20VC: How To Upscale Management Teams Effectively, When Should The CEO Play The Role of “Lifeguard” & What Role Does The Board Play In The Team Upscaling with Matt Straz, Founder & CEO @ Namely

Matt Straz is the Founder & CEO @ Namely, the leading HR platform for mid-sized companies. Since founding Namely, Matt has grown Namely to over 1,000 clients, 150,000 users, and has raised $158M from the likes of Sequoia Capital, True Ventures, Matrix and Bullpen, just to name a few. Prior to Namely, Matt was co-founder of Pictela, an ad tech company he sold to AOL in 2010, and a long-time media and advertising executive. Due to this success, Matt has been named one of the 100 most intriguing entrepreneurs by Goldman Sachs.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Matt made his first forays into the world of tech and startups and the a-ha moment for the founding of Namely?

2.) When does one go from a world-class startup team to a world-class leadership team? How did Matt go about making this transition? What were the core challenges? Does Matt Continue reading "20VC: How To Upscale Management Teams Effectively, When Should The CEO Play The Role of “Lifeguard” & What Role Does The Board Play In The Team Upscaling with Matt Straz, Founder & CEO @ Namely"

20VC: How To Balance Between Vision and Stubbornness, Why Speed Is The Most Important Startup Superpower & The Main Role of A Startup Founder Today with James Currier, Managing Director @ NFX

James Currier is the Managing Partner @ NFX and one of Silicon Valley’s foremost experts in growth and network effects. Just last week, NFX announded their latest fund, a new $150m fund to turn NFX into a significant institution.  As for James, before becoming an investor, he co-founded one of the internet’s first successful user-generated companies, Tickle, in 1999. Under James’ leadership, Tickle grew to become the 18th largest website in the world and was acquired by Monster for $110 million. James then co-founded three other successful companies - Wonderhill (online video games, merged with Kabam in 2010 which then sold for $800M), IronPearl (acquired by PayPal in 2013), and Jiff (raised $68M from Venrock & GE before merging with Castlight in 2017).

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How James made his way from multiple success in the world of operations with Tickle, Jiff and Wonderhill to now managing NFX's new $150m Continue reading "20VC: How To Balance Between Vision and Stubbornness, Why Speed Is The Most Important Startup Superpower & The Main Role of A Startup Founder Today with James Currier, Managing Director @ NFX"

20VC: Inside The World’s Leading Crypto Fund, The Future Exit Environment for Crypto Assets & The Beauty Of Benevolent Dictatorship with Olaf Carlson-Wee, Founder @ Polychain Capital

Olaf Carlson-Wee is the Founder & CEO @ Polychain Capital, one of the world's premier funds actively managing a portfolio of blockchain assets. Having founded the firm less than 2 years ago with their initial $4m fund, Polychain now has over $200m AUM with backing from the likes of Sequoia, Founders Fund, Andreessen Horowitz and USV just to name a few. Prior to founding Polychain, Olaf was the first employee at Coinbase serving as their Head of Risk and as product manager. In addition, Olaf has also been an active angel with a portfolio including the likes of Robinhood, Ethereum and Numerai.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Olaf made his way into the world of crypto from academic studies to Coinbase to today with Polychain?

2.) What really is Polychain Capital and what is the primary mandate with the $250m AUM? With the firm's investments being always liquid, Continue reading "20VC: Inside The World’s Leading Crypto Fund, The Future Exit Environment for Crypto Assets & The Beauty Of Benevolent Dictatorship with Olaf Carlson-Wee, Founder @ Polychain Capital"

20VC: AppDynamic’s Jyoti Bansal on The Sale vs IPO Process with AppDynamics’ $3.7Bn Exit & The 3 Simple Things VCs Look For When Investing In Startups

Jyoti Bansal is the former Founder & CEO of AppDynamics, backed to the tune of over $350m in VC funding from the likes of Lightspeed, Greylock and Kleiner Perkins, just to name a few, before it’s ultimate acquisition by Cisco for $3.7Bn. Today, Jyoti is the Founder and CEO of BIG Labs, essentially a laboratory for creating, developing, and launching innovative ideas. The first of these ideas being turned into companies being, Harness.io the industry’s first continuous delivery as a service platform, where Jyoti is the Founder & CEO. As a result of his tremendous success, Jyoti has been a recipient of many leadership awards including, “Best Cloud Computing CEO to Work For,” “Best CEO” by San Francisco Business Times.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jyoti made his way from selling farm machinery with his father in India to founding and selling AppDynamics for $3.7Bn?

