Adam Foroughi is the Co-Founder and CEO @ AppLovin, the company that allows developers to market, monetize, analyze and publish their apps. Under Adam's leadership, he has taken the company public, grown the team to over 1,000 people around the world, and scaled revenue in 2020 to $1.5Bn. Prior to AppLovin, Adam founded two companies—Lifestreet Media and Social Hour, and before that Adam started his career as a derivatives trader.
1.) How Adam made his way into the world of startups and came to found one of the world's largest gaming, advertising and marketing companies in the form of AppLovin?
2.) Adam founded 4 companies before AppLovin, does Adam believe in the benefits of serial entrepreneurship? What has he done differently with AppLovin having learned from past experience? What did he do the same, having seen it work before?
3.) Why does Adam advocate for as few meetings as possible within the company? Why does Adam believe meetings are unproductive? How do decisions get made internally without meetings? What is the structure and process? How does Adam create an environment where people make decisions without the fear of the repercussions? What are the breakpoints in company scaling?
4.) Why does Adam think that VCs did not want to invest in the early rounds? What were his biggest takeaways from those early fundraising days? How has Adam found the transition to being a public markets CEO? What does he like? What does he not like? How does Adam feel about pleasing the street but also having a long-term mindset?
5.) How does Adam structure his day? With 5 children, how does Adam approach work/life balance? What does his exercise and sleep routine look like? How does he do both weights and running without losing the productivity of the weights? What changes has he made in the last year that have made a significant difference?
Adam's Favourite Book: Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It
Christoph Janz is the Co-Founder and General Partner @ Point Nine, one of Europe's leading early-stage firms with a portfolio including the likes of Zendesk, Algolia, Revolut, Nex Health, Loom and of course, Contentful. Prior to co-founding Point Nine, Christoph was a prolific angel investor and also the Co-Founder @ Pageflakes, leading the company from inception to their acquisition by LiveUniverse in 2008. Christoph is also one of the most thoughtful writers in SaaS and you can find his writing here.
1.) How did a cold email from the solo founder of Contentful convince Christoph to lead their first round? What was it about the email that made Christoph excited? How does Christoph advise founders today when it comes to crafting cold emails to VCs?
2.) The Market: How did Christoph analyze the market when making the investment? How much of a role does market sizing and analysis play in determining whether Christoph will make an investment? What matters more team or market? How did the market change in a way that Christoph was not expecting? How did it evolve in a way he was expecting?
3.) Business Model: How does Christoph advise SaaS founders today in crafting variable pricing mechanisms? How can you create a pricing mechanism that does not disincentivize usage but also optimizes for value extraction? Where does Christoph see many founders go wrong when it comes to pricing?
4.) Fundraising: How did the early fundraising rounds for Contentful come together? How does Christoph advise founders today on whether to take pre-emptive rounds? When can they be helpful? In what circumstances can they be very damaging? What is the best outcome that founders should be optimizing for today with fundraising?
Eugene Wei is one of my favorite thinkers, writers, and strategists in tech today. Having spent the majority of his professional career at consumer internet companies, Eugene started his career with a 7-year stint at Amazon with a focus on product. He then joined Hulu leading the product, design, editorial, and marketing teams. Post Hulu, Eugene co-founded Erly, later acquired by Airtime, and then joined Flipboard as Head of Product. Finally, Eugene's last position was with Oculus as Head of Video. You have to check out Eugene's blog and can find his writing here.
1.) How Eugene made his way into the world of tech and startups with his first position at Amazon? What did Eugene do differently that made him stand out to the recruiters at Amazon?
2.) Decision-Making: Why does the process and medium by which decisions are made matter so much? How has Euegene's decision-making process changed over time? Where do many people go wrong in constructing and optimising their decision-making process? What are Eugene's biggest takeaways and lessons from Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs on messaging?
3.) The World of Social: What does Eugene believe is the graph design problem for so many social apps today? What does Eugene believe are the best and the worst design choices social media incumbents have made? How does Eugene encourage the next generation of consumer social founders to think through design decisions?
4.) Status as a Service: What does the concept of "Status as a Service" mean to Eugene? What is the biggest misunderstanding people have with the concept? What has fundamentally changed this concept in the last 2-3 years? How does the rise of crypto and NFT's impact the notion of "status as a service"? How does Eugene believe this will look in 10 years?
