Harry Stebbings | Entrepreneur | Investor | Blogger
The Twenty Minute VC takes you inside the world of Venture Capital, Startup Funding and The Pitch. Join our host, Harry Stebbings and discover how you can attain funding for your business by listening to what the most prominent investors are directly looking for in startups, providing easily actionable tips and tricks that can be put in place to increase your chances of getting funded. Although, you may not want to raise funding for a startup. The Twenty Minute VC also provides an instructional guide as to what it takes to get employed in the Venture Capital industry, with VCs giving specific advice on how to get noticed from the crowd and increasing your chances of employment. If that wasn't enough our amazing Venture Capitalists also provide their analysis of the current technology market, providing advice and suggestions on the latest investing trends and predictions. Join us so you can see how you can get BIG, powerful improvements, fast. Would you like to see more of The Twenty Minute VC, head on over to www.thetwentyminutevc.com for more information on the podcast, show notes, resources and a more detailed analysis of the technology and Venture Capital industry.
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. In Today’s Episode with Christoph Janz You Will Learn: 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?
30 min 59 sec
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. In Today’s Episode with Eugene Wei You Will Learn: 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? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Euegene Wei Eugene's Favourite Book: The Sound and the Fury, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information
46 min 15 sec
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. In Today’s Episode with Andy Johns You Will Learn: 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?
41 min 8 sec
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. In Today’s Episode with Kareem Zaki You Will Learn: 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? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Kareem Zaki Kareem’s Favourite Book: How Will You Measure Your Life Kareem's Most Recent Investment: Cadence
24 min 18 sec
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. In Today’s Episode with Brian Singerman on Anduril, You Will Learn: 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?
28 min 25 sec
Arthur Patterson and Jim Swartz founded Accel in 1983. Under their leadership, they have built Accel into one of the most prominent venture firms of the last 4 decades. 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. In Today’s Episode with Arthur Patterson and Jim Swartz You Will Learn: 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?
39 min 30 sec
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. In Today’s Episode with Ryan Denehy You Will Learn: 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?
35 min 4 sec
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. In Today’s Episode with Mac the VC You Will Learn: 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? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Mac the VC Mac’s Favourite Book: Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun?: How Reginald Lewis Created a Billion-Dollar Business Empire
37 min 38 sec
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. In Today’s Episode with Elena Verna You Will Learn: 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?
44 min 12 sec
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. In Today’s Episode with Will Shu You Will Learn: 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? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Will Shu Will’s Favourite Book: From Third World to First: Singapore and the Asian Economic Boom
40 min 34 sec
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. In Today’s Episode with Ankur Nagpal You Will Learn: 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? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Ankur Nagpal Ankur’s Favourite Book: Losing my Virignity
36 min 57 sec
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. In Today’s Episode with Fidji Simo You Will Learn: 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? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Fidji Simo Fidji’s Favourite Book: The Night Circus
37 min 22 sec
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. In Today’s Episode with George Kurtz You Will Learn: 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? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with George Kurtz George’s Favourite Book: Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...and Others Don't
32 min 29 sec
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. In Today’s Episode with Chris Sacca You Will Learn: 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? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Chris Sacca Chris’ Favourite Book: Not Fade Away: A Short Life Well Lived, How To Raise an Adult
1 hr 15 min
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. In Today’s Episode with Anthony Casalena You Will Learn: 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? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Anthony Casalena Anthony’s Favourite Book: Thinking Fast and Slow
33 min 49 sec
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. In Today’s Episode with Anton Levy You Will Learn: 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? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Anton Levy Anton’s Favourite Book: Bridge to Terabithia Anton’s Most Recent Investment: Articulate
45 min 25 sec
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. In Today’s Episode with Keith Rabois You Will Learn: 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?
36 min 55 sec
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. In Today’s Episode with Ralf Wenzel You Will Learn: 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?
37 min 53 sec
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. In Today’s Episode with Casey Winters You Will Learn: 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?
42 min 59 sec
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. In Today’s Episode with Hans Tung You Will Learn: 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? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Hans Tung Hans’ Favourite Book: Outliers: The Story of Success Hans’ Most Recent Investment: JOKR
38 min 51 sec
Nazim Salur is the Founder & CEO of Getir, one of the leading rapid delivery service providers that distribute over 1,500 everyday items within minutes. With an established status in Turkey, where the company trends towards a super-app, and a London launch behind it, Getir has further European and US expansion plans on the horizon. To fuel this expansion, Getir has raised over $1BN from Sequoia and Mike Moritz, Silver Lake, Mubadala, and Tiger Global to name a few. Prior to founding Getir, Nazim launched his first tech startup in 2012, BiTaksi, which brought people taxis in three minutes. In Today’s Episode with Nazim Salur You Will Learn: 1.) How Nazim made his way into the world of startups with his founding of BiTaksi and how that led to his realization of the need for Getir? 2.) Why does Nazim believe that owning the entire vertical stack is a superior model? What are the selection criteria for the micro-fulfillment sites? What makes one more attractive than another? How does Getir think about the balance between SKU minimization and consumer demand? How does Getir think about building defensibility through their warehouse management system? 3.) How did Getir acquire their first drivers? What worked? What did not work? How does their driver acquisition strategy change depending on location? What is the core measurement that Getir uses to measure driver efficiency? What is the secret to driver retention? How has Nazim seen driver acquisition costs change over time in mature markets? 4.) How did Getir acquire their first customers? What is the most important element for consumers; speed or choice? How does Getir think about allocating marketing spend efficiently today? How has Nazim seen CACs change over time with the maturation of markets? With the immense funding for the space, is Nazim concerned about this? 5.) What are the decision-making criteria for what makes an attractive region to expand into? How much capital does it take to launch a new region? What is the time to profitability on each zone? How has this changed over time? How does Nazim think about expansion into the US? What excites him most about the expansion? What elements will be most challenging?
