All Summaries for The Twenty Minute VC (20VC): Venture Capital | Startup Funding | The Pitch

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The Twenty Minute VC (20VC) interviews the world's greatest venture capitalists with prior guests including Sequoia's Doug Leone and Benchmark's Bill Gurley. Once per week, 20VC Host, Harry Stebbings is also joined by one of the great founders of our time with prior founder episodes from Spotify's Daniel Ek, Linkedin's Reid Hoffman, and Snowflake's Frank Slootman. If you would like to see more of The Twenty Minute VC (20VC), head to for more information on the podcast, show notes, resources and more.

20VC: NEW FORMAT: Harry Stebbings on Why Seed Pricing is as High as Ever, Why Series A is the Best Place to Invest Today, Why Growth Founders Need to Reshape Expectations, Why M&A Windows Remain Shut and When Will IPO Windows Crack Open
Harry Stebbings is the Founder of 20VC, building the next great financial institution at the intersection of media and venture capital. 20VC has reached over 125M downloads in 100+ countries and has featured the likes of Doug Leone, Bill Gurley, Marc Benioff, Daniel Ek and more. On the investing side, Harry has raised over $400M and made investments in the likes of Pachama, Linear, TripleDot, Superhuman, AgentSync, Linktree, Sorare and more. In Today's Episode We Cover: Are LPs Open for Business: How has what LPs look for in new manager investments changed? What type of funds will be able to raise? Which will not be able to raise? What can managers do to significantly increase their chances of raising a new fund? 2. The Seed Investing Landscape: Harder Than Ever Why is seed pricing as high as ever? Why are multi-stage funds more active in seed than ever? How does this impact seed? How will seed change and evolve over the next 6-12 months? 3. Series A + B: The Best Place to be Investing Why is Series A the best risk/reward insertion point when investing today? How has the competition level at Series A and B changed? What do many people not see or know about this stage of the market today? 4. Is Growth Dead: Are Growth Deals Getting Done: What two core elements are needed if you want to raise a growth round today? How have growth round valuations been impacted over the last 12 months? To what extent do founders need to change their expectations on the price of rounds they will be able to get done today? 5. M&A and IPOs: Tough Times Ahead Why will we see continued low levels of activity in M&A markets? What acquisitions are we seeing take place? When will the IPO window crack open? Why were Klaviyo, Instacart and Arm not enough to open the windows?
Fri, October 20, 2023
20VC: Atlassian Co-Founder Scott Farquhar on The Biggest Lessons Scaling Atlassian to $50BN Market Cap; The Four Roles of the CEO, The Funding Round That Net Accel $6BN, The Regrets of Omission and Commission & The Honeymoon Cut Short
Scott Farquhar is the Co-Founder & Co-CEO @ Atlassian. Scott co-founded the company with his university friend, Mike Cannon-Brookes, in 2002 from Australia. Over an incredible 20-year journey they have grown to a market cap of $50BN today, over 11,000 staff globally and serving over 260,000 customers. Scott is also a co-founder of Skip Capital, a private investment fund with a portfolio including Figma, Snyk, Canva and more. In Today's Episode with Scott Farquhar We Discuss: 1. The 20-Year Journey to $50BN Market Cap: How did Scott first make his way into the world of tech and come to co-found Atlassian? What does Scott know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning? From 20 years with Mike, what is Scott's biggest advice on choosing your co-founder? 2. The Fundraising Masterclass with Atlassian: An emergency phone call, a honeymoon cut short; how did the first funding round for Atlassian come to be? Where was the business revenue-wise at the time? Why did Scott not like the traditional fundraising process? What did he do to add game theory and ensure that they got the best deal as a company? Why did Scott choose Accel with their offer? How did Peter Fenton lose a $3BN deal with Atlassian? 3. Lessons Scaling Atlassian to $4BN in Revenue: What does Scott believe are the 4 core roles of the CEO? Is resource allocation the most important? What are the single biggest acts of commission and omission that Scott regrets? What are the biggest lessons Scott has from shutting down Stride, their Slack competitor? 4. Scott: The Father, Husband and Philanthropist: What does great fatherhood mean to Scott today? What is the secret to a truly successful marriage? How does Scott assess his relationship to money today? How has it changed with time? How does Scott think about bringing children up in a world of affluence and abundance? Fun Fact: Every single 20VC episode is recorded with Riverside.FM. It is the one product that I could not live without. Try it today here ( and use the code 20VC for 15% off.
Mon, October 9, 2023
20VC: Why Great Companies are Defined by How Many Things They Say No To, Why Being First Does Not Matter & Why Market Over Traction or Team is the Most Important Thing with Guillermo Rauch, Founder & CEO @ Vercel
Guillermo Rauch is the Founder and CEO @ Vercel, giving developers the frameworks, workflows, and infrastructure to build a faster, more personalized Web. To date, Guillermo has raised $312M from Accel, Bedrock, Greenoaks, GV and more. Prior to founding Vercel, Guillermo co-founded LearnBoost and Cloudup where he served the company as CTO through its acquisition by Automattic in 2013. In Today's Episode with Guillermo Rauch We Discuss: 1. From Argentina to SF: The Boy Making Money Online: How did Guillermo first get into computers and start making money online? Does Guillermo still believe the US and SF offers the same opportunities it did when he came? Did Guillermo feel the weight of responsibility of providing for his family at a young age? 2. Timing, Markets and Narrative Violations: Why does Guillermo believe it does not matter being first but being right? Why does Guillermo believe the most important thing for a company is market selection? Why does Guillermo believe it is crucial that founders and companies have "narrative violations"? 3. The Future of AI: What model will win in the future; open or closed? Where does the value accrue; startups or incumbents? How will the SaaS business model change in a world of AI? 4. Silicon Valley's Most Successful Angel You Did Not Know: What are some of Guillermo's biggest lessons from angel investing? What is his single biggest miss? How has it changed how he thinks? What have been his biggest hits? How did they impact how he thinks about what it takes to win?
Fri, October 6, 2023
20Sales: Why the Founder Should Not Be the One to Create the Sales Playbook, Why You Should Hire a Sales Leader Before Sales Reps & Why You Should Not Hire Sales Leaders From Big Companies with Matt Rosenberg, CRO @ Grammarly
Matt Rosenberg is Grammarly’s Chief Revenue Officer and Head of Grammarly Business. He leads all B2B revenue, operations, and growth for Grammarly Business, Grammarly for Education, and Grammarly for Developers. Previously, as CRO of Compass, he took the company into the Fortune 500 and contributed to a more than eightfold increase in business growth. Prior to Compass, Matt served as Eventbrite’s CRO leading them to become the largest event platform in the world by event count. In Today's Episode with Matt Rosenberg We Discuss: 1. From Miserable Lawyer to World Beating Sales Leader: How did Matt make the transition from lawyer to sales leader? What does Matt know now that he wishes he had known when he started in sales? What are Matt's biggest pieces of advice for anyone who wants to make a career change and is lacking confidence? 2. The Playbook and Hiring The Team: How does Matt define the "sales playbook"? Should the founder be the one to create and execute V1 of the playbook? Should the first sales hire be a rep or a sales leader? When is the right time to make that all-important first sales hire? 3. Discounting, Champions and Urgency: What can sales team do to create urgency in deal cycles? What works? What does not? How does Matt approach discounting? When to do it vs when not to? What level is acceptable? What are the biggest secrets to creating champions within prospects? Why does Matt believe that deals are won and lost in prospecting? 4. Developing Great Sales Talent: How does Matt use sales call recordings to train teams? What is his 3x3 matrix for coaching calls? What is a good reason to lose a deal vs a bad reason? How does Matt do deal reviews? What are the single biggest elements sales leaders can do to nurture sales talent? What are the biggest mistakes sales leaders make when developing talent internally?
Wed, October 4, 2023
20VC: The Services Model of Venture Capital is Broken, The Best Founders Do Need Help, The Most Important Signals to Assess When Meeting Founders & Why Kids Bring Less Happiness and More Joy with Phin Barnes @ TheGP
Phin Barnes is the Co-founder and Managing Partner of The General Partnership (TheGP), a venture capital firm that’s redefining what partnership means for founders. Previously, Phin spent over a decade at First Round Capital, where he was responsible for over 60 investments including Blue Apron, Notion, Clover Health, Gauntlet and Persona. Before First Round, he created an independent video game company and before that was an early employee at AND 1 Basketball where he helped scale the brand from $15 to $225 million in revenue and served as the Creative Director for Footwear. In Today's Episode with Phin Barnes We Discuss: From Creative Director to Venture Capitalist: How did Phin make his way into the world of venture having been a Creative Director at a basketball brand? What does Phin know now that he wishes he could tell himself on his first day in venture? What are 1-2 of Phin's biggest lessons from his 10 years at First Round which shapes how he invests? 2. The Venture Capital Model is Broken: Why does Phin believe the current services model of venture is broken? Do the best founders need your help? What have been some of the biggest lessons in what the best founders want from their VCs? What happens to this generation of firms with massive support teams? Do VCs use these support teams merely to justify massive fund size scaling to LPs? 3. The Venture Landscape Today: How can we compete in a seed landscape of $5M on $25M against large multi-stage firms? What founders types are attracted to big brands? What founder profiles are taken in by large rounds and high prices? Is Phin more or less excited about seed-stage investing now than he has been before? 4. Investing Lessons 101: What is Phin's biggest hit? How did seeing their success impact his mindset? What is Phin's biggest loss? How did the loss impact how he views investing? Traction, team, market; how does Phin rank the three in prioritisation? What should all young people know when entering the venture landscape?  
Mon, October 2, 2023
20Product: Why Product Memes Are More Important Than a Product Roadmap, Why Writing is the Essential Skill for Product People, How AI Changes The Role of Product, Big Mistakes Founders Make When Hiring Product Teams with Kevin Niparko, VP Product @ Twilio
Kevin Niparko is the VP of Product @ Twilio. Kevin joined Twilio through the acquisition of Segment where he spent an incredible 8 years in numerous different roles including as Head of Product. Before entering the world of product, Kevin was a Management Associate at the world-renowned, Bridgewater Associates. In Today's Episode with Kevin Niparko We Discuss: 1. From Bridgewater to Head of Product: How Kevin made his way from the world of asset management and analytics to leading product teams? What are 1-2 of Kevin's biggest takeaways from his time at Bridgewater with Ray Dalio? How did the 8 year journey with Segment leading to their $3BN acquisition impact his approach to product? 2. What Makes a Great Product Person: Does Kevin believe that product is more art or science? If he were to put a number on it? What would it be out of 100? Why does Kevin believe that all product people should learn to write? Why does Kevin believe that the best product people are generalists and not specialists? Why does Kevin think that analytics is an insanely good start for product people? 3. How to Hire the Best Product People: How does Kevin approach the hiring process for product hires today? What are the non-obvious traits of hires he looks for? How does he test for them? Does Kevin use case studies? Where do many fall down? What do the best do? 4. Product Reviews: Good vs Great: How often does Kevin do product reviews? Who is invited? How have product reviews changed in a world where the company is now fully remote? What is the difference between good and great product reviews? What is the single best product decision Kevin has made? What did he learn? What is the worst product decision Kevin made? How did that change his approach?
Fri, September 29, 2023
20VC: "How Being a Founder Almost Killed Me"; We Have Lied to a Generation of Founders | The Hardest Truths About Being a Founder Revealed | Why AI Co-Pilot is BS, Seat Pricing is Over & User Interfaces are Stupid with Christian Lanng
Christian Lanng is the Founder and Former CEO @ Tradeshift, a company he took from garage to unicorn raising over $900M for with a latest price of $2.7BN in 2021. Just last month, Christian stepped away from the company and is now Chairman @ Beyond Work, building a better work experience through AI native software. In Today's Episode with Christian Lanng We Discuss: 1. Burnout: When it Hits: How did Christian know when something was really seriously wrong? What were the signs? How did being a founder literally almost kill Christian? How was that not a wakeup moment? How does being a founder make you so out of touch with reality? 2. The Things We Are Never Told: Why does Christian think one of the biggest crimes is the myth that everyone can be a founder? What are the single biggest things about VCs that founders are not told? Why does Christian believe fundraising is absolutely a game? What are the rules to win it? What makes the best VCs? What makes the worst VCs? Why does Christian not like to take a discount for a brand name VC? 3. The Chaos That Happens Inside a Company: Why does Christian believe politics should not be discussed within companies? What are Christian's biggest lessons on working with friends? Why after 14 years does Christian only have 3 friends that still talk to him? How did Christian fire 50% of his leadership team and productivity not change at all? Why does Christian believe US startups are inherently better than European ones? 4. Parenting and Relationship to Money: Does Christian regret not being a present father for his child when building Tradeshift? What are the two options as a founder you have when bringing up kids? Was Christian scared to leave Tradeshift? How does he reflect on his relationship to money? 5. AI: Co-Pilot is BS, The Future Business Model and more... Why does Christian believe co-pilot is the last dying breathe attempt from incumbents? Why does Christian believe that per-seat pricing will die? What will replace it? Why does Christian believe that AI will negate the importance of consumer-facing brands? In what way does Christian believe that UI is total BS? How does it change over time?
Wed, September 27, 2023
20VC: Marc Benioff on The Future of San Francisco and What He Would Do if in Charge? Marc Benioff's Five Step Process to Priorities and Why Money Does Not Make You Happy & Work From Home vs In-Person; How to Manage in Changing Worlds
Marc Benioff is Chair, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Salesforce and a pioneer of cloud computing. Under Benioff's leadership, Salesforce is the #1 provider of CRM software globally and one of the world's fastest-growing enterprise software companies. Benioff founded Salesforce in 1999, and it is now a Fortune 150 company with 70,000+ employees. Benioff is the owner and co-chair of TIME, and the founder of TIME Ventures. Benioff is the author of the New York Times bestseller Trailblazer: The Power of Business as the Greatest Platform for Change. Benioff was named “Innovator of the Decade” by Forbes and is recognized as one of the World’s 25 Greatest Leaders by Fortune. In Today's Episode with Marc Benioff We Discuss: 1. The Future of San Francisco: What would Marc do if he were in charge of San Francisco today? What would he change with regards to housing, policing and crime? Why does Marc believe there are doomsday proclaimers on SF? What do they have to gain? Will Dreamforce always be held in San Francisco? 2. Money and Ambition: The Mind Behind a $200BN Machine Does Marc believe that money makes you happy? How has Marc's relationship to money changed over time? How does Marc think about bringing children up in a more affluent home? What does Marc advise anyone who is seeking "happiness" today? 3. Mastering Decisions and Prioritisation: How does Marc assess his own decision-making framework today? Has it changed with time? What is Marc's 5 step process to understand your own priorities today? What does Marc believe are the three biggest priorities for Salesforce today? What are the single biggest blockers that would prevent Salesforce from achieving their goals? 4. Marc Benioff: AMA: What does great fatherhood mean to Marc? Who would win the cage fight, Zuck or Elon? What does a day in the life of Marc Benioff look like? What does Marc think about work from home?
