20VC: Scaling to a $1.3Bn Valuation While in Stealth, The Power of Different Network Effects Within Payment Platforms & How To Leverage Your Board and Investor Base for the Most Value with Matan Bar, Founder & CEO @ Melio

Matan Bar is the Co-Founder & CEO @ Melio, the company that provides the simplest way to pay vendors and contractors. To date, Matan has raised over $254M for Melio from the likes of Accel, Bessemer, Aleph, Coatue and General Catalyst to name a few. Prior to founding Melio, Matan Bar was Head of PayPal Consumer Product Center and before that was a Head of Product and GM @ eBay in their Israel Innovation Center.

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20VC: Scaling to a $1.3Bn Valuation While in Stealth, The Power of Different Network Effects Within Payment Platforms & How To Leverage Your Board and Investor Base for the Most Value with Matan Bar, Founder & CEO @ Melio

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Matan Bar made his way into the world of startups and came to found one of the fastest-growing companies today in the form of Melio?

2.) What is the single most important thing in a financial transaction business? How does Matan think about the balance between optimising for transaction volume vs revenue? What does Matan believe are the core network effects within payments businesses? Why do most opt for closed network effects? How is Melio different?

3.) What have been some of the biggest challenges of adding 170 people in one year? What breaks first? Is there anything that should be in place to ensure the culture can scale with the headcount? How does Matan structure the leadership team to manage this hyper-growth? Has Matan struggled with self-doubt in his leadership during this hyper-growth?

4.) What specifically has Melio and Matan done to achieve a 49% female to male ratio within the company? What works when it comes to implementing diversity at scale? Where do so many people make mistakes? What specific strateies have allowed Melio to hire some of the best female engineers?

5.) How does Matan most like to interact with his board? How does he determine the advice to ingest vs the advice to reject? What have been some of his biggest lessons when it comes to successful board management? Where do many first time founders make mistakes when it comes to investor value add and extraction?

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Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode

Matan’s Favourite Book: The Unbanking Of America: How the New Middle Class Survives

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20VC: Aleph’s Michael Eisenberg on Why Generalists Over Specialists, Why Boutique Smaller Firms Over Multi-Stage Firms, Portfolio Construction Theory, Capital Concentration Limits and How To Think Through Reserve Allocations with Market Cycles in Mind?

Michael Eisenberg is a Co-Founder and Equal Partner @ Aleph, with over $550M under management and a portfolio including the likes of Lemonade, Melio and HoneyBook, they are one of the leading early stage firms of the last decade. Prior to founding Aleph, Michael spent 15 years as a General Partner @ Benchmark and before that, made his way into venture with Israel Seed Partners where he built an incredible portfolio over an 8 year period. If all of this was not enough, Michael is also an author having published 4 books.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Michael Eisenberg made his way into venture over 25 years ago and how his 15 years at Benchmark led to his founding Aleph?

2.) How has seeing multiple booms and busts impacted Michael’s investing mindset? What do many misunderstand when it comes to reserve allocations in market cycles? Why does Michael believe busts are more psychologically impactful than financially impactful?

3.) How does Michael approach portfolio construction with Aleph today? What does Michael think is the right level of portfolio diversification? How does Michael think about the right level of capital concentrated into one company? How does Michael assess the difference between risk and uncertainty? What do many misunderstand between the two?

4.) Why does Michael believe in generalist VCs over specialist VCs? How do they win? Why does Michael believe in small boutique firms vs large multi-stage firms? How does Michael think about the notion of ownership on the first check? Is it possible to really build ownership across rounds today?

5.) How does Michael Eisenberg reflect on his own style of board membership today? How has it changed? What have been some of Michael’s biggest lessons onboard membership from Bruce Dunlevie @ Benchmark? What advice does Michael have to newer investors joining boards for the first time?

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Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode

Michael’s Most Recent Investment: Melio

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

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20VC: Why VCs Should Care More About Cost of Capital and Less About Ownership, Investing Lessons from working with Peter Thiel at Founders Fund, Why Liquidity Aligns Incentives Between Founders and Investors & Why It Is The Last Double That Matters in Venture

Justin Fishner-Wolfson joins us on the show today.

Justin Fishner-Wolfson is founder and the managing partner of 137 Ventures. They are a growth-stage venture firm that provides customized liquidity solutions to founders, investors, and early employees of high-growth private technology companies. Their portfolio includes the likes of SpaceX, Wish, Anduril, Flexport, and WorkRise (formerly Rigup) to name a few. Previously, Justin worked on the investment team at Founders Fund. Before that he served in the US Department of State under Alan Larson, Undersecretary for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Justin Fishner-Wolfson make his way into the world of Venture with Founders Fund? And, how did that led to his founding 137 Ventures? What specific lessons did he learn from Peter Thiel that he has applied to his investing mindset?

