20VC: Stride’s Fred Destin on Acceptable vs Non-Acceptable Risks When Investing, How Startup Founders Can Improve The Quality of Their Decision-Making & Why Plans Do Not Matter and No Board Member Should Bash An Entrepreneur For Missing Their Numbers

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Fred Destin is a Founding Partner @ Stride.VC, one of Europe’s newest seed funds with a portfolio including the likes of Cazoo and Forward Health. Over his 17 year career in venture, Fred has established himself as one of Europe’s leading VCs with the exit value of 3 of his portfolio companies alone last year totalling more than $4.5Bn with PillPack’s $1Bn sale to Amazon, Zoopla to Silverlake for $3Bn and Integral Ad Science to Vista for $850m. Fred has also led investments as a General Partner @ Accel in Deliveroo, the world leader of food on demand and Carwow, the number 1 for new car sales in the UK.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Fred made his way into the world of venture and early stage? What was behind his decision to leave Accel to found Stride with Harry?

2.) Why does Fred think many today misunderstand “risk” in venture? How does that apply across the portfolio? Does Fred agree with Brian Singerman, “venture is a game of upside maximisation”? What risks does Fred define as acceptable vs non-acceptable risks? How does Fred really look to strength test the quality and depth of a founder pre-investment? What are the benefits of going through conflict early?

3.) How does Fred think about price sensitivity? What are the core questions a VC can ask when considering the pricing of an opportunity? How does Fred think about reserve allocation? How does Fred analogize this to the best traders? To what extent does TAM play a dominant role in Fred’s evaluation? What does Fred mean when he says “we have to remember, we are the ones that get picked also”?

4.) How does Fred think about and assess innovation within venture? How does Fred perceive the role of data to impact venture over the coming years? Why does Fred believe it is exaggerated that data will disrupt the early stage in the coming years? Where would Fred like to see further innovation in the mechanics of venture?

5.) What does Fred believes separates the good from the great when it comes to board members? How can board members create an environment where the entrepreneur feels they can say all that is wrong? Where do many board members go wrong? Why are board members so wrong to bash a founder for missing their numbers? Why does Fred believe that plans are fiction? WHy is the framework of the plan what really matters?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Fred’s Fave Book: Man’s Search for Meaning

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

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

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20VC: How Founders Can Really Get The Most Out of Their Board, Why Culture Fit At The Board Level Is Not Discussed Enough & Why Growth and Culture Are 2 Sides of The Same Coin with Avi Meir, Founder & CEO @ TravelPerk

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Avi Meir is the Founder & CEO @ TravelPerk, the startup that allows you to book, manage and report all your business travel in one place. To date, Avi has raised over $73m with TravelPerk from the likes of Felix Capital, Yuri Milner, Spark Capital, Sunstone and LocalGlobe to name a few. Before founding TravelPerk, Avi founded HotelNinjas, a web-based hotel management software platform that was ultimately acquired by Booking.com. Prior to that, Avi was VP Product at Budgetplaces.com, which was acquired by Palamon in 2011.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Avi made his way from the world of hotels to the world of founding startups and what was his entry point? How did Avi’s experience with HotelNinja’s impact his operating mindset with TravelPerk today?

2.) How does Avi think about attaining the right board composition? What is the ideal structure? How important is it to have industrial experience around the table? What are the 2 other core skills that Avi believes are required on the board? What can founders do to ensure plasticity of mindset at a board level?

3.) What makes the truly special board members? What do they do both in the good and the bad times to make them so good? What does Avi believe makes the more challenging board members to work with? Why does Avi believe that culture fit at the board level is not discussed enough? What can be done by the founder to improve this?

4.) TravelPerk has now raised over $75m in funding, what does Avi believe they have done well to date to allow them to raise this? For the next round, what would Avi like to improve upon and pushback on further? What advice does Avi have for founders entering negotiations when it comes to both valuation and option pool?