5.) The World of Media: How does Eugene think through the attention economy today? Why is media and content harder than ever today? Why does Eugene believe media has now become zero-sum? What does Eugene believe will be the future business model for media?
Andy Johns is one of the pre-eminent growth leaders of the last decade. Andy's career started in growth at Facebook when the company scaled from 100M-500M active users. Since he has worked in some of the leading growth orgs at companies like Twitter, Quora and more recently at Wealthfront as Head of Growth and President. Andy is also an active angel investor and advisor with companies such as Poshmark, Robinhood, Webflow, Blue Bottle Coffee, and Opendoor. If that was not enough, Andy is currently a Venture Partner @ Unusual Ventures where he focuses on consumer social and network-driven startups.
1.) How Andy made his way into the world of startups and growth with his joining the Facebook growth team? What were the biggest takeaways from his time with Facebook, Twitter and Quora? How did that impact his mindset today?
2.) How does Andy define "VP and Head of Growth"? When is the right time to start hiring for your growth team? How should founders determine whether they need a growth leader or growth engineers in the early days? What is the core question founders need to ask on network effects to answer this question? Should the growth team be incorporated into the product team?
3.) How does Andy structure the hiring process for growth hires? What does the structure of the interviews look like? How does Andy test for real depth with candidates? What case studies does he do to really understand their quality? Where do many go wrong with the interview process? What are Andy's biggest suggestions for how to optimise the process?
4.) What does the optimal onboarding process for new hires look like? What takes and processes should they complete in their first month? What are early signs of a poor candidate? How long should one give them if they are not performing? How does Andy approach structure post-mortems within the team? What is the ideal relationship between CEO and Head of Growth?
Kareem Zaki is a General Partner @ Thrive Capital, with a portfolio including Stripe, Instacart, Instagram, Nubank, Github, Glossier and many more, they have cemented their position as one of the leading venture firms of the last decade. As for Kareem, he is a co-founder and board member to Cedar, Nava, Scope Security and Cadence and has invested in the likes of Affirm, Lemonade, Ramp and Trade Republic. Prior to entering venture, Kareem spent 3 years in private equity with Blackstone.
1.) How Kareem made his way from the world of private equity to backing some of the most innovative next-generation companies with Thrive Capital?
2.) Portfolio Construction: What is the one rule that drives all decision-making at Thrive? How does Kareem think about maintaining focus with such a broad mandate? How do Thrive think about asset allocation internally with such a broad mandate? How does incubating companies also help Kareem be a better investor?
3.) Investing Style: How has Kareem's investing style changed over the last 10 years? What does he focus on now that he did not before and visa versa? How does Kareem assess his own relationship to price? Through what lens does Kareem approach market sizing and timing? Where do many investors make mistakes here?
4.) The Landscape: How does Kareem respond to the activity and cadence of Tiger? In what way does Kareem believe the venture landscape will have changed most significantly in the next 10 years? How do the existing incumbent firms need to change in the wake of this? How do Thrive respond to the pace and cadence of check writing today?
Kareem’s Favourite Book: How Will You Measure Your Life
Kareem's Most Recent Investment: Cadence
Brian Singerman is a General Partner @ Founders Fund, one of the most prominent venture firms of the last decade with a portfolio including Anduril, SpaceX, Tesla, Palantir, Stripe, Affirm, Airbnb, Facebook, and many more. As for Brian, he has led investments in the likes of Affirm, Oscar Health, Wish, Asana, Oculus, and Postmates to name a few. Brian also sits on the board or is an observer to The Long Term Stock Exchange, Solugen, Cloud9, Modern Health, and of course, Anduril. Prior to Founders Fund, Brian spent a very successful 4 years as an engineer and executive at Google.
1.) How did Brian first come to meet Palmer and the Anduril team? Where did the meeting take place? How did the discussion go? Did Brian instantly feel that Palmer was special? What about the way Palmer presented, suggested this to Brian?
2.) The Market: What gave Brian the confidence Anduril would be successful where so many others had failed? How did the market change or evolve in a way Brian did expect? In what ways did the market surprise Brian? Does Brian think we will see the relationship between Silicon Valley and the DOD change over time?
3.) Anduril: The Business: Why is Anduril as a business, so hard to copy? How did Brian gain comfort around their defensibility? What does Brian think is the biggest misconception people have of Anduril as a business? How does Brian think about when is the right time to add secondary and ancillary products?
