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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: Category: Investing
Sep 16, 2021

Nazim Salur is the Founder & CEO of Getir, one of the leading rapid delivery service providers that distribute over 1,500 everyday items within minutes. With an established status in Turkey, where the company trends towards a super-app, and a London launch behind it, Getir has further European and US expansion plans on the horizon. To fuel this expansion, Getir has raised over $1BN from Sequoia and Mike Moritz, Silver Lake, Mubadala, and Tiger Global to name a few. Prior to founding Getir, Nazim launched his first tech startup in 2012, BiTaksi, which brought people taxis in three minutes.

In Today’s Episode with Nazim Salur You Will Learn:

1.) How Nazim made his way into the world of startups with his founding of BiTaksi and how that led to his realization of the need for Getir?

2.) Why does Nazim believe that owning the entire vertical stack is a superior model? What are the selection criteria for the micro-fulfillment sites? What makes one more attractive than another? How does Getir think about the balance between SKU minimization and consumer demand? How does Getir think about building defensibility through their warehouse management system?

3.) How did Getir acquire their first drivers? What worked? What did not work? How does their driver acquisition strategy change depending on location? What is the core measurement that Getir uses to measure driver efficiency? What is the secret to driver retention? How has Nazim seen driver acquisition costs change over time in mature markets?

4.) How did Getir acquire their first customers? What is the most important element for consumers; speed or choice? How does Getir think about allocating marketing spend efficiently today? How has Nazim seen CACs change over time with the maturation of markets? With the immense funding for the space, is Nazim concerned about this?

5.) What are the decision-making criteria for what makes an attractive region to expand into? How much capital does it take to launch a new region? What is the time to profitability on each zone? How has this changed over time? How does Nazim think about expansion into the US? What excites him most about the expansion? What elements will be most challenging?

Sep 14, 2021

Doug Leone is the Global Managing Partner @ Sequoia Capital, one of the world’s most renowned and successful venture firms with a portfolio including the likes of Google, Airbnb, Whatsapp, Stripe, Zoom and many more. As for Doug, he joined Sequoia over 33 years ago and has led investments in Nubank, Meraki, ServiceNow and TradeRepublic to name a few.

In Today’s Episode with Doug Leone You Will Learn:

1.) How a 5PM Monday meeting with Don Valentine led to Doug joining Sequoia over 33 years ago? What did Don ask Doug in the meeting? What does Doug believe led Don to offer him his first role at Sequoia?

2.) The Leader: How did Doug change when he made the transition from a "COO" role to more of a "CEO" role with Sequoia? Doug has previously said, "Sequoia is a team, not a family". What does he mean by this? How do Doug and Sequoia do to give the team an unwavering sense of duty to the Sequoia brand? What does Doug believe Sequoia have done so well to allow them to move seamlessly from generation to generation?

3.) The Investor: Doug's first 3 investments all went on to successful IPOs, how did this impact his mindset at the time? What does Doug mean when he discusses "the abyss" he went through post this time? How does Doug advise others going through the abyss? What are the signs certain people will make it through vs not?

4.) The Landscape Today: How does Doug think about and react to newer entrants like Tiger and Softbank? How does Doug think about and assess his own price sensitivity today? How does Doug determine when to be disciplined vs when to pay up? Through what lens does Doug assess the compression of deployment cycles in venture today? Should we "play the game on the field"?

5.) The Expansion: In 2005, Sequoia expanded to China. Why was this the right time? What was the decision-making process for the Sequoia China team? Why does Doug believe, "when you lose pre-seed, you become private equity"? How does Doug react to the notion that success in venture is cyclical and compounds?

Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Doug Leone

Doug’s Favourite Book: The Fountainhead: Ayn Rand, Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder

Sep 2, 2021

Sameer Gandhi is a Partner @ Accel, one of the leading venture firms of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Facebook, Dropbox, Atlassian, Hopin, Spotify and more. As for Sameer, he led investments in Crowdstrike, Dropbox, Flipkart, Spotify and more. Prior to Accel, Sameer spent close to 10 years as a Partner @ Sequoia.

In Today’s Episode with Sameer Gandhi You Will Learn:

1.) How Sameer first came to meet George, Crowdstrike Founder and CEO? How did a 30-minute meeting turn into a 2-hour discussion leading to Accel's investment?

2.)The Market: How did Sameer analyze and break down the market at the time of the investment? What hypothesis did he have on market evolution going in? What elements went as thought? In what way did the market evolve in a way Sameer did not expect? How does Sameer think through market timing today? Through what approach does Sameer assess market sizing today?

3.) Financing: How did Sameer build the confidence to lead multiple rounds of financing, one after the other? How did Sameer build the trust and strength of relationship with George to win each round? Why did Sameer advise George to "go shop his term sheet"? What was the rationale? How does Sameer advise founders on taking pre-emptive rounds today?

4.) Execution: What specifically allowed Crowdstrike to move so fast in the early days? Does Sameer believe that speed of execution is the strongest moat a company can have? How does Sameer advise companies today on services revenue? In what shape did this look with Crowdstrike in the early days? What is a healthy proportion of services to product revenue?

5.) The Team: How did George evolve and develop as a leader in the decade Sameer worked with him? What were some of the core inflection points that caused those changes? Who are some of the unsung heroes behind the scenes who moved the needle for Crowdstrike? What is Sameer's favorite memory from working with the company?

Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Sameer Gandi

Go to thetwentyminutevc.com to download the original Crowdstrike Investment Memo. 

Aug 30, 2021

Marcelo Claure serves as CEO of SoftBank Group International and COO of SoftBank Group Corp., the world’s largest tech investor. At Softbank, Marcelo oversees the company’s strategic direction and its portfolio of operating companies, including WeWork, SB Energy, Fortress, Boston Dynamics, as well as SoftBank’s stake in T-Mobile U.S. He also spearheads the SoftBank Latin America Fund, a $5 billion fund dedicated to investing in technology growth opportunities throughout the region. If that was not enough, Marcelo serves as Exec Chairman @ WeWork, is on the board of Arm, is the president of Club Bolívar, Bolivia's most popular and successful soccer team; co-owner and Chairman of Inter Miami CF and most recently co-owner of Girona FC.

