20VC: General Catalyst’s Hemant Taneja on Why We Are In A Golden Age For VC, Why Pro-Rata Is A Lazy Posture and Why He Does Not Focus On Price

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Hemant Taneja is Managing Director @ General Catalyst, one of the world’s leading venture firms of the last decade with Airbnb, Stripe, Snapchat, Hubspot and Gusto all in their portfolio. As for Hemant, he has led investments at GC in Stripe, SNAP, Grammarly, Gusto, Livongo, Color Genomics, Class Dojo and more. He also directs the GC Stripe Platform Fund, a $10 million initiative to help start new ventures that are built on top of the Stripe Connect platform. On the educational front, Hemant holds 5 degrees from MIT and sits on the board of Khan Academy.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Hemant made his way from 5 degrees at MIT and wanting to be an academic to pursuing startups in the world of VC with General Catalyst?

2.) Question from Sam @ ClassDojo: What were the hardest elements of establishing GC on the West Coast? With hindsight today, what would Hemant do differently given the chance? How does Hemant think about the development and ability to accelerate the creation of local reputation? What is crucial and works most effectively?

3.) How does Hemant respond to Elad Gil’s “everyone is looking for the next truly deep dein to explore”? Why is Hemant so bullish that we are in the “golden age of venture capital”? Why does Hemant believe that “scale” as a key measure has run it’s course? What does Hemant’s thesis of the future of “unscaling” really mean?

4.) How does Hemant analyse price sensitivity in todays forthy environment? How has his relationship to price changed over time? With regards to price, what have been some of his biggest regrets and learnings drawn from real-world examples? How does Hemant assess reserve allocation? Why does he think pro-rata is a lazy posture?

5.) Hemant has said on boards for over 1,800 hours, so what does Hemant belive makes the truly special board members? How does Hemant think about first building that rapport and “intimacy” with the founder? Secondly, how important does Hemant believe it is to build similar relations with other board members? Which founder exemplifies the best board management in Hemant’s mind?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Hemant’s Fave Book: Home Deus

Hemant’s Most Recent Investment: Spring Discovery

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

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Highfive makes meetings better for thousands of organizations with insanely simple video conferencing designed for meeting rooms. It’s the easiest-to-use solution, with all-in-one hardware and intuitive cloud software. Plus, it’s a high-quality experience with industry-leading audio powered by Dolby Voice. It’s so easy to use, that there’s no pin codes or app downloads. Just click a link in your browser, and you’re in the meeting. With customers in over 100 countries, Highfive is already trusted by the likes of Evernote, Expensify, and Betterment and you can learn more by simply heading over to highfive.com.

Culture Amp is the platform that makes it easy to collect, understand and act on employee feedback. From onboarding surveys to company-wide engagement, individual effectiveness and more, the platform manages multiple sources of feedback and connects the dots for you and that is why companies like Slack, Nike, Oracle and Lyft all trust Culture Amp. It enables leaders to make better decisions, demonstrate impact and turn your company culture into a competitive edge.  So put your people and culture first and find out more on cultureamp.com.

20VC: Why VCs Are Wrong About Single Founders, The Benefits of Party Rounds At Seed and How To Pre-Game Your Launch To Have Customers From Day 1 with Amanda Bradford, Founder & CEO @ The League

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Amanda Bradford is the Founder & CEO @ The League, the exclusive dating app that wants you to spend your time a little more intelligently when it comes to finding the perfect match online. They have raised funding from the likes of Aileen Lee @ Cowboy Ventures, Sherpa Ventures and Alex Rosen @ Ridge Ventures just to name a few. Prior to founding The League, Amanda spent time at Evernote as a Product Manager, as an investor with Sequoia Capital and started her career in the strategic partnerships team at Google.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Amanda made her way into the world of startups and how she came to want to change the world of dating with The League?

2.) Why does Amanda totally disagree with the conventional wisdom that you cannot be a single founder? What are the benefits of being a single founder? How has Amanda used this to incentivize her team further? What are the core challenges that remain in being a single founder? What 2 reasons does Amanda feel 90% of startups fail?

3.) What does Amanda really mean when she says about “the art of the launch”? How can founders pre-game their launch to have existing users on day 1? What benchmarks does Amanda set when launching a new product, to determine the success of the launch? How core is the 7-day retention number to Amanda in her metric stack?

