20 VC 092: The Repeatable Playbook of SaaS with Ed Sim, Founding Partner @ BoldStart Ventures

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Ed Sim, Founding Partner @ Boldstart Ventures, Ed truly has had the most astonishing career in early stage SaaS having led first round investments in todays market leaders, LivePerson (now on Nasdaq) and GoToMeeting (acquired by Citrix). Over the 19 years in early stage SaaS he has also helped a number of entrepreneurs scale from seed to market leader with his portfolio companies being acquired by the likes of Google, Linkedin and Salesforce, and I would like to say that all the data and information presented in today’s show is provided by the kind folks at Mattermark, check then out at www.mattermark.com

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Ed made his way into the wonderful world of venture?

2.) Why did Ed start a seed stage SaaS fund? Where did he see the market opportunity?How was the fundraising process for Ed? Were there any surprises?

3.) How does Ed view the current seed stage funding environment, is there too much money chasing too few deals?

4.) Ed backed cloud companies in 2000. What is different from then vs today’s saas companies?

5.) How do you value early stage SaaS startups, when there are often very few clear metrics at this stage?

6.) What makes a great enterprise founder at seed stage?

7.) How has the seed stage SaaS environment changed over the 19 years of Ed’s career?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Episode:

Ed’s Fave Blog or Newsletter: Jason Calacanis: LaunchTicker

Ed’s Fave iPhone App: Slack

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

If you would like to see a more colourful side to Harry with many a mojito session, you can follow him on Instagram here!

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20 VC FF 024: Raising $33m in VC Funding with Nikos Moraitakis, Founder & CEO @ Workable

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Nikos Moraitakis is the Founder & CEO @ Workable, one of Balderton Capital’s latest additions to their portfolio. Workable is the affordable and usable hiring software that which replaces email and spreadsheets with an applicant tracking system that your team will actually enjoy using. Prior to founding Workable, Nikos was a Senior VP of Business Development at Upstream where he played a key role in the company’s growth from startup into one of the world’s top marketing technology companies, where he was actively involved in enterprise sales across 40 countries in 4 continents.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Nikos made his way into the world of startups and tech and founded Workable? What was the a-ha moment?

2.) What was it like starting a company in Greece? Were there sufficient levels of engineers? Why did Workable decide to move some operations to the US?

3.) Why does Nikos think the enterprise SaaS space has become so hot? What has changed? Has this upturn in interest made it easier with more capital inflowing or more difficult with increased company creation?

5.) How did Workable meet their investors? How was the fundraising experience? What was the challenging and surprising elements of the journey? Advice to founders?

6.) Looking back at his time founding Workable, what does Nikos wish someone had told him at the beginning?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Nikos’ Fave Book: Fooled by Randomness

Nikos’ Fave Blog: Bill Gurley: Above The Crowd

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Nikos on Twitter here!

If you would like to see a more colourful side to Harry with many a mojito session, you can follow him on Instagram here!

 

 

20 VC 091: Daniel Waterhouse @ Balderton Capital on Investing Styles, Venture Landscapes and The Future of AI

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Daniel Waterhouse is a General Partner @ Balderton Capital, which he joined in 2013 and he currently sits on the boards of Top10, ROLI, Lovecrafts, TrademarkNow, Tictail, Achica, Thread and Workable. Prior to Balderton, Daniel spent 5 years as a partner at Wellington Partners and invested in a number of fast-growing companies including EyeEm, Hailo, YPlan, Bookatable (also a Balderton portfolio company), SumAll, Readmill (sold to Dropbox) and Qype (sold to Yelp). Before Wellington, Daniel was a sector partner at 3i where he worked on all of their venture and private equity investments in the internet sector in North America and Europe.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Daniel made his way into the wonderful world of VC?

2.) A little birdie, possibly named Suranga, told me that you had a degree in Applied Mathematics from Oxford. How do you think that has impacted your investing style?

3.) At Balderton 50% of the partners have very operational backgrounds and 50% are much more investment rooted. What has Daniel gained and missed as an investor from having a outside view of the startup world?

4.) How has Daniel seen the landscape change in the last 15 years? What was his first pitch meeting like? What was his last like?

5.) What are Daniel’s thoughts on the enterprise SaaS space? Do Daniel think there is further to go in the consumerisation of Enterprise Software? Does the announcement of Emergence moving from the sector signal a turning tide?