Mon, September 25, 2023
20VC: Benchmark General Partner, Miles Grimshaw on The Five Pillars of Venture Capital, Why Data Can Be a Trap When Early-Stage Investing, Investing Lessons from Missing Figma and Plaid & The New Business Model for AI & Why Co-Pilot is an Incumbent Strate
Miles Grimshaw is a General Partner @ Benchmark, widely considered one of the best venture capital firms in history. Prior to joining the Benchmark Partnership, Miles was a General Partner @ Thrive Capital where he led investments in Airtable, Monzo, Lattice, Github, Segment, Slack and Benchling to name a few. In Today's Episode with Miles Grimshaw We Discuss: 1. Straight into VC From University: From Yale to Thrive How did Miles come to land a role with Josh Kushner and Thrive right out of Yale? What are 1-2 of his biggest lessons from working with Josh @ Thrive for 8 years? What does Miles know now that he wishes he had known when he started in venture? 2. The Pillars of Venture Capital: Sourcing, Selecting, Servicing: What does Miles believe are the 5 core pillars of successful venture capital? 1-5, what is his strongest and what is his weakest? Does Miles really believe that VCs add value today? What are the most clear ways that Miles have seen VCs destroy value in portfolio companies? 3. Investment Decision Making: From Github to Segment: What is the single most important question that Miles has to answer to say yes to an investment? How does Miles think about both market sizing risk and market timing risk? What have been Miles' biggest hits? What did he learn from making those investments? What have been Miles' biggest misses? What did he learn from missing Figma and Plaid? What have been 1-2 of Miles's biggest lessons so far from working with Bill Gurley and Peter Fenton? 4. AI: What Happens Next: Does Miles believe we are in an AI bubble today? How does he assess the landscape? Why does Miles believe that the "Co-Pilot" strategy is an incumbent strategy? Where does Miles believe the value will accrue; the application layer or the infrastructure layer? What does Miles mean when he says the future is in "selling the work and not the software"? What business model disruption and adoption disruption does Miles believe AI will enable? Why does Miles believe that the analogy of AI to the rise of mobile is wrong?
Mon, September 18, 2023
20VC: The Biggest AI Leaders on What Matters More; Model Size or Data Size & Where Does The Value in AI Accrue; to Startups or to Incumbents
Richard Socher is the founder and CEO of Richard previously served as the Chief Scientist and EVP at Salesforce. Douwe Kiela is the CEO of Contextual AI, building the contextual language model to power the future of businesses. Previously, he was the Head of Research at Hugging Face, and before that a Research Scientist at Facebook AI Research. Alex Lebrun is the Co-Founder and CEO of Nabla, an AI assistant for doctors. Prior to Nabla, he led engineering at Facebook AI Research. Alex founded, acquired by Facebook in 2015.  Tomasz Tunguz is the Founder and General Partner @ Theory Ventures, just announced last week, Theory is a $230M fund that invests $1-25m in early-stage companies that leverage technology discontinuities into go-to-market advantages. Sarah Guo is the Founding Partner @ Conviction Capital, a $100M first fund purpose-built to serve “Software 3.0” companies. Prior to founding Conviction, Sarah was a General Partner at Greylock where she made investments in the likes of Figma, Coda and Neeva. Emad Mostaque is the Co-Founder and CEO @ StabilityAI, the parent company of Stable Diffusion. Stability are building the foundation to activate humanity’s potential. To date, Emad has raised over $110M with Stability with the latest round reportedly pricing the company at $4BN.  Clem Delangue is the Co-Founder and CEO @ Hugging Face, the AI community building the future. To date, Clem has raised over $160M from the likes of Sequoia, Coatue, Addition and Lux Capital to name a few. Cris Valenzuela is the CEO and co-founder of Runway, the company that trains and builds generative AI models for content creation. To date, Cris has raised over $285M for the company from the likes of Lux Capital, Felicis, Coatue, Amplify, and Nvidia to name a few. Noam Shazeer is the co-founder and CEO of Character.AI. A renowned computer scientist and researcher, Shazeer is one of the foremost experts in artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP).  The Two Most Pressing Questions in AI: What matters more the size of the model or the size of the data? Where does the value accrue in the next 5-10 years; to startups or to incumbents?
Fri, September 15, 2023
20VC: The Dubsmash Memo: Scaling to 43M Users in 10 Days, Why TikTok Was a Competitor Like Never Seen Before, Good vs Great Consumer Products and What Every Consumer Product Needs & The Future of Consumer Social with Suchit Dash
Suchit Dash is the VP of Core Product Experience at Reddit, responsible for the surfaces that millions of users interact with daily. Prior to Reddit, Suchit was a cofounder at Dubsmash, a short video platform that was used by millions globally and acquired by Reddit in December 2020. In just 10 days, Suchit scaled the product to an immense 43M users, and gained fans such as Neymar and Jimmy Fallon. Suchit previously held roles at Soundcloud and PayPal. In Today's Episode with Suchit Dash We Discuss: 1. The Founding of Dubsmash & V1: How did the founding of Dubsmash come to be? Suchit scaled V1 of the product to 43M users in 10 days, what was the secret? What worked? What were the first signs that all was not right? How did the team respond to the realization that their retention numbers were terrible? What are Suchit's biggest lessons and pieces of advice from this massive V1 and launch? 2. Data: Retention, Cohorts and The Smiley Face: What specific data did Suchit and the team really use to understand their level of product market fit? What level of retention were they looking for? What is average, good, and great in terms of retention in consumer social? What is really important for founders to try and observe and analyze in net new user cohorts? When and why did the team start to see the hailed smiley face of consumer returning to the app? 3. Battling TikTok: Despite the resurgence, TikTok was roaring, what did TikTok do so well to take the market? How did TikTok leverage both FB and Snap's ad platform to acquire so many users so fast? What did TikTok not do well? What could they have done better? How did TikTok pay and incentivize the creator community? What are some of Suchit's biggest lessons and advice for founders battling a better-funded incumbent? 4. The Decision to Sell: Being Acquired by Reddit: Ultimately, why did Suchit decide to sell the company to Reddit? Why did the first two acquisition attempts fail? What are 1-2 of the biggest pieces of advice Suchit has for founders debating whether it is right to sell their company? What do all founders being acquired need to remember? With the benefit of hindsight, if Suchit could do the acquisition process again, what would he do differently?  
Wed, September 13, 2023
20VC: Lessons Building Nubank to the Largest Neobank in the World, How AI Changes The Future of Finance, Leadership Lessons from Sequoia's Doug Leone & What European and US Fintech Can Learn From LATAM with David Velez, Founder @ Nubank
David Velez is the Founder and CEO of Nubank, one of the largest and fastest-growing financial institutions in the world. 1 in 2 people in Brazil alone have a Nubank account. Nubank's purple credit card in Mexico is the highest-rated NPS product of any consumer product in the world. Before founding Nubank in 2013, David was a partner at Sequoia Capital between 2011 and 2013, in charge of the firm’s Latin American investments group. Before Sequoia, David worked in investment banking and growth equity at Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and General Atlantic. In Today's Episode with David Velez We Discuss: 1. From Sequoia Partner to Creating One of the Largest Financial Institutions: What was the Sequoia interview process like? What questions did Doug Leone really dive into when hiring David? What impressed David most about how Sequoia interview and win talent? What are 1-2 of David's biggest lessons from working with Doug Leone? 2. From a Small House to a $BN Public Company: What does David believe are the 1-2 core but non-obvious reasons why Nubank scaled so fast? What does David believe are the most non-obvious but massive opportunities Nubank has to 10x from here? Why does David believe emerging market fintech providers will be more valuable than Western fintechs? What does David believe Western fintechs and regulators can learn from BRIC economy fintechs? 3. How AI Changes The Future of Financial Services: How does David believe AI will change financial services? What products are the lowest-hanging fruit? Which products will be harder for AI to serve? How will AI handle the ambiguity of which master to serve; the consumer and their experience or the bank and their fees and profit motive? Will banks need to own and operate their own models? If using other models, what will differentiate them when they are layers on top of someone else's technology? 4. David Velez: The Leader and Father: What does it mean to be a great listener? How does David approach it? What has been David's biggest lessons from Sequoia on culture? What works? What does not? What are David's biggest pieces of advice to raise kids that are not spoiled and are hard-working and humble? How does David think about "efficient giving" with the philanthropy he does today? What is the big paradox and challenge in philanthropy today?
Mon, September 11, 2023
20Sales: Why Everyone is Responsible for Demand Generation, How to do Great Sales Discovery, How to Reduce Sales Cycles and Create Urgency and Deal Reviews; Good and Bad Reasons to Lose a Deal with Doug Adamic, CRO @ Brex
Doug Adamic is the CRO @ Brex and leads the company's revenue and growth strategy. Prior to Brex, Doug was most recently the Chief Revenue Officer at SAP Concur, a provider of travel spend management solutions and services. During his 16-year tenure oversaw an organization of 600+ employees. He was responsible for all aspects of revenue, generating go-to-market strategies and departments. Prior to SAP Concur, he had a five-year tenure as an Enterprise Sales Manager for Kronos, Inc. In Today's Episode with Doug Adamic We Discuss: 1. Entry into Sales: Does Doug believe that love of sales is innate or can be learned? When did he discover his love? What does Doug know now about sales he wish he had known when he started? What are 1-2 of his biggest takeaways from leading 600+ people at SAP? 2. Discovery, Pipeline and Qualification: What are the three core reasons why companies buy software today? How do the best sales teams use those needs to get deals done fast? What does great sales discovery mean today? Why do you have to make customers feel uncomfortable to understand their true needs? What are the biggest mistakes sales teams make when asking questions, determining customer pain, willingness to pay etc etc? Why does Doug believe that everyone in the company is responsible for demand creation? What are the core pillars to success in qualification? Where do so many go wrong? 3. Getting Deals Done: Why does Doug disagree that now is the hardest time to be selling? Are companies buying new software today? What is the secret to opening up organizations that say they are not open for buying new software? How can sales teams create multiple champions in a prospect? How can they determine who is really a buyer vs who is an influencer in a prospect? What are the biggest tactics that can be used to reduce sales cycles and create urgency in a sales process? 4. Discounting, Trust and Deal Reviews: What is a good reason to lose a deal? What is a bad reason to lose a deal? How does Doug and Brex conduct deal reviews? What makes a good vs a bad deal review? What is the fastest way to lose trust either with prospects or with customers? Why does Doug believe discounting is BS and should not be used?
Fri, September 8, 2023
20VC: Why Small Funds Outperform Large Funds & AUM is a Vanity Metric | Why 99% of Investments in AI Startups Will Go To Zero | Being a "Traction First" VC & Investing Lessons from Investing in Canva and Missing Figma with Nikhil Basu-Trivedi
Nikhil Basu Trivedi is Co-Founder & General Partner at Footwork, an early-stage focused venture firm investing its first fund. In his venture career, he has invested in the early rounds of several companies that have exited or are currently valued at over $1B, including Athelas, Canva, ClassDojo, Color Health,, Imperfect Foods, Lattice, and The Farmer's Dog. Prior to Footwork, Nikhil was a Managing Director at Shasta Ventures, on the investment team at Insight Partners, and on the founding team at Artsy. In Today's Episode with Nikhil Basu Trivedi We Discuss: 1. From Summer Intern to Founding a Firm: The 13 Year Journey: How did Nikhil first make his way into venture as an intern at Insight Partners in NYC? What does Nikhil know now that he wishes he had known on his first day in venture? Why does Nikhil advise all young VCs to "not look at their business card"? Why does title not matter in venture? Should founders meet with Juniors as well as GPs and more senior people? 2. Small Funds Outperform Large Funds: Why does Nikhil believe that small funds outperform large funds? Why is AUM the biggest bullshit metric in VC? How does Nikhil advise seed stage founders who have offers from seed firms for smaller rounds at lower valuations and are weighing them against larger rounds with higher valuations from multi-stage funds? Does Nikhil believe that platform value-added services really provide any value? 3. The Art of Investing: What has been Nikhil's biggest investing win? How has it changed his approach to investing? How does Nikhil prioritize between people, traction, and market? What is most important? What has been Nikhil's biggest investing miss? How has that changed his approach? Does Nikhil believe the great founders are immediately obvious? Why is market size the single question that keeps Nikhil up the most? 4. The Dysfunctions of Venture Capital: What are the single biggest areas of misalignment between GP and LP? What do many GPs see and know well that LPs should know and see more of? What are the biggest ways that decision-making breaks down in a venture fund? Why does Nikhil believe that so much of the investment in AI is going to go up in flames?
Wed, September 6, 2023
20VC: The $3.1BN Meeting That Led to an Uber Acquisition, The Battle With Uber; How to Outcompete When You Have 10x Less Cash & The Marketing Campaigns That Led to Pakistan MDs Fleeing and Elon Musk Fanboying with Mudassir Sheikha, CEO @ Careem
Mudassir Sheikha is the CEO and Co-Founder of Careem. Over the last 11 years, Mudassir has scaled the service to more than 80 cities in 10 countries, with 1,400+ colleagues and more than 2.5 million Captains. With such success, in 2020 Uber announced they would be acquiring Careem for a reported $3.1BN. Prior to Careem, Mudassir co-founded “DeviceAnywhere”, a company that was acquired by “Keynote” in 2008 before joining the management consulting firm “McKinsey & Company” in Dubai. In Today's Episode with Mudassir Sheikha We Discuss: 1. From McKinsey to $3.1BN Exit to Uber: What was the founding a-ha moment for Mudassir with Careem? What does Mudassir know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning? What does Mudassir believe he is running away from? 2. Finding Product-Market Fit: What is the single biggest mistake founders make when trying to find product-market fit? Does Mudassir believe you have to do things that do not scale, to scale? What did Careem do? What are some of Mudassir's biggest pieces of advice to founders on finding a core target audience and doing customer discovery the right way? 3. Competing with Giants: How To Win When You Cannot Outspend: How did Careem beat Uber when they had 1/100th of their budget? What advice does Mudassir have for founders who have competition that is much better funded? What is the story of spending the night in bunk beds and barely sleeping before raising $300M the next day? How did that happen? 4. The Acquisition: How it Went Down: How did Mudassir and Dara @ Uber first come to meet? How did Dara's approach contrast with the prior approach of Travis Kalanick? Why did Mudassir decide to sell and join Uber? What were the main reasons or arguments against the acquisition? 5. Talk to me About: Careem's Pakistan MD having to flee Pakistan for his safety post a marketing campaign? Elon Musk likes one of Careem's promotional videos and why? An investor who wired $1M with absolutely no paperwork? The catch up meeting that turned into a $3BN offer?
Mon, September 4, 2023
20VC: Spending $2M to Train a Single AI Model: What Matters More; Model Size or Data Size | Hallucinations: Feature or Bug | Will Everyone Have an AI Friend in the Future & Raising $150M from a16z with Noam Shazeer, Co-Founder & CEO @
Noam Shazeer is the co-founder and CEO of Character.AI, a full-stack AI computing platform that gives people access to their own flexible superintelligence. A renowned computer scientist and researcher, Shazeer is one of the foremost experts in artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP). He is a key author for the Transformer, a revolutionary deep learning model enabling language understanding, machine translation, and text generation that has become the foundation of many NLP models. A former member of the Google Brain team, Shazeer led the development of spelling corrector capabilities within Gmail, the algorithm at the heart of AdSense.   In Today's Episode with Noam Shazeer We Discuss: 1. Entry into the World of AI and NLP: How did Noam first make his way into the world of AI and come to work on spell corrector with Google? What are 1-2 of his biggest takeaways from spending 20 years at Google? What does Noam know now that he wishes he had known when he started Character? 2. Model Size or Data Size: What is more important, the size of the data or the size of the model? Does Noam agree that "we will not use models in a year that we have today?" What is the lifespan of a model? Does Noam agree that the companies that win are those that are able to switch between models with the most ease? With the majority of data being able to be downloaded from the internet, is there real value in data anymore? 3. The Biggest Barriers: What is the single biggest barrier to Character today? What are the most challenging elements of model training? Why did they need to spend $2M to train an early model? What are the most difficult elements of releasing a horizontal product with so many different use cases? Where does the value accrue in the race for AI dominance; startups or incumbents? 4. AI's Role on Society: Why does Noam believe that AI can create greater not worse human connections? Why is Noam not concerned by the speed of adoption of AI tools? What does Noam know about AI's impact on society that the world does not see?