4.) How does Amanda think about the right time to turn on monetization? How can founders determine the level of consumer appetite for premium products, pre-developing them? What are the main challenges when turning on monetization? How does monetization affect investor appetite?

5.) Amanda has raised from Cowboy, Sherpa, Ridge, how was the fundraising process for Amanda? Why did Amanda choose to pursue the party round approach at seed? What are the core benefits of doing so? Has the lack of lead investor meant a reduced willingness to help from the investor base?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Amanda’s Fave Book: The Giver

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

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Highfive makes meetings better for thousands of organizations with insanely simple video conferencing designed for meeting rooms. It’s the easiest-to-use solution, with all-in-one hardware and intuitive cloud software. Plus, it’s a high-quality experience with industry-leading audio powered by Dolby Voice. It’s so easy to use, that there’s no pin codes or app downloads. Just click a link in your browser, and you’re in the meeting. With customers in over 100 countries, Highfive is already trusted by the likes of Warby Parker, Evernote, Expensify, and Betterment and you can learn more by simply heading over to highfive.com.

Culture Amp is the platform that makes it easy to collect, understand and act on employee feedback. From onboarding surveys to company-wide engagement, individual effectiveness and more, the platform manages multiple sources of feedback and connects the dots for you and that is why companies like Slack, Nike, Oracle and Lyft all trust CultureAmp. So put your people and culture first and find out more on cultureamp.com.

20VC: Why Process is Everything In Good Venture Firms, Why GPs Should Have More Empathy For LPs and Lessons from 32 Years In VC, Chairing Over 25 Boards with Peter Parker, Managing Partner @ Bioinnovation Capital

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Peter Parker is the Managing Partner @ BioInnovation Capital, the $130m fund transforming life science investing through backing companies based in shared laboratories in Cambridge, San Francisco, San Diego, Durham, and NYC. For the past three decades, Peter has devoted his life to venture and startups, starting in 1986 with his establishing Ampersand Ventures life sciences platform which he managed until 2006. During this period he was the first institutional capital and a Director to over 2 dozen life sciences startups and enjoyed more exits than I have done podcasts. He is also a co-founder of LabCentral, Inc, a not-for-profit shared facility for companies who need biolab space enables more than 75 companies to pursue their biotech start-up ambitions.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Peter made his way into what was a very different VC industry back in 1986?

2.) Peter has seen the venture ecosystem develop enormously over the last 30 years, what have been the biggest changes and transformations? What are both the most positive and negative changes to hit venture? How has specialization changed the investing game? What would Peter like to change about the world of VC today?

3.) What does Peter mean when he says the best VCs understand the importance of process? What is the right way to construct your process in VC? How does this affect Peter’s thinking on functioning partnerships in venture? What can one do to optimise the quality of those relationships and conversations with partners?

4.) Peter has chaired over 25 boards over the last 32 years in VC, how has Peter seen his style of board membership fundamentally change over that time? What have been the inflection points in his learning? How do OKRs play a crucial role in how he drives board operations? How has Peter approached removing the CEO? What is the right way to do it?

5.) Peter’s most recent fund is a $130m seed fund, how was the latest fundraise for Peter? What drives Peter’s passion and enthusiasm for fundraising and LP communications? What makes the best LP meetings for Peter? How has Peter seen his presentation style to LPs change over time? What has Peter learned is crucial for LP conversion?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Peter’s Fave Book: The Barbarian: A Surfing Life

Peter’s Most Recent Investment: Graphwear

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

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Highfive makes meetings better for thousands of organizations with insanely simple video conferencing designed for meeting rooms. It’s the easiest-to-use solution, with all-in-one hardware and intuitive cloud software. Plus, it’s a high-quality experience with industry-leading audio powered by Dolby Voice. It’s so easy to use, that there’s no pin codes or app downloads. Just click a link in your browser, and you’re in the meeting. With customers in over 100 countries, Highfive is already trusted by the likes of Warby Parker, Evernote, Expensify, and Betterment and you can learn more by simply heading over to highfive.com.

Culture Amp is the platform that makes it easy to collect, understand and act on employee feedback. From onboarding surveys to company-wide engagement, individual effectiveness and more, the platform manages multiple sources of feedback and connects the dots for you and that is why companies like Slack, Nike, Oracle and Lyft all trust Culture Amp. It enables leaders to make better decisions, demonstrate impact and turn your company culture into a competitive edge.  So put your people and culture first and find out more on cultureamp.com.

