20VC: How To Think About Founder-Category Fit, Why The Biggest Opportunities Are In Category Re-Architecture & What Can Be Done To Increase The Amount of Women In VC with Nadia Boujarwah, Founder & CEO @ Dia & Co

Nadia Boujarwah is the Founder & CEO @ Dia & Co, the startup that provides premier plus size clothing and styling for women. To date they have raised over $20m in funding from some of the best in the business including the likes of Alfred Lin @ Sequoia and the team @ NextView Ventures. Prior to Dia&Co Nadia was the CFO and COO @ Frieda and Nellie and also enjoyed time in the marketing and strategy team @ Diane von Furstenberg.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Nadia made her way from HBS grad to founding one of the hottest e-commerce companies of the day backed by Sequoia, Dia&Co?

2.) Why does Nadia believe that the biggest opportunity for value creation is through category creation? What does Nadia mean when she discusses category re-architecture? How does she think of the inherent cons (CAC, consumer education, distribution Continue reading "20VC: How To Think About Founder-Category Fit, Why The Biggest Opportunities Are In Category Re-Architecture & What Can Be Done To Increase The Amount of Women In VC with Nadia Boujarwah, Founder & CEO @ Dia & Co"

20VC: Dick Costolo on The Balance of Vision and Realism in Startups, The Biggest Challenge in Scaling Twitter & How To Optimise Decision Making Internally

Dick Costolo is the Chief Executive and co-founder of Chorus, a startup that is reimagining the path to personal fitness. Dick is also a Mentor @ Index Ventures, one of the world's leading venture funds, which he joined in 2016. Costolo was most recently Chief Executive of Twitter from 2010 to 2015, where was at the forefront for their hypergrowth onto the main stage of tech. Prior to joining Twitter, Dick co-founded and ran three startups, including FeedBurner, which sold to Google in 2007. The former improv comedian has been a consultant on HBO’s “Silicon Valley” and currently sits on the boards of Patreon and IfOnly.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Dick made his way from Improv Comedian to founding a startup acquired by Google and then becoming CEO of Twitter?

2.) Why does Dick believe that starting a company is like an improv Continue reading "20VC: Dick Costolo on The Balance of Vision and Realism in Startups, The Biggest Challenge in Scaling Twitter & How To Optimise Decision Making Internally"

20VC: Why Vulnerability Is A Strength In VC, 3 Core Components That Make The Most Successful VCs & How VCs and Entrepreneurs Can Build Meaningful Relationships Pre-Investment with Brian Garrett, Founding Partner @ Crosscut Ventures

Brian Garrett is the Founding Partner @ Crosscut Ventures, one of LA's leading venture funds today with a portfolio including Super Evil Mega Corp, The Black Tux and Mobcrush just to name a few. Incredibly during the early days of Crosscut, Brian went back into a full-time operating role with a Public-company turnaround at Quepasa.com before co-founding vertical eCommerce brand StyleSaint.com. After surviving with the equivalent of two full-time jobs for roughly 6 years, Brian the attention of institutional capital, which enabled CrossCut to scale into a fund with $75M raised for CrossCut 3 in 2015. This has snowballed to their latest fund raised in December being $125m.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Brian made his way into the world of VC and came to found one of LA's leading funds in the form of Crosscut?

2.) What does Brian believe are the Continue reading "20VC: Why Vulnerability Is A Strength In VC, 3 Core Components That Make The Most Successful VCs & How VCs and Entrepreneurs Can Build Meaningful Relationships Pre-Investment with Brian Garrett, Founding Partner @ Crosscut Ventures"

20VC: The Biggest Growth Opportunities for Young People in Tech Today, Why Distributed Workforces Are The Secret To Beating Incumbents & Why It Has Never Been Easier To Operate A Company Than Today with Andy Pflaum, Founder & CEO @ Astro

Andy Pflaum is the Founder & CEO @ Astro, the startup that brings email, calendar, and an AI-powered assistant together to help you focus on what’s most important. They have raised over $10m from leading West Coast investors such as Satish @ Redpoint, former guests Kent Goldman @ Upside and Michael Dearing @ Harrison Metal. As for Andy, prior to founding Astro, he spent 15 years in the valley, serving as the CMO @ Zimbra where he saw their immense scaling to their $350m acquisition by VMware where he then spent time on the other side of the table before moving to Chile to manage a family winery for 1.5 years.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Andy made his way into the world of startups, made the transition to large corporates with VMware and Yahoo, came to run a Winery in Chile before founding Astro?

