FF 012: Acquired by Microsoft for $200m with Javier Soltero @ Microsoft


Javier Soltero is Corporate Vice President of Outlook @ Microsoft. This position arose due to Javier’s startup, Acompli, being acquired by Microsoft for $200m in 2014. Prior to Acompli, Javier spent a year at Redpoint Ventures, where he assisted in helping the firm extend their reach into both enterprise and mobile markets. However, Javier’s entrepreneurial career did not start with Acompli, as he co-founded Hyperic, which he bought for $1 and within 5 years turned into a $10m+ revenue generating company.

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In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Javier start his entrepreneurial career and what were the origins of Acompli?

2.) What was Javier’s biggest takeaway from the failure of his first startup, back by Sequoia?

3.) How did Javier control his burn rate once large amounts of VC money was in his company?

4.) How does Javier approach product market fit?

5.) How did Javier meet his investors for Accompli and how did Javier find the fundraising process?

6.) What were Javier’s reasons for selling Acompli? Was there any conflict with his investors in selling the company?


Items Mentioned In Today’s Episode:

Javier’s Fave Book: 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez 

Javier’s Fave Newsletter or Blog: Wait but Why?

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

If you would like to see a more colourful side to Harry with many a mojito session, you can follow Harry on Instagram here!






20 VC 070: Do Investors in California Outperform The Rest of The World with Eric ver Ploeg @ Recursive Capital


Eric ver Ploeg has sat on both sides of the table as an entrepreneur and a VC. Eric started his career as an entrepreneur with the founding of Adknowledge, the 1st internet ad serving company, which was sold for $193m. He then went on to Angara, a Kleiner Perkins backed startup which led to his move into venture with VantagePoint, where he led VantagePoint’s investment activities in the mobile arena, leading over $160m in investments. Eric is also a fantastic writer and his articles can be found on Medium here!


In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Eric made the move from Angara, Kleiner Perkins company, to his role in venture?

2.) Did being a founder affect how Eric interacted and investing in startups?

3.) How can founders learn the skills of interacting with their investors and board?

4.) What makes the hot companies, hot and the others struggle?

5.) Does Eric agree with startups raising a ‘warchest’ of funds if they can? How can startups determine what is the right amount to raise?

6.) Why are SF angels so much more successful than other investors? What do they have that other do not?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Eric’s Fave Book: The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, Crossing The Chasm by Geoffrey Moore

Eric’s Fave Newsletter or Blog: Tomasz Tunguz

Research Provided by CB Insights

As always you can follow Harry, The Twenty Minute VC and Eric on Twitter here?

To see a more colourful side to Harry’s personality and a few mojito sessions, you can follow Harry on Instagram here!

20 VC 069: Jeff Clavier, King of Seed Funding @ SoftTech VC on Brad Feld, Fitbit and Standout Startups


Jeff Clavier is the Founder and Managing Partner of SoftTech VC, one of the most established seed VC firms in Silicon Valley, having closed 150 investments since 2004. An early angel investor in Web 2.0, Jeff and his team have backed successful startups like Mint (Intuit), Milo (eBay), Bleacher Report (Turner), Fitbit, Eventbrite, Sendgrid, Postmates and Vungle. The portfolio has also seen acquisitions by Groupon, Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo and AOL. The firm is currently investing out of its $85M Fund IV, making 16 commitments of $850K per year in mobile/cloud saas, consumer hardware, marketplaces and healthcare IT.


In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jeff made his entry into the world of VC?

2.) In a time when hardware was not heavily invested in, what attracted Jeff to Fitbit?

3.) How did Jeff convince Brad to invest in Fitbit?

4.) What can startups do to standout in the crowded market that exists today?

5.) What do startups need to have to get a meeting with you at SoftTech?

6.) What VCs does Jeff most like to invest alongside?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Episode:

Jeff’s Fave Book: June by Gerbrand Bakker

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

For a more colourful look into Harry’s life, you can follow him on Instagram here!

