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
Frank Rotman is a founding partner of QED Investors, one of the leading fintech-focused venture firms investing today with a portfolio including the likes of Klarna, Kavak, Quinto Andar, Credit Karma and more. As for Frank, prior to QED, Frank was one of the earliest analysts hired into Capital One and spent almost 13 years there helping build many of the company’s business units and operational areas. Post Capital One, Frank went on to found a student lending company before joining up again with Nigel Morris to co-found QED.
1.) How Frank made his way into the world of venture having spent 13 years scaling Capital One? What was the founding moment for Nigel and Frank with QED? How does Nigel compare to poker to venture capital? Where are they similar? Where are they different?
2.) Does Frank feel that price discipline has disappeared in the venture market today? What have been some of Frank's biggest lessons on price? Is Frank concerned by the compression in deployment timelines for funds? How does Frank feel on the rise of pre-emptive rounds? In what way does Frank advise his founders when they are offered pre-emptive rounds?
3.) How important does Frank believe sizing your initial position is, from an ownership perspective? Is it possible to build ownership in your winners? What have been some lessons for Frank with regards to the speed of which breakout companies are clear? How does Frank assess and analyse bridge rounds and whether to participate or not?
4.) Why does Frank believe that the VC world is less collaborative than ever today? What has caused this? What can VCs do to change this? How do we solve the structural problem of VCs needing ownership for their business and founders not wanting excessive dilution? What does Frank believe is the most dangerous trend in the VC market today?
5.) How does Frank think about what he can do to improve his investment decision-making process? What repeatable process has Frank landed on that works? Where do many make mistakes here? How does Frank view the relationship between process and outcome?
Frank’s Favourite Book: Tom Robbins
Frank’s Most Recent Investment: Hello Alice
Emilie Choi is the President and Chief Operating Officer @ Coinbase, the easiest place to buy and sell cryptocurrency. Prior to their IPO earlier this year, Coinbase raised funding from some of the best in the business including USV, a16z, Initialized and Ribbit to name a few. As for Emilie, before Coinbase she was Head of Corporate Development for @ LinkedIn and before Linkedin served in various positions at Warner Bros., including as Manager of Corporate Business Development and Strategy. If that was not enough, Emilie currently serves on the board of Naspers and ZipRecruiter.
1.) How Emilie made her way into the world of startups, came to lead Corp Dev @ Linkedin and how that led to her joining forces with Brian @ Coinbase as COO & President? What lessons did Emilie learn from Reid Hoffman and Jeff Weiner that she has taken with her to Coinbase?
2.) Corp-Dev Guide: Why are so many startups trying to hire Head of Corp Devs today? What are the signals that suggest now is the right time? How would Emilie structure the process of hiring a Head of Corp Dev? What questions should be asked? How can you test their skills? What mistakes do CEOs often make when hiring Head of Corp Devs?
3.) COO Guide: What does the role of COO really mean to Emilie? How does Emilie advise founders on whether they do actually need a COO? How would Emilie structure the process of hiring a COO? What are some common red flags that concern Emilie when hiring COO's? What is the right relationship between CEO and COO?
4.) Resource Allocation: How does Coinbase think about internal resource allocation between core product and their venture products? What was the thinking behind Coinbase Ventures? Why do they have no full-time staff? What is the core objective of the fund? Why does Emilie think it will be one of the best performing funds in venture?
Emilie’s Favourite Book: The Secret History
Angela Strange is a General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz, one of the leading venture firms of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Facebook, Github, Slack, Airbnb, Asana and more. As for Angela, she largely focuses on investments in financial services and a16z has made significant investments in LATAM in the likes of Loft, Jeeves, Pomelo and Addi to name a few. Prior to a16z, Angela was a product manager at Google where she launched and grew Chrome for Android and Chrome for iOS into two of Google’s most successful mobile products.
1.) How Angela made her way into the world of venture from a career of running marathons and product management at Google?
2.) Does Angela believe we are going to see regional winners in LATAM with players owning their segment for Argentina, Mexico, Brazil etc? Why does Angela believe there is a huge business to be had in catering to the unbanked? How does Angela analyze whether startups can acquire distribution before incumbents acquire innovation?
3.) How does Angela respond to the suggestion that LATAM merely produces copycat companies of Western alternatives? How does Angela respond to claims that there is a lack of viable exit opportunities with insufficient local public markets and few international acquirers in the region? Does Angela believe there is a sufficient depth of engineering talent in the region?
4.) What has been Angela's biggest miss? How did it change her investment process? How does Angela analyze TAM? Where does Angela think many make mistakes in their underwriting of market size? How has Angela learned to think through societal and behavioral changes that impact market timing (cash-based economies, COVID etc?)
