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The Twenty Minute VC: Venture Capital | Startup Funding | The Pitch

The Twenty Minute VC takes you inside the world of Venture Capital, Startup Funding and The Pitch. Join our host, Harry Stebbings and discover how you can attain funding for your business by listening to what the most prominent investors are directly looking for in startups, providing easily actionable tips and tricks that can be put in place to increase your chances of getting funded. Although, you may not want to raise funding for a startup. The Twenty Minute VC also provides an instructional guide as to what it takes to get employed in the Venture Capital industry, with VCs giving specific advice on how to get noticed from the crowd and increasing your chances of employment. If that wasn't enough our amazing Venture Capitalists also provide their analysis of the current technology market, providing advice and suggestions on the latest investing trends and predictions. Join us so you can see how you can get BIG, powerful improvements, fast. Would you like to see more of The Twenty Minute VC, head on over to www.thetwentyminutevc.com for more information on the podcast, show notes, resources and a more detailed analysis of the technology and Venture Capital industry.
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Now displaying: 2020
Apr 20, 2020

Mark Suster is the Managing Partner @ Upfront Ventures, one of LA's leading and largest venture firms with a portfolio including the likes of Bird, GOAT, Maker Studios and Ring.com to name a few. Prior to joining the world of venture, Mark was the founder & CEO of two successful enterprise software companies, the most recent of which was sold to Salesforce.com where Mark became VP, Products. Mark is also the author of one of my favourite industry blogs, Both Sides of The Table.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Mark made his way from founding enterprise companies to joining "the dark side" of venture with his move to Upfront?

2.) How does the current economic landscape change the world of B2B? How will renewals be impacted? How will customers approach discounting? Similarly, how will the world of B2C be impacted by COVID? How does this impact marketing and ad spend?

3.) How does Mark think about reserve allocation today with Upfront? How does that change in the face of COVID? Why does Mark believe this environment will redefine valuations? How should founders respond in the face of heavily changed valuations?

4.) Does Mark believe we will see a graveyard of new venture firms who have deployed too quickly and have too many hungry mouths to feed? How does Mark think about building temporal diversification into the portfolio? How can managers use reserves more intelligently moving forward?

5.) Does Mark agree with the Twittersphere that VCs remain "open for business"? How will we see deal volume impact? How will we see size of transaction impacted? What is the most important role a VC can play today? How will the M&A market also be impacte din the face of COVID?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Mark's Most Recent Investment: Solve

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

Apr 17, 2020

Sarah Cannon is a Partner @ Index Ventures, one of the world’s leading venture funds with a portfolio including the likes of Dropbox, Skype, Figma, Bird, Slack and many more incredible companies. As for Sarah, at Index, she works with groundbreaking companies including Notion, Slack, Pitch, Quill and Instabase. Prior to Index Sarah spent time at CapitalG, Warburg Pincus and even worked in The White House as Policy Advisor for the National Economic Council.

Akshay Kothari is the COO @ Notion, the company that has taken the modern working world by storm as the all-in-one workspace to write, plan, collaborate and get organised. Just last week Notion raised a $50M round led by Index at a reported $2Bn valuation. Prior to Notion, Akshay spent 5 years at LinkedIn following his prior company, Pulse News, being acquired by LinkedIn in 2013.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Sarah make her way into the world of venture from The White House and come to be a Partner @ Index today? How did Akshay parlay his angel investment into Notion into joining as COO the company 5 years later?

2.) With such a proliferation of collaboration tools today, how does Sarah see the remote work/collaboration tools landscape playing out? Are wein a phase of bundling or unbundling? Will we enter a phase of heavy consolidation? How does Notion think about the transition from an application to a platform? What are the challenges in doing so?

3.) What have been some of Akshay's core observations and learnings from watching the world move to remote work overnight? What behaviours will remain post COVID? What behaviours will not? What sectors will be forever changed due to the crisis? What opportunities does that bring about?

4.) Why did Notion decide to keep the team so small for so long? What are the advantages? How does Notion think about maintaining quality when hiring for scale now? What have been some of Akshay's biggest learnings in what it takes to attract A* talent to Notion?

5.) Why did Notion choose the route of profitability over the more conventional early path of the VC treadmill? How does one's mindset change when suddenly raising a large round of new financing? What becomes possible? What guard rails still need to be set?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

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

Carta simplifies how startups and investors manage equity, track cap tables, and get valuations. Go to carta.com/20vc to get 10% off. More than 800,000 employees and shareholders use Carta to manage hundreds of billions of dollars in equity and Carta now offers Fund Administration so you can see real-time data in the Carta platform and work with Carta’s team of experienced fund accountants. Go to carta.com/20vc to get 10% off.

 

Apr 14, 2020

David “DHH” Heinemeier Hansson (@dhh) is the creator of Ruby on Rails, founder and CTO at Basecamp (formerly 37Signals), and the best-selling co-author of Rework and Remote: Office Not Required. If that was not enough, fun fact, he went from not having a driver’s license at 25 to winning, at 34, the 24 Hours of Le Mans race, one of the most prestigious automobile races in the world. It is often called the “Grand Prix of endurance and efficiency.”

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How David made his way into the world of tech and startups from his childhood living in Copenhagen and how a cold email led to the founding of Basecamp with Jason Fried?

2.) What have been some of David’s core observations as people move to remote work over the last few weeks? What is the #1 mistake that 90% of teams make? How does David advise founders to approach loneliness and depression in their team? What strategies have Basecamp used to unite the team and inspire collaboration and teamwork?

3.) Why have David and Jason always tried to keep the Basecamp team as small as possible? Why does David believe one of the biggest problems is that execs have too much time? How does that manifest itself? What does David’s week look like? How does he approach meetings?

4.) Why does David hate the majority of “mission statements” today? What are the best composed of? What are the worst? What feelings does David believe your mission statement should inspire in the reader? What does David believe one needs to do to build a challenger brand today?

5.) Why has David and Basecamp always resisted the conventional path of raising VC funds? Why does David believe needs VC money is total BS? Why does David believe it is BS to chase being a unicorn? Why have founders got this so wrong today and what can they do to change?