Thu, August 31, 2023
20VC: Why AI Models are not a Moat, Where Does the Value in AI Accrue; Startups or Incumbents, What the World Has Got Wrong About AI, Why AI Needs a New Story and Who is the Right People to Tell it with Cris Valenzuela, Co-Founder & CEO @ Runway
Cris Valenzuela is the CEO and co-founder of Runway, the company that trains and builds generative AI models for content creation. To date, Cris has raised over $285M for the company from the likes of Lux Capital, Felicis, Coatue, Amplify, and Nvidia to name a few. Runway’s customers include academy-nominated movies, TV shows, media companies, and creatives across industries. In Today's Episode with Cris Valenzuela We Discuss: 1. From Childhood in Chile to Founding one of the Hottest AI Startups: What was the founding moment for Cris with Runway? His investors described Cris as an "outsider". Does Cris believe he is an outsider? What are the biggest pros and cons of being an outsider? What does Cris believe he is running from? What is he running towards? 2. Models are not a Moat: Models 101: What does Cris believe is more important; model size or data size? Why does Cris believe that models are not a moat? How does Cris think about the lifespan of models? Will any used today be used in a year? Are hallucinations a feature or a bug? What are the nuances? 3. The World Has Got AI Wrong: We Need Different Stories: Why does Cris believe the world has got AI wrong? Why do we need different stories for what AI can do and will be? Who should tell them? Why do groups like screenwriters riot and protest if the tool is empowering and not replacing? 4. Company Building 101: Hiring and Fundraising: What are the biggest pieces of startup advice that are total BS? What has been the single biggest lesson Cris has learned when it comes to fundraising? Does Cris believe that VCs really add value? What have been the single biggest hiring mistakes that Cris has made? How has Cris structured their interview process to make it the best interview process in the world?
Mon, August 28, 2023
20Product: Enterprises are not Adopting AI Yet, When Will AI Break Into Enterprise, What are the Blockers, What Do Enterprises Need from AI & Why Services Companies Will Win in the Next 10 Years of AI Implementation with Howie Liu, Founder & CEO @ Airtabl
Howie Liu is the Founder and CEO @ Airtable, the fastest way to build apps for your business. To date, Howie has raised over $1BN with Airtable with the last round valuing the company at $11BN and an investor base including Benchmark, Thrive, Caffeinated, Greenoaks and Coatue to name a few. In Todays Episode with Howie Liu We Discuss: 1. Scaling into Enterprise: What are the single biggest challenges when moving from PLG to enterprise? Why does Howie believe you have only truly hit enterprise when you sign $1M contracts? How long did it take for Airtable to sign their first $1M ARR contract? How can founders know when is the right time to scale into enterprise? How does the product need to change with the scaling? 2. Enterprises: Do They Really Love AI: Why does Howie believe that enterprises are not jumping on AI yet? When does enterprise interest turn into enterprise buying and purchasing? What are the single biggest barriers to enterprises buying AI solutions today? Post-purchase, what are the biggest implementation challenges for enterprises with AI? 3. The Changing Sales Process: Are we seeing the bundling of tools within large enterprises today? Which categories and vendors are most vulnerable? Which will survive the cuts? What do vendors need to do to prove to CFOs that they need to remain in their budget? How has the customer success process changed over the last year with tightening budgets? 4. Howie Liu: AMA: Airtable famously got Benchmark to lead their Series C, how did this come to be when they famously always only do Series A? Why does Howie believe that it is total BS to suggest post-PMF, everything is good? What does Howie know now that he wishes he had known when he started Airtable?
Fri, August 25, 2023
20VC: NEW FORMAT: Mega Funds Will Come Back, Why Markups Have Corrupted VC, Why RIFs Should Always Be An Embarrassment To SaaS Founders and Why Pitching is BS and Fake with Jason Lemkin and Rick Zullo
Jason Lemkin is the Founder @ SaaStr one of the best-performing early-stage venture funds focused on SaaS. In the past, Jason has led investments in Algolia, Pipedrive, Salesloft, TalkDesk, and RevenueCat to name a few. Prior to SaaStr, Jason was an entrepreneur, selling EchoSign to Adobe for $100M where it is now a $250M ARR product. Rick Zullo is the Co-Founder and General Partner at Equal Ventures. Prior to co-founding Equal Ventures, Rick was an investor at Lightbank, Prior to Lightbank, Rick worked with investment firms Foundation Capital, Bowery Capital, and Lightview Capital. In Today's Episode We Discuss: 1. Why Venture Capital Needs It's Jerry Maguire Moment: Why does Rick believe that VC needs it's "Jerry Maguire" moment? What needs to change? What needs to stay the same? Why does Jason believe we will see even more mega funds in 2024 and 2025? 2. Unicorns are So 2019: Why does Jason believe that "unicorn investing is mostly dead for bigger funds and none of them are looking for a $1BN outcome anymore?" Why does Rick believe that multi-stage fund investing at seed simply does not make sense? What does Rick believe many founders need to know when they take multi-stage money at seed? Of the over 1,000 unicorns created over the last few years, how many of them do Rick and Jason feel are actually unicorns today? 3. Efficiency and Growth: We Need it All: Why does Jason believe, as a founder you should be embarrassed if you ever had a RIF (reduction in force)? Last year many founders got a pass on growth as they were more efficient. Is that pass over? Do they need to get back to growth? What is the single biggest reason that companies do not scale from seed to Series A? What happens to the many companies with years of runway but no product-market-fit? Are we entering a new age of efficient company building or will we go back to high burn environments and excessive spending? 4. Entering the World of LPs: If Jason and Rick were to advise LPs today on how much to discount the value of their venture books, what advice would they give? How have markups completely corrupted the venture ecosystem? How does LPs being incentivized by paper-marks make the industry even more screwed? What are the single biggest misalignments between GP and LP?
Wed, August 23, 2023
20VC: The Biggest Lies of Silicon Valley, Why Entrepreneurship is Not For Everyone, Why VCs are Out of Touch, Why Many Would Be Great Entrepreneurs Will Burn Out, Why You Should Let Your Children Suffer and Why You Will Choose The Wrong Partner with Nick
Nick Huber is a serial entrepreneur, investor, and content creator focused on real estate and small business. In the last 9 months, Nick has co-founded 6 companies including RE Cost Set, RecruitJet, Titan Risk, Blue Key Capital, Tax Credit Hunter, and WebRun Labs. His primary business, Bolt Storage, owns 1.8M sqft of self-storage facilities across 62 locations in 11 states.  In Todays Episode with Nick Huber We Discuss: Wealth: What the richest families in the world all understand and what the majority of people forget? What are the two best ways to make money as an employee? What do most forget/not do? Why money does make you happy and why society drastically undervalues wealth today? Why we should not be concerned by the levels of income inequality? Marriage and Parenting: 5. Why it is BS to not pass your wealth down to your children? 6. Why you have to let your kids suffer in order for them to grow? 7. How do you stop kids from becoming assholes if they are brought up with money? 8. Why the majority of the time, people choose the wrong partner? What should we look for? 9. What is the number one thing you can do to set your child up for success? Silicon Valley and Entrepreneurship: 10. Why entrepreneurship is not for everyone? Who is it for? 11. Why VCs are out of touch and naive? 12. What is the single biggest lie of Silicon Valley? 13. Why will so many would-be great entrepreneurs burn themselves out when they should not have to? Management and Brand Building: 14. How to build a brand today? Why you have to be controversial to be interesting? 15. How to deal with hate and criticism? Why you cannot please everybody? 16. Why woke culture can give you an advantage if you do not have it? 17. How to build a strategic network the right way? How to become a card in someone's rolodex? 18. What is the single worst thing you can do when hiring? 19. What do you do when you lose trust in an employee?  
Mon, August 21, 2023
20VC: Does Value Accrue to Incumbents or Startups in the AI Race, Why Model Size Matters More Than Data Size, Why Artificial General Intelligence is Far Away, Why Carpenters Will Be Paid More Than Software Engineers & Future of Jobs with Richard Socher
Richard Socher is the founder and CEO of Richard previously served as the Chief Scientist and EVP at Salesforce. Before that, Richard was the CEO/CTO of AI startup MetaMind, acquired by Salesforce in 2016. He is widely recognized as having brought neural networks into the field of natural language processing, inventing the most widely used word vectors, contextual vectors and prompt engineering. He has over 150,000 citations and served as an adjunct professor in the computer science department at Stanford. In Today's Episode with Richard Socher We Discuss: 1. The Decade-Long Journey to Becoming an AI OG: How did Richard first make his way into the world of AI over a decade ago? What are 1-2 of his biggest lessons from working with Marc Benioff? How did 5 years at Salesforce impact how he both thinks and operates? 2. Models: Does Size Matter: How important is model size? Is data size more important? What are the biggest misconceptions people have around models today? How does Richard respond to the suggestion that "many startups are wrappers around LLMs"? Are hallucinations a feature or a bug? 3. Where Does Value Accrue: Where does Richard believe most of the value will accrue; startup or incumbent? Which incumbents are best positioned to win? Which are the laggards and behind? What do many not see about the startup vs incumbent race in the AI war? 4. Open vs Closed: Which Wins: Does Richard favour Yann LeCun's open approach? Or is the world of AI more closed? What are the biggest challenges of an open ecosystem? What are the nuances that make both challenging? 5. Richard Socher: AMA: Why will carpenters be paid more than software engineers in 10 years? Why is AGI still way off? Are people too unrealistic? How much money does Google make off search every day? Why does that leave them vulnerable?
Fri, August 18, 2023
20Growth: Why Product-Market Fit is Not Enough, Revenue Does Not Create Usage, Metrics Must Be Before Strategy, Why it is Always Better to Concentrate than Diversify Marketing Channels and Secrets from Hubspot's Growth Engine with Brian Balfour @ Reforge
Brian Balfour is the Founder and CEO of Reforge. Previously, he was the VP of Growth @ HubSpot. Prior to HubSpot, he was an EIR @ Trinity Ventures and founder of Boundless Learning and Viximo. He advises companies including Blue Bottle Coffee, Gametime, Lumoid, GrabCAD, and Help Scout on growth and customer acquisition. In Today's Episode with Brian Balfour We Discuss: 1. Entry into Growth and Lessons from Hubspot: How did Brian make his entry into the world of growth? What does Brian know now about growth that he wishes he had known when he started in growth? What are 1-2 of his single biggest takeaways from his time at Hubspot that impacted his mindset? 2. The Foundations: What is growth? What is it not? What does Brian mean when he says "all growth can be boiled down to 4 things"? When is the right time to bring in your first growth person? Should the first growth person be senior or junior? Should the growth team be standalone or sit within an existing function? 3. The Importance of Product Channel Fit: What is product channel fit? How should founders approach it? How do you know when you have it? What are the single biggest mistakes founders make with regards to PCF? 4. Next Comes Channel Model Fit: What is channel model fit? How should founders approach it? What are clear indicators that you have or do not have channel model fit? What are the biggest mistakes founders make with CMF? 5. Finally, Model Market Fit: What is model market fit? How should founders approach it? What are clear indicators that you have or do not have model market fit? What are the biggest mistakes founders make with MMF? 6. Brian Balfour: AMA: Why is product market fit not enough? What does Brian mean when he says "revenue does not create usage"? What are the biggest dangers of mixing customers and users? What do Hubspot do better than anyone else to know when an existing product/strategy is dying? Is it always better to diversify marketing channels?
Wed, August 16, 2023
20VC: Scaling Wait But Why to 600,000 Subs; Behind the Scenes on The Research Process, How to Learn Entirely New Topics Fast, The Writing Process and Building Good Habits & The Distribution Process and the Business Behind the Blog with Tim Urban
Tim Urban is the writer/illustrator and co-founder of Wait But Why, a long-form, stick-figure-illustrated website with over 600,000 subscribers and a monthly average of half a million visitors. He has produced dozens of viral articles on a wide range of topics, from artificial intelligence to social anxiety to humans becoming a multi-planetary species. Tim’s 2016 TED main stage talk is the third most-watched TED talk in history with 66 million views. In 2023, Tim published his bestselling book What’s Our Problem? A Self Help Book for Societies. In Today's Episode with Tim Urban We Discuss: 1. The Founding of Wait by Why: What was the a-ha moment for Tim that Wait but Why should be his life's work and sole focus? What does Tim know now that he wishes he had known when he started? What does Tim believe he is running away from? Why is he so fearful of constraints? 2. Wait But Why: The Scaling Journey to 600,000 Subs: What was the first piece to really go viral? How did that change the trajectory? What single piece is Tim most proud of? What piece is he least proud of? What has been the hardest element of scaling Wait But Why? What was the most surprising and unexpected elements of Wait But Why's scaling? 3. Topic Selection: Choosing What To Write: What does the process look like for Tim when deciding what topic to write about? How does Tim know what his audience will want to hear about vs what they will not? What topics has Tim thought would be interesting but post initial research, are not? 4. The Writing Process: How does Tim approach the writing process? How has his changed over time? What mechanisms does Tim put in place to avoid writers block? What are some of Tim's biggest tips to aspiring writers and authors? 5. The Distribution Process: How does Tim approach distributing the content once produced? What works? What does not? Why did Tim choose newsletter, Twitter and Instagram as his channels of choice? How important has the newsletter been to the growth of the business? 6. AI: Super-Intelligence and The Future: On reviewing his pieces on AI back in 2015, what does he believe he got right? What would he change with the benefit of hindsight? Is Tim more or less positive looking forward at AI proliferating through all of society? What is Tim most concerned about in the world right now?
Mon, August 14, 2023
20VC Roundtable: NEW FORMAT: Why the Seed Investing Model is Broken, How to Make Money at Seed Moving Forward; Who Wins and Who Loses, Why Venture Value Add Platforms are BS and Failed and Why There Will be an IPO per Week in H2 2024
Sam Lessin is a Co-Founder and Partner @ Slow Ventures with a portfolio including the likes of Airtable, Robinhood, Slack, Solana, PillPack and many more unicorn companies. Prior to Slow, Sam was a VP Product at Facebook having sold his company to Meta. Frank Rotman is a founding partner of QED Investors, one of the leading fintech-focused venture firms investing today with a portfolio including the likes of Klarna, Kavak, Quinto Andar, Credit Karma and more. As for Frank, prior to QED, Frank was one of the earliest analysts hired into Capital One and spent almost 13 years there helping build many of the company’s business units and operational areas.  Jason Lemkin is the Founder @ SaaStr one of the best-performing early-stage venture funds focused on SaaS. In the past, Jason has led investments in Algolia, Pipedrive, Salesloft, TalkDesk, and RevenueCat to name a few. Prior to SaaStr, Jason was an entrepreneur, selling EchoSign to Adobe for $100M where it is now a $250M ARR product. In Today's Discussion on Why Seed is Broken We Discuss: 1. The Seed Model Was Broken and What Comes Now: Why does Sam Lessin believe the model for seed of a "factory line" was broken? What does he believe will replace it? Why does Jason Lemkin argue that this might not be the case for SaaS and enterprise? 2. Round Construction: YC, Multi-Stage Funds and Party Rounds: Why does Sam Lessin believe we have seen the end of party rounds? Why does Jason Lemkin disagree and we will see more than ever? Why does Sam Lessin believe the factory model of YC churning out companies is over? Where does Jason Lemkin believe the value lies in the YC model? Will the multi-stage funds remain in seed? How has their entrance and deployment changed the seed market? 3. VC Value Add at Seed: Is it BS? Why does Jason believe all talent arms in venture firms have failed? Why does Sam believe that no VCs provide value? Do the best founders really need help? Why do Jason and Sam disagree? 4. What Happens Now: Why does Jason believe that every manager can write off their fund from 2021? Who will be the winners in seed in the next 10 years? Why does Sam believe if you want to bet on AI, just bet on Meta or Microsoft? What will happen to the many companies with no PMF but 10 years of runway?
