20VC: Alexa Von Tobel on Raising NYC’s Largest Ever Female Led Fund, Portfolio Construction, Compression of Fundraising Timelines, Reserves Management & Personal Branding in Venture

9D3CBD6B-4764-43FD-9A3C-81426271775A

Alexa Von Tobel is the Founder & Managing Partner @ Inspired Capital, announced in 2019 as the largest ever female-led VC fund based in NYC. Prior to co-founding Inspired, Alexa founded LearnVest where she enjoyed an incredible 11-year journey culminating in their $250M exit to Northwestern Mutual in 2015. Alexa is also the author of New York Times Bestseller “Financially Fearless” and is an inaugural member of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship for the White House.

CLICK TO PLAY

CLICK TO LISTEN ON ITUNES

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Alexa made her way into the world of startups with the founding of LearnVest? How did that experience running LearnVest lead to her founding NYC’s largest-ever female-led VC fund in the form of Inspired?

2.) How does Alexa think about portfolio construction with the new $200M fund? What does she mean when she says they have segmented it into 3 distinct and separate buckets? How much is in each bucket? How does Alexa think about reserves and re-investment decision making? What is the process here?

3.) As a former entrepreneur, how does Alexa think about those moments when the VC and the Founder are no longer aligned? What are those moments? How does Alexa approach the aspect of saying no to founders? What is the right way? How does Alexa feel about the compression in fundraising timelines? How does Alexa meet founders before they raise their round?

4.) Why does Alexa believe that capital is no longer the differentiator? How does Alexa think about personal brand in venture today? Where does Alexa believe are the most crucial times for reputation building? How does Alexa approach time allocation across the portfolio? What is the correlation between decision-making and reputation?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Alexa’s Fave Book: The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact

Alexa’s Most Recent Investment: Snackpass

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

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

20VC: Moxxie Ventures’ Katie Stanton on What It Takes To Raise A First Time Fund As A Solo GP, The Entrance of Multi-Stage Funds Into Seed Rounds and The Inverse Relationship of Those That Fund Diverse Managers and Those That Say They Do

971AFA71-29ED-42DA-92E6-80F431266527

Katie Stanton is the Founder and General Partner of Moxxie Ventures, investing in founders who make life and work better. Prior to Moxxie, Katie was a Founding Partner of #angels and has the most incredible angel portfolio including Airtable, Carta, Cameo, Coinbase and Modern Fertility to name a few. Katie also served in numerous executive operating roles at TwitterGoogleYahoo, and Color and also served in the (Obama) White House and State Department. If that was not enough, Katie is also on the board of Vivendi and previously sat on the board of Time Inc.

CLICK TO PLAY

CLICK TO LISTEN ON ITUNES

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Katie made her way into the world of tech with Yahoo? How did that translate into her investing in Lowercase Fund I? How did the angel investing lead to founding Moxxie? How has Katie found her investment mindset has changed moving from angel to VC?

2.) How did Katie find the fundraise for Moxxie? How many LPs did Katie meet and how did she structure the process? What does Katie think she did well in the fundraise? What would she look to improve or change when raising for Fund II? What advice was Katie given in the process by Semil Shah which really changed her thinking? What advice would Katie give to other emerging managers raising today?

3.) Does Katie agree with Semil Shah that “founders are voting with their feet in taking multi-stage money at seed”? What advice does Katie give to founders who do have these offers from multi-stage funds at seed? How does Katie assess these later stage funds moving earlier? How should smaller micro-managers respond to this?

4.) How does Katie think about portfolio construction today with Moxxie? What are the hard rules that mean Katie is willing to walk away from a deal? How does Katie think about and assess her own price sensitivity? In terms of decision-making, what support system has Katie built around herself to enhance her decision-making process?

