Info

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.
RSS Feed
The Twenty Minute VC: Venture Capital | Startup Funding | The Pitch
2021
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2020
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2019
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2018
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2017
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2016
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2015
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


Categories

All Episodes
Archives
Categories
Now displaying: February, 2021
Feb 26, 2021

Patrick Spence is the CEO @ Sonos, the sound experience company connecting millions of listeners around the world to the content they want. Prior to their IPO, they raised over $450M from the likes of Mike Volpi @ Index, Satish @ Redpoint and e.ventures to name a few. As for Patrick, prior to Sonos, he spent an incredible 14 years with RIM (makers of Blackberry) across multiple different roles.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Patrick made his way into the world of tech and startups and became an instrumental part of the exec team at Blackberry? How that led to his joining Sonos as COO and later becoming CEO?

2.) How did building and growing RIM influence everything that Patrick does at Sonos? From the battle with Apple, what were Patrick's biggest lessons on the right way to approach competition? How does Patrick think about both partnering with Google today whilst also suing them at the same time?

3.) From COO to CEO: How did Patrick make the transition from COO to CEO so successfully? What were the most challenging elements to scale into? How does Patrick empower his team to have the confidence to stand up and say no to the CEO? How can one encourage debate and dissent in the team?

4.) How does Patrick feel about the role that vulnerability has to play in leadership? How does Patrick approach his own self-doubt as a leader today? How does he manage it? How does he advise founders unsure if they can scale into their leadership roles? What mentors does Patrick have? What has he learned from them?

Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode

Patrick’s Favourite Book: The Infinite Game: How Great Businesses Achieve Long-Lasting

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.

Feb 24, 2021

Jeremy Liew is a Partner @ Lightspeed Venture Partners, one of the leading firms of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Affirm, Snapchat (Snap), Mulesoft, Epic Games, Carta and more amazing companies. As for Jeremy, in the past he has led deals and sat on the boards of Snap, Affirm, Blockchain.com and The Honest Company to name a few. Before Lightspeed, Jeremy was with AOL, first as SVP of corporate development and chief of staff to the CEO, and then as general manager of Netscape. Due to his incredible investing success, Jeremy has been featured on the Forbes Midas List multiple times.

In Today’s Episode We Dissect The Snapchat Memo:

I. How Jeremey first learned of Snapchat

How Jeremy Liew first heard about Evan Spiegel and Snapchat?

"It's actually kind of a roundabout story. We first heard about Snapchat, because one of my partners Barry Eggers is a very involved dad. And he noticed that his daughter had started taking weird selfies"

What was the process to first get in touch with Evan?

"The challenge was, the website only had info at Snapchat email address was the only info The only contact info available. So I emailed them, and I never heard back.

Why was it such a challenge?

"I then looked up Snapchat on LinkedIn, and I couldn't find any contact information. And I was in a little bit of a loss, I wasn't getting any responses from the email, there was nothing listed on LinkedIn. So I ended up doing a who is look-up to try to find out who had registered the Snapchat URL, and I got an info@ snapgrouplimited email. So I emailed that. And then as again, I didn't get any response.

What was the breakthrough in the end?

"....Finally, what I decided to do was since Evan was a student at Stanford, and since I graduated from Stanford for business school, at that time, Facebook allowed you to message people who were in the same network, and Stanford constituted that. So I messaged him through Facebook, and I finally got a response. But this time, I got a response within five minutes."

II. The Analysis Of Snapchat's Early Market

What are the 4 things Jeremy looks for when making an investment in consumer?

  1. Can this become part of pop culture?
  2. Does this create new habits?
  3. Is there a scalable way to grow?
  4. Does the founder have a unique insight that explains the success?

Why does Jeremy believe that usage with young females is the biggest predictor of future consumer social success?

"Generalising, Women build their relationships through, you know, conversations, and they build those relationships through sharing information with each other. And obviously, that sort of conversation or relationship is a fantastic conduit for word of mouth for anything that people really appreciate."

In what ways does Jeremy like to see consumer social companies become part of pop culture?

"Today, if you think about whether it be social networking, apps, messaging, e commerce, streaming media, it's all part of pop culture. And so as much as movies or television or music or dance, and so if you ask yourself who are the early adopters of pop culture"

What are examples of this?

"Social networking, apps, messaging, e commerce, streaming media, it's all part of pop culture."

Did the market evolve the way that Jeremy thought it would?

"And one of the things that surprised us a little bit was that this was very strong in Southern California, Northern California, and Georgia, when we first invested and parts of the South"

What was a surprise to Jeremy Liew in terms of market evolution?

