20VC: Investing Lessons From Observing Doug Leone and Bill Gurley, Why It Is Easier To Be Contrarian As A VC Than As An Angel & What It Takes To Run Tinder’s Product and Revenue Alongside A Seed Fund with Jeff Morris Jr, Founder @ Chapter One

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Jeff Morris Jr is the Founder of Chapter One, an early stage seed fund investing in blockchain assets, mobile and subscription businesses. Chapter One’s Portfolio includes the likes of Lyft, Brandable, Crypto Kitties and many more incredible companies. However, Jeff is unique as Chapter One is only one of his hats, Jeff is also the Director of Product & Revenue @ Tinder and when asked to lead the revenue team they were ranked #17 in the app store. Within a year, under Jeff’s leadership, Tinder became the #1 top grossing app in the world.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jeff made his way into the world of startups and angel investing, how that lead to his role as Director of Product and Revenue @ Tinder and a leading early-stage investor with Chapter One?

2.) Jeff has previously said, “apply an investor mindset to every product decision I make”. What are the foundational questions involved? What are the inherent challenges of being so deep in product and investing simultaneously? What does Jeff think of VCs giving product advice to founders? What should the founders look for? What advice does Jeff give to the common question of “how do I get into investing and VC”?

3.) Why does Jeff disagree with the platform shift and the downturn in consumer mobile? What core innovations will drive the next wave of consumer mobile? Valuations in the space are often lofty, how does Jeff think about price and evaluate his own price sensitivity? How does Jeff think about scalable customer acquisition today in a world where incumbents dominate and price up the traditional channels?

4.) Jeff has said before that “investors treat crypto teams as if they are superhuman”, what makes Jeff think this? How do their interactions differ than towards non-crypto teams? Why are lofty expectations dangerous for valuations? How does that put undue pressure on employees? Why are lofty expectations dangerous for product development? How do they affect the product roadmap negatively?

5.) How does Jeff approach the diligence aspect when it comes to investing? What have been some of his major lessons from making over 35 investments on the right diligence framework? How do shortened fundraising cycles negatively affect investor diligence processes? What can founders and investors do under these constrained time frames?

6.) Having worked with some of the greats from Doug Leone to Bill Gurley, what are some of the common traits in how the very best investors engage with founders? What were Jeff’s personal learnings from seeing these greats in action? How did it change the way Jeff thinks about founder interaction and engagement?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Jeff’s Fave Book: The Catcher In The Rye, Googled

Jeff’s Most Recent Investment: Radar Relay

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

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

20VC: Why Warm Intros Are Mostly Dumb, Why Ownership is Built On First Check and 4 Crucial Elements To Make Cold Inbound Attractive with Leo Polovets, General Partner @ Susa Ventures

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Leo Polovets is a General Partner @ Susa Ventures, one of the valley’s leading early-stage seed funds with a portfolio including the likes of Flexport, Robinhood, Lendup, Qadium, Rigetti, the list goes on. As for Leo, prior to joining the world of VC, he started his career as the second non-founding engineer at LinkedIn. After two years at LinkedIn, Leo spent 3 years at Google, largely working on real-time payment fraud detection. Finally, his last stop pre-Susa involved spending 4 years at Factual, a location data platform.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Leo made his way into the world of VC from being the 2nd non-founding engineer at LinkedIn?

2.) Why does Leo believe that the hailed “warm intro” is actually dumb? What are the biggest drawbacks to this being commonplace in our ecosystem? What does Leo believe the mindset of investors should be instead? How does Leo filter through cold inbound? What are the 4 elements Leo looks for in all inbound? What can founders do to really make them stand out?

3.) Leo has previously heavily emphasised the importance of moats, how does Leo define moats and defensibility? When do founders have to think about moat building? Pre-product? Pre-launch? Pre-scaling? What questions suggest that a founders mindset is heavily oriented to moat building? With the majority of incumbents being usurped by platform shifts, does that not render moats significantly futile in the long term?

4.) What does Leo believe is the right way for investors to pass on an opportunity and communicate that to founders? What is wrong with the current way many do it? How does Leo present his opinion without getting into an argument with the founder on reasoning? What feedback has Leo been given from founders that has changed the way he thinks about being an investor?

5.) Controversial capitals Round:

  • Ownerships is built on first check? Agree or disagree and why?
  • Whether it is a $6m, $8m or $12m, if it is at seed, it is so early that price really does not matter so much? Agree or disagree and why?
  • There is no point VCs spending their time with struggling companies in the portfolio. At best they return cents on the dollar. Only work with the outperformers to drive returns. Agree or disagree and why?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Leo’s Fave Book: Elad Gil’s High Growth Handbook

Leo’s Most Recent Investment: Interviewing.io

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

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

 

 

20VC: Being A Wartime Leader in a Time of Peace, Why Marketing Channel Diversification Is Like The Life of A Scientist and Why Small and Mighty Beats Loud and Weak with Ooshma Garg, Founder & CEO @ Gobble

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Ooshma Garg is the Founder & CEO @ Gobble, the startup that allows you to cook a fresh homemade dinner in just 15 minutes. To date, Ooshma has raised over $30m in funding for Gobble from some of the best in the business including Initialized Capital, Keith Rabois, Reid Hoffman, Founder Collective, Felicis, Andreesen Horowitz and Thrive just to name a few. As for Ooshma, prior to founding Gobble she founded Anapata, an online site that matches students looking for jobs with potential employers. The company was ultimately acquired by LawWerx.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Ooshma made her way from Wall St to changing the way America eats with Gobble today?

