior to Longevity, Laura was accepted to MIT at the age of 14 to study physics and then dropped out to join the Thiel Fellowship and start The Longevity Fund. If that wasn't enough, Laura most recently founded Age1, a four-month startup accelerator program focused on founders creating longevity companies.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Laura made her way from studying physics at MIT at just 14 to founding The Longevity Fund and dropping out to join The Thiel Fellowship?

2.) As a 16-year-old, looking to raise a fund to invest in longevity, how was the fundraise process for Laura? Why does Laura believe that raising your first fund is very much like raising a seed round for a company? What was the catalytic moment when the fundraise started to come together? What were the biggest challenges of the raise?

3.) Why does Laura believe that there is a shortage of young biotech founders today? What can be done to solve this and increase pipe? How does Laura find biotech founders compare to more traditional consumer and B2B founders she engages with? How does what they look for from their investor base differ?

4.) Laura has spoken before of "the importance of going against the herd"? How does Laura assess the current landscape for biotech investing? Is Laura concerned to see the entrance of much more traditional VCs into the space? How does Laura look to try and avoid groupthink? What is crucial to this?

5.) How does one need to think about portfolio construction when investing in an inherently riskier biotech space? Does Laura agree with the conventional wisdom around the lack of follow-on funding for biotech companies? How does Laura think about reserve allocation with Longevity today?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Laura’s Fave Book: The Mysterious Stranger by Mark Twain,

Laura’s Most Recent Investment: System1

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

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

Oct 22, 2018

Linda Xie is a Co-Founder & Managing Director @ Scalar Capital, one of the leading crypto asset funds to have been born over the last few years with Linda becoming one of the most prominent figures in the space. Prior to co-founding Scalar, Linda was a product manager at Coinbase where she worked with regulators and law enforcement. Before Coinbase, she was a portfolio risk analyst at AIG. If that was not enough, Linda is also an advisor to 0x, the critical infrastructure layer in the emerging financial stack built on a foundation of Ethereum token standards.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Linda made her move into the world of crypto joining Coinbase back in 2014 and how that led to her founding of Scalar? What were her biggest takeaways from seeing the first-hand scaling of Coinbase?

2.) What is a privacy coin and why does it matter? What are some of the dominant legitimate uses for privacy coins? From ZCash to Monero to Dash, there are many players in the space, what are some of the core benefits and tradeoffs of each platform? What is the fundamental problem with privacy coins today?

3.) What is a decentralised exchange, why does Linda believe it is inherently important? How does Linda assess the current exchange environment today? Where does she see it moving over the coming years? What have been some of Linda's biggest learnings advising 0x?  Given the mission and ethos of crypto, does Linda believe that centralised exchanges fundamentally go against the core ethos of the space?

4.) How does Linda perceive the state of ethereum today? What are some of the core challenges facing ethereum today? How does ethereum compare to alternative smart contract platforms? What is their differentiation? Will we see a winner take all/most market within smart contract platforms? Will we see smart contract platforms be regionally fragmented?

5.) How does Linda address the fundamental challenge of valuing tokens today? What has been her preferred model in doing this to date? How does Linda assess the mega raises we have seen over the last year? How does Linda think about preventing projects from raising huge rounds just to stay in step with the mega raises of their competitors?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Linda’s Fave Book: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Linda’s Most Recent Investment: Kadena

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

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

Sep 10, 2018

Shabih Rizvi is the Founding Partner @ Gradient Ventures, Google’s new AI-focused venture fund, which will invest in and connect early-stage startups with Google’s resources, innovation, and technical leadership in artificial intelligencePrior to Gradient, Shabih was a Partner at KPCB, where he was actively involved with investments in TrueCaller, Mobcrush, Veem and Ujet. In addition, he helped the firm build their seed program and served as advisor to Flipagram and Victorious. Before KPCB, Shabih founded and led the startup outreach program for Google Play. Prior to Google Play, Shabih worked on the Mobile Apps Lab team which built SMB products. His primary focus was scaling TalkBin (Acquired by Google) to enterprise clients. Shabih joined Google after Google’s acquisition of AdMob, where he was a manager on the Business Development team.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Shabih made his way into the world of venture with Kleiner Perkins and how he came to be a Founding Partner @ Google's AI focused venture fund, Gradient? What were Shabih's greatest lessons from working side by side with John Doerr?