4.) Investing Today: Why is Brian no longer Zoom investing today? What does Brian mean when he says you have to, "play a different game to the hedge funds today"? In what way does he and Founders Fund look to do this? How does Brian think about the current levels of pricing? How does he determine when to pay up vs when to be disciplined?
Starting with Arthur, as the lead investor, Arthur has helped management teams develop companies into market-defining leaders over an incredible four decades. Prior to co-founding Accel, Arthur was a General Partner of Adler & Company with his career in venture starting at Citicorp Venture Capital.
As for Jim, Jim has been the lead director of more than 50 successful companies. He was instrumental as a founder/mentor of Accel London and in the founding of Meritech Capital. Before Accel, Jim was the founding general partner of Adler & Company, which he started with Fred Adler in 1978 after his tenure as a vice president of Citicorp Venture Capital.
1.) How Arthur and Jim made their first entry into the world of venture capital in the 70's? What was the founding moment for them with Accel? Where did the first discussion happen? Did they align on strategy? Why did they decide to name the firm Accel?
2.) What did the venture ecosystem look like when Arthur and Jim founded Accel in 1983? Why does Arthur believe the specialist always beats the generalist? What was the hardest Accel fund to raise? Why was it the hardest to raise? When did the Accel brand hit an inflection point and fundraising became easier? Where do Arthur and Jim disagree on this?
3.) How do Jim and Arthur feel about the current frothiness of the venture market? Why does Jim believe we are entering a market correction? How do they feel about the inflation of asset value? Through what lens is now the same vs different to 1999/2000? What have been their biggest lessons from experiencing 5 macro booms and busts?
4.) How did Jim and Arthur think about when to expand with a new Accel product? What did Accel do specifically to make the expansion to London and India so successful? What is the key to doing generational transition well? Where do many go wrong here? Do Jim and Arthur agree with Doug Leone, "when you lose seed, you become private equity"?
5.) How do Jim and Arthur think about partner selection within the firm? How have they structured decision-making to ensure politics do not get introduced? How does one create a decision-making framework of accountability without fear to take big risks? What do Arthur and Jim mean when they speak of "the prepared mind"? How does it help them think and operate better?
Ryan Denehy is the Founder & CEO @ Electric, the company that provides a modern IT solution that's simplified. To date, Ryan has raised over $188M for the company from the likes of GGV, Bessemer, Slack Fund, and 01 Advisors to name a few. As for Ryan, he is a 3x entrepreneur with his first company being acquired by USA TODAY Sports and his second company, Swarm Mobile being acquired by Groupon in 2014.
1.) How Ryan made his way into the world of startups with his first startup being acquired when he was still in college? How have experiences raising $180M with Electric, impacted how he thinks about the venture market today?
2.) Is Ryan concerned by the lack of due diligence investors are doing today? How has the DD process changed over the years? What materials should founders provide to investors? How should founders reference check investors? What do many founders do wrong here?
3.) Should founders always take the most money at the highest price? When thinking about price, what do you founders have to think through? Why are some of the prices we are seeing today so crazy? How can founders outcome scenario plan to come to the best price option? When are founders and investors misaligned when it comes to price?
4.) What does Ryan mean when he says, "sales and product-market fit are more closely related than people think"? How does Ryan advise founders on when to really raise big? Does Ryan believe in the notion of "skipping a round"? Does this ever happen? Does Ryan ever believe the "this will be our last round before we breakeven" statement?
McKeever "Mac" Conwell II is the founder and managing partner of RareBreed Ventures, a pre-seed fund that invests outside of large tech ecosystems, with a concentrated portfolio approach being the first check with up to $250K. Mac's journey into venture is nothing short of inspirational, Mac went from being homeless to being an engineer to founding his own companies to today, raising Rarebreed largely on Twitter.
1.) How Mac went from being homeless to becoming an engineer and starting his own company? How did his time operating lead to his becoming a VC and building his Twitter brand?
2.) What are the biggest ways that venture is messed up today? Why does Mac believe it does not matter about getting into hot deals? Why does Mac believe that the brand of the VC that does your round does not matter? Does Mac see the leading venture brands investing outside SF and NYC? What elements of an investment compel them more than others?
