20VC: Benchmark’s Scott Belsky on What Makes Truly The Best VCs? Why Entrepreneurs Must Focus on ‘The First Mile’ & The Key Ingredients To The Perfect Onboarding Process

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Scott Belsky is a Venture Partner @ Benchmark, one of the world’s leading VC funds. As an early-stage investor himself he has made investments in the likes of Uber, Warby Parker, Pinterest and Flexport just to name a few. Prior to Benchmark, Scott co-founded Behance in 2006, and served as CEO until Adobe acquired Behance in 2012. After Behance’s acquisition, Scott served as Adobe’s Vice President of Products, rebooting Adobe’s mobile product strategy and leading Behance until 2016. If that was not enough Scott is also, the co-founder and Chairman of a new marketplace product under development.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Scott made his move into VC with Benchmark having founded Behance and been a VP @ Adobe?

2.) How did Scott see his investment decision making process change when comparing being an angel to a VC? What was it about VC that made Scott realise that he would not be a traditional VC?

3.) Why does Scott believe that when momentum is growing too fast it is generally likely to fade out? At what point is the transition point between large momentum that is and is not sustainable?

4.) Why is Scott fascinated by ‘the journey in between’? What gives Scott hope when reviewing a company in this stage? What does he always look for?

5.) Why does Scott think that autonomous vehicles in cities will be a public utility? Will the data sets produced be publicly or privately owned? Who will operate mass transit systems?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Scott’s Fave Book: Tribe: On Homecoming & Belonging

Scott’s Fave Blog or Newsletter: The Information

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

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

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20VC: Raising $24m From The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Why EdTech Is So Misunderstood & Why The Future Of Work Is Decentralised with Andela’s Jeremy Johnson

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Jeremy Johnson is the Founder & CEO @ Andela, the startup that aims to bring a scientific approach to building engineering teams. They have backing from some of the best investors in the world with the likes of the Zuckerberg-Chan Initiative, Spark Capital, Google Ventures and our friends at Susa Ventures just to name a few. As for Jeremy, prior to founding Andela, Jeremy co-founded 2U, one of the fastest-growing education technology startups in history. 2U went public in 2014 (NASDAQ:TWOU) and continues to transform higher education. Jeremy has spoken on education and entrepreneurship at meetings hosted by the White house and Congress and was named “30 Under 30” by Inc. Magazine in 2012 and Forbes in 2013 and 2014.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jeremy made his entry into startups and came to found Andela?

2.) Question from Paige Craig: How did the Zuckerberg-Chan Initiative deal come about? What has been the effect of taking that round for the company and for you as the founder?

3.) How does Jeremy view the contrast between being CEO and being founder? What does he believe makes a truly great CEO?

4.) Andela is an intensely operational and logistics based business, how did Jeremy learn to handle this? What were the fundamental challenges?

5.) How does Jeremy view the future wof work? Why does Jeremy believe the future can only be in decentralised work forces?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Jeremy’s Fave Book: The Power of One

Jeremy’s Fave Blog or Newsletter: Social Snippets, Charles Hudson @ Precursor

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

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

Intercom is the first to bring messaging products for marketing and customer support together on one integrated platform. With Intercom, businesses can chat directly with prospective customers on their website, engage current users with targeted messages based on their behavior, and provide personal support at scale with an integrated help desk and knowledge base. This is perfect for Businesses that want to help people visiting their website become customers. Marketing and growth teams that want to onboard and retain users by sending the right messages at the right time and Support teams that want to move beyond email to provide personalized, scalable support so simply head over to Intercom.com/20MVC

Cooley are the global law firm built around startups and venture capital.  Since forming the first venture fund in Silicon Valley, Cooley has formed more venture capital funds than any other law firm in the world, with 50+ years working with VCs. They help VCs form and manage funds, make investments and handle the myriad issues that arise through a fund’s lifetime. So to learn more about the #1 most active law firm representing VC-backed companies going public. Head over to cooley.com and also at cooleygo.com.