6.) Daniel led the investment in Curious AI and Thread, using machine learning to augment its stylist approach, so what makes Daniel excited about the developments in AI? How is the sector going to develop over the next 20 years?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Daniel’s Fave Book:  The Brain That Teaches Itself

Daniel’s Most Recent Investment: Curious AI

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Daniel on Twitter here!

If you would like to see a more colourful side to Harry with many a mojito session, you can follow him on Instagram here!

 

20 VC 090: Suranga Chandratillake @ Balderton Capital

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Suranga Chandratillake is a General Partner @ Balderton Capital. He was previously an entrepreneur and engineer having founded blinkx, the intelligent search engine for video and audio content in Cambridge in 2004. He then lead the company for eight years as CEO through its journey of moving to San Francisco, building a profitable business and going public in London where it achieved a peak market capitalisation in excess of $1Bn. Before founding blinkx, Suranga was an early employee at Autonomy Corporation – joining as an engineer in the Cambridge R&D team and ultimately serving as the company’s US CTO in San Francisco. In addition, Suranga was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2012 and was chosen as one of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders in 2009.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Suranga made his way into the wonderful world of VC?

2.) Why are so many technical European CEOs fearful of continuing the position as CEO? What can we do to improve it?

3.) What does Suranga think makes a great CEO? Which CEO Suranga respects the most and why?

4.) How have Suranga’s years as an entrepreneur affected his investing style? Does Suranga have a consistent investing style or does he look to iterate a lot?

5.) Balderton is an Equal Partnership VC, what does that really entail? Why does Suranga think this model is the most efficient? Looking at the new appointment of Lars, how do the GPs assess new candidates for the treasured GP position?

6.) What sectors is Suranga most excited by and why? Does Suranga think there is further to go in the consumerisation of Enterprise Software? Does the announcement of Emergence moving from the sector signal a turning tide?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Suranga’s Fave Book: The Old Man And The Sea

Suranga’s Most Recent Investment: Cloud Nine

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

If you would like to see a more colourful side to Harry with many a mojito session, you can follow him on Instagram here!

 

20 VC FF 022: Crowdfunding Is Here To Stay with Ayan Mitra, Founder & CEO @ Crowdbnk

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Ayan Mitra is the Founder & CEO @ Crowdbnk, an investment crowdfunding platform that allows you to invest in high growth businesses through both equity and debt. Ayan himself has a background as an enterprise architect and technical manager, having worked with leading consumer companies including M&S, Orange and First Direct. He took his LBS MBA to follow his passion and launch CrowdBnk in 2011. Since 2011 Crowdbnk has raised nearly £20m for high growth startups.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Ayan make his way into the world of startups and tech and start Crowdbnk?

2.) What is Crowdbnk, how does it work, what companies Crowdbnk raise for, what is their minimum investment etc?

3.) What are the key drivers of the massive rise of the crowdfunding sector? What effect will the recent SEC ruling have on global crowdfunding?

4.) With the greater and greater amounts being raised on these platforms, does Crowdfunding have the potential to replace VCs in the future?

5.) What are the greatest barriers to mass market adoption of the crowdfunding model? What have been the biggest challenges faced in the journey with Crowdbnk?

6.) How do crowdfunding platforms plan to draw investors away from funds and other portfolio based assets given the level of risk associated with investing in young companies?

 

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Ayan’s Fave Book: Intelligent Investing by Benjamin Graham

Ayan’s Fave Crowdbnk Investment: Gojimo by George Burgess

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Crowdbnk on Twitter here!

If you would like to see a more colourful side to Harry with many a mojito session you can follow him on Instagram here!

 

20 VC 089: Eric Paley @ Founder Collective on Outliers, Inspirational Founders and Pro Rata

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Eric Paley is the Managing Partner at Founder Collective, one of the world’s most successful seed funds with investments in the likes of UberHunch, Makerbot and About.me. Prior to Founder Collective, Eric was the Co-Founder and CEO of Brontes Technologies, later acquired by 3M for $95m. Following it’s acquisition Eric began making angel investments and it was not long before Eric and David, ‘super angel’ at the time, saw the potential for a Founder First seed fund and Founder Collective was born.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Eric made his move into the wonderful world of venture from founding Brontes Technologies?

2.) What does Eric make of early stage valuations? When creating a venture fund why did Eric believe the seed stage was the stage with the most opportunity?

3.) Question from the legend, David Hornik @ August: At such an early stage where Founder Collective traditionally put in $0.1m-$0.3m, does Eric feel they put in enough money to make it matter?