3.) In the wake of the George Floyd event, who does Mac note did not say anything? How does Mac want to see diversity introduced at the institutional LP level? What does Mac believe institutional LPs care about? What can institutional LPs do structurally to allow themselves to invest in the next generation of emerging managers?
4.) Why does Mac not like AngelList Rolling Funds? How did he structure his fund in a creative way? How does Mac feel about the requirements for GP commits? How did Mac use Twitter very specifically to raise his fund? Which people went out of their way to help him? What were some of the biggest takeaways from those discussions?
Elena Verna is a master when it comes to all things starting and scaling growth organizations. Previously, Elena spent over 7 years as SVP Growth @ SurveyMonkey where she ran product, growth marketing, and data teams. Post SurveyMonkey, Elena worked with the rocket ship that is Miro both as Interim CMO and as an advisor. Elena has also advised some of the best growth orgs with advisor roles at HP, MongoDB, Netlify, Maze, and many more awesome companies.
1.) How Elena made her way into the world of tech and growth from a Craiglist job listing? What was her big break in the world of growth with her first Head of Growth role?
2.) How does Elena define "growth" and "Head of Growth"? When should startups not have a growth team? What are the 3 main levers to the growth model today? How does Elena advise between hiring a CMO vs Head of Growth? Where do many founders make mistakes with this decision in mind?
3.) Who are the wrong people to hire for your growth team? What characteristics and traits do these people have that make them bad for growth? What questions does Elena ask in interviews to determine if they have these traits? How does Elena advise founders structure the process of hiring their "Head of Growth"? Should it be internal promotion or external hire?
4.) Where do most founders go wrong in the onboarding phase of their growth team? What do you have to have in place before the growth team starts? What are the biggest red flags for founders when reviewing their growth teams in the first 3 months? Why does Elena not like post-mortems? What is the optimal relationship between CEO and Head of Growth?
5.) How can growth teams work most effectively with both product and engineering teams? How do they need to communicate to ensure a healthy relationship? Where do growth teams most often make mistakes here? What have been some of Elena's lessons on how growth can experiment without angering engineering teams?
Will Shu is the Founder & CEO @ Deliveroo, the company that provides your favorite restaurants and takeaways, delivered to your door. Prior to their IPO earlier this year, Will raised over $1.7BN for the company from some of the best including Accel, Index, General Catalyst, Greenoaks, and more. Before Deliveroo, Will worked in finance as an analyst with SAC Capital, ESO Capital, and Morgan Stanley in New York and London. Fun fact, Will still enjoys regularly delivering food orders on his bike.
1.) How Will made his way from hedge funds and Morgan Stanley to changing the world of food and delivery with Deliveroo? Why did Deliveroo not work the first time Will started it?
2.) Restaurant + Customer Acquisition: How did Will acquire the first restaurants to the platform? What did that education process look like for them? What do the restaurants care about? How did Will acquire the first customers? How has that changed over time? What matters to customers; speed, selection or price? How does this change by geography and country?
3.) New Markets: How do Deliveroo select new markets to enter? What makes one more attractive than another? From a resource perspective, what does it take to open a new market? What have been some of the biggest lessons on zone maturity and time to breakeven? Why does Deliveroo not track driver efficiency on a number of drops basis? What is the right mechanism to measure driver efficiency?
4.) Competition: How did Deliveroo come late to markets like France and end up winning them? What was it like competing against Uber with Eats? How important is restaurant exclusivity to Deliveroo retaining its position? What would Will have done differently with regards to competition, with the benefit of hindsight?
5.) Quick commerce: What does Will make of the unprecedented rise of quick commerce? Will we see many winners on a per market basis or will this be a consolidatory environment? What do many of the new entrants mistake or not understand? Why is the vertical ownership of the supply chain such a superior model to working with grocery partners?
Will’s Favourite Book: From Third World to First: Singapore and the Asian Economic Boom
Ankur Nagpal is the Founding Partner @ Vibe Capital, today announcing his new $70M solo GP fund and with a track record that includes the likes of Roam Research, Eight Sleep, Circle, Hone Health and Maven to name a few. Prior to entering venture, Ankur was the Founder and CEO @ Teachable, a platform where educators can create and sell their own online courses. Ankur led the company until their reported $250M acquisition to Hotmart in 2020.
