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The Twenty Minute VC: Venture Capital | Startup Funding | The Pitch on Smash Notes

The Twenty Minute VC: Venture Capital | Startup Funding | The Pitch podcast.

December 31, 2019

The Twenty Minute VC takes you inside the world of Venture Capital, Startup Funding and The Pitch. Join our host, Harry Stebbings and discover how you can attain funding for your business by listening to what the most prominent investors are directly looking for in startups, providing easily actionable tips and tricks that can be put in place to increase your chances of getting funded. Although, you may not want to raise funding for a startup. The Twenty Minute VC also provides an instructional guide as to what it takes to get employed in the Venture Capital industry, with VCs giving specific advice on how to get noticed from the crowd and increasing your chances of employment. If that wasn't enough our amazing Venture Capitalists also provide their analysis of the current technology market, providing advice and suggestions on the latest investing trends and predictions. Join us so you can see how you can get BIG, powerful improvements, fast. Would you like to see more of The Twenty Minute VC, head on over to www.thetwentyminutevc.com for more information on the podcast, show notes, resources and a more detailed analysis of the technology and Venture Capital industry.



Episodes with Smash Notes

Dev Ittycheria is the President and CEO @ MongoDB, recognized as the world's most popular next-generation database and the first database company to go public in over 26 years. Prior to their IPO, MongoDB raised from some of the best in the business including Sequoia, USV and NEA to name a few. As for Dev, before Mongo Dev was Managing Director at OpenView Venture Partners, Venture Partner at Greylock Partners, and CEO/Co-founder of BladeLogic, which was acquired by BMC for $900 million. Dev has also sat on some incredible boards including AppDynamics, athenahealth and BazaarVoice.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Dev made his way into the world of startups? How Dev made his entry into the world of venture? How that led to his joining Mongo as CEO?

2.) How has Dev seen his style of leadership change over the last few years? What are the 3 core benefits of being vulnerable with your investors? Why does Dev believe you sometimes have to be inefficient to be effective? What element/trait would Dev like to improve and develop as a leader?

3.) Where does Dev believe the majority of leaders make mistakes when it comes to scaling their teams and orgs? How does Dev think about the debate of whether to promote internally or hire externally for a role? Why does Dev believe the asymmetry of information there is dangerous?

4.) What has been Dev's biggest lessons when it comes to the speed that information is relayed within orgs? How does this differ between good news and bad news? What can leaders do to create environments where bad news is shared freely? Where do many go wrong here?

5.) How does Dev advise founders on the criteria they should use to determine which investors to work with? What has been so impressive to Dev about working with Sequoia? How would Dev describe Roelof Botha's style of board membership? How can investors crucially build trust with their CEOs?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Dev’s Fave Book: High Output Management

As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!

Joe Thomas is the Founder & CEO @ Loom, the startup that helps you get your message across by making it easy to record instantly shareable videos. To date, Joe has raised over $68M from some of the valley's leading firms including Sequoia, Kleiner and Coatue as well as individuals such as Mathilde @ Front, Kevin & Mike @ Instagram and Dylan Field @ Figma to name a few. Prior to founding Loom, Joe was in LA as Director of Product at MyLife.com and before that Director of Operations at MediaPass. Due to Loom's success, Joe has been named to Forbes 30 Under 30 for Enterprise Tech.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Joe made his way from the mid-West to the valley and came to found one of the hottest startups today in Loom?

2.) What does Joe believe are 3 rules to operate remote teams successfully? Why does Joe believe in remote + HQ as a model so much? How do the tools and culture need to change with this as a new format for work? How do leaders now need to learn to write more than ever before?

3.) How has fundraising fundamentally change in the world of COVID? What are the benefits? What can founders do and tools can they use to increase their chances of getting funded in a COVID world? What did Coatue do to build rapport and trust without meeting in person?

4.) What advice would Joe give to founders on how to pick their early VCs? How does Joe advise founders when it comes to accepting multi-stage money at seed? Why does Joe believe you need to be upfront with your VCs about their ability to build future ownership?

