20VC FF 035: Why Crowdfunding Is Not Right For Tech Startups with Ryan Caldbeck @ CircleUp

Ryan Caldbeck is the Founder & CEO @ CircleUp, the online investing platform that allows you to invest in innovative consumer companies. They have raised funding from some of the best including USV, Maveron and Canaan Partners (all past guests). Before Ryan founded CircleUp, he worked in consumer product and retail-focused private equity at TSG Consumer Partners and Encore Consumer Capital, where he was exposed to hundreds of great consumer and retail businesses that were too small to obtain funding through the customary private equity channels and did not fit the risk profiles many VCs demanded. As a result, Ryan decided to build the solution, a private equity marketplace with the economics and scale to make funding available to these promising companies.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Ryan make the move from the world of VC to founding his own tech startup?

2.) Why is CircleUp marketplace investing, not crowdfunding? What does Ryan believe are the misnomers around the term crowdfunding?

3.) Where does this sector make sense and where is it  inefficient? Why is it wrong for tech companies?

4.) One major aspect in the UK that this segment has struggled with is it’s ability to attract institutional investors to the sector. So with CircleUp, how are institutional investors getting into this market and is there anything more Ryan would like to see with this regard?

5.) To what extent does Ryan think this is disrupting private capital formation? Should VCs be concerned? What sector of the funding environment is most vulnerable to being disrupted by the rise of marketplace investing?

6.) How was the funding process for Ryan? CircleUp raised over $50m over several rounds with investors from our friends at USV and Maveron, how that came about and what Ryan would advise founders entering the process?

Items Mentioned In Todays Show:

Ryan’s Fave Blog: AVC, Jeff Jordan, Bill Gurley

As always you can follow The Twenty Minute VC and Harry on Twitter here!
If you would like to see a more colourful side to Harry with many a mojito session, you can follow him on Instagram here!
This episode was supported by Wunder Capital, the leading online investment platform that allows individuals to invest in large scale solar projects across the U.S. Wunder’s solar investment funds allow you to earn up to 11% annually, while diversifying your portfolio, curbing pollution and combating global climate change. Do well by doing good and sign up for a free account here and join the thousands of people that are already achieving their investment targets.

20VC: The First Online Venture Fund Built On AngelList with Dustin Dolginow @ Maiden Lane

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Dustin Dolginow is the General Partner @ Maiden Lane, the first online venture fund which uses AngelList as it’s operating system, serving as the institutional capital partner to the best angel investors in the world. Dustin has made investments in the likes of Getable, PipeDrive, Beepi and many more incredible companies. Dustin is also a venture partner with Accomplice where he serves some of the best entrepreneurs on the planet. Prior to investing, Dustin cut his teeth in the operations game with Social Swipe, which allowed merchants to gain more value from their transaction data.
In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Dustin made it into startups and the investing industry?

2.) What were Dustin’s major takeaways from his operational experience and how has he applied them to his role investing with Maiden Lane?

3.) Where does Ryan you democratisation of funding going in the next five years? What direction does Dustin believe we are moving in?

4.) Dustin has said that ‘capital is a crappy differentiator’ so what value add should founders look for in their VCs? How are we seeing the VC value add evolve over time?

4.) How does Dustin sell Maiden Lane in the sea of seed funds that have emerged over the last few years? How important does Dustin think it is for VCs and funds to have personal brands? What is bigger the brand of the VC or the fund?

5.) What is it Dustin looks for in products? Are there any must haves? Any design requirements?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Episode:

Dustin’s Fave Book:

Dustin’s Most Recent Investment:

As always you can follow The Twenty Minute VCHarry and Dustin on Twitter here!
If you would like to see a more colourful side to Harry with many a mojito session, you can follow him on Instagram here!

This episode was supported by Wunder Capital, the leading online investment platform that allows individuals to invest in large scale solar projects across the U.S. Wunder’s solar investment funds allow you to earn up to 11% annually, while diversifying your portfolio, curbing pollution and combating global climate change. Do well by doing good and sign up for a free account here and join the thousands of people that are already achieving their investment targets.