Fri, August 11, 2023
20VC: The Memo: The State of the VC Market: Why Seed Funds Can't Invest in "Hot Startups" Anymore, Why Series A & B is Terrible, Why the IPO Market Will Explode in 2024 & Why VC DD is BS & Every VC Has More Fraud in their Portfolio with Jason Lemkin
Jason Lemkin is the Founder @ SaaStr one of the best-performing early-stage venture funds focused on SaaS. In the past, Jason has led investments in Algolia, Pipedrive, Salesloft, TalkDesk, and RevenueCat to name a few. Prior to SaaStr, Jason was an entrepreneur, selling EchoSign to Adobe for $100M where it is now a $250M ARR product. In Today's Episode with Jason Lemkin We Discuss: 1. WTF is Happening At Seed Right Now: Why does Jason believe seed is more active than ever? Is the pricing of seed rounds impacted since the downturn? Why does Jason believe it is not only not the end of party rounds but just the beginning of them? Why does Jason believe you cannot fail if you have $1M in ARR and an amazing founder? Why does Jason believe that seed investors cannot participate in "hot seed rounds" anymore? 2. Is Series A a Dead Zone: How does Jason analyze the Series A and B environment today? What has changed in what investors expect and want to see in potential Series A and B investments? What happens to the many companies who raised pre-emptive Series As and have 10 years of runway but no product-market fit? Why does Jason believe founders should offer to give the money back when it is not working? What happens to the Series A and B market in the next 18 months? When does it come back? 3. Growth: People are Too Negative! Why does Jason believe that growth is more active than many are giving credit for? What are the ARR benchmarks required to get a good growth round term sheet today? Why does Jason believe that VC DD is a load of BS? Why does Jason believe that every VC has fraud in their portfolio? Will they come out? 4. Ring That Bell: IPOs and M&A: Why does Jason believe 2024 will be an amazing year for IPOs? Why does much of the IPO market rely on Stripe and Databricks? What is needed for an amazing 2024 IPO market? How does Jason evaluate the M&A market in 2024? Will regulation get in the way? 5. Jason Lemkin: AMA: Why does Jason Lemkin believe this generation of workers will never work hard again? What is the only way for seed funds to make money investing in serial entrepreneurs? What does Jason know now that he wishes he had known when he started investing?
Wed, August 9, 2023
20VC: Vinod Khosla on How AI Impacts The Future of Healthcare, Education, Income Equality, Geo-Politics, Music and Climate Change
Vinod Khosla is the Founder of Khosla Ventures, one of the leading venture firms of the last decade with investments in OpenAI, Stripe, DoorDash, Commonwealth Fusion Systems and many more. Prior to founding Khosla, Vinod was a co-founder of Daisy Systems and founding CEO of Sun Microsystems. In Today's Episode with Vinod Khosla We Discuss: 1. The State of AI Today: Does Vinod believe we are in a bubble or is the excitement justified based on technological development? What are the single biggest lessons that Vinod has from prior bubbles? What is different about this time? What is Vinod concerned about with this AI bubble? 2. The Future of Healthcare and Music: How does Vinod evaluate the impact AI will have on the future of healthcare? How does Vinod analyse the impact AI will have on the future of music and content creation? Does Vinod believe that humans will resist these advancements? Who will be the laggards, slow to embrace it and who will be the early adopters? 3. Solving Income Inequality: Does Vinod believe AI does more to harm or to hurt income inequality? What mechanisms can be put in place to ensure that AI does not further concentrate wealth into the hands of the few? Does Vinod believe in universal basic income? What does everyone get wrong with UBI? 4. The Future of Energy, Climate and Politics: Why is forcing non-economic solutions the wrong approach to climate? What is the right approach? Why is Vinod so bullish on fusion and geothermal? How does fusion bankrupt entire industries? How does the advancements in energy and resource creation change global politics? Does Vinod believe Larry Summers was right; "China is a prison, Japan is a nursing home and Europe is a museum"? 5. Vinod Khosla: AMA: What is Vinod's single biggest investing miss? What does Vinod know now that he wishes he had known when he started investing? Why did the Taylor Swift concert have such a profound impact on him? What was Marc Andreesen like when he backed him with Netscape in 1996?
Mon, August 7, 2023
20VC: Why "Hire Great People and Get Out of the Way" is Total BS, Why Your Upbringing Can Make You a Worse Leader & A Bentley, Two Nissan Cubes and Becoming One of Macedonia's Largest Employers; The Story of Slice with Ilir Sela
Ilir Sela is the Founder and CEO of Slice, the all-in-one ordering and marketing tech platform for local pizzerias. Through its partnerships, Slice has driven over $1B in earnings for over 18,000 independent pizzerias nationwide. Fun fact, Slice is also one of the largest employers in Macedonia and at one point, employed so many people there, they had to start their own school to train more people. Before Slice, Ilir started Nerd Force and sold it in 2008. Huge thanks to Jeff Richards (GGV) and Ben Sun (Primary) for some amazing questions today. In Today's Discussion with Ilir Sela We Discuss: 1. From Macedonia to the Bright Lights of NYC and Bentley Buying: How Ilir made his way into the world of startups having grown up in Macedonia? How did his less affluent upbringing impact his approach to company building? How does Ilir think about the importance of money? How did he come to buy a Bentley? What does Ilir know now that he wishes he had known when he started? 2. Why Bootstrapped Was Best & The Decision to Fundraise: Why did Ilir scale the business to $4M in revenue without ever fundraising? What does Ilir believe are the benefits of scaling businesses with less money? What would Ilir have done differently had he raised money earlier? What advice does Ilir have for founders who see competitors raising more money than them? 3. Why Delegation is BS and Your Upbringing F***** You Up: Why does Ilir believe that much of our upbringing can instill principles which make us a worse leader? Why does Ilir believe it is BS to hire great people and get out of the way? What are the single biggest mistakes Ilir sees founders make in company scaling? What have been some of Ilir's biggest lessons in talent acquisition? 4. Decision-Making 101: How does Ilir analyze his decision-making framework today? Where does he need to improve as a leader today? What does he need to do to get there? What has been the single best decision he made with Slice? What did he learn from it? What has been the worst decision he has made in the scaling process? How did that change his mindset?
Fri, August 4, 2023
20Sales: Why The Founder Has To Be The One To Create The Sales Playbook, When To Hire Your First Rep, Why Junior is Better Than Senior, How to Manage Sales Rep Compensation, How To Onboard New Sales Reps and more with Lori Jimenez, CRO @ WorkRamp
Lori Jimenez is the Chief Revenue Officer at WorkRamp where she is responsible for sales, customer success, solutions engineering, sales development, and revenue operations. Over her 25-year career, Lori has a track record of scaling high-growth GTM teams at companies including Google, TripActions/Navan, Facebook, and Box. In Today's Episode with Lori Jimenez We Discuss: 1. From a First Sales Job at 15 Years Old to Leading Sales Teams at Google and Facebook: How Lori made her foray into the world of sales at the age of 15? What are 1-2 of Lori's biggest takeaways from her time at Google, Facebook and Box? What does Lori know now that she wishes she had known at the start of her career in sales? 2. The Sales Playbook: What, When and How: How does Lori define the "sales playbook"? What is it not? Should the founder be the one to create the sales playbook? When is the right time for founders to make their first sales hires? What is the right profile for the first sales hires? Should founders hire 2 sales reps at a time? What are the pros and cons? 3. The Hiring Process: Building the Sales Team: How does Lori structure the hiring process for all new sales hires? What are the must-ask questions to ask in every sales hiring meeting? What are the biggest red flags founders should look for when hiring for sales? What are Lori's biggest lessons on how to navigate compensation discussions with potential sales hires? What are Lori's biggest lessons on what title negotiation says about a candidate? What are the single biggest mistakes founders make when hiring for sales teams? 4. Scaling the Machine: Bringing the Dollars In: How does Lori approach discounting? When is the right time to do it? Is old-school enterprise sales and entertaining dead? How has it changed? How does Lori structure deal reviews? What is a good vs a bad reason to lose a deal? How does Lori approach multi-year deals? What is good? What is bad?
Wed, August 2, 2023
20VC: Marcelo Claure & Shu Nyatta on Lessons from Investing $7.5BN at Softbank & Why Dumb Money has Gone, Why "LATAM is Under Construction" and the Next 10 Years Will Be the Best & Investing Lessons from Missing Nubank & OpenAI & Investing in FTX
Marcelo Claure is the Founder & CEO of Claure Group, a multi-billion-dollar global investment firm. He is the Executive Chairman and Managing Partner of Bicycle Capital, a $500M Latin America-focused growth equity fund, and was appointed Chairman in Latin America of SHEIN, the global #1 on-demand fashion company in the world. Claure was also the CEO of SoftBank Group International where he launched SoftBank’s $8B Latin America Funds, and had direct oversight for SoftBank's operating companies. As an entrepreneur, Marcelo built Brightstar from a small local distributor to the world’s largest global wireless distribution and services company. In addition, Claure led the turnaround of US wireless telecommunications company Sprint and helped orchestrate its US$195 billion merger with T-Mobile. Shu Nyatta is the founder of Bicycle Capital. Before Bicycle, Shu was most recently a Managing Partner at SoftBank Group International, where he launched and managed two separate funds - the SoftBank Latin America Fund and the Opportunity Fund for early-stage investments in US-based founders-of-color. In the first part of his SoftBank career, Shu was a founding Partner of SoftBank's Vision Fund. Several companies have retained him on their boards as an independent board member following his departure from SoftBank, including Lemonade (NYSE: LMND), Kavak and Tribal Credit. Shu also serves on the board of Endeavor Global - the leading global community of, by and for high-impact entrepreneurs. In Today's Episode Featuring Bicycle Capital We Discuss: 1. From Deploying $10BN at Softbank to Founding Bicycle Capital: What was the founding moment for Marcelo and Shu in the founding of Bicycle? What does Shu believe is Marcelo's superpower? How has working with Marcelo changed the way he thinks? Why does Marcelo believe that he is not a good investor? How does Shu make him better, specifically? 2. Lessons from Investing $10BN at Softbank: What are 1-2 of the biggest lessons from investing $10BN over the last few years at Softbank? How did missing OpenAI and Nubank impact how Shu and Marcelo think and invest today? Why was losing $150M on Softbank's FTX investment, the biggest lesson of Marcelo's career? What are Marcelo and Shu doing differently at Bicycle, having seen how it went at Softbank? 3. The Venture World is Changing: Why do Marcelo and Shu believe the world of venture is changing? How is it changing most? Why are founders going directly to LPs to raise rounds today, over going to VCs? Do Marcelo and Shu believe that many VCs provide value? Who will win in the next 10 years of venture? Who will lose? Why do Marcelo and Shu believe you should not invest in founders that do not take your advice? Do Marcelo and Shu agree with the statement that "the best founders do not need your help"? 4. LATAM is Under Construction: It is Time to Build: What are the two reasons that the next decade will be the best ever for LATAM? What are the biggest misconceptions about the LATAM tech market? How do Marcelo and Shu answer the question of the lack of liquidity available with few M&A deals taking place and very few LATAM companies listing on the NASDAQ? How do Marcelo and Shu evaluate the withdrawal of foreign capital from LATAM tech markets? Is it good or bad? Have a load of US funds lost money on early-stage LATAM deals?
Mon, July 31, 2023
20VC: Four Criteria to Assess Great Founders, Why and How the Best Leaders Make the Wrong Decisions 40% of the Time, Lessons Scaling King from 100 Employees to 2,400 and Making $1BN of EBITDA with Stephane Kurgan, Venture Partner @ Index Ventures
Stephane Kurgan is widely considered one of the best operators in Europe. During his tenure as COO @ King, King went from $65m to $2.4B in bookings, from 100 to 2,400 employees, and did a $7B IPO before being acquired by Activision Blizzard. Prior to joining King, Stephane served as CFO of Tideway Ltd. (acquired by BMC Software) and was the co-founder and CEO of Digital Reserve. Today, Stephane serves as a Venture Partner at Index Ventures, one of the leading venture firms of the last decade and more recently as an executive advisor at Technology Crossover Ventures. In Today's Episode with Stephane Kurgan We Discuss: 1. From Belgium Boy to Europe's Leading Operator: How a CD Rom company was the starting place for one of Europe's best executives? What does Steph believe he is running away from? What does Steph know now that he wishes he had known when he started? 2. Four Criteria of Truly Great Leaders: What four traits do all truly special leaders have? What are the 1-2 that are the hardest to find in great leaders today? Why does Steph believe that even the best leaders are wrong 40% of the time? How does Steph approach decision-making? How has it changed over time? What is the most toxic element of decisions within companies today? When does Steph change plan because a decision is wrong vs stick to it? 3. Speed of Execution and Mission Statements: How important does Steph believe speed of execution is today? What are the elements that one can go fast on vs go slow and be very deliberate on? What elements has Steph gone fast on in the past that led to a mistake? How would he have changed his approach with the benefit of hindsight? Why does Steph believe that mission statements have different value at different company stages? What is Steph's biggest advice to founders on creating mission statements? 4. Delivering Feedback and Maintaining Trust: What are 1-2 of Steph's biggest lessons when it comes to delivering feedback well? What are the biggest mistakes founders make when delivering feedback today? Can trust be regained once lost? How? Does Steph start from a position of full trust or is it gained gradually over time?
Fri, July 28, 2023
20Growth: Biggest Growth Lessons from Instacart and Opendoor, Why 70% of Growth Experiments Should Fail and How to Fail Fast, How to Hire a Growth Team; Secrets and Tips & Why Operator Investors WIll be the Best Investors in 10 Years with Sri Batchu @ Ram
Sri Batchu currently leads Growth at Ramp. He previously led Growth Strategy and Operations at Instacart where he also helped grow their Ads business. Prior to that, he was one of the first 50 employees at Opendoor where he built, scaled, and managed a variety of business teams including Analytics, Sales, and Pricing.  During his time, the company grew from $100M to $5B+ revenue and to 1500+ people.  He started his career in management consulting at McKinsey and also held various investing roles including in private equity at Bain Capital.  In Today's Episode with Sri Batchu We Discuss: 1. From Harvard to Private Equity to Leading the Best Growth Teams: How did Sri make his way into the world of growth with Instacart and Opendoor? What are 1-2 of his biggest takeaways from his time at Instacart? How did it change his approach and mindset towards growth? How did Zilllow burn themselves by buying homes? What did that teach Sri about hitting metrics and goal setting in growth teams? 2. Growth Teams Should Fail and Fail Fast: What is the right ratio of success to failure within growth teams? What are specific ways that growth teams can increase the speed with which they fail? How are the best post-mortems run? Who joins them? Who leads the agenda? What are Sri's biggest lessons on how to set the right goals? Where do so many growth teams go wrong with the North Star that they set for themselves? 3. Building the Bench: Hiring a Growth Team: When is the right time to make your first growth hires? What profile should your first growth hires be? How should one structure the interview process when hiring growth teams? What is the first question Sri asks all new hires? Why does Sri believe you have to hire slowly? Should candidates do case studies as part of the process, if so, on a new company or on the company they are interviewing for? 4. When Operators Become Investors: Why does Sri believe the best investors of the next 10 years will be operators? Why does Sri believe that operators can do due diligence to a higher level than traditional VCs? Why does Sri believe that investors should not take cold emails? Why does Sri believe that it is not wrong for an investor to hire from their portfolio companies? What does Sri believe the future of venture holds over the next 10 years?