2. Continue reading "20VC: AppDynamic’s Jyoti Bansal on The Sale vs IPO Process with AppDynamics’ $3.7Bn Exit & The 3 Simple Things VCs Look For When Investing In Startups"

20VC: The Value Chain of Machine Learning, Is There Really An Incumbency Advantage in ML & Will The Rise In Cyber Remain For the Long Term with Jake Flomenberg, Partner @ Accel

Jake Flomenberg is a Partner @ Accel, one of the top performing venture funds of the last decade with investments in the likes of Dropbox, Slack, Facebook, Deliveroo and Atlassian, just to name a few. As for Jake, at Accel he specializes on all things Big Data and has led investments in the likes of Demisto, Origami Logic, Sumo Logic, Trifacta, and Zoomdata.  Prior to Accel, Jake was director of product management at Splunk, where he was responsible for the product’s user interface and big data strategy. Before that, he worked at Cloudera where he helped the founding team tackle a broad array of sales, marketing and product issues.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jake made the transition from the world of operations with Cloudera and Splunk to the other side of the table, as Partner at Accel?

2.) Why does Jake believe a large element of his role is "how to make AI not BS"? Continue reading "20VC: The Value Chain of Machine Learning, Is There Really An Incumbency Advantage in ML & Will The Rise In Cyber Remain For the Long Term with Jake Flomenberg, Partner @ Accel"

20VC: Accel GP, Rich Wong on When Is The Right Time To Scale A Startup, Optimising Initial vs Follow-On Investment Decision-Making & The Globalisation of VC In Recent Years

Rich Wong is a General Partner @ Accel, one of the world's leading venture funds with investments in the likes of Dropbox, Slack, Facebook, Deliveroo and Atlassian, just to name a few. As for Rich, Rich has led investments in the likes of Rovio (IPO), SwiftKey, AdMob, MoPub and more incredible companies. Rich also sits on the boards of the likes of Checkr, Osmo, Rovio and Atlassian where he was first outside Board member and lead investor. Prior to joining Accel, Rich served as SVP of products for mobile pioneer, Openwave Systems and CMO of Covad Communications.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Rich made his way into the world of VC with Accel from OpenWave and having been active in the mobile and broadband ecosystems?

2.) What does Rich mean when he states the rise of the "Globalisation of VC"? How does Accel both find and win deals in locations such as Continue reading "20VC: Accel GP, Rich Wong on When Is The Right Time To Scale A Startup, Optimising Initial vs Follow-On Investment Decision-Making & The Globalisation of VC In Recent Years"

20VC: Overcoming The Engineer Boys Club, Disrupting The “Pink Aisle” & Why VCs Are Missing A Trick Not Investing In The CPG Space with Debbie Sterling, Founder & CEO @ Goldieblox

Debbie Sterling is the Founder & CEO @ Goldieblox, an award‐winning toy company on a mission to “disrupt the pink aisle.” An engineer and entrepreneur, Sterling has made it her mission in life to tackle the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Sterling was named TIME's “Person of the Moment” and Business Insider's “30 Women Who Are Changing the World” and is regarded as one of the leaders of the movement toward getting more girls interested in engineering and technology. In January 2014, GoldieBlox beat out more than 20,000 businesses in a contest run by Intuit to become the first‐ever small business to air a commercial during the Super Bowl.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Debbie overcame the "engineering boys club" at Stanford and the a-ha moment that led to the creation of Goldieblox?