 

 

20VC: Why Venture Is A Service Product? Why There Is No Such Thing As Product Market Fit & Why Startups Need To Be More Design Orientated with Ben Blumenfeld, Co-Founder & General Partner @ Designer Fund

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Ben Blumenfeld is the Co-Founder & General Partner @ Designer Fund, they invest in startups co-founded by designers and build and educate design teams through their program, Bridge. Designer Fund’s portfolio includes the likes of Gusto, Stripe, Shyp, Operator and many more incredible companies. As for Ben, previously Ben was a design lead at Facebook for over 5 years where he helped build products for nearly a billion people and grow Facebook’s world-class design team. He was also the design director at Varien which he helped build into one of the world’s leading e-commerce firms.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Ben made the move from designer to General Partner @ Designer Fund?

2.) How does Ben’s design background inform how he invests in companies and then supports them post-investment? How does he evaluate design opportunities from the design perspective?

3.) Why now has design become such a competitive advantage in tech? What has changed? What are the fundamentals of beautifully designed products today?

4.) How does Ben believe the current crop of VCs view design? What do they not understand? What should they look to understand? Will we see a new class of design-centric VCs?

5.) From seeing the likes of Facebook, Medium and Asana scale deign teams, what have been the takeaways to effectively scaling design teams with the growth of an organisation? What is required for this to be successful?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Ben’s Fave Book: The Power of One

Ben’s Fave Blog or Newsletter: Social Snippets, Charles Hudson @ Precursor

Ben’s Most Recent Investment: Hustle

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

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

Intercom is the first to bring messaging products for marketing and customer support together on one integrated platform. With Intercom, businesses can chat directly with prospective customers on their website, engage current users with targeted messages based on their behavior, and provide personal support at scale with an integrated help desk and knowledge base. This is perfect for Businesses that want to help people visiting their website become customers. Marketing and growth teams that want to onboard and retain users by sending the right messages at the right time and Support teams that want to move beyond email to provide personalized, scalable support so simply head over to Intercom.com/20MVC

Cooley are the global law firm built around startups and venture capital.  Since forming the first venture fund in Silicon Valley, Cooley has formed more venture capital funds than any other law firm in the world, with 50+ years working with VCs. They help VCs form and manage funds, make investments and handle the myriad issues that arise through a fund’s lifetime. So to learn more about the #1 most active law firm representing VC-backed companies going public. Head over to cooley.com and also at cooleygo.com.

20VC: Pejman Nozad: Tech’s Most Unlikely VC: From Yoghurt Shop To Investing In Startups Now Worth $20Bn+

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Pejman Nozad is the Founding Managing Partner @ Pear.vc, one of the leading seed stage funds in the valley. However, Pejman did not enter the tech industry like most venture capitalists. Having immigrated from Iran, he lived in an attic above a yogurt shop and took a job at a rug store in the Valley. But he immersed himself in what was happening in technology. Slowly, with a few small investments, he developed a reputation for identifying talent and helping take promising ideas to the next level. From next to nothing, he built a $20B portfolio, investing in over 100 startups and seeding several multi-billion dollar companies such as Dropbox, Lending Club, SoundHound and Gusto.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Pejman made his way from football in Iran to rug dealer in Palo Alto to leading seed stage VC?

2.) Mike Moritz has previously said that ‘a call from Pejman is a call he will always take’. What led Mike to say this? What makes Pejman the brilliant networker and community builder that he is?

3.) How does Pejman assess early stage founders and teams? From seeing an early Andy Rubin, what did Pejman take from that as to what makes the best founders?

4.) Pejman invested $400K in Andy Rubin’s Danger which exited 8 years later for $500m yet Pejman only 2x his money. What did he take from this? What have been the other major learning inflection points for Pejman in the journey?

