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

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