4.) Does Eric believe that by not doing follow on rounds they are missing out? Does this resistance to seed funds set Founder Collective apart? David did mention that you have begun to follow on now, so what makes you follow on with one portfolio company and not another?

5.) The Founder journey is testing both physically and emotionally, what elements of support do Founder Collective provide outside of the business relationship?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Eric’s Fave Book: Fooled By Randomness

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

If you would like to see a more colourful side to Harry with many a mojito session you can follow him on Instagram here!

 

20 VC 088: David Frankel @ Founder Collective: The Most Founder Friendly VC in Existence

 

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David Frankel is the Managing Partner at Founder Collective, one of the world’s most successful seed funds with investments in the likes of Uber, Hunch, Makerbot and About.me. Prior to Founder Collective, David was the Founder and CEO of Internet Solutions, one of the largest ISP providers in Africa. Following it’s acquisition David made his move into the investing game becoming one of the very first ‘super angels’, following exceptional success in this field, David along with Eric Paley (coming on the show on Wednesday) and Micah Rosenbloom founded Founder Collective, a seed stage venture fund whereby everyone at Founder Collective has started a technology company, they have lived and breathed the founder experience, a true founder friendly venture fund.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did David make his move into the wonderful world of venture from being a founder and ‘super angel’?

2.) Question from Spencer Lazar @ General Catalyst: How has David evolved as an investor over time? Has his strategy and approach altered?

3.) David has experienced some immense cycles both up and down, how has he seen the seed funding environment evolve?

4.) What was it like working with Chris Dixon from a16z? What advice would David give to someone looking to maintain or create a network around them? What other sources of deal flow do you utilize? How do you most like to be approached?

5.) How did FC’s investment in Uber come about? What does David make of the regulatory hurdles Uber face with regards to employees or contractors? What is the future for Uber?

6.) What can we expect from Founder Collective? What is David excited about and why?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

David’s Fave Book: Eating Well For Optimum Health, Playing The Enemy

David’s Fave Blog: Dan Primack, Term Sheet

David’s Most Recent Investment: Pillpack

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and David on Twitter here!

If you would like to see a more colourful side to Harry with many a mojito session you can follow him on Instagram here! 

 

20 VC FF 021: Steve O’Hear @ TechCrunch

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Steve O’Hear is best known as a technology journalist, currently at TechCrunch where he focuses on European startups, companies and products. He first joined TechCrunch in November 2009 as Contributing Editor for TechCrunch Europe, where he worked alongside Editor Mike Butcher to help build TechCrunch’s European coverage. However, in June 2011 having caught the startup bug, Steve took a break from journalism to co-found the London and Prague-based startup Beepl. In November 2012, Beepl was acquired by Brand Embassy. Steve is also the writer and director of the critically acclaimed Silicon Valley documentary ‘In Search of the Valley’.

Before we delve into the show today, our dear friend and kind donator, Brad Feld has agreed to do a competition giveaway featuring signed copies of his amazing book, Venture Deals, all you have to do to be in with a chance is headover to the website at www.thetwentyminutevc.com and sign up for our newsletter. It’s that simple.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) Where did it all start for Steve, how did you make he make his entrance into the tech industry, journalism and then founding Beepl?

2.) How did Steve find the transition from journalist to entrepreneur? What were the hardest aspects of the journey? What surprised Steve about the fundraising process for Beepl?

3.) In such a crowded space such as news generation, what is it about TechCrunch that makes it The Bible to the tech community?

4.) Obviously articles and news brings comments from the community. How do  TechCrunch try and engage and unite the community? Have there been any difficulties with the commenting process etc?

5.) How does a platform like TechCrunch plan to monetize content with the ever disappearing ad dollar? Is it something that concerns TechCrunch?

6.) Where does Steve think we are going in both wider media and journalism? Is journalism heading to the short form with the increasing prominence of platforms such as Buzzfeed? How does the industry

 

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Steve’s Fave Book: The Big Sleep

Steve’s Fave Blog: Tech.eu

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Steve on Twitter here!

If you would like to see a more colourful side to Harry with many a mojito session you can follow him on Instagram here! 

 

20 VC 087: From The Investors Of Spotify, TrustPilot and Klarna with Jeppe Zink, General Partner @ Northzone

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Jeppe Zink is the General Partner at Northzone, who have investments in the likes of Spotify, Bloglovin and TrustPilot, just to name a few. Jeppe himself established the London office of Northzone and his primary areas of focus are fintech, SaaS, marketplaces and mobile and has made investments in Wallapop, SpaceApe Games and many more.