2.) How does Debbie look to overcome those really tough Continue reading "20VC: Overcoming The Engineer Boys Club, Disrupting The “Pink Aisle” & Why VCs Are Missing A Trick Not Investing In The CPG Space with Debbie Sterling, Founder & CEO @ Goldieblox"

20VC: Why Convertible Notes Are Ridiculous, Why Party Rounds Are Bad For Both Founder and Investor & Why Pro-Rata Rights Are A Mess with David Waxman, Founding Partner @ TenOneTen Ventures

David Waxman is the Founding Partner @ TenOneTen Ventures, one of the leading new venture firms in the rising tide of LA tech. Their portfolio companies have enjoyed exits from the likes of Facebook, Google, Amazon Cisco, AirBnB and including companies like eCommerce pioneer and unicorn, Wish and the world’s leading airspace services platform, AirMap. As for David, prior to TenOneTen, David enjoyed an incredible career in operations starting with the founding of his first company, Firefly in 1995, an early pioneer in personalization and privacy technology which he sold to Microsoft in 1998. David then co-founded PeoplePC, a company dedicated to simplifying the process of joining the online world. The company went public in 2001 and was acquired by EarthLink in 2002.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How David made his way from selling a company to Microsoft and taking the next public to being one of the leading new managers in Continue reading "20VC: Why Convertible Notes Are Ridiculous, Why Party Rounds Are Bad For Both Founder and Investor & Why Pro-Rata Rights Are A Mess with David Waxman, Founding Partner @ TenOneTen Ventures"

20VC: Kleiner Perkins’ Bing Gordon on Lessons From Serving On Amazon & Zynga’s Board, Why The Best Investors Are Good Listeners and Sceptical Optimists & The Most Important Value Add A VC Can Provide

Bing Gordon is a Partner and Chief Product Officer @ Kleiner Perkins, one of the world’s most prestigious venture funds with prior investments in the likes of Google, Amazon, Twitter, Square and Airbnb just to name a few. At Kleiner Bing has either worked with or invested in the likes of Spotify, Zynga, Amazon, Twitter and Magic Leap, just to name a few. Bing also serves on the boards of Zynga, Zazzle, N3twork and until March this year, Amazon. Prior to Kleiner, Bing had been a long-time executive at Electronic Arts, beginning with EA’s founding in 1982 with initial funding from Kleiner Perkins. He was chief creative officer at EA from 1998 to 2008 and previously headed EA marketing and product development.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Bing made the move from Chief Creative Officer at EA to Partner @ Kleiner Perkins?

2.) What were Bing's Continue reading "20VC: Kleiner Perkins’ Bing Gordon on Lessons From Serving On Amazon & Zynga’s Board, Why The Best Investors Are Good Listeners and Sceptical Optimists & The Most Important Value Add A VC Can Provide"

20VC: Why Strategic Investing Is Slow Motion M&A, Why Valuation Is The Hardest Element of M&A & What Determines Between Cash vs Stock Deals with Chad Richard, SVP of Business & Corporate Development @ Yelp

Chad Richard is the Senior Vice President of Business & Corporate Development @ Yelp, where he leads acquisition and investment activity. Yelp is one of the most active in the space having acquired both NoWait and Turnstyle Analytics, plus selling Eat24 to GrubHub for $287.5m, all in the past year. Prior to Yelp, Chad spent six years at Apple as Senior Director of Worldwide Product Marketing focused on Apple’s operating systems and internet services. Prior to Apple, he cofounded and was CEO of Simple Star, a photo and video software and services company that was acquired by Roxio. If that was not enough, Chad has also advised the likes of Flipboard, MoveWith and Curbside, just to name a few.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Chad make his way from startup founder to leading Apple's M&A charge to today, running M&A with Yelp?

