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The Twenty Minute VC (20VC): Venture Capital | Startup Funding | The Pitch

The Twenty Minute VC (20VC) interviews the world's greatest venture capitalists with prior guests including Sequoia's Doug Leone and Benchmark's Bill Gurley. Once per week, 20VC Host, Harry Stebbings is also joined by one of the great founders of our time with prior founder episodes from Spotify's Daniel Ek, Linkedin's Reid Hoffman, and Snowflake's Frank Slootman. If you would like to see more of The Twenty Minute VC (20VC), head to www.20vc.com for more information on the podcast, show notes, resources and more.
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Now displaying: July, 2023
Jul 31, 2023

Marcelo Claure is the Founder & CEO of Claure Group, a multi-billion-dollar global investment firm. He is the Executive Chairman and Managing Partner of Bicycle Capital, a $500M Latin America-focused growth equity fund, and was appointed Chairman in Latin America of SHEIN, the global #1 on-demand fashion company in the world. Claure was also the CEO of SoftBank Group International where he launched SoftBank’s $8B Latin America Funds, and had direct oversight for SoftBank's operating companies. As an entrepreneur, Marcelo built Brightstar from a small local distributor to the world’s largest global wireless distribution and services company. In addition, Claure led the turnaround of US wireless telecommunications company Sprint and helped orchestrate its US$195 billion merger with T-Mobile.

Shu Nyatta is the founder of Bicycle Capital. Before Bicycle, Shu was most recently a Managing Partner at SoftBank Group International, where he launched and managed two separate funds - the SoftBank Latin America Fund and the Opportunity Fund for early-stage investments in US-based founders-of-color. In the first part of his SoftBank career, Shu was a founding Partner of SoftBank's Vision Fund. Several companies have retained him on their boards as an independent board member following his departure from SoftBank, including Lemonade (NYSE: LMND), Kavak and Tribal Credit. Shu also serves on the board of Endeavor Global - the leading global community of, by and for high-impact entrepreneurs.

In Today's Episode Featuring Bicycle Capital We Discuss:

1. From Deploying $10BN at Softbank to Founding Bicycle Capital:

  • What was the founding moment for Marcelo and Shu in the founding of Bicycle?
  • What does Shu believe is Marcelo's superpower? How has working with Marcelo changed the way he thinks?
  • Why does Marcelo believe that he is not a good investor? How does Shu make him better, specifically?

2. Lessons from Investing $10BN at Softbank:

  • What are 1-2 of the biggest lessons from investing $10BN over the last few years at Softbank?
  • How did missing OpenAI and Nubank impact how Shu and Marcelo think and invest today?
  • Why was losing $150M on Softbank's FTX investment, the biggest lesson of Marcelo's career?
  • What are Marcelo and Shu doing differently at Bicycle, having seen how it went at Softbank?

3. The Venture World is Changing:

  • Why do Marcelo and Shu believe the world of venture is changing? How is it changing most?
  • Why are founders going directly to LPs to raise rounds today, over going to VCs?
  • Do Marcelo and Shu believe that many VCs provide value?
  • Who will win in the next 10 years of venture? Who will lose?
  • Why do Marcelo and Shu believe you should not invest in founders that do not take your advice?
  • Do Marcelo and Shu agree with the statement that "the best founders do not need your help"?

4. LATAM is Under Construction: It is Time to Build:

  • What are the two reasons that the next decade will be the best ever for LATAM?
  • What are the biggest misconceptions about the LATAM tech market?
  • How do Marcelo and Shu answer the question of the lack of liquidity available with few M&A deals taking place and very few LATAM companies listing on the NASDAQ?
  • How do Marcelo and Shu evaluate the withdrawal of foreign capital from LATAM tech markets? Is it good or bad? Have a load of US funds lost money on early-stage LATAM deals?

Jul 28, 2023

Stephane Kurgan is widely considered one of the best operators in Europe. During his tenure as COO @ King, King went from $65m to $2.4B in bookings, from 100 to 2,400 employees, and did a $7B IPO before being acquired by Activision Blizzard. Prior to joining King, Stephane served as CFO of Tideway Ltd. (acquired by BMC Software) and was the co-founder and CEO of Digital Reserve. Today, Stephane serves as a Venture Partner at Index Ventures, one of the leading venture firms of the last decade and more recently as an executive advisor at Technology Crossover Ventures.

