20VC: a16z Partner Frank Chen on The Future of Car Ownership, Whether The High Employee Attrition Rate in The Valley Is A Feature or A Bug & His Biggest Lessons From Netscape, Loudcloud & Opsware

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Frank Chen is a Partner @ Andreessen Horowitz, one of the world’s most prestigious venture firms with a portfolio including the likes of Airbnb, Coinbase, Github, Lyft, Slack and many more incredible companies. As for Frank, prior to joining the world of venture, he was a VP of Products & UI Design at HP Software and before that held the same title at Opsware. Before that, even cooler, Frank was Director of Product Management @ Netscape where he led a cross-functional team that defined, shipped, and marketed Netscape’s award-winning LDAP directory and security products. 

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Frank made the move from the world of operations with Opsware and HP to being a Partner at Andreessen Horowitz?

2.) How does Frank view the current state of play for AI and machine learning? How does the rise of automation shift the economy as we know it? What does it do to class distinctions? How does Frank view it’s impact on the labour market? How does Frank think about the value of truly large datasets? Where is the asymptotic moment where the utility value of data is realised?

3.) With the rise of self-driving, how does Frank perceive the future of car ownership? Who will fundamentally own and operate the vehicles? Will it be a horizontal play or a vertical play? In terms of adoption, why is Frank negative towards a driver assisted transition phase and believe in a more binary transition?

4.) How does Frank perceive the rise of automation and self-driving cars impacting public infrastructure? How will the layout of our cities change over time? How does Frank believe urban real estate could be optimised in a more efficient manner? Which nations does Frank believe will be the first to innovate here?

5.) What is the most challenging element of Frank’s position as Partner @ a16z? How does Frank think about the right way to say not to an entrepreneur? How does Frank look to scale the learning curve rapidly when investigating new industries? What are the challenges here? What advice would Frank give to someone looking to scale learning curves?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Frank’s Fave Book: The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of The Rings

Frank’s Most Recent Investment: Branch

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Frank on Twitter here!

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

20VC: Superhuman’s Rahul Vohra on How To Measure Product-Market Fit, How To Construct A Process To Increase It & How To Implement A Strong Feedback and Reporting Cycle To Sustain It

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Rahul Vohra is the Founder and CEO @ Superhuman, the fastest email experience in the world. Fun fact, users get through their inbox twice as fast — and many see Inbox Zero for the first time in years! To date, they have raised funds from our friends at Boldstart, First Round, John Collison, Sam Altman, Wayne Chang, Mike Ghaffery and Yes VC just to name a few. Previously, Rahul founded Rapportive, the first Gmail plugin to scale to millions of users. Rapportive was ultimately acquired by LinkedIn.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Rahul make his way into the world of startups with the founding of Rapportive and how did that transition to changing the world of email with Superhuman?

2.) What does Rahul mean when he says, “you can reverse engineer a process to get to product market fit”? What does Rahul believe is the defining metric which determines your “product market fit score”? What is Julie Supan’s framework? How did Dropbox and Airbnb use it to increase their product market fit? How can founders implement it into their process?

3.) What can founders do to expand the customer base to include users that currently are “somewhat disappointed”? What are the right questions to ask? What do we do with this feedback? How do we further segment the user base? Why should we “disregard the users whereby the primary benefit of the product does not resonate”?

4.) How does Rahul approach product roadmap and prioritisation? How can founders ensure that continuous tracking and user feedback is engrained within the organisation? What tools does Rahul do to monitor and capture this? What are some of Rahul’s biggest lessons from going through this painstaking process stage by stage?

5.) Finally on fundraising, what does Rahul mean when he says, “always be raising but never be actively raising”? What are the benefits of this? How can founders transition catch up coffee into fundraising subtly? How does Rahul feel about party rounds? What are the pros? What are the downsides? How does Rahul advise founders here?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Rahul’s Fave Book: The Art of Game Design

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Rahul on Twitter here!

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

20VC: AOL Founder, Steve Case on Why The Best Venture Investments of The Next 10 Years Will Likely Not Be In The Valley, Why The CEO Must Be The Shock Absorber For Company Morale and Why Vision Without Execution is Hallucination

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Steve Case is Chairman and CEO of Revolution with the mission being to establish themselves as the premier venture firm outside of Silicon Valley. On the other side of the table, Steve is recognised as one of America’s best-known and most accomplished entrepreneurs as the co-founder of America Online (AOL). Under his leadership, AOL was the first internet company to go public and became the world’s largest and most valuable internet company delivering an 11,616% return to shareholders. In 2000, Steve negotiated the largest merger in business history, bringing together AOL and Time Warner. Among many other achievements, in 2014, Steve was named a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship. Steve has also been a leading voice in shaping government policy and was instrumental in passing the JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act. Finally, Steve is also Chairman of the Case Foundation, where he and his wife, Jean, have invested in hundreds of organizations, initiatives and partnerships.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Steve made his way into the world of technology with the founding of AOL in 1985 and how that led to his founding of Revolution and investing today in the “rise of the rest” today?