2. Continue reading "20VC: Why Strategic Investing Is Slow Motion M&A, Why Valuation Is The Hardest Element of M&A & What Determines Between Cash vs Stock Deals with Chad Richard, SVP of Business & Corporate Development @ Yelp"

20VC: Zynga’s Mark Pincus on When To Ride Your Winners and Cut Your Losers, Why People With “Broken Resumes” Make The Best Hires & The 2 Biggest Lies Told In Silicon Valley By Founders and VCs

Mark Pincus is a serial entrepreneur and investor, best known for founding Zynga, the first company to introduce the mass market to social gaming. To date, more than one billion people around the world have played Zynga’s games, which include hits like FarmVille and Words with Friends. Mark is also known for his investments in some of the internet’s largest and most successful companies, including Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb, Snapchat and Xiaomi. One of the earliest pioneers in social networking, Mark founded multiple startups including support.com and tribe.net, before going on to create Zynga. A fun fact - recognizing the importance of social networking, in 2003 Mark teamed up with his friend Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn, to purchase the fundamental Six Degrees patent –  which broadly covers social networks – in order to keep it out of the hands of patent trolls and guarantee that all players could innovate on Continue reading "20VC: Zynga’s Mark Pincus on When To Ride Your Winners and Cut Your Losers, Why People With “Broken Resumes” Make The Best Hires & The 2 Biggest Lies Told In Silicon Valley By Founders and VCs"

20VC: Why Valley Investors Are Really Gamblers, Why The Business Model of Selling To The Biggest Sucker Is Wrong & Why The Best Potential Hires Don’t Care Who Your VC is with David Barrett, Founder & CEO @ Expensify

David Barrett is the Founder & CEO @ Expensify, the startup relieving the world’s frustrations, one expense report at a time. With 35,000 companies and more than 5 million users, David has raised close to $30m from the likes of Redpoint, OpenView, Travis Kalanick, Baseline and SV Angel. However, David certainly does not have traditional views on funding, something we very much touch on in the interview today! Prior to Expensify, David built a peer-to-peer file transfer technology called Red Swoosh with Uber's Travis Kalanick, which was acquired by Akamai in 2007.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How David went from founding Red Swoosh with Travis Kalanick to changing the sexy world of expense reporting with Expensify?

2.) Why does David want to change the cult of the second time entrepreneur? Why does David believe that Silicon Valley fundamentally changes exits in the wrong way? How does David define true Continue reading "20VC: Why Valley Investors Are Really Gamblers, Why The Business Model of Selling To The Biggest Sucker Is Wrong & Why The Best Potential Hires Don’t Care Who Your VC is with David Barrett, Founder & CEO @ Expensify"

20VC: Why VCs Fundamentally Assess Founders The Wrong Way, Why VC Needs To Innovate On The Scouting Model & Why SAFE’s and Convertible Notes Are The Future Of Investing with Elizabeth Yin, Founder & General Partner @ Hustle Fund

Elizabeth Yin is the Co-Founder & Managing Partner @ Hustle Fund, as they describe, the ventue fund for hilariously early hustlers. Elizabeth is also the co-founder of HustleCon, a conference series for non-technical entrepreneurs to launch and scale their startups. Prior to Hustle Fund, Elizabeth was a Partner @ 500 Startups where she ran the 500 Startups seed program in Mountain View and where she and her partner saw over 20,000 startup decks. Before that Elizabeth was a successful operator, as the Co-Founder and CEO of Launchbit, an adtech platform that was acquired by BuySellAds.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Elizabeth made her way from successful founder with LaunchBit to Partner @ 500 Startups to now founding partner of Hustle Fund?

2.) Why does Elizabeth believe that VCs fundamentally assess founders the wrong way? What is the right way to assess founders in such early stages? How can one really stress Continue reading "20VC: Why VCs Fundamentally Assess Founders The Wrong Way, Why VC Needs To Innovate On The Scouting Model & Why SAFE’s and Convertible Notes Are The Future Of Investing with Elizabeth Yin, Founder & General Partner @ Hustle Fund"

20VC: a16z’s Alex Rampell on The Struggle Between Innovation vs Distribution, When How To Determine Whether An Application is Optimised Through Centralised or Decentralised Networks & Why Most ICOs Today Are Ridiculous