42 min 52 sec
Doug Leone is the Global Managing Partner @ Sequoia Capital, one of the world’s most renowned and successful venture firms with a portfolio including the likes of Google, Airbnb, Whatsapp, Stripe, Zoom and many more. As for Doug, he joined Sequoia over 33 years ago and has led investments in Nubank, Meraki, ServiceNow and TradeRepublic to name a few. In Today’s Episode with Doug Leone You Will Learn: 1.) How a 5PM Monday meeting with Don Valentine led to Doug joining Sequoia over 33 years ago? What did Don ask Doug in the meeting? What does Doug believe led Don to offer him his first role at Sequoia? 2.) The Leader: How did Doug change when he made the transition from a "COO" role to more of a "CEO" role with Sequoia? Doug has previously said, "Sequoia is a team, not a family". What does he mean by this? How do Doug and Sequoia do to give the team an unwavering sense of duty to the Sequoia brand? What does Doug believe Sequoia have done so well to allow them to move seamlessly from generation to generation? 3.) The Investor: Doug's first 3 investments all went on to successful IPOs, how did this impact his mindset at the time? What does Doug mean when he discusses "the abyss" he went through post this time? How does Doug advise others going through the abyss? What are the signs certain people will make it through vs not? 4.) The Landscape Today: How does Doug think about and react to newer entrants like Tiger and Softbank? How does Doug think about and assess his own price sensitivity today? How does Doug determine when to be disciplined vs when to pay up? Through what lens does Doug assess the compression of deployment cycles in venture today? Should we "play the game on the field"? 5.) The Expansion: In 2005, Sequoia expanded to China. Why was this the right time? What was the decision-making process for the Sequoia China team? Why does Doug believe, "when you lose pre-seed, you become private equity"? How does Doug react to the notion that success in venture is cyclical and compounds? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Doug Leone Doug’s Favourite Book: The Fountainhead: Ayn Rand, Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder
49 min 27 sec
Sameer Gandhi is a Partner @ Accel, one of the leading venture firms of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Facebook, Dropbox, Atlassian, Hopin, Spotify and more. As for Sameer, he led investments in Crowdstrike, Dropbox, Flipkart, Spotify and more. Prior to Accel, Sameer spent close to 10 years as a Partner @ Sequoia. In Today’s Episode with Sameer Gandhi You Will Learn: 1.) How Sameer first came to meet George, Crowdstrike Founder and CEO? How did a 30-minute meeting turn into a 2-hour discussion leading to Accel's investment? 2.)The Market: How did Sameer analyze and break down the market at the time of the investment? What hypothesis did he have on market evolution going in? What elements went as thought? In what way did the market evolve in a way Sameer did not expect? How does Sameer think through market timing today? Through what approach does Sameer assess market sizing today? 3.) Financing: How did Sameer build the confidence to lead multiple rounds of financing, one after the other? How did Sameer build the trust and strength of relationship with George to win each round? Why did Sameer advise George to "go shop his term sheet"? What was the rationale? How does Sameer advise founders on taking pre-emptive rounds today? 4.) Execution: What specifically allowed Crowdstrike to move so fast in the early days? Does Sameer believe that speed of execution is the strongest moat a company can have? How does Sameer advise companies today on services revenue? In what shape did this look with Crowdstrike in the early days? What is a healthy proportion of services to product revenue? 5.) The Team: How did George evolve and develop as a leader in the decade Sameer worked with him? What were some of the core inflection points that caused those changes? Who are some of the unsung heroes behind the scenes who moved the needle for Crowdstrike? What is Sameer's favorite memory from working with the company? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Sameer Gandi Go to thetwentyminutevc.com to download the original Crowdstrike Investment Memo.
36 min 55 sec
Marcelo Claure serves as CEO of SoftBank Group International and COO of SoftBank Group Corp., the world’s largest tech investor. At Softbank, Marcelo oversees the company’s strategic direction and its portfolio of operating companies, including WeWork, SB Energy, Fortress, Boston Dynamics, as well as SoftBank’s stake in T-Mobile U.S. He also spearheads the SoftBank Latin America Fund, a $5 billion fund dedicated to investing in technology growth opportunities throughout the region. If that was not enough, Marcelo serves as Exec Chairman @ WeWork, is on the board of Arm, is the president of Club Bolívar, Bolivia's most popular and successful soccer team; co-owner and Chairman of Inter Miami CF and most recently co-owner of Girona FC. In Today’s Episode with Marcelo Claure You Will Learn: 1.) How Marcelo made his way into the world of startups and came to found his first company, Brightstar? How did Brightstar lead to Marcelo meeting Masa and moving to Tokyo to invest $1BN per week with him? 2.) From spending a year with Masa in Tokyo, what did Marcelo learn about Masa that he did not know before? How did spending this time with Masa impact Marcelo's operating mindset and his investing mindset? What were the most memorable founder meetings that Marcelo and Masa had in that year? Why did those ones stand out? 3.) When starting Softbank's LATAM Fund, what hypothesis did Marcelo have going into investing in LATAM? Which were confirmed? On the flip side, which proved to be wrong? How does Marcelo respond to people that say "LATAM produces copycat companies"? Why does Marcelo bet that Softbank will have 8 portfolio companies in LATAM go public next year? 4.) How does Marcelo think about the importance of price and price discipline today? What is their decision-making framework when determining whether to pay up or not for a deal? What have been some of Marcelo's biggest misses? How did they impact his decision-making process moving forward? How does Softbank approach conflicts when investing today? 5.) How does Marcelo analyze the increasing competition in the LATAM ecosystem? How has his style changed as a result? Through what lens does Marcelo assess the role that Tiger has played over the last 18 months? Why does Marcelo think that other firms have trash-talked Softbank before? How does Marcelo see the venture landscape as fundamentally changed? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Marcelo Claure Marcelo’s Favourite Book: Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage to the Antarctic Marcelo’s Most Recent Investment: Uala
39 min 5 sec
Frank Rotman is a founding partner of QED Investors, one of the leading fintech-focused venture firms investing today with a portfolio including the likes of Klarna, Kavak, Quinto Andar, Credit Karma and more. As for Frank, prior to QED, Frank was one of the earliest analysts hired into Capital One and spent almost 13 years there helping build many of the company’s business units and operational areas. Post Capital One, Frank went on to found a student lending company before joining up again with Nigel Morris to co-found QED. In Today’s Episode with Frank Rotman You Will Learn: 1.) How Frank made his way into the world of venture having spent 13 years scaling Capital One? What was the founding moment for Nigel and Frank with QED? How does Nigel compare to poker to venture capital? Where are they similar? Where are they different? 2.) Does Frank feel that price discipline has disappeared in the venture market today? What have been some of Frank's biggest lessons on price? Is Frank concerned by the compression in deployment timelines for funds? How does Frank feel on the rise of pre-emptive rounds? In what way does Frank advise his founders when they are offered pre-emptive rounds? 3.) How important does Frank believe sizing your initial position is, from an ownership perspective? Is it possible to build ownership in your winners? What have been some lessons for Frank with regards to the speed of which breakout companies are clear? How does Frank assess and analyse bridge rounds and whether to participate or not? 4.) Why does Frank believe that the VC world is less collaborative than ever today? What has caused this? What can VCs do to change this? How do we solve the structural problem of VCs needing ownership for their business and founders not wanting excessive dilution? What does Frank believe is the most dangerous trend in the VC market today? 5.) How does Frank think about what he can do to improve his investment decision-making process? What repeatable process has Frank landed on that works? Where do many make mistakes here? How does Frank view the relationship between process and outcome? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Frank Rotman Frank’s Favourite Book: Tom Robbins Frank’s Most Recent Investment: Hello Alice
