Category: Venture Capital

Making Crypto Accessible to the Masses with Michael Sonnenshein of Grayscale Investments


This post is by MPD from @MPD - Medium


On this week’s episode I sit down with the CEO of Grayscale Investments, Michael Sonnenshein.

Grayscale is one of the biggest heavyweights in the world of crypto investing. They offer investors direct access to crypto. Their premier product, the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, is a long-bitcoin offering that anyone can access like they would a normal stock. You can simply buy the ticker. This is big, especially for folks looking to invest their money that exists in certain portfolios, like retirement savings accounts. With over 20b of assets across 17 investment vehicles they facilitate many people’s first interaction with crypto and Michael is at the center of it.

Crypto is currently down, the market is taking a hit seemingly in-line with the state of the broader stock markets so it was great to hear Michael’s perspective on the market and the future of crypto applications.

Listen via your preferred platform here.

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Making Crypto Accessible to the Masses with Michael Sonnenshein of Grayscale Investments was originally published in @MPD on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Decentralized Finance: Driving Towards Mass Adoption



Source: Block Data, 2021
Source: Block Data, 2021

It is the middle of 2022 and we are in the midst of another shock to the financial and crypto markets. We have seen that crypto is perhaps more correlated to the broader financial markets than we initially thought: Bitcoin is down ~70% from 2021 highs, hovering near prices not seen since 2020, while the Nasdaq is down more than 30% during the same period. Tech and crypto giants are announcing waves of layoffs amidst the shifting economic outlook. But as we enter another “crypto winter”, we are also seeing a profound resiliency from the crypto and web3 communities that are shifting into build mode.

As fintech investors, this is a signal that decentralization — the very promise that crypto offers financial services industry — is here to stay. This is a signal that we will soon move from decentralization for ideological reasons to decentralization for practical reasons — because it will in fact become cheaper, faster, and 10x better user experience.

We recognize that (Read more...)

Down Rounds: Deal With Reality


This post is by Brad Feld from Brad Feld


Connie Loizos is one of the long-time tech industry writers who I respect. I don’t respond to many interview requests these days, but I’ll always talk to her.

She has a good article today in TechCrunch titled Embrace the down round (it’s going to be okay, maybe). I like the quote she pulled out of me in our conversation.

[Brad Feld] says his “strong belief” that “just doing a clean resetting — at whatever the valuation so that everybody is aligned and dealing with reality —  is much, much better for a company.”

Now, I’m not encouraging anyone to do a down round if unnecessary., especially when many existing investors are currently willing to add on additional dollars at the most recent valuation. If you can do this cleanly, take the money.

Rather, when you have a choice between a financing at a lower valuation and a financing with all kinds of crazy structure to try to maintain a previous valuation, negotiate the best price you can but do a clean financing with no structure.

If you don’t know what I mean by structure, they are terms like:

  • Multiple liquidation preferences (you’ll start seeing lots of 2x and 3x on new money)
  • Participating preferred on new money
  • Weird ratchets (other than the typical weighted average), including full ratchets, on next round financings
  • Annual preferred return, including PIK and cash pay on new money
  • Blocks on all kinds of things that a new investor should not have blocking rights on

… and (Read more...)

Democratizing Machine Learning to Predict the Future with Richard Harris of Black Crow AI


This post is by MPD from @MPD - Medium


On today’s pod I chat with Richard Harris, the Founder & CEO of Black Crow Ai.

Black Crow is a no-code, real-time machine-learning based predictive software that helps companies understand likely customer behavior.

Richard’s a veteran entrepreneur and has been involved in tech since the 90s. He cut his teeth in the world of consulting, was involved with Travelocity during the dot com boom, then has continued to be a serial founder.

As you’ll hear him explain, the world is turning into a browser. Between mobile devices, computers, wearable tech, self driving cars — real time data will be streaming from every part of our lives. He’s using this insight to build a company to help startups and brands collect and understand their first party data so that they can increase revenue and margins.

In addition to discussing how Blackcrow operates and the machine learning industry, we also talk about some strategies for how founders can navigate down market cycles — like the one we’re entering now. He’s been through three of these cycles and has some very helpful wisdom. If you started your company after 2010, then I definitely recommend that you give this one a listen.

Listen via your preferred platform here.

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Please note, Interplay is an investor in Black Crow.


Democratizing Machine Learning to Predict the Future with Richard Harris of Black Crow AI was originally published in @MPD on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Cram Down – A Test of Character for VCs and Founders


This post is by steve blank from Steve Blank


This article previously appeared in TechCrunch.

Cram downs are back – and I’m keeping a list.

At the turn of the century after the dotcom crash, startup valuations plummeted, burn rates were unsustainable, and startups were quickly running out of cash. Most existing investors (those still in business) hoarded their money and stopped doing follow-on rounds until the rubble had cleared.

Except, that is, for the bottom feeders of the Venture Capital business – investors who “cram down” their companies. They offered desperate founders more cash but insisted on new terms, rewriting all the old stock agreements that previous investors and employees had. For existing investors, sometimes it was a “pay-to-play” i.e. if you don’t participate in the new financing you lose. Other times it was simply a take-it-or-leave-it, here are the new terms. Some even insisted that all prior preferred stock had to be converted to common stock. For the common shareholders (employees, advisors, and previous investors), a cram down is a big middle finger, as it comes with reverse split – meaning your common shares are now worth 1/10th, 1/100th or even 1/1000th of their previous value.

(A cram down is different than a down round. A down round is when a company raises money at valuation that is lower than the company’s valuation in its prior financing round. But it doesn’t come with a massive reverse split or change in terms.)

They’re Back
While cram downs never went away, the flood of capital in (Read more...)

The Contrarian VC with Jeremy Levine of Bessemer Venture Partners


This post is by MPD from @MPD - Medium


On this week’s episode I chat with Jeremy Levine, a Partner at Bessemer Venture Partners. Bessemer has been around for over 100 years and was originally founded by a family that partnered with Andrew Carnegie back in the day.

Jeremy has been at the firm for 21 years and has seen a few cycles. He’s a hell of an investor and has quite the track record. He’s been on the Forbes Midas List and his investments include the likes of Yelp, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Shopify.

If you’re interested in how the VC industry works this is a great conversation for you. We cover how Bessemer operates, how to be a good early-stage investor, the impact of macro trends on the VC landscape, Jeremy’s point of view on contrarian investing and much more. Enjoy.

Listen via your preferred platform here.

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The Contrarian VC with Jeremy Levine of Bessemer Venture Partners was originally published in @MPD on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

The Inside Scoop on the US Healthcare System with Chas Sanders of MARGIN


This post is by MPD from @MPD - Medium


On this week’s episode I chat with the Founder and CEO of MARGIN, Chas Sanders. MARGIN is a tech-enabled procurement solution that helps Ambulatory Medical Centers purchase the equipment they need to operate. Apparently, before MARGIN supplies were purchased via phone calls and fax machines. MARGIN has not only put that process on the Internet, but they have also helped doctors to reduce their spend by 15–20%. That’s big bucks — in many cases that’s hundreds of thousands of dollars per office.

Chas is a veteran of the healthcare industry. He’s been an executive at Zimmer Biomet, DaVita and others. After that he stepped out of the industry to launch MARGIN.

In addition to hearing about his company and lessons learned as a founder, what’s great about this conversation is hearing a sophisticated business person provide insights into why the healthcare industry is dysfunctional. And low and behold, one of the reasons is that it’s managed in a similar way to the government of communist Russia. Enjoy.

Listen via your preferred platform here.


The Inside Scoop on the US Healthcare System with Chas Sanders of MARGIN was originally published in @MPD on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.