2.) Having sat on both sides of the table both as founder and VC, what does Steve thinks make the truly special VCs? How do they engage with entrepreneurs? How do they actively move the needle for their companies? How would he like to see VCs of the future change and adapt their ways?

3.) How does Steve think about market timing when investing today? What were some of Steve’s biggest lessons from seeing the dot com bubble and 2008 in both the role of entrepreneur and investor? What does he mean when he says, ‘it can be dangerous to have a depression mentality’ when investing?

4.) How does Steve analyse and assess the current fundraising environment today? Why does Steve see an incredible opportunity in funding companies outside the 3 traditional hubs of Silicon Valley, NYC and Boston? What needs to happen to drive this equalisation of funding further? What would Steve like to see change?

5.) What does Steve think are the 3 seminal roles of the CEO? What does Steve mean when he says that the CEO ‘must be a shock absorber for company morale’? How does Steve deal with s*** hit the fan moments? What are his coping mechanisms and how does he advise entrepreneurs on them?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Steve’s Fave Book: The Third Wave, Be Fearless: 5 Principles For A Life of Breakthroughs and Purpose

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Steve on Twitter here!

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

20VC: Brex Founder Henrique Dubugras on Why Being Mission Driven Is Not The Only Way To Build A Massive Business, Why You Should Not Associate Fundraising with The Cash Needs of Your Business & Why You Don’t Have To Follow Startup Theory When It Comes To Employee Comp or Fundraising

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Henrique Dubugas is the Founder & CEO @ Brex, the first corporate card for startups offering instant online application, no personal liability, and tailored rewards. In a staggering 2 years, Henrique has grown Brex to a $1.1Bn valuation having raised over $180m in funding from some of the best in the business including Peter Thiel, Max Levchin, Elad Gil, DST, Y Combinator and IVP just to name a few. As for Henrique, prior to founding Brex he founded Pagar.me, a payments solution that he sold in Sept 2016, a year that the platform processed over $1.5 billion in GMV.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Henrique made his way from learning to code games in Brazil to starting a leading payment processor to founding one of the world’s fastest growing B2B companies in Brex?

2.) How does Henrique think about hiring the very best people? How has that strategy shifted and changed over time? What is the best advice Henrique has been given on hiring? What interview questions does Henrique think are crucial to ask? What are leading indicators that an individual has the ability to scale with the company?

3.) Why does Henrique think it is wrong to down people for being “compensation motivated”? How does Henrique think about compensation structures? Should candidates have to take pay cuts to join startups? What have been some of Henrique’s biggest learnings and challenges here?

4.) How does Henrique approach the current sentiment to fundraising in the valley today? Why does Henrique disagree with founders who have periods of not speaking to VCs? What does Henrique believe is the right way to build VC relationships? How does Henrique think about the right time to raise? What advice does Henrique have for founders when it comes to investor selection?

5.) How does Henrique think about his own personal development? Where would he personally like to improve and strengthen? What is he doing to make this happen? How has Henrique seen himself as CEO change over the last 2 years with Brex? What have been some of the challenges of scaling himself as CEO?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Henrique’s Fave Book: 7 Powers: The Foundations of Business Strategy

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Henrique on Twitter here!

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

20VC: Techstars Founder David Cohen on Why Seed Investing Is A Different Asset Class To Venture, What Makes The Best And The Worst Board Members & Why Every Company Has To Have A Pessimist In The Room

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David Cohen is the Founder and co-CEO of Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed. To date, David has backed hundreds of startups including the likes of Uber, SendGrid, Twilio, ClassPass, PillPack and more. In total, these investments have gone on to create more than $80B in value. Prior to Techstars, David was a co-founder of Pinpoint Technologies which was acquired by ZOLL Medical Corporation in 1999. Later, David was the founder and CEO of earFeeder, a music service that was sold to SonicSwap. If that was not enough, David is also theco-author (with Brad Feld) of Do More Faster; Techstars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How David made his way from, his words “geeky hacker” to the founder of one of the world’s largest accelerators, Techstars and investor in multiple unicorns?

2.) What does David mean when he says that when assessing founders he studies “the moment of integrity”? What does he want to see from founders in those moments? What are some potential red flags? If a negative response, what are the subsequent actions an investor must take in this situation?

3.) How does David think about the right time to establish a board? What are the benefits of establishing your board with the seed round? What does David believe is the key to highly efficient boards? How has David changed as a board member over the years? Why does David believe, when building a company, “you always have to have a pessimist in the room”?