5.) How does Katie advice founders when it comes to selecting their VC? What are the most common ways founders look for and need to help with? How does Katie think about party rounds? When are they good? When are they not? Why does Katie believe so much of the power has shifted to the hands of the founders?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Katie’s Fave Book: Becoming by Michelle Obama, Angel by Jason Calacanis

Katie’s Most Recent Investment: ethel’s club

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

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

20VC: The Most Successful Companies Are Not Where Employees Work The Most, How To Know When To Promote From Below Or Bring in External Candidates & Why It Is A Unique Advantage To Be Building A Company Outside A Tech Hub with Rick Nucci, Founder & CEO @ Guru

Rick Nucci Headshot

Rick Nucci is the Co-Founder & CEO @ Guru, the knowledge management platform that delivers everything you need so you can spend less time searching and more time doing. To date, Rick has raised over $38m with Guru from some of the best in the business including Thrive, Emergence Capital, Firstmark, Slack and Salesforce. Prior to Guru, Rick was the Founder of Boomi, which defined and led a new segment as the first-ever cloud integration platform-as-a-service. Boomi was ultimately acquired by Dell where Rick went on to grow the organisation into the industry leader it is today.

CLICK TO PLAY

CLICK TO LISTEN ON ITUNES

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Rick made his way into the world of startups originally and how he came to change the way we think about knowledge management with his founding of Guru?

2.) How would Rick describe his leadership style today? How has he seen his style change over the years? What have been those learnings and the inflexion points causing them? Does Rick believe can be learned as a leader? What does he recommend to founders wanting to become more empathetic?

3.) Culture is a fluffy and overused term, what does it mean to Rick? What has Rick done to purposefully build a very specific culture that he wanted to create? What specific initiatives have worked well? What have not worked so well? How does Rick think about culture maintenance with scale? What are the challenges with scaling culture?

4.) How does Rick think about the interview process when adding to the team at Guru? How do they literally structure it? What does their culture interview encompass? How heavily is it weighted? What specific questions do they ask and responses they look for? If it does not work out, what have been Rick’s biggest lessons on letting people go?

5.) Rick is based in Philadelphia, often people say if you are not in a tech hub it is not possible to get the best talent, does Rick agree with this? In what roles does it make sense to hire from a tech hub for? What are the advantages of hiring outside of a hub? Fundraising wise, does Rick believe you have to have a presence in a core hub to raise from Tier 1 VCs?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Rick’s Fave Book: The 9 Types of Leadership: Mastering the Art of People in the 21st Century Workplace

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

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

 

 

20VC: Oaktree Capital’s Howard Marks on The Most Important Skill An Investor Can Have, The Right Way To Think About Price Sensitivity & Where Are We At Today; Take More Risk or Less?

Howard Marks

Howard Marks is co-chairman and co-founder of Oaktree Capital Management, a leading investment firm with more than $120 billion in assets. Prior to founding Oaktree, Howard spent 10 years at The TCW Group, where he was responsible for investments in distressed debt, high yield bonds, and convertible securities. Previously, Howard was with Citicorp for 16 years, where he served as Vice President and senior portfolio manager in charge of convertible and high yield securities. Howard has also written two books, most recently Mastering the Market Cycle: Getting the Odds on Your Side, and it was Warren Buffet who said, “When I see memos from Howard Marks in my mail, they’re the first thing I open and read. I always learn something.”

CLICK TO PLAY

CLICK TO LISTEN ON ITUNES

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Howard first made his way into the world of finance over 50 years ago? How did not getting an investment banking job change the course of Howard’s life?

2.) Where does Howard think we are in the cycle today? What leads his thinking here? What is it crucial for all investors to remember at any point in the cycle? From a risk distribution and diversification perspective, does Howard believe now is a better or worse time to increase risk?

3.) Having worked through and been at the forefront of some of the most significant downturns of financial markets, what have been Howard’s biggest learnings from seeing the booms and busts? How did it impact his investment mindset? At a point in 2008, Oaktree were deploying $600M per week for 15 weeks running, so how does Howard think about when is the right time to be aggressive vs when to pullback?