5.) From working alongside some of the best investors of our generation, what does Pejman perceive to be the commonalities of the best investors? How do they operate? How do they evaluate early stage opportunities?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Pejman’s Fave Book: Power of Now

Pejman’s Most Recent Investment: Senti Biosciences

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

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

Intercom is the first to bring messaging products for marketing and customer support together on one integrated platform. With Intercom, businesses can chat directly with prospective customers on their website, engage current users with targeted messages based on their behavior, and provide personal support at scale with an integrated help desk and knowledge base. This is perfect for Businesses that want to help people visiting their website become customers. Marketing and growth teams that want to onboard and retain users by sending the right messages at the right time and Support teams that want to move beyond email to provide personalized, scalable support so simply head over to Intercom.com/20MVC

Cooley are the global law firm built around startups and venture capital.  Since forming the first venture fund in Silicon Valley, Cooley has formed more venture capital funds than any other law firm in the world, with 50+ years working with VCs. They help VCs form and manage funds, make investments and handle the myriad issues that arise through a fund’s lifetime. So to learn more about the #1 most active law firm representing VC-backed companies going public. Head over to cooley.com and also at cooleygo.com.

20VC: Why Founders Should Not Focus On Top Line Valuation, Why Capital Efficiency Is Key To Returns And Investment Success & Why Despite Popular Thought, $100m Is An Exciting Exit For VC with Micah Rosenbloom, Managing Partner @ Founder Collective

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Micah Rosenbloom is Managing Partner @ Founder Collective, one of the leading seed funds in the world with investments in Uber, Buzzfeed, Makerbot, PillPack, Coupang and Cruise, just to name a few. As for Micah, prior to VC with Founder Collective, his career was varied starting as a Hollywood agent before becoming a serial entrepreneur founding 3 companies with the last, a successful exit alongside his now Partner Eric Paley with Brontes Technology. Micah also is a Board Member with Sequoia Funded Dia and Co and board observer with both MoveWith and Sense360.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Micah made the move from Hollywood agent to leading seed stage VC?

2.) Why does Micah believe it is wrong to have themes to invest against? Why does he believe that the most interesting businesses can be found in weird and wonderful places?

3.) Why does Micah believe it is a problem for founders to focus exclusively on top line valuation? Why does Micah disagree with the common notion that a $100m exit is not exciting for VC?

4.) Why does Micah believe it is wrong for founders to build their company for the next round? Why does Micah disagree with Jason Lemkin in stating, ‘the best investors know the benchmarks clearly for the next round’.

5.) How does Micah deal with the fire hose of activities inherent within venture? How does he prioritise those activities? What thesis does he base all his decisions around?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Micah’s Fave Book: Thinking Fast and Slow

Micah’s Most Recent Investment: Skysafe

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

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

Intercom is the first to bring messaging products for marketing and customer support together on one integrated platform. With Intercom, businesses can chat directly with prospective customers on their website, engage current users with targeted messages based on their behavior, and provide personal support at scale with an integrated help desk and knowledge base. This is perfect for Businesses that want to help people visiting their website become customers. Marketing and growth teams that want to onboard and retain users by sending the right messages at the right time and Support teams that want to move beyond email to provide personalized, scalable support so simply head over to Intercom.com/20MVC

Cooley are the global law firm built around startups and venture capital.  Since forming the first venture fund in Silicon Valley, Cooley has formed more venture capital funds than any other law firm in the world, with 50+ years working with VCs. They help VCs form and manage funds, make investments and handle the myriad issues that arise through a fund’s lifetime. So to learn more about the #1 most active law firm representing VC-backed companies going public. Head over to cooley.com and also at cooleygo.com.

20VC: Why We Are Valuation & Ownership Insensitive, Why We Do Not Take Board Seats & The Effects Of The Series A Crunch with Topher Conway, Co-Managing Partner @ SV Angel

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Topher Conway is a Co-Managing Partner of SV Angel, one of Silicon Valley’s leading seed funds with investments in the likes of Facebook, AirBnB, Twitter, Dropbox and many more. At SV Angel, Topher works particularly close with Gusto, Github, Lookout and many more incredible companies. He was included in Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30 in 2015. Prior to SV Angel, he worked at EQAL, Inc. At EQAL, he worked with the Business Development and Sales teams and lead efforts in creating new business opportunities. Prior to EQAL, he held positions at eCost and a 2004 summer internship in Google’s Direct Sales Organization. He is also a member of the UCLA VC Fund, helping foster entrepreneurship at the University.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Topher made his way into the wonderful world of VC and came to be Managing Partner @ SV Angel?

2.) How has the rise of the pre-seed market affected Topher’s access to deals? How has Topher reacted to the creation of this new market segment with their new fund size?