2.) What does Justin mean when he says, “it is the last double that matters”? Why does Justin believe that liquidity aligns incentives between VCs and founders? When is the right timing for this liquidity event to occur? Are there any limits to the sizes of secondaries founders and teams should take?

3.) How does Justin think about his own price sensitivity? Why does Justin believe that the conventional VC views on ownership are outdated and no longer as relevant to this class of company? How does Justin think about diversification among the portfolio today? What is the right level? Is there such a thing as being too diversified? What is too concentrated?

4.) Why does Justin Fishner-Wolfson believe that standard thoughts around CAC/LTV are wrong? How have they changed over time? How should founders think about this and present these metrics to investors? Given these metrics, how does Justin feel about the revenue multiples we are seeing today both in private and public markets?

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Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode

Justin’s Favourite Book: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Justin’s Most Recent Investment: Lattice

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20VC: Supercell Founder Ilkka Paananen on What it Means To Be “The Least Powerful CEO”, His Relationship To Wealth and Risk & How To Create Environments of Safety Where Your Team Can Be Their Best and Most Ambitious Selves

Ilkka Paananen joins us today on 20VC to discuss The Least Powerful CEO.

Ilkka Paananen is the Co-Founder & CEO @ Supercell, the makers of some of the most wildly successful games of the last decade including Hay Day, Clash of Clans, Boom Beach and more. Prior to Tencent acquiring a majority stake in the company at a reported $10.2Bn acquisition, Ilkka raised over $143M for the company from Accel, Index, Atomico, IVP, LVP, Initial and Lifeline. Throughout his incredible leadership of Supercell he has coined the term, “the least powerful CEO”, a fascinating concept and one we dig into in this episode.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Ilkka made his way into the world of startups and came to found one of Europe’s most valuable companies in the form of Supercell?

2.) How does Ilkka think about his own relationship to risk? Why does Ilkka believe the No 1 reason companies die is due to their relationship to risk? How does Ilkka evaluate his relationship to money? Has it changed over time? How does Ilkka feel the weight of responsibility with his wealth?

3.) What does being “the least powerful CEO” mean in practice? What does Ilkka belive is key for leaders to really empower their team to be bold and ambitious? How can leaders create environments of safety where it is ok to fail? Where do many leaders go wrong here?

4.) The first 3 Supercell games were failures, how did Ilkka deal with those really hard times? How can leaders sustain morale in such hard times? Supercell then had 3 big hits in a row, how does one prevent ego and over-confidence in teams? What is the beer vs champagne culture?

5.) How does Ilkka Paananen think about the importance of focus? What has Ilkka done and learned to be a much more focused leader? How does Ilkka approach the aspect of competition today?

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Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode

Ilkka Paananen’s Favourite Book: What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture by Ben Horowitz

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20VC: Why “Founder Insight” is Overrated, Why Big and Bold Product Visions Can Be Dangerous & Why Getting To Product Market Fit by Accident Can Lead to Danger with Hubert Palan, Founder & CEO @ ProductBoard

Hubert Palan, founder of ProductBoard joins us on 20VC

Hubert Palan is the Founder & CEO @ ProductBoard, helping product managers understand what customers need, prioritize what to build next, and rally everyone around the roadmap. To date, Hubert Palan has raised over $64m for ProductBoard from the likes of Sequoia, Index, Kleiner Perkins, Bessemer and Credo Ventures to name a few. Prior to founding the company, Hubert was VP Product Management @ GoodData where he played an instrumental role in their scaling from 6 to 300 people.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Hubert made his way from Eastern Europe to SF, made his way into the world of product management and came to found ProductBoard?

2.) Why does Hubert believe that “founder insight” is overrated? What strategies and tactics does Hubert give to founders to be more mentally plastic and flexible? How does one know when to persist when things are not working vs when to give up? What is the decision-making framework?

3.) Why does Hubert believe that “big and bold product vision can be dangerous”? How does Hubert think about when is the right time to release a second product? What are the core elements to tackle when thinking about a second product? Where do many make mistakes here?

4.) Why does Hubert believe that, “if you get to product market fit by accident, you could be in trouble?” What does Hubert advise in terms of studying if and how you got to product market fit? How can one use post-mortem analyses here effectively?

5.) Why does Hubert believe that transparency is so necessary today with the team? Should founders be transparent when it comes to M&A, fundraising etc? Where are the limits? What makes it so hard to instil effectively? What do many founders misunderstand?

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Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode

Hubert’s Favourite Book: Elad Gil’s High Growth Handbook

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.

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