4.) How does Howard think about and assess his own price sensitivity? If there is one thing Howard wants to know to determine the right price, what is it? How does Howard believe we are seeing pro-risk mindsets alter investors attitude to price? How does Howard think about his right vs wrong and consensus vs non-consensus matrix?

5.) Howard and his Partner, Bruce have a very special relationship, what have they done to foster a relationship of radical intellectual honesty and that environment of safety? What are some things Howard will say to his team to encourage productive disagreement? What to Howard is the most important skill an investor can have is?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Howard’s Fave Book: Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets

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

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

20VC: Portfolio Construction, Optimising SPVs, Opportunity Investing “Between Rounds”, Being Distribution-Centric Over Product-Centric and Capital Concentration Within Funds With Sumeet Gajri, Chief Strategy Officer @ Carta

Sumeet Gajri Headshot

Sumeet Gajri is the Chief Strategy Officer @ Carta, the startup that helps companies and investors manage their cap tables, valuations, investments, and equity plans. Sumeet is largely responsible for all things fundraising and M&A and Carta have raised over $485m from a16z, USV, Thrive, Spark, K9, Lightspeed and Meritech to name a few. Sumeet is also Managing Partner @ Original Capital, where he has partnered with companies including Front, Tonal, Instabase, Everlywell and Cockroach Labs to name a few. Finally, Sumeet is also an LP in world-leading firms such as USV and Valar Ventures.

CLICK TO PLAY

CLICK TO LISTEN ON ITUNES

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Sumeet made his first foray into the world of venture in NYC having grown up in Scotland? How that led to his move to operations with Carta? How his learnings from Carta led to his establishing Original Capital?

2.) How is Original Capital different from every other micro-fund? How does Sumeet approach portfolio construction with the fund? What is the optimal number in a portfolio? How does Sumeet think about loss ratio? What 3 criteria dos every new investment have to pass to make it into the portfolio? How does check size vary by deal?

3.) How does Sumeet invest in some of the best companies in between “official rounds”? What does this conversation look like with the founders? How does Sumeet analyse reserve allocations? What makes the right strategy? What are his capital concentration limits per company? How does Sumeet think about using SPVs effectively?

4.) Sumeet helps his companies fundraise a lot, what does the first step look like? How does he advise on investor selection? How does he advise on pipeline management? Should founders speak to investors when they are not raising? How open should they be in these meetings? What can founders do to catalyse the process? Where does Sumeet see many founders make mistakes?

5.) How does Sumeet think about distribution vs product? What can founders do to adopt a more distribution first mindset? What have been some of Sumeet’s biggest lessons in turning Carta from a single product company to a multi-product company? Do companies have to own their own lines of distribution today?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Sumeet’s Fave Book: Howard Marks: The Value of Predictions

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

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

20VC: Khosla Ventures Founding Partner, Samir Kaul on Why Pro Rata Is A Cop Out, Why He Likes Technical Risk and Does Not Take Market Risk & How To Approach Time Allocation Across The Portfolio In Venture

4382B8D9-6E90-4135-93F9-AF6AC71584D7

Samir Kaul is a Founding Partner and Managing Director at Khosla Ventures, one of the valley’s most renowned firms of the last decade with a portfolio including Square, Affirm, DoorDash, Impossible Foods and OpenDoor just to name a few. As for Samir, he led the firm’s investment in Guardant Health, Impossible FoodsNutanix [NASDAQ: NTNX], Oscar, among others. Prior to Khosla, Samir spent five years at Flagship Ventures where he started and invested in early-stage biotechnology companies, including Helicos Biosciences which went on to IPO. Samir was also founding CEO of Codon Devices and led the Arabidopsis Genome Initiative at Craig Venter’s Institute for Genomic Research.

