20VC: The Acceptable vs Unacceptable Risks To Take When Seed Investing, Why Loss Ratio Is Not A Consideration & Why Series A Is The Right Time To Establish A Board with Mike Hirshland, Co-Founder @ Resolute Ventures

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Mike Hirshland is the Co-founder of Resolute Ventures, one of the leading pre-seed and seed stage funds of the last decade having recently announced their new $75m Fund IV. In prior funds they have the likes of OpenDoor, Mixmax, Greenhouse, AppZen and more incredible companies. As for Mike, prior to founding Resolute, he founded Dogpatch Labs, the community which helped launch over 350 companies including Instagram. Before Dogpatch, Mike was a partner with Polaris Venture Partners from 1999-2011, where he was the original seed investor behind Automattic, Q1 Labs (acquired by IBM for $600 million), Quantcast and KISSmetrics.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Mike made his way from a legal clerk in the US Supreme Court to founding his own venture firm in the form of Resolute Ventures?

2.) What does Mike mean when he says Resolute invest at the “old seed stage?” What stage of development and traction are the companies at this stage? Why does seed investing out of a $Bn fund not make sense to Mike? What are the acceptable vs unacceptable risks at this stage?

3.) How does Mike think and assess portfolio construction today? How many lines in the portfolio is enough to be sufficiently diversified? How does Mike think about ownership given his thesis on diversification? How does Mike assess his own price sensitivity today? How does Mike think about loss ratio within the portfolio today?

4.) What are the ideal attributes of the founder/VC relationship to Mike? Is it right for the investor to also be friends with their founders? What can founders do to really build and deepen relationships with investors both during and outside of official fundraises? Where does Mike often see founders making mistakes here?

5.) How does Mike think about the right time to establish a board? What does Mike advise founders in terms of board composition in the early days? How does Mike look to build a sense of “board intimacy” with his founders? Why does Mike believe that there is a “counter-productivity to boards at seed”?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Mike’s Fave Book: A Little Life

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

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

20VC: Why The Current VC Financing Mechanism For Consumer Brands Is Broken, Why The Infrastructure To Power Emerging Brands Is Broken and What The Re-Platforming of Retail Means For The Next Decade in Consumer with Adam Pritzker, Chairman & CEO @ Assembled Brands

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Adam Pritzker is the Chairman & CEO @ Assembled Brands, a holding company providing working capital and financial services to emerging brands. In October 2018, they raised $100m in development capital from the prestigious Oaktree Capital Management. As for Adam, he is also a co-founder of General Assembly where during his tenure, prior to its acquisition by Addecco Group, he served as Chief Creative Officer, Chief Product Officer, and Chairman. For his entrepreneurial endeavors, Adam was featured in Forbes’ 30 Under 30, Vanity Fair’s The Next Establishment, Inc. Magazine’s 30 Under 30, and Business Insider’s Silicon Alley 100.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Adam made his way into the world of startups with the co-founding of General Assembly and how that led to his founding Assembled Brands and financing the future of brands?

2.) Why is Adam optimistic about the current state of the consumer brand and retail environment? How does Adam respond to Alex Taussig @ Lightspeed’s suggestion of the “re-platforming of retail”? How does Adam approach the changing demographics of consumer spend? What does this mean for both the brands and the channels they use to acquire customers? Does Adam believe we are in a consumer bubble today?

3.) How does Adam think about the lack of free and open distribution today for consumer companies? Are the traditional channels now too expensive to acquire customers on? How does Adam advise consumer founders on the saturation rate of marketing channels? How can they foresee the ceiling ahead of time?

4.) Adam has previously stated that Instagram is the new QVC, what did he mean by that? What type of consumer brand is Instagram best suited for? Why does Adam believe that in many cases the venture financing method is suboptimal and wrong for these scaling brands? What can founders who have taken VC funds and now seen it was potentially a mistake do?