6.) How would David describe his relationship to money? How has that relationship changed over time? What are the core challenges as one moves from a monetary to a deeper appreciation of what makes one happy? How did the transition occur for David? How does David advise others in terms of finding their moment for the transition?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

David’s Fave BookErich Fromm: To Have Or To Be

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

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

Carta simplifies how startups and investors manage equity, track cap tables, and get valuations. Go to carta.com/20vc to get 10% off. More than 800,000 employees and shareholders use Carta to manage hundreds of billions of dollars in equity and Carta now offers Fund Administration so you can see real-time data in the Carta platform and work with Carta’s team of experienced fund accountants. Go to carta.com/20vc to get 10% off.

Apr 10, 2020

Blake Scholl is the Founder & CEO @ Boom Supersonic, the world's fastest commercial aeroplane, aspiring to bring back supersonic passenger flight at an affordable price. To date, Blake has raised over $166M in funding with Boom from the likes of Paul Graham, Sam Altman, Ray Tonsing @ Caffeinated Capital, Homebrew and 8VC to name a few who have featured on the show in the past. Prior to changing the world of commercial flight, Blake started his career with a 5-year stint at Amazon as a Manager of Social Networks and Automated Advertising. Blake then went on to found his own company, Kima Labs, acquired by Groupon in 2012 where he then spent 2 further years before founding Boom.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Blake made the move from Groupon to changing the way we think about commercial travel today with Boom Supersonic?

2.) How was the fundraising process for Blake given he was raising for supersonic jets? What is his most memorable fundraising moment? Where does Balek believe investors provide outsized value? Where could the investing class improve? How should the fund structures today change?

3.) What deliberate choices and decisions has Blake made to find and acquire the best talent? What is Blake's favourite interview question? What works? What does not work? What specific elements has Blake built into the culture at Boom to build operational excellence?

4.) How has Blake seen himself evolve and develop as a leader over the last few years? What have been the most challenging elements to develop and scale? How does Blake feel on whether founders should have experience on the industry they are entering or if there are benefits of not having so?

5.) What would Blake really like to change about the world of tech and Silicon Valley today? How does Blake feel about the current level of both innovation and founder ambitions? What can be further done to foster this in the coming years?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Blake’s Fave Book: Atlas Shrugged

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

Carta simplifies how startups and investors manage equity, track cap tables, and get valuations. Go to carta.com/20vc to get 10% off. More than 800,000 employees and shareholders use Carta to manage hundreds of billions of dollars in equity and Carta now offers Fund Administration so you can see real-time data in the Carta platform and work with Carta’s team of experienced fund accountants. Go to carta.com/20vc to get 10% off.

 
 
Apr 8, 2020

Fred Destin is a Founding Partner @ Stride.VC, one of Europe's newest and largest early-stage seed firms. Prior to co-founding Stride, Fred was a General Partner @ Accel where he was the lead investor and board member at Deliveroo, Pillpack (acq. AMZN for $1BN) and Carwow. Prior to Accel, he was a partner at Atlas Venture (now Accomplice) where he invested in and served on the board of Pillpack, Zoopla (IPO), Secret Escapes, Integral Ad Science (partial exit to Vista at $850M) and TheCurrencyCloud to name a few. Fun fact, his portfolio has a total enterprise value of more than $10BN and he generated in excess of $700M in exit value to investors.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Fred make his way into the world of venture and come to co-found one of Europe's newest and largest seed funds in Stride.VC?

2.) If you look to Twitter, all VCs are "open for business", does Fred really believe the market is still open for business? How will deal volume be affected? How bad does Fred think this could get? How does this downturn compare to that of the dot-com and 2008?

3.) Why did Stride decide to take the decision to pause on investing at this moment in time? How does Fred respond to the suggestion of better pricing and less competition at this time? How does Fred believe venture investors view of risk evolves at this time? What is the first to change?

4.) With many new funds deploying their first fund in 18 months, does Fred think we will see a gravyard of new fund managers out of cash and with cash hungry portfolios? What advice does Fred give to newer managers of other elements they have to be minfdul/aware of?

5.) How does Fred think about the right way for managers to communicate with their LPs at this time? What has Stride done that has worked? Does Fred believe we will see many LPs defaulting on their initial commitments? How does Fred think emerging managers can navigate this?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Fred’s Fave Movie: Mulholland Drive

Fred’s Most Recent Investment: Collective Benefits

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

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

Apr 6, 2020

Ravi Viswanathan is the Founder and Managing Partner @ NewView Capital, launched in 2018 with their $1.35Bn Fund I, they have already set themselves as leaders in the world of growth funding with 3 massive exits in less than 2 years in the form of Plaid, sold to Visa for $5.3Bn, Acquia, sold to Vista Equity for $1Bn and then Scout, sold to WorkDay for $540M. Prior to founding NewView Ravis spent 14 years at one of the largest venture firms in the business, NEA where he co-led their venture growth equity practice and in 2016, became COO @ Nea. Before the world of venture, Ravi spent 4 years as a VP @ Goldman Sachs and before that was at McKinsey & Co.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Ravi made his way into the world of venture from investment banking and how that led to his founding the monster $1.35Bn Fund I for NewView Capital?

2.) Given the first fund being $1.35Bn, how did Ravi find the fundraising process for NewView? On reflection, what did he and the team do well that they would do again? What did they not do well that they would alter? What advice would Ravi give to first-time fund managers raising today?

3.) Would Ravi agree with Bill Gurley, "the biggest challenge today is the sheer quantum of capital flowing into the industry"? What does Ravi make of the rise of private equity (PE) houses entering the venture landscape? How does it change the exit landscape?

4.) How does Ravi think about the right way for funds to navigate and approach the secondary market? What advice would he give to emerging managers? How does Ravi feel about founder secondaries? What framework does he use to determine whether the amount is reasonable?