CLICK TO PLAY

CLICK TO LISTEN ON ITUNES

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Samir made his way into the world of venture from the world of biotech and came to found one of the leading firms of the last decade?

2.) How did seeing the booms and busts of the last 2 decades impact Samir’s investing mindset? Why does Samir think it is dangerous for a VC to have a “conservative mindset”? How does Samir analyse and think about upside maximisation when investing today? How does Samir think about when to sell your position and how to determine the right time?

3.) What does investment decision-making look like at Khosla? What are the criteria that re-investments are made upon? Why does Samir believe that pro-rata is a kop out? Which should be the core questions that determine whether to double down or not? How does Samir and the partnership think about time allocation across the portfolio?

4.) How does Samir approach the exercise of market sizing? Why does Samir never want to take a risk when it comes to market? Why does Samir want to maximise his risk when it comes to technological risk? How does Samir think through having to carry these deep tech companies for longer? What were his learnings from the clean tech days on this?

5.) How would Samir analyse his own price sensitivity today? What was his most formative inflexion moment as an investor? What did he learn from it? From a people side, who had the biggest impact on Samir as an investor? What were the core elements he learned from them? How does Samir deal with the element of self-doubt? How does he get through those moments?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Samir’s Fave Book: Start Something That Matters

Samir’s Most Recent Investment: Lightship: Direct to Patient Clinical Trials 

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

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

20VC: Raising $105m in Just 13 Months Over 3 Separate Rounds, The 5 Core Ways VCs Can Add Value & How Founders Can and Should Fully Leverage Their Cap Table with Kurt Rathmann, Founder & CEO @ ScaleFactor

21C04A59-7098-4601-B5BE-83A1CD943934

Kurt Rathmann is the Founder & CEO @ ScaleFactor, the startup providing an automated bookkeeping solution at its core, bringing all of your company’s important financial information into one place. To date, Kurt has raised over $105m with ScaleFactor from the likes of Byron Deeter @ Bessemer, Coatue, Canaan Partners, Stripes Group and Firebrand to name a few. As Michael @ Coatue told me before the show, there is no way Kurt was not going to be the founder of a bookkeeping company given his background. Prior to ScaleFacotr, Kurt was the CFO of KNS Communications and a Senior Audit Professional @ KPMG.

CLICK TO PLAY

CLICK TO LISTEN ON ITUNES

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Kurt make his way into the world of startups and come to found the gamechanger for bookkeeping in the form of ScaleFactor? Does Kurt believe that Founders do need to be mission-driven or can founding a company be a more analytical exercise?

2.) How did it come to be that Kurt raised 3 separate funding rounds and over $105m in just 13 months? How does Kurt feel about the saying, “when there is money on the table, take it”? Having had his B and C pre-empted, how does Kurt feel about the rise of pre-emptive rounds today? How did Kurt approach the mental challenge of transitioning from resource-starved to relative resource abundance? Was that tough to do?

3.) What is Kurt’s biggest advice to founders when it comes to investor selection? What does Kurt believe are the 5 things that VCs can do to add value? Why does Kurt believe it is the responsibility of the founder to extract that value from the VC? What can founders do to really get the most out of their investors? What has Kurt found to be the biggest value from his cap table? Where do founders think VCs add value but they do not?

4.) What are some very unique and deliberate things that Kurt does to create an amazing culture at ScaleFactor? How does he advise on creating great energy in the office itself? How does Kurt think about retaining that core ethos with the expansion to multiple offices? What have been some of the biggest challenges in scaling communications internally?

5.) Does Kurt believe that being outside of a core tech hub severely limits his ability to hire the best talent? What do founders outside of these hubs need to very strategically do? How does being outside of a core hub also impact how Kurt thinks founders need to approach fundraising? What specifically can they do to increase their odds?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Kurt’s Fave Book: The Empowered Challenger Playbook: How Brands Can Change the Game, Steal Market Share, and Topple Giants

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

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

 

1 2