Alex Rampell is a General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz where he leads the firms fintech investments and serves on the boards of Branch, PeerStreet, Point, and Quantopian. Prior to joining a16z, he was the CEO and co-founder of TrialPay, a leading transactional advertising and payments company with 100 employees and over $300M in revenue. TrialPay was acquired by Visa in 2015. Previously, Alex cofounded FraudEliminator, the first consumer anti-phishing company, which merged into SiteAdvisor and was acquired by McAfee for $75M in 2006. Prior to joining the firm, Alex had been an active angel investor with the likes of Pinterest, Bloomreach, SiftScience among many others in his portfolio and served as an advisor to the SV Angel fund. He also co-founded three other companies: TXN, Point, and Affirm, with Max Levchin.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Alex make the move from serial entrepreneur with numerous Continue reading "20VC: a16z’s Alex Rampell on The Struggle Between Innovation vs Distribution, When How To Determine Whether An Application is Optimised Through Centralised or Decentralised Networks & Why Most ICOs Today Are Ridiculous"

20VC: Why Self-Awareness Is The Most Important Characteristic For Founders, When Is The Right Time For A CEO To Hand Over The Reigns & What CEO’s Can Learn About Company Culture From Teaching Middle School with Lloyd Tabb, Founder & Chairman @ Looker

Lloyd Tabb is the Founder & Chairman @ Looker, the startup leader pioneering the next generation of business intelligence (BI). They have raised over $175m from some of the best in the business including CapitalG, Kleiner Perkins, First Round, Redpoint & PivotNorth. As for Llyod himself, he has spent the last 25 years revolutionizing how the world uses the internet, starting with his founding of Commerce Tools, which was acquired by Netscape. At Netscape, Lloyd led several releases of Communicator and helped define Mozilla.org. Following Netscape, Lloyd later was CTO of LiveOps, co-founder of Readyforce and founder then advisor to Luminate.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Lloyd make his way into the world of startups and come to sell his first to Netscape at such a young age?

2.) Why did Lloyd decide to hand over the reigns of CEO to Frank at such an early Continue reading "20VC: Why Self-Awareness Is The Most Important Characteristic For Founders, When Is The Right Time For A CEO To Hand Over The Reigns & What CEO’s Can Learn About Company Culture From Teaching Middle School with Lloyd Tabb, Founder & Chairman @ Looker"

20VC: The Lean Startup’s Eric Ries on The Missing Function of Entrepreneurship in Most Companies, Creating A New Accountability Paradigm & How To Structure Promotions and Compensation In The New Structure

Eric Ries is the author of International Bestseller, The Lean Startup, which changed the language of business introducing terms such as A/B testing, MVP and "pivoting". The book has sold over 1m copies and been translated into over 130 languages launching a global "lean startup" movement. Eric is also the author of the recently released, The Startup Way, detailing transformations at tech titans such as Facebook and Amazon, providing a framework for entrepreneurial management. In addition, Eric is also the Founder & CEO of The Long-Term Stock Exchange and has served as an EiR at the likes of Harvard Business School, IDEO and Pivotal.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) What is the origin story of "The Lean Startup" and Eric's realizations for the importance of the methodologies presented in the book?

2.) What is the matrix management structure? In which cases does it work well? Where does Continue reading "20VC: The Lean Startup’s Eric Ries on The Missing Function of Entrepreneurship in Most Companies, Creating A New Accountability Paradigm & How To Structure Promotions and Compensation In The New Structure"

20VC: Oren Zeev on Why Diversification Does Not Work, Thesis Based Investing Is Sceptical & Partners Mostly Stay Together For LPs

Oren Zeev is the Founding Partner @ Zeev Ventures, one of Silicon Valley's most under the radar but high performing funds with a portfolio including the likes of Houzz, Chegg, Audible, Bonobos and recent guest with Adi Sideman @ YouNow. Prior to founding Zeev Ventures, Oren was a General Partner @ Apax Partners, as part of the founding Apax Israel team. Before VC, Oren was a founding team member of IBM's chip design group in Haifa.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Oren made his way into the world of VC as part of the Apax Israel founding team? What was the catalyst behind his decision to go solo with Zeev Ventures?