In Today’s Episode with Marcelo Claure You Will Learn:

1.) How Marcelo made his way into the world of startups and came to found his first company, Brightstar? How did Brightstar lead to Marcelo meeting Masa and moving to Tokyo to invest $1BN per week with him?

2.) From spending a year with Masa in Tokyo, what did Marcelo learn about Masa that he did not know before? How did spending this time with Masa impact Marcelo's operating mindset and his investing mindset? What were the most memorable founder meetings that Marcelo and Masa had in that year? Why did those ones stand out?

3.) When starting Softbank's LATAM Fund, what hypothesis did Marcelo have going into investing in LATAM? Which were confirmed? On the flip side, which proved to be wrong? How does Marcelo respond to people that say "LATAM produces copycat companies"? Why does Marcelo bet that Softbank will have 8 portfolio companies in LATAM go public next year?

4.) How does Marcelo think about the importance of price and price discipline today? What is their decision-making framework when determining whether to pay up or not for a deal? What have been some of Marcelo's biggest misses? How did they impact his decision-making process moving forward? How does Softbank approach conflicts when investing today?

5.) How does Marcelo analyze the increasing competition in the LATAM ecosystem? How has his style changed as a result? Through what lens does Marcelo assess the role that Tiger has played over the last 18 months? Why does Marcelo think that other firms have trash-talked Softbank before? How does Marcelo see the venture landscape as fundamentally changed?

Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Marcelo Claure

Marcelo’s Favourite Book: Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage to the Antarctic

Marcelo’s Most Recent Investment: Uala

Aug 26, 2021

Frank Rotman is a founding partner of QED Investors, one of the leading fintech-focused venture firms investing today with a portfolio including the likes of Klarna, Kavak, Quinto Andar, Credit Karma and more. As for Frank, prior to QED, Frank was one of the earliest analysts hired into Capital One and spent almost 13 years there helping build many of the company’s business units and operational areas. Post Capital One, Frank went on to found a student lending company before joining up again with Nigel Morris to co-found QED.

In Today’s Episode with Frank Rotman You Will Learn:

1.) How Frank made his way into the world of venture having spent 13 years scaling Capital One? What was the founding moment for Nigel and Frank with QED? How does Nigel compare to poker to venture capital? Where are they similar? Where are they different?

2.) Does Frank feel that price discipline has disappeared in the venture market today? What have been some of Frank's biggest lessons on price? Is Frank concerned by the compression in deployment timelines for funds? How does Frank feel on the rise of pre-emptive rounds? In what way does Frank advise his founders when they are offered pre-emptive rounds?

3.) How important does Frank believe sizing your initial position is, from an ownership perspective? Is it possible to build ownership in your winners? What have been some lessons for Frank with regards to the speed of which breakout companies are clear? How does Frank assess and analyse bridge rounds and whether to participate or not?

4.) Why does Frank believe that the VC world is less collaborative than ever today? What has caused this? What can VCs do to change this? How do we solve the structural problem of VCs needing ownership for their business and founders not wanting excessive dilution? What does Frank believe is the most dangerous trend in the VC market today?

5.) How does Frank think about what he can do to improve his investment decision-making process? What repeatable process has Frank landed on that works? Where do many make mistakes here? How does Frank view the relationship between process and outcome?

Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Frank Rotman

Frank’s Favourite Book: Tom Robbins

Frank’s Most Recent Investment: Hello Alice

Aug 23, 2021

Emilie Choi is the President and Chief Operating Officer @ Coinbase, the easiest place to buy and sell cryptocurrency. Prior to their IPO earlier this year, Coinbase raised funding from some of the best in the business including USV, a16z, Initialized and Ribbit to name a few. As for Emilie, before Coinbase she was Head of Corporate Development for @ LinkedIn and before Linkedin served in various positions at Warner Bros., including as Manager of Corporate Business Development and Strategy. If that was not enough, Emilie currently serves on the board of Naspers and ZipRecruiter.

In Today’s Episode with Emilie Choi You Will Learn:

1.) How Emilie made her way into the world of startups, came to lead Corp Dev @ Linkedin and how that led to her joining forces with Brian @ Coinbase as COO & President? What lessons did Emilie learn from Reid Hoffman and Jeff Weiner that she has taken with her to Coinbase?

2.) Corp-Dev Guide: Why are so many startups trying to hire Head of Corp Devs today? What are the signals that suggest now is the right time? How would Emilie structure the process of hiring a Head of Corp Dev? What questions should be asked? How can you test their skills? What mistakes do CEOs often make when hiring Head of Corp Devs?

3.) COO Guide: What does the role of COO really mean to Emilie? How does Emilie advise founders on whether they do actually need a COO? How would Emilie structure the process of hiring a COO? What are some common red flags that concern Emilie when hiring COO's? What is the right relationship between CEO and COO?

4.) Resource Allocation: How does Coinbase think about internal resource allocation between core product and their venture products? What was the thinking behind Coinbase Ventures? Why do they have no full-time staff? What is the core objective of the fund? Why does Emilie think it will be one of the best performing funds in venture?

Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Emilie Choi

Emilie’s Favourite Book: The Secret History

Aug 19, 2021

Angela Strange is a General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz, one of the leading venture firms of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Facebook, Github, Slack, Airbnb, Asana and more. As for Angela, she largely focuses on investments in financial services and a16z has made significant investments in LATAM in the likes of Loft, Jeeves, Pomelo and Addi to name a few. Prior to a16z, Angela was a product manager at Google where she launched and grew Chrome for Android and Chrome for iOS into two of Google’s most successful mobile products.