Continue reading "20VC: The Biggest Growth Opportunities for Young People in Tech Today, Why Distributed Workforces Are The Secret To Beating Incumbents & Why It Has Never Been Easier To Operate A Company Than Today with Andy Pflaum, Founder & CEO @ Astro"

20VC: Investing Lessons From Fred Wilson and Brad Burnham @ USV, How CEO’s Can Operationally Utilise Their Board & The Single Most Important Quality of A CEO with Andrew Parker, General Partner @ Spark Capital

Andrew Parker is a General Partner @ Spark Capital, one of the best performing funds of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Twitter, Slack, Oculus, Medium, PostMates, Cruise (acq $1Bn) the list goes on. As for Andrew, he has led Spark’s investments in CartaKik, PanoramaEducationSocraticSplashParticle and Quantopian. Prior to joining Spark in 2010, Andrew was a member of the investment team at Union Square Ventures. Before becoming an investor, Andrew did UI design and user-experience testing at Homestead Technologies and was a web developer at Groupspace.org.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Andrew made his way from UI design and user-experience testing to joining the investment team @ USV and then joining Spark?

2.) Andrew credits USV with 2 big takeaways that influence how he invests today, what are they? What were Continue reading "20VC: Investing Lessons From Fred Wilson and Brad Burnham @ USV, How CEO’s Can Operationally Utilise Their Board & The Single Most Important Quality of A CEO with Andrew Parker, General Partner @ Spark Capital"

20VC: How To Analyse Platform Shifts Effectively, The Effects Of Not Having Free and Open Distribution & The Right Way To Think About Board Composition with Neil Young, Founder & CEO @ N3twork

Neil Young is the Founder & CEO @ N3twork, the next generation mobile games maker and publisher with their services already touching millions of customers. They have raised over $17m in VC funding from some of the very best in the business including Mike Maples @ Floodgate, Bing Gordon @ KPCB and the team at Google Ventures. Prior to N3TWORK, Neil founded ngmoco, a leading social mobile games company, acquired by DeNA for a reported up to $400m. Before ngmoco, Neil spent many years at Electronic Arts where he was responsible for producing some of EA's most successful game franchises including: The Lord of the Rings, The Sims, Medal of Honor and Command and Conquer, among others.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Neil made his way from telling his mother in the UK he was not going to university to producing world-leading games, to selling a company for a reported Continue reading "20VC: How To Analyse Platform Shifts Effectively, The Effects Of Not Having Free and Open Distribution & The Right Way To Think About Board Composition with Neil Young, Founder & CEO @ N3twork"

20VC: Why Brands Can Have The Same Revenue Multiples As Enterprise Companies & The Right Way To Think About Amazon In Today’s World of Commerce with Eurie Kim, General Partner @ Forerunner Ventures

Eurie Kim is a General Partner @ Forerunner Ventures, the early stage firm dedicated to investing in entrepreneurs defining the next generation of commerce. Fun fact, they are the only firm to have investments in both Jet.com and Dollar Shave Club, two of the biggest and highest-profile e-commerce exits in recent years. Forerunner also counts Birchbox, Bonobos, Glossier, Hotel Tonight, Warby Parker and Zola among its portfolio companies. Prior to Forerunner, Eurie was a consultant at Bain and before that an investor at Castanea Partners. Eurie currently sits on the boards of companies such as Away, MoveWith and The Farmers Dog, just to name a few.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Eurie made her into the world of VC and investing in the next generation of commerce with Forerunner?

