20VC: Lessons Learned Scaling PillPack from Seed to Amazon Acquisition, Why Investors Should Spend More Time Assessing Human Capital Risk Taken by Founders & The Right Way To Think About Capital Efficiency in Scaling with David Frankel, Managing Partner @ Founder Collective

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David Frankel is Managing Partner @ Founder Collective, one of the leading seed funds of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Uber, PillPack, Coupang, Hotel Tonight, Venmo, Buzzfeed and many more incredible companies. David himself sits on the board of PillPack, Olo, Adhawk and SeatGeek. Prior to founding Founder Collective, David was the Co-Founder and CEO of Internet Solutions, one of the largest ISP providers in Africa. This led to his entrance into angel investing where he enjoyed immense success investing in the likes of Chris Dixon’s Hunch and Alex Rampell’s TrialPay, just to name a few.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How David made his way into the world of startups and angel investing from founding Africa’s largest ISP provider and how that led to his founding of Founder Collective?

2.) Does David agree with Andy McLoughlin on the inherent mindset shift required when moving from angel to institutional investor? What does David believe is the key to making a new venture partnership work well in the early days? How was the process between him and Eric Paley? What were some of the core challenges/ highlights and breakthroughs?

3.) What does founder-market fit truly mean to David? Why does David believe it is one of the most crucial elements to look for in all investment opportunities? How was this so perfectly evident in the case of Elliot and TJ @ PillPack? How does David navigate the balance between the perfectness of the fit and the investability of the market?

4.) From watching TJ and Elliot at PillPack, what does David believe the truly special founders do to continuously attract the best talent? When does David believe is the right time to really build out the exec team? How did Elliot and TJ align their scaling of the org chart with the growth of the business so well?

5.) How does David think about the lack of free and open distribution in acquiring new customer in a capital efficient manner today? Why does David believe the companies of the future will be advantaged in distribution? In what shape and form can this advantage take? How does David think about the right time to put the pedal to the metal and aggressively grow?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

David’s Fave Book: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

David’s Most Recent Investment: Adhawk

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

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

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20VC: Techstars Founder David Cohen on Why Seed Investing Is A Different Asset Class To Venture, What Makes The Best And The Worst Board Members & Why Every Company Has To Have A Pessimist In The Room

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David Cohen is the Founder and co-CEO of Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed. To date, David has backed hundreds of startups including the likes of Uber, SendGrid, Twilio, ClassPass, PillPack and more. In total, these investments have gone on to create more than $80B in value. Prior to Techstars, David was a co-founder of Pinpoint Technologies which was acquired by ZOLL Medical Corporation in 1999. Later, David was the founder and CEO of earFeeder, a music service that was sold to SonicSwap. If that was not enough, David is also theco-author (with Brad Feld) of Do More Faster; Techstars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How David made his way from, his words “geeky hacker” to the founder of one of the world’s largest accelerators, Techstars and investor in multiple unicorns?

2.) What does David mean when he says that when assessing founders he studies “the moment of integrity”? What does he want to see from founders in those moments? What are some potential red flags? If a negative response, what are the subsequent actions an investor must take in this situation?

3.) How does David think about the right time to establish a board? What are the benefits of establishing your board with the seed round? What does David believe is the key to highly efficient boards? How has David changed as a board member over the years? Why does David believe, when building a company, “you always have to have a pessimist in the room”?

4.) When negotiating deals, what does David mean when he says “the terms must match the story”? How does David determine between a bridge and a bridge to nowhere? What can investors do to protect themselves if the targets of the business are not met and they have an uncapped note in place? How should they communicate this?

5.) Techstars today invests in over 500 companies per year, how does David think about reserve allocation across the portfolio? How does David feel about stack ranking portfolio co’s quarterly and concentrating capital accordingly? Why is this not effective? Why should seed and angel investing be an entirely different asset class to VC?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

David’s Fave Book: The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life

David’s Most Recent Investment: Ordermark

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

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

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: Why Partners Are There To Save Each Other From Themselves, Why Effective Reserve Allocation Is The Hardest Question In Venture & What Makes The Truly Special Board Members with Jeff Fagnan, Founding Partner @ Accomplice

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Jeff Fagnan is Founding Partner @ Accomplice, one of the East Coast’s leading early-stage funds with a portfolio including the likes of AngelList, PillPack (acq by Amazon), Freshbooks, Hopper, Secret Escapes and many more incredible companies. Accomplice is also unique as it is a platform builder creating incredible initiatives such as Spearhead, Maiden Lane and Boston Syndicates, really moving the needle in seeding local ecosystems. As for Jeff he is well known as a founding investor, working with most of his portfolio since inception, sometimes as a co-founder including Veracode (Sold to CA Technologies‍). Jeff also sits on the board of AngelList, PillPack, InsightSquared, Hopper, Freshbooks and more.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jeff made his way into the world of VC from consulting over 18 years ago? How did his experience of the bubble influence Jeff’s mindset and thinking?