54 min 44 sec
Emilie Choi is the President and Chief Operating Officer @ Coinbase, the easiest place to buy and sell cryptocurrency. Prior to their IPO earlier this year, Coinbase raised funding from some of the best in the business including USV, a16z, Initialized and Ribbit to name a few. As for Emilie, before Coinbase she was Head of Corporate Development for @ LinkedIn and before Linkedin served in various positions at Warner Bros., including as Manager of Corporate Business Development and Strategy. If that was not enough, Emilie currently serves on the board of Naspers and ZipRecruiter. In Today’s Episode with Emilie Choi You Will Learn: 1.) How Emilie made her way into the world of startups, came to lead Corp Dev @ Linkedin and how that led to her joining forces with Brian @ Coinbase as COO & President? What lessons did Emilie learn from Reid Hoffman and Jeff Weiner that she has taken with her to Coinbase? 2.) Corp-Dev Guide: Why are so many startups trying to hire Head of Corp Devs today? What are the signals that suggest now is the right time? How would Emilie structure the process of hiring a Head of Corp Dev? What questions should be asked? How can you test their skills? What mistakes do CEOs often make when hiring Head of Corp Devs? 3.) COO Guide: What does the role of COO really mean to Emilie? How does Emilie advise founders on whether they do actually need a COO? How would Emilie structure the process of hiring a COO? What are some common red flags that concern Emilie when hiring COO's? What is the right relationship between CEO and COO? 4.) Resource Allocation: How does Coinbase think about internal resource allocation between core product and their venture products? What was the thinking behind Coinbase Ventures? Why do they have no full-time staff? What is the core objective of the fund? Why does Emilie think it will be one of the best performing funds in venture? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Emilie Choi Emilie’s Favourite Book: The Secret History
45 min 40 sec
Angela Strange is a General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz, one of the leading venture firms of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Facebook, Github, Slack, Airbnb, Asana and more. As for Angela, she largely focuses on investments in financial services and a16z has made significant investments in LATAM in the likes of Loft, Jeeves, Pomelo and Addi to name a few. Prior to a16z, Angela was a product manager at Google where she launched and grew Chrome for Android and Chrome for iOS into two of Google’s most successful mobile products. In Today’s Episode with Angela Strange You Will Learn: 1.) How Angela made her way into the world of venture from a career of running marathons and product management at Google? 2.) Does Angela believe we are going to see regional winners in LATAM with players owning their segment for Argentina, Mexico, Brazil etc? Why does Angela believe there is a huge business to be had in catering to the unbanked? How does Angela analyze whether startups can acquire distribution before incumbents acquire innovation? 3.) How does Angela respond to the suggestion that LATAM merely produces copycat companies of Western alternatives? How does Angela respond to claims that there is a lack of viable exit opportunities with insufficient local public markets and few international acquirers in the region? Does Angela believe there is a sufficient depth of engineering talent in the region? 4.) What has been Angela's biggest miss? How did it change her investment process? How does Angela analyze TAM? Where does Angela think many make mistakes in their underwriting of market size? How has Angela learned to think through societal and behavioral changes that impact market timing (cash-based economies, COVID etc?) Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Angela Strange Angela’s Favourite Book: More More Than You Know: Finding Financial Wisdom in Unconventional Places Angela’s Most Recent Investment: Jeeves
37 min 52 sec
Nicolas Szekasy is a co-founder and Managing Partner of Kaszek Ventures, the largest venture capital firm in Latin America with a portfolio including the likes of Nubank, Notco, Creditas, Bitso and more. Before Kaszek, Nicolás was CFO for 10 years at MercadoLibre (Nasdaq: MELI), Latin America’s largest online commerce and payments platform, where he led its $333 million IPO in 2007. Before MercadoLibre, Nico spent 7 years as CFO @ PepsiCo. If that was not enough, Nico is also on the board of Endeavour, empowering a global ecosystem of entrepreneurs. In Today’s Episode with Nicolas Szekasy You Will Learn: 1.) How Nico made his way into the world of startups with MercadoLibre? What were the biggest takeaways from his 10 years with MELI? How did his time with MELI and seeing the boom and bust impact his investing mindset? 2.) What have been the most significant changes in the LATAM ecosystem over the last 20 years? What has improved? What has become more challenging? Is Nico concerned by the sheer amount of capital now flowing into the LATAM ecosystem at such speed? 3.) How does Nico respond to the statement that LATAM just produces "copycats" of successful companies from other geographies? How does Nico respond to the common suggestion of the challenges in scaling engineering teams in LATAM? How does Nico respond to the assumption that exit opportunities and IPOs are less available to LATAM companies? 4.) How was the experience of raising the first Kaszek fund? What has been the biggest challenging in the scaling from a $100M fund to a $1BN fund? How has Nico seen his own investing style change over the last decade? What does he know now that he wishes he had known when he started Kaszek? 5.) How does Nico reflect on his own style of board membership? What does Nico believe makes the best board members? What takeaways did he have from his time @ MELI on what makes the truly special board member? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Nicolas Szekasy Nico’s Favourite Book: Guns, Germs and Steel: A short history of everybody for the last 13,000 years Nico’s Most Recent Investment: Notco
37 min 41 sec
Ann Miura Ko is the Co-Founding Partner @ Floodgate, one of the leading early-stage firms of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Twitter, Twitch, Lyft, Okta, Outreach and more. As for Ann, not only did she lead the round for Lyft but in the last 12 months has led rounds for 2 of the hottest companies in the valley; Popparazzi and Popshop Live. Due to her immense investing success, Ann is a multiple Forbes Midas Lister and is also a lecturer in entrepreneurship at Stanford, a co-director of the Mayfield Fellows Program at Stanford, and a member of the Board of Trustees for Yale University. In Today’s Episode with Ann Miura Ko You Will Learn: 1.) How Ann made her way from a PhD in Quantitative Modelling at Stanford to co-founding one of the leading early-stage firms in the valley? 2.) What does Ann believe is the secret to successful seed investing? What insight development did Ann believe Lyft had? How had they approached customer development in such a unique way? What are the leading signals to Ann today that founders really understand the customer development process? What questions does she ask to discover this? 3.) Why does Ann not engage in the compression of fundraising timelines today? How does she build relationships of trust and honesty with founders so early? Does Ann worry that founders have such large capital injections too early today? Why should employees examine capital efficiency, not capital raised? How does Ann advise founders on pre-emptive rounds? 4.) How did Ann and the Lyft team approach prioritization in the early days? In what ways did Lyft decide to "play their own game" when it came to the competition? How did Uber and its growth impact the financing strategy for Lyft? In what deliberate ways did John and Logan set the culture for Lyft? What have been Ann's biggest lessons from them on culture building? 5.) Does Ann believe that capital in itself is a competitive moat today? What does Ann believe needs to be proven before capital can be used as a weapon to win? In the case of Lyft, what signals or measurements did Ann define as guiding metrics for success? How did they change over time? How can founders determine their own in their businesses?