"In Norway, which had actually transcended, that sort of high school and college-age population, in fact, become the number three most downloaded app, most popular app, in Norway at that time. So ahead of Instagram, ahead of Facebook, and so forth. And so that's what I think gave us that early indication that the app was going to be able to break out beyond its high school, college student, initial starting point, not just in the US, but everywhere"

III. Reflections on Snapchat's Early Traction

What did the Snap user to install count look like at the time?

"In, you know, March, April of 2012, they had about 90,000, daily active users off of the base of 180,000 installs."

How does this compare with many others in the consumer social space?

"That's a very, very high ratio."

What were Snap's retention numbers at the time?

"50% retention after 90 days, which again, suggests high engagement, high retention, high growth that speaks to upside volatility"

How did Snap's frequency of usage on an individual basis look like at the time?

"So people were opening the app six times per day, they were opening at least once every second day."

Across, retention, usage and user to install, what are the benchmarks for great, good and average?

" I would say as a rule of thumb, in messaging and social networks, you would want to see at least a DAU to MAU ratio of north of 50%. And you would want to see at least a D 30 of say 30 to 40%, for your for something to really be working to be sort of at that outlier level."

IV. The Truth About The Snapchat Founding Team

What unique insight does Jeremy believe that Evan always held for the company and the product?

"One of the things that was so special about Evan, and that I think, has continued to contribute to the success of the company has been that he's always been able to do that to look at something with fresh eyes, and not iterate over what the current state of the art is that, you know, just from first principles basis"

How has Jeremy seen Evan change and evolve as a leader?

"I think his maturity as a business leader, as a leader of people, as a manager, you know, as a strategist, although he always had very good strategic instincts, but they've just continued to grow and evolve and blossom."

What were some of the big inflection points in his development?

"So you know, the feed has always been up until this point, in reverse chronological order, I think largely because that's what friendster do choose to do. And then Evan comes along. He says, How do you tell stories beginning, middle, end. Now go to social media? How do they tell stories in reverse chronological order means and middle beginning? Well, that doesn't make any sense. And so he said, we're going to create a whole new feed of stories, and they're going to be told in chronological order beginning middle end."

Who are some unsung heroes from the Snap journey that were transformational?

"Bobby doesn't get enough credit. From the very beginning from I think maybe a couple of months in was thinking about the breakthroughs that had been happening computer vision and the implications for what that could build....Imran Khan, he really helps take a lot of the load off of Evan allowed me to focus on product engineering, he took over sales and monetization Ops, he did a lot of the financing work in the time when Snapchat raised a lot of capital."

Feb 22, 2021

Todd McKinnon is the Co-Founder & CEO @ Okta, the identity layer for the internet, providing one trusted platform to secure every identity, from customers to your workforce. Prior to their IPO in 2017, Todd raised over $229M for the company from some of the best in the business including Sequoia, a16z, Greylock, Khosla and Floodgate to name a few. Prior to founding Okta, Todd was VP of Development @ Salesforce.com where he spent an incredible 5 years and before that enjoyed an 8 year run in the software development team @ PeopleSoft.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Todd made his way into the world of startups with PeopleSoft and Salesforce? What was the a-ha moment for Todd with the founding of Okta? What were the biggest management takeaways from his time with PeopleSoft and Okta? How did Todd convince his wife that leaving a safe job with Salesforce to found a company was the right decision?

2.) How does Todd approach decision-making today? What frameworks does he use to optimise his decisions? How does Todd analyse reversible vs irreversible decisions? How does Todd know when he has done enough work and is ready to make the decision? Who does he debate the most important decisions with?

3.) What does Todd believe makes for a truly great enterprise software entrepreneur today? What were the first elements to break in the scaling of Okta? When is the right time to hire your first recruiters and Head of People? What should you look for in those people? How did Todd make mistakes when it comes to hiring recruiters?

4.) What are Todd's biggest lessons on successful board management? How would Todd describe his style of board management? How has it changed over the years? What can CEOs do to extract the most value from their board? What were the biggest mistakes Todd made in the early interactions with his board?

5.) How does Todd balance the growth expectations of Wall St on a quarter by quarter basis with the long term vision and strategy? Why does Todd believe that Okta has been able to make the transition from unsexy to one of Wall St's most loved companies? What is the secret to investor relations as a public company?

Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode

Todd’s Favourite Book: Slaughterhouse 5

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.

Feb 18, 2021

Assaf Wand is the Founder & CEO @ Hippo Insurance, with over $700M in funding Hippo are setting a new standard for home insurance and offer protection for what’s important to today’s homeowner.