5.) Sequoia and Coatue led the Series B, how did the round go down many months before Joe and Loom planned to raise it? What did Sequoia do to win and close the deal? How did that as a founder make Joe feel? How does Joe advise VCs on what it takes to win the most competitive of deals?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Joe’s Fave Book: Enders Game, Think On These Things

As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Steve Jurvetson is the Co-Founder @ Future Ventures who announced their debut and flagship $200M Fund in 2019. Steve's incredible portfolio includes the likes of SpaceX, Tesla, Planet, Memphis Meats, Hotmail, and the deep learning companies Mythic and Nervana. Steve also sits on the board of both SpaceX and Tesla. Prior to founding Future, Steve was the co-founder of renowned valley firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson where he led investments in 5 companies that went public in successful IPOs and several others that became billion-dollar acquisitions.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Steve made his way into the world of startups and Silicon Valley and how that led to his creation of “The Lean Startup Movement”?

2.) How does Steve think about and assess market timing? How does Steve assess technical risk? Given the long term horizons of such deep tech projects, does Steve think we need to change the 10 + 2-year fund life structure? How would Steve like to see funds structured?

3.) Given the sheer size of outcomes if these plays work, how does Steve assess his own price sensitivity? How does Steve approach the challenge there is a lack of downstream investors for such deep tech projects? How does Steve try and catch an industry on the cusp of a transition?

4.) How does Steve assess his own relationship to money? How has it changed over the years? Why does Steve fundamentally believe that venture partnerships do not scale? Where do venture partnerships breakdown? How can one introduce cognitive diversity into a firm?

5.) Having worked with Elon Musk across both SpaceX and Tesla, what does Steve believe makes Elon one of the most gifted entrepreneurs of our time? What is Steve's most memorable moment from his many years of friendship with Elon? What have been his biggest takeaways from SpaceX and Tesla?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Steve’s Fave BookOut Of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World

Steve's Most Recent Investment: Prellis Biologic

As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Clay Wilkes is the Founder & CEO @ Galileo, the API standard for card issuing and digital banking, powering many of the leading global FinTech companies including Chime, TransferWise and Monzo to name a few. Prior to their reported $1.2Bn acquisition by SoFi, Clay raised just $86M in funding with Galileo from the likes of Accel and Ryan Smith @ Qualtrics, having run the company as a profitable company before that for over 15 years. Clay also has a keen interest in philanthropy having created the Galileo foundation with his wife in 2005.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Clay made his way into the world of tech and startups more than 20 years ago and how he came to build the foundations for many fintechs today with Galileo?

2.) When looking at the current financial ecosystem does Clay believe we are in a phase of bundling or unbundling? Does Clay believe we will see the verticalisation of banking? Will every company become a payments company? Does Clay believe we will see consolidation in the space?

3.) What does Clay believe were the benefits of going 15 years withour raising VC money, building a profitable business? What are the trade offs? What could he have done if he had raised? With hindsight, does Clay wish he had raised earlier? Why was then the right time to raise?

4.) Why does Clay believe the discovery mechanism for VCs finding startups is broken? How did Clay select the venture firm he chose to work with, Accel? What advice does Clay give to board members when it comes to being the best board member to their founders?

5.) Why did Clay believe that selling to SoFi was the right decision? What are the benefits of the merger? How does Clay think about the competitive element that many of Galileo's current clients are competitors with SoFi? How do they remedy and solve for that today?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Clay’s Fave Book: Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty

As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Brad Feld is a Co-Founder and Managing Director @ Foundry Group, one of the most successful venture firms of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Zynga, Fitbit and Sendgrid to name a few. Brad is also a co-founder @ Techstars and prior to Foundry, he co-founded Mobius Venture Capital. 

Tracy Lawrence spent the last 8 years as Founder & CEO @ Chewse, the startup that it effortless for office managers to order delicious food for their teams.  Tracy grew the team to 300 people across 4 markets, raised millions in venture capital, and ultimately sold the business to Foodee.