1.) How Ankur made his way into the world of venture investing having founded and exited Teachable for over $250M having raised just $13M in venture funding?
2.) From Angel to Fund: How did Ankur's mindset change with the transition from angel to institutional VC? How does Ankur feel about the rise of party rounds? What does Ankur advise founders trying to get brand names on cap tables?
3.) Portfolio Construction: With the new fund, how does Ankur think through portfolio construction? What is his required level of ownership? How does Ankur feel about optionality checks to get data and information for a larger check down the road? Does Ankur feel it is possible to build ownership in your best companies?
4.) The Future of Venture: Why does Ankur feel that largely, VCs detract value when they invest in a company? Base level, what is Ankur's promise to founders he invests in? From his time as a founder, what does founders most want in their cap table? Will we see a generation of operator-led funds? Will this be a game of the 1%? How will the large funds respond to this?
5.) Emerging Markets: What are the 3 core characteristics that make emerging markets so attractive for Ankur? What elements concern Ankur when investing in emerging markets? How does he screen for integrity with more granularity? How does Ankur analyse the progression of emerging markets in terms of their own hype cycles?
Ankur’s Favourite Book: Losing my Virignity
Fidji Simo is the CEO @ Instacart, the company that allows you to order whatever you want from local stores, delivering it straight to your door. Fidji joined the Instacart board 10 months ago and just 3 months ago, Fidji joined Instacart full time as CEO. Prior to Instacart, Fidji spent an incredible 10 years at Facebook in numerous different roles including Head of Facebook App and before that Vice President of Games, Video and Monetisation. If this was not enough, Fidji earlier this year announced her co-founding of Metrodora, an integrated medical ecosystem with the vision of advancing women’s health.
1.) How Fidji made her way from a small coastal fishing town in France to leading the Facebook App and becoming one of the most powerful CEOs in tech with her new role at Instacart?
2.) The Rise @ Facebook: How did Fidji rise in the ranks at Facebook so much faster than anyone else? What were the biggest inflection points in her rise? What bets did she make that others did not see? How did they play out? Did any of the bets go wrong? What did Fidji learn about management style when the bet went wrong?
3.) Problem Solving and Decision-Making: What framework does Fidji use to have the most effective problem-solving and decision-making process? How does Fidji built such tight trust and honesty with her team members? In what way can leaders make people feel safe to take big bets but also not lose accountability if it does not work out?
4.) The Move To Instacart: Why did Fidji decide that CEO of Instacart was the right next move for her? What was Fidji's hypothesis of how the first 100 days would go? What has been a surprise in the first 100 days? How do the best leaders onboard into new CEO roles? How does the role of CEO change when moving from private to public company?
Fidji’s Favourite Book: The Night Circus
George Kurtz is the CEO and co-founder of CrowdStrike, a leading provider of next-generation endpoint protection, threat intelligence, and services. Prior to Crowdstrike's incredibly successful IPO in 2019, George raised funding from the likes of Accel, General Atlantic, CapitalG, IVP and Warburg Pincus to name a few. Before founding Crowdstrike, George spent close to 7 years at McAfee in roles such as Worldwide Chief Technology Officer and GM as well as EVP of Enterprise. Finally, before McAfee, George started Foundstone in 1999 leading them very successfully to their acquisition by McAfee in 2004.
1.) How George came to found Crowdstrike having been Worldwide CTO @ McAfee? How did the founding of his prior companies impact how George thought about the early days of Crowdstrike? What does George believe are the pros and cons of serial entrepreneurship?
2.) Funding: With the benefit of hindsight, how does George reflect on his approach to fundraising? How did what George needed from VCs change over time? How does George approach investor selection? Through what framework does George advise founders as the right way to construct their cap table? Where do many go wrong on investor selection?
3.) Talent Acquisition: What has enabled George to hire some of the best talent in the world? What is the right way to construct the hiring process to recruit the best? What does George mean when he says, "you cannot forget the spouse factor"? Why is cash a moat and important when it comes to talent acquisition?
4.) Leadership: How has George's style of leadership changed over time? What stage of leadership did George find the most challenging? How does George find being a public markets CEO? What elements does he enjoy the most? What does he enjoy the least? Why does George believe the company has been so well received by public markets?