20VC: From Sequoia To Accel To General Catalyst: What Makes The Best Board Member & The Hiring Methodology To Attract World Class Talent with KAYAK & Lola Founder, Paul English

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Paul English is the Co-Founder of both Lola and Kayak. Starting on Lola, the company brings joy to business travelers by finding the best flights for busy schedules and perfect hotels that suit personal preferences. To date, Paul has raised over $44m with Lola from the likes of CRV, Accel, General Catalyst and GV just to name a few. Prior to Lola, Paul co-founded Kayak, the incredible success story that helps millions of travelers make confident travel decisions. Prior to their IPO, Paul raised over $229m in VC funding from Sequoia, Accel, IVP and General Catalyst before their reported $1.8Bn acquisition by Priceline. Paul is also a prolific philanthropist and due to his success has had much press attention including the Tracy Kidder book, A Truck Full of Money.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Paul made his way into the world of startups from having his first taste of entrepreneurship buying and refurbishing air conditioning units?

2.) Paul is behind many groundbreaking ideas of the last decade, so what does the idea generation process look like for Paul? How does Paul determine between a good and a great idea? How has this process changed over time? How does Paul pull other individuals into validating ideas or not?

3.) Paul’s VCs stated “Paul is the best founder in the world for hiring”, how does Paul approach team building? What does Paul think is required to attract truly world calls talent? Can this skill be taught? Where does Paul believe so many founders go wrong in recruitment? What does Paul mean when he says you want to see “arrogant humility”

4.) Having raised from Sequoia, GV, General Catalyst and more, what has Paul found to really encapsulate the truly special VCs? What are Paul’s lessons on raising the highest quality capital possible? When is the right time to optimize for valuation and when is it not? What made Mike Moritz and Joel Cutler so special to work with on Kayak?

5.) How does Paul approach the aspect of board management? How has this changed over time for him? What relationship should founders desire with their VCs and then between the VCs themselves? How does one look to optimise for efficiency in board conversations? How does Paul look to handle board disputes?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Paul’s Fave Book: The Trumpet of Conscience

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

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Highfive makes meetings better for thousands of organizations with insanely simple video conferencing designed for meeting rooms. It’s the easiest-to-use solution, with all-in-one hardware and intuitive cloud software. Plus, it’s a high-quality experience with industry-leading audio powered by Dolby Voice. It’s so easy to use, that there’s no pin codes or app downloads. Just click a link in your browser, and you’re in the meeting. With customers in over 100 countries, Highfive is already trusted by the likes of Warby Parker, Evernote, Expensify, and Betterment and you can learn more by simply heading over to highfive.com.

Culture Amp is the platform that makes it easy to collect, understand and act on employee feedback. From onboarding surveys to company-wide engagement, individual effectiveness and more, the platform manages multiple sources of feedback and connects the dots for you and that is why companies like Slack, Nike, Oracle and Lyft all trust CultureAmp. So put your people and culture first and find out more on cultureamp.com.

20VC: What John Doerr Taught Me About Great Investing, Why Not All A Rounds Are Post-Traction and Why Despite Overfunding, There Is Still Gaps In Venture Financing with Trae Vassallo, Founding Partner @ Defy.vc

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Trae Vassallo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director @ Defy.VC, one of Silicon Valley’s newest and most exciting Series A funds with the announcement of their debut $151m fund in Sept 2017. Prior to co-founding Defy, Trae was a general partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers where she invested in a number of leading companies including eero, Nest Labs, Dropcam, Aggregate Knowledge, and Opower. Before Kleiner, Trae founded Kleiner portfolio company, Good Technology which was ultimately acquired by Blackberry in 2015 for $425m. Trae is also the co-author of the incredible study, “Elephant in the Valley”, highlighting the underlying data around the experiences of women in technology.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Trae made her way into the world of VC and Silicon Valley with a cold reach out to John Doerr and how that led to a role with Kleiner Perkins?

2.) What were Trae’s biggest learnings from having John Doerr on her board, as a first-time founder? What were some of the most memorable moments working with him? What was it about him that made him such a special board member? What was the moment that Trae realized what type of board member she is?

3.) What does Trae mean when she says “Kleiner taught me what a great investment looks like”? How does that affect her investing philosophy today? How did Trae’s investing learnings differ between John Doerr, Vinod Khosla, and Kevin Compton?