Jerry Colonna is the CEO of Reboot.io where he is now the professional coach to some of the world's leading founders. Prior to his work with Reboot, Jerry was an early-stage VC co-founding Flatiron alongside Fred Wilson in 1996.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Brad, Jerry and Tracy all experience their first forms of depression? At what stage did it become a more prominent part of their life? Why do they think then was the catalyst?

2.) Why does Jerry believe that despite what people say, no one is crushing it? How can founders present their vulnerability as a strength? At what point did Tracy realise this? How did she convey her vulnerability to her team? Who is to blame for the lack of vulnerability and fear of opening up?

3.) How does Brad think about tying happiness to milestones? What are the biggest dangers of doing so? Does this mean one does not have goals? How does one balance between ambition and appreciating the present? How did Brad learn this when Amy asked for a divorce? How did he respond?

4.) Why does Brad believe fear, guilt and anxiety are useless emotions? What was the result of Tracy tying her mental state to her revenue line? How does Tracy think about the loneliness of being a founder? What does Brad believe is some of the biggest BS in the industry?

As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Steve Blank is one of the leading luminaries of Silicon Valley, credited with being foundational to the creation of The Lean Startup movement and having spent the last 9 years at Stanford University as a professor and the last 8 as a Senior Fellow @ Columbia University. Steve is the author of "The Four Steps To The Epiphany" and "The Startup Owner's Manual". Prior to joining the world of academics and writing Steve spent over 20 years in the world of entrepreneurship as part of, or co-founded eight Silicon Valley startups ranging from semiconductors, video games, personal computers, and supercomputers. If that was not enough, Steve is also on the Defense Business Board for the United States Department of Defence.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Steve made his way into the world of startups and Silicon Valley and how that led to his creation of "The Lean Startup Movement"?

2.) Why does Steve vehemently disagree with Adam's Smith's "Invisible Hand" theory when it comes to government intervention? Why is this proven to have failed? How does this only help the rich become richer? As a result, what needs to change in the mechanics of the economy?

3.) Why does Steve not believe that there is accountability placed on investors and founders for projects they create and invest in? Why does Steve believe for the majority of investors today, they have no social conscience? How could this be changed and improved?

4.) How did seeing the booms and busts of the dot com and 2008 impact Steve's operating mentality? What are the 3 core traits that will ensure success for founders in a post COVID world? How should founders change their decision-making process post-COVID? Why does Steve believe in "benign dictatorship"?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Steve’s Fave Book: Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail

As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Chamath Palihapitiya is Founder & CEO @ Social Capital, the organisation on a mission to transform society by using technology to solve the world’s hardest problems. Social's portfolio includes the likes of Slack, Yammer, Front, Intercom and Carta to name a few. As for Chamath, prior to founding Social, he spent an incredible 4 years at Facebook including as the original exec in charge of FB Platform as well as being responsible for overseeing core growth components and overseeing FB's mobile efforts. If that was not enough, Chamath is also an owner @ The Golden State Warriors & Chairman @ Virgin Galactic.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Chamath made his way into the world of tech and startups, came to be a VC with Mayfield before joining Facebook and then starting Social?

2.) What were Chamath's biggest takeaways from his team building the growth team at Facebook? Why does Chamath believe that forecasts are worthless? What should founders focus on instead? What did Facebook teach Chamath about defensibility and moat building?

3.) What was the realisation moment for Chamath that the venture firm he was building with Social was not what he wanted to build? Why does Chamath believe the biggest mistakes he made were "compensation and partner selection"? How would he do them differently now? What does he look for most in partners today? How does he detect for integrity?

4.) Why has Chamath doubled down on the SPAC model? What are the core benefits both to the founders and investors? What are the core challenges with both direct listings and IPOs? How does Chamath think about scaling his SPAC strategy? What are the core challenges in doing so?