5.) How does Ravi think about what it take to truly win the best deals in competition today? If one does not have the budget of a16z, how does one build a venture platform? Where do the majority of investors make mistakes when it comes to VC value add?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Ravi's Fave Book: Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE, Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

Ravi’s Most Recent Investment: Plaid

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

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

Businesses are always looking for ways to shorten their sales cycles. HelloSign provides secure, effortless eSignatures proven to speed up contract signing by 80%. Most clients go from a multi-week turnaround to a multi-hour one. They’re an industry leader and have been voted #1 for Ease of Use two years in a row on G2 Crowd. Don’t let pen and paper processes slow you down. Click Here to join the millions of users already using HelloSign to close more deals faster!

Apr 3, 2020

Jean-Charles Samulian is the Co-Founder & CEO @ Alan, the startup revolutionising health insurance with a service centred on people, simplicity and comfort. To date, Jean-Charles has raised over $85M in funding with Alan from some of the best in the business including Jan Hammer @ Index, Shakil Khan, Tom Stafford @ DST, Xavier Niel and Brent Hoberman to name a few. Prior to changing the healthcare insurance system, Jean-Charles founded Expliseat, revolutionising airline seating for economy class, now used by some of the world's leading airlines.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jean-Charles made his way from re-inventing the airline seating industry to re-inventing the way consumers experience healthcare insurance? How did re-inventing the airline seat prepare and impact Jean-Charles' mindset going into the highly regulated healthcare market with Alan?

2.) How does JC structure his investor updates? What framework does JC believe these investor updates should take? Does he include thank you's at the end? Does he include requests for help? How does he involve the team in the writing of these updates? How does JC insert core strategic thinking into his updates? How much time does JC allocate to writing updates? How does JC think about transparency when coming investor updates?

3.) How has JC created a culture of distributed ownership combined with radical transparency? What are the key elements to achieve this? Where do so many go wrong with culture maintenance and creation? What have been the biggest challenges in scaling from 20 to 190 people in just 2 years? What has worked? What has not worked?

4.) How does JC structure the hiring process at Alan? Why does JC believe in the importance of "shadowing" for people to be excellent at hiring? How does JC define "excellence" in a potential candidate? What questions does JC most like to ask candidates? How does JC think about the right way to optimise new employee onboarding? Where do many go wrong with onboarding? What have been their core lessons at Alan as to what it takes to make it great?

5.) How does JC think about extreme self-organization today? How does JC structure his day and his time? How would JC summarise his relationship to his phone? What does he actively do to reduce his dependence on his phone? What has worked and what has not worked with regards to increasing productivity? How does JC advise others looking to make their first steps in increasing their productivity?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Jean-Charles and on Twitter here!

Carta simplifies how startups and investors manage equity, track cap tables, and get valuations. Go to carta.com/20vc to get 10% off. More than 800,000 employees and shareholders use Carta to manage hundreds of billions of dollars in equity and Carta now offers Fund Administration so you can see real-time data in the Carta platform and work with Carta’s team of experienced fund accountants. Go to carta.com/20vc to get 10% off.

Mar 30, 2020

Howard Marks is the Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of Oaktree Capital Management, a leading investment firm with more than $120 billion in assets. Prior to founding Oaktree, Howard spent 10 years at The TCW Group, where he was responsible for investments in distressed debt, high yield bonds, and convertible securities. Previously, Howard was with Citicorp for 16 years, where he served as Vice President and senior portfolio manager in charge of convertible and high yield securities. Howard has also written two books, most recently Mastering the Market Cycle: Getting the Odds on Your Side, and it was Warren Buffet who said, “When I see memos from Howard Marks in my mail, they’re the first thing I open and read. I always learn something.”

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Howard first made his way into the world of finance over 50 years ago? How did not getting an investment banking job change the course of Howard’s life?

2.) What does Howard believe is the fundamental economic crisis occurring today? How does Howard expect liquidity availability to change over the next few years? What analogies of prior downturns and recessions can we look to learn from? How does this downturn differ and align to prior recessions and downturns? What policies would Howard like to see governments enact to prevent the worst-case scenario?

3.) In conditions of such uncertainty, how does Howard think about how to manage and move forward with such volatility? What are Howard's frameworks and mechanisms to analyse crises events like this? Taking the analysis one level further, how bad does Howard believe this could get? If short of The Great Depression, are there scenarios that could lead there? What are the leading signals?

4.) Being proactive, how does today's situation change the mentality and activity at Oaktree? Why does Howard not agree with the notion of "the falling knife"? How does Howard think about market bottoms? How does Howard determine the right insertion point? Why does Howard believe the best investors are unemotional? How can one manage the psychology of catching a falling knife that falls further?

5.) What advice would Howard give to the may millions of working professionals today that have never seen a recession in their professional career? What makes Howard the most nervous when he looks at and assess the landscape today? What does Howard believe is the biggest misconception people believe with regards to the current economic crisis?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Howard’s Fave Book: Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets

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

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

 

Mar 27, 2020

Alyssa Ravasio is the Founder & CEO @ Hipcamp, the startup that allows you to book unique camping experiences on over 300,000 campsites, cabins, RV parks, public parks and more. To date, Alyssa has raised over $41M in funding from some of the best in the business including Benchmark, a16z, Brad Feld, Dave Morin, Sam Shank @ Hotel Tonight and more. Prior to founding Hipcamp, Alyssa enjoyed numerous diverse roles including being Director of Sales & Marketing @ Revel Systems to working on International Information and Communication Policy in the US State Department.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Alyssa made her way from the US State Department to founding the game-changer of camping experiences in the form of Hipcamp?

2.) How did Alyssa solve the classic chicken and egg problem for marketplaces in the early days with Hipcamp? How important does Alyssa believe it is for marketplaces to have truly differentiated supply? How does Alyssa think about what it takes to prevent leakage in marketplaces today? How can marketplace founders be strategic in building moats around their business? What works? What does not work when building marketplace defensibility?

3.) How does Alyssa manage the psychology of being CEO? What does Alyssa find to be the most challenging element of the role? What have been Alyssa's biggest lessons from her last 12 months in the role? How has she seen her style of leadership change and develop over time? How does Alyssa deal with the shit hit the fan moments?