Nima Ghamsari is the Founder & CEO @ Blend, with over $665M in funding they are the digital platform streamlining the journey from application to close — for every banking product.

Max Simkoff is the Founder & CEO at States Title, with $229M in funding States Title are using machine intelligence to create a vastly more simple and efficient closing experience for lenders, real estate professionals, and homebuyers.

Brendan Wallace is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Fifth Wall, with over $1.3Bn in commitments and AUM across multiple different vehicles, they are the largest venture firm focused on the real estate industry and property technology for the Built World.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) 3 of the largest and most successful founders in the financial real estate market, what have been their biggest learnings from their friendship over the last 5 years? What have been some of the most hotly debated topics they have had as a group? How did their opinions and views change as a result?

2.) How do they think and feel about the tech exodus from Silicon Valley, temporary movement due to COVID or fundamental shift? How closely correlated is the move out of California with the explosion of liquidity from IPOs and acquisitions? What pisses Max off most about people leaving CA currently?

3.) How have their roles as leaders changed in the time of COVID? What have been the most challenging elements? What have they had to embrace? What have they had to disregard or stop? What advice do they give to other founders scaling into hyper-growth in a remote format?

4.) What do they believe is the fundraising strategy that allowed them to raise over $1.5Bn as a group? How do they think about what they look for in each stage of investors? How does it change when entering growth stages? How has their experience been having corporates play a large role in their financing? What are the biggest challenges of working with corporates? What does one need to do to extract the most value from them?

Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode

Max’s Favourite Book: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

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.

Feb 15, 2021

Christian Reber is the Founder & CEO of Pitch, the collaborative presentation software for modern teams. To date, Christian has raised over $52M for Pitch from some of the best in the business including Index, Thrive, Blueyard and then some amazing individuals including Instagram's Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, Zoom's Eric Yuan, Datadog's Olivier Pomerol and Tiny's Andrew Wilkinson. Prior to Pitch, Christian was the Founder @ Wunderlist, raising $35M from the likes of Sequoia and Atomico before being acquired by Microsoft.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Christian Reber made his way into the world of startups? How that led to his founding te global phenomenon, Wunderlist? How his experience with Wunderlist led him to start Pitch most recently?

2.) Does Christian regret selling Wunderlist to Microsoft? What was the reasoning and logic behind it? What does Christian believe Microsoft did wrong that resulted in Wunderlist no longer being in existence today? How did Christian deal with the personal depression post the sale of Wunderlist?

3.) How does Christian assess and evaluate his personal relationship to risk? What does he do when making risky and large decisions to ensure he is comfortable? How does Christian feel about his relationship to money? How has it changed over time? How does Christian approach personal finance today between startup investing, fund investing, cash and savings?

4.) How does Christian think about what great product design means today? How does he balance gut and instinct with granular data when making product decisions today? How has this changed over time? How has Christian structured his team to make the fastest and most efficient product decisions?

5.) How would Christian reflect on his own style of board management? How has it changed over time? What element does he still to this day find most challenging? What board moment would he say is his most memorable? Who has been his favourite board member to work alongside?

Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode

Christian’s Favourite Book: The Unbanking Of America: How the New Middle Class Survives

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.

Feb 11, 2021

Matan Bar is the Co-Founder & CEO @ Melio, the company that provides the simplest way to pay vendors and contractors. To date, Matan has raised over $254M for Melio from the likes of Accel, Bessemer, Aleph, Coatue and General Catalyst to name a few. Prior to founding Melio, Matan Bar was Head of PayPal Consumer Product Center and before that was a Head of Product and GM @ eBay in their Israel Innovation Center.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Matan Bar made his way into the world of startups and came to found one of the fastest-growing companies today in the form of Melio?

2.) What is the single most important thing in a financial transaction business? How does Matan think about the balance between optimising for transaction volume vs revenue? What does Matan believe are the core network effects within payments businesses? Why do most opt for closed network effects? How is Melio different?

3.) What have been some of the biggest challenges of adding 170 people in one year? What breaks first? What needs to be in place to ensure the culture can scale with the headcount? How does Matan structure the leadership team to manage this hyper-growth? Has Matan struggled with self-doubt in his leadership during this hyper-growth?

4.) What specifically has Melio and Matan done to achieve a 49% female to male ratio within the company? What works when it comes to implementing diversity at scale? Where do so many people make mistakes? What specific strateies have allowed Melio to hire some of the best female engineers?

5.) How does Matan most like to interact with his board? How does he determine the advice to ingest vs the advice to reject? What have been some of his biggest lessons when it comes to successful board management? Where do many first time founders make mistakes when it comes to investor value add and extraction?

Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode

Matan’s Favourite Book: The Unbanking Of America: How the New Middle Class Survives

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.

Feb 8, 2021

Michael Eisenberg is a Co-Founder and Equal Partner @ Aleph, with over $550M under management and a portfolio including the likes of Lemonade, Melio and HoneyBook, they are one of the leading early-stage firms of the last decade. Prior to founding Aleph, Michael spent 15 years as a General Partner @ Benchmark and before that, made his way into venture with Israel Seed Partners where he built an incredible portfolio over an 8 year period. If all of this was not enough, Michael is also an author having published 4 books.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Michael made his way into venture over 25 years ago and how his 15 years at Benchmark led to his founding Aleph?

2.) How has seeing multiple booms and busts impacted Michael's investing mindset? What do many misunderstand when it comes to reserve allocations in market cycles? Why does Michael believe busts are more psychologically impactful than financially impactful?

3.) How does Michael approach portfolio construction with Aleph today? How does Michael think about the right level of portfolio diversification? How does Michael think about the right level of capital concentrated into one company? How does Michael assess the difference between risk and uncertainty? What do many misunderstand between the two?

4.) Why does Michael believe in generalist VCs over specialist VCs? Why do they win? Why does Michael believe in small boutique firms vs large multi-stage firms? How does Michael think about the notion of ownership on first check? Is it possible to really build ownership across rounds today?

5.) How does Michael reflect on his own style of board membership today? How has it changed? What have been some of Michael's biggest lessons on board membership from Bruce Dunlevie @ Benchmark? What advice does Michael have to newer investors joining boards for the first time?

Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode

Michael’s Most Recent Investment: Melio

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.

 
Feb 4, 2021

Justin Fishner-Wolfson is founder and the managing partner of 137 Ventures, a growth-stage venture firm that provides customized liquidity solutions to founders, investors, and early employees of high-growth private technology companies. Their portfolio includes the likes of SpaceX, Wish, Anduril, Flexport, and Rigup to name a few. Previously, Justin worked on the investment team at Founders Fund and before that served in the US Department of State under Alan Larson, Undersecretary for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Justin made his way into the world of venture with Founders Fund and how that led to his founding 137 Ventures? What specific lessons did he learn from Peter Thiel that he has applied to his investing mindset?

2.) What does Justin mean when he says, "it is the last double that matters"? Why does Justin believe that liquidity aligns incentives between VCs and founders? When is the right timing for this liquidity and are there limits to the sizes of secondaries founders and teams should take?

3.) How does Justin think about his own price sensitivity today? Why does Justin believe that the conventional VC views on ownership are outdated and no longer as relevant to this class of company? How does Justin think about diversification among the portfolio today? What is the right level? What is too diversified? What is too concentrated?

4.) Why does Justin believe that standard thoughts around CAC/LTV are wrong? How have they changed over time? How should founders think about this and present these metrics to investors? Given these metrics, how does Justin feel about the revenue multiples we are seeing today both in private and public markets?

Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode

Justin’s Favourite Book: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Justin’s Most Recent Investment: Lattice

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.

Feb 1, 2021

Ilkka Paananen is the Co-Founder & CEO @ Supercell, the makers of some of the most wildly successful games of the last decade including Hay Day, Clash of Clans, Boom Beach and more. Prior to Tencent acquiring a majority stake in the company at a reported $10.2Bn acquisition, Ilkka raised over $143M for the company from Accel, Index, Atomico, IVP, LVP, Initial and Lifeline. Throughout his incredible leadership of Supercell he has coined the term, "the least powerful CEO", a fascinating concept and one we dig into in this episode.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Ilkka made his way into the world of startups and came to found one of Europe's most valuable companies in the form of Supercell?

2.) How does Ilkka think about his own relationship to risk? Why does Ilkka believe the No 1 reason companies die is due to their relationship to risk? How does Ilkka evaluate his relationship to money? How has it changed? How does Ilkka feel the weight of responsibility with his wealth?

3.) What does being "the least powerful CEO" mean in practice? What does Ilkka belive is key for leaders to really empower their team to be bold and ambitious? How can leaders create environments of safety where it is ok to fail? Where do many leaders go wrong here?

4.) The first 3 Supercell games were failures, how did Ilkka deal with those really hard times? How can leaders sustain morale in such hard times? Supercell then had 3 big hits in a row, how does one prevent ego and over-confidence in teams? What is the beer vs champagne culture?

5.) How does Ilkka think about the importance of focus? What has Ilkka done and learned to be a much more focused leader? How does Ilkka approach the aspect of competition today?

Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode

Ilkka’s Favourite Book: What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture by Ben Horowitz

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.

1