4.) Why does Trae believe that the venture industry is simply “overfunded”? If so, what was her reasoning for the founding of Defy? How does Trae see the expansion of multi-stage funds as presenting a market opportunity? Why are the larger players no longer incentivized to play at the Series A stage?

5.) How did Trae find the fundraising process? What were some of the core challenges in terms of the raise itself? Were there commonalities in the pushbacks that LPs had for Defy? How did Neil and Trae respond to the first time team question? How does Trae think about the infrastructure element of funds? Can it all be outsourced?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Trae’s Fave Book: Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley

Trae’s Most Recent Investment: Owl Car Cam: The First Security Camera For Your Car

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

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Highfive makes meetings better for thousands of organizations with insanely simple video conferencing designed for meeting rooms. It’s the easiest-to-use solution, with all-in-one hardware and intuitive cloud software. Plus, it’s a high-quality experience with industry-leading audio powered by Dolby Voice. It’s so easy to use, that there’s no pin codes or app downloads. Just click a link in your browser, and you’re in the meeting. With customers in over 100 countries, Highfive is already trusted by the likes of Warby Parker, Evernote, Expensify, and Betterment and you can learn more by simply heading over to highfive.com.

Culture Amp is the platform that makes it easy to collect, understand and act on employee feedback. From onboarding surveys to company-wide engagement, individual effectiveness and more, the platform manages multiple sources of feedback and connects the dots for you and that is why companies like Slack, Nike, Oracle and Lyft all trust CultureAmp. So put your people and culture first and find out more on cultureamp.com.

20VC: Why Every Startup Will Either Fail or Rebrand, How To Do OKRs The Right Way & How To Know The Reversible From the Irreversible Mistakes with Jack Groetzinger, Founder & CEO @ SeatGeek

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Jack Groetzinger is the Founder & CEO @ SeatGeek, the world’s largest ticket inventory on the web serving more than 500,000 artists and teams in over 380,000 venues. To date, Jack has raised over $160m in VC funding with SeatGeek from the likes of John Locke @ Accel, Founder Collective, TCV and most recently a $57m Series D led by Glynn Capital Management. Prior to SeatGeek, Jack founded Scribnia, a web app that used collaborative filtering to recommend bloggers and blog content, sold to an ad network in 2009. Jack is also a Founder Partner @ Founder Collective and angel investor in Troops, Inc.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jack made his way into the world of startups and decided to reinvent the ticketing industry with SeatGeek?

2.) How does Jack think about the combination of technical vs commercial skills for founders today? Where has Jack struggled with this balance? What would his advice be to prospective founders? How does Jack use OKRs to drive efficiency at SeatGeek? How can OKRs be constructed the right way? What is a rate of failure that suggests you are being ambitious enough?

3.) Jack has raised multiple rounds and over $160m in funding, how have the rounds differed from round to round? How does what Jack wants from an investor differ with time? What one ability do truly unique board members have the ability to do? How does Jack think about board conflicts and the right way to communicate with boards?

4.) How does Jack determine when is the right time to raise big? What is the one core metric that says now is the right time? How does Jack think about both the diversification and mortality of customer acquisition channels? How have SeatGeek seen theirs fundamentally change over time?

5.) Jack led the $56m Toptix acquisition, how was the acquisition process for Jack? What were the big learnings for Jack in terms of buying something that is large? With the acquisition, how does Jack think about the balance between capital efficiency and aggressive growth? What would Jack have done differently with regards to their growth trajectory if he had his time again?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Jack’s Fave Book: Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility

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

Likewise, you can follow Harry on Instagram here for mojito madness and all things 20VC.

Highfive makes meetings better for thousands of organizations with insanely simple video conferencing designed for meeting rooms. It’s the easiest-to-use solution, with all-in-one hardware and intuitive cloud software. Plus, it’s a high-quality experience with industry-leading audio powered by Dolby Voice. It’s so easy to use, that there’s no pin codes or app downloads. Just click a link in your browser, and you’re in the meeting. With customers in over 100 countries, Highfive is already trusted by the likes of Warby Parker, Evernote, Expensify, and Betterment and you can learn more by simply heading over to highfive.com.

Culture Amp is the platform that makes it easy to collect, understand and act on employee feedback. From onboarding surveys to company-wide engagement, individual effectiveness and more, the platform manages multiple sources of feedback and connects the dots for you and that is why companies like Slack, Nike, Oracle and Lyft all trust CultureAmp. So put your people and culture first and find out more on cultureamp.com.