20VC: Upfront’s Mark Suster on COVID Redefining What A Great Company Looks Like and What Valuations Look Like, Why Pay-To-Play Is Back On The Table & Why We Will See The Death of Party Rounds

Mark Suster is the Managing Partner @ Upfront Ventures, one of LA’s leading and largest venture firms with a portfolio including the likes of Bird, GOAT, Maker Studios and Ring.com to name a few. Prior to joining the world of venture, Mark was the founder & CEO of two successful enterprise software companies, the most recent of which was sold to Salesforce.com where Mark became VP, Products. Mark is also the author of one of my favourite industry blogs, Both Sides of The Table.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Mark made his way from founding enterprise companies to joining “the dark side” of venture with his move to Upfront?

2.) How does the current economic landscape change the world of B2B? How will renewals be impacted? How will customers approach discounting? Similarly, how will the world of B2C be impacted by COVID? How does this impact marketing and ad spend?

3.) How does Mark think about reserve allocation today with Upfront? How does that change in the face of COVID? Why does Mark believe this environment will redefine valuations? How should founders respond in the face of heavily changed valuations?

4.) Does Mark believe we will see a graveyard of new venture firms who have deployed too quickly and have too many hungry mouths to feed? How does Mark think about building temporal diversification into the portfolio? How can managers use reserves more intelligently moving forward?

5.) Does Mark agree with the Twittersphere that VCs remain “open for business”? How will we see deal volume impact? How will we see size of transaction impacted? What is the most important role a VC can play today? How will the M&A market also be impacte din the face of COVID?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Mark’s Fave Book: Disunited Nations: The Scramble for Power in an Ungoverned World

Mark’s Most Recent Investment: Solve

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

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

20VC: Notion’s Fundraise with Index: The Most Anticipated Deal in The Valley: How It Came To Be | The Future of Remote Work |How Notion Approach The Balance of Growth and Profitability with Akshay Kothari, COO @ Notion & Sarah Cannon, Partner @ Index

Sarah Cannon is a Partner @ Index Ventures, one of the world’s leading venture funds with a portfolio including the likes of Dropbox, Skype, Figma, Bird, Slack and many more incredible companies. As for Sarah, at Index, she works with groundbreaking companies including Notion, Slack, Pitch, Quill and Instabase. Prior to Index Sarah spent time at CapitalG, Warburg Pincus and even worked in The White House as Policy Advisor for the National Economic Council.

Akshay Kothari is the COO @ Notion, the company that has taken the modern working world by storm as the all-in-one workspace to write, plan, collaborate and get organised. Just last week Notion raised a $50M round led by Index at a reported $2Bn valuation. Prior to Notion, Akshay spent 5 years at LinkedIn following his prior company, Pulse News, being acquired by LinkedIn in 2013.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Sarah make her way into the world of venture from The White House and come to be a Partner @ Index today? How did Akshay parlay his angel investment into Notion into joining as COO the company 5 years later?

2.) With such a proliferation of collaboration tools today, how does Sarah see the remote work/collaboration tools landscape playing out? Are wein a phase of bundling or unbundling? Will we enter a phase of heavy consolidation? How does Notion think about the transition from an application to a platform? What are the challenges in doing so?

3.) What have been some of Akshay’s core observations and learnings from watching the world move to remote work overnight? What behaviours will remain post COVID? What behaviours will not? What sectors will be forever changed due to the crisis? What opportunities does that bring about?

4.) Why did Notion decide to keep the team so small for so long? What are the advantages? How does Notion think about maintaining quality when hiring for scale now? What have been some of Akshay’s biggest learnings in what it takes to attract A* talent to Notion?

5.) Why did Notion choose the route of profitability over the more conventional early path of the VC treadmill? How does one’s mindset change when suddenly raising a large round of new financing? What becomes possible? What guard rails still need to be set?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Akshay’s Fave Book: Order without Design: How Markets Shape Cities

Sarah’s Fave Book: Guns, Germs and Steel: A short history of everybody for the last 13,000 years

As always you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC 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: Basecamp Founder David Heinemeier Hansson on Why It Is The Biggest BS To Chase Being A Unicorn, His Relationship to Wealth and Status and Why Now More Than Ever It Is A Myth Entrepreneurs Have To Raise VC

David “DHH” Heinemeier Hansson (@dhh) is the creator of Ruby on Rails, founder and CTO at Basecamp (formerly 37Signals), and the best-selling co-author of Rework and Remote: Office Not Required. If that was not enough, fun fact, he went from not having a driver’s license at 25 to winning, at 34, the 24 Hours of Le Mans race, one of the most prestigious automobile races in the world. It is often called the “Grand Prix of endurance and efficiency.”