2.) Shabih has said to me before "founder relationships and their longevity really matter". What does Shabih mean by this? How has this played out for Shabih in an investing environment? What have been Shabih's subsequent learnings?

3.) How does Shabih identify the "3 buckets" that VCs source from? How does Shabih look to filter through opportunities at scale? What must he see in the deck? What are his quick no's? What is Shabih's framework for saying no both with efficiency and kindness? Why does Shabih believe this is one of the hardest parts of the role?

4.) What does the internal investment decision-making process look like at Gradient? Why do they believe that 2 partner meetings a week is optimal? Prior to that, how does Shabih structure his meetings with founders? Why does Shabih believe it is so important to go to them at their HQ? Should all investors go to the founder?

5.) Why is Shabih a strong believer in the decentralisation of talent away from the valley? What are the primary drivers for this decentralization? How does Shabih think about pricing in different regions? To what extent does it differ wildly? How does Shabih respond to traditional SaaS wisdom that you have to build your SaaS business in the valley?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Shabih’s Fave Book: Measure What MattersWhen Breathe Becomes Air 

Shabih’s Most Recent Investment: Scotty.ai

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

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

The reality is that hiring amazing developers is hard. Terminal.io is your dedicated partner in rapidly standing up world-class remote technical teams. How do they deliver both speed and quality? Terminal does this by focusing on everything necessary to successfully source, setup, and support these teams – from physical elements like beautiful workspaces and equipment to ongoing resources like HR, payroll, legal, professional learning and development. But don’t take my word for this, take the word of Eventbrite, former 20VC guest Hims, and Dialpad – all customers and lovers of Terminal. You can find out more today at Terminal.io.

Sep 7, 2018

Andrew Farah is the Founder & CEO @ Density, the startup that measures real-time occupancy of every room in your office. To date, they have raised over $16m in funding from some great friends of the show in the form of Founders Fund, Mark Suster @ Upfront, Ludlow Ventures, Jason Calacanis, Hiten Shah and Arjun Sethi, just to name a few. As for Andrew, prior to founding Density, he was a Managing Partner @ Rounded, a software development agency & product studio. There, Andrew and the team built the first Density prototype.

 

In The Show Today:

1.) How Andrew made his way into the world of technology and product with Rounded and came to found the people counter of the next generation in Density?

2.) How does Andrew view the role of super-connectors today? What specific time has a super-connector really moved the needle for Andreq and changed the trajectory of Density? What can one do to first build relationships with these people? What can be done to sustain that relationship and really engage and deepen it?

3.) How does Andrew view the importance of "employee retention" in the ultimate success of a company? Density have never had an employee leave in 4 years, what does Andrew believe they have done right? What has not worked for them? What does he mean when he says, "the best leaders answer employees questions before they are asked"?

4.) What has Andrew found to be the commonalities in the truly special VCs? What do they do that makes them so special? How do they view the world and the assessment of companies that is so right? How does Andrew think about investor selection? Where does Andrew see many founders going wrong with this?

5.) Why does Andrew think that so many hardware startups fail today? What do they consistently underestimate and not understand? What are the core challenges in building a global supply chain? How does one have to think about cost of goods (COG) and unit economics when scaling hardware startups?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Andrew’s Fave Book: The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation

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.

Casper, the company that deliver a great night’s sleep at an incredible value. The team of engineers at Casper works nonstop prototyping, collecting data, and engineering what is certainly the most comfortable mattress. The Casper mattress has a unique combination of foams that provide the right pressure relief and alignment, so you feel perfectly balanced and comfortable. Try Casper yourself for 100 nights in your own home – RISK FREE. If you don’t love it, they come pick it up and refund you everything, no questions asked. Go to casper.com to try yours for 100 nights with FREE shipping and returns. Use code 20VC to save $50 on select mattresses today.

