20VC: Why Warm Intros Are Mostly Dumb, Why Ownership is Built On First Check and 4 Crucial Elements To Make Cold Inbound Attractive with Leo Polovets, General Partner @ Susa Ventures

Leo Polovets is a General Partner @ Susa Ventures, one of the valley's leading early-stage seed funds with a portfolio including the likes of Flexport, Robinhood, Lendup, Qadium, Rigetti, the list goes on. As for Leo, prior to joining the world of VC, he started his career as the second non-founding engineer at LinkedIn. After two years at LinkedIn, Leo spent 3 years at Google, largely working on real-time payment fraud detection. Finally, his last stop pre-Susa involved spending 4 years at Factual, a location data platform.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Leo made his way into the world of VC from being the 2nd non-founding engineer at LinkedIn?

2.) Why does Leo believe that the hailed "warm intro" is actually dumb? What are the biggest drawbacks to this being commonplace in our ecosystem? What does Leo believe the mindset of investors should be instead? Continue reading "20VC: Why Warm Intros Are Mostly Dumb, Why Ownership is Built On First Check and 4 Crucial Elements To Make Cold Inbound Attractive with Leo Polovets, General Partner @ Susa Ventures"

20VC: Being A Wartime Leader in a Time of Peace, Why Marketing Channel Diversification Is Like The Life of A Scientist and Why Small and Mighty Beats Loud and Weak with Ooshma Garg, Founder & CEO @ Gobble

Ooshma Garg is the Founder & CEO @ Gobble, the startup that allows you to cook a fresh homemade dinner in just 15 minutes. To date, Ooshma has raised over $30m in funding for Gobble from some of the best in the business including Initialized Capital, Keith Rabois, Reid Hoffman, Founder Collective, Felicis, Andreesen Horowitz and Thrive just to name a few. As for Ooshma, prior to founding Gobble she founded Anapata, an online site that matches students looking for jobs with potential employers. The company was ultimately acquired by LawWerx.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Ooshma made her way from Wall St to changing the way America eats with Gobble today?

2.) Everyone has an opinion on the food delivery space with the public nature of Blue Apron, what does Ooshma mean when she says "small and mighty beats loud and weak"? Why did Ooshma not take the path Continue reading "20VC: Being A Wartime Leader in a Time of Peace, Why Marketing Channel Diversification Is Like The Life of A Scientist and Why Small and Mighty Beats Loud and Weak with Ooshma Garg, Founder & CEO @ Gobble"

20VC: Why The Engineer Will Replace The MBA As CEO, Why The Peace Dividends From The Autonomous Car Wars Will Generate More Value Outside of Transport & Why Old and Boring Industries Are The Most Exciting To Build In with Avidan Ross, Founding Partner @ R

Avidan Ross is the Founding Partner @ Root Ventures, one of Silicon Valley's most exciting newer generation of funds dedicated to backing bold engineers at seed. To date they have backed some incredible companies such as Nautilus Labs, Dusty Robotics, Tortuga AgTech and Instrumental.ai just to name a few. Prior to founding Root, Avidan was CTO at The CIM Group, with an aggregate of $15Bn AUM, Avidan was responsible for establishing the company’s technical vision and leading all aspects of the company's technology investment. Before that, he built algorithmic trading platforms as Director of Technology at WHW Capital. 

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Avidan went from building algorithmic trading platforms to back the next generation of revolutionary engineers with Root?

2.) What does Avidan mean when he says "the peace dividends of the autonomous car wars will generate more value outside of transportation?" How does the Continue reading "20VC: Why The Engineer Will Replace The MBA As CEO, Why The Peace Dividends From The Autonomous Car Wars Will Generate More Value Outside of Transport & Why Old and Boring Industries Are The Most Exciting To Build In with Avidan Ross, Founding Partner @ R"

20VC: Ryan Caldbeck on Why The Business Model of VC is Broken, Who is To Blame, How The Best Funds Will Use Data Intelligently Moving Forward & Whether We Are In A Consumer Bubble Or Not?

