20 VC 049: Venture Capital is Getting Younger with Spencer Lazar

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Spencer Lazar is a Principal at General Catalyst Partners, based in New York City. He focuses on early stage software & internet investments, with a particular interest in online marketplaces, mobile applications, web services, and enterprise IT. Spencer was previously the cofounder of Spontaneously, Inc – an iOS development studio. Prior to that he was an early stage software & internet investor at Accel in London, where he sourced and worked with companies including Hailo, Birchbox, Bonobos, ForgeRock, and Qriously.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

How is the roads into the venture industry changing?

What young people can do to make themselves more attractive to VCs?

What would make Spencer’s perfect founder?

How important is geography when investing in startups?

How does Spencer feel the education technology space is developing?

What metrics Spencer examines when investing in a startup?

What sectors is Spencer most interested in?

Items Mentioned in Today’s Show:

Spencer’s Favourite Book: The Everything Store on Jeff Bezos

Spencer’s Latest Investment: CampusJob

Insight Venture Partners

How Lightspeed’s Jeremy Liew invested in Snapchat?

Hot EdTech Startups: Lynda.com, PluralSight, General Assembly, Grovo, ClimbCredit

Oscar, Sensio

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

Founders Friday 001: How to Create Great Company Culture with Anand Sanwal, Founder @ CB Insights

 

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Anand Sanwal is the CEO and Co-Founder of CB Insights. Specifically, CB Insights tracks financing trends and private companies in the healthcare, industrial, technology, software, energy & utilities, renewable, internet and mobile industries. CB Insights works primarily with venture capital, private equity, angel investors, corporate development, corporate strategy and family offices. Formerly, Anand was the Vice President at American Express. Sanwal was responsible for managing three primary functions which included the (1) Chairman’s $50 Million Innovation Fund, (2) CFO’s strategic planning function and (3) Enterprise Investment Optimization group. He is the author of “Optimizing Corporate Portfolio Management” which features a forward by former American Express and Citigroup CFO, Gary Crittenden.

In Todays Episode You Will Learn:

  • Why Anand chose not to take VC funding for CB Insights?
  • Should all subscription based companies be revenue funded?
  • What one key determinant has contributed to the success of CB Insights?
  • How has Anand’s hiring strategy changed over time?
  • How strategies does Anand use to create this company culture?
  • What is the biggest challenge facing Anand today?
  • What tactics have not worked when trying to create a good working environment?
  • Is CB Insights replacing VCs, potentially losing their core customers?
  • What metrics Anand would most look for in a startup?

We then delve into a quick fire round and discover what is Anand’s favourite business book, what gets Anand excited, what advice Anand would give to himself 10 years ago starting out in the industry and finally the next 5 years for Anand and CB Insights.

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

 

20 VC 048: What Do VC’s Really Add To Startups with Christian Claussen, Managing Partner at Ventech

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Quote of the Day: “Capital is a crappy differentiator”. Dustin Dolginow

Christian Claussen is a Managing Partner with Ventech, a VC firm with offices in Munich and Paris. He has 16 years of experience investing in innovation and he leads Ventech investment activities in the German-speaking regions of Europe. He serves as a board member for Picanova and TV Smiles.

In today’s amazing episode with Christian we learn:

  • Which value adds are most important for founders to look for?
  • How can Founders determine whether VCs will carry out on their ‘Value Add’?
  • What are the signs of VC bulls***?
  • Will we see all VCs transition to Andreesen Horowitz service based VC model?
  • How have VCs offerings to startups changed over time?
  • What advice would Christian provide to founders entering a round of funding?

Items Mentioned in Today’s Show:

Christian’s Favourite Book: Phillip Roth: Everyman

Christian’s Article on VC Value Add

Speex: Online Language Training That Really Works

Andreesen Horowitz

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

20 VC 047: 4 Ways Investors Find Great Startups with Rob Moffat, Principal @ Balderton Capital

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Rob Moffat is Principal at Balderton Capital, one of London’s leading VC firms. At Balderton Rob specialises in Fintech, Martech, Gaming and Marketplaces. Rob is currently a board director or observer with six portfolio companies: Qubit, Wooga, Housetrip, Carwow, Rentify and Nutmeg. Other investments Rob has been involved with at Balderton include Citymapper, Top10, Scoot and Archify. Prior to joining Balderton Rob worked for Google in London, as a Manager in the European Strategy and Operations team. He started his career with five years in strategy consulting with Bain, working mostly with financial services clients.

 

In today’s amazing discussion with Rob we discover:

  • What characteristics make a great VC?
  • How VCs assess incoming business plans and investment opportunities?
  • The biggest problem facing Rob today, as Principal at Balderton?
  • How the structure of VC firms is changing to a service based environment?
  • Does Crowdfunding pose a threat to VC as a alternative method of finance?
  • For individuals wanting to move into Venture, what can they do to optimise their employability in the VC world?

Items Mentioned in Today’s Show:

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

 

20 VC 046: How VCs Evaluate Investment Opportunities with Alan Chiu, Partner @ XSeed Capital

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Alan Chiu is a Partner at XSeed Capital, with a strong background in enterprise software and data storage. Alan is currently Vice President for Stanford Angels & Entrepreneurs, an alumni association that seeks to strengthen Stanford’s startup community by fostering relationships among entrepreneurs and alumni investors. Prior to XSeed, Alan was previously Director of Product Management at Bycast (acquired by NetApp), and was engineering manager at Creo, which was acquired by Kodak for $1B in cash.