3.) How does Topher evaluate grit within founders? Do Topher and SV prefer serial or first-time founders? How does Topher and SV approach startup pivots? Where is the line between stubbornness and vision?

4.) To what extent does Topher focus on valuation and ownership? Why does he believe that it is not important at this stage? What is his determinant to see whether it will be a problem?

5.) To what extent has Topher witnessed the Series A Crunch? Where does he see gaps in the investment landscape? Why does Topher not have a problem with bridge rounds?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Topher’s Fave Book: The Score Takes Care Of Itself

Topher’s Most Recent Investment: BetterUp

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

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

Intercom is the first to bring messaging products for marketing and customer support together on one integrated platform. With Intercom, businesses can chat directly with prospective customers on their website, engage current users with targeted messages based on their behavior, and provide personal support at scale with an integrated help desk and knowledge base. This is perfect for Businesses that want to help people visiting their website become customers. Marketing and growth teams that want to onboard and retain users by sending the right messages at the right time and Support teams that want to move beyond email to provide personalized, scalable support so simply head over to Intercom.com/20MVC

Cooley are the global law firm built around startups and venture capital.  Since forming the first venture fund in Silicon Valley, Cooley has formed more venture capital funds than any other law firm in the world, with 50+ years working with VCs. They help VCs form and manage funds, make investments and handle the myriad issues that arise through a fund’s lifetime. So to learn more about the #1 most active law firm representing VC-backed companies going public. Head over to cooley.com and also at cooleygo.com.

20VC: How Startups & VCs Can Build Relationships with Potential Corporate Acquirers? The Challenge Of Operating Both A B2B & B2C Business Model & Why Fundraising Is The One Element Founders Cannot Control with Gautam Gupta, Founder & CEO @ NatureBox

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Gautam Gupta is the Co-Founder and CEO of NatureBox, the startup allows consumers to discover new & healthy foods through a monthly subscription service. They have raised over $50m in VC funding from the likes of General Catalyst, Redpoint, SoftBank and many more. Prior to launching NatureBox, Gautam was a Principal at General Catalyst Partners. While at General Catalyst, he sourced and was actively involved with the firm’s investments in GoodData, Bigcommerce, Honest Company and many more. Gautam joined General Catalyst from Procter and Gamble, where he analyzed brand strategy and consumer preferences in the Consumer Market Knowledge group.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Gautam made the way from VC with General Catalyst to Founder of NatureBox?

2.) How does Gautam view the career VC we see often today? Does Gautam believe you need operating experience to be a good investor? How can investors without operating experience, build empathy for their founders?

3.) Why did Gautam choose to pursue both a B2B and B2C go to market strategy? How do the 2 models differ? What are the challenges and benefits to running both simultaneously?

4.) How does Gautam evaluate the rise of consumer subscription models? Following Jet and Dollar Shave, will we see further acquisitions from large CPG’s?

5.) Why have we seen such a rise in investor appetite for food startups? What is it about the market that is so attractive? What elements will see the most disruption? Does it concern Gautam to see traditional tech investors moving into waters they are unfamiliar with?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Gautam’s Fave Book: Shoe Dog

Gautam’s Fave Blog: Recode, TechCrunch

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

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

Intercom is the first to bring messaging products for marketing and customer support together on one integrated platform. With Intercom, businesses can chat directly with prospective customers on their website, engage current users with targeted messages based on their behavior, and provide personal support at scale with an integrated help desk and knowledge base. This is perfect for Businesses that want to help people visiting their website become customers. Marketing and growth teams that want to onboard and retain users by sending the right messages at the right time and Support teams that want to move beyond email to provide personalized, scalable support so simply head over to Intercom.com/20MVC

Cooley are the global law firm built around startups and venture capital.  Since forming the first venture fund in Silicon Valley, Cooley has formed more venture capital funds than any other law firm in the world, with 50+ years working with VCs. They help VCs form and manage funds, make investments and handle the myriad issues that arise through a fund’s lifetime. So to learn more about the #1 most active law firm representing VC-backed companies going public. Head over to cooley.com and also at cooleygo.com.

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