41 min 21 sec
Mike Lazerow is a serial entrepreneur and now Co-Founder and Managing Partner @ Velvet Sea Ventures alongside his wife, Kass. Prior investments from the Velvet Sea Partners include Twitter, Square, SpaceX, Snap Inc., Facebook, Pinterest, Domo, and more. Prior to becoming an investor, Mike founded Buddy Media in 2007, selling the company to Salesforce just 5 years later for $745M. Before Buddy Media, Mike co-founded Golf.com, a multi-million dollar profitable golf media property that Mike and Kass sold to Time Inc in 2006. In Today’s Episode with Mike Lazerow You Will Learn: 1.) How Mike made his way into the world of startups way back in 1993, how that led to Golf.com and Buddy Media? Why did he decide he wanted to be a VC? How did seeing the dotcom era fundamentally impact Mike's approach to business and investing? 2.) Why does Mike believe how you operate as an investor is more important than who you are and what you have done? How does Mike aim to invest and operate with this in mind? What are 3 core elements that Mike looks for in every deal? How does Mike approach his own investment decision-making process? How has it changed over time? How does he use gut to make decisions? 3.) What does Mike believe are his biggest insecurities as an investor? How does Mike think about the challenge of moving from a collaborative angel to a competitive VC? How does Mike think about the importance of ownership today? What has Mike learned about how the best VCs engage with round construction? 4.) How does Mike analyse his own style of board membership today? Why does Mike believe that boards are more helpful for the entrepreneur than for the investor? As an entrepreneur, how did Mike prepare for his boards? How does Mike advise founders to get the most out of their boards? Where do many make mistakes? How can one optimize the board member/founder relationship? 5.) Why does Mike believe that "having sex with your partner is a feature, not a bug"? How do Kass and Mike work together in such a complementary fashion? How do they ensure that personal matters never intrude on work decisions? How does Mike think about his relationship to money today? How does Mike want to imbue the same hard work and ethics to his children? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Mike Lazerow Mike’s Favourite Book: Man's Search for Meaning Mike’s Most Recent Investment: LeoLabs
46 min 9 sec
Christa Quarles is the CEO @ Corel Corporation, building software solutions that simplify the task journey for knowledge workers. Prior to Corel, Christa spent close to 4 years as CEO @ Opendoor, driving a chapter of transformational change for the company. Before Opendoor, Christa was Chief Business Officer @ NextDoor, and finally pre-NextDoor, Christa spent 4 years at The Walt Disney Company where she led Disney Interactive to profitability as Senior Vice President, Interactive Games. If that was not enough, Christa is also on the board of Affirm and Kimberly Clark. In Today’s Episode with Christa Quarles You Will Learn: 1.) How Christa made her way into the world of startups having spent close to 10 years in investment banking? What were the biggest takeaways from her time at Walt Disney? How did her 3 years as CEO @ Opentable impact how she approaches leadership today? 2.) Company Breakpoints: What are the different breakpoints in the scaling of companies? When did this start to happen at Opendoor? How does decision-making need to change with scale? How can leaders ensure teams feel safe to be the most ambitious they can be? In what ways can leaders create environments of safety for them to be their best selves? 3.) The Role of the CEO: What decisions can only the CEO make? How can leaders determine when a C-Suite hire is a stretch too far? How has Christa's board membership on other boards changed how she runs her board today? Given a board's limited information, how can leaders extract the most out of them? 4.) "Operating is a Full Contact Sport": When has Christa found operating and leading the hardest? When faced with hard times, how does she push through them? How does Christa advise leaders on the challenges of their own scaling process? Where do many make mistakes in their own scaling? What is a "stuck state" and why is it the worst state to be in? 5.) Team Building and Trust: How does Christa approach trust today? Does she start from a position of being fully trusting or not trusting and there to be gained? What is Christa's favourite interview question to ask? In what way does Christa believe truly special candidates represent their passions in interviews? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Christa Quarles Christa’s Favourite Book: Caste, The International Bestseller
45 min 32 sec
Nick Shalek is a General Partner @ Ribbit Capital, specializing in fintech they are one of the most successful venture firms of the last decade with a portfolio including Robinhood, Coinbase, Revolut, Nubank and more. As for Nick, he started his career as a Senior Analyst @ Yale Investments Office before moving to the world of operations as Director of Business Operations @ Verne Global, a provider of 100% carbon neutral data centers. In Today’s Episode with Nick Shalek You Will Learn: 1.) How Nick made his way from Senior Analyst at Yale's Investment Office to be one of the leading fintech investors in the world with Ribbit? What were Nick's biggest lessons from his time working with David Swenson @ Yale? How would Nick summarise Yale's investment algorithm? 2.) Entering Venture and Advice: Why does Nick tell many friends entering venture, to not join a new fund? What does Nick believe is takes to build an enduring firm in venture? What were the core reasons and inflection points in the success of Ribbit? What have been some of the biggest challenges in the professionalisation of Ribbit over the years? 3.) Pricing and Ownership: Is Nick concerned by the levels of pricing we are seeing in fintech today? How does Nick analyze his own relationship to price? How does Nick view the importance of ownership? Is it possible to build ownership across rounds? How does Nick advise founders now receiving very fast offers to pre-empt their rounds? 4.) Investment Decision-Making: How does Ribbit structure its investment decision-making process for initial investments? In what way does this process change for re-investments? Why does Nick believe in the benefits of not having attribution within venture partnerships? 5.) AMA: What has been Nick's biggest miss? How did it change his investment decision-making process as a result? What does Nick know now that he wishes he had known when he started in venture? What have been Nick's biggest lessons from his working with Micky? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Nick Shalek Nick’s Favourite Book: A Piece of the Action: When the Middle Class Joined the Money Class Nick’s Most Recent Investment: Kavak
37 min 12 sec
Jeff Immelt is a Venture Partner @ NEA serving on both the technology and healthcare investing teams. Prior to entering the world of venture, Jeff served as chairman and CEO of GE for 16 years where he revamped the company’s strategy, re-established market leadership and quadrupled emerging market revenue. As a result, Jeff has been named one of the “World’s Best CEOs” three times by Barron’s. In addition, Jeff is on the board of Sila Nanotechnologies and Twilio. In Today’s Episode with Jeff Immelt You Will Learn: 1.) How did it feel when Jeff was told he was going to be CEO at GE? How did that come about? Did he feel the weight of responsibility when it was announced? 2.) When it comes to incumbents embracing innovation, what strategies work? Why do they work? What lessons does Jeff take from his time at GE on what worked? What strategies do not work? What are the biggest mistakes large incumbents make when adopting new products or strategies? What advice does Jeff continuously tell large company CEOs who ask this question? 3.) When does Jeff believe boards can be fundamentally impactful? In what circumstances do boards actually cause harm? What are the signs of the truly great board members? What are the causes of why board members can be misaligned with their founders? How should founders approach whether to listen or not to their board? 4.) How does Jeff think about trust in teams? Does he start fully trusting and it is their to be lost or start not trusting and it is their to be gained? What people do you want around you in a crisis? What are the signals of these people? What does Jeff mean when he speaks of "crisis accelerants and crisis absorbers"? 5.) How does David think about fear in leadership? What is the one thing that leaders are allowed to be afraid of? How do the best founders approach their relationship to paranoia? How do the best communicate their fears to their team?
32 min 8 sec
David George is a General Partner @ Andreessen Horowitz where he leads their growth investing practice. Since joining in 2019 David has invested in the likes of Clubhouse, Coinbase, Databricks, Figma, Instacart, Robinhood and TripActions just to name a few. David also sits on the board of Current, Greenlight, and Workrise. Prior to a16z, David spent 7 years growth investing at General Atlantic where he invested in the likes of Airbnb, Crowdstrike, Opendoor, Slack and Uber. In Today’s Episode with David George You Will Learn: 1.) How David made his way into the world of growth investing with General Atlantic and how that led to his leading the newest iteration of a16z growth funds? What were David's biggest takeaways from his time with General Atlantic? How did it impact his investing? 2.) Misconceptions of Growth Investing: Why does David believe that great business models are table stakes at growth today? What gives the best the edge? Why does David believe that people over-rotate on TAM? Why is it misleading in many ways? What is the right way to assess TAM at growth today? What does David look for when digging into unit economics? When is the right time to focus on unit economics? 3.) Portfolio Construction and Scenario Planning: How does David think about portfolio construction with the new a16z growth fund? What is the right level of diversification? How does David think about loss ratio today? How does David approach outcome scenario planning? What is an attractive level of upside for David to engage at growth? How has that expectation changed over time? 4.) Valuations and Crossover Funds: How does David assess the valuation landscape today? How does David determine whether he will pay up or sit out on an investment? How has the rise of crossover funds, PE funds and hedge funds entering growth impacted the valuations being paid and the investment process itself? What does David make of these new entrants? What challenges do they bring? 5.) Investment Decision-Making: How do a16z approach decision-making at growth? Who is on the core IC? Why does David strongly believe in the single trigger model in venture when it comes to decision-making? What are the biggest reasons for politics in venture firms today? What can be done to mitigate them? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with David George David’s Favourite Book: Increasing Returns To Scale David’s Most Recent Investment: Loom
33 min 32 sec
Nick Mehta is the CEO @ Gainsight, the leader in all things customer success helping you put your customer at the heart of your business. Last year, as a result of their incredible success, Gainsight was acquired by Vista for a reported $1.1Bn but prior to that had raised over $156M from Lightspeed, Battery, Bessemer, Insight and Bain to name a few. As for Nick, he has been named one of the Top SaaS CEOs by the Software report three years in a row and holds one of the highest Glassdoor approval ratings for CEOs. Prior to Gainsight, Nick was the CEO at LiveOffice, which grew substantially and eventually sold to Symantec. In Today’s Episode with Nick Mehta You Will Learn: 1.) When did mental health really become a prominent thought for Nick? When was the first time Nick feels he really showed true vulnerability in leadership? 2.) Self-Worth: Does Nick feel like he is enough? What does he do when he questions himself severely? How does he talk to his wife about these challenging thoughts? Where does Nick believe this comes from? What are the dangers of people-pleasing? How does Nick try and counter people-pleasing in his role as a leader? 3.) Identity: How does Nick think about his own identity when it is so attached to Gainsight? In what ways does he try to detach? What has worked? What has not worked? How have children helped Nick in this way? 4.) Striving: Why does Nick believe that hunger and striving are fundamentally a good thing? How does Nick try and factor gratitude and appreciation into the work and success he experiences? How does Nick encourage this same striving in his children? 5.) Relationship to Money: How would Nick evaluate his relationship to money? How has it changed over time? How does Nick try to imbue the same values he had growing up in his children? Does Nick believe it is possible to "change" your children and have that impact?