Wed, July 26, 2023
20VC: Instagram CEO, Adam Mosseri on Threads: The Journey from 0-100M Users; What Worked, What Didn't and the Plans Ahead | Instagram: Biggest Mistakes, Successes, Misconceptions, TikTok Competition & The Future of Social Media; Interest Graph or Friend G
Adam Mosseri is the Head of Instagram, where he is responsible for overseeing the engineering, product, and business teams and leading Meta’s efforts on creators and Reels. Adam has been at Meta for more than fifteen years. He started at Meta as a designer for Facebook's mobile app before moving to product management, where he led the Facebook News Feed product and engineering teams, and served as the Head of Facebook News Feed. Adam began his career founding a design consultancy focused on graphic, interaction, and exhibition design before joining TokBox as the company’s first designer. In Today's Discussion with Adam Mosseri We Discuss: 1. From Designer to Product Leader to Instagram CEO: What did Adam learn from his first job bartending? How did it impact his approach to customer support and research? What are the top 1-2 pieces of advice Adam would give to someone wanting to make the move from individual contributor to leader? If Adam was "not amazing at anything", what did he do that enabled him to rise above the rest and become CEO of Instagram? What have been 1-2 of the biggest lessons from working with Mark Zuckerberg for 15 years? 2. A Deep Dive on the Wild Times as Instagram CEO: What has been Adam's single biggest mistake as CEO of Instagram? What does Adam believe is the least known feature within Instagram that has made them successful? What does Adam believe has been the biggest product decision he has made as CEO? Why does Adam believe that Instagram is too complicated as a product? Who does Adam believe is the most formidable competitor to Instagram? Was Instagram Reels a simple copy of TikTok? What have Instagram learned from TikTok? How does Adam respond to the statement that Instagram is a "copy-cat machine" and lacks innovaton? 3. Threads: The Journey from 0-100M Users in Three Days: Did Adam and the team expect the response they got to Threads? Why did they decide to break Threads out into a separate app? What went into bootstrapping the Threads friendship and interest graph? What was the Threads influencer activation strategy? What worked? What did not? Did they pay influencers? How did they choose which verticals to focus on? What is Adam's core focus with Threads today? How is the team analysing and measuring retention? What are their goals? What are the 1-2 core reasons why Threads would not work? How do they aim to prevent them? In 12 months, where will Threads be? 4. The Future of Consumer Social: What Happens Now? Does Adam believe we have seen the transition from the social graph to the interest graph? Is it that binary? Is it possible to have both the interest and the friendship graph all in one app? How does the monetization potential differ when comparing Threads (text) to Instagram (visual)? How important is it for the next consumer social platforms to have stars that are native to their platform (Mr Beast on Youtube, D'Amelio on TikTok etc.)
Mon, July 24, 2023
20VC: Why Hiring in Tech is Broken and Founders Need to be as Good at Firing as they are Hiring, Why Product Differentiation is Unsustainable & Why the Current Generation of Tech Employees are Entitled and What Needs to Change with Jean-Denis Greze @ Plai
Jean-Denis Greze is Chief Technology Officer at Plaid where oversees global product business units across North America and Europe. Prior to joining Plaid, Jean-Denis was Director of Engineering at Dropbox. Jean-Denis is also a prolific angel investor with a portfolio including the likes of Nex Health, and Rupa Health to name a few. In Today's Episode with Jean-Denis Greze We Discuss: 1. The Journey to One of the Most Powerful CTOs: How JD made his way into the world of tech with his first role at Dropbox? How does JD analyse a Linkedin CV today? What are the signals of outperformers? What does JD know now that he wishes he had known when he started in tech? 2. Hiring the Best: 101: What are JD's single biggest lessons on hiring the best talent? What have been some of JD's biggest hiring mistakes? Why does JD believe founders need to be as good at firing as they are hiring? Does JD believe people can scale with the scaling of a company? If they do not scale, do you layer them or do you let them go? How does JD determine whether to bring in an external candidate vs promote someone from within? 3. Product Differentiation is not Sustainable: Why does JD believe that product differentiation is not sustainable? Why is UX as a moat BS? How does this lead JD to suggest Salesforce is a short in the public markets? Why does JD believe that Snowflake is also a short? What does Snowflake teach us about the different stages of product market fit? What are the biggest mistakes founders make when analyzing product market fit? 4. Remote Work, Titles and Entitlement: Why does JD believe most tech employees treat their employer in the same way French citizens treat the French government? How does JD analyse the impact of remote work on both productivity and culture? Why does JD believe titles are BS in the beginning but matter with scale? Why does JD believe that you should not hire for the long term?
Fri, July 21, 2023
20Product: The Secret to Successful Onboarding from Notion and Airtable, The Biggest Mistakes Startups Make in PLG Today& Why 90% of Onboarding Today is Done Poorly with Lauryn Isford, Head of Product Growth @ Notion
Lauryn Isford is the Head of Product Growth at Notion, managing Notion's product-led growth engine and self-serve business. Before Notion, she led growth at Airtable, and previously worked on growth teams including Meta, Dropbox, and Blue Bottle Coffee. Lauryn is an active angel investor and advisor supporting companies building product-led go-to-market motions.  In Today's Episode with Lauryn Isford: 1. From Blue Bottle to Airtable and Notion: How did Lauryn first make her way into the world of product and growth? What are 1-2 of her biggest takeaways from Dropbox, Facebook and Blue Bottle? What does Lauryn know now that she wishes she had known when she started? 2. What is Growth: 101: How does Lauryn define growth? What is it not? When is the right time to make your first growth hire? What profile should your first hire in growth be? What are the single biggest mistakes founders make when hiring growth teams? 3. Mastering the Onboarding Experience: What are the core elements of a successful onboarding experience? How important is time to value in onboarding today? What are the biggest mistakes product teams make in company onboarding? What is the most effective onboarding technique and workflow in PLG today? Why are 90% of current onboarding's done badly? 4. Making Growth work with the Rest of the Org: What are the single biggest barriers to growth and product working together well? What can leaders do to make their growth teams work well with product teams? How can growth teams experiment and test with product without messing up codebases?
Wed, July 19, 2023
20VC: Why Fund Sizes Should Be Smaller, Should Founders Also Have Their Own Funds, Is Emerging Markets Investing Gone, Is Fintech Investing Dead & Who Will Be The Winners and Losers in VC in the Next 10 Years with Sheel Mohnot, Co-Founder @ BTV
Sheel Mohnot is a Co-Founder and General Partner @ Better Tomorrow Ventures, a $225M fund that leads rounds in pre-seed and seed-stage fintech companies globally. Sheel and Jake (his co-founder) invested for many years together before founding BTV and wrote checks into Mercury, Flexport, Ramp, and Hippo Insurance to name a few. As for Sheel, before BTV he ran 500 Fintech for close to 7 years, and before that was a founder, founding two companies, both of which were acquired. In Today's Episode with Sheel Mohnot We Discuss: 1. VC Needs to Change: Why does Sheel believe that VCs should have smaller funds? What are the biggest misalignments between founders and VCs today? What are the biggest points of friction between VCs and their LPs today? 2. VC in 10 Years Time: Who are going to be the winners in venture in 10 years time? Who are going to be the losers? Will micro-funds be bigger or smaller as a segment of the ecosystem? Will solo-GPs be bigger or smaller? Were they a zero-interest rate phenomenon? 3. The Errors of a Bull Market: What does Sheel believe are the single biggest mistakes made by VCs between 2020-2022? Did Sheel take liquidity off the table in the last few years? What have been some of his biggest lessons on when to sell? How does Sheel evaluate the flood of capital into emerging markets in the bull market? What happens now? Fintech is also experiencing the same challenging time, how does Sheel assess what is happening in the fintech financing market today? 4. Building a Fund: Lessons, Mistakes and Advice Scaling to $225M: What are the single biggest mistakes Sheel and Jake have made in the fun scaling? How has it impacted their mindset? What does Sheel know now about fund management that he wishes he had known at the beginning? What advice does Sheel give to emerging managers today, raising their first and second funds?
Fri, July 14, 2023
20Sales: Slack, Atlassian, Dropbox: Five of the Biggest Lessons on Starting, Scaling and Managing Sales Teams from 25 Years Leading the Best with Kevin Egan, Global Head of Enterprise Sales at Atlassian
Kevin Egan is the Global Head of Enterprise Sales at Atlassian and brings more than 25 years of enterprise sales experience and leadership to the company. Prior to his current role, Kevin served as the Vice President of North America Sales at both Slack and Dropbox and has held various senior sales leadership positions at Salesforce. In Todays Episode With Kevin Egan We Discuss: 1. The Makings of a Truly Great Enterprise Sales Leader: How did Kevin first make his way into the world of enterprise sales? What does Kevin know now that he wishes he had known when he entered sales? What advice would Kevin give to a new sales leader today starting a new role? 2. The Sales Playbook: How does Kevin define "the sales playbook"? Does the founder have to be the one to create the sales playbook When is the right time to hire your first salespeople? Should they be senior or junior first? What are the different types of reps to hire in the early days? Should you hire two at a time? 3. PLG vs Enterprise: Does Kevin believe it is possible to run both PLG and enterprise playbook at the same time? How does one know when they are ready to scale from PLG into enterprise? What are the signs? What do companies need to change in the way their sales team, is structured to make the transition from PMG to enterprise sales? What are the single biggest mistakes Kevin sees founders make in the scaling from PLG to enterprise? 4. Hiring the Sales Team: What non-obvious characteristics and attitudes should we look for in sales reps? How does Kevin structure the hiring process for all new additions to sales and revenue teams? What makes good PLG sales leaders? How are they different from enterprise sales leaders? What questions and case studies are most revealing for you in identifying them? What have been some of Kevin's biggest lessons on comp structure for these early rep hires? 5. Making the Machine Work: How does Kevin build trust with his early sales rep hires? What works? What does not? How does Kevin balance hitting the quarterly revenue target with longer-term pipeline strategy? How does Kevin manage when a quarter is missed? What is the right approach? How does Kevin approach post-mortems and deal reviews? How often? What do the best entail?  
Wed, July 12, 2023
20VC: Simon Sinek on Trust; How it is Gained and Lost | Why Millennials Avoid Conflict | How to Listen Effectively | What Makes The Best Feedback and How to Provide It | Why Humans Do Not Change & How To Find Out Who You Really Are
Simon Sinek is an optimist and author, as we discuss in the show today. Simon is best known for his TED Talk on the concept of WHY (62M views), and his video on millennials in the workplace (80M views in 7 days). Simon is also a bestselling author including global bestseller Start with WHY, Leaders Eat Last and The Infinite Game. In addition, Simon is the founder of The Optimism Company, a leadership learning and development company, and he publishes other inspiring thinkers and doers through his publishing partnership with Penguin Random House called Optimism Press. In Today's Discussion with Simon Sinek We Discuss: 1. The Makings of Simon Sinek: In what ways does Simon believe that his parents and upbringing shaped who he is today? What does Simon want to be when he grows up? What was the catalytic moment to the "Simon Sinek brand"? When was that big break moment? 2. Identity: Simon has said before, "I define myself by who I am and not what I do". Is it wrong to define yourself by what you do? What do you do if you do not know who you are? What do you do if you do not like the answers to who you are? Is it possible to change who you are? What does that process look like? What is Simon's biggest advice to those looking to find a greater sense of self and identity? 3. Trust: Does Simon start relationships with inherent trust and it is there to be lost or no trust and it is there to be gained over time? When has someone broken Simon's trust? How did it impact how he approaches trust today? In the case of cheating in a relationship, does Simon believe it is possible to regain trust over time? Simon has said before, "trust is built on telling the truth". Does it ever make sense or is even right to tell a little white lie in a relationship? 4. Creating Safe Spaces: How can we create safe spaces for our partners to be their full selves? Does this differ professionally and personally? What are the biggest mistakes people make in building safe spaces? 5. Listening: What does great listening in a relationship mean? How can we do it better? Often people jump from listening to solution mode, is that wrong? Why does Simon have a rule of “no crying alone”. What does it do and how is it productive? When was the last time Simon cried? 6. Simon Sinek: AMA: What is success to you? Can one be “successful” and unhappy? What is the difference between happiness and joy?
Mon, July 10, 2023
20VC: Why Data Size Matters More Than Model Size, Why The Google Employee Was Wrong; OpenAI and Google Have the Advantage & Why Open Source is Not Going to Win with Douwe Kiela, Co-Founder @ Contextual AI
Douwe Kiela is the CEO of Contextual AI, building the contextual language model to power the future of businesses. Last month Contextual closed a $20M funding round including Bain Capital, Sarah Guo, Elad Gil and 20VC. He is also an Adjunct Professor in Symbolic Systems at Stanford University. Previously, he was the Head of Research at Hugging Face, and before that a Research Scientist at Facebook AI Research. In Today's Episode with Douwe Kiela We Discuss: 1. Founding a Foundational Model Company in 2023: How did Douwe make his way into the world of AI and ML over a decade ago? What are some of his biggest lessons from his time working with Yann LeCun and Meta? How does Douwe's background in philosophy help him in AI today? 2. Foundational Model Providers: Challenges and Alternatives: What are the biggest problems with the existing foundational data models? Will there be one to rule them all? How does the landscape play out? Why does Douwe believe OpenAI's data acquisition strategy has been the best? 3. Data Models: Size and Structure: Why does Douwe believe it is naive to think the open approach will beat the closed approach? What are the biggest downsides to the open approach? Does the size of data model matter today? What matters more? How important is access to proprietary data? Are VCs naive to turn down founders due to a lack of access to proprietary data? 4. Regulation and the World Around Us: How does Douwe expect the regulatory landscape to play out around AI? Why is Europe the worst when it comes to regulation? Will this be different this time? How does Douwe analyse Elon's petition to pause the development of AI for 6 months? Do founders building AI companies have to be in the valley?
Fri, June 30, 2023
20VC: The Rent the Runway Memo: How Paid Marketing & Growth Hacking Ruined a Generation of Companies, When Will Rent the Runway Be Profitable & How Does it Compare to Other Fashion Co's and Why "I Wish I Ran My Startup Like a Public Company"
Jennifer Hyman is the Co-Founder and CEO of Rent the Runway, the world’s first and largest shared designer closet. Under Jennifer’s leadership, RTR has made history by being the first company to go public with a female founder/CEO, COO, and CFO. Jennifer serves on the Board of The Estée Lauder Companies and Zalando, and also is a Founding Member of the NYSE Board Advisory Council, a Member of the Advisory Board and a Member of the Launch with GS Advisory Council for Goldman Sachs. In Today's Episode with Jennifer Hyman We Discuss: 1. The 14-Year Overnight Success: Scaling Rent The Runway To IPO: What was the a-ha founding moment for Jennifer with RTR? What does Jenn know now that she wishes she had known at the beginning? Does Jenn believe that naivete is good or not when starting a business? 2. Building the Best Team: What have been Jenn's single biggest lessons when it comes to acquiring the best talent? What have been Jenn's biggest hiring mistakes over the years? How does Jenn approach the interview process? Why does Jenn not focus on their professional career and achievements? What questions does she ask? What does Jenn believe are the single biggest mistakes founders make when building their teams? 3. Building the Business for IPO and Beyond: Why does Jenn wish she had run RTR as a private company in the same way she does now as a public company? How does the way you run the company differ? What about the unit economics of RTR suggesting it is a fundamentally better business than apparel competitors? How have their margin profiles changed over time? Why does Wall St not love RTR? What is required for that to change? Why does Jenn believe the street is wrong on how they analyse RTR? 4. Boards 101: Leading and Learning from Estee Lauder: What are Jenn's biggest lessons to founders on how to manage boards successfully? What have been 1-2 of Jenn's biggest lessons from being on the Estee Lauder board? What do the best board members do? What do the worst board members do?