Angela’s Favourite Book: More More Than You Know: Finding Financial Wisdom in Unconventional Places
Angela’s Most Recent Investment: Jeeves
Nicolas Szekasy is a co-founder and Managing Partner of Kaszek Ventures, the largest venture capital firm in Latin America with a portfolio including the likes of Nubank, Notco, Creditas, Bitso and more. Before Kaszek, Nicolás was CFO for 10 years at MercadoLibre (Nasdaq: MELI), Latin America’s largest online commerce and payments platform, where he led its $333 million IPO in 2007. Before MercadoLibre, Nico spent 7 years as CFO @ PepsiCo. If that was not enough, Nico is also on the board of Endeavour, empowering a global ecosystem of entrepreneurs.
1.) How Nico made his way into the world of startups with MercadoLibre? What were the biggest takeaways from his 10 years with MELI? How did his time with MELI and seeing the boom and bust impact his investing mindset?
2.) What have been the most significant changes in the LATAM ecosystem over the last 20 years? What has improved? What has become more challenging? Is Nico concerned by the sheer amount of capital now flowing into the LATAM ecosystem at such speed?
3.) How does Nico respond to the statement that LATAM just produces "copycats" of successful companies from other geographies? How does Nico respond to the common suggestion of the challenges in scaling engineering teams in LATAM? How does Nico respond to the assumption that exit opportunities and IPOs are less available to LATAM companies?
4.) How was the experience of raising the first Kaszek fund? What has been the biggest challenging in the scaling from a $100M fund to a $1BN fund? How has Nico seen his own investing style change over the last decade? What does he know now that he wishes he had known when he started Kaszek?
5.) How does Nico reflect on his own style of board membership? What does Nico believe makes the best board members? What takeaways did he have from his time @ MELI on what makes the truly special board member?
Nico’s Favourite Book: Guns, Germs and Steel: A short history of everybody for the last 13,000 years
Nico’s Most Recent Investment: Notco
Ann Miura Ko is the Co-Founding Partner @ Floodgate, one of the leading early-stage firms of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Twitter, Twitch, Lyft, Okta, Outreach and more. As for Ann, not only did she lead the round for Lyft but in the last 12 months has led rounds for 2 of the hottest companies in the valley; Popparazzi and Popshop Live. Due to her immense investing success, Ann is a multiple Forbes Midas Lister and is also a lecturer in entrepreneurship at Stanford, a co-director of the Mayfield Fellows Program at Stanford, and a member of the Board of Trustees for Yale University.
1.) How Ann made her way from a PhD in Quantitative Modelling at Stanford to co-founding one of the leading early-stage firms in the valley?
2.) What does Ann believe is the secret to successful seed investing? What insight development did Ann believe Lyft had? How had they approached customer development in such a unique way? What are the leading signals to Ann today that founders really understand the customer development process? What questions does she ask to discover this?
3.) Why does Ann not engage in the compression of fundraising timelines today? How does she build relationships of trust and honesty with founders so early? Does Ann worry that founders have such large capital injections too early today? Why should employees examine capital efficiency, not capital raised? How does Ann advise founders on pre-emptive rounds?
4.) How did Ann and the Lyft team approach prioritization in the early days? In what ways did Lyft decide to "play their own game" when it came to the competition? How did Uber and its growth impact the financing strategy for Lyft? In what deliberate ways did John and Logan set the culture for Lyft? What have been Ann's biggest lessons from them on culture building?
5.) Does Ann believe that capital in itself is a competitive moat today? What does Ann believe needs to be proven before capital can be used as a weapon to win? In the case of Lyft, what signals or measurements did Ann define as guiding metrics for success? How did they change over time? How can founders determine their own in their businesses?
Mike Lazerow is a serial entrepreneur and now Co-Founder and Managing Partner @ Velvet Sea Ventures alongside his wife, Kass. Prior investments from the Velvet Sea Partners include Twitter, Square, SpaceX, Snap Inc., Facebook, Pinterest, Domo, and more. Prior to becoming an investor, Mike founded Buddy Media in 2007, selling the company to Salesforce just 5 years later for $745M. Before Buddy Media, Mike co-founded Golf.com, a multi-million dollar profitable golf media property that Mike and Kass sold to Time Inc in 2006.
1.) How Mike made his way into the world of startups way back in 1993, how that led to Golf.com and Buddy Media? Why did he decide he wanted to be a VC? How did seeing the dotcom era fundamentally impact Mike's approach to business and investing?