4.) How did Alyssa find the fundraising process for Hipcamp? Why did Alyssa wait 5 years before raising the Series A? What changed in the business that made Alyssa realise then was the right time to raise big? How did the Series B with a16z and Andrew Chen catalyse so fast? Why did Alyssa select the investors she did? What investors did Alyssa not select or not select her that she would also loved to have worked with?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Alyssa’s Fave Book: The Overstory: Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2018, Uncanny Valley: A Memoir

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

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

Carta simplifies how startups and investors manage equity, track cap tables, and get valuations. Go to carta.com/20vc to get 10% off. More than 800,000 employees and shareholders use Carta to manage hundreds of billions of dollars in equity and Carta now offers Fund Administration so you can see real-time data in the Carta platform and work with Carta’s team of experienced fund accountants. Go to carta.com/20vc to get 10% off.

Mar 23, 2020

Manu Kumar is the Founder @ K9 Ventures, one of the leading seed firms of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Carta, Lyft, Twilio, Auth0 and Lucidchart to name a few incredible companies. Prior to K9, Manu was either the founder or co-founder of 4 companies, 3 of which with successful exits and the 4th being the fantastic Carta. Manu also has an incredible model with K9 where he not only invests in companies but also founds them and is currently the founder and CEO @ HiHello, the company that allows you to network smarter providing digital business cards designed to help you curate and grow your network. 

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Manu made his way into the world of venture having founded 4 prior companies and how he came to found K9 and be one of the OG's of pre-seed funding, having coined the term?

2.) What does Manu believe have been the biggest and most significant changes in the early stage market over the last 7 years? How does Manu evaluate the rise of operator and scout funds? Would Manu agree with Semil Shah, "founders are voting with their feet and taking multi-stage money at seed?" What advice does Manu give to founders on taking multi-stage money at seed? How does Manu evaluate their aggressive movement back into the seed stage? Why is it?

3.) Given Manu only makes 3-4 new investments per year, how does Manu think about and assess his own portfolio construction today? How does Manu think about building temporal diversification into the portfolio? What does Manu believe is the biggest mistake early-stage managers make in the first few years? Why does Manu believe that "group think" is so dangerous for funds today? What can they do deliberately to avoid it?

4.) Manu not only invests but also founds companies at the same time, how does Manu split his time and what does his day look like? What are the benefits of investing and operating simultaneously? What are the biggest challenges and drawbacks? What elements did Manu believe as an investor before starting his new company, HiHello, that he has now changed his mind on, post founding the company?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Manu’s Fave Book: How to Win Friends and Influence People

Manu’s Most Recent Investment: Workona: A Better Way To Work

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

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

 

Mar 20, 2020

Misha Esipov is the Founder & CEO @ Nova Credit, the startup that allows you to use your international credit history to apply for credit cards, apartment rentals, loans and more. To date, Misha has raised over $69M with Nova from some of the best in the business Kleiner Perkins, Index, First Round, Pear and Core Innovation Capital to name a few. As for Misha, prior to changing the world of credit history, he spent over 5 years in the more traditional world of finance including time at Apollo in the world of private equity and then also Goldman Sachs in the world of investment banking. If that was not enough, due to the incredible impact Nova is having, Misha also sits on the board of World Education Services.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Misha made his way from the world of investment banking and private equity with Goldman and Apollo to changing the way we think about international credit with the founding of Nova?

2.) How does Misah think about and asses both risk and value creation? How did Misha's time at Goldman Sachs influence his operating mentality and how he thinks about the value of data today? Why does Misha find the growth at all costs and revenue later mindset challenging? What core fundamentals around unit economics did Misha establish early with Nova? How does Misha advise founders when it comes to unit economics?

3.) Misha has raised over $69M from some of the best, how did Misha find the process of fundraising? Where specifically does Misha believe his investors provide outside value? What is the optimal way to use an investor in the recruitment process? Where does Misha believe investors could do better and improve? How does Misha advise founders when it comes to manager selection?

4.) How does Misha manage the psychology of being CEO? How does he deal with the shit hit the fan moments? How has his role changed over the last 3 years? What elements have been the most challenging to learn and scale?

5.) How does Misha advise founders on building a diverse pipeline of recruitment candidates from day 1? Why does Misha believe that no recruitment firm can solve for diversity? What is his process as a result for ensuring a truly diverse team? What works? What does not? How does Misha building a culture of accountability? How does Misha think about optimising internal decision-making?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Misha’s Fave Book: Mastery (The Robert Greene Collection)

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

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

Carta simplifies how startups and investors manage equity, track cap tables, and get valuations. Go to carta.com/20vc to get 10% off. More than 800,000 employees and shareholders use Carta to manage hundreds of billions of dollars in equity and Carta now offers Fund Administration so you can see real-time data in the Carta platform and work with Carta’s team of experienced fund accountants. Go to carta.com/20vc to get 10% off.

Mar 16, 2020

Toni Schneider is a Partner @ True Ventures, one of the valley's leading early-stage firms with a portfolio including the likes of Peloton, Hashicorp, Fitbit, Automattic (Wordpress) and Tray.io to name a few. As for Toni, he has spent 14 years as a Partner @ True but during that tenure, he was also the CEO of Automattic for 8 years where he helped WordPress.com become a top 10 global internet destination with close to a billion monthly visitors. Before that, he was a VP @ Yahoo post their acquisition of the company he was CEO of Oddpost, much of their work formed the basis for Yahoo mail. 

(Note: Recorded Pre-Coronavirus)

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Toni made his way into the world of venture following two turns in the seat of CEO and then joining Yahoo?

2.) Does Toni fundamentally believe it helps when investing to have been both an operator with Automattic and Partner @ True? How did being CEO @ Automattic shape how he thinks about investing today? How did Toni manage the balancing act of a being a CEO and Partner at a venture fund for 7 years? Having been a CEO and having worked with the best, what does Toni believe are the qualities that make the great CEO of today?

