20VC: Steve Jurvetson on 20 Years of Friendship with Elon Musk, How To Analyse Market Timing, Why Venture Does Not Scale & Why He Has Never Sold A Share in Any Company He Holds

Steve Jurvetson is the Co-Founder @ Future Ventures who announced their debut and flagship $200M Fund in 2019. Steve’s incredible portfolio includes the likes of SpaceX, Tesla, Planet, Memphis Meats, Hotmail, and the deep learning companies Mythic and Nervana. Steve also sits on the board of both SpaceX and Tesla. Prior to founding Future, Steve was the co-founder of renowned valley firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson where he led investments in 5 companies that went public in successful IPOs and several others that became billion-dollar acquisitions.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Steve made his way into the world of startups and Silicon Valley and how that led to his creation of “The Lean Startup Movement”?

2.) How does Steve think about and assess market timing? How does Steve assess technical risk? Given the long term horizons of such deep tech projects, does Steve think we need to change the 10 + 2-year fund life structure? How would Steve like to see funds structured?

3.) Given the sheer size of outcomes if these plays work, how does Steve assess his own price sensitivity? How does Steve approach the challenge there is a lack of downstream investors for such deep tech projects? How does Steve try and catch an industry on the cusp of a transition?

4.) How does Steve assess his own relationship to money? How has it changed over the years? Why does Steve fundamentally believe that venture partnerships do not scale? Where do venture partnerships breakdown? How can one introduce cognitive diversity into a firm?

5.) Having worked with Elon Musk across both SpaceX and Tesla, what does Steve believe makes Elon one of the most gifted entrepreneurs of our time? What is Steve’s most memorable moment from his many years of friendship with Elon? What have been his biggest takeaways from SpaceX and Tesla?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Steve’s Fave BookOut Of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World

Steve’s Most Recent Investment: Prellis Biologic

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

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20VC: Why The Unbundling of Fintech Will Continue, How VCs Are Propping Up The Neo-Banking Industry & Why We Need A New Framework To Value Businesses Today with Clay Wilkes, Founder & CEO @ Galileo

Clay Wilkes is the Founder & CEO @ Galileo, the API standard for card issuing and digital banking, powering many of the leading global FinTech companies including Chime, TransferWise and Monzo to name a few. Prior to their reported $1.2Bn acquisition by SoFi, Clay raised just $86M in funding with Galileo from the likes of Accel and Ryan Smith @ Qualtrics, having run the company as a profitable company before that for over 15 years. Clay also has a keen interest in philanthropy having created the Galileo foundation with his wife in 2005.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Clay made his way into the world of tech and startups more than 20 years ago and how he came to build the foundations for many fintechs today with Galileo?

2.) When looking at the current financial ecosystem does Clay believe we are in a phase of bundling or unbundling? Does Clay believe we will see the verticalisation of banking? Will every company become a payments company? Does Clay believe we will see consolidation in the space?

3.) What does Clay believe were the benefits of going 15 years withour raising VC money, building a profitable business? What are the trade offs? What could he have done if he had raised? With hindsight, does Clay wish he had raised earlier? Why was then the right time to raise?

4.) Why does Clay believe the discovery mechanism for VCs finding startups is broken? How did Clay select the venture firm he chose to work with, Accel? What advice does Clay give to board members when it comes to being the best board member to their founders?

5.) Why did Clay believe that selling to SoFi was the right decision? What are the benefits of the merger? How does Clay think about the competitive element that many of Galileo’s current clients are competitors with SoFi? How do they remedy and solve for that today?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Clay’s Fave Book: Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty

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

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20VC: Brad Feld, Jerry Colonna and Tracy Lawrence on Depression and mental health, Why you cannot tie happiness to milestones & why Fear, anxiety and guilt are useless emotions

Brad Feld is a Co-Founder and Managing Director @ Foundry Group, one of the most successful venture firms of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Zynga, Fitbit and Sendgrid to name a few. Brad is also a co-founder @ Techstars and prior to Foundry, he co-founded Mobius Venture Capital. 

Tracy Lawrence spent the last 8 years as Founder & CEO @ Chewse, the startup that it effortless for office managers to order delicious food for their teams.  Tracy grew the team to 300 people across 4 markets, raised millions in venture capital, and ultimately sold the business to Foodee.