In Today's Episode with Stephane Kurgan We Discuss:

1. From Belgium Boy to Europe's Leading Operator:

  • How a CD Rom company was the starting place for one of Europe's best executives?
  • What does Steph believe he is running away from?
  • What does Steph know now that he wishes he had known when he started?

2. Four Criteria of Truly Great Leaders:

  • What four traits do all truly special leaders have?
  • What are the 1-2 that are the hardest to find in great leaders today?
  • Why does Steph believe that even the best leaders are wrong 40% of the time?
  • How does Steph approach decision-making? How has it changed over time?
  • What is the most toxic element of decisions within companies today?
  • When does Steph change plan because a decision is wrong vs stick to it?

3. Speed of Execution and Mission Statements:

  • How important does Steph believe speed of execution is today?
  • What are the elements that one can go fast on vs go slow and be very deliberate on?
  • What elements has Steph gone fast on in the past that led to a mistake? How would he have changed his approach with the benefit of hindsight?
  • Why does Steph believe that mission statements have different value at different company stages?
  • What is Steph's biggest advice to founders on creating mission statements?

4. Delivering Feedback and Maintaining Trust:

  • What are 1-2 of Steph's biggest lessons when it comes to delivering feedback well?
  • What are the biggest mistakes founders make when delivering feedback today?
  • Can trust be regained once lost? How?
  • Does Steph start from a position of full trust or is it gained gradually over time?

Jul 26, 2023

Sri Batchu currently leads Growth at Ramp. He previously led Growth Strategy and Operations at Instacart where he also helped grow their Ads business. Prior to that, he was one of the first 50 employees at Opendoor where he built, scaled, and managed a variety of business teams including Analytics, Sales, and Pricing.  During his time, the company grew from $100M to $5B+ revenue and to 1500+ people.  He started his career in management consulting at McKinsey and also held various investing roles including in private equity at Bain Capital. 

In Today's Episode with Sri Batchu We Discuss:

1. From Harvard to Private Equity to Leading the Best Growth Teams:

  • How did Sri make his way into the world of growth with Instacart and Opendoor?
  • What are 1-2 of his biggest takeaways from his time at Instacart? How did it change his approach and mindset towards growth?
  • How did Zilllow burn themselves by buying homes? What did that teach Sri about hitting metrics and goal setting in growth teams?

2. Growth Teams Should Fail and Fail Fast:

  • What is the right ratio of success to failure within growth teams?
  • What are specific ways that growth teams can increase the speed with which they fail?
  • How are the best post-mortems run? Who joins them? Who leads the agenda?
  • What are Sri's biggest lessons on how to set the right goals?
  • Where do so many growth teams go wrong with the North Star that they set for themselves?

3. Building the Bench: Hiring a Growth Team:

  • When is the right time to make your first growth hires?
  • What profile should your first growth hires be?
  • How should one structure the interview process when hiring growth teams?
  • What is the first question Sri asks all new hires?
  • Why does Sri believe you have to hire slowly?
  • Should candidates do case studies as part of the process, if so, on a new company or on the company they are interviewing for?

4. When Operators Become Investors:

  • Why does Sri believe the best investors of the next 10 years will be operators?
  • Why does Sri believe that operators can do due diligence to a higher level than traditional VCs?
  • Why does Sri believe that investors should not take cold emails?
  • Why does Sri believe that it is not wrong for an investor to hire from their portfolio companies?
  • What does Sri believe the future of venture holds over the next 10 years?

Jul 24, 2023

Adam Mosseri is the Head of Instagram, where he is responsible for overseeing the engineering, product, and business teams and leading Meta’s efforts on creators and Reels. Adam has been at Meta for more than fifteen years. He started at Meta as a designer for Facebook's mobile app before moving to product management, where he led the Facebook News Feed product and engineering teams, and served as the Head of Facebook News Feed. Adam began his career founding a design consultancy focused on graphic, interaction, and exhibition design before joining TokBox as the company’s first designer.

In Today's Discussion with Adam Mosseri We Discuss:

1. From Designer to Product Leader to Instagram CEO:

  • What did Adam learn from his first job bartending? How did it impact his approach to customer support and research?
  • What are the top 1-2 pieces of advice Adam would give to someone wanting to make the move from individual contributor to leader?
  • If Adam was "not amazing at anything", what did he do that enabled him to rise above the rest and become CEO of Instagram?
  • What have been 1-2 of the biggest lessons from working with Mark Zuckerberg for 15 years?