Lattice is the #1 people management solution for growing companies and helps companies like Asana, Reddit and Cruise build a strong company culture. With Lattice, it’s easy to launch 360 reviews, share ongoing feedback, facilitate 1:1s, set up goal tracking, and run employee engagement surveys. Lattice is the only solution that combines performance management and employee engagement, so operators can make sure top performers are happy. Lattice is giving away three months of Lattice free to 20VC listeners. Just go to lattice.com/20vc to receive the offer. Build an award-winning culture with Lattice. The #1 people management solution.

Sep 4, 2018

Barry Eggers is a Founding Partner @ Lightspeed, one of the world’s leading venture funds with a portfolio that includes the likes of Snapchat, Mulesoft, Affirm, StitchFix, AppDynamics, Nutanix and many more incredible companies. Barry himself has led investments in Snapchat, Metasolv Software (acquired post-IPO by ORCL), Calista Technologies (acquired by MSFT), Arbor Networks (acquired by DHR), Growth Networks (acquired by CSCO). As a result of his incredible success, Barry has been named to Forbes Midas List numerous times. Prior to VC, Barry held executive roles at Cisco Systems where he established many of the company’s largest distribution channels across OEMs, Service Providers, Distributors, and VARs. He also developed Cisco’s initial M&A process and directed the first wave of acquisitions and integrations for the company.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Barry made his way from the world of Cisco to the wonderful world of venture and came to found one of the most successful firms of the decade in Lightspeed?

2.) How does Barry break up the development of the venture ecosystem into 3 distinct stages? What does Barry believe have been the positive changes? What does Barry believe have been the negative changes? Does Barry believe there is an excess supply of capital today? Why does Barry believe there are too many first time funds? What is the outcome?

3.) Did Barry always aim to build the multi-stage, multi-geography firm that he has built with Lightspeed, from the start? What have been the fundamental inflexion points for Lightspeed both in the increase in brand value and liquidity to LPs? Why does Barry believe building a firm really is an art? What should managers most look for in their first LPs?

4.) What does Barry believe are the 3 ways a venture firm can fail in a generational transition? How can firms incentivise young partners to see the career path and trajectory ahead? What must the older partners at the firm be willing to do? What have been Barry's biggest lessons in their successful generational transition?

5.) Barry has sat on boards for over 21 years, how has Barry seen himself develop and evolve as a board member over time? What makes a truly functional board? What are the best practices? Who is the best board member Barry has ever sat on a board with? What makes Jim Goetz such a special board member?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Barry’s Fave Book: Quantum Computing: A Gentle Introduction (Scientific and Engineering Computation)

Barry’s Most Recent Investment: Audius

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

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

Aug 24, 2018

Heather Fernandez is the Founder & CEO @ Solv, the startup that simplifies everyday healthcare by providing access to high quality, last-minute care. To date, Heather has raised over $23m in funding from some of the great of the world of venture including Bill Gurley @ Benchmark, Theresia @ Aspect, James Slavet @ Greylock and Pete Flint @ NFX. Prior to Solv, Heather was part of the early team @ Trulia, where she led advertising product, marketing, and sales strategy and saw the team go from 20 people through to the $2.5B acquisition by Zillow Group. Before Trulia, Heather was at Morgan Stanley and more interestingly was National Deputy Press Secretary for Senator John McCain's 2000 presidential campaign. If all of that was not enough, Heather is also a Board Member at the global behemoth, Atlassian.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Heather made her way into the world of startups from the world of politics? How she came to be one of the early team at Trulia? What was the a-ha moment for Solv?

2.) How does Heather fundamentally define "culture"? What is the trust equation? Why does it play such a central role in successful culture building? What does Theather mean when she discusses "constructive candor"? What are the common mistakes Heather sees founders make when it comes to scaling culture? What literal actions can be done to instil trust and respect within the team?