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How David made his way into the world of tech and startups from his childhood living in Copenhagen and how a cold email led to the founding of Basecamp with Jason Fried?

2.) What have been some of David’s core observations as people move to remote work over the last few weeks? What is the #1 mistake that 90% of teams make? How does David advise founders to approach loneliness and depression in their team? What strategies have Basecamp used to unite the team and inspire collaboration and teamwork?

3.) Why have David and Jason always tried to keep the Basecamp team as small as possible? Why does David believe one of the biggest problems is that execs have too much time? How does that manifest itself? What does David’s week look like? How does he approach meetings?

4.) Why does David hate the majority of “mission statements” today? What are the best composed of? What are the worst? What feelings does David believe your mission statement should inspire in the reader? What does David believe one needs to do to build a challenger brand today?

5.) Why has David and Basecamp always resisted the conventional path of raising VC funds? Why does David believe needs VC money is total BS? Why does David believe it is BS to chase being a unicorn? Why have founders got this so wrong today and what can they do to change?

6.) How would David describe his relationship to money? How has that relationship changed over time? What are the core challenges as one moves from a monetary to a deeper appreciation of what makes one happy? How did the transition occur for David? How does David advise others in terms of finding their moment for the transition?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

David’s Fave Book: Erich Fromm: To Have Or To Be

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and David and 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: Why Venture Fund Life Cycles Do Not Align To Companies Today, Actionable Strategies To Separate Good From Great When Assessing and Hiring Multiple Candidates & Why We Need More Adventure in Venture Capital with Blake Scholl, Founder & CEO @ Boom Supersonic

Blake Scholl is the Founder & CEO @ Boom Supersonic, the world’s fastest commercial aeroplane, aspiring to bring back supersonic passenger flight at an affordable price. To date, Blake has raised over $166M in funding with Boom from the likes of Paul Graham, Sam Altman, Ray Tonsing @ Caffeinated Capital, Homebrew and 8VC to name a few who have featured on the show in the past. Prior to changing the world of commercial flight, Blake started his career with a 5-year stint at Amazon as a Manager of Social Networks and Automated Advertising. Blake then went on to found his own company, Kima Labs, acquired by Groupon in 2012 where he then spent 2 further years before founding Boom.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Blake made the move from Groupon to changing the way we think about commercial travel today with Boom Supersonic?

2.) How was the fundraising process for Blake given he was raising for supersonic jets? What is his most memorable fundraising moment? Where does Balek believe investors provide outsized value? Where could the investing class improve? How should the fund structures today change?

3.) What deliberate choices and decisions has Blake made to find and acquire the best talent? What is Blake’s favourite interview question? What works? What does not work? What specific elements has Blake built into the culture at Boom to build operational excellence?

4.) How has Blake seen himself evolve and develop as a leader over the last few years? What have been the most challenging elements to develop and scale? How does Blake feel on whether founders should have experience on the industry they are entering or if there are benefits of not having so?

5.) What would Blake really like to change about the world of tech and Silicon Valley today? How does Blake feel about the current level of both innovation and founder ambitions? What can be further done to foster this in the coming years?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Blake’s Fave Book: Atlas Shrugged

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Blake and 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: Are VCs Still “Open For Business”, How VCs Attitude To Risk Has Changed & The 2 Most Valuable Assets To Founders Today with Fred Destin, Founding Partner @ Stride VC

Fred Destin is a Founding Partner @ Stride.VC, one of Europe’s newest and largest early-stage seed firms. Prior to co-founding Stride, Fred was a General Partner @ Accel where he was the lead investor and board member at Deliveroo, Pillpack (acq. AMZN for $1BN) and Carwow. Prior to Accel, he was a partner at Atlas Venture (now Accomplice) where he invested in and served on the board of Pillpack, Zoopla (IPO), Secret Escapes, Integral Ad Science (partial exit to Vista at $850M) and TheCurrencyCloud to name a few. Fun fact, his portfolio has a total enterprise value of more than $10BN and he generated in excess of $700M in exit value to investors.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Fred make his way into the world of venture and come to co-found one of Europe’s newest and largest seed funds in Stride.VC?

2.) If you look to Twitter, all VCs are “open for business”, does Fred really believe the market is still open for business? How will deal volume be affected? How bad does Fred think this could get? How does this downturn compare to that of the dot-com and 2008?

3.) Why did Stride decide to take the decision to pause on investing at this moment in time? How does Fred respond to the suggestion of better pricing and less competition at this time? How does Fred believe venture investors view of risk evolves at this time? What is the first to change?

4.) With many new funds deploying their first fund in 18 months, does Fred think we will see a gravyard of new fund managers out of cash and with cash hungry portfolios? What advice does Fred give to newer managers of other elements they have to be minfdul/aware of?