5.) Why does Adam believe that the “infrastructure to power emerging brands is broken”? How can the current stack and infrastructure for brands be improved? What metrics should consumer founders really hone in on today? What sort of metrics suggests a brand is VC backable vs is not VC backable? How does Adam think about the ability of the consumer brand space to provide venture returns at scale?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Adam’s Fave Book: (1.) The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure. (2.) The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You, and How to Get Good at It

Adam’s Most Recent Investment: Felix Gray 

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

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

20VC: What It Takes To Be The Most Effective Coach To Startup Founders, The Biggest Surprises and Challenges About Transitioning To Venture From Operations & 3 Trends Shaking The World of Consumer Today with Victoria Treyger, General Partner @ Felicis Ventures

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Victoria Treyger is a General Partner & Managing Director @ Felicis Ventures, one of the leading venture firms of the last decade backing 2 unicorns per year since founding including Shopify, OpenDoor, Flexport, Adyen, Twitch, Fitbit and many more. At Felicis, Victoria led the firm’s investments in prior 20VC guest Assaf Wand @ Hippo, Sentio, Sentilink, Blume, Floravere, and other stealth brands. Prior to joining Felicis, Victoria was Chief Revenue Officer of Kabbage. During her six-year tenure, Victoria and her team were instrumental in scaling revenue into the hundreds of millions of dollars and delivered a compound annual growth rate of over 100%. Victoria’s deep operating experience also includes leadership roles at Amazon, American Express, Travelocity, and RingCentral.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Victoria made her way into the world of VC as GP @ Felicis today having scaled revenue into the 100s of millions with Kabbage on the operating side of the table?

2.) Having just made the move from the world of operations, what are the most surprising aspects of venture? What elements have you found to be the most challenging? How does Victoria think about what it takes to be the most effective coach? What can the investor do to build that level of trust and transparency with the founder?

3.) In terms of being a board member, how involved does Victoria think the board member should be? Who is the best board member Victoria has worked with? What made them so special? What are Victoria’s biggest pieces of advice to founders when it comes to how to run an efficiency board? What is the right way for founders to think about board composition?

4.) What 3 trends in the world of consumer and CPG make Victoria so excited to be investing in the space today? What has fundamentally changed about the distribution of those products that changes the way we consume the products? Does this mean Victoria would disagree we are in a D2C bubble today?

5.) Speaking of distribution, how does Victoria respond to the suggestion “there is a lack of free and open distribution today” with customer acquisition costs being so expensive? How does Victoria think about the consumer and CPG space’s ability to provide venture returns at scale moving forward?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Victoria’s Fave Book: Mindset: How You Can Fulfil Your PotentialPersonal History

Victoria’s Most Recent Investment: SentiLink

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

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

20VC: Lambda School Founder, Austen Allred on Why Unemployment Is An Optimisation Problem That Will Be Solved Over The Next 20 Years, Why The Speed and Quality of Decisions Are Not Mutually Exclusive & The 1 Question All Founders Must Ask Themselves Before Raising VC

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Austen Allred is the Founder & CEO @ Lambda School, a 9 month, immersive program that gives you the tools and training you need to launch your new career—from the comfort of your own home. As a Lambda student, you pay nothing until you’re earning $50k or more. And if you don’t, it’s free. To date, Austen has raised over $48m with Lambda from a personal favourite of mine Bedrock, GGV, GV, Stripe and Ashton Kutcher just to name a few. Prior to founding Lambda, Austen was Senior Manager for Growth @ LendUp and before that co-founded Grasswire.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Austen made his way from being broke, sleeping in a car to founding one of Silicon Valley’s hottest startups in the form of Lambda School?

2.) Austen lived in his car for many months in Palo Alto, what did Austen come to learn about himself from that experience? Before Austen has said, “it is not about money”, so how would Austen describe his personal relationship to money? Consequently, what does this mean for Austen’s relationship to risk?

3.) Austen previously stated he was “determined to never raise VC again before Lambda School”. 2 years and $47m later, what changed in his attitude to raising VC? How mus every founder examine their business model before raising VC? What is the one question they must ask pre-raise?

4.) Austen recently raised a $30m Series B round, how did that round come about? What is Austen’s biggest advice when it comes to investor selection? How does Austen think about when is the right time to raise big? How does that impact and affect operating mentality? What was it about Geoff Lewis that made Austen take his offer over others?