Wed, June 28, 2023
20VC: Eight Pieces of Startup Advice that are BS: Why You Do Not Have to Love Your Space, It Is Ok To Do It For The Money, Focus Is Not Everything, Speed Is Not The Most Important Thing with Akin Babayigit, Co-Founder @ Tripledot Studios
Akin Babayigit is a serial entrepreneur and an active angel investor. He is currently the Founder and COO of Tripledot Studios, one of the fastest-growing mobile gaming companies in the world, which was recently valued at over $1.4BN. In just 4 years, Tripledot grew to generate several hundred million dollars per year in revenue and currently entertains over 50 million people every month. Tripledot was recently named as the #1 fastest-growing European company by FT, as well as being named as the fastest-growing Tech business in the UK, in the annual “UK Tech Awards”. In Today's Episode with Akin Babayigit We Discuss: Entry into the World of Startups and Gaming: How Akin made his way from Turkey to HBS and founding a unicorn in Tripledot? How did the lack of a father figure impact Akin's approach to parenting? What are 1-2 of Akin's biggest takeaways from his time at Facebook, Skype and What advice would Akin give to all new joiners at a company today? 90% of Startup Advice is Total BS: BS Myth #1: "You have to be passionate about your domain". Why does Akin disagree with this? If you do not have passion for the domain, what do you have to have? BS Myth #2: "You have to be solving a real problem". Why does Akin disagree with this mantra? If you are not solving a real problem, what should you be solving? BS Myth #3: "When you do a startup, your life will suck for a long period of time". Why does Akin strongly disagree with this? Does it get easier over time? What does Akin advise founders to make the earlier days easier? BS Myth #4: "Focus is everything. You should focus on a single thing and only do that." Why does Akin believe that focus can be dangerous? How should founders know when to pivot vs when to keep going? BS Myth #5: "Mission and vision statements are so important." Why does Akin believe that the majority of mission statements are BS? Is it worth having them at all? BS Myth #6: "You should hire people with domain experience." Why does Akin believe you should hire people who do not have domain experience? What does Akin look for in these candidates? What have been his biggest hiring mistakes? How has his hiring changed over time? BS Myth #7: "Speed is the most important thing." Why does Akin believe that speed can be dangerous? When is it right to go fast vs go slow? BS Myth #8: "Valuations matter and you should optimize." Why does Akin believe that valuations do not matter in the long run? How should founders approach the valuation discussion with this in mind?
Mon, June 26, 2023
20VC: How to Raise a Venture Fund from Deck to First Meetings to Final Close, Why Venture is a Young Person's Game and Why Multi-Stage Funds Have Not Ruined Seed with Rob Go, Co-Founder @ Nextview
Rob Go is a co-founder and Partner at NextView, one of the leading seed firms of the last decade with a portfolio including Attentive, Devoted Health, Whoop, and Grove Collaborative. Prior to co-founding NextView, Rob was an investor at Spark Capital and held product and product marketing roles at Ebay. He began his career as a consultant at The Parthenon Group. In Today's Episode with Rob Go We Discuss: 1. Entry into the World of Venture: How a cold call from a VC firm led to Rob entering the world of venture? Why does Rob believe venture is a young person's game? What does Rob know now that he wishes he had known when started in venture? 2. Preparing Docs for a Fundraise: What docs should fund managers have ready before they start the raise? How should they structure their data room? Where do the majority of LPs spend their time, document-wise? What are the single biggest mistakes emerging managers make preparing docs for a raise? 3. Meeting Your First LPs: What is the best way for emerging managers to meet LPs for the first time? Should they send the deck before or after the meeting? What questions should emerging managers ask to qualify LPs in or out of a meeting? What are some clear early signs that a first meeting went well? 4. Closing LPs: The Tips and Tricks: How important is it for a fund to have an anchor? How much of a fund should the anchor be? Are there different qualities of anchor LPs? Should managers ever sell part of their GP or give an LP part of the carry? What can managers do to enforce a sense of urgency to get LPs over the line? What are signs that an LP will not invest in the fund without rejecting you yet? Should emerging managers impose a minimum check size on new LPs?
Fri, June 23, 2023
20Growth: How to Master PR and Comms, How to Get Your Startup Written About; Press Releases, Fundraising Announcements, Embargos etc & Lessons Scaling Duolingo from 3-200M Users with Gina Gotthilf, Co-Founder @ Latitud
Gina Gotthilf is a Co-Founder and COO at Latitud, an a16z-backed platform supporting the next generation of iconic tech startups in Latin America through digital products, a community and fund. Previously, Gina led growth and marketing at Duolingo from 3 to 200 million users via organic strategies and was part of the executive team. She also worked on the Mike Bloomberg presidential campaign, helping oversee the creation of digital ad campaigns at a historical budget, and led growth and community for Tumblr in Latin America. In Today's Discussion with Gina Gotthilf We Discuss: Entry into the World of Growth: How Gina went from working on a farm to leading growth for Tumblr in LATAM? What are 1-2 of Gina's biggest takeaways from her time leading growth for Duolingo? What does Gina know now that she wishes she had known when she entered the world of growth? 15 Top Tips and Secrets to Being Featured in the Best Publications: What is the best way to get in touch with journalists? What mistakes do founders have when they reach out to journalists? Should founders get in touch with more than one journalist at a publication? Should founders be explicit about the embargos they have on a story? Should they stick to them? Should founders be more wary of being published in a publication with a paywall? What materials should they send to journalists to get their attention? Should founders send press releases in early messages to journalists? How can founders control in some way what the journalist will ultimately publish? How long before the company wants the piece to come out, should they reach out to journalists? How can founders create FOMO when trying to get journalists to write their story? How can founders create social validity with journalists, when they are a small company? Once published, what should the distribution strategy look like? How can you get people you know to like and share content you are featured in? What are the top tips and tricks to get people to share content with you in? Should PR and Comms be an ongoing effort or static projects with news stories? What are the single biggest mistakes founders make in getting their company in the press?
Wed, June 21, 2023
20VC: Why No Models Today Will Be Used in a Year, Why Open Will Always Beat Closed in AI, Why Proprietary Data is Less Important Than Ever And Why EU AI Regulation is a Disaster with Alex Lebrun, Founder & CEO @ Nabla
Alex Lebrun is the Co-Founder and CEO of Nabla, an AI assistant for doctors. Prior to Nabla, he led engineering at Facebook AI Research. Alex founded, an AI platform that makes it easy to build apps that understand natural human language. was acquired by Facebook in 2015. Prior to Wit, Alex was the Founder and CEO of VirtuOz, the world pioneer in customer service chatbots, acquired by Nuance Communications in 2013. In Today's Episode with Alex Lebrun We Discuss: 1. Third Time Lucky and Lessons from Zuckerberg: How did Alex make his way into the world of startups with the founding of his first company? What worked with Alex's prior companies that he has taken with him to Nabla? What did not work that he has left behind? What were the single biggest takeaways for Alex from working with Mark Zuckerberg? How does Mark prepare for meetings? How does Mark negotiate so well? 2. Open vs Closed: Why does Alex believe the winning AI models will always be open? Why are open models not as transparent as people think they are? What are the biggest downsides to both open and closed models? Does Alex agree with Emad @ Stability that we will have "national data sets"? 3. Incumbent vs Startup: Who wins in the AI race; startups or incumbents? How important is access to proprietary data in winning in AI today? How does Alex respond to many VCs who suggest so many AI startups are merely "a thin layer on top of a foundational model"? Is that a fair critique? Which startups are best placed to challenge incumbents? Which incumbents have been most impressive in adopting AI into existing product suites? 4. Models 101: Size, Quality, Switching Costs: Why will the best companies switch the models that they use often? Will any models in action today be used in a year? How important is the size of the model? How will this change with time? In what way is new EU regulation around models going to harm European AI companies? 5. Location Matters: Who Wins: When looking at China, US and Europe, who is best placed to win the AI war? What are the biggest challenges Europe and China face? Why is the US best placed to win the AI race? What does it have to overcome first? If Alex were a politician, what would he do to ensure his country were best positioned?
Mon, June 19, 2023
20Product: Slack CPO Noah Weiss on How to Master Product-Led-Growth, The Biggest Mistakes Founders Make When Scaling Into Enterprise & What Needs to Change with your Product, Team and Processes when Scaling From PLG to Enterprise
Noah Weiss is the Chief Product Officer of Slack, overseeing the product team’s strategy and development. Over his seven years at Slack, Noah has led various parts of the product organization, including the self-service SMB business and product-led growth; the Virtual HQ team that launched huddles and clips; and the search and machine learning teams. Prior to Slack, Noah served as SVP of Product and Analytics at Foursquare. He started his career at Google leading the structured data search team and working on display ads. In Today's Episode with Noah Weiss We Discuss: 1.) Entry into Product and Road to Slack CPO: How did Noah make his first foray into the world of product with Google? What are 1-2 of his single biggest takeaways from his time with Google and Foursquare? What model did Noah learn at Google that he applies to product today? 2.) Product 101: The Foundations: Is product more art or science? If Noah were to put a number on it what would it be? What are product principles? What makes good vs bad product principles? What are the biggest mistakes that founders make when instilling product principles? Does Noah believe with Gustav Soderstrom, "talk is cheap and so we should do more of it"? 3.) How to Master Product-Led-Growth: What are some of Noah's biggest lessons on how to master PLG? What are the biggest mistakes Noah sees early stage founders make today when going for the PLG approach? How does he advise them? When is the right time to move into enterprise? What needs to change? How do you change who you build product for? The buyer or the user? Why does Noah believe product speed will always be the most important thing in product? 4.) The Internals of Slack: How does Slack do post-mortems today? Who comes? Who sets the agenda? How has this changed in a world of remote? What does it take to do them well? How do Slack do product testing pre-launch of new products? Do they know when something is going to be a hit? What did they think would be a massive hit that turned into a flop? What does Noah believe is the biggest near death product experience for Slack? What happened? How did they get through it? Why do Slack buy other companies? How do they think through the decision of buy vs build? When do acquisitions work? When do they not work?
Fri, June 16, 2023
20VC: UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak on Investing More in AI Safety Research Than Any Other Country in the World, How AI Changes the Future of Education, His Top 5 Priorities as Prime Minister Today & How to Make the UK the Centre of AI
Rishi Sunak is the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He was previously appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer from 13 February 2020 to 5 July 2022. He was Chief Secretary to the Treasury from 24 July 2019 to 13 February 2020, and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government from 9 January 2018 to 24 July 2019. Before entering the world of politics, Rishi co-founded an investment firm. In Today's Episode with Rishi Sunak We Discuss: 1. The United Kingdom: Open for AI: Open for Business Why does Rishi believe the UK is best placed to lead the way for innovation in AI? What can the government do to ensure the public and private sectors work together most efficiently? Why has Rishi created an entirely new division just for this? How does this change how decisions for AI and technology are made? 2. $100M Funding: The Largest Government Funding in the World: Why did Rishi decide to allocate the largest pool of capital of any nation toward AI safety? What is the strategy for the $100M? How will it be invested? Who will manage it? What are the challenges and opportunities in setting up this $100M funding program? 3. Education: Attracting the Best in the World: What has Rishi done to ensure the best talent in the world, wants to and can work in the UK? What new initiative has Rishi put in place to ensure the world's brightest students can freely move to and work in the UK? What can be done to ensure the UK continues to foster the same level of homegrown talent that we always have done? What can we do to improve our current education system for AI even further? Why does Rishi believe one of the greatest opportunities for AI lies in education and teaching? 4. Making Regulation Work Effectively: How does Rishi think about creating regulation which is both effective and not prohibitive? What can we do to create a government that moves at the speed of business? What does Rishi believe are the biggest mistakes made in regulatory provisions? What are we doing to avoid them with AI in the UK?
Wed, June 14, 2023
20VC: Larry Summers on How to Manage Inflation; Should We Increase Rates Even Higher, Why We Need To Change The US Tax System, Why Europe is a Museum, China is a Jail and Bitcoin is an Experiment & How a Trump Win Would Hurt the US Economy
Larry Summers is the Former Treasury Secretary and one of America's leading economists. In addition to serving as 71st Secretary of  the Treasury in the Clinton Administration, Dr. Summers served as Director of the White House National Economic Council in the Obama Administration, as President of Harvard University, and as the Chief Economist of the World Bank. Huge thanks to Sarah Cannon for the intro to Larry today. In Today's Episode with Larry Summers We Discuss: 1. The Journey to Being One of the World's Leading Economists: How Larry's mother and father both being economists shaped his early thinking as an economist? How did Larry's parenting teach his children economics at an early age? What does Larry know now that he wishes he had known when he entered the workforce? 2. How to Get the US Out of Debt: What would Larry do to save the US economy today? What can be done to increase revenues for the US economy? Why does Larry believe carried interest should be taxed as income tax? Why does Larry believe we need more billionaires? How would he tax them more efficiently? Why does Larry believe cutting taxes is indefensible? What can be done to reduce inflation without massively hurting the poorest in society? 3. The World Around Us: What does Larry mean when he says, "Europe is a museum, China is a jail and Bitcoin is an experiement"? Why does Larry believe the next 5 years will be difficult for China? Why does Larry believe the next 5 years will be challenging for Europe? Which nation is Larry most confident about when projecting forward for the next 5-10 years? 4. Politics and a Trump Administration: How does Larry reflect on the role of Biden on the US economy and state of inflation? Would a Trump administration be better or worse for the US economy? What are the chances of Trump beating Biden in the next election? What would Larry most like to change about the US political system?
Mon, June 12, 2023
20VC: What are the World's Tech Leaders Running From? Fear? Insecurity? Poverty? What Drives the Best with Orlando Bravo, Bill Ackman, Dara Khosrowshahi, Parker Conrad, Tobi Luttke, Brian Armstrong and more..
Orlando Bravo is a Founder and Managing Partner of Thoma Bravo. He led Thoma Bravo’s early entry into software buyouts and built the firm into one of the top private equity firms in the world.  Tobi Lütke is the CEO and Co-Founder of Shopify, the powerhouse company allowing anyone to start and grow their e-commerce business. Dara Khosrowshahi is the CEO of Uber, where he has managed the company’s business in more than 70 countries around the world since 2017. Parker Conrad is the Founder & CEO @ Rippling, the company that lets you easily manage your employees’ payroll, benefits, expenses, devices, apps & more—in one place. Jamie Siminoff is the Founder and Chief Inventor @ Ring, with Ring Jamie, created the world’s first Wi-Fi video doorbell while working in his garage in 2011. The company sold to Amazon for $1BN. Martín Escobari is Co-President, Managing Director and Head of General Atlantic’s business in Latin America. Martín is Chairman of the firm’s Investment Committee and also serves on the Management and Portfolio Committees. Ariel Cohen is the Co-Founder and CEO @ Navan (formerly TripActions), the #1 travel management super-app used by over 8,000 companies. Tarek Mansour is the Founder and CEO @ Kalshi, the first regulated exchange where you can trade directly on the outcome of events. Brian Armstrong is the Co-Founder and CEO @ Coinbase, the easiest place to buy and sell cryptocurrency. Over the last 10 years, Brian has led Coinbase to today, a public company with over 3,500 employees and revenues of over $7.5BN in 2021. Question of the Day: What are the world's tech leaders running from?
Fri, June 9, 2023
20Sales: PLG and Early Adopter Sales are Gone, How to do Sales Forecasting in 2023, Why You Cannot Do PLG and Enterprise from Day 1 at the Same Time and Which is Easier to Start, How to Onboard, Manage and Scale Reps with Rich Liu, CRO @ Everlaw
Rich Liu is the CRO @ Everlaw and a unicorn GTM exec having scaled five multi-billion dollar tech unicorns across two IPOs, a successful acquisition, and numerous funding rounds. Prior to Everlaw, Rich architected the GTM motions for companies like Navan (TripActions), MuleSoft, and Meta (Facebook). As a result of his incredible success, Rich has been recognized as a 2021 Top 100 Global Sales Leader. In Today's Episode with Rich Liu We Discuss: 1. Entry into the World of Sales: How Rich made his way from biochemistry into the world of sales? What is 1 takeaway from his time at Navan, Meta and Mulesoft that has shaped how he thinks about sales today? What does Rich know now that he wishes he had known when he entered the world of sales? 2. Sales Today: What is Happening? What are the biggest sales leaders saying today about price sensitivity and deal cycles? What has changed in the way companies buy software with the macro downturn? What do companies need to do to get deals over the line today? How do startups need to change the way they message to enterprises in order to sell today? How has the renewals process changed? What does this mean for customer success teams today? 3. PLG vs Enterprise: When and How? Is it possible to do both PLG and enterprise at the same time? Is it easier to start with enterprise and move to PLG or visa versa? How does the type of sales leader you need change dependent on the motion? When is the right time to move from founder-led sales to sales team? How does one know whether to hire a junior jack of all trades or a senior sales leader? 4. How To Hire The Best in Sales: How does Rich structure the hiring process for all new reps today? Does he use case studies to determine their depth and ability? Is the case study of the company they are interviewing at or a fresh company? What questions does Rich ask every candidate for a new role? What are some of the biggest red and green flags in how candidates talk in interviews?
