20VC: Why It Is All Still About User Growth and How To Conduct The Optimal Beta Testing Phase with Mike Mignano, Co-Founder & CEO @ Anchor

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Mike Mignano is the Co-Founder & CEO @ Anchor, the app that allows you to share and engage with your network via audio, essentially radio for the people. Prior to founding Anchor, Mike was Head of Product @ Aviary, prior to it’s acquisition by Adobe. Anchor was one of the hottest products at SXSW this year and has received funding from our good friends at Homebrew, SV Angel, Betaworks, Eniac Ventures, Scott Belsky and many more.
In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Mike come to found one of the hottest new audio startups, Anchor?

2.) Why have we seen such a renaissance of podcast listening? Will this continue in the long term future and if so, what will drive the long term future growth?

3.) How did Mike use the beta testing phase to learn and iterate on customer behaviour? Following this, how did he implement this feedback to create a community that could be harnessed on launch?

4.) When examining alongside Sarah Tavel’s hierarchy of engagement, how does Mike address retention and the creation of virtuous loops within Anchor?

5.) How does Mike fundamentally attempt to menthes Anchor? At what level of growth can the cash taps be turned on? How can Anchor be made to be revenue generating for both the platform and content creators?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Episode:

Mike’s Fave Blog: The Skimm

Mike’s Fave Book: Cat’s Cradle

As always you can follow The Twenty Minute VCHarry and Mike 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!
The Twenty Minute VC is brought to you by Leesa, the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Lees have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is order completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10 inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com/VC and enter the promo code VC75 to get $75 off!

20VC: Why Every Successful Company Pivots and Good Companies Get Funded in Good & Bad Markets with John Frankel, Founding Partner @ ff Venture Capital

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John Frankel is the founding partner of ff Venture Capital and has been an early-stage investor since 1999. He has served on the boards of more than 35 companies and has led investments in more than 80 companies, including Cornerstone OnDemand (CSOD), Indiegogo, Ionic Security, Unikey, Socure, Skycatch, Plated, 500px, Distil Networks, and Bottlenose. Prior to founding ffVC, John worked at Goldman Sachs for 21 years in a variety of roles that involved technology development, reengineering and capital markets. At Goldman Sachs, he worked closely with some of the world’s leading hedge fund managers and developed a keen understanding of emerging technologies and portfolio risk/return management.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did John make the move from Oxford grad to NYC venture capitalist?

2.) How has the massive decrease in startup costs affected the seed funding environment? How does David identify the startups he invests in with the plethora that are now available?

3.) How much of an extent is portfolio a branding tool for VCs? In recent years we have seen the rise of the operational VC model with the likes of Andreesen, will this continue as a prominent model in VC?

4.) How as a seed investor does John advise his founders when chasing a valuation that will only lead to a down round? What is John’s views on the dreaded down round?

5.) Many companies pivot in the process? Does John like to see pivots? If pivoting what is it important for founders to remember and focus on?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Episode: 

John’s Fave Book: The Accidental Superpower

John’s Most Recent Investment: Wade and Wendy

As always you can follow The Twenty Minute VCHarry and John 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!
The Twenty Minute VC is brought to you by Leesa, the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Lees have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is order completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10 inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com/VC and enter the promo code VC75 to get $75 off!

20VC: Europe’s Youngest Series A Venture Partner, James Wise @ Balderton Capital on How To Get Into Venture & What The Future Of The VC Industry Looks Like

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James Wise is a partner at Balderton Capital, one of Europe’s leading early stage venture funds with $2.5B in funds. The youngest partner at a Series A fund in Europe, at 29 James has already led on deals including the likes of CrowdcubeSketchFab3D HubsSunrise and Workable amongst others. He discusses his unusual background, coming into VC after previously setting up and running a charity, why he thinks geography matters less than every and why he continues to focus on areas in healthtech and edutech as well as many other emerging sectors.
In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) As Europe’s youngest venture partner, is venture capital a viable career going forward? What makes James say this? Has there been a time when you doubted this thesis and why?

2.) So it is a viable career, where do we go from here? Why should we choose venture in Europe over venture in the US? What are the inherent pros and cons? Does James get the itch to head to the Valley?

3.) So VC in Europe is the place to be, so why did James choose Balderton? There are a plethora of great and emerging funds in Europe, what attracted James to Balderton?