5.) Question from Geoff @ Bedrock: How does Austen iterate on all aspects of the business so fast? Why does Austen believe that the speed and quality of decisions are not mutually exclusive? Why does Austen believe the faster you ship, the higher quality they will be? How does Austen determine which experiments to stick with vs drop?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Austen’s Fave Book: Les Miserables, The Wright Brothers

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

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

20VC: The Transition From Founder To CEO, How To Determine When To Stretch On Price in Venture & The Benefits of Attribution for Partnership Dynamics with Jeff Richards, Managing Partner @ GGV Capital

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Jeff Richards is Managing Partner @ GGV Capital, one of the leading venture firms of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Alibaba, Slack, Square, Xiaomi, Peloton, OpenDoor, just to name a few. As for Jeff, he sits on the board of or is an observer at BigCommerce, Brightwheel, Gladly, Lambda School, Namely and Tile just to name a few. Jeff also led GGV’s investments in Buddy Media (acquired by Salesforce), HotelTonight, Flipboard and has been actively involved in GGV’s investments in Opendoor, Domo, Square and Wish. Prior to joining GGV, Jeff founded two software companies: R4 (acquired by VeriSign), and QuantumShift, backed by Texas Pacific Group (TPG).

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jeff made his way into the world of VC with GGV from founding and scaling 2 software companies in the 90s? What were Jeff’s 2 biggest takeaways from having the company he founded raise over $100m then go to $0 in the crash?

2.) How does Jeff approach and see the transition from founder to CEO today? When does this transition need to occur? How do first-time founders differ compared to experienced serial entrepreneurs when it comes to building their teams? Where do they often struggle or make mistakes? What advice does Jeff offer them?

3.) Jeff has previously said, “do not raise for the highest valuation”, what is his thinking here? What specific examples does Jeff have of why it can hurt and damage both the founder and the company? How does Jeff think about his own price sensitivity today? How does he determine when a stretch is a stretch too far? From backing the likes of Alibaba, Xiaomi and Didi, what were his biggest takeaways when it came to price?

4.) Decision-making is one of the only products venture has, how does Jeff and GGV approach decision-making as a firm today? Being a slightly later stage firm, how do they think about reserve allocation? What does the re-investment decision-making process look like? How does GGV think about attribution as a firm today? What are the benefits?

5.) What advice would Jeff give to an individual that has just entered VC? What does Jeff know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning? How does Jeff think about what it takes to be a truly special board member? What one or two things can a board member do to move the needle in their relationship with their founder?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Jeff’s Fave Book: In an Uncertain World: Tough Choices from Wall Street to Washington

Jeff’s Most Recent Investment: Lambda School, Electric

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: How To Optimise Decision-Making Frameworks, How To Really Get The Most Out Of Your Board and When Your Brother Is Also Your Co-Founder; The Secret To Working with Family with Rob Sadow, Founder & CEO @ Scoop

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Rob Sadow is the Founder & CEO @ Scoop, the startup that dramatically improves your commute providing convenient carpools with co-workers and neighbours. To date, Rob has raised over $46m in funding for Scoop from the likes of Danny Rimer @ Index, Brook Porter @ G2VP, Zaw Thet @ Signia Venture Partners and BMW i Ventures just to name a few. Before founding Scoop, Rob was a Manager @ Bain & Company and before that spent time in Israel with Better Place, working to provide electric vehicle networks to help accelerate the global transition to sustainable transportation.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Rob made his way from the world of consulting and Bain to founding the future of convenient commutes with Scoop?

2.) How does Rob approach key decisions? What does Brook Porter @ G2VP mean when he says, “from a first principles perspective”? How does Rob determine when to make decisions with the head or the heart? Does Rob agree with Fred Destin, “as a founder, decisions are never perfect, it is about batting average”? Where does Rob see many make mistakes when it comes to decision-making?

3.) How does Rob find the dynamics of working with his brother as his co-founder? What are some of the core challenges? How does one make it scale and how does the relationship need to change over time? What is Rob’s biggest advice to others when thinking about the person they partner with?

4.) How does Rob think about board construction? What have been some of Rob’s biggest lessons in really using your board to get the most out of them? What works well for this? What does not work? How can founders create this level of relationship with their board members? Should founders direct their ask to specific individuals when soliciting help from their board?

5.) Why does Rob believe that they have next to no attrition of employees at Scoop? What have been some of Rob’s biggest lessons when it comes to both culture creation and maintenance? How does Rob think leaders can invest more in their employees? What does this look like? Where do many go wrong or misallocate?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Rob’s Fave Book: The Wheel of Time

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

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