5.) Facing alcoholism and psychological challenges with his parents, how did Chamath deal with becoming a carer sooner than expected? How has becoming a parent changed Chamath's operating mentality today? How does Chamath analyse his relationship to money today?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Chamath’s Fave BookLiar's Poker: From the author of the Big Short

As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Alex Mather is the Founder & CEO @ The Athletic, the startup bringing you in-depth sports stories you won't hear anywhere else. To date, Alex has raised over $139M with The Athletic from some of the best in the business including Founders Fund, Bedrock, Y Combinator and Emerson Collective to name a few. Before founding The Athletic, Alex spent an incredible 5 years as part of the hyper-growth @ Strava serving Vice President of Product Management and Product Design.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Alex made his way into the world of tech and startups with Strava? How did his time at Strava lead to his founding The Athletic?

2.) With the scaling of The Athletic to over 500 people, how has Alex seen his leadership style change and adapt? What does he need to improve? How did having children impact how he thinks about management? What lessons did he take from Strava on what worked for community building?

3.) What was it like raising money for a subscription media business back in 2016? Who was the first person to really take a bet on Alex and The Athletic? What value adds does Alex think are the most important for VCs to provide? What are the biggest investor misconceptions around media?

4.) How does Alex see the future structure of the media landscape? What elements of media is Alex most concerned about right now? Does Alex view Substack as competition? What does Alex believe will be the 2 ways to succeed in media moving forward?

5.) What have been the biggest customer acquisition learnings for Alex from The Athletic? How does Alex feel about platform reliance for customer acquisition with Facebook? What does it take to successfully acquire customers on Facebook at scale?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Alex’s Fave BookThe Kingdom of God is Within You

As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

   

Joe Lonsdale is a General Partner @ 8VC and in the past has invested in many notable companies including Wish, Oculus, Oscar and Guardant Health. As a result, in both 2016 and 2017, Joe was the youngest member of the Forbes 100 Midas List. Prior to 8VC, Joe co-founded Palantir, one of the world's most impactful multi-billion dollar software companies. Joe also co-founded and serves as Chairman @ Addepar, which has over $1.8 trillion managed on its wealth management technology platform. If that was not enough, Joe is also a founder of AffinityAnduin and Esper.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Joe made his way into the world of tech and startups, came to co-found Palantir and Addepar and how that led to his founding 8VC? How does Drew believe the study of history makes one a better investor?

2.) Why does Drew believe that the best VCs are company builders? How does Drew think about, evaluate and put into action the incubator model? How does Drew respond to LPs that suggest it is a distraction? How does voting for incubations differ for investment voting?

3.) What does contrarian thinking really mean to Drew? What does Drew do to specifically engender contrarian thinking in the 8VC partnership? What is the relationship between contrarianism and political correctness? How does Joe think about the dangers of woke culture today?

4.) How does Joe advise founders to think through cash burn and runway today? What is going to happen to companies that sacrified growth for gross margin in 1 year? How does Joe advise founders on the balance of sticking to your vision and mission vs knowing when to give up?

5.) Why does Joe think it is important to not just start new companies but new cities also? Despite the insane cost of living, why does Drew believe the Valley has given rise to the insane levels of innovation it has done? Will the dominance of the valley remain over the next decade?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Joe’s Fave BookHow Innovation Works, A Time to Build: From Family and Community to Congress and the Campus

Joe’s Most Recent Investment: Beacon

As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Julia DeWahl is one of the rising stars of the Silicon Valley angel investor community with a portfolio including the likes of Linear (Sequoia-backed), Modern Fertility (USV backed) and Primer (Founders Fund backed). Prior to angel investing Julia was one of the first 10 employees at Opendoor seeing their hyper-growth first hand in many different roles from Head of Seller Experience to being General Manager of Pheonix & City Operations. Before Opendoor, Julia spent 3 years as a consultant at Bain. If that was not enough, Julia is also an avid cyclist and is setting up a women's cycling apparel line alongside her investing.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Julia made her way into the world of startups with Opendoor from Bain and how that position at Opendoor led to her angel investing? What were the 1-2 takeaways for Julia from her time at Opendoor that have most impacted how she angel invests today?

2.) Customer Discovery: When is the right time to engage in deep customer discovery work? How does one select the customers to go deep with? How does Julia structure the process? What questions are most revealing? Where do many go wrong? How does one determine the feedback to accept vs which to reject?