3.) Does Heather agree with James @ ThredUp, "marketplaces founders have to be immensely stubborn"? Would Heather agree with Leah @ TaskRabbit with regards to marketplace NPS and "one side of the equation will always be less content"?

4.) What advice would Heather give to managers to maximize their impact in their organisation and their career? How does Heather think about bringing in the right people at various stages of the company? How does it change with scale? On funding, Solv has raised $23m, how does Heather think about when is the right time to pour fuel on the fire?

5.) Heather is also on the board of Atlassian, so what are the core benefits of simultaneously sitting on a board and managing your own board? What have been Heather's biggest learnings from her time on the Atlassian board? How do the best founders manage their boards successfully?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Heather’s Fave Book: The American Political Tradition and the Men Who Made it

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

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

Are you told your standards are too high, well The League is the app that tells you to keep them that way, they know your time is valuable so simply tell them your preferences and they will handle the scouting and vetting for you. Plus even better, your profile will only ever be seen by people who match your preferences, matches expire after 21 days and so there are no drawn-out games and they even require LinkedIn to protect your privacy and block you from matching with co-workers and business connections. You can apply now by downloading The League on the app store or heading to The League.com

Zoom is the fastest-growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an a variety of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. And you can see for yourself! Sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

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 Culture Amp. It enables leaders to make better decisions, demonstrate impact and turn your company culture into a competitive edge.  Find out more on cultureamp.com.

Aug 6, 2018

Nick Brown is Managing Partner @ Imaginary, founded alongside Net-A-Porter founder, Natalie Massenet, Imaginary invests in early–stage opportunities at the intersection of retail and technology. Included in their incredible portfolio is the likes of Glossier, Daily Harvest, Farfetch, Everlane and many more awesome companies. Prior to co-founding Imaginary, Nick was a Partner at 14W Venture Partners where he invested in the likes of Goop, Outdoor Voices, The Real Real and Business of Fashion just to name a few. Before that Nick was Head of New Media @ NV Investments.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Nick made his way into the world of venture and consumer investing from the days of investment banking?

2.) We have seen an explosion in the world of consumer with regards to D2C brands, does Nick believe we are in a D2C bubble? There is a lot of skepticism around physical product companies being venture businesses, so what are the core considerations for Nick when investing in physical product brands today?  

3.) Having backed the likes of Glossier, Farfetch, Everlane etc, what does Nick believe are some of the leading indicators from the early days whether a company has a sustaining and authentic brand? What does Nick believe is the future for direct to consumer of the next 24-36 months? What is he most excited by?

4.) How does Nick think about the interaction between D2C brands and wholesale and physical retail? When is the right time to pull the wholesale lever? What does Nick believe is a healthy ratio between paid to organic customer acquisition? What are the commonalities in the consumer brands that have broken out within his portfolio?

5.) In terms of character traits, what commonalities does Nick see in the most successful consumer founders he has backed today? We have seen a rise in the celebrity founder over the last few years, so what is the role of the celebrity founder? When does it work? When does it not work? How does the future of celebrity founder look to Nick?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Nick’s Fave Book: To Kill A Mockingbird

Nick’s Most Recent Investment: Fitplan

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

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

Are you told your standards are too high, well The League is the app that tells you to keep them that way, they know your time is valuable so simply tell them your preferences and they will handle the scouting and vetting for you. Plus even better, your profile will only ever be seen by people who match your preferences, matches expire after 21 days and so there are no drawn-out games and they even require LinkedIn to protect your privacy and block you from matching with co-workers and business connections. You can apply now by downloading The League on the app store or heading to The League.com

Zoom is the fastest-growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an a variety of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. And you can see for yourself! Sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

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 Culture Amp. It enables leaders to make better decisions, demonstrate impact and turn your company culture into a competitive edge.  Find out more on cultureamp.com.

