20VC: Dollar Shave Club’s Series A & B Lead Investor, David Pakman on The Requirements For A Successful Subscription Business & Why A Lot of Investors Do Not Like Consumer

David Pakman is a Partner at Venrock and the man behind Venrock’s leading of the Series A and B rounds for Dollar Shave Club. Prior to Venrock David spent 12 years as an internet entrepreneur. Including being CEO of eMusic, the world’s leading digital retailer of independent music, second only to iTunes. Prior to eMusic, David co-founded Myplay in 1999, which he later sold, in 2001, to Bertelsmann’s ecommerce Group. If that wasn’t enough David is also the co-creator of Apple Computer’s Music Group.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

 

  • How did David make his way into the world of VC with Venrock?
  • David invested in Dollar Shave when subscription ecommerce funding was largely out of favour. What was it that excited Dave about Dollar Shave and why did he choose to invest?
  • To what extent do we see the existence of party rounds in today’s funding environment?
  • Venrock took the rather unusual position to lead both the A and B rounds for Dollar Shave. What was the internal conversations like within Venrock towards this decision?
  • Dollar Shave was growing at phenomenal rates with impressive growth, what was behind the decision to sell at this time? What were the incentives behind selling to Unilever?
  • Will we see other large e-commerce exits in the future? What does the future M&A environment look like for consumer businesses?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

David’s Fave Book: Mindset by Carole Dweck

David’s Most Recent Investment: Pearl

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

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

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20VC: Data Collective’s Matt Ocko on Why “All Fund Size Models Are Wrong” and The Lifecycle of Current Venture Funds Is Inefficient?

Matt Ocko is the Co-Managing Partner and Co-Founder @ Data Collective and has over 3 decades of experience as a tech entrepreneur and VC and has made investments in the likes of Facebook, Zynga, Uber and AngelList just to name a few. If that was not enough he is also an inventor on over 40 granted or in process patents. A truly deep thinker and one of my fave ever shows to record.

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In Today’s Episode with Matt You Will Learn:

  • How Matt made his way into VC and came to co-found Data Collective?
  • Why does Matt believe “All Fund Size Models are Wrong”. Does the current bifurcation of VC into angels/micro-VCs, small seed/A funds, big bruisers, and post-C/pre-IPO make for sub-optimal returns both on a societal and monetary perspective?
  • What does the opportunity fund allow Data Collective? How do they use the initial fund to invest for insight in into companies at the earliest stages? How do they avoid the negative signalling risk that is normally ensued with an opportunity fund?
  • How important is thesis driven venture firms? Does specialisation aid or hinder venture returns and why?
  • How does Matt view the lifecycle of current venture? Matt has previously said it is inherently inefficient, why?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Matt’s Fave Blog and Newsletter: MIT Technology Review

Matt’s Fave Book: The Way Things Work

Matt’s Most Recent Investment: Tradeshift

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

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

Eve make 1 perfect mattress – made with 3 layer technology and next generation memory foam. It comes packaged in a beautiful box and arrives the day after you order. You get 100 nights to try it with free return pick-up – it really is the perfect mattress for everyone. Just go online to evemattress.co.uk and enter the code 20VC for £50 off. Everybody deserves the perfect start with Eve.

20VC: Steve Schlafman, Investor @ RRE Ventures

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Steve Schlafman is an early stage investor @ RRE Ventures, where he specialises in marketplaces, mobile services and hardware. At RRE, Steve has led investments in the likes of theSkimm, Hightower, TinyBop, Breather, and Managed by Q. Prior to joining RRE, Steve was a principal with our friends at Lerer Hippeau Ventures in NYC. Before becoming a venture capitalist, Steve worked in operations at Stickybits Inc, Turntable.fm, Microsoft and served as Director of Venture Investments at The Kraft Group.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Steve made his way into the VC industry with YC?

2.) What does it take to make the transition from seed investor to Series A and later stage investor?

3.) What does ‘hurting a company look like when pricing the round for a startup’s nest funding round? Is it the VCs role to educate entrepreneurs on this caution? 

4.) How does the investment decision making process differ when comparing the Seed to Series A round?

5.) Why does Steve think there needs to be greater mentoring in the ecosystem? What can individuals do to build relationships and gain mentors?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Steve’s Fave Book: Work Rules, Leading by Mike Moritz

Steve’s Fave Blog or Newsletter: AVC, Statechery

Steve’s Most Recent Investment: Brightwheel

As always you can follow The Twenty Minute VCHarry and Steve on Twitter here!
This episode was brought to you by DesignCrowd, the online marketplace for custom graphic, logo and web design that helps startups, entrepreneurs, web developers and agencies outsource design projects to designers from around the world.
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Once you have launched your brief, designers will begin submitting quality designs for you to review. With some constructive feedback, you can quickly generate a large gallery of designs that really do fit your needs. You can have exactly what you need within just three days. Once you have selected your favourite design, you will be sent all the files you require to update your branding. If you don’t like any of the submitted designs, then DesignCrowd offers a money back guarantee. So checkout designcrowd.com/VC and enter the promo code VC100 to get an astonishing $100 off your next project.