Jerry Colonna is the CEO of Reboot.io where he is now the professional coach to some of the world’s leading founders. Prior to his work with Reboot, Jerry was an early-stage VC co-founding Flatiron alongside Fred Wilson in 1996.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Brad, Jerry and Tracy all experience their first forms of depression? At what stage did it become a more prominent part of their life? Why do they think then was the catalyst?

2.) Why does Jerry believe that despite what people say, no one is crushing it? How can founders present their vulnerability as a strength? At what point did Tracy realise this? How did she convey her vulnerability to her team? Who is to blame for the lack of vulnerability and fear of opening up?

3.) How does Brad think about tying happiness to milestones? What are the biggest dangers of doing so? Does this mean one does not have goals? How does one balance between ambition and appreciating the present? How did Brad learn this when Amy asked for a divorce? How did he respond?

4.) Why does Brad believe fear, guilt and anxiety are useless emotions? What was the result of Tracy tying her mental state to her revenue line? How does Tracy think about the loneliness of being a founder? What does Brad believe is some of the biggest BS in the industry?

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.

20VC: Steve Blank on Why The Startup Ecosystem is Partially A Ponzi Scheme, 3 Things That Determine Startup Survival in a COVID World & Facebook: Platform vs Publisher and Where Does Their Responsibility Lie?

Steve Blank is one of the leading luminaries of Silicon Valley, credited with being foundational to the creation of The Lean Startup movement and having spent the last 9 years at Stanford University as a professor and the last 8 as a Senior Fellow @ Columbia University. Steve is the author of “The Four Steps To The Epiphany” and “The Startup Owner’s Manual”. Prior to joining the world of academics and writing Steve spent over 20 years in the world of entrepreneurship as part of, or co-founding eight Silicon Valley startups ranging from semiconductors, video games, personal computers, and supercomputers. If that was not enough, Steve is also on the Defense Business Board for the United States Department of Defence.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Steve made his way into the world of startups and Silicon Valley and how that led to his creation of “The Lean Startup Movement”?

2.) Why does Steve vehemently disagree with Adam’s Smith’s “Invisible Hand” theory when it comes to government intervention? Why is this proven to have failed? How does this only help the rich become richer? As a result, what needs to change in the mechanics of the economy?

3.) Why does Steve not believe that there is accountability placed on investors and founders for projects they create and invest in? Why does Steve believe for the majority of investors today, they have no social conscience? How could this be changed and improved?

4.) How did seeing the booms and busts of the dot com and 2008 impact Steve’s operating mentality? What are the 3 core traits that will ensure success for founders in a post COVID world? How should founders change their decision-making process post-COVID? Why does Steve believe in “benign dictatorship”?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Steve’s Fave Book: Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail

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.

20VC: Chamath Palihapitiya on Why IPOs and Direct Listings Are Broken, Turning Social Capital Into A Combination of Berkshire Hathaway, Koch Industries and The Red Cross, Why Forecasts Are Worthless, What Creates True Defensibility & Why You Have To Be Predisposed To Inaction When Investing Billions

Chamath Palihapitiya is Founder & CEO @ Social Capital, the organisation on a mission to transform society by using technology to solve the world’s hardest problems. Social’s portfolio includes the likes of Slack, Yammer, Front, Intercom and Carta to name a few. As for Chamath, prior to founding Social, he spent an incredible 4 years at Facebook including as the original exec in charge of FB Platform as well as being responsible for overseeing core growth components and overseeing FB’s mobile efforts. If that was not enough, Chamath is also an owner @ The Golden State Warriors & Chairman @ Virgin Galactic.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Chamath made his way into the world of tech and startups, came to be a VC with Mayfield before joining Facebook and then starting Social?

2.) What were Chamath’s biggest takeaways from his team building the growth team at Facebook? Why does Chamath believe that forecasts are worthless? What should founders focus on instead? What did Facebook teach Chamath about defensibility and moat building?

3.) What was the realisation moment for Chamath that the venture firm he was building with Social was not what he wanted to build? Why does Chamath believe the biggest mistakes he made were “compensation and partner selection”? How would he do them differently now? What does he look for most in partners today? How does he detect for integrity?