2.) How does Eurie look to argue that commerce deals do attain the same revenue multiple Continue reading "20VC: Why Brands Can Have The Same Revenue Multiples As Enterprise Companies & The Right Way To Think About Amazon In Today’s World of Commerce with Eurie Kim, General Partner @ Forerunner Ventures"

20VC: Why You Should Not Always Listen To Your Investors, The Pros and Cons of Strategic Investors & How To Approach Operational Efficiency with Scaling with Florian Leibert, Founder & CEO @ Mesosphere

Florian Leibert is the Founder & CEO @ Mesosphere, the most flexible platform for containerized, data-intensive applications. They are trusted by some of the world's leading companies from Yelp to Yammer to Verizon and have raised over $120m in VC funding from the likes of a16z, Kleiner Perkins, Khosla, Data Collective and then incumbents such as Microsoft and Hewlett Packard. Prior to founding Mesosphere, Florian spent time with Twitter and Airbnb, both as a tech lead and if that was not enough, Florian also has a stellar angel portfolio including the likes of Away, Cockroach Labs, Drift and Buoyant.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Florian came to found Mesosphere? What were the big takeaways for him from his more formative years at Twitter and Airbnb?

2.) Why does Florian believe that sometimes "you should not listen to your investors"? What is the right way Continue reading "20VC: Why You Should Not Always Listen To Your Investors, The Pros and Cons of Strategic Investors & How To Approach Operational Efficiency with Scaling with Florian Leibert, Founder & CEO @ Mesosphere"

20VC: Sam Altman, Y Combinator President on What Makes Truly Great Leaders, Why We Will See A Compression of Seed Funding & The Future Scaling of YC

Sam Altman is the president of Y Combinator, the world’s most successful accelerator with alumni that includes the likes of Airbnb, Dropbox, Reddit, Flexport and many more incredible companies. Sam is also the co-chair of OpenAI, thenon-profit AI research company, discovering and enacting the path to safe artificial general intelligence. Prior to YC, Sam was co-founder and CEO of Loopt, which was funded by Y Combinator in 2005 and acquired by Green Dot in 2012. Sam also founded Hydrazine Capital, whose stellar portfolio included the likes of Zenefits, Flexport and Soylent.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Sam made his way into the world of startups with Loopt and YC? How he came to invest with Hydrazine Capital and then rejoin YC as Partner and now President?

2.) Having watched and seen Paul Graham since Batch 1, what does Sam believe makes Paul Graham the special Continue reading "20VC: Sam Altman, Y Combinator President on What Makes Truly Great Leaders, Why We Will See A Compression of Seed Funding & The Future Scaling of YC"

20VC: LinkedIn’s Head of Corp Dev on Why and When Startups Should Start Relationship Building With Corp Dev, What The Structure of M&A Traditionally Looks Like & How To Mitigate The Biggest Risk of M&A, Integration Risk

Emilie Choi is Head of Corporate Development @ Linkedin where she has led 40+ acquisitions, acquihires or investments. In terms of acquisitions, Emilie led the acquisitions of Lynda, Bizo, Newsle, Bright, Pulse, SlideShare, and Rapportive just to name a few. On the strategic investment side, she led Linkedin's investment in Cornerstone On Demand and G2 Crowd. Before Linkedin, Emilie enjoyed roles such as Director of Digital Business Strategy and Operations at Warner Bros, International Strategy and Ops @ MySpace and Corp Dev and Strategy @ Yahoo. Emilie has also sat on the Naspers board for the last 10 years.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Emilie made her way into the world of M&A and came to lead over 40+ game-changing acquisitions for Linkedin?

2.) In 2016, M&A made up 95% of startup exits, how does Emilie evaluate the current state of exit environments? What 2 reasons have caused the drop in startup Continue reading "20VC: LinkedIn’s Head of Corp Dev on Why and When Startups Should Start Relationship Building With Corp Dev, What The Structure of M&A Traditionally Looks Like & How To Mitigate The Biggest Risk of M&A, Integration Risk"

20VC: Why Risk Is Misunderstood In Entrepreneurship, Why Acquisitions Are Cheap For Incumbents Today & 3 Strategies To Improve Diversity In Your Team with Henry Davis, President & COO @ Glossier

Henry Davis is the President and COO @ Glossier, a New York brand that has taken the beauty world by storm. To date they have raised close to $35m in VC funding from some of the best in the business including past guests on the show Kirsten Green @ Forerunner, Index Ventures, IVP and our friends at Thrive. As for Henry, prior to entering the world of beauty and brands with Glossier, he sat on the other side of the table as a VC with Index Ventures in London. Before that, for his sins, Henry spent time in the world of corporate finance with Citi Group.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Henry made his way from rising star in London VC with Index to President of New York's hottest beauty brand, Glossier?