2.) Everyone has an opinion on the food delivery space with the public nature of Blue Apron, what does Ooshma mean when she says “small and mighty beats loud and weak”? Why did Ooshma not take the path of other competitors in the space of racing big and running fast? What is Ooshma’s advice to founders on dilution and raise amounts?

3.) Would Ooshma agree with Alex @ LSVP that marketing portfolios are like venture portfolios, diversified and then double down? Would Ooshma agree with the concern around unfeasible CACs due to incumbents bidding them up on major platforms? Where does Ooshma see blue ocean when it comes to marketing channel success?

4.) What does Ooshma mean when she says “success is survival”? Why is capital efficiency even more important in online/offline businesses? What are some of Ooshma’s examples of her “wartime approach” to capital efficiency? How does Ooshma explain this more sustainable growth to the growth-hungry VC community? Who is to blame for the insatiable desire for unreasonable growth; the founders or the VCs?

5.) Ooshma has raised over $30m with Gobble, analysing herself in fundraising, what does Ooshma believe she did particularly well during the raise and advise other founders to do? What elements would she like to improve upon for the next round? What is the story behind how Ooshma sprinted down the 101 to get Keith Rabois as an angel?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Ooshma’s Fave Book: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle 

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

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

20VC: Why The Engineer Will Replace The MBA As CEO, Why The Peace Dividends From The Autonomous Car Wars Will Generate More Value Outside of Transport & Why Old and Boring Industries Are The Most Exciting To Build In with Avidan Ross, Founding Partner @ Root Ventures

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Avidan Ross is the Founding Partner @ Root Ventures, one of Silicon Valley’s most exciting newer generation of funds dedicated to backing bold engineers at seed. To date they have backed some incredible companies such as Nautilus Labs, Dusty Robotics, Tortuga AgTech and Instrumental.ai just to name a few. Prior to founding Root, Avidan was CTO at The CIM Group, with an aggregate of $15Bn AUM, Avidan was responsible for establishing the company’s technical vision and leading all aspects of the company’s technology investment. Before that, he built algorithmic trading platforms as Director of Technology at WHW Capital. 

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Avidan went from building algorithmic trading platforms to back the next generation of revolutionary engineers with Root?

2.) What does Avidan mean when he says “the peace dividends of the autonomous car wars will generate more value outside of transportation?” How does the commoditisation of these core components affect subsequent industries? With their commoditisation, does it not become a raise to the bottom on price and margin?

3.) How does Avidan approach the layering on new software products to emerging hardware devices? What does this mean for the margin required both for the hardware and the software? How does Avidan’s investor mentality alter when investing in hardware vs software?

4.) Why does Avidan believe “old and boring industries are the most exciting to build software in?” How does Avidan approach the common problem of customer education and selling to a customer base that does not want to talk to you and does not believe in your product? What do founders selling in these industries need to focus on to break through?

5.) How does Avidan assess the current landscape in terms of the quality and quantity of engineer CEOs? Why does Avidan believe the MBA CEO will be replaced by engineers? How has Avidan seen a variance in the background in the entrepreneurs innovating in “old and boring” industries?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Avidan’s Fave Book: Drive by Daniel Pink

Avidan’s Most Recent Investment: Dusty Robotics

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

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

20VC: Ryan Caldbeck on Why The Business Model of VC is Broken, Who is To Blame, How The Best Funds Will Use Data Intelligently Moving Forward & Whether We Are In A Consumer Bubble Or Not?

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Ryan Caldbeck is the Founder & CEO @ CircleUp, the startup creating a transparent and efficient market to drive innovation for consumer brands. To date, Ryan has raised over $50m with CircleUp from some friends and prior guests of the show including USV, Collaborative Fund and Canaan Partners just to name a few. Prior to CircleUp, Ryan spent nearly 7 years investing in consumer products with the likes of TSG Consumer Partners and Encore Consumer Capital. As a result of Ryan’s success with CircleUp he has been recognised as a “Titan of Retail” by Bloomberg and “40 Under 40” by the San Francisco Business Times.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Ryan made his way into the world of consumer investing and what the realisation moment was for him that the market needed a solution, CircleUp?

2.) Why does Ryan believe that venture capital has a fundamental problem? What is it about the economics of funds that Ryan has a problem with? Who is to blame for this situation; the LPs who fund it or the AUM hungry VCs? Why does Ryan believe the majority of micro VCs are micro as that is all they could raise? Is that really fair or true?

3.) Why does Ryan fundamentally believe the LP ecosystem and mechanism for backing funds is inherently broken? What is so wrong with current LP incentives? What does Ryan believe can be done to encourage more risk-taking and innovation from within the LP class?

4.) Recognising the antiquated nature of much of VC, what does Ryan believe the future of VC looks like? How will we see the use of data impact both sourcing and investment decision-making? Where does Ryan believe it has the most potential? Where is data so sparse that it will be challenging? How does Ryan believe the best managers of the future will use data?

5.) Consumer brands and DNVBs are riding high today, does Ryan believe we are in a consumer bubble? What does Ryan believe is so wrong about how the majority of the current crop of VCs analyse consumer businesses? How should they be analysed? Why does Ryan believe consumer exits will be smaller? Is it fair to say consumer is more capital intensive and largely sells for 1.6-1.8 EBITDA?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Ryan’s Fave Book: The Hard Thing About Hard Things

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

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