2. A Deep Dive on the Wild Times as Instagram CEO:

  • What has been Adam's single biggest mistake as CEO of Instagram?
  • What does Adam believe is the least known feature within Instagram that has made them successful?
  • What does Adam believe has been the biggest product decision he has made as CEO?
  • Why does Adam believe that Instagram is too complicated as a product?
  • Who does Adam believe is the most formidable competitor to Instagram?
  • Was Instagram Reels a simple copy of TikTok? What have Instagram learned from TikTok?
  • How does Adam respond to the statement that Instagram is a "copy-cat machine" and lacks innovaton?

3. Threads: The Journey from 0-100M Users in Three Days:

  • Did Adam and the team expect the response they got to Threads?
  • Why did they decide to break Threads out into a separate app?
  • What went into bootstrapping the Threads friendship and interest graph?
  • What was the Threads influencer activation strategy? What worked? What did not? Did they pay influencers? How did they choose which verticals to focus on?
  • What is Adam's core focus with Threads today?
  • How is the team analysing and measuring retention? What are their goals?
  • What are the 1-2 core reasons why Threads would not work? How do they aim to prevent them?
  • In 12 months, where will Threads be?

4. The Future of Consumer Social: What Happens Now?

  • Does Adam believe we have seen the transition from the social graph to the interest graph? Is it that binary?
  • Is it possible to have both the interest and the friendship graph all in one app?
  • How does the monetization potential differ when comparing Threads (text) to Instagram (visual)?
  • How important is it for the next consumer social platforms to have stars that are native to their platform (Mr Beast on Youtube, D'Amelio on TikTok etc.)

Jul 21, 2023

Jean-Denis Greze is Chief Technology Officer at Plaid where oversees global product business units across North America and Europe. Prior to joining Plaid, Jean-Denis was Director of Engineering at Dropbox. Jean-Denis is also a prolific angel investor with a portfolio including the likes of Nex Health, Merge.dev and Rupa Health to name a few.

In Today's Episode with Jean-Denis Greze We Discuss:

1. The Journey to One of the Most Powerful CTOs:

  • How JD made his way into the world of tech with his first role at Dropbox?
  • How does JD analyse a Linkedin CV today? What are the signals of outperformers?
  • What does JD know now that he wishes he had known when he started in tech?

2. Hiring the Best: 101:

  • What are JD's single biggest lessons on hiring the best talent?
  • What have been some of JD's biggest hiring mistakes?
  • Why does JD believe founders need to be as good at firing as they are hiring?
  • Does JD believe people can scale with the scaling of a company? If they do not scale, do you layer them or do you let them go?
  • How does JD determine whether to bring in an external candidate vs promote someone from within?

3. Product Differentiation is not Sustainable:

  • Why does JD believe that product differentiation is not sustainable? Why is UX as a moat BS?
  • How does this lead JD to suggest Salesforce is a short in the public markets?
  • Why does JD believe that Snowflake is also a short?
  • What does Snowflake teach us about the different stages of product market fit?
  • What are the biggest mistakes founders make when analyzing product market fit?

4. Remote Work, Titles and Entitlement:

  • Why does JD believe most tech employees treat their employer in the same way French citizens treat the French government?
  • How does JD analyse the impact of remote work on both productivity and culture?
  • Why does JD believe titles are BS in the beginning but matter with scale?
  • Why does JD believe that you should not hire for the long term?

Jul 19, 2023

Lauryn Isford is the Head of Product Growth at Notion, managing Notion's product-led growth engine and self-serve business. Before Notion, she led growth at Airtable, and previously worked on growth teams including Meta, Dropbox, and Blue Bottle Coffee. Lauryn is an active angel investor and advisor supporting companies building product-led go-to-market motions. 

In Today's Episode with Lauryn Isford:

1. From Blue Bottle to Airtable and Notion:

  • How did Lauryn first make her way into the world of product and growth?
  • What are 1-2 of her biggest takeaways from Dropbox, Facebook and Blue Bottle?
  • What does Lauryn know now that she wishes she had known when she started?