Wed, June 7, 2023
20VC: The Largest Venture Backed D2C Consumer Exit; PillPack: $0-$300M Revenues in 5 Years & The Biggest Lessons Scaling the B2B Business to $300M in 2.5 Years with TJ Parker, Co-Founder @ PillPack
TJ Parker is the co-founder and former CEO of PillPack. TJ Raised over $100M in financing, grew the company to more than 1k employees, and successfully sold the business to Amazon for $1B in 2018. As of last week, TJ was announced as the newest Partner @ Matrix Partners where he will initially focus on health opportunities from concept to series A. In Today's Episode with TJ Parker We Discuss: 1.) From Growing Up in Pharmacies to Selling to Amazon for $1BN: How did TJ seeing the pharmacy industry from his parents lead him to believe there was a $BN company to be built in the space? What does TJ know now that he wishes he had known when he started the company? What does TJ believe he is running from? How does that impact his own style of parenting? 2.) The Truth About Entrepreneurship: Why do the best founders have to get comfortable in an environment of uncertainty? What have been some of TJ's biggest lessons in how to do this? Why does TJ believe the role of the CEO is to set the vision and get out of the way? What roles can only the CEO do? How does TJ approach delegation? What have been some of his core lessons? Does TJ believe being naive is a superpower when starting a company? What do founders need to know vs what do they not need to know when starting a business? 3.) Speed of Execution and Decision-Making: How important does TJ believe speed of execution is for startups today? What can founders do to create a culture of rapid decision-making? What works? What does not? What does TJ believe are 1-2 of the single best and worst decisions he made with PillPack? What are some of the biggest mistakes TJ sees founders make both in speed of execution and then also in decision-making processes? 4.) The Crucible Moments: Lawsuits & Acquisitions: How did an incumbent come days away from shutting down PillPack? How did they save the company? How does TJ deal with those moments of intense stress? How did the Amazon acquisition come to be? Why and how did the prior acquisition fall through? Does TJ regret the sale to Amazon? How was life at Amazon post-acquisition?
Mon, June 5, 2023
20VC: Who Wins the AI Race; Startups or Incumbents & Does Having Proprietary Data Really Matter For Startups Today?
One of the core questions in AI and investing today; who wins, startups or incumbents? Startups have speed and innovation but incumbents have scale, resources, and distribution? Today we hear from 6 leading investors and founders discussing where they place their bets who has the advantage; startups or incumbents? Emad Mostaque is CEO @ StabilityAI, the parent company of Stable Diffusion. To date, Emad has raised over $110M with Stability with the latest round reportedly pricing the company at $4BN.  Yann LeCun is VP & Chief AI Scientist at Meta and Professor at NYU. He was the founding Director of FAIR and of the NYU Center for Data Science. Clem Delangue is the Co-Founder and CEO @ Hugging Face, the AI community building the future. Clem has raised over $160M from the likes of Sequoia, Coatue, Addition and Lux Capital to name a few. Sarah Guo is the Founding Partner @ Conviction Capital, a $100M first fund purpose-built to serve “Software 3.0” companies. Prior to founding Conviction, Sarah was a General Partner at Greylock. Vince Hankes is a Partner @ Thrive Capital where he has led the firm’s investments in OpenAI, Melio, and Prior to Thrive, Vince learned the craft of venture from Lee Fixel @ Tiger. Tomasz Tunguz is the Founder and General Partner @ Theory Ventures, a $230M fund that invests $1-25m in companies that leverage technology discontinuities into go-to-market advantages. The Question of the Day: Who wins? Startups or Incumbents?
Fri, June 2, 2023
20VC: The On Running Memo: From Swiss Mountains to NASDAQ IPO: The Story of Three Friends Who Built a Sports Giant
David Alleman is the Co-Founder and Co-Chairman @ On Running one of the fastest-growing global sports brands with over 17 million products sold in 60+ countries. In 2021, On went public on the NASDAQ and today has a market cap of $8.7BN. However, it all started with three friends in the mountains experimenting with making shoes with pieces of garden hose to create a running shoe with a totally different feel. In Today's Episode with David Alleman We Discuss: 1. From the Swiss Mountains to NASDAQ IPO: What was the initial a-ha moment for David and his co-founders with On Running? How did they make the first shoes? What are some of the biggest lessons for David in V1 product build? What does David know now that he wishes he had known at the start? Is naivete always good? 2. The Launch: First Customers: How did On get their first customers? What can products and companies do to instill true customer love in those first customers? What was the hardest element of launching On to their first customers? How does David analyze and use customer feedback? What does he listen to vs not? 3. Retail: Expanding into Own Store vs Partnerships: What are some of David's biggest lessons in how to make retail partnerships successful? How can brands create amazing experiences for customers in retailers that are not their own? Why did On decide to also have their own stores? How did this change the business? What have been David's biggest learnings on what it takes to do retail well with own stores? 4. Roger Federer: Working with a Legend: How did the relationship with Roger begin? Where was the first meeting? What was it like? How did Roger come to invest in On Running? Why did On not want to do the traditional athlete endorsement deal? What role does Roger play in the company today? How does he impact product development? What have been some of the biggest lessons for David from working with Roger? How much of an impact has Roger had on On Running as a business? 5. Financing, IPOs, and Brand: Does David wish they had raised venture capital sooner? If they had more money sooner in their journey, what would David have invested in earlier? Why did they decide to go public when they did? How has the journey been post being a public company? What changes? What is the same? What brand does Davist most respect and admire? Why? What brand decisions does David most regret? What would he have done differently?
Wed, May 31, 2023
20VC: Why Financial Models at Seed, $5M Seed Rounds & The Fear of Signalling Risk is all BS | Why Multi-Stage Firms Have Destroyed Seed & Who Wins and Who Loses in the Next 10 Years of Venture with Adam Besvinick, Founding Partner @ Looking Glass Capital
Adam Besvinick is the Founder of Looking Glass Capital, a pre-seed-focused firm started in 2020. Before starting Looking Glass, Adam spent about 5 years at Deep Fork Capital and Anchorage Capital Group investing in pre-seed through Series C. Adam's portfolio across funds includes the likes of BigID, Transfix, NomNom, and Hone Health, to name a few.  In Today's Episode with Adam Besvinick We Discuss: 1. How Twitter Led to Founding a Venture Firm: How did Adam make his way into the world of venture through Twitter? What are 1-2 of his biggest lessons from working with the legend, Chris Sacca? What does Adam know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning of his time in VC? What do most young VCs misunderstand when it comes to reputation? 2. Raising Fund I: The Process: How many LP meetings did Adam have to close Fund I? What docs and materials did he have for the fundraise? How does he advise other managers on doing docs for fundraises? How do different LP profiles want different things in the managers they work with? How did Adam approach first vs final close? How does he advise others managers on closing? How did Adam instil a sense of urgency in LPs to move and commit to the fund? What are 1-2 of Adam's biggest pieces of advice to managers raising a first-time fund? 3. Looking Glass: The Very Disciplined Pre-Seed Strategy: How did Adam decide on the fund size? Why is it the optimal fund size? What is the desired ownership for Adam? What level of dilution does he expect across the lifecycle of the company? What is the average check size? What is the average entry price? How does Adam approach reserves and follow-on checks? How does Adam reflect on his own relationship to price? Why does Adam not like the majority of pre-seed micro-fund strategies? 4. The Market: Multi-Stage Firms Destroying Seed Does Adam agree that "multi-stage firms have destroyed seed rounds"? How does Adam advise founders when they have multi-stage offers and seed firm offers? Who will be the winners and losers in the next 10 years of venture? Why is it harder than ever to advise founders on fundraising rounds today?
Mon, May 29, 2023
20Product: How Linkedin Does Product Reviews, A Post-Mortem on Stories, Linkedin Messenger and Spam & Why the Data Advantage in AI is Diminishing with Tomer Cohen, CPO @ Linkedin
Tomer Cohen is the CPO @ Linkedin. Since joining in 2012, Tomer has served in key leadership roles, helping launch and scale new innovative member and customer experiences. He previously led the growth and development of LinkedIn’s Marketing Solutions portfolio and LinkedIn's consumer and mobile products. Prior to LinkedIn, Tomer worked as an entrepreneur with Greylock Partners and founded a company in the personal CRM space. In Today's Episode with Tomer Cohen We Discuss: 1.) From Israeli Military and Chip Design to CPO @ Linkedin: How did Tomer make his way from the Israeli military to being CPO @ Linkedin? What does Tomer know now that he wishes he had known when he became CPO? What have been some of his biggest lessons from working with Reid Hoffman? 2.) Product: Art or Science: How does Tomer determine whether product is art or science? If he were to put a number on it, what would it be? How does Tomer determine whether to go with his gut vs go with the data on product decisions? How is AI changing the role of product managers and product leaders? What do product leaders and PMs need to do to stay up to date with the latest changes in AI? 3.) Linkedin: Review of Current Products: Feed, Stories, Messenger How does Tomer analyse the success of "the feed" in Linkedin? What worked? What did not work? Why did "Stories" not work in Linkedin? What went wrong? What did they learn? What is Tomer doing to tackle the spam issue in Linkedin? What are the biggest challenges associated? Why does Linkedin still have such poor messaging service? Why is it a difficult problem to solve for? 4.) AI Changes Everything: Why does Tomer believe this wave of AI is the most significant technological shift in our lifetime? Who will win the race in AI; startups or incumbents? Which model will work most efficiently; open or closed? Will we see large enterprises prefer bundled AI options or unbundled with specialised providers?
Fri, May 26, 2023
20VC: Why Being First To Market Does Not Matter, Why You Do Not Have Defensibility on Day 1, How to Analyse Market Size and Present it to Investors, Vitamins vs Painkillers; Do Vitamins Survive Recessions and Good vs Great Messaging with Guy Podjarny @ Sn
Guy Podjarny is the Founder of Snyk, the leading Developer Security platform, helping developers secure as they build. Guy was previously CTO at Akamai, co-founded (acquired by Akamai), and was the product manager of AppScan, the first AppSec scanner, through Sanctum, Watchfire and IBM. Guy is a public speaker, O’Reilly author, and an active early stage angel investor. In Today's Episode with Guy Podjarny We Discuss: 1.) From Israeli Military to Founding a $10BN Company: How Guy made his way into the world of startups from the Israeli military? What is Guy running away from? Why does he hate tribalism so much? Does Guy believe serial entrepreneurship is valuable or naivety of young founders is good? 2.) The Secret to Finding Product Market Fit: Why does Guy believe PMF is a poorly defined term? How does Guy define PMF? What are the single biggest mistakes founders make while searching for PMF? What are the most important elements on messaging when it comes to PMF? If you have a horizontal tool, how do you message and resonate with specific audiences? 3.) Defensibility and Being First to Market: Does Guy believe that being the first to market is really that valuable? Does Guy agree that investors expecting defensibility on day 1 is wrong? Why does Guy think market leadership is way more important than first to market? What are the true defensible moats that can be built early today? 4.) Lessons from 100 Angel Investments: What have been the single biggest lessons for Guy from his 100 angel investments? What are the biggest mistakes angels make when investing today? How should founders present their market size to investors? Where do they go wrong? Does Guy invest in both painkiller and vitamin businesses? How does he compare them? Why is Boldstart Guy's favorite venture capital firm?
Wed, May 24, 2023
20VC: Why Your Fund Model Should Not Rely on $10BN+ Outcomes, Why the Large Funds Got Too Large, The Rise of Solo GP's; The Pros and Cons & Is Consumer Subscription Even a Good Sector to Invest in with Nico Wittenborn @ Adjacent
Nico Wittenborn is the Founder of Adjacent, one of the best early-stage firms created over the last 5 years. Before starting Adjacent, Nico spent over 3 years at Insight Partners in New York and before that learned the craft of venture from some of the best in early-stage, Point Nine, where he spent over 4 years. Nico's portfolio across funds includes the likes of Revolut, Chainalysis, Oura, RevenueCat and PhotoRoom to name a few. In Today's Show with Nico Wittenborn We Discuss: 1.) From Selling Mobile Phones to Leading Early-Stage Investor: How did Nico first make his way into the world of venture with Point Nine? What did Nico learn from his time with Point Nine and Insight? How did his time at each impact how he invests and runs Adjacent today? What does Nico know now that he wishes he had known when he started investing? 2.) Is Consumer Subscription Even a Good Place to Invest? With Calm ($2BN) and Duolingo ($6BN) as the market leaders and there only being two of them, is consumer subscription even a good place to invest? How does Nico pushback that retention for consumer subscription apps is so bad? What do many not see about consumer subscription retention numbers? How does Nico respond to the challenge of high customer acquisition cost and navigating challenging platform shifts in advertising, when investing in consumer subscription? What will the consumer subscription landscape look like in 5 years time? 3.) Adjacent: The Fund, The Strategy: Why does Nico believe if your fund model relies on $10BN outcomes, you are in trouble? How large is the latest Adjacent fund? What does the portfolio construction look like for the fund? How much diversification is the right level of diversification? How many companies per fund? How does Nico think about capital concentration on a per company basis? What are Nico's ownership requirements? How have they changed with funds? What is it about Nico's structure which enables him to be more collaborative than others? 4.) Nico: The Investor: Lessons: How does Nico reflect on his own relationship to price? When does he pay up? When does he not? What has been one of Nico's biggest misses? How has that changed his approach? Why does Nico not really compete with the large multi-stage funds? Why is Nico deliberately trying to reduce the amount of companies that he sees? 5.) The Future of Venture: How does Nico analyze the rise of solo GPs? What are the biggest pros and cons of the model? Why does Nico believe the large generalist funds are in trouble? Who is set to win and who is set to lose in the next 10 years of venture? Which seed firm would Nico invest in? Which Series A firm? Which growth firm?
Mon, May 22, 2023
20Growth: Three Growth Lessons Scaling Whatsapp from 0-100M, Why You Should Hire a Head of Growth Sooner Than You Think & The Biggest Mistakes Founders Make When Hiring for Growth with Ryan Wiggins, Head of Growth @ Mercury
Ryan Wiggins is the VP of Growth and Analytics at Mercury where he oversees a Growth team and founded the Analytics function. Prior to this, Ryan built Growth teams at WhatsApp, where he helped grow WhatsApp Business from 0->100M users, Workplace, and Facebook Ads. If that was not enough, Ryan is also an active angel investor. In Today's Episode with Ryan Wiggins We Discuss: 1.) From US Department of Commerce to Leading Growth Teams: How Ryan made his initial foray into the world of growth with Facebook and Whatsapp? What does Ryan know now that he wishes he had known when he made the entry into growth? What advice does Ryan have for people who want to change their career but are not sure what they want to do? 2. ) Who and When: Building the Team: Should we hire a Head of Growth or a more junior growth hire first? What are the different profiles of growth hires? How do they change with business model? When is the right time to hire your first growth hire? What are the single biggest mistakes founders make on the timing of growth hires? 3.) How to Hire: The Process: Structurally, what is the right way to hire for a growth team? What does the interview process look like? What do you want to get out of each meeting? Should case studies be used, if so, should they be used for the company hiring or of the company where the candidate is from? What does the comp package look like for different growth hires? Who should be brought into the growth hiring process? What stage should they be involved? 4.) Onboarding: Setting Growth Up for Success: What is the ideal first 30,60 and 90 days for new growth hires? What can leaders do to ensure they are set up for the maximum chance of success? What are three of the biggest red flags bad growth hires show in the first 30 days? What are the biggest mistakes founders make in the onboarding process of growth hires?