Jul 30, 2018

Adam Goldberg is a Partner @ Lightspeed Venture Partners, one of the world's leading funds with a portfolio including the likes of SNAP, Mulesoft, Max Levchin’s Affirm, AppDynamics and many more incredible companies. As for Adam, at age 13, Adam enrolled as a full-time student at UC Berkeley, where he studied pure and applied mathematics and conducted research in number theory and machine learning. He went on to work as a mathematician for the Department of Defense and as a researcher Berkeley, Wisconsin-Madison and Stanford. Following that, Adam worked as an engineer at Palantir and Dropbox and was an early product manager at Rubrik. In 2016, Adam left Rubrik to become a partner at Lightspeed where he has invested in the likes of Basis, Vector and Totemic Labs, just to name a few.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Adam made his way into the world of venture from the department of defence and working at titans such as Palantir and Dropbox?

2.) Why does Adam believe the rate of founder learning is the most important skill that an investor can evaluate and assess? What does optimizing for learning really mean to Adam? In practice, what can one do to optimize for learning? What are the common traits and signs of those founders that do this well?

3.) Why does Adam believe that there remains today no mass market decentralised consumer product? What is needed for this to happen? How does Adam forsee the development of token economics over the coming years? What novel token financing solutions does Adam respect? What is required within token economics for Adam to gain real comfort?

4.) Why does Adam believe that the Telegram ICO got such attention? Why is Adam fundamentally bullish on the opportunity? What 2 core characteristics does Telegram have that are required for crypto projects to be successful? On the other side of the table, where is there cause for concern when reviewing the opportunity?

5.)How does Adam think about "betting on fundamental trade-offs in crypto"? What are the 4 key trade-offs that founders must contemplate? What are the trade-offs that Adam is willing to accept vs not accept? How does Adam envisage the willingness to accept trade-offs so widely, change over time in the space?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Adam’s Fave Book: Flowers for Algernon

Adam's Most Recent Investment: Strangeworks

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

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

Are you told your standards are too high, well The League is the app that tells you to keep them that way, they know your time is valuable so simply tell them your preferences and they will handle the scouting and vetting for you. Plus even better, your profile will only ever be seen by people who match your preferences, matches expire after 21 days and so there are no drawn-out games and they even require LinkedIn to protect your privacy and block you from matching with co-workers and business connections. You can apply now by downloading The League on the app store or heading to The League.com

Zoom is the fastest-growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an a variety of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. And you can see for yourself! Sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

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 Culture AmpIt enables leaders to make better decisions, demonstrate impact and turn your company culture into a competitive edge.  Find out more on cultureamp.com.

Jul 27, 2018

Eddy Lu is the Co-Founder & CEO @ GOAT, the largest marketplace in the world for buying and selling authentic sneakers. To date, GOAT have raised over $97m in VC funding from some of the best in the business including Accel, Index, Upfront and include angel investments from Elad Gil, Ashton Kutcher and Alexis Ohanian. Prior to GOAT, Eddy enjoyed numerous different roles including founding a chain of Japanese dessert stores building a slew of different 99c apps and started on Wall St with Lehmann Brothers and Deloitte.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Eddy made his way from Wall St to making 99c apps to creating a chain of Japanese desert stores to founding the world's largest sneaker marketplace in GOAT?

2.) Pivoting from social dining to sneaker marketplace, how does Eddy determine between mission and passion for the vision vs when something is simply not working? What core metrics made Eddy realise this pivot was needed? How did Eddy communicate the pivot to the existing investor base? How did he get them on board for the next chapter?

3.) Over the years, GOAT has had many investors wanting to invest, how does Eddy approach investor selection? What advice does Eddy have on optimising for valuation and the terms that founders should really focus on? What have been the biggest lessons from having former Twitter COO, Adam Bain on the GOAT board?

4.) Does Eddy agree with Paul at Canvas that marketplace founders should give up if they do not have differentiated supply? What does Eddy believe is the core characteristic of the most successful marketplaces? To what extent does Eddy believe that early marketplaces must rely on existing distribution and offline activities to scale?