In Today’s Episode with Angela Strange You Will Learn:

1.) How Angela made her way into the world of venture from a career of running marathons and product management at Google?

2.) Does Angela believe we are going to see regional winners in LATAM with players owning their segment for Argentina, Mexico, Brazil etc? Why does Angela believe there is a huge business to be had in catering to the unbanked? How does Angela analyze whether startups can acquire distribution before incumbents acquire innovation?

3.) How does Angela respond to the suggestion that LATAM merely produces copycat companies of Western alternatives? How does Angela respond to claims that there is a lack of viable exit opportunities with insufficient local public markets and few international acquirers in the region? Does Angela believe there is a sufficient depth of engineering talent in the region?

4.) What has been Angela's biggest miss? How did it change her investment process? How does Angela analyze TAM? Where does Angela think many make mistakes in their underwriting of market size? How has Angela learned to think through societal and behavioral changes that impact market timing (cash-based economies, COVID etc?)

Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Angela Strange

Angela’s Favourite Book: More More Than You Know: Finding Financial Wisdom in Unconventional Places

Angela’s Most Recent Investment: Jeeves

Aug 16, 2021

Nicolas Szekasy is a co-founder and Managing Partner of Kaszek Ventures, the largest venture capital firm in Latin America with a portfolio including the likes of Nubank, Notco, Creditas, Bitso and more. Before Kaszek, Nicolás was CFO for 10 years at MercadoLibre (Nasdaq: MELI), Latin America’s largest online commerce and payments platform, where he led its $333 million IPO in 2007. Before MercadoLibre, Nico spent 7 years as CFO @ PepsiCo. If that was not enough, Nico is also on the board of Endeavour, empowering a global ecosystem of entrepreneurs.

In Today’s Episode with Nicolas Szekasy You Will Learn:

1.) How Nico made his way into the world of startups with MercadoLibre? What were the biggest takeaways from his 10 years with MELI? How did his time with MELI and seeing the boom and bust impact his investing mindset?

2.) What have been the most significant changes in the LATAM ecosystem over the last 20 years? What has improved? What has become more challenging? Is Nico concerned by the sheer amount of capital now flowing into the LATAM ecosystem at such speed?

3.) How does Nico respond to the statement that LATAM just produces "copycats" of successful companies from other geographies? How does Nico respond to the common suggestion of the challenges in scaling engineering teams in LATAM? How does Nico respond to the assumption that exit opportunities and IPOs are less available to LATAM companies?

4.) How was the experience of raising the first Kaszek fund? What has been the biggest challenging in the scaling from a $100M fund to a $1BN fund? How has Nico seen his own investing style change over the last decade? What does he know now that he wishes he had known when he started Kaszek?

5.) How does Nico reflect on his own style of board membership? What does Nico believe makes the best board members? What takeaways did he have from his time @ MELI on what makes the truly special board member?

Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Nicolas Szekasy

Nico’s Favourite Book: Guns, Germs and Steel: A short history of everybody for the last 13,000 years

Nico’s Most Recent Investment: Notco

Aug 12, 2021

Ann Miura Ko is the Co-Founding Partner @ Floodgate, one of the leading early-stage firms of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Twitter, Twitch, Lyft, Okta, Outreach and more. As for Ann, not only did she lead the round for Lyft but in the last 12 months has led rounds for 2 of the hottest companies in the valley; Popparazzi and Popshop Live. Due to her immense investing success, Ann is a multiple Forbes Midas Lister and is also a lecturer in entrepreneurship at Stanford, a co-director of the Mayfield Fellows Program at Stanford, and a member of the Board of Trustees for Yale University.

In Today’s Episode with Ann Miura Ko You Will Learn:

1.) How Ann made her way from a PhD in Quantitative Modelling at Stanford to co-founding one of the leading early-stage firms in the valley?

2.) What does Ann believe is the secret to successful seed investing? What insight development did Ann believe Lyft had? How had they approached customer development in such a unique way? What are the leading signals to Ann today that founders really understand the customer development process? What questions does she ask to discover this?

3.) Why does Ann not engage in the compression of fundraising timelines today? How does she build relationships of trust and honesty with founders so early? Does Ann worry that founders have such large capital injections too early today? Why should employees examine capital efficiency, not capital raised? How does Ann advise founders on pre-emptive rounds?

4.) How did Ann and the Lyft team approach prioritization in the early days? In what ways did Lyft decide to "play their own game" when it came to the competition? How did Uber and its growth impact the financing strategy for Lyft? In what deliberate ways did John and Logan set the culture for Lyft? What have been Ann's biggest lessons from them on culture building?

5.) Does Ann believe that capital in itself is a competitive moat today? What does Ann believe needs to be proven before capital can be used as a weapon to win? In the case of Lyft, what signals or measurements did Ann define as guiding metrics for success? How did they change over time? How can founders determine their own in their businesses?

Aug 2, 2021

Mike Lazerow is a serial entrepreneur and now Co-Founder and Managing Partner @ Velvet Sea Ventures alongside his wife, Kass. Prior investments from the Velvet Sea Partners include Twitter, Square, SpaceX, Snap Inc., Facebook, Pinterest, Domo, and more. Prior to becoming an investor, Mike founded Buddy Media in 2007, selling the company to Salesforce just 5 years later for $745M. Before Buddy Media, Mike co-founded Golf.com, a multi-million dollar profitable golf media property that Mike and Kass sold to Time Inc in 2006.

In Today’s Episode with Mike Lazerow You Will Learn:

1.) How Mike made his way into the world of startups way back in 1993, how that led to Golf.com and Buddy Media? Why did he decide he wanted to be a VC? How did seeing the dotcom era fundamentally impact Mike's approach to business and investing?