Ryan Caldbeck is the Founder & CEO @ CircleUp, the startup creating a transparent and efficient market to drive innovation for consumer brands. To date, Ryan has raised over $50m with CircleUp from some friends and prior guests of the show including USV, Collaborative Fund and Canaan Partners just to name a few. Prior to CircleUp, Ryan spent nearly 7 years investing in consumer products with the likes of TSG Consumer Partners and Encore Consumer Capital. As a result of Ryan's success with CircleUp he has been recognised as a "Titan of Retail" by Bloomberg and "40 Under 40" by the San Francisco Business Times.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Ryan made his way into the world of consumer investing and what the realisation moment was for him that the market needed a solution, CircleUp?

2.) Why does Ryan believe that venture capital has a fundamental problem? What Continue reading "20VC: Ryan Caldbeck on Why The Business Model of VC is Broken, Who is To Blame, How The Best Funds Will Use Data Intelligently Moving Forward & Whether We Are In A Consumer Bubble Or Not?"

20VC: The 2 Core Roles Played By The Best Seed Investors Today, What To Look For In Potential Co-Investors & Why Seed Funds Can Grow Ownership in Their Best Companies Across Rounds with Ron Bouganim, Founder @ Govtech Fund

Ron Bouganim is the Founding Partner @ Govtech Fund, the first-ever venture capital fund dedicated to government technology startups. To date, he has backed some incredible category leaders including mark43, Neighbourly, MindMixer and SeamlessDocs just to name a few. Prior to GovTech, he was Accelerator Director @ Code for America and was an active angel investor and advisor working with more than twenty startups including ShareThrough, HelloSign, PagerDuty, and Close.io.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Ron made his way into the world of technology and startups and became angel investing? How that led to the founding of Govtech and the belief in the space today?

2.) There is the notion that there many challenges to investing in Govtech and scaling companies in the space, how does Ron respond to the suggestion the sales cycles when selling to government are too long for startups to navigate successfully? How does Ron Continue reading "20VC: The 2 Core Roles Played By The Best Seed Investors Today, What To Look For In Potential Co-Investors & Why Seed Funds Can Grow Ownership in Their Best Companies Across Rounds with Ron Bouganim, Founder @ Govtech Fund"

20VC: Phil Libin on Why The Concept of A Silicon Valley Style Startup Is Made To Benefit VCs, Why The Very Structure of Companies Is Outdated and Inefficient & What It Means To Build The Netflix of Product

Phil Libin is the Co-Founder & CEO @ All Turtles, the startup that believes they have a better way to make technology products, placing products first and companies later. Today they are building AI products in San Francisco, Paris and Tokyo. As for Phil, prior to All Turtles he was a Managing Director @ General Catalyst. Before that he spent 23 years founding different companies including founding Evernote, taking it from idea generation to productivity powerhouse raising over $160m in VC funding in the process, from some of the very best including Sequoia Capital. Phil is also an extremely successful angel with a portfolio including Gusto, TellApart and Binary Thumb just to name a few.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Phil made his way into the world of tech startups many years ago, how that led to his entering VC with General Catalyst and to now, founding All Continue reading "20VC: Phil Libin on Why The Concept of A Silicon Valley Style Startup Is Made To Benefit VCs, Why The Very Structure of Companies Is Outdated and Inefficient & What It Means To Build The Netflix of Product"

20VC: Scalar Capital’s Linda Xjie on Who Will Win The Smart Contract War, The Future of Exchanges: Centralised or Decentralised & The Pros and Cons of Differing Privacy Coins

Linda Xie is a Co-Founder & Managing Director @ Scalar Capital, one of the leading crypto asset funds to have been born over the last few years with Linda becoming one of the most prominent figures in the space. Prior to co-founding Scalar, Linda was a product manager at Coinbase where she worked with regulators and law enforcement. Before Coinbase, she was a portfolio risk analyst at AIG. If that was not enough, Linda is also an advisor to 0x, the critical infrastructure layer in the emerging financial stack built on a foundation of Ethereum token standards.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Linda made her move into the world of crypto joining Coinbase back in 2014 and how that led to her founding of Scalar? What were her biggest takeaways from seeing the first-hand scaling of Coinbase?