George’s Favourite Book: Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...and Others Don't
Chris Sacca is the Founder and Chairman @ Lowercase Capital, one of the best performing funds in the history of venture capital with a portfolio including Uber, Stripe, Twitter, Instagram, Twilio, Docker and many more. Despite this incredible success, in 2017, Chris and his wife, Crystal announced they would be stepping back from day to day investing to focus on ongoing efforts to rescue our democracy, heal the planet, promote diversity within venture capital. Earlier this year, they announced Lowercarbon Capital, with $800M AUM, with the mission to back companies that make real money slashing CO2 emissions, and buying us time to unf**k the planet. Fun fact: As a result of his incredible investing success Chris has also been a Shark on Shark Tank and even starred in an episode of Billions.
1.) How Chris made his way into the world of investing having started life as a lawyer? What was his first investment? How did the first Twitter $25K angel check come about?
2.) How does Chris evaluate his own relationship to money and wealth? Why did Chris and Crystal interview some of the wealthiest people? What did they learn from those discussions? How does Chris view the role of luck? Why was it when Chris lacked optimism he lost the most money? How did being $4M in the hole from public markets impact his mindset?
3.) What does it mean for Chris to bring up healthy and happy children? Why does Chris believe today's parenting has bred a generation of asshole kids? In what way is great parenting aligned to great team management? How does Chris give feedback to his teams vs his children? What tone should be used? Should it always be "radical candor"? Should it be immediate?
4.) Does Chris believe that VCs really add any value? What does Chris believe is his secret sauce? Why does Chris believe that as a VC you have to be outspoken and loud about the value you provide? What have been some of the biggest lessons for Chris from sitting on boards and working with Bill Gurley? Why does Chris believe that most VCs are shitty managers?
5.) Why did Chris decide to come back from retirement and found Lowercarbon with Crystal? Why did he not decide to do it all with his own money? Why is now different for climate tech than prior generations of climate tech innovation? How big does Chris want to scale Lowercarbon? Will Chris make more money from climate investing than from tech?
Anthony Casalena is the Founder & CEO @ Squarespace, the company that allows you to create a website, sell anything and market your business. To date, Anthony has raised over $948M for the company from the likes of General Atlantic, Index Ventures, Tiger Global; culminating in their IPO in May 2021. Despite the incredible size and scale of Squarespace today, Anthony started the company from his dorm room in 2003 and bootstrapped the business for many years to today with over 1,100 employees around the world.
1.) How Anthony came to start Squarespace from a dorm room and turn it into a public company with over 1,200 employees globally?
2.) Why did Anthony decide to bootstrap with Squarespace for over 6 years when the company was scaling fast and profitable? How was Anthony's mindset impacted by the efficiency of bootstrap scaling? How did Anthony's mindset change when Squarespace raised their first large round? How does Anthony advise founders today on raising venture vs bootstrapping?
3.) Why did Anthony decide to do the direct listing over the more traditional IPO or a SPAC? How does Anthony advise other founders contemplating the same exit choices? How does Anthony personally describe this chapter of the company? Does he enjoy being a public company CEO? What are the best elements? What are the worst?
4.) E-Commerce has been a massive driver for growth for Squarespace, how does Anthony feel about the future of e-commerce on Squarespace? Only 1% of Squarespace's $700M ARR comes from enterprise, does enterprise hold a meaningful position in the future of the company? What are the core challenges of moving into enterprise? How does the company need to change?
5.) With the growth of the company, how has Anthony changed his style of leadership? What are his biggest strengths? What are his biggest weaknesses? What are the most obvious breakpoints in the scaling of companies?
Anthony’s Favourite Book: Thinking Fast and Slow
Anton Levy is Co-President, Managing Director and Global Head of General Atlantic’s Technology sector. Anton has led General Atlantic’s investments in the likes of Alibaba, CrowdStrike, Facebook, Slack and Snapchat and co-led investments in Adyen and Bytedance. As a result, Anton has been named to the Forbes Midas List of top investors each year from 2014 to 2021. Anton has also enjoyed board positions either as a member or observer in companies such as Uber, MercadoLibre, Klarna and Meituan to name a few.
1.) How Anton made his way into the world of growth investing? What have been some of Anton's biggest lessons from seeing the booms and busts of the macro-environment?