3.) Why does Toni believe that startups do not have to be as stressful as they are or are portrayed to be? How does Toni deal with the shit hit the fan moments? What can an investor do in times of high stress when the founder is not performing? What is the right way for them to express that the performance is not where it needs to be? On the flip side, what is the right way for investors to show their support to the founders?

4.) What are Toni's biggest learnings from the Wordpress days on what it takes to run a truly successful remote team? Where does Toni see many people going wrong today? What does Toni advise those considering going remote first? What does Toni believe are the biggest pros and cons of the model? What infrastructure does one need to have in place to make it seamless? Does it still make sense for companies to be in the valley?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Toni’s Fave Book: Their Eyes Were Watching God, Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

Toni’s Most Recent Investment: Piavita

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

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

Mar 13, 2020

Adena Hefets is Co-Founder @ Divvy Homes, the startup that turns your monthly rent into a down payment allowing you to get on the property ladder, sooner. To date, Adena has raised over $189M with Divvy from some of the best in the business including a16z, Ray Tonsing @ Caffeinated, Max Levchin, DFJ and Threshold Ventures to name a few. Prior to founding Divvy, Adena was an early-stage fintech investor at DF. Before the world of venture, Adena was part of the original team that started Square Capital and grew the product to over 10,000 advances ($50M) within 1 year. Finally, before that, Adena started her career in the world of private equity with TPG.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Adena made her way from the world of venture with DFJ to changing the way we think about homeownership with Divvy?

2.) What does Adena believe are the 3 addictions of many early-stage startup founders? How does Adena advise founders on the right way to think about paid marketing? What have been some surprising lessons from seeing Divvy's CAC change over time? How does Adena advise founders to construct a playbook and cadence for hiring?

3.) How does Adena think differently about unit economics today? Is it fundamental to have this mindset from Day 1? Where does Adena believe many founders go wrong when it comes to unit economics? Who is to blame for this desire for synthetic growth? The founders? The VCs?

4.) Considering female founders get a tiny portion of VC funds raised, how was the fundraise for Adena with Divvy? How does Adena advise other female founders and minorities on fundraising successfully? Does Adena believe that founders should always be raising? How does raising debt differ to raising equity? Why is it so much more challenging?

5.) Why does Adena believe that micromanagement can be beneficial in the early days? How does Adena ensure that it does not lead to dependencies and dejected team members? What does Adena to do push people to really get the most out of them? What works? What does not?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Adena’s Fave Book: Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

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

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

Carta simplifies how startups and investors manage equity, track cap tables, and get valuations. Go to carta.com/20vc to get 10% off. More than 800,000 employees and shareholders use Carta to manage hundreds of billions of dollars in equity and Carta now offers Fund Administration so you can see real-time data in the Carta platform and work with Carta’s team of experienced fund accountants. Go to carta.com/20vc to get 10% off.

Mar 9, 2020

Matt Mochary coaches some of the world's leading venture capitalists and founders helping them to build the best organizations possible. On the VC side, Matt has worked with Peter Fenton @ Benchmark, several Sequoia Partners, Hemant @ GC and Mamoon @ Kleiner to name a few. As for founders, Matt has worked with the founders of Brex, Coinbase, Plaid, Reddit, Flexport and more. Prior to coaching, Matt began his business career as an investor with Spectrum Equity Investors.  He then co-founded Totality, eventually sold to MCI/Verizon.  In his own words, Matt went on to have fun (making the Academy Award short-listed documentary Favela Rising) and do good (starting the Mochary Foundation).

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Matt made his way from growth investor to immensely successful founder to now coaching the world's leading investors and founders?

2.) How does Matt advise founders to think about their relationship towards fear and anger? Why doe they generate bad quality of decision-making? What should be done when one recognises they are fearful or angry? Where do many founders and investors go wrong here?

3.) How does Matt advise founders who struggle with issues of self-doubt and imposter syndrome? What process should they go through to gain their confidence? What should they not do? How should they communicate their self-doubt to their team and the world?

4.) How does Matt advise founders in terms of the optimal communication strategy both with their team and their co-founders? Does radical transparency need to be instant or should it be timed correctly? What are the best conflict resolution strategies between founding teams?

5.) Why does Matt believe boards are the death of investors? Why are board members not optimally placed to advise their founders? What does Matt believe makes the best board members having worked with the likes of Peter Fenton? What does Matt advise new board members to be the best board member they can be?

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.

Mar 6, 2020

Iman Abuzeid is the Founder & CEO @ Incredible Health, the startup that connects hospitals with nurses and other high shortage healthcare professionals to dramatically speed up the hiring process. To date, Iman has raised over $17M with Incredible Health from some dear friends of the show including NFX, a16z, Charles Hudson @ Precursor and Obvious Ventures to name a few. As for Iman, prior to Incredible, she was a medical doctor, a McKinsey alumnus and led product management at AliveCor, a Khosla-backed health tech startup.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Iman made her way into the world of startups from a family of surgeons and then through being a medical doctor herself?

2.) How was the fundraising process for Iman as a female minority founder? What advice would Iman give to other women and/ or minority when it comes to getting the very best investors? Where does Iman see so many founders make mistakes raising? How should founders structure their meetings with VCs?

3.) Where does Iman believe VCs can be most helpful? Where do many think VCs are helpful but they are actually not? What does Iman think of the "VC Twitter" ecosystem at play today? What investors said no along the way but Iman really liked? Why? Why does Iman believe MBA's provide such an advantage to startup founders today?

4.) How does Iman manage the psychology of being a CEO? How does Iman deal with moments of self-doubt and imposter syndrome? How has Iman seen herself evolve and change as a leader over the last 3 years? What elements have been the most challenging to come to grips with?