2.) Why does Mike believe how you operate as an investor is more important than who you are and what you have done? How does Mike aim to invest and operate with this in mind? What are 3 core elements that Mike looks for in every deal? How does Mike approach his own investment decision-making process? How has it changed over time? How does he use gut to make decisions?

3.) What does Mike believe are his biggest insecurities as an investor? How does Mike think about the challenge of moving from a collaborative angel to a competitive VC? How does Mike think about the importance of ownership today? What has Mike learned about how the best VCs engage with round construction?

4.) How does Mike analyse his own style of board membership today? Why does Mike believe that boards are more helpful for the entrepreneur than for the investor? As an entrepreneur, how did Mike prepare for his boards? How does Mike advise founders to get the most out of their boards? Where do many make mistakes? How can one optimize the board member/founder relationship?

5.) Why does Mike believe that "having sex with your partner is a feature, not a bug"? How do Kass and Mike work together in such a complementary fashion? How do they ensure that personal matters never intrude on work decisions? How does Mike think about his relationship to money today? How does Mike want to imbue the same hard work and ethics to his children?

Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Mike Lazerow

Mike’s Favourite Book: Man's Search for Meaning

Mike’s Most Recent Investment: LeoLabs

Jul 29, 2021

Christa Quarles is the CEO @ Corel Corporation, building software solutions that simplify the task journey for knowledge workers. Prior to Corel, Christa spent close to 4 years as CEO @ Opendoor, driving a chapter of transformational change for the company. Before Opendoor, Christa was Chief Business Officer @ NextDoor, and finally pre-NextDoor, Christa spent 4 years at The Walt Disney Company where she led Disney Interactive to profitability as Senior Vice President, Interactive Games. If that was not enough, Christa is also on the board of Affirm and Kimberly Clark.

In Today’s Episode with Christa Quarles You Will Learn:

1.) How Christa made her way into the world of startups having spent close to 10 years in investment banking? What were the biggest takeaways from her time at Walt Disney? How did her 3 years as CEO @ Opentable impact how she approaches leadership today?

2.) Company Breakpoints: What are the different breakpoints in the scaling of companies? When did this start to happen at Opendoor? How does decision-making need to change with scale? How can leaders ensure teams feel safe to be the most ambitious they can be? In what ways can leaders create environments of safety for them to be their best selves?

3.) The Role of the CEO: What decisions can only the CEO make? How can leaders determine when a C-Suite hire is a stretch too far? How has Christa's board membership on other boards changed how she runs her board today? Given a board's limited information, how can leaders extract the most out of them?

4.) "Operating is a Full Contact Sport": When has Christa found operating and leading the hardest? When faced with hard times, how does she push through them? How does Christa advise leaders on the challenges of their own scaling process? Where do many make mistakes in their own scaling? What is a "stuck state" and why is it the worst state to be in?

5.) Team Building and Trust: How does Christa approach trust today? Does she start from a position of being fully trusting or not trusting and there to be gained? What is Christa's favourite interview question to ask? In what way does Christa believe truly special candidates represent their passions in interviews?

Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Christa Quarles

Christa’s Favourite Book: Caste, The International Bestseller

Jul 26, 2021

Nick Shalek is a General Partner @ Ribbit Capital, specializing in fintech they are one of the most successful venture firms of the last decade with a portfolio including Robinhood, Coinbase, Revolut, Nubank and more. As for Nick, he started his career as a Senior Analyst @ Yale Investments Office before moving to the world of operations as Director of Business Operations @ Verne Global, a provider of 100% carbon neutral data centers.

In Today’s Episode with Nick Shalek You Will Learn:

1.) How Nick made his way from Senior Analyst at Yale's Investment Office to be one of the leading fintech investors in the world with Ribbit? What were Nick's biggest lessons from his time working with David Swenson @ Yale? How would Nick summarise Yale's investment algorithm?

2.) Entering Venture and Advice: Why does Nick tell many friends entering venture, to not join a new fund? What does Nick believe is takes to build an enduring firm in venture? What were the core reasons and inflection points in the success of Ribbit? What have been some of the biggest challenges in the professionalisation of Ribbit over the years?

3.) Pricing and Ownership: Is Nick concerned by the levels of pricing we are seeing in fintech today? How does Nick analyze his own relationship to price? How does Nick view the importance of ownership? Is it possible to build ownership across rounds? How does Nick advise founders now receiving very fast offers to pre-empt their rounds?

4.) Investment Decision-Making: How does Ribbit structure its investment decision-making process for initial investments? In what way does this process change for re-investments? Why does Nick believe in the benefits of not having attribution within venture partnerships?

5.) AMA: What has been Nick's biggest miss? How did it change his investment decision-making process as a result? What does Nick know now that he wishes he had known when he started in venture? What have been Nick's biggest lessons from his working with Micky?

Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Nick Shalek

Nick’s Favourite Book: A Piece of the Action: When the Middle Class Joined the Money Class

Nick’s Most Recent Investment: Kavak

Jul 22, 2021

Jeff Immelt is a Venture Partner @ NEA serving on both the technology and healthcare investing teams. Prior to entering the world of venture, Jeff served as chairman and CEO of GE for 16 years where he revamped the company’s strategy, re-established market leadership and quadrupled emerging market revenue. As a result, Jeff has been named one of the “World’s Best CEOs” three times by Barron’s. In addition, Jeff is on the board of Sila Nanotechnologies and Twilio.

In Today’s Episode with Jeff Immelt You Will Learn:

1.) How did it feel when Jeff was told he was going to be CEO at GE? How did that come about? Did he feel the weight of responsibility when it was announced?

2.) When it comes to incumbents embracing innovation, what strategies work? Why do they work? What lessons does Jeff take from his time at GE on what worked? What strategies do not work? What are the biggest mistakes large incumbents make when adopting new products or strategies? What advice does Jeff continuously tell large company CEOs who ask this question?