45 min 46 sec
Marc Lore is a serial entrepreneur turned investor who’s started and sold four companies. Most recently Marc was the President and CEO of Walmart eCommerce US following the sale of his company, Jet.com, to Walmart for $3.3 billion in 2016. Prior to that, Marc founded Diapers.com/Quidsi which sold to Amazon in 2011 for $550 million. As an investor, Marc announced his new venture firm, Vision Capital People, with his co-founder, Alex Rodrigues, earlier this year with $50M of Alex and Marc's own money. Fun fact, in 1996 Marc qualified to be in the US national bobsled team. In Today’s Episode with Marc Lore You Will Learn: 1.) How Marc made his way into the startup world, how he came to found Jet.com and what led to his most recent transition to the world of investing? 2.) How does Marc assess human potential? What does he mean when he says "the resume test"? What are the clearest signals of outperformers? What are signs of lack of performance? Why does Marc not believe in referencing? Does Mark start from a position of trust for it to be lost or with none and for it all to be gained? 3.) How does Marc evaluate his relationship to risk and fear? How has it changed over time? What did Marc's wife say when he left his safe job and put all their savings into his new business? What does Marc mean when he discusses finding "Sixth Gear"? How does Marc balance that intensity and ambition with romance and family life? 4.) Why does Marc believe Chief People Officer should be one of your first hires? What are the commonalities of the best Chief People Officers? What does the optimal relationship between CEO and CPO look like? How does Marc test for his core characteristics in interviews? What questions does he ask every candidate? What are the most revealing? 5.) How does Marc think about portfolio construction with the new fund today? Does Marc believe it is possible to take 40%+ of companies without alienating future investors? Is Marc concerned about over-capitalising companies too early? How does Marc think about reserves strategy and concentrating capital into the best companies?
44 min 30 sec
Laela Sturdy is a General Partner @ CapitalG, Alphabet's independent growth fund with investments in the likes of Stripe, UiPath, Looker, Robinhood and Lyft to name a few. As for Laela, she joined CapitalG shortly after inception in 2013 and has led investments in Stripe, Duolingo, Gusto, UiPath and Unqork, to name a few. Prior to CapitalG, Laela was at Google as Managing Director of Emerging Businesses and held leadership roles within YouTube and search. In Today’s Episode with Laela Sturdy You Will Learn: 1.) How Laela made her way into the world of venture and came to be a General Partner at Alphabet's independent growth fund, CapitalG? 2.) The Market: With the rise of crossover funds, hedge funds, private equity, all entering growth stage venture, how does Laela analyse the current state of the market? How has the increase in capital supply impacted pricing at growth? How do CapitalG compete in a world where competitors pay 2x the valuation and have different outcome expectations? 3.) Portfolio Construction: Given CapitalG's single LP and evergreen structure, how do CapitalG think about portfolio construction? What is the right level of diversification? How doe CapitalG structure internal investment decision-making? How does this change for re-investments? How do CapitalG think about attribution internally? 4.) Upside and Downside: Given prices being so high, when outcome scenario planning, how does Laela think about good vs great when it comes to multiple expectations? How has this changed over time? On the flip side, how does Laela think about loss ratio at growth today? Has this changed with rounds becoming more and more pre-emptive? 5.) Scaling Unicorns: What are the commonalities in the biggest challenges founders face post-product-market fit but prescaling? What are the clear signs to Laela that a founder is uniquely skilled at hiring? Does Laela agree that the best founders do not need help on hiring? How does Laela feel about the future of venture being services platforms? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Laela Sturdy Laela’s Favourite Book: The Great Gatsby Laela’s Most Recent Investment: Webflow
38 min 27 sec
Jeff Lawson is the Founder & CEO @ Twilio, the company that allows you to unite communications and strengthen customer relationships across your business. Prior to their incredibly successful IPO in 2016 Jeff raised funding from some of the best including Bessemer, Union Square Ventures, Redpoint, Salesforce and Founders Fund to name a few. Before founding Twilio, Jeff was co-founder & CTO of NineStar, founding CTO of Stubhub.com, co-founder, CEO & CTO of Versity, and one of the first product managers for Amazon Web Services. In Today’s Episode with Jeff Lawson You Will Learn: 1.) How Jeff made his way into the world of tech and startups and what that founding a-ha moment was for Jeff with Twilio? When explaining new ideas to people, what signals to Jeff that the idea is resonating? Are there clear indicators an idea is not resonating? 2.) Leadership: What does great leadership mean to Jeff today? How has Jeff's leadership style changed and evolved over the years? What does Jeff believe is the key to great storytelling? How has the leadership style required, changed in a COVID world? What have been the biggest inflection points in his leadership? 3.) Culture: What does Jeff believe are the 3 key ingredients to company culture? How can leaders create a tribe that people associate with? What are the biggest lessons we can take from sport and religion when it comes to culture building? At what points has Jeff been concerned about the Twilio culture? What did he do to rectify it? Why are "values nice but principles better"? 4.) Decision-Making: How has Jeff created a culture of decentralised decision-making? What has Jeff done to ensure the best ideas rise to the top? In what ways can leaders ensure people feel safe to be bold and go big, without the fear of failure? How does Jeff determine when to give or remove resources from new ideas? How does Jeff think about the importance of "focus"? 5.) Diversity: Frank Slootman previously said, "diversity should not override merit". What are the core problems that Jeff has with this statement? How do Twilio construct their recruitment pipelines to ensure diversity? Why does Jeff believe the secret to human assessment is one of "miles travelled"? What are the signals of this? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Jeff Lawson Jeff’s Favourite Book: Made to Stick: Why some ideas take hold and others come unstuck As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!