5.) Why does Iman still believe if you are not building your startup in the bay, you are missing out? What is so special about Silicon Valley? What advice does Iman give to founders looking to build a diverse team from day 1? How does Iman think about inevitable hiring mistakes? When is the right time to pull the plug?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Iman’s Fave Book: The Hard Thing About Hard Things

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

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

Mar 2, 2020

Mark Goldberg is a Partner @ Index Ventures, one of the leading venture firms of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Dropbox, Revolut, Supercell, Plaid and Transferwise to name a few. As for Mark, since joining Index he has largely specialised on all things financial services and sits on the board of Plaid, Nova Credit, Intercom, Pilot and more incredible companies. Prior to Index, Mark spent 3 years in BizOps at Dropbox where the company increased tenfold during his time there.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Mark made his way into the world of venture with Index having spent 3 years at Dropbox during a transformational time for the company? What were Mark's biggest takeaways from seeing the growth cycle at Dropbox? How did that impact his investing mindset with Index?

2.) Why does Mark believe that venture as an asset class is commoditising? What does Mark believe the best funds will have to do to stay ahead? How does Mark build relationships of trust and authenticity so early with founders? What works? What does not? What is the right way to deliver direct and tough feedback to founders?

3.) How does Mark feel about multi-stage funds re-entering seed investing again? What are the right questions seed founders should ask multi-stage funds when determining whether to take their money? What does Mark believe it takes to be competitive and win the very best of deals? How is the Founder <> VC dynamic changing with capital supply?

4.) Why does Mark believe that most angels are going to lose their money? What does Mark wish all angels knew when they started? How does Mark feel about the rise of founders investing alongside operating? What are the pros? What are the cons? How does Mark feel about the rise of scout funds? Where is there place in the ecosystem?

5.) We are seeing unparalleled levels of activity in fintech, is this a boom or are we at the start of a fundamental shift in the landscape? Why does Mark believe we will soon see our first $100Bn neo-bank? Why does Mark believe we will see a strong rise in the consolidatory environment for fintech moving forward?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Mark’s Fave Book: Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life

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

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

Feb 28, 2020

Tomer London is the Co-Founder @ Gusto, the people platform for small businesses providing one place to run payroll, manage benefits, and support your team. To date, Tomer and the team have raised over $520M with Gusto from some of the industry's leading investors including General Catalyst, CapitalG, Kleiner Perkins, T Rowe, Fidelity and more and then individuals including Shopify Founder Tobias Luttke, Sam Altman, Max Levchin, Matt Mullenweg, Kevin Hartz and Elad Gil to name a few. Prior to Gusto, Tomer did a PHD in Electrical Engineering at Stanford and before that was Founder and CEO @ Vizmo, mobile self-service technologies for enterprise to try to fix customer care.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Tomer made his way from creating inventory management software for his Father's small business in Israel to Stanford and founding the unicorn that is Gusto?

2.) Why does Tomer believe that most founders approach fundraising with the wrong mindset today? What does he mean when he says, "fundraising = creating change"? What is the "values motivation alignment"? How can founders use it to help them select the right investor for them? Why should you add investors just as you would new team members?

3.) Having raised over $200M in the latest financing, how does Tomer think about when is the right time to pour fuel on the fire and go big? Is it a fundamentally different mindset when you have so much cash thrown on you? What would Tomer advise founders with suddenly expanded budgets? With 111 investors on the Gusto cap table, what would Tomer advise founders when it comes to cap table management?

4.) What have been Tomer's biggest learnings when it comes to building a delightful product at scale across different segments? How important does Tomer feel time to delight from the UX perspective is? How does Tomer think about testing levels of user delight? NPS? Product analytics? How does Tomer think about the balance between product development and going all out for scaling?

5.) How has Tomer seen himself change and evolve as a leader of the last 5 years? What elements has he found super challenging to come to grips with? Where does Tomer believe he has a superpower on the flip side? Question from Laela @ CapitalG, what specifically did you do to create the culture that you did in the early days?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Tomer’s Fave Book: No Room for Small Dreams: Courage, Imagination and the Making of Modern Israel

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

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

Feb 24, 2020

Vinod Khosla is the Founder @ Khosla Ventures, one of the valley’s most renowned firms of the last decade with a portfolio including Square, Affirm, DoorDash, Impossible Foods and OpenDoor just to name a few. As for Vinod, he started his career as a Founder, founding Daisy Systems, a company that went on to IPO. Then in 1982, Vinod founded Sun Microsystems where he pioneered open systems and commercial RISC processors. In 1986, Vinod joined his longtime friend, John Doerr and became a General Partner @ KPCB where he helped incubate Juniper Networks and helped transform the telecommunications business with Cerent Corporation, which was acquired by Cisco Systems in 1999 for $7.2 billion.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Vinod made his way into the world of startups with the founding of Daisy and Sun Microsystems and how that led to his entry into the world of venture with KPCB and ultimately founding Khosla Ventures?

2.) How does Vinod feel about the term "venture assistance" today? Where does Vinod believe VCs can really drive value? How does Vinod allocate his time to drive as much value for the portfolio as possible? How does Vinod get involved when it comes to talent acquisition for the portfolio?

3.) Why does Vinod believe that most board members are not qualified to advise entrepreneurs today? Why does Vinod believe that most value is driven outside of the board? What can founders to do make their boards as efficient as possible? How does Vinod advise founders to determine which advice to take vs which to disregard?

4.) How does Vinod assess his own approach and attitude to risk today? What does Vinod believe are acceptable vs unacceptable risks in startups? How does Vinod believe the very best founders think about risk management? Does Vinod agree time is the biggest killer of startups? Why does Vinod believe startups are so much quicker to innovate than incumbents?

5.) Why does Vinod believe that tolerance for failure has gone down in Silicon Valley? How does Vinod determine between the realism of when something is not work and to give up vs the visionary persistence to see a project through to the very end? What experience of his own have really led his thinking here?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Vinod’s Fave Book: Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum BiologyThe Third Pillar

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

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

Feb 21, 2020

Emmett Shear is the Co-Founder & CEO @ Twitch, the world's leading live streaming platform for gamers and the things we love. Prior to Twitch's exit to Amazon for a reported $970M, Emmett raised over $42M in funding from some of the best including Thrive Capital, Bessemer, Mike Maples, Aydin Senkut, Paul Graham and Y Combinator. Emmett is also a part-time Partner @ Y Combinator, advising YC companies on everything from fundraising strategy to product decisions to hiring and firing. Before Twitch, Emmett co-founded Kiko, a company he later sold on eBay for 6 figures.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Emmett made his way into the world of startups with Kiko? How he ended up selling that for 6 figures on eBay? How that led to the creation of Justin.TV & Twitch?