3.)  When does Jeff believe boards can be fundamentally impactful? In what circumstances do boards actually cause harm? What are the signs of the truly great board members? What are the causes of why board members can be misaligned with their founders? How should founders approach whether to listen or not to their board?

4.) How does Jeff think about trust in teams? Does he start fully trusting and it is their to be lost or start not trusting and it is their to be gained? What people do you want around you in a crisis? What are the signals of these people? What does Jeff mean when he speaks of "crisis accelerants and crisis absorbers"?

5.)  How does David think about fear in leadership? What is the one thing that leaders are allowed to be afraid of? How do the best founders approach their relationship to paranoia? How do the best communicate their fears to their team?

Jul 19, 2021

David George is a General Partner @ Andreessen Horowitz where he leads their growth investing practice. Since joining in 2019 David has invested in the likes of Clubhouse, Coinbase, Databricks, Figma, Instacart, Robinhood and TripActions just to name a few. David also sits on the board of Current, Greenlight, and Workrise. Prior to a16z, David spent 7 years growth investing at General Atlantic where he invested in the likes of Airbnb, Crowdstrike, Opendoor, Slack and Uber.

In Today’s Episode with David George You Will Learn:

1.) How David made his way into the world of growth investing with General Atlantic and how that led to his leading the newest iteration of a16z growth funds? What were David's biggest takeaways from his time with General Atlantic? How did it impact his investing?

2.) Misconceptions of Growth Investing: Why does David believe that great business models are table stakes at growth today? What gives the best the edge? Why does David believe that people over-rotate on TAM? Why is it misleading in many ways? What is the right way to assess TAM at growth today? What does David look for when digging into unit economics? When is the right time to focus on unit economics?

3.) Portfolio Construction and Scenario Planning: How does David think about portfolio construction with the new a16z growth fund? What is the right level of diversification? How does David think about loss ratio today? How does David approach outcome scenario planning? What is an attractive level of upside for David to engage at growth? How has that expectation changed over time?

4.) Valuations and Crossover Funds: How does David assess the valuation landscape today? How does David determine whether he will pay up or sit out on an investment? How has the rise of crossover funds, PE funds and hedge funds entering growth impacted the valuations being paid and the investment process itself? What does David make of these new entrants? What challenges do they bring?

5.) Investment Decision-Making: How do a16z approach decision-making at growth? Who is on the core IC? Why does David strongly believe in the single trigger model in venture when it comes to decision-making? What are the biggest reasons for politics in venture firms today? What can be done to mitigate them?

Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with David George

David’s Favourite Book: Increasing Returns To Scale

David’s Most Recent Investment: Loom

Jul 15, 2021

Nick Mehta is the CEO @ Gainsight, the leader in all things customer success helping you put your customer at the heart of your business. Last year, as a result of their incredible success, Gainsight was acquired by Vista for a reported $1.1Bn but prior to that had raised over $156M from Lightspeed, Battery, Bessemer, Insight and Bain to name a few. As for Nick, he has been named one of the Top SaaS CEOs by the Software report three years in a row and holds one of the highest Glassdoor approval ratings for CEOs. Prior to Gainsight, Nick was the CEO at LiveOffice, which grew substantially and eventually sold to Symantec.

In Today’s Episode with Nick Mehta You Will Learn:

1.) When did mental health really become a prominent thought for Nick? When was the first time Nick feels he really showed true vulnerability in leadership?

2.) Self-Worth: Does Nick feel like he is enough? What does he do when he questions himself severely? How does he talk to his wife about these challenging thoughts? Where does Nick believe this comes from? What are the dangers of people-pleasing? How does Nick try and counter people-pleasing in his role as a leader?

3.) Identity: How does Nick think about his own identity when it is so attached to Gainsight? In what ways does he try to detach? What has worked? What has not worked? How have children helped Nick in this way?

4.) Striving: Why does Nick believe that hunger and striving are fundamentally a good thing? How does Nick try and factor gratitude and appreciation into the work and success he experiences? How does Nick encourage this same striving in his children?

5.) Relationship to Money: How would Nick evaluate his relationship to money? How has it changed over time? How does Nick try to imbue the same values he had growing up in his children? Does Nick believe it is possible to "change" your children and have that impact?

Jul 12, 2021

Marc Lore is a serial entrepreneur turned investor who’s started and sold four companies. Most recently Marc was the President and CEO of Walmart eCommerce US following the sale of his company, Jet.com, to Walmart for $3.3 billion in 2016. Prior to that, Marc founded Diapers.com/Quidsi which sold to Amazon in 2011 for $550 million. As an investor, Marc announced his new venture firm, Vision Capital People, with his co-founder, Alex Rodrigues, earlier this year with $50M of Alex and Marc's own money. Fun fact, in 1996 Marc qualified to be in the US national bobsled team.

In Today’s Episode with Marc Lore You Will Learn:

1.) How Marc made his way into the startup world, how he came to found Jet.com and what led to his most recent transition to the world of investing?

2.) How does Marc assess human potential? What does he mean when he says "the resume test"? What are the clearest signals of outperformers? What are signs of lack of performance? Why does Marc not believe in referencing? Does Mark start from a position of trust for it to be lost or with none and for it all to be gained?

3.) How does Marc evaluate his relationship to risk and fear? How has it changed over time? What did Marc's wife say when he left his safe job and put all their savings into his new business? What does Marc mean when he discusses finding "Sixth Gear"? How does Marc balance that intensity and ambition with romance and family life?

4.) Why does Marc believe Chief People Officer should be one of your first hires? What are the commonalities of the best Chief People Officers? What does the optimal relationship between CEO and CPO look like? How does Marc test for his core characteristics in interviews? What questions does he ask every candidate? What are the most revealing?

5.) How does Marc think about portfolio construction with the new fund today? Does Marc believe it is possible to take 40%+ of companies without alienating future investors? Is Marc concerned about over-capitalising companies too early? How does Marc think about reserves strategy and concentrating capital into the best companies?

