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The Arena on Smash Notes

The Arena podcast.

December 28, 2019

An enchanting podcast of hope, self-discovery, failure and triumph, The Arena by Kauffman Fellows gives us a glimpse into the lives and narratives behind the men and women who are actually in the arena, transforming the startup and venture capital universe. Hosted by Jeff Harbach, CEO of Kauffman Fellows, and produced by Nihar Neelakanti, this podcast airs weekly and can be found on iTunes and Spotify or Fellows.org

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Hosted by Jeff Harbach
Produced by Nihar Neelakanti



Episodes with Smash Notes

Allen Taylor is Managing Director of Endeavor Catalyst and leads Endeavor’s efforts to connect its portfolio of 1,000+ high-growth companies with US-based mentors and investors. Launched in 2012, Endeavor Catalyst has raised more than $120M+ across two funds and made 70+ investments to date in 20 different countries across Latin America, EMEA and Southeast Asia. Tune in as we learn about Allen's non-traditional path into venture and his sage wisdom for those building companies or pursuing VC. This is a story you won't want to miss. Signup for our newsletter to get notified of the latest release and to receive the latest insights in VC and startups http://eepurl.com/dzVE5j

Christine Kenna is a parter at IGNIA focused on investments in Mexico. Listen as she walks us through the pivotal moments of her life that have led her to where she is now. Christine has previously worked at EF Education first, Google, Parthenon Group, and the Guggenheim Foundation. This is a story you won't want to miss. Signup for our newsletter to get notified of the latest release and to receive the latest insights in VC and startups http://eepurl.com/dzVE5j





Ray is one of the most interesting person you'll meet. He's a venture partner at Sozo Ventures and is an advisor to Pokemon and Sony Music. Previously, he led the expansion of Hello Kitty taking it from a market cap of $500M to over $3.5B. He's friends with Pharrell Williams, he's a wicked DJ, and is a Kauffman Fellow from Class 22. This is a story you won't want to miss. Signup for our newsletter to get notified of the latest release and to receive the latest insights in VC and startups http://eepurl.com/dzVE5j

Andy is a Partner with Uncork Capital, one of the most active seed-stage investors in Silicon Valley. He invests in early-stage software startups that help businesses operate like the best companies in the world either by building better, selling more, or operating more effectively. Prior to joining Uncork Capital in 2015, Andy was co-founder of London-based Huddle, a leading enterprise content collaboration company. Under Andy’s leadership, Huddle became one of Europe’s most awarded and well-known technology startups, raising over $80M of venture funding. Andy is a Kauffman Fellow from Class 22. Signup for our newsletter to get notified of the latest release and to receive the latest insights in VC and startups http://eepurl.com/dzVE5j

Jonathan Lehr is the co-founder and General Partner at Work-Bench. Join us this week as Jon describes how a degree in biomedical engineering kick started his finance career, ultimately leading him to investing in enterprise software, and excelling at it. Signup for our newsletter to get notified of the latest release and to receive the latest insights in VC and startups http://eepurl.com/dzVE5j

Jeremy Yap is #InTheArena this week on the KF Podcast. Listen as he takes us on his journey from serving as a lieutenant in the Singapore Armed Forces to becoming a prolific angel investor with 77 investments across 18 cities. Signup for our newsletter to get notified of the latest release and to receive the latest insights in VC and startups http://eepurl.com/dzVE5j 

Elliott Robinson is a growth equity partner at Bessemer Venture Partners. Join us this week as Elliott shares his perspective on overcoming interpersonal challenges and how those experiences have shaped both his personal and professional values. Signup for our newsletter to get notified of the latest release and to receive the latest insights in VC and startups http://eepurl.com/dzVE5j 

Ted Maidenberg is a co-founder and partner at Tribe Capital. Join us this week as Ted shares with us of how he utilized his ‘North Dakota Work Ethic’ and implemented his father’s values of initiative and action throughout his life. This is an episode you'll surely want to check out - as Ted’s father would say: “Do it now!” 