20VC: Justin Kan: Partner @ YC

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Justin Kan is a partner at the world renowned Y Combinator, the birthplace of the likes of Dropbox, AirBnB, Scribd and Reddit just to name a few. Prior to YC, Justin was the founder @ Twitch.tv, the world’s leading video platform and community for gamers which was acquired by Amazon for $970m. Previous guest Mike Seibel was also part of that amazing journey and if you have not checked out his episode, you can find it here.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Justin came to found Twitch.tv and later made his way into the VC industry with YC?

2.) What does Justin believe are the 3 fundamental qualities that make up a good investor? How has his own approach to pattern recognition altered over time?

3.) With the growth of YC batches, how have YC attempted to maintain the same levels of quality and mentorship with the growth

4.) We are always told YC and VCs work together. Is YC’s new $700m growth fund not in direct competition with VCs?

5.)  How does Justin approach the growth of his own personal brand? How important is it to Justin and investors and VCs on the whole?

6.) Why is Justin so bullish on Snapchat? What elements have Snapchat done that he looked to do with Justin.tv? If Justin were Evan Spiegel for the day, what would he change?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Justin’s Fave Book: Shogun: The 1st Novel of The Asian Saga

Justin’s Fave Blog or Newsletter: Nuzzel, The Information

As always you can follow The Twenty Minute VCHarry and Justin on Twitter here!
This episode was brought to you by DesignCrowd, the online marketplace for custom graphic, logo and web design that helps startups, entrepreneurs, web developers and agencies outsource design projects to designers from around the world.
DC-logo-500x278
How Does It Work?
Once you have launched your brief, designers will begin submitting quality designs for you to review. With some constructive feedback, you can quickly generate a large gallery of designs that really do fit your needs. You can have exactly what you need within just three days. Once you have selected your favourite design, you will be sent all the files you require to update your branding. If you don’t like any of the submitted designs, then DesignCrowd offers a money back guarantee. So checkout designcrowd.com/VC and enter the promo code VC100 to get an astonishing $100 off your next project.

20VC: Why People Should Never Be Surprised If Fired, Subscription E-Commerce Is Hot & People Never Give True and Direct Feedback with Amir Elaguizy, Co-Founder @ Cratejoy

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Amir Elaguizy is the Founder & CEO @ YC backed, Cratejoy, the website builder and backend for subscription e-commerce stores. Cratejoy have funding from the likes of General Catalyst, Andreesen Horowitz, Y Combinator and Charles River Ventures With regards to Amir, he previously founded Market Zero, a poker software company which was acquired by Zynga, where he then spent time as a game CTO.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Amir came to be an entrepreneur, got acquired by Zynga and then started Cratejoy?

2.) With the recent acquisition of Dollar Shave Club, the subscription e-commerce business is hot, why does Amir think most people misunderstand the space?

3.) Amir previously said, ‘owning recruiting is the single most important thing you can do’, why does he believe this? Does Amir believe that the early team might not necessarily be the team to evolve from a $1m business to a $20m business? 

4.) What is the difference between foundational team members and mercenary team members? What are the signs an individual is worth spending time to grow with?

5.)  Amir previously said, ‘most people have never received true direct feedback on performance’, how does Amir look to differentiate himself? Is it suitable for the leadership to be the bad guy?

6.) How can the firing process be approached with respect and dignity? Should it ever be a surprise? If it is a surprise what does that suggest about your leadership previously?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Amir’s Fave Book: Hard Thing About Hard Things

Amir’s Fave Podcasts: The Twenty Minute VC, SaaStr

As always you can follow The Twenty Minute VCHarry and Amir on Twitter here!
This episode was brought to you by DesignCrowd, the online marketplace for custom graphic, logo and web design that helps startups, entrepreneurs, web developers and agencies outsource design projects to designers from around the world.
DC-logo-500x278
How Does It Work?
Once you have launched your brief, designers will begin submitting quality designs for you to review. With some constructive feedback, you can quickly generate a large gallery of designs that really do fit your needs. You can have exactly what you need within just three days. Once you have selected your favourite design, you will be sent all the files you require to update your branding. If you don’t like any of the submitted designs, then DesignCrowd offers a money back guarantee. So checkout designcrowd.com/VC and enter the promo code VC100 to get an astonishing $100 off your next project.
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