Ali Partovi is the CEO @ Neo, a mentorship community and communal VC fund that announced their new $150M fund last year on the back of early hits from Fund I including Vanta and Kalshi. As an angel, Ali has made personal investments in Dropbox, Uber, Airbnb, Facebook, Convoy and many more. Prior to investing, Ali founded 2 companies, the first; LinkExchange which he sold to Microsoft for $265M in 1998 and the second, iLike which was acquired by Microsoft in 2009.
1.) How Ali made his way into the world of startups with the founding of his first company? How Ali made his way into angel investing and then starting and raising Neo, as a fund?
2.) How To Kill a $125M By Being Too Honest:
3.) The Meeting with Steve Jobs Did Not Go Well:
4.) U2, Airbnb and Google at Seed:
Ali’s Favourite Book: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Rob Schutz is Chief Growth Officer and Co-founder at Ro, the healthcare technology company building a patient-centric healthcare system. To date, Ro has raised over $870M with a last reported valuation of $5BN and under Rob’s growth leadership, Ro has become one of the fastest-growing companies in the country. Prior to Ro, Rob was VP of Growth at Bark, the makers of BarkBox, and helped scale revenue from zero to $100 million. He also founded a Washington DC-based daily deals site that was acquired by kgbdeals in 2011.
1.) How Rob made his way into startups and growth through the world of daily deals? How that led to his leading growth for Bark and ultimately founding Ro? How did leading marketing for Bark impact his growth strategy today with Ro?
2.) What is "Growth" and When to Hire For It:
3.) How to Hire Growth Leader and Reps:
4.) How to Structure the Onboarding Process:
Frank Slootman currently serves as Chairman and CEO at Snowflake and has over 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur and executive in the enterprise software industry. Prior to Snowflake, Frank served as CEO and President of ServiceNow taking the company from around $100M in revenue, through an IPO, to $1.4B. Before ServiceNow, Frank served as President of the Backup Recovery Systems Division at EMC following the acquisition of Data Domain Corporation/Data Domain, Inc., where he served as the CEO and President, leading the company through an IPO to its acquisition by EMC for $2.4B. You must check out Frank's book, Amp It Up. It can already be pre-ordered here.
1.) Narrow the Focus, Increase the Quality:
2.) When There is Doubt, There is No Doubt:
3.) Make The Good People Great:
4.) The Art of Leadership and Board Management:
Frank’s Favourite Book: Courage Is Calling: Fortune Favours the Brave, The Speed of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything
Devin Finzer is the Founder & CEO @ Opensea, the world's first and largest NFT marketplace allowing you to discover, collect, and sell extraordinary NFTs. To date, Devin has raised over $423M for the company with their last $300M round valuing Opensea at $13.3BN. Before changing the world of NFTs, Devin co-founded ClaimDog which was acquired by Credit Karma and before founding ClaimDog, Devin was an engineer at Pinterest. Do want to say, I always love Semil Shah's startup of the year, for 2021 it was Opensea, check out his piece here.
1.) How Devin made his way into the world of NFTs and came to found the first and largest NFT marketplace in the form of Opensea?
2.) The Scaling Story:
3.) The Next Decade of NFTs:
4.) The Future of NFT & Gaming:
Devin’s Favourite Book: Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow
Ralf Wenzel is the Founder & CEO @ JOKR, a global platform for instant retail delivery at a hyper-local scale serving both the US and LATAM. Ralf has raised over $260M for the company, most recently valuing it at $1.2BN. Prior to JOKR, Ralf spent 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.) What is the unit economic breakdown for quick commerce business models? What levers can be used to improve it over time?
2.) Comparing the US to LATAM:
3.) New Market Growth and Maturation:
4.) Business Model Expansions:
Mark Carney is Vice Chair of Brookfield Asset Management and Head of Transition Investing. Prior to Brookfield, Mark served as the Governor of the Bank of England from 2013 to 2020, and prior to that as Governor of the Bank of Canada from 2008 until 2013. Mark was also Chairman of the Financial Stability Board from 2011 to 2018. Mark is a long-time and well-known advocate for sustainability and is currently the United Nations Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance. If that was not enough, Mark serves on numerous other boards including Stripe, Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum to name a few.
1.) How Mark made his entrance into the world of finance and came to the role of Governor of the Bank of Canada? How did that role lead to his becoming Governor of the Bank of England? How did seeing multiple booms and busts impact Mark's investing mindset?
2.) Governments, Central Banks and Regulation:
3.) The Winners and Losers:
4.) The Future of NFTs:
Mark’s Favourite Book: Arcadia by Tom Stoppard
Will Ahmed is the Founder and CEO @ Whoop, the company on a mission to unlock human performance with their wearable device that is your digital fitness and health coach. To date, Will has raised over $400M for the company with the last round valuing Whoop at $3.6BN and with a cap table including the likes of Softbank, Accomplice, Founder Collective, Foundry Group, IVP and more.
1.) How Will went from being a professional athlete and college student to founding one of the hottest startups in fitness and healthcare? What are the similarities and differences of being an athlete and being a CEO?
2.) What does Will mean when he says, "there is value in the struggle early on"? How does Will advise founders on when to give up vs when to stay the course? If Will had not struggled with funding in the early days, would the Whoop journey be different? How does Will advise founders when it comes to taking funding when it is on the table? What are the nuances to this?
3.) In what way does Will believe "realism is overrated"? When does Will believe it is good to be realistic? In what ways can it be good to be idealistic? How did Will get some of the largest sports stars on the planet to use Whoop in the early days? Why did Will always refuse to pay sports stars to use Whoop? What were the benefits of doing this?
4.) How does Will define high performance? Why does Will believe it is crucial for leaders to disassociate their own personal feelings from the progress of their company? What advice does Will give to leaders in an attempt to do this? What has Will done to be a better CEO in the last year? What does Will believe are his biggest weaknesses as a CEO?
Will’s Favourite Book: Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE
Bangaly Kaba is the Head of Platform Growth @ Popshop Live, a live streaming mobile marketplace that combines commerce, entertainment, and social. Prior to Popshop, Bangaly led the product growth and consumer product orgs at Instacart and before Instacart was Head of Growth @ Instagram, where he built and led the product team that helped grow Instagram from 440M to > 1B monthly actives in 2.5yrs. If all of this was not enough, Bangaly has also spent time investing as a Sequoia Scout having made investments into Career Karma, Binti.com and Squad App to name a few.
1.) How Bangaly made his way into the world of growth and came to lead some of the largest growth orgs in tech at the likes of Instacart and Instagram?
2.) How does Bangaly define the rule of "Head of Growth"? When is the right time for founders to start hiring a growth leader? How do they know whether to hire a growth leader or junior growth reps? Where should founders place these first growth hires in the org? Product or marketing?
3.) How would Bangaly structure the hiring process for any growth hire? What are the must-ask questions? What case studies would Bangaly ask all candidates to complete? What are the signals of a 10x growth hire? What are some core red flags that show in the interview process?
4.) What does the ideal onboarding process look like for new growth hires? What are the signs that a new growth hire is hitting target and expectations? What are some early warning signs that a growth hire is not meeting expectations?
5.) What is the ideal relationship between the Head of Growth and the CEO? How often should they meet? How should they structure the discussion? How should the growth team work with product teams to be successful? How should growth teams work with marketing teams?
John Doerr is an engineer, venture capitalist, the chairman of Kleiner Perkins, and the author of the #1 New York Times best-seller Measure What Matters. For over 40 years, John has helped build some of the most generational defining companies of our generation. He was an original investor and board member at Google and Amazon, helping to create more than a million jobs. A pioneer of Silicon Valley’s cleantech movement, John has invested in zero emissions technologies since 2006. Check out his latest book, Speed & Scale: An Action Plan for Solving Our Climate Crisis Now.
1.) What was John's entry into climate change investing? Having backed the likes of Amazon and Google, why did John decide then was the right time to do a climate fund, a pandemic fund, an iPhone fund? How does John think about market timing risk today? How does John determine between risks he is vs is not willing to take?
2.) What was one of John's biggest lessons on risk and upside from working alongside Tom Perkins? How did the Google deal come together? Where did John first meet Larry and Serge? What convinced John to write them a $12M check for 12% of the company? Why was it a contested deal within the partnership? How did the discussion go internally?