Miriam Rivera is the co-founder and managing director of Ulu Ventures, a seed stage venture firm investing primarily in enterprise IT. Join us this week as Miriam takes us through her journey of hard-work and perseverance. From leaving home at 14, to becoming a Vice President at Google, to co-founding Ulu Ventures, Miriam's incredible story is one you won’t want to miss.

Claire is Founder and CEO of Future Family, a startup helping women and couples start and expand their families using IVF and egg freezing. Listen to her story as Claire cascades through Silicon Valley from Solar City to founding Future Family. Claire is a true inspiration to anyone looking to take the leap. Signup for our newsletter to get notified of the latest release and to receive the latest insights in VC and startups http://eepurl.com/dzVE5j 

Ernestine Fu is a Venture Partner at Alsop Louie Partners where she focuses on disruptive technologies. She is also the author of Civic Work, Civic Lessons. What hasn't she done? Beats us. Tune in to hear Ernestine's story growing up in LA, to starting a career in VC at 19, and her endless mission to pursue impact. Signup for our newsletter to get notified of the latest release and to receive the latest insights in VC and startups http://eepurl.com/dzVE5j 

Saed Nashef is founding partner of Sadara Ventures, the first venture capital firm focused on investing in Palestine. How does one invest in Palestine? More importantly, what kind of guts must it take to do so? Saed's life journey has taken him through the US, to working at Microsoft, and ultimately back to his home where his life's mission began. Tune in to hear this truly one of a kind story. Signup for our newsletter to get notified of the latest release and to receive the latest insights in VC and startups http://eepurl.com/dzVE5j 

This week, we had the chance to chat with Heather Hartnett, CEO and Founding Partner of Human Ventures, a New York City-based venture capital fund. Heather is gritty, passionate, and is building the next evolution of venture capital through the studio model. Hear her story, what brought her here, and what she's excited about. Signup for our newsletter to get notified of the latest release and to receive the latest insights in VC and startups http://eepurl.com/dzVE5j podcoin

Marlon Nichols is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Cross Culture Ventures. In this episode, we talk about difficult conversations with partners, the promise of diversity in venture, and more. Signup for our newsletter to get notified of the latest release and to receive the latest insights in VC and startups http://eepurl.com/dzVE5j

Trae Vassallo is awesome. She is the founder of Defy Partners and was formerly at KPCB working with famed venture capitalist, John Doer. But that's not where her story begins. Not even at Stanford. It starts in her home state of Minnesota. Tune in to hear her story. Signup for our newsletter to get notified of the latest release and to receive the latest insights in VC and startups http://eepurl.com/dzVE5j

We had the chance to chat with Anarghya Vardhana, a recently minted partner at Maveron Ventures, a consumer facing VC. In this episode, Anarghya talks about her upbringing, her values, challenges she's faced, what it's like working with Dan Levitan, and her excitement for the future of consumer tech. Signup for our newsletter to get notified of the latest release and to receive the latest insights in VC and startups http://eepurl.com/dzVE5j

Santi is an early investor and board member in recently minted IPO, Zoom (NYSE: ZM). Listen in as we have the first inside scoop on how Santi met Eric Yuan, CEO of Zoom, and tune in as we explore Santi's amazing career tracing its roots from Argentina to Silicon Valley. Signup for our newsletter to get notified of latest release and other insights on VC and startups at eepurl.com/dzVE5j

We are absolutely thrilled to announce the launch of our new podcast series, The Arena. Owing its name and vision to Teddy Roosevelt's storied 1910 speech, “Man in the Arena,” this new podcast provides a glimpse into the lives and narratives of the Kauffman Fellows who are “actually in the arena,” transforming the startup and venture capital universe. This podcast is hosted by Jeff Harbach, CEO of Kauffman Fellows, and produced by Nihar Neelakanti. This podcast airs a new episode once a week and can be notified of the latest release on our Kauffman Fellows Journal Newsletter which you can signup for here


The starting lineup includes guests from fabled firms like Emergence Capital, Maveron, Defy VC and more. In addition, The Arena aims to bring a wide collection of voices and experiences to the forefront of venture capital, from first-time fund managers, to series A founders, to managers from the far corners of the world including Singapore and Palestine.


For more on Kauffman Fellows and The Arena, visit www.kauffmanfellows.org