2.) Why does Mike believe how you operate as an investor is more important than who you are and what you have done? How does Mike aim to invest and operate with this in mind? What are 3 core elements that Mike looks for in every deal? How does Mike approach his own investment decision-making process? How has it changed over time? How does he use gut to make decisions?
3.) What does Mike believe are his biggest insecurities as an investor? How does Mike think about the challenge of moving from a collaborative angel to a competitive VC? How does Mike think about the importance of ownership today? What has Mike learned about how the best VCs engage with round construction?
4.) How does Mike analyse his own style of board membership today? Why does Mike believe that boards are more helpful for the entrepreneur than for the investor? As an entrepreneur, how did Mike prepare for his boards? How does Mike advise founders to get the most out of their boards? Where do many make mistakes? How can one optimize the board member/founder relationship?
5.) Why does Mike believe that "having sex with your partner is a feature, not a bug"? How do Kass and Mike work together in such a complementary fashion? How do they ensure that personal matters never intrude on work decisions? How does Mike think about his relationship to money today? How does Mike want to imbue the same hard work and ethics to his children?
Mike’s Favourite Book: Man's Search for Meaning
Mike’s Most Recent Investment: LeoLabs
Christa Quarles is the CEO @ Corel Corporation, building software solutions that simplify the task journey for knowledge workers. Prior to Corel, Christa spent close to 4 years as CEO @ Opendoor, driving a chapter of transformational change for the company. Before Opendoor, Christa was Chief Business Officer @ NextDoor, and finally pre-NextDoor, Christa spent 4 years at The Walt Disney Company where she led Disney Interactive to profitability as Senior Vice President, Interactive Games. If that was not enough, Christa is also on the board of Affirm and Kimberly Clark.
1.) How Christa made her way into the world of startups having spent close to 10 years in investment banking? What were the biggest takeaways from her time at Walt Disney? How did her 3 years as CEO @ Opentable impact how she approaches leadership today?
2.) Company Breakpoints: What are the different breakpoints in the scaling of companies? When did this start to happen at Opendoor? How does decision-making need to change with scale? How can leaders ensure teams feel safe to be the most ambitious they can be? In what ways can leaders create environments of safety for them to be their best selves?
3.) The Role of the CEO: What decisions can only the CEO make? How can leaders determine when a C-Suite hire is a stretch too far? How has Christa's board membership on other boards changed how she runs her board today? Given a board's limited information, how can leaders extract the most out of them?
4.) "Operating is a Full Contact Sport": When has Christa found operating and leading the hardest? When faced with hard times, how does she push through them? How does Christa advise leaders on the challenges of their own scaling process? Where do many make mistakes in their own scaling? What is a "stuck state" and why is it the worst state to be in?
5.) Team Building and Trust: How does Christa approach trust today? Does she start from a position of being fully trusting or not trusting and there to be gained? What is Christa's favourite interview question to ask? In what way does Christa believe truly special candidates represent their passions in interviews?
Christa’s Favourite Book: Caste, The International Bestseller
Nick Shalek is a General Partner @ Ribbit Capital, specializing in fintech they are one of the most successful venture firms of the last decade with a portfolio including Robinhood, Coinbase, Revolut, Nubank and more. As for Nick, he started his career as a Senior Analyst @ Yale Investments Office before moving to the world of operations as Director of Business Operations @ Verne Global, a provider of 100% carbon neutral data centers.
1.) How Nick made his way from Senior Analyst at Yale's Investment Office to be one of the leading fintech investors in the world with Ribbit? What were Nick's biggest lessons from his time working with David Swenson @ Yale? How would Nick summarise Yale's investment algorithm?
2.) Entering Venture and Advice: Why does Nick tell many friends entering venture, to not join a new fund? What does Nick believe is takes to build an enduring firm in venture? What were the core reasons and inflection points in the success of Ribbit? What have been some of the biggest challenges in the professionalisation of Ribbit over the years?
3.) Pricing and Ownership: Is Nick concerned by the levels of pricing we are seeing in fintech today? How does Nick analyze his own relationship to price? How does Nick view the importance of ownership? Is it possible to build ownership across rounds? How does Nick advise founders now receiving very fast offers to pre-empt their rounds?
4.) Investment Decision-Making: How does Ribbit structure its investment decision-making process for initial investments? In what way does this process change for re-investments? Why does Nick believe in the benefits of not having attribution within venture partnerships?
5.) AMA: What has been Nick's biggest miss? How did it change his investment decision-making process as a result? What does Nick know now that he wishes he had known when he started in venture? What have been Nick's biggest lessons from his working with Micky?
Nick’s Favourite Book: A Piece of the Action: When the Middle Class Joined the Money Class
Nick’s Most Recent Investment: Kavak