20VC: How Roam Research Analyse Product Design, Team-Building, The Future of Collaboration Tools & Applying Tesla Go-To-Market To Roam with Conor White-Sullivan, Founder & CEO @ Roam Research

Conor White-Sullivan is the Founder & CEO @ Roam Research, the tool taking over our industry providing a seamless note-taking tool for networked thought. Prior to founding Roam, Conor founded 2 prior businesses and also worked at HuffPost as a Co-Founder of HuffPost Labs where he reported directly to Arianna Huffington and HuffPost CTO.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Conor’s high school wrestling career taught him “how to win”? What was the founding story with Roam? How does Conor think about when to stay true to vision and persist vs when to give up?

2.) How does Conor think about the product design philosophy they have @ Roam? Conor has said before, “roam is not about taking better notes”, what is Roam about then? How does Conor think about the importance of adding challenge to a product? What does he mean when he discusses the importance of “low floors and high ceilings” with regards to product design?

3.) How would Conor analyse his own hiring and team building philosophy? Why are the two most important traits, “girt and autodidactics”?How does Conor really stress these two characteristics in an interview process? Why does Conor choose to live with the team? What are the benefits of this?

4.) Does Conor believe we are in a phase of bundling or unbundling when it comes to collaboration tools? Does Conor believe we will see large players acquire and consolidate over the coming months? Why does Conor compare Roam more to Google than other collaboration tools?

5.) How does Conor think about go-to-market today? What were some of Conor’s biggest takeaways for bootstrapping for years with revenue from customers? Why is Conor borrowing from the Tesla GTM? What does that really mean in practice?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Conor’s Fave BookHow to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Conor and 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 1-1 Customer Onboarding Can Scale Efficiently to $100M ARR, Why Gamification Does Not Work But Game Design Does & What Game Design Means For The Next Generation Of Product Managers

Rahul Vohra is the Founder & CEO @ Superhuman, the startup that has rebuilt the inbox from the ground up creating the fastest email experience ever made. To date, Rahul has raised over $56m with Superhuman from some of the best in the business including a16z, First Round, Box Group and then 2 of my favourites in Jeff Morris Jr @ Chapter One and Ed and Elliot @ Boldstart. Prior to founding Superhuman, Rahul was the Founder @ Rapportive, a company later acquired by LinkedIn in 2014. If that was not enough, Rahul is also an investor having co-founded a new firm with Todd Goldberg just last year.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Rahul made his way from making the first plugin for Gmail with Rapportive to changing how we think about email today with Superhuman?

2.) Why does Rahul believe game design is worth doing? What is the difference between game design and gamification? What does it take to create a game? What is the truth on game design?

3.) What are the core 5 factors that make up effective game design? How can products incorporate goals to make the user feel emotion when engaging? What emotions does one want the user to feel? How can they be tested? What controls should be placed around the UX? Why are controls so fundamental?

4.) What is the difference between a toy and a game? How can one effectively incorporate toys into their product? How has Superhuman done this effectively to date? Hw can designers create a system of flow in the user experience? What works? What does not work?

5.) Did Rahul intentionally create an entirely new category when it comes to onboarding? Why does Rahul pushback on people that suggest 1-1 onboarding is not scalable? What does the unit economics look like? How does this scale to $100M ARR?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Rahul’s Fave BookThe Art of Game Design: A book of lenses

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: 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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