46 min 1 sec
Mark Mullen is the Co-Founder of Bonfire Ventures, one of LA's leading early-stage funds, now on their 3rd Fund with $101M in the latest. In the past, Mark has invested in the likes of Trade Desk, Scopely, GOAT, ChowNow, Niantic and Pendo to name a few. Prior to co-founding Bonfire, Mark was a solo GP with Double M and then through Mull Capital, Mark is also an LP in other funds investing in 15 including the likes of Upfront, Freestyle, Backstage and Crosscut to name a few. In Today’s Episode with Mark Mullen You Will Learn: 1.) How Mark made his way into the world of venture, came to found Double M and why he decided he wanted to co-found Bonfire and be in a partnership, not a solo GP model? 2.) Portfolio Construction: With the new fund, how did Mark think about the right portfolio construction? What is the right level of diversification? How many lines should be in the portfolio? How important is ownership today? Is it possible to build ownership in your best companies over time? How does Mark think about proactive reserve allocation today? 3.) Investment Decision-Making: How does Mark think about the right investment decision-making structure with Bonfire today? How can one retain speed but also increase the number of decision-makers? How does Mark feel about the compression of fundraising timelines today? What advice does Mark give to founders when selecting their cap table? 4.) Boards and Time: How does Mark evaluate his own style of board membership? How has it changed over time? What do the best do on boards that makes them so great? How does Mark think about time allocation across the portfolio? Should you only spend time with winners? What have been some of his biggest lessons from this? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Mark Mullen Mark’s Favourite Book: Undaunted Courage Mark’s Most Recent Investment: Topia As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!
41 min 26 sec
Rishi Sunak was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer on 13 February 2020. He was previously Chief Secretary to the Treasury from July 2019 to February 2020, and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government from January 2018 to July 2019. He spent his professional career before politics in business and finance, working internationally. He co-founded an investment firm working with companies in multiple geographies and used that experience to help small and entrepreneurial British companies grow. In Today’s Episode with Rishi Sunak You Will Learn: 1.) Rishi's first job was waiting table in a restaurant, what were his biggest takeaways from that first job? How did Rishi's time at Stanford impact his operating mindset today? How did Rishi make his way into the world of politics following a very successful career in finance? 2.) Talent: What does the UK need to do to become a global talent hub? How can Visa programs be reformed and innovated to ensure the UK is an attractive destination for the best talent? On reflection, where has the UK done well on talent and immigration? On the flip side, what has not worked? Why? What would Rishi have done differently? 3.) Entrepreneurs Relief & Capital Gains: What is the logic behind the removal of entrepreneurs relief? Why is it inefficient in its current form? How does Rishi think about using capital gains as a tool to attract the best to build and invest in the UK? Why does Rishi believe the UK is the most attractive place to build a business from a tax perspective? How does the UK compare to the EU and US? 4.) Driving Further Investment in the UK: What worked and what did not work with regards to "The Future Fund"? What would Rishi have done differently? What can Rishi and the UK do to encourage pension funds to invest more in venture moving forward? What are some elements the public assume the government can and should do, but in reality, you cannot? 5.) Rishi Sunak AMA: What does Rishi's morning routine look like? What time does Rishi wake up? What does he have for breakfast? What does the workout routine look like for Rishi? Who is his favourite Peloton instructor? Why? What is his guilty treat food-wise? How often does he have it? How did it feel for Rishi when he delivered his first budget? Was he nervous? How does Rishi deal with nerves today? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Rishi Sunak Rishi’s Favourite Book: Roald Dahl As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!
30 min 14 sec
Rafael Ilishayev is the Co-Founder & Co-CEO @ GoPuff, one of the market leaders delivering daily essentials in minutes. GoPuff's latest funding round priced the company at a reported $8.9Bn in March 2021 and to date, Rafael has raised over $2.4Bn for the company from the likes of Accel, Softbank, Fidelity, Baillie Gifford, D1 Capital and more. Rafael has scaled the company to over 550 US cities with over 7,000 employees nationwide. In Today’s Episode with Rafael Ilishayev You Will Learn: 1.) How Rafael made his way into the world of startups with the founding of GoPuff and how he turned it from a college delivery business into a nationwide leader with over 7,000 employees? 2.) Funding: Why did Raf wait until 2.5 years into the business before raising funding? What did that time bootstrapping the business teach Raf? How did it change his thinking on unit economics? How were GoPuff able to be EBITDA profitable from day 1? How do they have such superior margins in an industry blighted by low margins? 3.) New Markets: How does GoPuff determine attractive markets to scale into? What are the leading indicators of "good markets"? What resources are required to open new markets? What is the time to breakeven on new markets? How many micro-fulfilment centres does it take to win a new market? What are the biggest challenges moving into new markets? 4.) Competition: The market has become a lot more competitive, why does Raf feel this is not a market you can win without years of experience? What have they built that other new entrants do not have? Will this be a consolidatory landscape or will many of the new entrants die? Why is Raf planning to invest hundreds of millions into Europe over the coming years? 5.) Driver Efficiency & CACs: What have been Raf's biggest lessons when it comes to driver efficiency? How many deliveries does a driver need to make in one hour for the model to work? How does Raf think about the negative network effects of the model where the more demand, the longer delivery time? How can GoPuff prevent that? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Rafael Ilishayev Rafael’s Favourite Book: Trillion-Dollar Coach: The Leadership Handbook of Silicon Valley's Bill Campbell As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!
35 min 25 sec
Jay Simons is a General Partner @ Bond Capital, with their $1.25Bn debut growth fund in 2019 they made their mark on the venture landscape and have since made investments in the likes of Revolut, Canva, NextDoor, IronClad and my favourite, On Running. As for Jay, prior to entering venture, he spent an incredible 12 years at Atlassian including 9 years as President, playing an instrumental role in their hyper-growth journey. Jay is also a board member with both Zapier and HubSpot, two of my favourite SaaS companies. In Today’s Episode with Jay Simons You Will Learn: 1.) How Jay made his way into the world of startups following a stint as a pianist in Asia and how that startup journey led to his joining Bond on the venture side? 2.) Why does Jay believe the best companies build economies around themselves? What does this look like in reality? When is the right time for the company to start building these economies? As an investor, what are the signs that a founder is proactively thinking about this? What are some of the biggest mistakes people make when building economies? 3.) Why does Jay believe Partner/Channel networks can be so powerful? When is the right time to build out channel partners? What is the training framework for these partners before they can represent your products in market? How do channel partners change the internal structure and resource allocation for a company? What mistakes do people make with these partners? 4.) How does Jay think about when is the right time to build a second product? What were the biggest takeaways from his time at Atlassian on building product suites? How does Jay determine when is the right time to move upmarket into enterprise? How does this change in a world of product-led growth? 5.) Why did Jay decide now was the right time to move into venture with Bond? For what reasons did Jay choose Bond, over all the other firms? What have been the biggest surprises for Jay from his first 100 days in venture? What have been the most challenging elements? How did Jay embrace the common challenge of building the conviction to write the first check? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Jay Simons Jay’s Favourite Book: The River Why Jay’s Most Recent Investment: Sentry As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!