4.) When negotiating deals, what does David mean when he says “the terms must match the story”? How does David determine between a bridge and a bridge to nowhere? What can investors do to protect themselves if the targets of the business are not met and they have an uncapped note in place? How should they communicate this?

5.) Techstars today invests in over 500 companies per year, how does David think about reserve allocation across the portfolio? How does David feel about stack ranking portfolio co’s quarterly and concentrating capital accordingly? Why is this not effective? Why should seed and angel investing be an entirely different asset class to VC?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

David’s Fave Book: The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life

David’s Most Recent Investment: Ordermark

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and David on Twitter here!

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

20VC: What Makes The Best Venture Firms Today So Special, The 3 Structural Impediments That Face Venture Today and Why The Debate on AR vs VR is BS with Anjney Midha, Founder & CEO @ Ubiquity6

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Anjney Midha is the Founder & CEO @ Ubiquity6, the startup that allows you to edit reality together, turning any location into a space for real-time, shared AR and VR experiences. To date, Anjney has raised over $38m in funding for Ubiquity6 from some of the very best in the business including Phin @ First Round, Mike Volpi @ Index and Mitch @ Benchmark. Prior to Ubiquity6, Anjney spent 4 years on the other side of the table as an investor @ Kleiner Perkins and then as Founding Partner @ KPCB Edge, Kleiner’s program helping founders get off the ground in AR, VR and Computer Vision.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Anjney made his way into the world of startups on the investing side of the table with Kleiner Perkins and how that transitioned to his founding of Ubiquity6?

2.) What does Anjney believe is structurally wrong with venture now more than ever? How does the extended period of privatisation affect emerging partners in venture firms? How does Anjney think the very best of investors think about and analyse history? Why does Anjney believe venture is the business of financing “creative hits”?

3.) What are the 3 structural impediments facing venture today? Why and how does Anjney believe we will see a new class of VC enter the space and be very successful? In what form could this take? How can they outcompete the current crop of VCs? What does Anjney mean when he discusses the “squishy middle” of VC?

4.) Anjney is backed by Index, Benchmark and First Round, what are the commonalities among those firms that make them so special? How do the very best of firms engage and build relationships with their entrepreneurs? How does Anjney believe that focus can be successfully applied to venture? What is the right way for VCs to evaluate themselves?

5.) What do VCs really want to know when they are approaching risk assessment with founders? What can founders do to mitigate risk when pitching to VCs? How do the very best founders attract the very best talent to their team? What are the commonalities? Where do some go wrong in building the optimal team?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Anjney’s Fave Book: Rainbows End

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Anjney on Twitter here!

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

20VC: Slow Ventures’ Sam Lessin on How VC Forces Certain Companies To Exist and Makes It Difficult To Finance Others, Why Cities Won’t Let Scooter Companies Be Profitable and Why Dapps Are A Concern and Where Emphasis Should Be Placed In Crypto

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Sam Lessin is a Founding Partner @ Slow Ventures, one of the leading early-stage funds on the West Coast with a portfolio including the likes of Robinhood, Gusto, Pinterest, Casper, Postmates and many more incredible companies. Sam is also the Co-Founder & Co-CEO @ Fin Analytics, the startup that provides precision measurement and coaching for high-performance operations teams. Before founding Fin and Slow, Sam spent 4 years at Facebook as a VP of Product Management following their acquisition of his prior company, Drop.io.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Sam made his way into the world of venture with the founding of Slow following the acquisition of his company and 4 years in product at Facebook?

2.) How does Sam think about the difference between investing small personal checks vs managing institutional funds? What is the subsequent effect on mindset when investing? How does one prevent an increased conservatism? What does Sam mean when he says “VC forces some businesses into existence and makes others hard to fund?

3.) Why does Sam believe that man + machine must have a symbiotic relationship in the future? What does this look like in reality? When comparing today to the industrial revolution, is Sam concerned by the increased rate of adoption today? What does this mean for different categories of work? Why does Sam believe we will need more philosophers?

4.) Why does Sam believe that too much emphasis in the world of crypto is placed on Dapps? Why is he concerned by Dapps? What are of crypto does Sam believe is most exciting and investable today? Does Sam agree with Elad Gil that we will see the re-centralisation of talent back to the valley with the scaling of crypto co’s?

5.) On governments, why does Sam not believe that both local and national governments will allow scooter companies to become meaningfully profitable in the future? How does Sam think about the balance and trade-off between privacy and security that faces many governments today?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Sam’s Fave Book: Lessons of History

Sam’s Most Recent Investment: Fetcher.ai

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Sam on Twitter here!

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

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