20VC: Why The Days of Spray and Pray at Seed Are Over, How To Compete In A World of Sequoia Seed Funds & Why Price Doesn’t Matter with Dan Scheinman, Angel Investor @ Zoom & Arista Networks

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Dan Scheinman is one of the West Coast’s leading angel investors with a portfolio including the likes of Zoom.us, Tango.me, TomFoolery (acquired by Yahoo) and Arista Networks, where he also sits on the board. Prior to angel investing, Dan spent 18 years at Cisco in numerous roles including Senior Vice President of Corporate Development where he rebuilt corp dev as a growth enabler for Cisco. Dan was also the Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Cisco Media Solutions Group (CMSG), an internal startup which successfully developed and marketed a hosted software.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Dan made his way into the world of angel investing following leading the M&A and Corp Dev teams at Cisco?

2.) Why does Dan believe that the days of spray and pray angel investing at seed are over? What does the re-entrance of large funds like Sequoia back into seed investing mean for angels and early-stage VCs? How must the early stage alter their approach with the re-entering of these giants?

3.) Why does Dan believe that the No 1 destroyer of value in a VC portfolio is founder drama? How does this lead his thinking when assessing opportunities? How can this be mitigated? Why does Dan believe it is much harder for people over 35 to raise VC funding?

4.) Why does Dan believe that in the best deals price does not matter? What opportunities has Dan passed on a deal due to price, what have been his subsequent learnings? How does Dan approach the aspect of reserve allocation? What is the decision-making process around reserves? What are the reasons he would not take his pro-rata? How does he communicate this to founding teams?

5.) Why are incumbents no longer so willing to acquire for technology and talent? What problems do these early-stage acquisitions cause for their internal dynamics and culture? When done, why are these early-stage acquisitions less and less friendly for the early investors of the company being acquired?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Dan’s Fave Book: Moneyball

Dan’s Most Recent Investment: Cycognito

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

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