In todays amazing discussion with Alan we discover:

  • What the checklist is for Alan when investing in startups?
  • Why Stanford is the amazing place it is for startups?
  • What is the most important value add that VCs can bring to a startup?
  • When is the right time to pivot and how important is a product roadmap?

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

20 VC 045: From Idea To Pitch with Alan Jones, Founding Investor @ Startmate

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Alan Jones is Chief Growth Hacker at Bluechilli, who have set the incredible goal of building 100 startups by 2016! Alan is also Founding Investor and Mentor at Startmate, an Australian Y Combinator style accelerator. If that wasn’t enough Alan also invests and advises through Blackbird Ventures, Pollenizer and Startmate.

In Today’s Amazing Discussion with Alan We Discover:

  • What you should do when you have a great idea?
  • How to validate a market?
  • How to figure out if it is a viable business?
  • What can non technical co-founders do to get their idea of the ground?
  • What individuals can do to meet technical co-founders?
  • What are the biggest tips for entrepreneurs when facing a pitch?

Items Mentioned in Today’s Show:

Dan Ariely: Predictably Irrational

Tzukuri: Bluetooth Wearable Technology

TreeHouse

Quora

OtherLevels: Mobile Marketing Automation Platform

 

20 VC 044: Dominating AngelList Syndicates with Doug Scott

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Doug Scott has one of the largest AngelList syndicates, now with an incredible £396,000 in his. Doug is one of first investors in Techstars, Ignite.io and Entrepreneurs First in Europe ( still an investor in all 3 ). Prior to angel investing Doug founded several internet companies based in the UK, carrentals.co.uk – over 1 million rentals, discountvouchers.co.uk – 6 million subscribers, timetobreak.com – over 5 milion page views per day.

In today’s discussion Harry and delves into what Doug really expects from founders, how Doug would like to be pitched by prospective startups, is AngelList challenging the VC model, what investors and startups can expect from Doug’s syndicate, his biggest tip to an aspiring entrepreneur and much more…

Items Mentioned in Today’s Show:

Doug’s AngelList SyndicateGil Dibner’s AngelList Syndicate, Tim Jackson AngelList Syndicate

Oxygen Accelerator, Jon Bradford, Springboard

Cashkaro, Meals, Lifebox, Chew

You can follow Harry, The Twenty Minute VC and Doug on Twitter here!

 

20 VC 043: How To Be A VC Analyst and Lessons From Union Square and First Round with Charlie O’Donnell, Founder @ Brooklyn Bridge Venture

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Charlie O’Donnell is the Founder and Sole Partner @ Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, the first venture capital fund based in Brooklyn. Prior to founding Brooklyn Bridge, Charlie worked at the prestigious First Round Capital, with the likes of Josh Koppelman and Union Square Ventures with Fred Wilson. If that wasn’t enough Charlie is one of only a dozen to be named to Business Insider’s 100 Most Influential People in NY Tech five or more times and has served on the founding board of the New York Tech Meetup and is one of the group’s first 100 members. His blog, This is Going to Be BIG!, is one of the ten most widely read VC blogs in the country with over 8,000 readers.

Among the many discussions Harry and Charlie delve into how to enter the VC job industry, how the seed stage fund raising environment is behaving, what Charlie learnt from Union Square and First Round, tactics that individuals can do to increase their own branding, Charlie’s views on investing in hardware, investing in Kickstarter backed companies, the next five years for Charlie, what has blown Charlie’s mind in the last four weeks, the marketing possibilities of Instagram for startups and much more…

 

Items Mentioned in Today’s Show:

 

James Altucher on Ideas, Investing and Entrepreneurs

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James Altucher is a successful entrepreneur, investor, board member, and the writer of 11 books including the recent WSJ Bestseller, “Choose Yourself!” (foreword by Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter). He has started and sold several companies for eight figure exits. He’s on the board of a billion $ revenue company, has written for The Financial Times, The New York Observer, he’s run several hedge funds, venture capital funds, and is a successful angel investor, having invested in over 30 startups alongside Silicon Valley’s Top VC’s.

In today’s conversation Harry and James discuss how to continuously come up with great ideas, what tasks activate the ‘idea muscle’, what tactics have produced the greatest investing returns for James, what traits do great founders have, how has James’ investing strategy developed, what is the future for Uber, the scam that is University and much more…

Items Mentioned in Today’s Show:

Alternatives to College and Careers: Learn to Become an iOS Developer, Learn to Become a Web Developer

James Altucher: Choose Yourself!

Tim Ferriss: AngelList Syndicate

Shyp: The Easiest Way To Ship Your Stuff

Enjoy! All show notes, links and resources from this episode can be found at http://www.thetwentyminutevc.com and you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter.

Jason Calacanis: The World’s Greatest Angel Investor

Jason Calacanis is arguably the world’s greatest angel investor with over 60 investments including the likes of Uber (1st round), ThumbTack and Calm, just to name a few. Jason is also the Host of This Week In Startups, the world’s biggest startup podcast and Founder of Launch and Launch Festival, the world’s biggest startup festival.

In this interview we discuss, how Jason invested in Uber’s 1st round, what Jason looks for in startups, how Jason can tell whether a founder has got what it takes, which VC’s Jason most likes to work with, which entrepreneurs Jason most likes to invest in, what pisses Jason off more than anything, what inspires him more than anything, what industries will see the most disruption in the coming years, what makes a great entrepreneur and how startups can position themselves best for entering a round of funding.

Enjoy! All show notes, links and resources from this episode can be found at http://www.thetwentyminutevc.com and you can follow Harry, Jason and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter.

Mentioned in Today’s Show: