Mark Cuban is a serial entrepreneur, investor, and owner of the Dallas Mavericks. Today we are focused on Mark's latest entrepreneurial endeavor, starting Mark Cuban's Cost Plus Drug Company, the online pharmacy taking out the middlemen, meaning no price games and huge drug savings. As mentioned, Mark is also the proud owner of Dallas Mavericks, since his taking over they have competed in the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history in 2006 – and became NBA World Champions in 2011. Before Dallas Mavericks, Mark co-founded Broadcast.com – streaming audio over the internet. In just four short years, Broadcast.com (then Audionet) was sold to Yahoo for $5.6 billion dollars. If that was not enough, Mark is also one of ABC’s “Sharks” on the hit show Shark Tank.
1.) Cost Plus Drugs: Origin
2.) Building the Team: Hiring
3.) Brand + Capital + Business Strategy:
4.) AMA with Mark Cuban:
Dannie Herzberg is a Partner @ Sequoia Capital and one of the great sales leaders of the last decade. Prior to entering the world of venture, Dannie spent 4 years at Slack as their Head of Enterprise Sales, there Dannie built & scaled the self-serve / SMB, mid-market, and enterprise sales orgs across the Americas as Slack grew from $100M - $1B in revenue. Before Slack, Dannie spent over 5 years at Hubspot building sales, opening an SF office, and then joining product to launch CRM & platform.
1.) How Dannie got her first job in sales at Hubspot through being a waitress in a Boston Diner? What were her biggest lessons from her 5 years scaling sales at Hubspot? How did Dannie's 4 years at Slack impact her operating and sales mindset today?
2.) The Playbook:
3.) The Hiring Process:
4.) Sales Onboarding:
Roger Ehrenberg is a Founding Partner @ IA Ventures, one of the most successful seed funds of the last decade with $475 million across their four funds. Previous investments include The Trade Desk, Datadog, Digital Ocean, Wise and Recorded Future. Most recently, Roger took a step away from the day-to-day running of the firm, since he started IA Sports Partners, investing in sports franchises and other sports-related assets. Last month, Roger, alongside his two sons, started Eberg Capital, an investment vehicle focused on web3, crypto, NFTs and next-gen infrastructure.
1.) How Roger made his way into the world of angel investing and venture having had a successful career on Wall St? How did seeing the booms and busts of the dot com and 2008 impact his investing mindset today? How does today compare to those times?
2.) The Investor Mindset:
3.) Investing Strategy:
Scott Sandell is the Managing General Partner of NEA, one of the leading firms of the last 3 decades with now close to $24Bn under management and a portfolio including Salesforce, Robinhood, Plaid, Databricks and more. As for Scott, since joining the firm in 1996 he has led investments in Salesforce.com, Tableau Software, WebEx and Workday and serves on the board of Robinhood, Cloudflare, Coursera and Divvy to name a few.
Rick Yang is a General Partner and Head of Consumer Investing @ NEA, since joining in 2007 he has led investments in the likes of Masterclass, Plaid, Robinhood and many more.
1.) How Rick came to meet Vlad, Robinhood Founder, for the first time? What impressed Rick most in that first meeting? How did the internal discussions proceed at NEA? Was it a unanimous decision to make the investment?
2.) The Market:
3.) The Traction:
4.) The Team:
Jonathan Neman is Co-Founder & CEO of Sweetgreen, the mission-driven restaurant brand that serves healthy food at scale. Alongside his co-founders, Jon has scaled Sweetgreen from one small restaurant to one of the US' leading food brands with over 5,000 employees, over 140 locations and $300M+ in revenue. If that was not enough, Jon is also an active board member of MeUndies.
1.) How Jon took the decision to leave his "dream job" as a consultant at Bain to start Sweetgreen? What did his Bain boss tell him that persuaded Jon it was the right decision to leave? How does Jon think about and advise people when it comes to choosing the safe vs the risky path?
2.) How Sweetgreen was not an Overnight Success:
3.) Brand + Capital + Business Strategy:
4.) Leading Through COVID:
Jon’s Favourite Book: Thinking, Fast and Slow: Daniel Kahneman
Anne Wojcicki is the Founder & CEO @ 23andme, offering DNA testing with the most comprehensive ancestry breakdown, personalized health insights, and more. To date, Anne has raised over $1BN for the company from the likes of Sequoia, GV, NEA and many more incredible names. Prior to founding 23andMe, Anne spent a decade on Wall Street investing in healthcare and felt frustrated by a system built around monetizing illness instead of incentivizing prevention. If that was not enough, Anne is also on the board of Cazoo and The Anne Wojcicki Foundation and is an active angel investor with investments in the likes of Embark and Maven Clinic.
1.) How Anne made her way from Wall St healthcare investing to founding one of the leading healthcare companies of the last decade in 23andme?
2.) Trust and Friendship:
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?