4.) What does the next 10 years of VC look like? Where we are heading? Although a viable career now, will this continue to be with increasing power of crowd sourced financing and decreasing startup costs?

5.) What advice would James give a young individual looking to get into the industry? How can an individual show their passion and inherent interest for VC and startups in a tangible way?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Episode:

As always you can follow The Twenty Minute VCHarry and James 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!
The Twenty Minute VC is brought to you by Leesa, the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Lees have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is order completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10 inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com/VC and enter the promo code VC75 to get $75 off!

20VC: Nicolas Dessaigne Founder & CEO @ Algolia

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Nicolas Dessaigne is the Co-Founder and CEO @ Algolia. Algolia are a brilliant case study for the successful pivot, having started off life as an offline search engine for mobiles but really took off by helping companies deliver an intuitive search-as-you-type experience on their websites and mobile apps. They participated in Y Combinator’s Winter 2014 batch and raised $18.3M in May 2015 from the likes of Accel Partners, Point Nine Capital, Storm Ventures and many more incredible investors.
In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Nicolas make his way into tech and come to found the likes of Friendster and Algolia?

2.) How did Algolia go about crafting their company culture and how have they approached maintaining it as they have gone into hyper growth mode?

3.) What des Nicolas think are the most common challenges with regards to the building and maintenance of a company culture? What pitfalls and advice would Nicolas give to an early stage founder looking to build that culture from the offset? How can investors determine the strength and sustainability of the company culture when viewing startups?

4.) How was the fundraising process for Nicolas? How did the rounds differ from round to round? What elements surprised or challenged him? For Algolia, an incredibly hot startup, how did Nicolas go about about selecting which investors to have?

5.) Talking of the highly competitive round and the very excitable startup community, how do you respond to all of this insane hype and positivity. How do you ensure that you do not fall into the trap of drinking your own cool aid and remain grounded and humble?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Episode:

Nicolas’ Fave Blog: SaaStr

Nicolas’ Fave Book: Creativity Inc

As always you can follow The Twenty Minute VCHarry and Nicolas 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!
The Twenty Minute VC is brought to you by Leesa, the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Lees have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is order completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10 inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com/VC and enter the promo code VC75 to get $75 off!

20VC: The Rise Of The Celebrity VC & The Pros and Cons Of Staying Private with Logan Bartlett @ Battery Ventures

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Logan Bartlett is an investor @ Battery Ventures, where he focuses on growth investments for B2B software companies. He is currently involved in Battery’s investment in Pendo and StreamSets. Before joining Battery, Logan was in investment banking with Spurrier Capital Partners, a boutique merchant bank focused on the technology sector. There, he sourced application-software deals with a focused on the marketing-automation sector as well as sales force automation, human-capital management, work management/collaboration, front-office analytics and data-services companies. Prior to that, Logan served as an investment banking analyst at Deutsche Bank focusing on financial technology.
In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Logan made his way into the wonderful world of venture capital?

2.) So as young chap entering the industry, I would love to hear how you have gone abut trying to build your brand and identity? What are the key personal marketing strategies for you? How important do you think the brand of the VC is? How do you address the juxtaposition of branding and marketing yourself and battery?

3.) How does Logan approach the deal sourcing aspect of the job? What is his approach to this vital thesis?

3.) Moving to more financial matters I want to address both the seed end and the later stage end of the market today. So starting with the seed funding environment, in recent years we have seen a massive drop in the cost of company creation in conjunction with a large rise in seed funding,. What is the effect of this for you as a Series A-B investor, potentially located in what some may call the funding gap?

4.) You are very much located in the B2B space, d I am intrigued wht kind of ARR do you look for at the stage you are investing and what price point per customer do you believe allows for that ARR metric to be hit within a reasonably short amount of time?

5.) Moving to the later stages of the market I have seen in a slide of yours from the past that you stated that more institutional investors have made their way into the private markets and startups are staying private longer. You followed up by staying that this is a win win for all? Why do you think that is? Does it not mean later stage VCs are priced out of rounds due to the inflow of public money? Does it not mean later stage startups attain inflated valuation that will only lead to a down round at follow on or IPO?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Episode:

Logan’s Fave Book: Gang Leader For A Day

Logan’s Fave Blog Or Newsletter: Dan Primack: Term Sheet

As always you can follow The Twenty Minute VCHarry and Logan 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!
The Twenty Minute VC is brought to you by Leesa, the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Lees have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is order completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10 inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com/VC and enter the promo code VC75 to get $75 off!