FF 011: How To Smash It On Indiegogo with Ben Nader, CEO and Co-Founder @ Butterfleye


Ben Nader is Founder and CEO at Butterfleye, the most advanced wireless home monitoring system. In other words, Google Nest meets Dropcam. Butterfleye’s investors include some of the biggest and most prominent names in the industry including our friends and past guests Brad Feld and Jason Calacanis. Butterfleye currently have a campaign on Indiegogo, which you can support here!


In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Ben come up with Butterfleye?

2.) How does Butterfleye differentiate itself from other competitors like Dropcam?

3.) How much better does a new product have to be to beat the existing incumbents?

4.) Does Ben prefer mass market testing or small targeted testing with fewer individuals?

5.) How did Ben get his first customers?

6.) What has Ben done to drive the success of his Indiegogo campaign? What tips would he give to founders looking to raise on these platforms?

7.) How did Ben get Jason Calacanis as an angel? How did Ben find the fundraising process?


Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Ben’s Fave Book: The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho

Ben’s Fave Newsletter or Blog: Brad Feld’s Feld.com, Jason Calacanis’ Launch Ticker

Ben’s Fave Productivity Apps: Asana, Sunrise Calendar, Calm Meditation App

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

If you would like to see a more colourful side to Harry with some mojito sessions to come, you can follow him on Instagram here!




20 VC 068: Why Now Is The Best Time To Be An Entrepreneur with Sean Seton-Rogers @ PROfounders Capital


Sean Seton-Rogers is a founding Partner at PROfounders Capital, a venture capital fund for entrepreneurs powered by entrepreneurs. Their investors and principals number some of the best-known players within the digital media space — people who have built some of Europe’s most successful companies. Prior to PROfounders, Sean has been investing in technology companies across both the US and Europe, when he was at both Balderton Capital and Commonwealth Capital Ventures in Boston. In addition to the PROfounders portfolio companies, he has in the past worked closely with others such as Bebo, Wonga.com, and ConstantContact.


In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Sean make his entry into the VC world at the peak of the first tech bubble?

2.) What was the biggest lesson Sean learnt from experiencing the bubble imploding?

3.) Why are we seeing this trend of US VC funds investing in Europe?

4.) What are the key drivers to the growth of the European tech ecosystem?

5.) Why is there a serious decline in the amount of Series C rounds, only 7 in Q2 2015?

6.) Is Sean concerned by the rise of Crowdfunding? Does Sean see it as a competing finance model to VC?

7.) Do investors on Crowdfunding platforms experience the same deal terms as VCs?


Items Mentioned In Today’s Episode:

Sean’s Fave Book: Robert Cialdini: Influence, The Psychology of Persuasion, Neal Stevenson: Cryptonomicon

Sean’s Fave Blog or Newsletter: Benedict Evans Newsletter

Sean’s Must Have Productivity Tools: Evernote, Google Apps

Sean’s Most Recent Investment: Made.com


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

For a more colourful view of Harry and maybe a few mojito sessions follow Harry on Instagram here! 


20 VC 067: Scaling Startups Into Unicorns with Atomico’s Mattias Ljungman and Carolina Brochado


Mattias Ljungman launched Atomico in 2006 alongside Niklas Zennström. In that time, Mattias has been involved with exits including Supercell (sold a majority stake to SoftBank), 6Wunderkinder (acquired by Microsoft in 2015), The Climate Corporation (acquired by Monsanto for $1.1B in 2013), Xobni (acquired by Yahoo! in 2013). Mattias works closely with a number of portfolio companies on their expansion, including Truecaller, Klarna, Hailo, and ChemistDirect. Prior to launching Atomico, Mattias was the head of investments at CLS Holdings where he was responsible for the sale of Sit Up TV for $360 million in 2005.


Carolina is Vice President @ Atomico, working on sourcing, evaluation and due diligence of investments. Carolina is based in London, however she travels frequently to Latin America to evaluate opportunities for Atomico to help companies in the region to scale. Prior to Atomico, Carolina started her career at Merrill Lynch’s investment banking division before moving to private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners.


Did you like the double guest show today? If so click here!
If you prefer a single guest click here!