2.) What did Jeff learn about building an optimal venture partnership with the transition from the 23 partner Atlas to the tight-knit Accomplice? Where does Jeff believe most venture partnerships go wrong today? What does Jeff believe is the right size partnership in venture? Why does Jeff believe that partners are there to save each other from themselves?

3.) How did Jeff’s experience with Atlas effect his views on portfolio construction? Why does Jeff advocate for the model of raising $200m every 2.5 years for a pure seed strategy? How does Jeff think about building an effective reserve strategy? Why does Jeff not believe pro-rata should be guaranteed? Why does Jeff believe force ranking a portfolio is dangerous?

4.) Jeff believes the best VCs are able to manage 2 things, what are those 2 things? From his 18 years on boards, what does Jeff believe makes the truly special board member? Who is the best he has worked with and why? How does Jeff look to gain the balance of being both proactive to opportunities and reactive to inbound?

5.) Accomplice has recently made it’s foray into the West Coast, what was the thinking behind that move? How does Accomplice think about establishing mindshare as a new entrant in a hotly contested environment? What does Jeff believe is the key to successful geographic expansion in venture?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Jeff’s Fave Book: Where The Wild Things Are 

Jeff’s Most Recent Investment: Perch

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.

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20VC: Why Founders Should Not Focus On Top Line Valuation, Why Capital Efficiency Is Key To Returns And Investment Success & Why Despite Popular Thought, $100m Is An Exciting Exit For VC with Micah Rosenbloom, Managing Partner @ Founder Collective

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Micah Rosenbloom is Managing Partner @ Founder Collective, one of the leading seed funds in the world with investments in Uber, Buzzfeed, Makerbot, PillPack, Coupang and Cruise, just to name a few. As for Micah, prior to VC with Founder Collective, his career was varied starting as a Hollywood agent before becoming a serial entrepreneur founding 3 companies with the last, a successful exit alongside his now Partner Eric Paley with Brontes Technology. Micah also is a Board Member with Sequoia Funded Dia and Co and board observer with both MoveWith and Sense360.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Micah made the move from Hollywood agent to leading seed stage VC?

2.) Why does Micah believe it is wrong to have themes to invest against? Why does he believe that the most interesting businesses can be found in weird and wonderful places?

3.) Why does Micah believe it is a problem for founders to focus exclusively on top line valuation? Why does Micah disagree with the common notion that a $100m exit is not exciting for VC?

4.) Why does Micah believe it is wrong for founders to build their company for the next round? Why does Micah disagree with Jason Lemkin in stating, ‘the best investors know the benchmarks clearly for the next round’.

5.) How does Micah deal with the fire hose of activities inherent within venture? How does he prioritise those activities? What thesis does he base all his decisions around?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Micah’s Fave Book: Thinking Fast and Slow

Micah’s Most Recent Investment: Skysafe

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

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

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20 VC: Fred Destin, General Partner @ Accel

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Fred Destin is General Partner at Accel in London where he focuses on consumer and software investments. He is the lead investor and board member at Deliveroo, Pillpack (featured in ep: 89 with Eric Paley) and KNC. Prior to Accel, he was a partner at Atlas Venture where he worked with with companies like Zoopla (public), Secret Escapes, Integral Ad Science, Dailymotion (acquired by Orange), PriceMinister (acquired by Rakuten) and others.

A special thank you to Mattermark for providing all the data displayed in today’s show and you can find out more about Mattermark here! 
In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Fred made his way into the world of startups and investing?

2.) What is it like investing in rocketships like Deliveroo and PillPack?

3.) What are the reasons most startups fail at the seed stage? What are the most common reasons that founders get fired?

4.) Why does Fred believe raising a Series B so tough? Is it the embodiment of the funding barbell?

5.) What are Fred’s thoughts on VC founder alignment? Why does Fred deliberately cause tension between a founder prior to making an investment? In what form does this take?

6.) When I asked Fred for topics he was interested in, he gave me a list and one of them, I have never had suggested before and it is ‘Why are VC’s so schizo’? What does Fred mean?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Episode:
Fred’s Fave Blog or Newsletter: The Atlantic, Tech.eu
Fred’s Most Recent Investment: Deliveroo
As always you can follow The Twenty Minute VCHarry and Fred 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!