Jul 8, 2021

Laela Sturdy is a General Partner @ CapitalG, Alphabet's independent growth fund with investments in the likes of Stripe, UiPath, Looker, Robinhood and Lyft to name a few. As for Laela, she joined CapitalG shortly after inception in 2013 and has led investments in Stripe, Duolingo, Gusto, UiPath and Unqork, to name a few. Prior to CapitalG, Laela was at Google as Managing Director of Emerging Businesses and held leadership roles within YouTube and search.

In Today’s Episode with Laela Sturdy You Will Learn:

1.) How Laela made her way into the world of venture and came to be a General Partner at Alphabet's independent growth fund, CapitalG?

2.) The Market: With the rise of crossover funds, hedge funds, private equity, all entering growth stage venture, how does Laela analyse the current state of the market? How has the increase in capital supply impacted pricing at growth? How do CapitalG compete in a world where competitors pay 2x the valuation and have different outcome expectations?

3.) Portfolio Construction: Given CapitalG's single LP and evergreen structure, how do CapitalG think about portfolio construction? What is the right level of diversification? How doe CapitalG structure internal investment decision-making? How does this change for re-investments? How do CapitalG think about attribution internally?

4.) Upside and Downside: Given prices being so high, when outcome scenario planning, how does Laela think about good vs great when it comes to multiple expectations? How has this changed over time? On the flip side, how does Laela think about loss ratio at growth today? Has this changed with rounds becoming more and more pre-emptive?

5.) Scaling Unicorns: What are the commonalities in the biggest challenges founders face post-product-market fit but prescaling? What are the clear signs to Laela that a founder is uniquely skilled at hiring? Does Laela agree that the best founders do not need help on hiring? How does Laela feel about the future of venture being services platforms?

Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Laela Sturdy

Laela’s Favourite Book: The Great Gatsby

Laela’s Most Recent Investment: Webflow

Jun 28, 2021

Jeff Lawson is the Founder & CEO @ Twilio, the company that allows you to unite communications and strengthen customer relationships across your business. Prior to their incredibly successful IPO in 2016 Jeff raised funding from some of the best including Bessemer, Union Square Ventures, Redpoint, Salesforce and Founders Fund to name a few. Before founding Twilio, Jeff was co-founder & CTO of NineStar, founding CTO of Stubhub.com, co-founder, CEO & CTO of Versity, and one of the first product managers for Amazon Web Services.

In Today’s Episode with Jeff Lawson You Will Learn:

1.) How Jeff made his way into the world of tech and startups and what that founding a-ha moment was for Jeff with Twilio? When explaining new ideas to people, what signals to Jeff that the idea is resonating? Are there clear indicators an idea is not resonating?

2.) Leadership: What does great leadership mean to Jeff today? How has Jeff's leadership style changed and evolved over the years? What does Jeff believe is the key to great storytelling? How has the leadership style required, changed in a COVID world? What have been the biggest inflection points in his leadership?

3.) Culture: What does Jeff believe are the 3 key ingredients to company culture? How can leaders create a tribe that people associate with? What are the biggest lessons we can take from sport and religion when it comes to culture building? At what points has Jeff been concerned about the Twilio culture? What did he do to rectify it? Why are "values nice but principles better"?

4.) Decision-Making: How has Jeff created a culture of decentralised decision-making? What has Jeff done to ensure the best ideas rise to the top? In what ways can leaders ensure people feel safe to be bold and go big, without the fear of failure? How does Jeff determine when to give or remove resources from new ideas? How does Jeff think about the importance of "focus"?

5.) Diversity: Frank Slootman previously said, "diversity should not override merit". What are the core problems that Jeff has with this statement? How do Twilio construct their recruitment pipelines to ensure diversity? Why does Jeff believe the secret to human assessment is one of "miles travelled"? What are the signals of this?

Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Jeff Lawson

Jeff’s Favourite Book: Made to Stick: Why some ideas take hold and others come unstuck

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

Jun 24, 2021

Mark Mullen is the Co-Founder of Bonfire Ventures, one of LA's leading early-stage funds, now on their 3rd Fund with $101M in the latest. In the past, Mark has invested in the likes of Trade Desk, Scopely, GOAT, ChowNow, Niantic and Pendo to name a few. Prior to co-founding Bonfire, Mark was a solo GP with Double M and then through Mull Capital, Mark is also an LP in other funds investing in 15 including the likes of Upfront, Freestyle, Backstage and Crosscut to name a few.

In Today’s Episode with Mark Mullen You Will Learn:

1.) How Mark made his way into the world of venture, came to found Double M and why he decided he wanted to co-found Bonfire and be in a partnership, not a solo GP model?

2.) Portfolio Construction: With the new fund, how did Mark think about the right portfolio construction? What is the right level of diversification? How many lines should be in the portfolio? How important is ownership today? Is it possible to build ownership in your best companies over time? How does Mark think about proactive reserve allocation today?

3.) Investment Decision-Making: How does Mark think about the right investment decision-making structure with Bonfire today? How can one retain speed but also increase the number of decision-makers? How does Mark feel about the compression of fundraising timelines today? What advice does Mark give to founders when selecting their cap table?

4.) Boards and Time: How does Mark evaluate his own style of board membership? How has it changed over time? What do the best do on boards that makes them so great? How does Mark think about time allocation across the portfolio? Should you only spend time with winners? What have been some of his biggest lessons from this?

Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Mark Mullen

Mark’s Favourite Book: Undaunted Courage

Mark’s Most Recent Investment: Topia

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

Jun 21, 2021

Rishi Sunak was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer on 13 February 2020. He was previously Chief Secretary to the Treasury from July 2019 to February 2020, and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government from January 2018 to July 2019. He spent his professional career before politics in business and finance, working internationally. He co-founded an investment firm working with companies in multiple geographies and used that experience to help small and entrepreneurial British companies grow. 