5.) Why does Avi believe that culture and growth are 2 sides of the same coin? What have been some of the biggest challenges in scaling the team with the scaling of the company? How does one retain startup culture when no longer a startup? What would Avi do differently with regards to expansion with the benefit of hindsight?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Avi’s Fave Book: Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose

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

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

Are you thinking about life insurance in the new year? Ladder Is the smart and easy way to get term life insurance online. With Ladder there are no commissioned agents and no policy fees — you can be done in minutes. Even better, coverage can start today, if you qualify, and you can cancel anytime. Ladder is licensed and backed by trusted partners, with billions in coverage. Visit ladderlife.com to apply and get an instant decision on fully underwritten term life insurance, and check life insurance off your list TODAY.


Ready for tax season? Wishing you’d kept a closer eye on your books this year? Set yourself up for success in 2019 with Pilot. Pilot is a bookkeeping company focused on the needs of startups. Their team of SF-based bookkeepers are assisted by engineers to automate the most error-prone parts of bookkeeping, so you know you’re getting an accurate report every month. Plus, Pilot does accrual basis bookkeeping in Quickbooks Online, so you’re never locked into a proprietary platform. Learn more and sign up here. Don’t wait – the first 100 members of the Twenty Minute VC community get 20% off Pilot Core for six months.

20VC: Scott Belsky on Why We Must Challenge Our Faith In The Strength of Resources, Why We Must Rethink The Product Creation and Design Process & How To Determine Between The Good and The Truly Great When Assessing Individuals

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Scott Belsky is an executive, entrepreneur, author, and investor. He currently serves as Adobe’s Chief Product Officer and Executive Vice President, Creative Cloud. Before Adobe, Scott co-founded Behance in 2006 and served as CEO until Adobe acquired Behance in 2012. Alongside his role at Adobe, Scott is a Venture Partner at one of the world’s leading venture firms, Benchmark. Scott also actively advises and invests in startups personally having one of the most incredible angel portfolios with early checks in Pinterest, Uber, Periscope, Warby Parker, Carta, Flexport and more. Scott is also the author of Harry’s favourite book of 2018, The Messy Middle.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Scott made his way into the world of startups with Behance, how that translated to the world of angel investing and being Chief Product Officer @ Adobe? WHat does Scott mean when he discusses the correlation between utilisation and happiness?

2.) What does Scott mean when he says he looks for people whereby ‘conversations improve by step function?” What are the best examples of this? How have they shown this? How does Scott think startups founders can manufacture motivation? How has Scott seen the best founders hire the very best team? How do the best founders determine between a stretch and a stretch too far?

3.) In terms of product, what does Scott mean when he refers to the “value of slow cooking”? How does that relate to product creation? Why does Scott often have issues with the MVP approach seen today? How does Scott think about the importance of product simplicity? How can one maintain that over time? Why does Scott believe more founders should spend more time crafting the last mile user experience than they do?

4.) Simplicity is great but VCs often suggest, non-defensible, how does Scott think about building defensibility with simplicity? Simplicity often also narrows market size, how does Scott think about and analyse market size today when investing? Where does Scott think many investors go wrong today when trying to measure market size?

5.) What does Scott mean when he says “resources are like carbs, resourcefulness is muscle”? Why does Scott believe we need to challenge our faith in the strength of resources? What advice does Scott given when founders ask, “when is the right time to raise big”? How has Scott’s writing of the book influenced his mindset when engaging with founders today and investing?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Scott’s Fave Book: Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage to the Antarctic

Scott’s Most Recent Investment: Assembled Brands

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

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

Are you thinking about life insurance in the new year? Ladder Is the smart and easy way to get term life insurance online. With Ladder there are no commissioned agents and no policy fees — you can be done in minutes. Even better, coverage can start today, if you qualify, and you can cancel anytime. Ladder is licensed and backed by trusted partners, with billions in coverage. Visit ladderlife.com to apply and get an instant decision on fully underwritten term life insurance, and check life insurance off your list TODAY.


Ready for tax season? Wishing you’d kept a closer eye on your books this year? Set yourself up for success in 2019 with Pilot. Pilot is a bookkeeping company focused on the needs of startups. Their team of SF-based bookkeepers are assisted by engineers to automate the most error-prone parts of bookkeeping, so you know you’re getting an accurate report every month. Plus, Pilot does accrual basis bookkeeping in Quickbooks Online, so you’re never locked into a proprietary platform. Learn more and sign up here. Don’t wait – the first 100 members of the Twenty Minute VC community get 20% off Pilot Core for six months.