2.) What were Oren's biggest lessons from investing in the up and down of the bubble with Apax? Why did this lead to Oren's belief that "diversification does not work"? How does that play out Continue reading "20VC: Oren Zeev on Why Diversification Does Not Work, Thesis Based Investing Is Sceptical & Partners Mostly Stay Together For LPs"

20VC: What Is Core To The Best Investor – Founder Relationships, The Biggest Risk For Founders In The Early Days & Why EQ Is The Most Important Trait For Managers with Jack Altman, Founder & CEO @ Lattice

Jack Altman is the Founder & CEO of Lattice, actually our partners for this month on the show and as you will hear, they are the #1 performance management solution for growing companies. Lattice have raised close to $10m in funding from some of our favourites in industry including the likes of Miles Grimshaw @ Thrive, Khosla Ventures, Elad Gil, Alexis Ohanian and YC’s Daniel Gross. Prior to founding Lattice, Jack was the Head of Business Development @ Lattice where he saw the firm move into hyperscaling. Jack has also build an incredible angel portfolio including the likes of Gusto, OpenDoor, Instacart, Zenefits and Soylent.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jack made his way from leading angel investor to Head of Business Development @ TeeSpring to the world of SaaS with the founding of Lattice?

2.) What does Jack mean when he says "founders must do what it takes to get the best people Continue reading "20VC: What Is Core To The Best Investor – Founder Relationships, The Biggest Risk For Founders In The Early Days & Why EQ Is The Most Important Trait For Managers with Jack Altman, Founder & CEO @ Lattice"

20VC: Y Combinator’s Paul Buchheit on Creating Gmail Version 1.0 & Leadership Lessons from Working With Zuckerberg and Larry Paige

Paul Buchheit is a Partner @ Y Combinator, the world’s most successful accelerator with portfolio companies including the likes of AirBnB, Dropbox, Stripe, Zenefits, Twitch, the list goes on. Before YC and starting from the beginning, Paul was the 23rd employee at Google where he created Gmail, developed the original prototype for Google AdSense and even suggested the company's former motto, "Don't Be Evil". He then started FriendFeed in 2006 where he created the like button as we know it, the company was later acquired by Facebook where Paul worked until his move to Y Combinator in 2010, where he is a partner. Paul is also a prolific angel having created an immense portfolio with the likes of Gusto, Checkr, Optimizely and many more incredible teams.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Paul made his way from creating Gmail in the early Google days, to founding the like button Continue reading "20VC: Y Combinator’s Paul Buchheit on Creating Gmail Version 1.0 & Leadership Lessons from Working With Zuckerberg and Larry Paige"

20VC: YC’s Ali Rowghani on Leadership Lessons From Steve Jobs, Ed Catmull and Jack Dorsey & The 3 Traits All Truly Successful Leaders Share

Ali Rowghani is a Partner @ Y Combinator, the world’s most successful accelerator with portfolio companies including the likes of AirBnB, Dropbox, Stripe, Zenefits, Twitch, the list goes on. At YC, Ali leads the Continuity Fund where has made investments in the likes of Segment, Convoy and Lob, where he also sits on the board of all 3. Prior to investing with YC, Ali spent 4 years at Twitter, starting as CFO before becoming COO. Whilst at Twitter, Ali saw the company scale from $0 revenues to over $2Bn and 20m users to close to 300m users. Before Twitter, Ali was the CFO @ Pixar Animation Studios.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Ali made his way from CFO @ Pixar and COO @ Twitter to now leading YC's continuity fund?

2.) Ali describes a story of his time at Pixar working with Steve Jobs? How did Continue reading "20VC: YC’s Ali Rowghani on Leadership Lessons From Steve Jobs, Ed Catmull and Jack Dorsey & The 3 Traits All Truly Successful Leaders Share"