2.) The Landscape: What does Anton believe are the two largest changes/trends in the venture landscape today? What does Anton think is the right way to respond to the threat of Tiger Global? How should founders think about active vs passive cash? How does Anton reflect on his own price sensitivity? What have been some of his biggest lessons on pricing?
3.) Portfolio Construction: How have GA had to change their approach to investing over the last few years? Why have they decided actively to move earlier and write smaller checks? How does a $50M investment from an $8BN impact portfolio construction thinking? How does GA determine which of their winners to size up into and write a $500M check? What is the process for that?
4.) Deployment Cycles: How does Anton think about the compression of deployment cycles in venture? Are people acting rationally? When will the bubble burst? How do interest rates impact capital inflows into venture? Why does Anton believe we are entering a golden age of innovation? What elements concern him?
5.) Culture- Building: What have been Anton's biggest lessons when it comes to culture building internally? Where do many make mistakes here? What have been the most surprising elements of scaling GA to Anton? What mistakes did they make? How did they move to correct them?
Anton’s Favourite Book: Bridge to Terabithia
Anton’s Most Recent Investment: Articulate
Keith Rabois is a General Partner @ Founders Fund, one of the most successful venture firms of the last decade with home runs in the likes of SpaceX, Palantir, Stripe, Anduril, Facebook, Airbnb, Nubank and many more. As for Keith, he led the first institutional investments in DoorDash, Affirm and has also led investments in Ramp, Trade Republic, Faire and Stripe. Prior to venture, Keith had the most stellar operating career, joining PayPal when their monthly burn-rate was $6 million; Keith joined LinkedIn, Slide and Square when they had no revenue. Fun fact, five companies Keith helped build are now publicly traded with market caps >$1 Billion. Three others have been acquired for greater than $1 Billion or are publicly traded IPOs. If that was not enough, Keith is also the Co-Founder and CEO @ OpenStore, acquiring small DTC businesses.
1.) How Keith first came up with the idea for Opendoor? How a conversation with Peter Thiel led to the founding of the first iteration of the company? Why did it take Keith close to a decade to pursue the idea fully, post having the idea in 2003?
2.) The Market: What made Keith so excited to pursue Opendoor from a top-down market analysis perspective? What does Keith look for in markets he likes to invest in? How did Keith expect the market to change and evolve? What did the market do differently to how Keith thought it would behave?
3.) The Business Model: With debt being the oxygen for Opendoor, how many homes did they need to acquire before they could prove they could price homes accurately? What were Keith's lessons from the first homes they bought? What did not go to plan? Why does Keith disagree, if macro hits real estate, Opendoor's model is challenged? Why does Keith believe it is stronger then?
4.) The Team: What does Keith look for in the founding teams he backs? How does Keith detect diamonds in the rough? How can teams systematically de-risk an opportunity with their experience? With the benefit of hindsight, what would Keith have done differently with the team?
5.) The Funding: Was fundraising for Opendoor always easy? How did the seed round go down? How does Keith feel today about pre-emptive rounds where little company development has taken place? Why did Opendoor decide to SPAC? Why not a direct list? Was this the right choice? What makes for the best SPAC partner?
Ralf Wenzel is the Founder & CEO @ JOKR, a global platform for instant retail delivery at a hyper-local scale. To date, Ralf has raised over $170M for the company from the likes of GGV Capital, Balderton, Softbank and Kaszek, just to name a few. Prior to JOKR, Ralf spent close to 7 years as the Founder & CEO @ foodpanda as well as enjoying roles as Chief Strategy Officer @ Delivery Hero, Interim Chief Product and Experience Officer @ WeWork and even moving to the other side of the table as a Managing Partner with Softbank.
1.) How Ralf made his way into the world of startups and came to found foodpanda? What were his biggest takeaways from foodpanda that have impacted how he thinks about scaling JOKR today?
2.) Fulfillment Centres: What are the selection criteria when deciding what is the right location for a fulfillment center? How does real estate cost differ when comparing LATAM to the US? How does Ralf think about the balance between consumer choice and SKU minimization? In what way does Ralf believe they have a moat due to their catalog management system?
3.) The Driver: Why is JOKR different to every other provider in the way they employ their riders? Does it not severely impact their margins by providing equal benefits across their entire rider workforce? How many drops per hour is a good level of driver efficiency? What have been Ralf's biggest lessons when it comes to driver retention?