5.) How does Fred think about the right way for managers to communicate with their LPs at this time? What has Stride done that has worked? Does Fred believe we will see many LPs defaulting on their initial commitments? How does Fred think emerging managers can navigate this?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Fred’s Fave Movie: Mulholland Drive

Fred’s Most Recent Investment: Collective Benefits

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

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

20VC: Raising A $1.35Bn Fund I, The Emerging Secondary Opportunity For Early Stage Managers and Founders & What It Takes To Win The Best Growth Deals Today with Ravi Viswanathan, Founder & Managing Partner @ NewView Capital

Ravi Viswanathan is the Founder and Managing Partner @ NewView Capital, launched in 2018 with their $1.35Bn Fund I, they have already set themselves as leaders in the world of growth funding with 3 massive exits in less than 2 years in the form of Plaid, sold to Visa for $5.3Bn, Acquia, sold to Vista Equity for $1Bn and then Scout, sold to WorkDay for $540M. Prior to founding NewView Ravis spent 14 years at one of the largest venture firms in the business, NEA where he co-led their venture growth equity practice and in 2016, became COO @ Nea. Before the world of venture, Ravi spent 4 years as a VP @ Goldman Sachs and before that was at McKinsey & Co.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Ravi made his way into the world of venture from investment banking and how that led to his founding the monster $1.35Bn Fund I for NewView Capital?

2.) Given the first fund being $1.35Bn, how did Ravi find the fundraising process for NewView? On reflection, what did he and the team do well that they would do again? What did they not do well that they would alter? What advice would Ravi give to first time fund managers raising today?

3.) Would Ravi agree with Bill Gurley, “the biggest challenge today is the sheer quantum of capital flowing into the industry”? What does Ravi make of the rise of private equity (PE) houses entering the venture landscape? How does it change the exit landscape?

4.) How does Ravi think about the right way for funds to navigate and approach the secondary market? What advice would he give to emerging managers? How does Ravi feel about founder secondaries? What framework does he use to determine whether the amount is reasonable?

5.) How does Ravi think about what it take to truly win the best deals in competition today? If one does not have the budget of a16z, how does one build a venture platform? Where do the majority of investors make mistakes when it comes to VC value add?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Ravi’s Fave Book: Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE, Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

Ravi’s Most Recent Investment: Plaid

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

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

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20VC: The Framework to Scale A Team From 20 to 190 in 24 Months, How To Structure The Perfect Investor Updates & How To Create A Culture of Distributed Ownership with Radical Transparency with Jean-Charles Samuelian, Co-Founder & CEO @ Alan

Jean-Charles Samuelian is the Co-Founder & CEO @ Alan, the startup revolutionising health insurance with a service centred on people, simplicity and comfort. To date, Jean-Charles has raised over $85M in funding with Alan from some of the best in the business including Jan Hammer @ Index, Shakil Khan, Tom Stafford @ DST, Xavier Niel and Brent Hoberman to name a few. Prior to changing the healthcare insurance system, Jean-Charles founded Expliseat, revolutionising airline seating for economy class, now used by some of the world’s leading airlines.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jean-Charles made his way from re-inventing the airline seating industry to re-inventing the way consumers experience healthcare insurance? How did re-inventing the airline seat prepare and impact Jean-Charles’ mindset going into the highly regulated healthcare market with Alan?

2.) How does JC structure his investor updates? What framework does JC believe these investor updates should take? Does he include thank you’s at the end? Does he include requests for help? How does he involve the team in the writing of these updates? How does JC insert core strategic thinking into his updates? How much time does JC allocate to writing updates? How does JC think about transparency when coming investor updates?

3.) How has JC created a culture of distributed ownership combined with radical transparency? What are the key elements to achieve this? Where do so many go wrong with culture maintenance and creation? What have been the biggest challenges in scaling from 20 to 190 people in just 2 years? What has worked? What has not worked?

4.) How does JC structure the hiring process at Alan? Why does JC believe in the importance of “shadowing” for people to be excellent at hiring? How does JC define “excellence” in a potential candidate? What questions does JC most like to ask candidates? How does JC think about the right way to optimise new employee onboarding? Where do many go wrong with onboarding? What have been their core lessons at Alan as to what it takes to make it great?

5.) How does JC think about extreme self-organization today? How does he structure his day and his time? How would JC summarise his relationship to his phone? What does he actively do to reduce his dependence on his phone? What has worked and what has not worked with regards to increasing productivity? How does JC advise others looking to make their first steps in increasing their productivity?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Jean-Charles’s Fave Book: The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Jean-Charles and 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.

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