3.) How does Julia think about implementing systems for growth? What is the structure of these systems? Where does one start? How does Julia determine the metrics to track and focus on? How does Julia balance between growth vs profitability?

4.) Does Julia believe people can really scale with the company? What are the leading indicators that people are struggling to scale with the company? How does Julia advise generalists to survive and thrive in a scaling organisation? Should they specialise?

5.) What have been some of Julia biggest lessons of what it takes to be successful as an angel today? Who has Julia learned and gained the most from in this new discipline? How does Julia measure her own success as an angel? What are the core challenges?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Julia’s Fave BookThe Courage To Be Disliked: How to free yourself, change your life and achieve real happiness

Julia’s Most Recent Investment: Primer: Homeschool with superpowers

As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!

Oren Zeev is the Founding Partner @ Zeev Ventures, one of the best and most under the radar firms in the early stage Silicon Valley landscape. Over the past decade, Oren has backed the likes of TripActions, Tipalti, Audible, Houzz, Chegg and Hippo Insurance to name a few. Prior to crushing it with Zeev Ventures, Oren spent 12 years as a General Partner @ Apax Ventures, starting in Israel and then moving to the US where he headed the Technology Practice of Apax and the Silicon Valley office.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Oren made his way into the world of venture with Apax and how that led to his founding his own firm, Zeev Ventures?

2.) Having been in a venture partnership, why did Oren want to be a solo GP? What are the benefits? How does it change decision-making? What are the downsides? How does Oren discuss deals and ideas without partners? How does Oren explain the decision to LPs on being a solo GP?

3.) Why does Oren not believe in thesis-driven investing? What are the dangers and downsides to it? Why do most managers still do it then? Why does Oren specifically look for under-appreciated markets? How is pricing and competition different there? How does Oren assess his own price sensitivity?

4.) Why does Oren think that diversification is overrated? How does Oren think about cross-fund investing? Why is it such a strength that managers should use? Why do many not do it? How does Oren think about reserve allocation? Why is he the only VC to not have a reserves strategy?

5.) How does Oren think about fund deployment timelines? Why do LPs not like the annual fundraising approach? How does Oren size up his position in companies over time and round? How does Oren feel about founders taking secondaries?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Oren’s Fave BookThe Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm

Oren’s Most Recent Investment: Treeverse

As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Lo Toney is the Founding Managing Partner @ Plexo Capital, a very unique firm making both direct investments and fund investments. They have invested in Precursor, Boldstart, Female Founders Fund and WorkBench on the fund side and then PlayVS, Replicated and StyleSeat on the direct side. Prior to Plexo, Lo was a Partner @ GV (Google Ventures) and before that was a Partner with Comcast Ventures where he led the Catalyst Fund. Before venture Lo was an operator enjoying exec roles at Zynga, Nike and eBay.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Lo made his way into the world of venture with GV and how that led to his innovating on the venture model investing in both funds and directly with Plexo today? What were Lo's biggest takeaways from his 5 years as a Partner @ GV?

2.) How will GPs raising today be impacted by COVID? How does this differ dependent on the stage they invest and the size of fund they are raising? How does Lo advise managers communicating with existing and new potential LPs today?

3.) What does Lo mean when he discusses your "minimum viable fund size"? How does Lo advise GPs when it comes to closing strategies? How much do they need for first close? How many closes should there be thereafter? Should they take the money when it is on the table?

4.) How does Lo feel about anchor LPs taking/investing in the GP? What are the benefits for the manager of doing so? Why does Lo believe there is such a binary view towards it? Why does Lo disagree with the benchmarks set of what a GP commit "should be"?

5.) Why does Lo believe we will see the hybridization of GP/LP over the coming years? What are the benefits of having your LP also direct invest? What are the core challenges to the model? How does Lo envisage the world of venture evolving over the next decade?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Lo’s Fave BookWhy Should White Guys Have All the Fun?: How Reginald Lewis Created a Billion-Dollar Business

Lo's Most Recent Investment: PlayVS

As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here!

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.