Fri, May 19, 2023
20VC: Why the AI Bubble Will Be Bigger Than The Dot Com Bubble, Why AI Will Have a Bigger Impact Than COVID, Why No Models Used Today Will Be Used in a Year, Why All Models are Biased and How AI Kills Traditional Media with Emad Mostaque, Founder & CEO @
Emad Mostaque is the Co-Founder and CEO @ StabilityAI, the parent company of Stable Diffusion. Stability are building the foundation to activate humanity's potential. To date, Emad has raised over $110M with Stability with the latest round reportedly pricing the company at $4BN. Investors include Coatue, Lightspeed, Sound Ventures, OSS Capital and Airstreet Capital, to name a few. Prior to Stability, Emad was in the world of hedge funds, that was until his son was diagnosed with autism and he left to make a difference in the space and help find treatments and solutions. In Today's Episode with Emad Mostaque We Discuss: 1.) From Hedge Funds to Finding Treatments for Autism to Leading the World of AI: How Emad made his way from the world of hedge funds to founding one of the leading AI companies of our time? How did Emad find a solution to parts of his son's autism with a $6 drug? How does Emad believe we can use AI to solve the majority of medical problems today? What does the future of healthcare look like with AI at the centre? 2.) Models: What is Real? What is False? Why no models today will be used in a year? Why all models are biased and how do we solve for it? Why hallucinations are a feature and not a bug? Why the size of your model does not matter anymore? Why will there be national models specified to cultures and nations? How is this implemented? 3.) Who Wins: Startups or Incumbents: Why does Emad believe there will only be 5 really important AI companies? Which will they be? How does Emad review Google's AI strategy following their news last week? Was their integration of Google and Deepmind recently a success? How does Emad assess Meta's AI strategy? Why does Zuckerberg now acknowledge the metaverse play was a mistake? How does Emad evaluate the approach taken by Amazon? Why are they the dark horse in the race? What can startups do to get a meaningful edge on the large incumbents? How do they compete with their distribution? 4.) The Next 12 Months: What Happens: Why does Emad believe the .ai bubble will be bigger than the dot com bubble? Why does Emad believe that the biggest companies built-in AI in the next 12 months will be services-based companies? How does the ecosystem look if this is the case? Why will India and emerging markets embrace AI faster than anyone else? What happens to economies that have large segments reliant on freelance work that AI replaces? Why will we see the death of many large content publishers and media companies? What does Emad mean when he says we will see the rise of "AI first publishers"? 5.) Open or Closed: What Wins: Why does Emad believe we must be open by default? Why does open win? Why does Emad side with Elon and believe we must pause the development of AI for 6 months? How does Emad evaluate the leaked memo from Google stating that neither Google nor OpenAI are ahead? What does this mean for the AI ecosystem? Where will the best AI talent concentrate? What do companies need to do to win the best talent?
Wed, May 17, 2023
20VC: Yann LeCun on Why Artificial Intelligence Will Not Dominate Humanity, Why No Economists Believe All Jobs Will Be Replaced by AI, Why the Size of Models Matters Less and Less & Why Open Models Beat Closed Models
Yann LeCun is VP & Chief AI Scientist at Meta and Silver Professor at NYU affiliated with the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences & the Center for Data Science. He was the founding Director of FAIR and of the NYU Center for Data Science. After a postdoc in Toronto he joined AT&T Bell Labs in 1988, and AT&T Labs in 1996 as Head of Image Processing Research. He joined NYU as a professor in 2003 and Meta/Facebook in 2013. He is the recipient of the 2018 ACM Turing Award for "conceptual and engineering breakthroughs that have made deep neural networks a critical component of computing". Huge thanks to David Marcus for helping to make this happen. In Today's Episode with Yann LeCun: 1.) The Road to AI OG: How did Yann first hear about machine learning and make his foray into the world of AI? For 10 years plus, machine learning was in the shadows, how did Yan not get discouraged when the world did not appreciate the power of AI and ML? What does Yann know now that he wishes he had known when he started his career in machine learning? 2.) The Next Five Years of AI: Hope or Horror: Why does Yann believe it is nonsense that AI is dangerous? Why does Yann think it is crazy to assume that AI will even want to dominate humans? Why does Yann believe digital assistants will rule the world? If digital assistants do rule the world, what interface wins? Search? Chat? What happens to Google when digital assistants rule the world? 3.) Will Anyone Have Jobs in a World of AI: From speaking to many economists, why does Yann state "no economist thinks AI will replace jobs"? What jobs does Yann expect to be created in the next generation of the AI economy? What jobs does Yann believe are under more immediate threat/impact? Why does Yann expect the speed of transition to be much slower than people anticipate? Why does Yann believe Elon Musk is wrong to ask for the pausing of AI developments? 4.) Open or Closed: Who Wins: Why does Yann know that the open model will beat the closed model? Why is it superior for knowledge gathering and idea generation? What are some core historical precedents that have proved this to be true? What did Yann make of the leaked Google Memo last week? 5.) Startup vs Incumbent: Who Wins: Who does Yann believe will win the next 5 years of AI; startups or incumbents? How important are large models to winning in the next 12 months? In what ways does regulation and legal stop incumbents? How has he seen this at Meta? Has his role at Meta ever stopped him from being impartial? How does Yan deal with that?
Mon, May 15, 2023
20VC: Why The Future of AI Is Open Not Closed, Why We Are Years Away From AI Being Autonomous, Why AI Founders Do Not Need to Move to the Valley & Why Founders Should Not Meet Investors in Between Rounds with Clem Delangue @ Hugging Face
Clem Delangue is the Co-Founder and CEO @ Hugging Face, the AI community building the future. To date, Clem has raised over $160M from the likes of Sequoia, Coatue, Addition and Lux Capital to name a few. Prior to Hugging Face, Clem was in product and marketing at two different startups both of which were acquired. In Today's Episode with Clem Delangue: 1. From Tamagotchi to Leading the World of AI: How did a Tamagotchi startup turn into one of the hottest AI startups in the world? What does Clem know now that he wishes he had known when he started? What are Clem's biggest pieces of advice to founders on pivoting? 2. AI: Trend or Transformation: To what extent does Clem believe the current hype in AI is justified? What is overblown? What have been some true and groundbreaking developments? How far away does Clem believe AGI is? What is a massive misconception the public has that Clem wishes he could change? 3. Open vs Closed: Which Model Wins: Why does Clem believe the future of AI will be won by open-source? What is his reasoning to suggest closed is fundamentally a weaker model? Does Clem acknowledge that in the short term, enterprises will buy from a closed model with greater ease? How does he plan to tackle this? 4. Regulation: What Happens Now: What regulatory changes need to be made in the world of AI most urgently? Is Elon Musk right to suggest the immediate pausing of developments in AI? What does Clem believe to be the most likely scenario to AI regulation in the next 12 months? 5. Fundraising: Lessons and Reflection on Raising $160M: Do AI startups fundamentally cost more money than normal startups to build? Why does Clem not meet investors in between rounds? What does Clem believe is the most helpful thing an investor can do? What are Clem's spiciest takes on venture as a financing model?
Fri, May 12, 2023
20Sales: How to Scale a Career While Scaling a Family, Strategies and Specific Tools To Help Maintain Work-Life Balance, What Companies Can Do To Empower Parents To Be Their Best Selves & How to Prevent Parental Leave Being an Inhibitor To Your Career
Today's 20Sales is a special Mother's Day edition where we are joined by 6 of the best sales leaders who also happen to be rockstar mothers. The Profiles Maggie Hott is on the GTM Team (Go-To-Market) at OpenAI. Before OpenAI, Maggie was Director of Sales @ Webflow and before Webflow spent an incredible 6 years at Slack. Stevie Case is the CRO @ Vanta. Prior to Vanta, Stevie spent an immensely successful 6 years at Twilio as VP of Mid-Market Sales. Renu Gupta is an advisor and sales consultant to some of the fastest-growing SaaS companies today. Previously she has held sales leadership roles at Slack, Thrive and Dropbox. Lauren Schwartz is the VP Enterprise Sales @ Fivetran. Before Fivetran, Lauren spent 4 years at Segment as Senior Director of Enterprise Sales leading to their acquisition by Twilio. Julie Maresca is the Head of Global Accounts at Atlassian. Prior to Atlassian, Julie spent an immensely successful 6 years at Slack in numerous roles including Head of Enterprise Sales for North America. Jessica Arnold is the VP of Global Sales Development @ Amplitude. Before Amplitude, Jessica was the Senior Director for Inside Sales North America at Dropbox for close to 6 years. In Today's 20Sales Mothers Day Episode We Discuss: 1.) How have you navigated growing in your career at the same time, growing your family? 2.) How do you balance your career and being a mother - when do you lean in and out? 3.) What are some specific strategies or tools that have helped you maintain a work-life balance?  4.) How do you prioritize your mental health and wellbeing while juggling your responsibilities at work and at home? 5.) How do you handle the guilt that many working mothers experience when they have to focus on their career? 6.) What are the unique challenges and advantages of being a mother in a sales leadership role? 7.) How has your experience as a mother influenced your leadership style and decision-making? 8.) How have you navigated going out on maternity leave without it having an impact on your career? 9.) America has one of the worst parental leaves of any country in the world. How can you advocate for parental leave if the existing policy isn’t up to par? 10.) What are some ways that companies can create a more inclusive and supportive environment for working mothers in sales leadership roles?
Wed, May 10, 2023
20VC: Why VC Subsidizes the Wrong Type of Business, Why Capital Gains Tax is Crazy, The Biggest Misalignments Between VCs, Founders and LPs, Why Business Model - Product Fit is as Important as Product-Market-Fit with Chris Paik @ Pace Capital
Chris Paik is a General Partner @ Pace Capital, an early-stage venture firm in NYC. Pace's first fund was $150M and their second was $250M. Before co-founding Pace, Chris was a General Partner at Thrive Capital where he spent an incredible 8 years having joined the firm when they were on their first $10M Fund. In Today's Episode with Chris Paik We Discuss: 1. From Hipster to One of NYC's Best VCs: How Chris made his way from not knowing about venture capital to being one of the most prominent in NYC? What are 1-2 of his biggest takeaways from his 8 years at Thrive? How did they impact how he thinks about building Pace today? What are Chris' biggest lessons from working with Josh Kushner? What did Josh do to spot young talent in a way like no one else did? 2. The Core Pillars of Successful Venture Investing: "Invest in companies that can be described in a single sentence". What does Chris mean by this? How does that impact the type of companies he looks to invest in? "Business Model Fit is as important as PMF". What does Chris mean by this? How does he determine where a company has business model fit? How does Chris analyze his relationship to market sizing? How does Chris think about how willing he is to take a bet on market timing? Why does Chris believe that the more "virtuous" a company is, the less enterprise value it will have? 3. What is Wrong with Venture Capital: The Misalignments: What does Chris believe are the single biggest misalignments between VCs and Founders? What does Chris see as the biggest misalignments between VCs and LPs? Why does Chris believe we should scrap capital gains tax and all be taxed as an income tax? Why do acquisitions allow investors to be screwed over by the acquiring company? 4. The Future of Social and User Generated Content Platforms: How does Chris analyze consumer businesses according to "The Seven Deadly Sins"? Why does he call them, "The Seven Deadly Motivators"? What does Chris believe is the future for Substack? Why does it not have Business Model Fit? What are 1-2 of his biggest lessons from being on the Twitch board? How did that experience impact his mindset and approach to what good is in UGC and social? What does Chris believe is the number one thing to look for in a potential consumer social investment? What do so many miss?
Mon, May 8, 2023
20VC: Alex Rodriguez (AROD) on Investing Lessons from Warren Buffet, How a Meeting with Magic Johnson Changed His Approach to Business and The Single Best and Worst Investment Decisions he has Made and Why AROD Is Not Buying More Real Estate
Alex Rodriguez is a businessman and the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of A-Rod Corp, a broad-based investment firm that bets on world-class startups and partners with leading global companies across the real estate, health and wellness, technology, and sports & entertainment industries. While best known as one of the world’s greatest athletes (a 14x MLB All-Star and a 2009 World Series Champion with the New York Yankees), for more than 25 years, Alex leads a team of experts building high-growth businesses and is co-owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves. In Today's Episode with Alex Rodriguez 1.) From MLB to Business MVP: How Alex made his transition from one of the world's greatest athletes to the world of business? What does Alex know now that he wishes he had known at the start of his business career? What is Alex running away from? How do his insecurities drive him? 2.) Lessons from Magic Johnson and Warren Buffet: What are some of the single biggest lessons Alex has learned from his time with Warren Buffet? How did Magic Johnson impact Alex's approach to business? What is Magic Johnson's framework? How can others use it as a blueprint for their career? 3.) Alex Rodriguez: The Business Builder and Investor: What has been Alex's single biggest investing hit? What did he learn from it? What has been Alex's single worst investment decision? How did that change his approach? Why is Alex not buying real estate currently? How does he view the future of real estate buying? 4.) Alex Rodriguez: The Father and Son: How did having two daughters impact Alex's approach to business and life? What have been Alex's single biggest lessons from seeing his single mother operate? How does Alex reflect on his own relationship to money? How has it changed?
Fri, May 5, 2023
20VC: The OpenAI Memo: Why Invest? Is it too Late to Catch OpenAI? Are OpenAI's Models Truly Defensible? Does the Value in AI Accrue to Incumbemts or Startups - Application Layer/Infrastructure? What Happens with Regulation? with Vince Hankes @ Thrive
Vince Hankes is a Partner @ Thrive Capital where he has led the firm’s investments in OpenAI, Melio, and He currently sits on the board of Airtable, Benchling, Lattice, and Melio. Prior to joining Thrive, Vince was an investor at Tiger Global where he learned the craft of venture from the legend that is Lee Fixel. In Today's Episode with Vince Hankes We Discuss: 1. From Tiger Global to Partner @ Thrive Capital: How Vince made his way into the world of investing with Tiger Global? What are 1-2 of his biggest takeaways from working alongside the legendary Lee Fixel? Why did Vince make the move from Tiger to Thrive? How do the two firms differ? 2. The OpenAI Investment: The Memo: How did the OpenAI deal come to be? What were the round dynamics? Market Evaluation: How did Vince and the team analyze the market top down? Competition: Who did Vince identify as the core competitors to OpenAI? Defensibility: How did Vince think through the long-term defensibility of OpenAI's model? Does Vince believe these models will become commoditised? Price: How did Vince and the team get comfortable with the $29BN price? 3. AI: Hype or Generational Defining Transformation: Trend or Transformation: Why does Vince believe AI will be the defining technology of our generation? Startup vs Incumbent: Does Vince think the value will accrue to the incumbent or the startup? Open or Closed: Does Vince think we will operate in a closed (one model rules them all) environment or an open-source environment with many models? AI Talent: Where does Vince think the majority of the best AI talent will concentrate? Speed: Why would Vince be scared if he were a startup today looking at the incumbents? 4. The Changing Investor: Lessons from Good and Bad: How has Vince changed most significantly as an investor over time? What has been his single biggest investing mistake? How did he learn from it? What has been his biggest investing success? How did that change his mindset? What has Thrive done in their org structure to allow them to make bets very few other firms can do?
Wed, May 3, 2023
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