4.) The Consumer: How did JOKR acquire their first consumers on the demand side? What marketing strategies worked? What did not work? Is Ralf concerned by the immense amount of money invested in the space driving customer acquisition prices way higher? How has Ralf seen CACs change over time in mature markets?
5.) Expansion Opportunities: How does Ralf feel about incorporating own brand products, produced by JOKR over time? How does this change the margin profile of the business? How does Ralf feel about paid search as a core part of their business? Will CPGs be able to pay to be ranked higher in JOKR?
Casey Winters is the Chief Product Officer at Eventbrite where he leads the PM, product design, research, and growth marketing teams. Prior to Eventbrite, Casey spent close to 3 years at Pinterest where he led the growth product team. At Pinterest, Casey turned SEO into a scalable acquisition strategy, increasing conversion to signups 5x. Before Pinterest, Casey started the marketing team at Grubhub and scaled Grubhub's demand-side acquisition and retention strategies. Casey played an instrumental role in scaling Grubhub from 3 cities to 1,000+ and from a $1 million series A to an IPO and $7.3 billion exit. If that was not enough, Casey has also advised the likes of Canva, Hipcamp, Reddit, Faire and Career Karma to name a few.
1.) How Casey made his way into the world of startups and came to lead some of the most powerful growth orgs in the world from Pinterest to Grubhub to Eventbrite?
2.) How does Casey define "growth" and "Head of Growth"? When is the right time to start thinking about implementing a growth team? When should one hire a growth leader? How should founders structure the process of hiring a Head of Growth? What do the stages look like? What signals suggest A* talent? What questions does Casey always ask? What tests does Casey do?
3.) What does the optimal onboarding process look like for growth teams? What tasks should a growth team perform in their first few months? What are clear signs you have an amazing candidate in place? What are some obvious red flags? How do the best growth teams approach post-mortems? How are they structured? Who attends them? How often?
4.) What is the ideal relationship between the Head of Growth and the CEO? How often do they meet? What do the best CEOs expect from their growth teams? How does Casey approach the relationship between growth teams and product teams? How does one know when to have an independent growth team vs within the product or marketing team?
5.) Casey AMA: What has been a decision that Casey made without data to back it up? How did it go? What were Casey's lessons? How does Casey prevent past experiments from impacting his future tactics? How does Casey's management style differ when managing larger vs smaller growth teams? How has angel investing impacted his approach to scaling growth teams?
Hans Tung is a Managing Partner at GGV Capital, one of the leading venture firms of the last 2 decades with a portfolio including Alibaba, Xiaomi, Peloton, Airbnb, Slack, and many more. As for Hans, he has been named to the Forbes Midas list nine consecutive years from 2013-2021, most recently ranking #3. His portfolio includes 18 unicorns including Affirm, Airbnb, Coinbase, Divvy Homes, Peloton, Poshmark, Slack, Wish and Xiaomi. In 2005, he was among the first Silicon Valley VCs to move to China full time, spending eight years investing in the fastest-changing tech landscape in the world before returning to Silicon Valley in 2013 to join GGV Capital.
1.) How Hans made his way into the world of venture from founding his first two companies? How did seeing the booms and busts of the macro-financial markets impact both his investing mindset and the companies he likes to back?
2.) The Landscape: How does Hans analyze the current venture landscape today? How does one compete in a world of Tiger and crossover funds writing term sheets post first meeting? How does Hans think about his own price sensitivity today? How does he determine when to pay up vs when to say no? What have been some of his biggest lessons on price?
3.) Working with the likes of Peloton, Square, Alibaba, what have been some of Hans biggest lessons on market size? What do most investors get wrong when it comes to market sizing? How does Hans think about an attractive enough exit multiple for a growth stage check? What did Peloton teach Hans about insertion points when investing?
4.) How does Hans think about when is the right time to sell? What have been some of his biggest lessons on taking cash off the table? Despite the success, how does Hans ensure he has the mental plasticity to approach every new deal with a fresh perspective? What does he do to ensure he does not have an unconscious bias from his past successes?
Hans’ Favourite Book: Outliers: The Story of Success
Hans’ Most Recent Investment: JOKR
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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?
Go to thetwentyminutevc.com to download the original Crowdstrike Investment Memo.
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.
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?
Marcelo’s Favourite Book: Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage to the Antarctic
Marcelo’s Most Recent Investment: Uala