 

20VC: Gil Penchina @ Flight.vc

Gil Penchina is the Founder @ Flight.vc, a network of AngelList syndicates that covers a wide range of sectors from SaaS to security from Israel to England. Gil also has the title of the largest raise for an AngelList syndicate, essentially turning himself into a one man fund. Some of Gil’s investments include the likes of Paypal, Indiegogo, AngelList, Linkedin and many more. Prior to his investing career, Gil cut his teeth with operating roles at numerous companies including Ebay. We would also like to wish Gil the best of luck in his nomination for Angel Investor of The Year at tonight’s Crunchies by TechCrunch.
In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Gil made it into startups and the investing industry?

2.) Why did Gil choose numerous syndicate approach over one huge syndicate? What are the benefits of having numerous specialized syndicates?

3.) What is included in Gil’s sell of Flight as an investor? What is the driving force behind the success of Flight? What is the biggest challenge within this job as founder?

4.) How does Gil try and convince the startups that the syndicate method of investment is better for them? How does Gil portray his value add to startups?

5.) Does Gil insist on pro-rata rights? Should founders always grant them to early stage investors?Which VCs does Gil like to work with and what makes them a good VC?

6.) Where does Gil see the future of first AngelList? Will it replace the archaic system of VC? What are Gil’s plans for his syndicates? Is Gil looking to move into Series A and B rounds? How do you plan to become the Fidelity of this asset class?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Episode:

Gil’s Fave Book:

Gil’s Fave Blog or Newsletter:

Gil’s Most Recent Investment:

As always you can follow The Twenty Minute VCHarry and Gil on Twitter here!
If you would like to see a more colourful side to Harry with many a mojito session, you can follow him on Instagram here!

This episode was supported by Wunder Capital, the leading online investment platform that allows individuals to invest in large scale solar projects across the U.S. Wunder’s solar investment funds allow you to earn up to 11% annually, while diversifying your portfolio, curbing pollution and combating global climate change. Do well by doing good and sign up for a free account here and join the thousands of people that are already achieving their investment targets.

20 VC FF 034: What Fintech Can Learn From Uber and The Shift From Financial Organisation To Financial Efficiency with Kelly Peeler, Founder & CEO @ NextGenVest

Kelly Peeler is the Founder and CEO of NextGenVest, the College Money Mentor for every student, helping students navigate the financial aid and student loan application process. While at Harvard, Kelly started Business Across Borders, a non profit that helps Iraqi students rebuild their own economy by starting their own companies and the International Women in Business Summit, bringing together top female college leaders. She was selected as one of the eight Kauffman Foundation Global Scholars, named by Goldman Sachs as one of the 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs, and named a White House #StartTheSpark Ambassador. Her TED Talk is called “How to Change the World as a Millennial – Don’t be Stupid with Money” and can be found here.
A special thank you to Mattermark for providing all the data displayed in today’s show and you can find out more about Mattermark here! 
In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Kelly made it into startups and what was the origin story for NextGenVest?

2.) How has the Fintech ecosystem evolved over the last 5 years compared to the mass of consumer facing fintect startups today? What does Kelly mean by Fintech 1.0 and the next phase of Fintech?

3.) How can emerging brands and in particular fintech brands build loyalty with the emerging millennial generation? What is the attention graph for millenials looking like?

4.) What does Kelly mean when she states a shift from financial organisation with Mint to financial efficiency today?

5.) What key determinants that have made Uber so successful can be used within Fintech startups to build the same trust and relationship?

6.) What is Kelly’s view of startups taking a platform dependent approach? What are the benefits and what are the concerns?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Episode:

As always you can follow The Twenty Minute VCHarry and Kelly on Twitter here!
If you would like to see a more colourful side to Harry with many a mojito session, you can follow him on Instagram here!