2.) What is a privacy coin and why does Continue reading "20VC: Scalar Capital’s Linda Xjie on Who Will Win The Smart Contract War, The Future of Exchanges: Centralised or Decentralised & The Pros and Cons of Differing Privacy Coins"

20VC: Why Too Many People Give Up Too Quickly, Why You Should Never Start A Venture Without Owning The Underlying Data & Why We Have Over-Estimated The Ability of Automation with Dennis Mortensen, Founder & CEO @ X.ai

Dennis Mortensen is the Founder & CEO @ X.ai, the startup that realises scheduling sucks and provides ridiculously efficient AI software that solves the hassle of meeting scheduling. To date, Dennis has raised over $44m in VC funding from the likes of Firstmark, IA Ventures, Lerer Hippeau, DCM and more fantastic names. As for Dennis, he is an expert in leveraging data to solve enterprise use cases and prior to X.ai he was the Founder & CEO of 3 companies, 2 of which were acquired and one which went bust or as he describes a rather expensive MBA. Dennis is also the author of Data Driven Insights, on collecting and analyzing digital data.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Dennis made his way from Copenhagen to New York, the world of startups and came to found one of the hottest AI companies of our day in Continue reading "20VC: Why Too Many People Give Up Too Quickly, Why You Should Never Start A Venture Without Owning The Underlying Data & Why We Have Over-Estimated The Ability of Automation with Dennis Mortensen, Founder & CEO @ X.ai"

20VC: First Round’s Phin Barnes on How The Best Founders Optimize for Learning Per Dollar Spent, What Makes A Truly Special Founder/VC Relationship and Why Pattern Recognition is Another Term For Intellectual Laziness

Phin Barnes is a Partner @ First Round Capital, one of the most prestigious and successful early-stage funds of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Uber, Square, Warby Parker, HotelTonight, GOAT, PatientPing, Atrium and more incredible companies. As for Phin, in his own words, he learned the business of startups helping grow AND1 from $15M to $225M in revenue as Creative Director for Footwear, and started his own fitness video-game company, producing Yourself!Fitness, the first game of its kind for Xbox and PlayStation 2 where he built partnerships with the likes of Procter & Gamble and McDonald’s. Phin also writes the most fantastic blog, sneakerheadVC, that really is a must read.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Phin came to be a Partner @ First Round by working for free, with no plans to be a Partner?

2.) What Continue reading "20VC: First Round’s Phin Barnes on How The Best Founders Optimize for Learning Per Dollar Spent, What Makes A Truly Special Founder/VC Relationship and Why Pattern Recognition is Another Term For Intellectual Laziness"

20VC: 7 Key Themes To Building A Great Company To IPO, The Right Way To Assess Market Timing & How To Balance Between Speed and Inspection When It Comes To Decision-Making with Patrick Morley, CEO @ Carbon Black

Patrick Morley is the President and CEO @ Carbon Black, the company that combines unfiltered data collection, predictive analytics, and cloud-based delivery to provide superior endpoint protection. Prior to their IPO in April 2018, Carbon Black had raised over $150m in VC funding from the likes of Sequoia Capital, Accomplice, Kleiner Perkins and Highland Venture Partners just to name a few. As for Patrick, under his leadership, he has taken Carbon Black from startup to market leader with over 800 employees. Before Carbon Black, he was CEO of Imprivata Corporation and held senior leadership positions with six venture-backed software companies, including three that had successful IPOs.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Patrick made his way into the world of startups and came to be CEO @ Carbon Black where he turned a startup into a public company and market leader with 800 employees?