4.) Why has Chamath doubled down on the SPAC model? What are the core benefits both to the founders and investors? What are the core challenges with both direct listings and IPOs? How does Chamath think about scaling his SPAC strategy? What are the core challenges in doing so?

5.) Facing alcoholism and psychological challenges with his parents, how did Chamath deal with becoming a carer sooner than expected? How has becoming a parent changed Chamath’s operating mentality today? How does Chamath analyse his relationship to money today?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Chamath’s Fave BookLiar’s Poker: From the author of the Big Short

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.

20VC: The Future of Subscription Media, Why Startups Need To Stop Blaming Facebook and Google & How Founders Should Think Through Customer Acquisition Channel Dependencies with Alex Mather, Founder & CEO @ The Athletic

Alex Mather is the Founder & CEO @ The Athletic, the startup bringing you in-depth sports stories you won’t hear anywhere else. To date, Alex has raised over $139M with The Athletic from some of the best in the business including Founders Fund, Bedrock, Y Combinator and Emerson Collective to name a few. Before founding The Athletic, Alex spent an incredible 5 years as part of the hyper-growth @ Strava serving Vice President of Product Management and Product Design.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Alex made his way into the world of tech and startups with Strava? How did his time at Strava lead to his founding The Athletic?

2.) With the scaling of The Athletic to over 500 people, how has Alex seen his leadership style change and adapt? What does he need to improve? How did having children impact how he thinks about management? What lessons did he take from Strava on what worked for community building?

3.) What was it like raising money for a subscription media business back in 2016? Who was the first person to really take a bet on Alex and The Athletic? What value adds does Alex think are the most important for VCs to provide? What are the biggest investor misconceptions around media?

4.) How does Alex see the future structure of the media landscape? What elements of media is Alex most concerned about right now? Does Alex view Substack as competition? What does Alex believe will be the 2 ways to succeed in media moving forward?

5.) What have been the biggest customer acquisition learnings for Alex from The Athletic? How does Alex feel about platform reliance for customer acquisition with Facebook? What does it take to successfully acquire customers on Facebook at scale?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Alex’s Fave BookThe Kingdom of God is Within You

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.

20VC: 8VC’s Joe Lonsdale on How To Foster Contrarian Thinking Within Venture Partnerships, Why The Best VCs Are Company Builders & Why It Is Not Possible To Build Multi-Billion Dollar Companies and Have Worklife Balance

Joe Lonsdale is a General Partner @ 8VC and in the past has invested in many notable companies including Wish, Oculus, Oscar and Guardant Health. As a result, in both 2016 and 2017, Joe was the youngest member of the Forbes 100 Midas List. Prior to 8VC, Joe co-founded Palantir, one of the world’s most impactful multi-billion dollar software companies. Joe also co-founded and serves as Chairman @ Addepar, which has over $1.8 trillion managed on its wealth management technology platform. If that was not enough, Joe is also a founder of AffinityAnduin and Esper.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Joe made his way into the world of tech and startups, came to co-found Palantir and Addepar and how that led to his founding 8VC? How does Joe

believe the study of history makes one a better investor?

2.) Why does Joe believe that the best VCs are company builders? How does Joe think about, evaluate and put into action the incubator model? How does Joe respond to LPs that suggest it is a distraction? How does voting for incubations differ for investment voting?

3.) What does contrarian thinking really mean to Joe? What does Joe do to specifically engender contrarian thinking in the 8VC partnership? What is the relationship between contrarianism and political correctness? How does Joe think about the dangers of woke culture today?

4.) How does Joe advise founders to think through cash burn and runway today? What is going to happen to companies that sacrified growth for gross margin in 1 year? How does Joe advise founders on the balance of sticking to your vision and mission vs knowing when to give up?

5.) Why does Joe think it is important to not just start new companies but new cities also? Despite the insane cost of living, why does Joe believe the Valley has given rise to the insane levels of innovation it has done? Will the dominance of the valley remain over the next decade?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Joe’s Fave BookHow Innovation Works, A Time to Build: From Family and Community to Congress and the Campus

Joe’s Most Recent Investment: Beacon

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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