2. What is Growth: 101:

  • How does Lauryn define growth? What is it not?
  • When is the right time to make your first growth hire?
  • What profile should your first hire in growth be?
  • What are the single biggest mistakes founders make when hiring growth teams?

3. Mastering the Onboarding Experience:

  • What are the core elements of a successful onboarding experience?
  • How important is time to value in onboarding today?
  • What are the biggest mistakes product teams make in company onboarding?
  • What is the most effective onboarding technique and workflow in PLG today?
  • Why are 90% of current onboarding's done badly?

4. Making Growth work with the Rest of the Org:

  • What are the single biggest barriers to growth and product working together well?
  • What can leaders do to make their growth teams work well with product teams?
  • How can growth teams experiment and test with product without messing up codebases?

Jul 17, 2023

Dave Clark is the CEO of Flexport, the global freight forwarder and logistics platform that has now raised over $2.5BN to build the category leader. Prior to Flexport, Dave began his career at Amazon in 1999 as an Operations Manager, working his way up to become the CEO of Amazon’s worldwide consumer business in 2021. By the time Dave left, he was responsible for over 1 million employees. Dave spearheaded the launch of Amazon Robotics and grew the company’s logistics divisions to include Amazon’s own planes, trailers, and last-mile delivery vehicles through Amazon’s own delivery network (which today ships more packages than FedEx and UPS). Huge thanks to Ryan Peterson for some amazing question suggestions today.

In Today's Episode with Dave Clark We Discuss:

1. From Operations Manager to CEO @ Amazon:

  • How did Dave Clark make his way into the world of startups with Amazon in 1999?
  • What are 1-2 of his biggest lessons from spending 23 years at Amazon?
  • What are 1-2 of his biggest takeaways from working alongside Jeff Bezos for 23 years?

2. How Big Leaders Make Big Decisions:

  • What is Dave's decision-making framework when it comes to big decisions?
  • What is the biggest decision Dave made that went wrong? How did it impact his mindset?
  • How does Dave think through prioritisation as a leader today?
  • What are the biggest mistakes founders make when it comes to focus?

3. How Big Leaders Hire Big Talent:

  • What are 1-2 of Dave's biggest lessons on what it takes to acquire the best talent?
  • Does Dave believe that people can scale with the scaling of the company?
  • How does Dave think through the challenge of promoting internally vs bringing in external talent?
  • Why does Dave like to hire people straight out of college? What are the benefits?

4. How Big People Deal with Big Problems: Kids, Money and Ego

  • What are 1-2 of Dave's biggest lessons when it comes to parenting?
  • How does Dave think about giving his kids the same hunger and ambition, when they are brought up in such affluent environments?
  • How does Dave assess his own relationship to money? How has it changed over time?
  • What does a truly great marriage mean to Dave? Where do so many go wrong in trying to find work-life balance?

Jul 14, 2023

Sheel Mohnot is a Co-Founder and General Partner @ Better Tomorrow Ventures, a $225M fund that leads rounds in pre-seed and seed-stage fintech companies globally. Sheel and Jake (his co-founder) invested for many years together before founding BTV and wrote checks into Mercury, Flexport, Ramp, and Hippo Insurance to name a few. As for Sheel, before BTV he ran 500 Fintech for close to 7 years, and before that was a founder, founding two companies, both of which were acquired.

In Today's Episode with Sheel Mohnot We Discuss:

1. VC Needs to Change:

  • Why does Sheel believe that VCs should have smaller funds?
  • What are the biggest misalignments between founders and VCs today?
  • What are the biggest points of friction between VCs and their LPs today?

2. VC in 10 Years Time:

  • Who are going to be the winners in venture in 10 years time?
  • Who are going to be the losers?
  • Will micro-funds be bigger or smaller as a segment of the ecosystem?
  • Will solo-GPs be bigger or smaller? Were they a zero-interest rate phenomenon?

3. The Errors of a Bull Market:

  • What does Sheel believe are the single biggest mistakes made by VCs between 2020-2022?
  • Did Sheel take liquidity off the table in the last few years? What have been some of his biggest lessons on when to sell?
  • How does Sheel evaluate the flood of capital into emerging markets in the bull market? What happens now?
  • Fintech is also experiencing the same challenging time, how does Sheel assess what is happening in the fintech financing market today?