Before we delve into the show today, our dear friend and kind donator, Brad Feld has agreed to do a competition giveaway featuring signed copies of his amazing book, Venture Deals, all you have to do to be in with a chance is headover to the website at www.thetwentyminutevc.com and sign up for our newsletter. It’s that simple.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Jeppe become a dane, living in London, investing in tech?

2.) Having seen the evolution of the European tech environment over the 17 years, which stage of the cycle does Jeppe prefer as a VC? Some say downturns lead to a flushing out of the weaker funding sources and startups. Do you agree?

3.) What is it that is attracting Jeppe to Fintech? Where does Jeppe think Fintech will be in the next 5-10 years? What areas of Fintech is Jeppe excited by? Is the excitement surrounding Fintech in London not driving up valuations of startups?

4.) When looking at the banking industry for example, there are large incumbents that have not changed in decades, many see this as opportunity, is this not just representative of structural advantages creating barriers to entry?

5.) Skype, Spotify, SoundCloud, Supercell, King, all nordics, what is it about the Nordics that is generating this unicorn club?

6.) In the past Jeppe has attributed Northzone with a rarity of investor quality, saying that like entrepreneurs, Northzone have ambition. How does Jeppe assess his ambition? What metrics does Jeppe use to create goals for startups?

 

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Jeppe’s Fave Book: Zero To One, Startup Growth Engines 

Jeppe’s Fave Blog: Strictly VC

Jeppe’s Productivity Tools: CityMapper, Genius

Jeppe’s Most Recent Investment: CrossLend

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Jeppe on Twitter here!

If you would like to see a more colourful side to Harry with many a mojito session you can follow him on Instagram here! 

 

20 VC 086: Starting A New Venture Fund and How London Compares To The US with Hussein Kanji @ Hoxton Ventures

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Hussein Kanji really is a pedigree in the industry having started off his career with Microsoft, he made the leap into venture with Accel Partners where he was a board observer with the likes of Playfish, acquired by Electronic Arts and made seed investments in the likes of OpenGamma and Dapper acquired by Yahoo. Following such success, Hussein raised his own fund and is now the founder of Hoxton Ventures, a 2013 fund with $40m under management. Despite, Hoxton’s age their portfolio is immense with the likes of Deliveroo, DarkTrace by the famous Mike Lynch from Autonomy and Campanja, recently acquired by 24/7 customer.

Before we delve into the show today, our dear friend and kind donator, Brad Feld has agreed to do a competition giveaway featuring signed copies of his amazing book, Venture Deals, all you have to do to be in with a chance is headover to the website at www.thetwentyminutevc.com and sign up for our newsletter. It’s that simple.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Hussein mad his way into the wonderful world of venture?

2.) What was it like to start a new fund with Hoxton and why did Hussein leave the security of Accel to start his own?

3.) Why did Hussein believe this was the stage with the most opportunity? Does he think there is too much capital chasing too few deals?

4.) With DarkTrace (portfolio company), Hoxton were the only VC money in at the early stage? How did that come about and what was it about Hoxton that made Mike take your money?

5.) Why did Hussein choose to setup the fund in London? What does he think is driving the surge in European tech with the rise of the Nordics etc?

6.) With Steve O’Hear Hussein stated he looks for brand new markets that are going to be formed (Playfish)? What does he think those are?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Hussein’s Fave Book: The Second Bounce Of The Ball: Ronald Cohen, Flowers from Algernon

Hussein’s Fave Blog: Josh Koppelman: Redeye VC, Abnormal Returns

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

If you would like to see a more colourful side to Harry with many a mojito session you can follow him on Instagram here! 

 

20 VC FF 20: Shaking Up The Food Industry With Willie Biggart @ Spoonfed

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Willie Biggart is the Chairman @ Spoonfed, a startup on the cusp of 2 extremely hot sectors, SaaS and food. Spoonfed offers a new way for catering companies and restaurants to take advantage of the growing corporate food drop off market. They are currently raising a £500,000 round on SyndicateRoom, which you can check out here! With regards to Willie himself, Willie founded his own business, BD Network in 1990 and exited in 2002 and BD Ntwk is now one of Europe’s largest marketing agencies. Since 1990 Willie has started, developed and sold 3 businesses.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Willie make his move into the entrepreneurial path and come to be Chairman of Spoonfed?