2.) Patrick has previously Continue reading "20VC: 7 Key Themes To Building A Great Company To IPO, The Right Way To Assess Market Timing & How To Balance Between Speed and Inspection When It Comes To Decision-Making with Patrick Morley, CEO @ Carbon Black"

20VC: Learnings From Backing The Likes of Spotify and Airbnb, The World of Growth Investing Today and The Right Way For Investors To Think About Liquidity with Woody Marshall, General Partner @ TCV

Woody Marshall is a General Partner @ TCV, one of the most successful growth funds of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Facebook, AirBnB, Spotify, LinkedIn and many more incredible companies. Woody joined TCV in 1995 and has since led investments in Spotify, Netflix, AirBnB, Peloton, Groupon and the list goes on. Due to this phenomenal success, Woody has been named numerous times to the Midas List by Forbes as one of the industry’s top technology investors. Prior to joining TCV, Woody spent 12 years at Trident Capital, where he focused on the payments, internet, and mobile markets.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Woody made his way into the world of VC over 23 years ago and came to invest in products of a generation such as AirBnb, Spotify and Netflix?

2.) What have been the foundational changes Woody has seen over his last Continue reading "20VC: Learnings From Backing The Likes of Spotify and Airbnb, The World of Growth Investing Today and The Right Way For Investors To Think About Liquidity with Woody Marshall, General Partner @ TCV"

20VC: Why Entrepreneurs Should Let Everyone Rip Apart Their Business Idea, How To Construct Frameworks for Success & Why You Should Not Always Test Your MVP with Afton Vechery, Founder & CEO @ Modern Fertility

Afton Vechery is the Co-Founder & CEO @ Modern Fertility, the startup that guides you through your fertility hormones now so you have options later. To date they have raised over 7m in funding from some of the leading players in venture including USV, First Round Capital, Maveron, SV Angel and Y Combinator. As for Afton, prior to Modern Fertility, Afton was a Product Manager @ 23andMe where she was the sole product manager responsible for all consumer-facing genetic tools. Before 23andMe, Afton was a Strategy and Finance Consultant @ Willow Pump where she participated in fundraising that led to successful $15M fundraise.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Afton made her way into the world of startups with 23andMe and then came to change the way we think about fertility with Modern Fertility?

2.) Afton has previously emphasised the importance of having "frameworks for success". What does that mean? Continue reading "20VC: Why Entrepreneurs Should Let Everyone Rip Apart Their Business Idea, How To Construct Frameworks for Success & Why You Should Not Always Test Your MVP with Afton Vechery, Founder & CEO @ Modern Fertility"

20VC: USV’s Rebecca Kaden on Whether Venture Returns Can Be Made At Scale In Consumer Today, How To Navigate Consumer Investing In A World of Amazon & The Similarities and Differences between Maveron and USV

Rebecca Kaden is a General Partner @ Union Square Ventures, one of the most successful funds of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Twitter, Twilio, Zynga, Soundcloud, Tumblr, Lending Club and many more. As for Rebecca, prior to USV, Sarah was a General Partner @ Maveron, a consumer-only seed and series A fund where she invested in the likes of Allbirds, Dia & Co, Periscope, Earnest and Eargo just to name a few. Before Maveron, Rebecca took the route of many great VCs and was a journalist, working as Special Projects Editor @ Narrative Magazine.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Rebecca made her way into the world of VC from journalism? How her journey with Maveron led to her becoming a General Partner with the prestigious USV?

2.) Having mastered the craft of VC in the world of consumer, how does Rebecca respond to Peter Continue reading "20VC: USV’s Rebecca Kaden on Whether Venture Returns Can Be Made At Scale In Consumer Today, How To Navigate Consumer Investing In A World of Amazon & The Similarities and Differences between Maveron and USV"

20VC: How The Best Founders Approach Bet The Company Decisions, How to Put Your Board to Work & How To Optimise Strategic Thinking on Boards with Maynard Webb, Founder @ Webb Investment Network & Everwise

Maynard Webb is truly unique, he has worn 3 different hats and excelled in all of them. First, he is the Founder of The Webb Investment Network, the institutionalisation of his personal investing where he has invested in the likes of Zuora, GOAT, WePay, Okta, PagerDuty and many more incredible companies. He is also a Co-Founder and Board Member at Everwise, the startup that helps companies tailor, scale and run training at enterprise scale. Everwise has raised over $26m in funding from the likes of Sequoia Capital and Canvas Ventures. Finally, Maynard sits on the board of some of the biggest companies of our time including Salesforce and Visa. Previously Maynard was Chairman of the Board of Yahoo!, CEO of LiveOps, and COO of eBay.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Maynard made his way into the world of startups and came to invest in his first company, founded Continue reading "20VC: How The Best Founders Approach Bet The Company Decisions, How to Put Your Board to Work & How To Optimise Strategic Thinking on Boards with Maynard Webb, Founder @ Webb Investment Network & Everwise"

20VC: Benchmark’s Sarah Tavel on Why Investing Success Lies In Small Markets Adjacent To Very Large Ones, Why You Have To Be Judicious On When To Pay Up vs Be More Price Sensitive & Why Crypto Investing Is Like The Early Days of AdTech Investing

Sarah Tavel is a General Partner at 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. As for Sarah, Sarah has led Benchmark's investments in and currently sits on the boards of Chainalysis and Hipcamp. Prior to Benchmark, Sarah was a Partner at Greylock Partners, where she led Greylock's investment in Sonder and another (unannounced) company. Before Greylock, Sarah was one of the first 35 employees at Pinterest where she led the company's international expansion and aided in the closing of the Series C financing. Sarah was also the product lead for search, recommendations, machine vision, and pin quality and led three acquisitions as she helped the company scale through a period of hyper-growth.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Sarah made her first foray Continue reading "20VC: Benchmark’s Sarah Tavel on Why Investing Success Lies In Small Markets Adjacent To Very Large Ones, Why You Have To Be Judicious On When To Pay Up vs Be More Price Sensitive & Why Crypto Investing Is Like The Early Days of AdTech Investing"

20VC: How To Build Credibility with Investors, Employees and Customers, How To Determine When A Stretch VP is A Stretch Too Far and The Right Way For Founders To Think About Dilution with Amol Deshpande, Founder & CEO @ Farmers Business Network

Amol Deshpande is the Co-Founder and CEO at Farmers Business Network, the farmer-to-farmer agronomic information network improving the livelihood of farmers by making data useful and accessible. To date, they have raised a whopping $193m in funding from the likes of Kleiner Perkins, T Rowe, GV, Temasek and more. As for Amol, prior to FBN, he was a Partner @ Kleiner Perkins where he invested in the likes of Harvest Power and Agilyx and before Kleiner, Amol was a Director @ Black River Asset Management.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Amol made his way into the world of startups, came to be a Partner @ Kleiner Perkins and then came to change the world of farming with Farmers Business Network?

2.) What were Amol's biggest takeaways from his time with Kleiner? Although important to think really big, how does Amol think about the Peter Continue reading "20VC: How To Build Credibility with Investors, Employees and Customers, How To Determine When A Stretch VP is A Stretch Too Far and The Right Way For Founders To Think About Dilution with Amol Deshpande, Founder & CEO @ Farmers Business Network"

20VC: Lessons Learned Scaling PillPack from Seed to Amazon Acquisition, Why Investors Should Spend More Time Assessing Human Capital Risk Taken by Founders & The Right Way To Think About Capital Efficiency in Scaling with David Frankel, Managing Partner @

David Frankel is Managing Partner @ Founder Collective, one of the leading seed funds of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Uber, PillPack, Coupang, Hotel Tonight, Venmo, Buzzfeed and many more incredible companies. David himself sits on the board of PillPack, Olo, Adhawk and SeatGeek. Prior to founding Founder Collective, David was the Co-Founder and CEO of Internet Solutions, one of the largest ISP providers in Africa. This led to his entrance into angel investing where he enjoyed immense success investing in the likes of Chris Dixon's Hunch and Alex Rampell's TrialPay, just to name a few.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How David made his way into the world of startups and angel investing from founding Africa's largest ISP provider and how that led to his founding of Founder Collective?