3.) Why and how is climate innovating and investing different today than it was in 2008? What are the core OKR's laid out in the book, that we need to achieve as a society? Why does John believe that governments are the biggest problem to us achieving these objectives? What does John mean when he says, "I am hopeful but not optimistic"?
4.) What does truly great listening mean to John? How would John describe his style of board membership? What do the truly special board members do? What does John do that makes him often cited as one of the best at recruiting? What is John's biggest investing miss? How did it change his mindset and approach? What investment is John most proud of, that no one knows?
John’s Favourite Book: How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need
Kyle Parrish is VP Sales @ Figma, the company that connects everyone in the design process so teams can deliver better products, faster. At Figma, Kyle built the sales engine from scratch to today, with over 100 incredible people in sales. Before Figma, Kyle spent over 5 years at Dropbox in numerous different roles including Head of Sales, where he scaled the Austin, Texas office from 3 to over 80 people to Global Partnerships lead, where he was responsible for growing Dropbox’s partner ecosystem.
1.) How Kyle first made his way into the world of sales and came to be one of the 3 performing sales reps in a 300+ sales team? How that led to his joining the hypergrowth journey of Dropbox? What led Kyle to make the move from Dropbox to the rocketship that is Figma?
2.) When and Who: Does the founder need to be the person to create the sales playbook? How can a founder know whether it is right to hire sales reps or a Head of Sales first? In terms of ARR, is there a time when you have to have a Head of Sales? Does Kyle agree with Jason Lemkin in terms of bringing in reps, two at a time? Where do founders make the biggest mistakes when it comes to the timing of these hires?
3.) How To Know and Test: What non-obvious characteristics do 10x sales hires have? What questions or case studies does Kyle find to be most revealing in identifying these non-obvious traits? How should founders structure the process for new reps and a Head of Sales? Meeting by meeting, what should we look to achieve?
4.) Setting Up for Success: What does the ideal onboarding process look like for new sales reps? What tasks and processes would Kyle expect new reps to complete within the first month or two on the job? What are the clearest signs of a new rep hire not working out? How should founders approach 1-1 and 360 reviews with their new reps?
5.) Working Together: What is the ideal relationship between the founder and the new Head of Sales? How often should they meet? What should the founder expect from the new Head of Sales? How should the Head of Sales work with the Head of Marketing most efficiently?
Kyle's Favourite Sales Blog Post: The Sales Learning Curve
Bill Gurley is a General Partner @ Benchmark, one of the most successful funds of the last decade with a portfolio including Uber, Twitter, Dropbox, Modern Treasury, Snapchat, StitchFix, and many more. As for Bill, widely recognized as one of the greats in venture having worked with GrubHub, NextDoor, Uber, OpenTable, Stitch Fix, and Zillow. Prior to Benchmark, Bill was a partner with Hummer Winblad Venture Partners.
Michael Eisenberg spent 15 years as a General Partner @ Benchmark working alongside Bill and the Benchmark partnership. Following Benchmark, Michael co-founded Aleph, one of the leading Israeli venture funds of the last decade with a portfolio including Lemonade, Melio, and HoneyBook, just to name a couple of Aleph's unicorns.
1.) How does the current market activity in venture today compare to the dot com bubble? What elements are different? What elements are the same? What were the ramifications of the dot com bubble? Would Bill and Michael expect to see the same again? Is there anything good that comes from bubbles? How did the prior bubble impact Michael and Bill's investing mindset?
2.) Does Bill Gurley agree that Benchmark are the only firm to have retained price discipline in this crazy market? How do Bill and Michael think about their own relationship to price today? How does Bill try and answer the question, "what could go right?" when he meets entrepreneurs today? On reflection, what have been Michael and Bill's biggest miss? How did it change their approach?
3.) How does one compete in a world of Tiger and crossover funds? When it comes to capital deployment and pacing, do Michael and Bill agree with the suggestion of "playing the game on the field"? What are the nuances to this statement? What companies does Bill believe capital can be a moat for? What companies is capital not a moat and they should be conservative with raising and pre-emptive rounds?
4.) Do Bill and Michael believe that ownership still matters today with outcomes being larger than ever? How do Bill and Michael feel about the importance of temporal diversification today in a world of compressed deployment cycles? What investing lesson learned over 25 years in the business do Bill and Michael wish they had known when they started?
Bill’s Favourite Book: The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human
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