In Today’s Episode with Rishi Sunak You Will Learn:

1.) Rishi's first job was waiting table in a restaurant, what were his biggest takeaways from that first job? How did Rishi's time at Stanford impact his operating mindset today? How did Rishi make his way into the world of politics following a very successful career in finance?

2.) Talent: What does the UK need to do to become a global talent hub? How can Visa programs be reformed and innovated to ensure the UK is an attractive destination for the best talent? On reflection, where has the UK done well on talent and immigration? On the flip side, what has not worked? Why? What would Rishi have done differently?

3.) Entrepreneurs Relief & Capital Gains: What is the logic behind the removal of entrepreneurs relief? Why is it inefficient in its current form? How does Rishi think about using capital gains as a tool to attract the best to build and invest in the UK? Why does Rishi believe the UK is the most attractive place to build a business from a tax perspective? How does the UK compare to the EU and US?

4.) Driving Further Investment in the UK: What worked and what did not work with regards to "The Future Fund"? What would Rishi have done differently? What can Rishi and the UK do to encourage pension funds to invest more in venture moving forward? What are some elements the public assume the government can and should do, but in reality, you cannot?

5.) Rishi Sunak AMA: What does Rishi's morning routine look like? What time does Rishi wake up? What does he have for breakfast? What does the workout routine look like for Rishi? Who is his favourite Peloton instructor? Why? What is his guilty treat food-wise? How often does he have it? How did it feel for Rishi when he delivered his first budget? Was he nervous? How does Rishi deal with nerves today?

Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Rishi Sunak

Rishi’s Favourite Book: Roald Dahl

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

Jun 14, 2021

Rafael Ilishayev is the Co-Founder & Co-CEO @ GoPuff, one of the market leaders delivering daily essentials in minutes. GoPuff's latest funding round priced the company at a reported $8.9Bn in March 2021 and to date, Rafael has raised over $2.4Bn for the company from the likes of Accel, Softbank, Fidelity, Baillie Gifford, D1 Capital and more. Rafael has scaled the company to over 550 US cities with over 7,000 employees nationwide.

In Today’s Episode with Rafael Ilishayev You Will Learn:

1.) How Rafael made his way into the world of startups with the founding of GoPuff and how he turned it from a college delivery business into a nationwide leader with over 7,000 employees?

2.) Funding: Why did Raf wait until 2.5 years into the business before raising funding? What did that time bootstrapping the business teach Raf? How did it change his thinking on unit economics? How were GoPuff able to be EBITDA profitable from day 1? How do they have such superior margins in an industry blighted by low margins?

3.) New Markets: How does GoPuff determine attractive markets to scale into? What are the leading indicators of "good markets"? What resources are required to open new markets? What is the time to breakeven on new markets? How many micro-fulfilment centres does it take to win a new market? What are the biggest challenges moving into new markets?

4.) Competition: The market has become a lot more competitive, why does Raf feel this is not a market you can win without years of experience? What have they built that other new entrants do not have? Will this be a consolidatory landscape or will many of the new entrants die? Why is Raf planning to invest hundreds of millions into Europe over the coming years?

5.) Driver Efficiency & CACs: What have been Raf's biggest lessons when it comes to driver efficiency? How many deliveries does a driver need to make in one hour for the model to work? How does Raf think about the negative network effects of the model where the more demand, the longer delivery time? How can GoPuff prevent that?

Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Rafael Ilishayev

Rafael’s Favourite Book: Trillion-Dollar Coach: The Leadership Handbook of Silicon Valley's Bill Campbell

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

Jun 10, 2021

Jay Simons is a General Partner @ Bond Capital, with their $1.25Bn debut growth fund in 2019 they made their mark on the venture landscape and have since made investments in the likes of Revolut, Canva, NextDoor, IronClad and my favourite, On Running. As for Jay, prior to entering venture, he spent an incredible 12 years at Atlassian including 9 years as President, playing an instrumental role in their hyper-growth journey. Jay is also a board member with both Zapier and HubSpot, two of my favourite SaaS companies.

In Today’s Episode with Jay Simons You Will Learn:

1.) How Jay made his way into the world of startups following a stint as a pianist in Asia and how that startup journey led to his joining Bond on the venture side?

2.) Why does Jay believe the best companies build economies around themselves? What does this look like in reality? When is the right time for the company to start building these economies? As an investor, what are the signs that a founder is proactively thinking about this? What are some of the biggest mistakes people make when building economies?

3.) Why does Jay believe Partner/Channel networks can be so powerful? When is the right time to build out channel partners? What is the training framework for these partners before they can represent your products in market? How do channel partners change the internal structure and resource allocation for a company? What mistakes do people make with these partners?

4.) How does Jay think about when is the right time to build a second product? What were the biggest takeaways from his time at Atlassian on building product suites? How does Jay determine when is the right time to move upmarket into enterprise? How does this change in a world of product-led growth?

5.) Why did Jay decide now was the right time to move into venture with Bond? For what reasons did Jay choose Bond, over all the other firms? What have been the biggest surprises for Jay from his first 100 days in venture? What have been the most challenging elements? How did Jay embrace the common challenge of building the conviction to write the first check?

Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Jay Simons

Jay’s Favourite Book: The River Why

Jay’s Most Recent Investment: Sentry

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

Jun 7, 2021

Tony Xu is the CEO and Co-founder of DoorDash, the company empowering merchants to grow their businesses by offering on-demand delivery, data-driven insights, and better in-store efficiency. Prior to their IPO in December 2020, Tony raised over $2.5Bn for DoorDash from some of the best including Sequoia, Coatue, Softbank, Kleiner Perkins and DST, to name a few. Before co-founding the business in 2013, Tony worked in Product at Square, led special projects for the CEO and CFO at eBay, and began his career at McKinsey and Company.