37 min 39 sec
Tony Xu is the CEO and Co-founder of DoorDash, the company empowering merchants to grow their businesses by offering on-demand delivery, data-driven insights, and better in-store efficiency. Prior to their IPO in December 2020, Tony raised over $2.5Bn for DoorDash from some of the best including Sequoia, Coatue, Softbank, Kleiner Perkins and DST, to name a few. Before co-founding the business in 2013, Tony worked in Product at Square, led special projects for the CEO and CFO at eBay, and began his career at McKinsey and Company. In Today’s Episode with Tony Xu You Will Learn: 1.) How did Tony make his way into the world of startups and what was that founding a-ha moment for Tony with the founding of DoorDash? What were Tony's biggest takeaways from seeing his parents work ethic at such a young age? How did it impact his operating mentality? 2.) Leadership Style: What does great leadership mean to Tony today? In what ways has Tony's leadership style changed over the DoorDash journey? How does Tony assess his own persistence and grit? Through what framework does Tony decide what to delegate vs what to control? 3.) Decision-Making & Risk: How does Tony evaluate his decision-making process today? What does Tony mean when he says, "you have to reduce the scope"? How does Tony think about understanding the interplay of different variants in a decision? Through what framework does Tony assess risk today? How has Tony's approach to risk and decision-making changed over time? 4.) Talent Acquisition: What have been Tony's biggest lessons in acquiring the best talent? What has worked well in the past? In what ways have they not acquired talent they should have acquired? What type of talent worked in the early days? How has that changed? Through what framework does Tony decide between a stretch VP and a stretch too far? 5.) Culture & Diversity: How does Tony think through the breakpoints in the scaling of culture? At what points did Tony feel the DoorDash culture was not what he wanted it to be? How did he react to change it? Through what process has Tony measured the success of DoorDash's diversity efforts? Which initiatives have worked? Are there any that have not? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Tony Xu Tony’s Favourite Book: Score Takes Care Of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!
38 min 32 sec
Eric Glyman is the Founder and CEO @ Ramp, the only corporate card and spend management platform designed to help you spend less. To date, Eric has raised over $390M for the company from some of the best including Thrive, Stripe, Founders Fund, Coatue and Box Group to name a few. Prior to changing the game of spend management, Eric founded Paribus, the price-tracking app that raised seed funding from General Catalyst and Greylock, which was acquired by Capital One in 2016. In Today’s Episode with Eric Glyman You Will Learn: 1.) Entry to Startups: How Eric made his way into the world of startups with Paribus and how that journey and exit led to his founding the recently minted unicorn, Ramp? 2.) Decision-Making: How does Eric deal with moments of intense pressure as a leader? How does pressure impact Eric's decision-making quality? Through what framework does Eric evaluate his decision-making process today? Why does Eric believe operational velocity is so key to company success? How does Eric determine between being fast vs spending real time on something? 3.) Funding Rounds: Why does Eric believe that "funding rounds are science experiments"? What should founders look to prove or disprove with each round? Why does Eric believe "you should never take the highest price"? What are the downsides? How does it impact employee stock options? Does it change investor sentiment? How does it change customer acquisition through referrals? 4.) The Rise of Crossover Funds: What does Eric make of the rise of crossover funds? In what way does their value differ to the value provided by traditional VCs? How does their communication style differ compared to traditional VCs? Does Eric worry about the signalling risk of having crossover funds invested early? Does Eric believe they will change the landscape of venture? 5.) Board Management: How does Eric analyse his style of board management today? How has it changed over time? Where does Eric believe many founders go wrong when it comes to board management? How can boards be used to bring together the wider team and company? What documents does Eric always prepare for the board? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Eric Glyman Eric’s Favourite Book: John Wooden: The Legendary UCLA Coach's Top 20 Quotes As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!
40 min 31 sec
Byron Deeter is a Partner @ Bessemer Venture Partners and one of the world's leading investors in SaaS and cloud. To date, nineteen of Byron’s investments are valued above $1 billion, including ten IPOs and counting. Some of the incredible companies within Byron's portfolio include Twilio, ServiceTitan, Hashicorp, Canva, Intercom, DocuSign, SendGrid, the list goes on. Prior to joining the world of venture, Byron was an entrepreneur, raising a Series A from Bessemer and scaling the company to be one of the first global SaaS companies, reaching profitability and successfully selling to IBM. CLICK TO LISTEN ON ITUNES In Today’s Episode with Byron Deeter You Will Learn: 1.) How Deven made his way into the world of venture and how that led to his becoming a Managing Director @ Insight, way back in 2000? 2.) The Market: Many people passed on Twilio, what did Byron see that others did not? Did Byron have concerns around the TAM? What made Byron feel comfortable they were not too early? How did Byron assess whether customers would churn off Twilio when they scaled to a size they could build their own infrastructure? How does Byron advise founders on this challenge today? 3.) The Team: What did Byron find some compelling about Jeff so early on? Jeff has been an incredible CEO from pre-seed to post-IPO, what has enabled Jeff specifically to scale with the company so successfully? What does Byron do to build the trust and rapport with founders that he does? What works? What does not work? How does that look today with Zoom? 4.) The Incumbents & Competition: Why does Byron believe the incumbent advantage is actually an incumbent disadvantage? What specifically has Byron found underwhelming about how the incumbents have tried to respond? In what tangible and specific way are startups better placed to win than incumbents? How does Byron advise founders to assess other startup competitors? 5.) The Funding: Twilio is Bessemer's single largest position ever, how does Byron know when is the right time to double down on an investment? What signals does he look for? Has this changed with the massive price inflation we have seen over the last year? How does Byron analyse the influx of new capital? Where is it good? What are the challenges to it? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Byron Deeter Revolut Business is a financial super app for all things business. It’s a super easy, powerful and personalised account that gives you control over all your business finances and processes in one place. Joining Revolut Business lets you send and receive money at the interbank rate, with no hidden fees as well as opening accounts in more than 28 currencies. You can also streamline your business processes by integrating all your apps or plugins, like accounting and expenses, and manage it from one place. You get more control over your day-to-day business finances, processes and management which means you can focus on your actual business goals. I’ve partnered with Revolut Business to bring you an exclusive 2-month paid plan for free, so you can move your business forward. Click here to claim your free 2-month trial and get started. As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!
42 min 53 sec
Nigel Morris is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of QED Investors, one of the leading fintech-focused venture firms of the last decade with numerous unicorn investments, including Credit Karma, NuBank, Avant, SoFi, Klarna, GreenSky, and AvidXchange. Prior to QED, Nigel co-founded Capital One Financial Services in 1994. During his 10-year tenure, Nigel transitioned Capital One from an emerging start-up to an established public company valued at over $20 billion with over 15,000 employees. Finally, Nigel also sits on or has sat on the board of Nubank, Prosper, Zopa, Klarna, The Economist and London Business School to name a few. In Today’s Episode with Nigel Morris You Will Learn: 1.) How Nigel made his way into the world of startups with Capital One back in 1994 and how that journey led to his founding one of the leading fintech investment firms in QED? What made Nigel want to develop QED from a family office into a large scaling venture firm? 2.) Where does Nigel's passion for mental health stem from? Why does Nigel believe VC and entrepreneurship is riddled with mental health problems? How does Nigel deal with his own self-doubt and insecurity? In what way does Nigel analyse his own relationship to money today? How has it changed over time? How has that relationship to money changed how he thinks about investing? 3.) What does Nigel believe it takes to be a great listener? How does Nigel think about asking the risk questions to move the founder to the right insight? How does Nigel create the conditions where the entrepreneur can be much more open? What questions would Nigel never ask? How does Nigel describe his style of board membership? How has it changed? 4.) How does Nigel think about the centrality of unit economics? What does Nigel look for in the way that the entrepreneur thinks through and analyses unit economics? When does Nigel believe you have tangible data to rely on to justify unit economics? What is the biggest challenge with unit economics? What should companies do when their competitors raise massive funding rounds? 5.) Why does Nigel believe that "bundling" is a canard? What does not work regarding how traditional "bundling" works? Why might it be different for the next generation of fintech providers to bundle different products? Why does Nigel believe lending is a much harder insertion point to start than current accounts? How does Nigel think about the right insertion point? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Nigel Morris Nigel’s Favourite Book: Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World Nigel’s Most Recent Investment: Bitso As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!