5.) Eddy took the decision to merge with Flight Club, what was behind the decision to open up the business to physical retail? Why does Eddy believe that physical retail does not affect the margin structure massively when compared to it's online counterpart? How does Eddy assess the categories that make sense for physical retail between those that do not?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Eddy’s Fave Book: Crime and Punishment 

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

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

Are you told your standards are too high, well The League is the app that tells you to keep them that way, they know your time is valuable so simply tell them your preferences and they will handle the scouting and vetting for you. Plus even better, your profile will only ever be seen by people who match your preferences, matches expire after 21 days and so there are no drawn-out games and they even require LinkedIn to protect your privacy and block you from matching with co-workers and business connections. You can apply now by downloading The League on the app store or heading to The League.com

Zoom is the fastest-growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an a variety of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. And you can see for yourself! Sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

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 Culture AmpIt enables leaders to make better decisions, demonstrate impact and turn your company culture into a competitive edge.  Find out more on cultureamp.com.

Jul 23, 2018

Jason Stoffer is Managing Partner @ Maveron, the consumer-only venture fund backing a new breed of brands. Their stellar portfolio includes the likes of eBay, Zulily, General Assembly, Allbirds and Dia&Co, just to name a few. As for Jason, Jason is the master of all things consumer education, e-commerce and marketplace businesses. He has been a Board Member of a number of category-leading consumer businesses, such as zulily (Nasdaq: ZU), General Assembly (acquired by Adecco), Common and more. Prior to Maveron, Jason was Senior Director of Strategic Operations at Career Education Corp where he saw the business scale to a market cap of over $4.5Bn.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jason made his way into the world of VC from the world of journalism? What were his biggest takeaways from seeing the boom and bust cycle of 2001 and 2008?

2.) Why does Jason believe that moats matter as much, if not more than brand today? How can founders look to create the strongest form of defensibility? How does Jason analyze the 2 paths for consumer businesses today; raise large amounts of capital and buy growth or raise little, grow slowly, understand unit economics and channels over time? Does Jason think we will see a graveyard of immensely funded consumer businesses?

3.) How does Jason view paid acquisition today? Does Jason agree with Peter Fenton. "there is a lack of free and open distribution in consumer today"? When does Jason believe that consumer founders should really focus on CAC/LTV? What metrics really matter in the early days for consumer? How does Jason analyse acquisition channel mortality? When does he mean when he says, "CAC works, until it does not"?

4.) Jason has said before that "VC is a struggle". What elements does Jason find most challenging? How does Jason deal witht he shit hit the fan moments as a VC? Can VCs in this hyper-competitive world be openly vulnerable in Jason's eyes? How has Jason seen his approach to hard and challenging situations in VC develop over time?

5.) Does Jason believe we are in a consolidatory environment today or will we see the next generation of mega consumer brands being built? When investing, does Jason ask, who is the potential acquirer? Why? What multiple is achievable? Would Jason agree with Kirsten Green that "Amazon does more to make the market than destroy it"? How does Amazon affect Jason's investment philosophy and approach?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Jason’s Fave Book: 100 Years of Solitude

Jason's Most Recent Investment: Imperfect Produce

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

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

Are you told your standards are too high, well The League is the app that tells you to keep them that way, they know your time is valuable so simply tell them your preferences and they will handle the scouting and vetting for you. Plus even better, your profile will only ever be seen by people who match your preferences, matches expire after 21 days and so there are no drawn-out games and they even require LinkedIn to protect your privacy and block you from matching with co-workers and business connections. You can apply now by downloading The League on the app store or heading to The League.com

Zoom is the fastest-growing video and web conferencing service, providing one consistent enterprise experience that allows you to engage in an a variety of activities including video meetings and webinars, collaboration-enabled conference rooms, and persistent chat all in one platform. Plus, it is the easiest solution to manage, scale, and use, and has the most straightforward, affordable pricing. And you can see for yourself! Sign up for a free account (not a trial!). Just visit Zoom.us.

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 Culture AmpIt enables leaders to make better decisions, demonstrate impact and turn your company culture into a competitive edge.  Find out more on cultureamp.com.

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.

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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.

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