In Today’s Episode with Tony Xu You Will Learn:

1.) How did Tony make his way into the world of startups and what was that founding a-ha moment for Tony with the founding of DoorDash? What were Tony's biggest takeaways from seeing his parents work ethic at such a young age? How did it impact his operating mentality?

2.) Leadership Style: What does great leadership mean to Tony today? In what ways has Tony's leadership style changed over the DoorDash journey? How does Tony assess his own persistence and grit? Through what framework does Tony decide what to delegate vs what to control?

3.) Decision-Making & Risk: How does Tony evaluate his decision-making process today? What does Tony mean when he says, "you have to reduce the scope"? How does Tony think about understanding the interplay of different variants in a decision? Through what framework does Tony assess risk today? How has Tony's approach to risk and decision-making changed over time?

4.) Talent Acquisition: What have been Tony's biggest lessons in acquiring the best talent? What has worked well in the past? In what ways have they not acquired talent they should have acquired? What type of talent worked in the early days? How has that changed? Through what framework does Tony decide between a stretch VP and a stretch too far?

5.) Culture & Diversity: How does Tony think through the breakpoints in the scaling of culture? At what points did Tony feel the DoorDash culture was not what he wanted it to be? How did he react to change it? Through what process has Tony measured the success of DoorDash's diversity efforts? Which initiatives have worked? Are there any that have not?

Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Tony Xu

Tony’s Favourite Book: Score Takes Care Of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership

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

Jun 2, 2021

Eric Glyman is the Founder and CEO @ Ramp, the only corporate card and spend management platform designed to help you spend less. To date, Eric has raised over $390M for the company from some of the best including Thrive, Stripe, Founders Fund, Coatue and Box Group to name a few. Prior to changing the game of spend management, Eric founded Paribus, the price-tracking app that raised seed funding from General Catalyst and Greylock, which was acquired by Capital One in 2016.

In Today’s Episode with Eric Glyman You Will Learn:

1.) Entry to Startups: How Eric made his way into the world of startups with Paribus and how that journey and exit led to his founding the recently minted unicorn, Ramp?

2.) Decision-Making: How does Eric deal with moments of intense pressure as a leader? How does pressure impact Eric's decision-making quality? Through what framework does Eric evaluate his decision-making process today? Why does Eric believe operational velocity is so key to company success? How does Eric determine between being fast vs spending real time on something?

3.) Funding Rounds: Why does Eric believe that "funding rounds are science experiments"? What should founders look to prove or disprove with each round? Why does Eric believe "you should never take the highest price"? What are the downsides? How does it impact employee stock options? Does it change investor sentiment? How does it change customer acquisition through referrals?

4.) The Rise of Crossover Funds: What does Eric make of the rise of crossover funds? In what way does their value differ to the value provided by traditional VCs? How does their communication style differ compared to traditional VCs? Does Eric worry about the signalling risk of having crossover funds invested early? Does Eric believe they will change the landscape of venture?

5.) Board Management: How does Eric analyse his style of board management today? How has it changed over time? Where does Eric believe many founders go wrong when it comes to board management? How can boards be used to bring together the wider team and company? What documents does Eric always prepare for the board?

Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Eric Glyman

Eric’s Favourite Book: John Wooden: The Legendary UCLA Coach's Top 20 Quotes

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

May 27, 2021

Byron Deeter is a Partner @ Bessemer Venture Partners and one of the world's leading investors in SaaS and cloud. To date, nineteen of Byron’s investments are valued above $1 billion, including ten IPOs and counting. Some of the incredible companies within Byron's portfolio include Twilio, ServiceTitan, Hashicorp, Canva, Intercom, DocuSign, SendGrid, the list goes on. Prior to joining the world of venture, Byron was an entrepreneur, raising a Series A from Bessemer and scaling the company to be one of the first global SaaS companies, reaching profitability and successfully selling to IBM.

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In Today’s Episode with Byron Deeter You Will Learn:

1.) How Deven made his way into the world of venture and how that led to his becoming a Managing Director @ Insight, way back in 2000?

2.) The Market: Many people passed on Twilio, what did Byron see that others did not? Did Byron have concerns around the TAM? What made Byron feel comfortable they were not too early? How did Byron assess whether customers would churn off Twilio when they scaled to a size they could build their own infrastructure? How does Byron advise founders on this challenge today?

3.) The Team: What did Byron find some compelling about Jeff so early on? Jeff has been an incredible CEO from pre-seed to post-IPO, what has enabled Jeff specifically to scale with the company so successfully? What does Byron do to build the trust and rapport with founders that he does? What works? What does not work? How does that look today with Zoom?

4.) The Incumbents & Competition: Why does Byron believe the incumbent advantage is actually an incumbent disadvantage? What specifically has Byron found underwhelming about how the incumbents have tried to respond? In what tangible and specific way are startups better placed to win than incumbents? How does Byron advise founders to assess other startup competitors?

5.) The Funding: Twilio is Bessemer's single largest position ever, how does Byron know when is the right time to double down on an investment? What signals does he look for? Has this changed with the massive price inflation we have seen over the last year? How does Byron analyse the influx of new capital? Where is it good? What are the challenges to it?

Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Byron Deeter

Revolut Business is a financial super app for all things business. It’s a super easy, powerful and personalised account that gives you control over all your business finances and processes in one place. Joining Revolut Business lets you send and receive money at the interbank rate, with no hidden fees as well as opening accounts in more than 28 currencies. You can also streamline your business processes by integrating all your apps or plugins, like accounting and expenses, and manage it from one place. You get more control over your day-to-day business finances, processes and management which means you can focus on your actual business goals. I’ve partnered with Revolut Business to bring you an exclusive 2-month paid plan for free, so you can move your business forward. Click here to claim your free 2-month trial and get started.

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

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