2.) Why does Emmett believe starting a startup is like "deciding to take on the burden of Sisyphus?" At what point in the journey does is start to get easier? Does Emmett agree with many on the show who say, "it does not get easier, it just gets different"? How does one know when to give up vs when to persist and follow the vision?

3.) How does Emmett think about structuring an org at 1,500 people? Why does Emmett believe there is a fundamental tension when scaling teams between centralisation and decentralisation? How does one structure a reorg without causing instability? How does one communicate the reorg to the team? Where does Emmett see many go wrong here?

4.) Does Emmett agree the best CEOs are the best resource allocators? How does Emmett approach internal resource allocation today between both functions and projects? What does he find most challenging here? What does the decision-making process look like? What are his taekaways from Apple, Amazon and Microsoft in how they determine and process resource allocation internally?

5.) How does Emmett believe he has changed and evolved as a leader over the last 10 years with Twitch? What elements has he found the most challenging to master? What has he done to combat those weaknesses? Where has he always been naturally strong? What makes him so good at those particular functions?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Emmett’s Fave Book: Order without Design: How Markets Shape Cities

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

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

Feb 17, 2020

Ashton Kutcher is a Founder & General Partner @ Sound Ventures. Over the last 5 years, Ashton and his partner, Guy Oseary, have built Sound into one of the West Coast's leading new entrants with a portfolio including Lambda School, Calm, Gitlab, Affirm, Bird and many more incredible companies. As for Ashton, he started his investing career as an angel with early home runs including Spotify, Alibaba, Skype, Airbnb and Optimizely. Due to his immense success both in media and technology, Ashton has been named one of TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World”.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Ashton made his way into the world of startups with his foray into angel investing in Skype, Spotify etc? How did that lead to his founding Sound Ventures most recently?

2.) How does Ashton's background in the world of media impact Sound's investment strategy and the type of deals they get excited by? Question from Daniel Ek @ Spotify: How did your deal sourcing look lin the early days? How has that changed over time and with the institutionalisation of Sound?

3.) Why does Ashton believe people creating the future are perpetually young? What question does Ashton always like to ask founders? What does he look for in their answer? How does Ashton ensure founders feel comfortable with him? What does he do to allow them to open up? What is the hardest thing Ashton feels he has persevered through?

4.) How does Ashton build strong product intuition about products in areas he is not familiar with? In terms of great product, Ashton backed Spotify with Daniel Ek and Shak Khan, what did Ashton see in Spotify way back then? How did Shak and Daniel innovate on distribution and customer acquisition with him and Spotify?

5.) What have been Ashton's learnings in what it takes to truly win the best and most competitive deals? Before as an angel, Ashton's check size was friendly, now with Sound it is competitive with VCs, how does Ashton approach the element of now competing with many VCs he once co-operated with? What does Ashton make of the rise of many celebrity investors today?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Ashton’s Fave Book: The Undoing Project: A Friendship that Changed the WorldScale: The Universal Laws of Life and Death in Organisms, Cities and Companies

Ashton’s Most Recent Investment: Community

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

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

 

Feb 14, 2020

Gabriel Weinberg is the Founder & CEO @ DuckDuckGo, the Internet privacy company that empowers you to seamlessly take control of your personal information online, without any tradeoffs. Over the last 12 years, Gabe has scaled DuckDuckGo to doing 1.6Bn private searches every month, a team of 83 full time fully remote employees, raising funding from some of the best in the business; USV and most importantly, being a profitable company. If that was not enough, Gabe has also written two phenomenal books, Traction and Super Thinking. 

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Gabriel made his way into the world of startups and came to found one of today's leading search engines and privacy companies in DuckDuckGo?

2.) Gabriel decided to raise $13M from USV 4 years into the life of DDG, why did he believe that was the right time? Why does Gabe believe that DDG never needed any primary capital? How does Gabe advise founders to think when it comes to chasing profitability early? How does Gabe view the relationship between growth and capital? Are they in conflict or aligned? What does Gabe make of the many $100M rounds getting done today?

3.) How does Gabe feel about the lack of free and open distribution today? How does Gabe strategise when it comes to channel diversification? What is the right level of marketing channel diversification to have? How do you know when to really double down on one that is working? How should founders be thinking about channel saturation rates? What have been Gabes biggest lessons on payback period over the last 12 years with DDG?

4.) How does Gabe feel about the digital advertising duopoly on the internet between Facebook and Google? Why does Gabe argue that this duo of incumbents are so much more powerful than any other prior generation of incumbents? How does Gabe think about strategies to reduce their data monopolies?

5.) DDG is 83 people and fully remote, what have been Gabe's biggest lessons on what it takes to run a fully-remote team from Day 1? What mistakes did they make? WHat would Gabe advise founders contemplating the fully remote strategy? Why does Gabe have nor formal hierarchy or org chart internally at DDG? Why is this so important for culture and employee morale?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Gabe’s Fave Book: The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business

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

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

Feb 11, 2020

Jude Gomila is the Founder & CEO @ Golden, creating the world's first self-constructing knowledge database built by artificial and human intelligence. To date, Jude has raised from some of the best in the business including Founders Fund, a16z, SV Angel and one of my dearest friends, Josh Buckley. Jude is also a prolific angel having invested in over 150 companies including Carta, Airtable, Superhuman, Gusto, Linear and many more incredible companies. Prior to Golden, Jude started Heyzap (now used by 100,000 mobile apps) alongside former guest Immad, now Founder of Mercury.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jude made his way into the world of tech and Silicon Valley having been born and raised in Harrow, London? How did he then make his way into the world of investing?

2.) What models should investors and founders have common ground on? Where are founders and investors often misaligned? What does Jude mean when he says he uses "algorithms for investing"? How are these algorithms structured? What is within them? How can/should people build their own?