20VC: The Evolution Of Mobile & The Importance Of Follow On Funding with Hadley Harris @ Eniac Ventures

Hadley Harris is the Founding General Partner at Eniac Ventures, the first seed stage venture fund focussed exclusively on mobile. Eniac’s investments include the likes of Soundcloud, Airbnb, Elevate and many more incredible mobile first companies. Before Eniac, Hadley was a two-time entrepreneur in the mobile space, as an executive at Vlingo, acquired by Nuance Communications for $225m and after Vlingo he became CMO of Thumb, which was acquired by Ypulse. Hadley also worked at Charles River Ventures where he spent time helping with mobile investments while looking for a young startup to join. As if his portfolio does not prove enough of what a seed stage investing legend he is, he was also named by Business Insider as ‘New York’s Best Early Stage Investor’.
A special thank you to Mattermark for providing all the data displayed in today’s show and you can find out more about Mattermark here! 
In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Hadley made it into startups and the investing industry?

2.) What does an engineering degree provide when investing? Why did Eniac decide to focus solely on mobile?

2.) How has Hadley seen the NY venture and startup scene develop over the last years? Does an ecosystem need anchor companies to be great? Ex-Googlers, and ex-Facebook, ex-LinkedIn, ex-Sun, etc. are so important to the Bay Area ecosystem. What are New York’s anchor companies? How has that affected the ecosystem?

3.) What is it like helping companies like Soundcloud and Airbnb scale when in hyper growth mode? At the seed level, how important a role does valuation play when determining whether to invest or not?

5.) Why is raising a Series B so tough? Is it the embodiment of the funding barbell? Has NYC, like London, seen a rise in the second seed round?

6.) What are Hadley’s thoughts on VC founder alignment? What are the common characteristics of the best founders that Hadley has worked with and invested in?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Episode:

Hadley’s Fave Book:

Hadley’s Fave Blog or Newsletter:

Hadley’s Most Recent Investment:

As always you can follow The Twenty Minute VCHarry and Hadley on Twitter here!
If you would like to see a more colourful side to Harry with many a mojito session, you can follow him on Instagram here!

Index’s Martin Mignot on Sourcing Rocketship Companies, Evaluating Founders and His Attitude Towards Risk At The Early Stage

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Martin Mignot is an early stage investor at Index Ventures where he specialises in SaaS, marketplaces and mobile. He is actively looking after Index’s investments in Algolia, Blablacar, Capitaine Train, Deliveroo, Drivy, Rad, Swiftkey and TheFamily. He worked on 50+ transactions to date, including Assistly, Auxmoney, BaseCRM, Cloud.com, Codecademy, DimDim, Factual, Farfetch, Flipboard, Funding Circle, Gluster, HouseTrip, Just-Eat, Lookout, Nastygal, Notonthehighstreet, Onefinestay, PeoplePerHour, TrustPilot, Soluto and SoundCloud.  Prior to joining Index, Martin was in the TMT team at UBS Investment Bank and co-founded the beauty subscription business Boudoir Prive (acquired by Joliebox/Birchbox) and a student web radio service (www.rsp.fm).
A special thank you to Mattermark for providing all the data displayed in today’s show and you can find out more about Mattermark here! 
In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) Where did it all start for Martin? What is the Martin Mignot story?

2.) How does Martin view venture as a career vs coming into it later on? Why does Martin think venture is now a viable career from the offset?

3.) Does Martin agree with Sheryl Sandberg’s statement, it doesn’t matter where you sit, as long as you have a seat on the rocketship? How important is valuation for Martin when making the decision?

4.) How Martin goes about sourcing the latest and greatest startups from the European ecosystem?

5.) How does Martin evaluate founders and consider their ability to execute on their plan, prior to making the investment?

6.) Talking of difficulty for startups attaining funding, what are your thoughts on VC founder alignment? You have said to focus before on the business and not the team, unless exceptional cases prevail, this is very strange for me to hear. Why is it you have adopted this stance and why do you feel it is best?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Episode:
Martin’s Fave Blog or Newsletter:
As always you can follow The Twenty Minute VCHarry and Martin on Twitter here!
If you would like to see a more colourful side to Harry with many a mojito session, you can follow him on Instagram here!
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