20VC: Howard Marks on How COVID-19 Impacts Our Economy, Liquidity and National Debt, Why The Theory of Falling Knives and Market Bottoms is Wrong & Why The Best Investors Are Fundamentally Unemotional

Howard Marks is the Co-Founder and Co-Chairman 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.”

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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.) What does Howard believe is the fundamental economic crisis occurring today? How does Howard expect liquidity availability to change over the next few years? What analogies of prior downturns and recessions can we look to learn from? How does this downturn differ and align to prior recessions and downturns? What policies would Howard like to see governments enact to prevent the worst-case scenario?

3.) In conditions of such uncertainty, how does Howard think about how to manage and move forward with such volatility? What are Howard’s frameworks and mechanisms to analyse crises events like this? Taking the analysis one level further, how bad does Howard believe this could get? If short of The Great Depression, are there scenarios that could lead there? What are the leading signals?

4.) Being proactive, how does today’s situation change the mentality and activity at Oaktree? Why does Howard not agree with the notion of “the falling knife”? How does Howard think about market bottoms? How does Howard determine the right insertion point? Why does Howard believe the best investors are unemotional? How can one manage the psychology of catching a falling knife that falls further?

5.) What advice would Howard give to the may millions of working professionals today that have never seen a recession in their professional career? What makes Howard the most nervous when he looks at and assess the landscape today? What does Howard believe is the biggest misconception people believe with regards to the current economic crisis?

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: How To Solve The Chicken and Egg Problem in Marketplaces? How Important Is Differentiated Supply? How To Prevent Leakage? How to Create Marketplace Defensibility and more with Alyssa Ravasio, Founder & CEO @ Hipcamp

Alyssa Ravasio is the Founder & CEO @ Hipcamp, the startup that allows you to book unique camping experiences on over 300,000 campsites, cabins, RV parks, public parks and more. To date, Alyssa has raised over $41M in funding from some of the best in the business including Benchmark, a16z, Brad Feld, Dave Morin, Sam Shank @ Hotel Tonight and more. Prior to founding Hipcamp, Alyssa enjoyed numerous diverse roles including being Director of Sales & Marketing @ Revel Systems to working on International Information and Communication Policy in the US State Department.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Alyssa made her way from the US State Department to founding the game-changer of camping experiences in the form of Hipcamp?

2.) How did Alyssa solve the classic chicken and egg problem for marketplaces in the early days with Hipcamp? How important does Alyssa believe it is for marketplaces to have truly differentiated supply? How does Alyssa think about what it takes to prevent leakage in marketplaces today? How can marketplace founders be strategic in building moats around their business? What works? What does not work when building marketplace defensibility?

3.) How does Alyssa manage the psychology of being CEO? What does Alyssa find to be the most challenging element of the role? What have been Alyssa’s biggest lessons from her last 12 months in the role? How has she seen her style of leadership change and develop over time? How does Alyssa deal with the shit hit the fan moments?

4.) How did Alyssa find the fundraising process for Hipcamp? Why did Alyssa wait 5 years before raising the Series A? What changed in the business that made Alyssa realise then was the right time to raise big? How did the Series B with a16z and Andrew Chen catalyse so fast? Why did Alyssa select the investors she did? What investors did Alyssa not select or not select her that she would also loved to have worked with?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Alyssa’s Fave Book: The Overstory: Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2018, Uncanny Valley: A Memoir

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

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

Carta simplifies how startups and investors manage equity, track cap tables, and get valuations. Go to carta.com/20vc to get 10% off. More than 800,000 employees and shareholders use Carta to manage hundreds of billions of dollars in equity and Carta now offers Fund Administration so you can see real-time data in the Carta platform and work with Carta’s team of experienced fund accountants. Go to carta.com/20vc to get 10% off.

20VC: Multi-Stage Funds Investing At Seed Are Option Value Investing, Why The Biggest Enemy For Venture Firms Is Group Think and How Running Companies Changes Your Investment Mentality with Manu Kumar, Founder @ K9 Ventures

Manu Kumar is the Founder @ K9 Ventures, one of the leading seed firms of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Carta, Lyft, Twilio, Auth0 and Lucidchart to name a few incredible companies. Prior to K9, Manu was either the founder or co-founder of 4 companies, 3 of which with successful exits and the 4th being the fantastic Carta. Manu also has an incredible model with K9 where he not only invests in companies but also founds them and is currently the founder and CEO @ HiHello, the company that allows you to network smarter providing digital business cards designed to help you curate and grow your network. 

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Manu made his way into the world of venture having founded 4 prior companies and how he came to found K9 and be one of the OG’s of pre-seed funding, having coined the term?