3.) Why does Jude very much disagree with spray and pray to be the dominant model to make money at seed? How does Jude think about portfolio construction having now made 180 investments? How has Jude's approach and attitude to ownership changed over time?

4.) Does Jude agree with Semil Shah that founders are voting with their feet and taking multi-stage money at seed today? How does Jude evaluate the approach of multi-stage funds back into seed? How does Jude think about VC value add? Where does he believe they really can add value? Where do people think they do but they actually do not?

5.) How does Jude foresee the future of the early-stage market? Will we see a generation of old school venture firms die out? Why does Jude believe younger investors have a higher chance of finding and winning the next best deal? How does Jude believe the angel ecosystem will shake out? Will we fundamentally see the unbundling of capital?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Jude’s Fave Book: Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

Jude's Most Recent Investment: Linear

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

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

Feb 7, 2020

Shoaib Makani is the Co-Founder & CEO @ KeepTruckin, the modern fleet management platform building solutions that make drivers and fleets safer, smarter, and more efficient. To date, Shoaib has raised over $229M from some of the world's leading investors including Index, GV, Greenoaks, IVP & Scale Venture Partners. Pre-founding KeepTruckin, Shoaib was an investor @ Khosla Ventures where he led investments in Instacart, Everlane and Indiegogo to name a few. Before venture with Khosla, Shoaib was on the operations side enjoying roles at both Google and Admob.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Shoaib made his way from the very comfortable world of venture to changing the way trucking fleets are managed today with KeepTruckin? How does Shoaib analyse and assess his own attitude to risk today?

2.) How has Shoaib seen himself change and evolve as a leader over the last few years? How did his time investing impact how he approaches the role of CEO? How does Shoaib think about appropriate market sizing today? What advice does he give to founders on this? What is a reasonable market penetration to assume if successful?

3.) What advice would Shoaib give founders when it comes to successful board management? How does Shoaib ensure investors have the right context at the right time to provide advice? What does that information flow to investors look like? How does Shoaib determine between the advice to accept vs what to reject?

4.) Shoaib thought about distribution and customer acquisition long before he launched the product, why? What did this thought process conclude with? Does Shoaib believe you have to own your own lines of distribution to succeed? How does Shoaib feel when it comes to current CAC's on incumbent platforms?

4.) As a founder, what does Shoaib say is his biggest mistake made in the KeepTrickin journey? How does Shoaib think about what it takes to acquire the very best talent? How does Shoaib advise founders work with recruiters? What can they do to really get the most out of them? When can this function be brought in house?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Shoaib’s Fave Book: Presidents of War

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

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

Feb 4, 2020

Todd Jackson is First Round Capital's newest Partner (announced today) having spent the last 2 years as a Founder-in-Residence working with the FRC portfolio. Prior to his time in venture, Todd spent close to 3 years at Dropbox as VP Product & Design. Before that he was with Twitter as Director of Product Management, following his startup, Cover, being acquired by Twitter in 2014. Before founding Cover, Todd was a Product Manager @ Facebook where he helped lead major redesign of Newsfeed. Finally, Todd started his career at Google as a Product Lead taking Gmail from 0 to 200m users in 4 years.

Todd is joined today by his Partner @ First Round, Phin Barnes. Phin also writes the most fantastic blog, sneakerheadVC, that really is a must-read.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) Phin, what is the exclusive news you would like to break on the show today? Todd, taking one step back, how did you make your way to this stage, what was your entry into technology and how did you come to be a Partner @ First Round Capital today? What were Todd's biggest takeaways from working on some of the most transformative social products in Gmail, Twitter, Newsfeed @ Facebook and Dropbox?

2.) What advice does Phin have for Todd when it comes to entering a venture partnership? Where do many people go wrong in their first year in venture? What should Todd be optimising for in the partnership? In terms of measurement, how does one measure success of the first year of work as a Partner?

3.) Todd, making the move from angel to institutional VC is a mindset shift, how does Todd think his investment mentality will be impacted by the shift from angel to institutional VC? Having raised funding as a founder, what type of founder experience and investor does Todd want to be and bring?

4.) Phin, it has been a long time since FRC added a Partner, walk me through the recent changes at the top of FRC? What are the most important qualities for First Round when adding a Partner? What are the biggest tips to doing generational transition well? Where do many firms go wrong in generational transition?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Todd’s Fave Book: Creative Selection: Inside Apple's Design Process During the Golden Age of Steve JobsTrillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Handbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell

Todd’s Most Recent Investment: Papaya PaymentsSnackpass

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

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

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Jan 31, 2020

Alexa Von Tobel is the Founder & Managing Partner @ Inspired Capital, announced in 2019 as the largest ever female-led VC fund based in NYC. Prior to co-founding Inspired, Alexa founded LearnVest where she enjoyed an incredible 11-year journey culminating in their $250M exit to Northwestern Mutual in 2015. Alexa is also the author of New York Times Bestseller "Financially Fearless" and is an inaugural member of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship for the White House.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Alexa made her way into the world of startups with the founding of LearnVest? How did that experience running LearnVest lead to her founding NYC's largest-ever female-led VC fund in the form of Inspired?

2.) How does Alexa think about portfolio construction with the new $200M fund? What does she mean when she says they have segmented it into 3 distinct and separate buckets? How much is in each bucket? How does Alexa think about reserves and re-investment decision making? What is the process here?

3.) As a former entrepreneur, how does Alexa think about those moments when the VC and the Founder are no longer aligned? What are those moments? How does Alexa approach the aspect of saying no to founders? What is the right way? How does Alexa feel about the compression in fundraising timelines? How does Alexa meet founders before they raise their round?

4.) Why does Alexa believe that capital is no longer the differentiator? How does Alexa think about personal brand in venture today? Where does Alexa believe are the most crucial times for reputation building? How does Alexa approach time allocation across the portfolio? What is the correlation between decision-making and reputation?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Alexa’s Fave Book: The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact

Alexa’s Most Recent Investment: Snackpass

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

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

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