2.) Why does Willie believe it is more beneficial to have SaaS based businesses rather than people based businesses?

3.) Often the hardest problem for SaaS businesses is finding their first customers, how did Willie go about getting Spoonfed’s initial user base?

4.) What strategies did Willie undertake to try and understand what features his customers wanted and then how to attract them?

5.) Why does Willie believe the food tech space has seen explosive growth, both in the UK and the US?

5.) Having invested and raised money in the seed round of the funding cycle, both as investor and operator, what advice would Willie give for founders entering a seed round.

Items Mentioned In Today’s Episode:

SpoonFed’s Current Fundraising Campaign on SyndicateRoom

Willie’s Fave Book: Eric Ries: The Lean Startup, The E-Myth Revisited

Willie’s Blog or Newsletter: Kenny Fraser, Sunstone Communications

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

If you would like to see a more colourful side to Harry with many a mojito session, you can follow him on Instagram here!

 

20 VC 085: Mark Suster @ Upfront Ventures on Being A Super Entrepreneur Driven VC

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Mark Suster is Managing Partner at Upfront Ventures which he joined in 2007, having previously worked with Upfront for nearly 8 years as a two-time entrepreneur. Before joining Upfront Mark was Vice President, Product Management at Salesforce.com following its acquisition of Koral, where Mark was Founder and CEO. Prior to Koral, Mark was Founder and CEO of BuildOnline, a European SaaS company that was acquired by SWORD Group. Mark is also the writer of one of my favourite VC blogs, Both Sides Of The Table which is a centre piece to the whole VC community and is a must read for all interested in entrepreneurship and VC.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Mark make his way into the world of tech and later make the transition to VC?

2.) How have Mark’s entrepreneurial origins influenced his investment style and approach to startups?

3.) What really gets Mark excited in terms of the founders and the companies they have built?

4.) How does Mark recommend that startup founders can meet investors and get those initial meetings?

5.) What sector is Mark most excited by and why?

6.) Mark has said in the past ‘too much money too early often fucks companies up’. Why is that and how should founders determine what is the right amount to raise?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

My Fave of Mark’s Posts: Entrepreneur DNA, I Invest In Lines Not Dots

Mark’s Fave Book: The Accidental Superpower

Mark’s Fave Blog or Newsletter: Stratechery, Ben Evans, Chris Dixon, Tom Tunguz

Mark’s Most Recent Investment: Mitu Networks

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

If you would like to see a more colourful side to Harry with many a mojito session, you can follow him on Instagram here!

 

20 VC 084: Meet Felix Capital: The Venture Firm For The Creative Class with Antoine Nussenbaum @ Felix Capital

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Antoine Nussenbaum is a Principal and member of the founding team of Felix Capital. Prior to Felix, Antoine was a Partner at Atlas Global, a private equity fund originally part of GLG Partners. Over the past five years he has worked closely with various early-stage digital startups including Mirakl, Jellynote, Pave, Reedsy and 31Dover and actively helped them launch their businesses. If that wasn’t enough he has also been involved since inception with Huckletree, a fast growing coworking operator dedicated to the UK digital community which was started by his wife.

To check out the available positions at Felix Capital click here!

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Antoine make his move into the world of VC?

2.) What sectors do Felix invest in? What stage? Geography?

3.) How do Felix position themselves in the VC space? How do Felix plan to differentiate between other VCs firms in Europe? As for the structure of the fund, why did Felix choose an advisor heavy approach?

4.) Why does Antoine think Europe has the edge at the moment? Also, with the rise of the Nordics and Berlin, why did Felix choose to setup in London?

5.) How does Antoine assess the London and European funding and tech environment at the moment? Does Antoine agree with the media hype over a tech bubble?

6.) How do digital brands address the issue of the millenials with reducing brand loyalty? Does Antoine think this will be a problem for consumer startups in the fashion, food and travel space?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Felix’s Manifesto, HuckleTree, Co-Founder @ Huckletree on CNBC

Antoine’s Fave Book: The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz, Capital In The Twenty-First Century by Thomas Picketty

Antoine’s Fave Productivity Tools: Streak, Slack, Evernote, Pocket

Antoine’s Fave Blog or Newsletter: Fred Wilson: AVC, ProductHunt

Antoine’s Most Recent Investment: The Food Assembly

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

If you would like to see a more colourful side to Harry with many a mojito session, you can follow him on Instagram here!