2.) From a personal security standpoint, was it tough to move from Continue reading "20VC: Why Risk Is Misunderstood In Entrepreneurship, Why Acquisitions Are Cheap For Incumbents Today & 3 Strategies To Improve Diversity In Your Team with Henry Davis, President & COO @ Glossier"

20VC: 3 Key Differences Between US and Asian Tech Markets & With Such Large Incumbents Chasing Early Acquisitions, Is There A Market For Later Stage VC with Crystal Huang, Investor @ GGV Capital

Crystal Huang is a Principal @ GGV Capital, one of the world's leading venture firms partnering with entrepreneurs in the world's largest markets, the US and China. At GGV Crystal led the firm's investment in Wigo (acquired by Cinemagram) and attends board meetings at Tile and Flightcar. Crystal is also a board member @ NextGen partners, the organization representing the future General Partners within the bay area. Prior to joining GGV, Crystal worked as an analyst in Blackstone's Technology M&A Advisory Group and due to her immense promise and success already, Crystal has been named to Forbes' 30 Under 30 Venture Capital.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Crystal made her way into the world of VC from Tech M&A with Blackstone?

2.) How does Crystal view the ongoing debate of operator vs non-operator experience? Does Crystal agree with Pat Grady that the rate of decay on Continue reading "20VC: 3 Key Differences Between US and Asian Tech Markets & With Such Large Incumbents Chasing Early Acquisitions, Is There A Market For Later Stage VC with Crystal Huang, Investor @ GGV Capital"

20VC: Why This Is Just The Start for Consumer Mobile, 3 Lessons China Taught About How To Invest Better In The US & How To Think About The Opportunity Cost of Capital Deployment with Hans Tung, Managing Partner @ GGV Capital

Hans Tung is a Managing Partner @ GGV Capital, one of the world's leading venture firms partnering with entrepreneurs in the world's largest markets, the US and China. Evident when looking at Han's incredible investments in the likes of Wish, Poshmark, musical.ly, Slack and OfferUp in the US and then Xiaomi, Forgame, and Domob Ads in Asia. Previously, Hans was with Bessemer Venture Partners, where he helped global players such as Skype expand into China. Hans was also a founding member of two pan-Asian internet startups that were subsequently sold to telcos. Due to his incredible success, Hans has been ranked as a top VC on the Forbes Midas list since 2013 and was recognized by The Founder and CBN News magazines in the past as a Top 10 most entrepreneur-friendly VC in China.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Hans made his way into VC with Continue reading "20VC: Why This Is Just The Start for Consumer Mobile, 3 Lessons China Taught About How To Invest Better In The US & How To Think About The Opportunity Cost of Capital Deployment with Hans Tung, Managing Partner @ GGV Capital"

20VC: What Is The Right Drone Investing Strategy, The Catalyst That Will Take Drones to 100s of Millions & Will Amazon and Google Win The War of The Airspace with Ben Marcus, Founder & CEO @ Airmap

Ben Marcus is the Founder & CEO @ Airmap, the startups that provides everything one needs to unlock and scale drone operations in the ever-changing world of airspace. They have raised over $40m in funding from industry heavyweights Sony, Rakuten, Qualcomm, Airbus Ventures and then also many friends of the show including Semil Shah, Lux Capital, Microsoft Ventures, General Catalyst, BullPen Capital and David Waxman at TenOneTen, just to name a few. Prior to AirMap, Ben co-founded and was CEO of the world’s largest light business jet sales company, Jetaviva and before that started his career as a flight instructor and later became a flight test engineer. Fun fact, Ben is also an FAA-certified Airline Transport Pilot and Flight Instructor with over 4,500 hours of flight experience.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Ben made his way into the world of startups and drones from being a pilot Continue reading "20VC: What Is The Right Drone Investing Strategy, The Catalyst That Will Take Drones to 100s of Millions & Will Amazon and Google Win The War of The Airspace with Ben Marcus, Founder & CEO @ Airmap"

20VC: Why VC Is A Game of Maximising Serendipity, How VCs Can Characterise Their Approach To Working & Product Lessons from Jack Dorsey & Sonos’ John MacFarlane with Kevin Thau, General Partner @ Spark Capital

Kevin Thau is a General Partner @ Spark Capital, one of the best performing funds of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Twitter, Slack, Oculus, Medium, PostMates, Cruise (acq $1Bn) the list goes on. As for Kevin, he has led investments in Medium, LOLA, CTRL Labs, Aura and Haven. Prior to Spark, Kevin enjoyed an incredible 7 years at Twitter, when he joined they had less than 20 employees and 1m users and he carried roles such as Director of Mobile Products and VP of Business & Corporate Development. Before Twitter, Kevin was employee number 7 at Software.com (which became Openwave) where he helped ship the first mobile browser, mobile messaging services and mobile websites.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Kevin made his way into VC with Spark having spent years in operations with Twitter and Silicon Graphics?

2.) What were Kevin's biggest lessons from Continue reading "20VC: Why VC Is A Game of Maximising Serendipity, How VCs Can Characterise Their Approach To Working & Product Lessons from Jack Dorsey & Sonos’ John MacFarlane with Kevin Thau, General Partner @ Spark Capital"

20VC: Most Downloaded Founder Episode of 2017: Brian Armstrong, Founder & CEO @ Coinbase

Brian Armstrong is the Founder & CEO @ Coinbase, the startup that provides the world’s most popular way to buy and sell bitcoin, ethereum and litecoin. They have backing from some of the biggest and best in VC having raised over $215m from the likes of Andreesen Horowitz, IVP, USV, DFJ and many more incredible investors. As for Brian, prior to Coinbase he was a Software Engineer @ Airbnb and before that founded his own startup, Universitytutor.com

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Brian made his way from Airbnb to founding one of the early disruptors in the crypto space with Coinbase?

2.) Doing an 80/20 analysis, what are the 3 fundamental differences between Bitcoin and ethereum? What is Brian’s opinion on the scaling path ahead for ethereum? How do the teams behind ethereum and Bitcoin differ and what effect do these differing approaches have?

3.) What is an ICO? Does Brian believe Continue reading "20VC: Most Downloaded Founder Episode of 2017: Brian Armstrong, Founder & CEO @ Coinbase"

20VC: 2nd Most Downloaded Episode of 2018: Kirsten Green, Founding Partner @ Forerunner Ventures

Kirsten Green is the Founding General Partner @ Forerunner Ventures, where she has raised over $250M from leading investors and has invested in more than 40 early-stage companies. Forerunner Ventures is the only VC firm to invest in both Dollar Shave Club and Jet.com, two of the biggest and highest-profile e-commerce exits in recent years, and counts Birchbox, Bonobos, Glossier, Hotel Tonight, Warby Parker and Zola among its portfolio companies. She’s been honored in Time’s 100 Most Influential People in 2017, named VC of the Year at TechCrunch’s 2017 Crunchies Awards, and is part of Forbes 2017 Midas List.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Kirsten came to found one of the most successful early stage funds of the past decade in Forerunner?

2.) Question from Michael Kim @ Cendana: How does Kirsten view the optimal portfolio construction theory for a thematically specialized consumer fund? What Continue reading "20VC: 2nd Most Downloaded Episode of 2018: Kirsten Green, Founding Partner @ Forerunner Ventures"

20VC: Most Downloaded Episode of 2017: Peter Fenton, General Partner @ Benchmark

Peter Fenton is a General Partner @ Benchmark, one of the world’s leading VC funds with a portfolio including the likes of Twitter, Uber, Snapchat, eBay, WeWork, Yelp and many more revolutionary companies of the last decade. Peter himself sits or has sat on the board of Twitter, previous guest Cockroach, Optimizely, New Relic and ZenDesk just to name a few. Prior to Benchmark, Peter was a Managing Partner @ Accel. It is clearly not just me that has a man crush on Peter though as he has been named to Forbes Midas List for many consecutive years with the last list placing Peter as No 3 in the world.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Peter made his way into the world of VC with Accel and came to be a General Partner @ Benchmark?

2.) How does Peter differentiate between the good and Continue reading "20VC: Most Downloaded Episode of 2017: Peter Fenton, General Partner @ Benchmark"

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"