2.) What does Manu believe have been the biggest and most significant changes in the early stage market over the last 7 years? How does Manu evaluate the rise of operator and scout funds? Would Manu agree with Semil Shah, “founders are voting with their feet and taking multi-stage money at seed?” What advice does Manu give to founders on taking multi-stage money at seed? How does Manu evaluate their aggressive movement back into the seed stage? Why is it?

3.) Given Manu only makes 3-4 new investments per year, how does Manu think about and assess his own portfolio construction today? How does Manu think about building temporal diversification into the portfolio? What does Manu believe is the biggest mistake early-stage managers make in the first few years? Why does Manu believe that “group think” is so dangerous for funds today? What can they do deliberately to avoid it?

4.) Manu not only invests but also founds companies at the same time, how does Manu split his time and what does his day look like? What are the benefits of investing and operating simultaneously? What are the biggest challenges and drawbacks? What elements did Manu believe as an investor before starting his new company, HiHello, that he has now changed his mind on, post founding the company?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Manu’s Fave Book: How to Win Friends and Influence People

Manu’s Most Recent Investment: Workona: A Better Way To Work

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

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

20VC: How To Assess Risk and Value Creation, Why It Would Be Better If VCs Had Smaller Portfolios & How To Optimise Internal Decision-Making with Misha Esipov, Founder & CEO @ Nova Credit

Misha Esipov is the Founder & CEO @ Nova Credit, the startup that allows you to use your international credit history to apply for credit cards, apartment rentals, loans and more. To date, Misha has raised over $70M with Nova from some of the best in the business Kleiner Perkins, Index, First Round and General Catalyst to name a few. As for Misha, prior to changing the world of credit history, he spent over 5 years in the more traditional world of finance including time at Apollo in the world of private equity and then also Goldman Sachs in the world of investment banking. If that was not enough, due to the incredible impact Nova Credit is having, Misha also sits on the board of World Education Services.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Misha made his way from the world of investment banking and private equity with Goldman and Apollo to changing the way we think about international credit with the founding of Nova?

2.) How does Misah think about and asses both risk and value creation? How did Misha’s time at Goldman Sachs influence his operating mentality and how he thinks about the value of data today? Why does Misha find the growth at all costs and revenue later mindset challenging? What core fundamentals around unit economics did Misha establish early with Nova? How does Misha advise founders when it comes to unit economics?

3.) Misha has raised over $69M from some of the best, how did Misha find the process of fundraising? Where specifically does Misha believe his investors provide outside value? What is the optimal way to use an investor in the recruitment process? Where does Misha believe investors could do better and improve? How does Misha advise founders when it comes to manager selection?

4.) How does Misha manage the psychology of being CEO? How does he deal with the shit hit the fan moments? How has his role changed over the last 3 years? What elements have been the most challenging to learn and scale?

5.) How does Misha advise founders on building a diverse pipeline of recruitment candidates from day 1? Why does Misha believe that no recruitment firm can solve for diversity? What is his process as a result for ensuring a truly diverse team? What works? What does not? How does Misha building a culture of accountability? How does Misha think about optimising internal decision-making?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Misha’s Fave Book: Mastery (The Robert Greene Collection)

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

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

Carta simplifies how startups and investors manage equity, track cap tables, and get valuations. Go to carta.com/20vc to get 10% off. More than 800,000 employees and shareholders use Carta to manage hundreds of billions of dollars in equity and Carta now offers Fund Administration so you can see real-time data in the Carta platform and work with Carta’s team of experienced fund accountants. Go to carta.com/20vc to get 10% off.

20VC: True ventures’ Toni Schneider on how being ceo @ automattic made Him a better investor, the biggest lessons from automattic on running successful remote teams & The right way for investors to show founders they have their support

Toni Schneider is a Partner @ True Ventures, one of the valley’s leading early-stage firms with a portfolio including the likes of Peloton, Hashicorp, Fitbit, Automattic (WordPress) and Tray.io to name a few. As for Toni, he has spent 14 years as a Partner @ True but during that tenure, he was also the CEO of Automattic for 8 years where he helped WordPress.com become a top 10 global internet destination with close to a billion monthly visitors. Before that, he was a VP @ Yahoo post their acquisition of the company he was CEO of Oddpost, much of their work formed the basis for Yahoo mail. Due to his many successes, he has won numerous awards including Startup CEO of the Year at The Crunchies.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Toni made his way into the world of venture following two turns in the seat of CEO and then joining Yahoo?

2.) Does Toni fundamentally believe it helps when investing to have been both an operator with Automattic and Partner @ True? How did being CEO @ Automattic shape how he thinks about investing today? How did Toni manage the balancing act of a being a CEO and Partner at a venture fund for 7 years? Having been a CEO and having worked with the best, what does Toni believe are the qualities that make the great CEO of today?