20VC: The Best Determinant Of Product Market Fit & Why You Prior Experience Is Nor Required For Founder Success with Neeraj Agrawal, General Partner @ Battery Ventures

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Neeraj Agrawal is a general partner at Battery Ventures investing in SaaS and Internet companies across all stages.  He was a founding investor in BladeLogic in 2001 and has invested in several other companies that have gone on to stage IPOs, including Bazaarvoice, Guidewire Software, Marketo, Omniture, RealPage and Wayfair. His current, private investments include AppDynamics, Catchpoint, Chef, Cohesity, Coupa, Glassdoor.com, Nutanix, Optimizely, Pendo, SmarterHQ, Sprinklr, StellaService, Tealium and Yesware. For the last six years, Neeraj has been recognized on the Forbes Midas List, which ranks the top 100 venture capitalists in the world.
In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Neeraj made his way into the world of VC?

2.)Question From Logan Bartlett: ‘What is your thought process on what makes a good vs a bad deal? Also, how have you developed your ability to process deals and poke holes in logic?’

3.) How can early stage Saas founders determine the extent to their product market fit??

4.) What is it like to back rocketships like GlassDoor or Marketo and helping scale operations when you’re in hyper growth mode? Does Neeraj agree with Sheryl Sandberg’s statement, it doesn’t matter where you sit, as long as you have a seat on the rocketship?

5.) Neeraj previously stated in a Nasdaq article that it is all about the team and the market. What are Neeraj’s thoughts on VC founder alignment? Neeraj also places emphasis on the market, so how does Neeraj view the juxtaposition between current and future market?

6.) One hurdle preventing some companies from growth is the ability to attain later rounds of funding so as a largely Series B investor, why is raising a Series B so tough? Is it the embodiment of the funding barbell?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Episode:

Neeraj’s Fave Blog: Brad Feld, Jason Lemkin

Neeraj’s Most Recent Investment: Pendo.io

As always you can follow The Twenty Minute VCHarry and Neeraj 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!
The Twenty Minute VC is brought to you by Leesa, the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Lees have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is order completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10 inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com/VC and enter the promo code VC75 to get $75 off!

20VC: From Netscape To Friendster To Nuzzel: Jonathan Abrams on A Silicon Valley Adventure

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Jonathan Abrams is the founder & CEO of the social news service Nuzzel.  Jonathan is also co-founder and Managing Partner of Founders Den, a shared office space and private club for experienced entrepreneurs and their friends. Previously, Jonathan was the founder & CEO of Socializr, Friendster, and HotLinks, and a software engineer at companies such as Netscape and Nortel. Jonathan is a board member at Girls in Tech, an advisor to CodeNow, and has previously been a mentor in Steve Blank’s entrepreneurship classes at Stanford and Berkeley, a top-rated mentor at The Founder Institute and a member of the advisory board of the Silicon Valley Association of Startup Entrepreneurs. Jonathan is also an angel investor in over 50 startups including AngelList, Docker, Front, HelloSign, Instacart, Sapho, Seed, Slideshare, Socialcam, and Vouch.
In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Jonathan make his way into tech and come to found the likes of Friendster and Nuzzel? What were his biggest lessons from working at Netscape?

2.) How can founders determine the customer stickiness and value proposition in the early days of product testing with friends and family?

3.) How does Jonathan view the competitive landscape for news aggregation? Why is consumer app such a competitive space?

4.) Question From Matt Mazzeo: How does Jonathan compare this moment in time to previous points in the innovation curve?

5.) Having worked with both the old and the new guard of VC, how does working with Lowercase, Homebrew and Softtech compare with the old guard of Benchmark and Kleiner Perkins?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Episode:

As always you can follow The Twenty Minute VCHarry and Jonathan 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!
The Twenty Minute VC is brought to you by Leesa, the Warby Parker or TOMS shoes of the mattress industry. Lees have done away with the terrible mattress showroom buying experience by creating a luxury premium foam mattress that is order completely online and ships for free to your doorstep. The 10 inch mattress comes in all sizes and is engineered with 3 unique foam layers for a universal, adaptive feel, including 2 inches of memory foam and 2 inches of a really cool latex foam called Avena, design to keep you cool. All Leesa mattresses are 100% US or UK made and for every 10 mattresses they sell, they donate one to a shelter. Go to Leesa.com/VC and enter the promo code VC75 to get $75 off!
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