4. Building a Fund: Lessons, Mistakes and Advice Scaling to $225M:

  • What are the single biggest mistakes Sheel and Jake have made in the fun scaling? How has it impacted their mindset?
  • What does Sheel know now about fund management that he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  • What advice does Sheel give to emerging managers today, raising their first and second funds?

Jul 12, 2023

Kevin Egan is the Global Head of Enterprise Sales at Atlassian and brings more than 25 years of enterprise sales experience and leadership to the company. Prior to his current role, Kevin served as the Vice President of North America Sales at both Slack and Dropbox and has held various senior sales leadership positions at Salesforce.

In Todays Episode With Kevin Egan We Discuss:

1. The Makings of a Truly Great Enterprise Sales Leader:

  • How did Kevin first make his way into the world of enterprise sales?
  • What does Kevin know now that he wishes he had known when he entered sales?
  • What advice would Kevin give to a new sales leader today starting a new role?

2. The Sales Playbook:

  • How does Kevin define "the sales playbook"? Does the founder have to be the one to create the sales playbook
  • When is the right time to hire your first salespeople? Should they be senior or junior first?
  • What are the different types of reps to hire in the early days? Should you hire two at a time?

3. PLG vs Enterprise:

  • Does Kevin believe it is possible to run both PLG and enterprise playbook at the same time?
  • How does one know when they are ready to scale from PLG into enterprise? What are the signs?
  • What do companies need to change in the way their sales team, is structured to make the transition from PMG to enterprise sales?
  • What are the single biggest mistakes Kevin sees founders make in the scaling from PLG to enterprise?

4. Hiring the Sales Team:

  • What non-obvious characteristics and attitudes should we look for in sales reps?
  • How does Kevin structure the hiring process for all new additions to sales and revenue teams?
  • What makes good PLG sales leaders? How are they different from enterprise sales leaders?
  • What questions and case studies are most revealing for you in identifying them?
  • What have been some of Kevin's biggest lessons on comp structure for these early rep hires?

5. Making the Machine Work:

  • How does Kevin build trust with his early sales rep hires? What works? What does not?
  • How does Kevin balance hitting the quarterly revenue target with longer-term pipeline strategy?
  • How does Kevin manage when a quarter is missed? What is the right approach?
  • How does Kevin approach post-mortems and deal reviews? How often? What do the best entail?

 

Jul 10, 2023

Simon Sinek is an optimist and author, as we discuss in the show today. Simon is best known for his TED Talk on the concept of WHY (62M views), and his video on millennials in the workplace (80M views in 7 days). Simon is also a bestselling author including global bestseller Start with WHY, Leaders Eat Last and The Infinite Game. In addition, Simon is the founder of The Optimism Company, a leadership learning and development company, and he publishes other inspiring thinkers and doers through his publishing partnership with Penguin Random House called Optimism Press.

In Today's Discussion with Simon Sinek We Discuss:

1. The Makings of Simon Sinek:

  • In what ways does Simon believe that his parents and upbringing shaped who he is today?
  • What does Simon want to be when he grows up?
  • What was the catalytic moment to the "Simon Sinek brand"? When was that big break moment?

2. Identity:

  • Simon has said before, "I define myself by who I am and not what I do". Is it wrong to define yourself by what you do?
  • What do you do if you do not know who you are? What do you do if you do not like the answers to who you are?
  • Is it possible to change who you are? What does that process look like?
  • What is Simon's biggest advice to those looking to find a greater sense of self and identity?

3. Trust:

  • Does Simon start relationships with inherent trust and it is there to be lost or no trust and it is there to be gained over time?
  • When has someone broken Simon's trust? How did it impact how he approaches trust today?
  • In the case of cheating in a relationship, does Simon believe it is possible to regain trust over time?
  • Simon has said before, "trust is built on telling the truth". Does it ever make sense or is even right to tell a little white lie in a relationship?

4. Creating Safe Spaces:

  • How can we create safe spaces for our partners to be their full selves?
  • Does this differ professionally and personally?
  • What are the biggest mistakes people make in building safe spaces?

5. Listening:

  • What does great listening in a relationship mean? How can we do it better?
  • Often people jump from listening to solution mode, is that wrong?
  • Why does Simon have a rule of “no crying alone”. What does it do and how is it productive? When was the last time Simon cried?

6. Simon Sinek: AMA:

  • What is success to you?
  • Can one be “successful” and unhappy?
  • What is the difference between happiness and joy?

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