3.) Why does Toni believe that startups do not have to be as stressful as they are or are portrayed to be? How does Toni deal with the shit hit the fan moments? What can an investor do in times of high stress when the founder is not performing? What is the right way for them to express that the performance is not where it needs to be? On the flip side, what is the right way for investors to show their support to the founders?

4.) What are Toni’s biggest learnings from the WordPress days on what it takes to run a truly successful remote team? Where does Toni see many people going wrong today? What does Toni advise those considering going remote first? What does Toni believe are the biggest pros and cons of the model? What infrastructure does one need to have in place to make it seamless? Does it still make sense for companies to be in the valley?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Toni’s Fave Book: Their Eyes Were Watching God, Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

Toni’s Most Recent Investment: Piavita

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

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

20VC: 3 Addictions of Early-Stage Startup Founders, How Founders Should Strategically Think Through Unit Economics From Day 1 & Why Micromanagement Can Be Beneficial In The Early Days with Adena Hefets, Co-Founder @ Divvy Homes

Adena Hefets is Co-Founder @ Divvy Homes, the startup that turns your monthly rent into a down payment allowing you to get on the property ladder, sooner. To date, Adena has raised over $189M with Divvy from some of the best in the business including a16z, Ray Tonsing @ Caffeinated, Max Levchin, DFJ and Threshold Ventures to name a few. Prior to founding Divvy, Adena was an early-stage fintech investor at DF. Before the world of venture, Adena was part of the original team that started Square Capital and grew the product to over 10,000 advances ($50M) within 1 year. Prior to that, Adena started her career in the world of private equity with TPG.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Adena made her way from the world of venture with DFJ to changing the way we think about homeownership with Divvy?

2.) What does Adena believe are the 3 addictions of many early-stage startup founders? How does Adena advise founders on the right way to think about paid marketing? What have been some surprising lessons from seeing Divvy’s CAC change over time? How does Adena advise founders to construct a playbook and cadence for hiring?

3.) How does Adena think differently about unit economics today? Is it fundamental to have this mindset from Day 1? Where does Adena believe many founders go wrong when it comes to unit economics? Who is to blame for this desire for synthetic growth? The founders? The VCs?

4.) Considering female founders get a tiny portion of VC funds raised, how was the fundraise for Adena with Divvy? How does Adena advise other female founders and minorities on fundraising successfully? Does Adena believe that founders should always be raising? How does raising debt differ to raising equity? Why is it so much more challenging?

5.) Why does Adena believe that micromanagement can be beneficial in the early days? How does Adena ensure that it does not lead to dependencies and dejected team members? What does Adena to do push people to really get the most out of them? What works? What does not?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Adena’s Fave Book: Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

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

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

Carta simplifies how startups and investors manage equity, track cap tables, and get valuations. Go to carta.com/20vc to get 10% off. More than 800,000 employees and shareholders use Carta to manage hundreds of billions of dollars in equity and Carta now offers Fund Administration so you can see real-time data in the Carta platform and work with Carta’s team of experienced fund accountants. Go to carta.com/20vc to get 10% off.

20VC: Matt Mochary, Coach To Silicon Valley’s Leading VCs & Founders on How To Deal with Imposter Syndrome and Self-Doubt, How To Manage Fear and Anger & Why Board Seats Are The Death of Investors

Matt Mochary coaches some of the world’s leading venture capitalists and founders helping them to build the best organizations possible. On the VC side, Matt has worked with Peter Fenton @ Benchmark, several Sequoia Partners, Hemant @ GC and Mamoon @ Kleiner to name a few. As for founders, Matt has worked with the founders of Brex, Coinbase, Plaid, Reddit, Flexport and more. Prior to coaching, Matt began his business career as an investor with Spectrum Equity Investors.  He then co-founded Totality, eventually sold to MCI/Verizon.  In his own words, Matt went on to have fun (making the Academy Award short-listed documentary Favela Rising) and do good (starting the Mochary Foundation).

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Matt made his way from growth investor to immensely successful founder to now coaching the world’s leading investors and founders?

2.) How does Matt advise founders to think about their relationship towards fear and anger? Why doe they generate bad quality of decision-making? What should be done when one recognises they are fearful or angry? Where do many founders and investors go wrong here?

3.) How does Matt advise founders who struggle with issues of self-doubt and imposter syndrome? What process should they go through to gain their confidence? What should they not do? How should they communicate their self-doubt to their team and the world?

4.) How does Matt advise founders in terms of the optimal communication strategy both with their team and their co-founders? Does radical transparency need to be instant or should it be timed correctly? What are the best conflict resolution strategies between founding teams?

5.) Why does Matt believe boards are the death of investors? Why are board members not optimally placed to advise their founders? What does Matt believe makes the best board members having worked with the likes of Peter Fenton? What does Matt advise new board members to be the best board member they can be?

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

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


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