2.) Does David agree with Andy McLoughlin on the inherent mindset shift required when Continue reading "20VC: Lessons Learned Scaling PillPack from Seed to Amazon Acquisition, Why Investors Should Spend More Time Assessing Human Capital Risk Taken by Founders & The Right Way To Think About Capital Efficiency in Scaling with David Frankel, Managing Partner @"

20VC: Behind The Scenes of a $Bn IPO Process, What Startups Can Learn From Teddy Roosevelt’s “Five Minute Meetings” and What John Lennon Teaches Founders About Storytelling with Howard Lerman, Founder & CEO @ Yext

Howard Lerman is the Founder & CEO @ Yext, the company that allows you to control your brand experience across the digital universe. Due in part to Howard's incredible leadership of the firm, Yext went public in April 2017 with an opening price of $11 a share, today the stock price sits at $26.85 and a market cap of $2.65Bn. Prior to the IPO, Yext raised over $117m in VC funding from Insight Venture Partners, IVP, SV Angel and CrunchFund to name a few. As for Howard, Yext is his 4th company and he is also Co-Founder and Chairman of Confide, a leading off-the-record messaging service.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Howard made his way into the world of startups and came to Partner with is co-founders to start the now public company that is Yext?

2.) Why must every founder know about Teddy Continue reading "20VC: Behind The Scenes of a $Bn IPO Process, What Startups Can Learn From Teddy Roosevelt’s “Five Minute Meetings” and What John Lennon Teaches Founders About Storytelling with Howard Lerman, Founder & CEO @ Yext"

20VC: The Biggest Lessons From Working Alongside John Doerr, How To Optimize The Speed of Investment Decision-Making & Why Saying No Graciously Is The Most Important Thing with Shabih Rizvi, Founding Partner @ Gradient Ventures

Shabih Rizvi is the Founding Partner @ Gradient Ventures, Google’s new AI-focused venture fund, which will invest in and connect early-stage startups with Google’s resources, innovation, and technical leadership in artificial intelligence. Prior to Gradient, Shabih was a Partner at KPCB, where he was actively involved with investments in TrueCaller, Mobcrush, Veem and Ujet. In addition, he helped the firm build their seed program and served as advisor to Flipagram and Victorious. Before KPCB, Shabih founded and led the startup outreach program for Google Play. Prior to Google Play, Shabih worked on the Mobile Apps Lab team which built SMB products. His primary focus was scaling TalkBin (Acquired by Google) to enterprise clients. Shabih joined Google after Google’s acquisition of AdMob, where he was a manager on the Business Development team.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Shabih made his way into the world of venture with Kleiner Perkins and how Continue reading "20VC: The Biggest Lessons From Working Alongside John Doerr, How To Optimize The Speed of Investment Decision-Making & Why Saying No Graciously Is The Most Important Thing with Shabih Rizvi, Founding Partner @ Gradient Ventures"

20VC: The Mindset The Best Investors Assume When Assessing Opportunities, Why So Many Hardware Startups Fail Today & The Right Way To Think About Employee Retention with Andrew Farah, Founder & CEO @ Density

Andrew Farah is the Founder & CEO @ Density, the startup that measures real-time occupancy of every room in your office. To date, they have raised over $16m in funding from some great friends of the show in the form of Founders Fund, Mark Suster @ Upfront, Ludlow Ventures, Jason Calacanis, Hiten Shah and Arjun Sethi, just to name a few. As for Andrew, prior to founding Density, he was a Managing Partner @ Rounded, a software development agency & product studio. There, Andrew and the team built the first Density prototype.

 

In The Show Today:

1.) How Andrew made his way into the world of technology and product with Rounded and came to found the people counter of the next generation in Density?

2.) How does Andrew view the role of super-connectors today? What specific time has a super-connector really moved the needle for Andreq and changed the Continue reading "20VC: The Mindset The Best Investors Assume When Assessing Opportunities, Why So Many Hardware Startups Fail Today & The Right Way To Think About Employee Retention with Andrew Farah, Founder & CEO @ Density"