45 min 52 sec
José Neves is the Founder, CEO & Chairman @ Farfetch, the #1 destination for high-end fashion offering the world's Greatest Selection of Luxury. Now a public company, José has raised over $1.7Bn with Farfetch from some of the biggest names including Alibaba, Richemont, JD.com, Index Ventures and DST to name a few. Prior to Farfetch, José has been involved in the fashion start-up world since the mid-1990s when he launched footwear business SWEAR. José later founded SIX London, a fashion licensing and wholesale company selling to 600 retailers worldwide. Finally, in 2001 José opened the renowned boutique bstore, which won the British Fashion Award for Retailer of the Year in 2006. In Today’s Episode with José Neves You Will Learn: 1.) How José made his way from creating footwear brands in the days of the Spice Girls and cyberpunk to changing the fashion industry itself with Farfetch? 2.) Why does Zen Buddhism resonate with José in such a profound way? How does his adoption of it impact his style of leadership today? How does José deal with the loneliness of being a CEO? What does José mean when he says the most successful leaders, "know how to fall and how to get up"? How has José responded to his greatest failures? 3.) How does José think about decision-making today? What are the biggest misconceptions people have with regards to effective decision-making? Why is head vs heart the wrong way to think about decision-making? How does José adopt a sense of emotional detachment when making decisions? What works? What does not work? 4.) How does José evaluate his relationship to money today? In what ways has it changed over time? What does José believe that others do not believe when it comes to risk and risk management? How does José balance the demands of Wall St and investors with the knowledge that everything is inherently uncertain? 5.) Does José ever feel self-doubt? How does he manage it? In what ways does he advise earlier stage founders to grapple with their own self-doubt? How does José think about tying one's own identity to their company? Why is this so dangerous? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with José Neves José’s Favourite Book: The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!
40 min 2 sec
Deven Parekh is a Managing Director at Insight Partners, one of the leading investing franchises of the last 25 years with $30Bn+ in capital commitments, 400+ primary investments and over 200 portfolio acquisitions. Deven himself has made more than 90 investments since joining in 2000 including in the likes of Twitter, Alibaba, JD.com, Chargebee and Automattic (WordPress) to name a few. Deven also sits on the boards of Checkout.com, Calm, Saks.com, Optimizely and 1stDibs, again naming a few. If that was not enough, Deven also serves on the Board of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Board of the Tisch New York MS Research Center. As a result of his investing success, Deven has been named on Forbes Midas List 5 time and has been selected as a Top 100 Venture Capitalist by CB Insights 4 times. In Today’s Episode with Deven Parekh You Will Learn: 1.) How Deven made his way into the world of venture and how that led to his becoming a Managing Director @ Insight, way back in 2000? 2.) How does Deven analyse the current fundraising mania? Does portfolio discipline and temporal diversification matter anymore? How has Deven and Insight seen the velocity of fundraises change over the years? What can Deven and Insight do to get compress their decision-making timeliness with the compression of fundraising timelines? 3.) How does Deven assess his relationship to price and price sensitivity? What have been some core lessons for Deven when comparing deals that they did which were "cheap" vs "expensive"? How do Insight think about required levels of ownership today? Does Deven believe it is possible to build ownership over time? What is required to do so? What are the challenges? 4.) How would Deven describe his style of board membership today? How has it changed over time? What advice does Deven have for younger board members scaling into the role? How does Deven think about his time allocation across the portfolio? What is the optimal? How does this differ from reality? Why do your winners never need you? 5.) How does Deven evaluate his own insecurities and self-doubt today? In what way have these changed over time? How does Deven analyse the "weight of his words" within Insight? How does Insight structure the internal decision-making process to ensure that everyone's voice is heard? In what ways can firms foster that security for young partners to feel they can bring anything to the table? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Deven Parekh Deven's Favourite Book: What We Know About Climate Change (The MIT Press), Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process Deven’s Most Recent Investment: TetraScience As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!
39 min 25 sec
Ryan Smith is the Founder and Executive Chairman @ Qualtrics, the leader in customer experience and creator of the experience management (XM) category. Ryan has grown the company from a basement startup to one of the fastest-growing technology companies in the world, with 25 offices globally and more than 13,000 customers. Qualtrics raised $400M in funding from Accel, Sequoia, and Insight Venture Partners. Three days before the company was initially scheduled to go public, SAP announced its intent to acquire Qualtrics for $8B, which was the largest private enterprise software acquisition ever. In 2020, Qualtrics and SAP announced plans to take Qualtrics public as an independently operated company. In Today’s Episode with Ryan Smith You Will Learn: 1.) How Ryan made his way into the world of startups having travelled the world and came to found Qualtrics in his basement over 21 years ago? 2.) How does Ryan think about his relationship to happiness and what it means to "be happy"? How does Ryan think about identity and founders aligning their identities to their company? How does Ryan think, if not careful, tech can eat you up? What does Ryan mean when he says he would rather be "opportunistic than an entrepreneur"? 3.) How does Ryan approach decision-making today? In what situations does Ryan think with his head vs his heart? How does Ryan approach risk today? How has his relationship to risk changed over time? What did the sale process to SAP look like? What was that decision-making process to sell to SAP for $8BN in cash vs IPO? What advice did his wife give him? 4.) How does Ryan evaluate his relationship to money today? How did it feel when Ryan sold Qualtrics to SAP for $8BN in cash? How does Ryan think about giving his children the right mentality and upbringing while being brought up in extreme wealth? What are the challenges of doing so? 5.) How does Ryan think about the weight of responsibility? Ryan and his brother Jared, did a lot very young, did Ryan feel the pressure of having to grow up faster than one usually would? How did that impact his mentality? How did Ryan's travels to Mexico and Japan change the person he is today? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Ryan Smith Ryan’s Favourite Book: Alchemist: A Fable about Following Your Dream As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!
40 min 49 sec
Marcos Galperin is the Founder and CEO @ MercadoLibre, one of LATAM's most successful companies of the last 2 decades. Today MercadoLibre's market cap exceeds $78Bn and the business includes everything from commerce to payments to logistics. Marcos is widely considered one of the great entrepreneurs of the last 2 decades scaling the business from its founding in 1999 while in business school at Stanford to today, a leader in LATAM operating across 18 countries and plans to end 2021 with over 32,000 employees. In Today’s Episode with Marcos Galperin You Will Learn: 1.) How Marcos made his way into the world of startups and came up with the idea for MercadoLibre while at Stanford Business School? 2.) Talent Acquisition and Retention: What have been some of Marcos' biggest lessons on what it takes to acquire A* talent? Does Marcos believe individuals can scale across company stages? When is a stretch hire a stretch too far? What has been the secret to Marcos having such a retained leadership team? What works? What does not? 3.) Risk and Decision-Making: How does Marcos evaluate his relationship to risk today? What frameworks does Marcos use to make effective decisions today? How does Marcos think about short term vs long term when it comes to resource allocation? How does Marcos prioritise where he makes decisions vs where he is willing to delegate? 4.) Funding and The Crash: How does Marcos reflect on his biggest lessons from going through 2 crashes with MercadoLibre? How did he change the way he ran the business post crash? How does Marcos advise founders today when big rounds are on offer, take the money or wait? What other components are important to consider in this decision? Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode with Marcos Galperin Parker’s Favourite Book: Built To Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!
33 min 36 sec