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Mattias and Carolina made their way into the VC industry with Atomico?

2.) How important is it for VCs to have entrepreneurial backgrounds?

3.) What advice would Mattias and Carolina give to anyone looking to enter the VC industry?

4.) What is Atomico’s selection criteria? Average cheque size? Round preference? Sector preference?

5.) Why is now the best time to be a European entrepreneur? What has changed?

6.) What does it take for a tech ecosystem to thrive and grow?

7.) What is required for startups to scale from small markets to mass market adoption?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Mattias’ Fave Book: The Girl Who Saved The King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson

Carolina’s Fave Book: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt

Mattias’ Fave Blog or Newsletter: Benedict Evans

Carolina’s Fave Newsletter: The Skim, Dan Primack: TermSheet

Atomics’s Most Used Productivity Tools: Wunderlist, Evernote, Pocket, SmartNews

Atomics’s Most Recent Investments: TrueCaller, GymPass

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

For a more colourful image of Harry and maybe some mojito sessions, follow Harry on Instagram here!

FF 010: Becoming Europe’s Hottest Startup with Carl Waldekranz, Co-Founder and CEO @ Tictail


Carl Waldekranz is the CEO and co-founder of Tictail. With the vision of creating the worlds most used and loved e-commerce platform Tictail has been called the Tumblr of e-commerce and been celebrated as one of Europe’s hottest startups. The vibrant community now hosts more than 85,000 stores on their service. Due to this phenomenal growth Tictail recently closed a $22m Series B from Balderton, Acton, Thrive and Creandum.

Before Tictail, Carl cofounded and sold a digital agency called Super Strikers where he as an Art Director helped develop the brand identity for companies such as Spotify, Wrapp and Bambuser together with co-founder Kaj Drobin. Carl also founded Keyflow, a mobile guest list app company.



In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) What were Carl’s entrepreneurial origins and how did Tictail get started?

2.) What does Carl’s idea creation process look like? How does Carl brainstorm?

3.) Tictail now sells 2m products on their platform but how did they get their first customers?

4.) At what moment in the Tictail journey was Carl the most worried or frightened?

5.) What would Carl say are the essentials for funding? How did Carl meet his investors? What is the difference between the different funding rounds for startups?

6.) Why did Carl pitch other startups before pitching VCs?

7.) Question from Daniel Waterhouse @ Balderton: How has Tictail maintained the magic company culture in Sweden, whilst expanding to NY?

8.) If Carl could start his time with Tictail again, is there anything he would have done differently?


Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Carl’s Fave Book: The Score Takes Care of Itself, My Philosophy of Leadership by Bill Walsh

Carl’s Fave Blog or Newsletter: First Round Capital Blog

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

If you would like to see a more colourful side to Harry and a few mojito sessions, you can follow Harry on Instagram here!

20 VC 066: FOUNDRY GROUP WEEK 1: Seth Levine


Seth Levine is one of the most successful VCs on the planet having Co-Founded Foundry Group, Seth has made investments in the likes of Fitbit (IPO), Admeld (acquired by Google), Zynga (IPO) and Gnip (acquired by Twitter). The Foundry Group now has 5 funds, 4 early stage and 1 growth fund, totalling over $1bn in assets. Prior to Foundry Group, Seth started his career in venture with Mobius Venture Capital and lead the IPO of FirstWorld in 2000. Seth writes an awesome blog on technology, venture capital and colorado at www.sethlevine.com.


In Today’s Show You Will Learn:

1.) Where it all started for Seth and how he made his move into the technology and venture industry?

2.) Question from James Altucher: Do you have to be in Silicon Valley to get the best access to deal flow?

3.) How has Foundry group developed since 2006 as VC firm?

4.) Why are all funds raised by Foundry the same, $225m? How is VC fundraising the same as startup fundraising?

5.) Question from Elizabeth Kraus: How does Seth stay motivated having enjoyed so much financial success with Foundry Group?

6.) What areas of tech is Seth most excited about?


Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Most Used Apps: Slack, VoxerDarkSky

Seth’s Fave Book: The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Seth’s Fave Blog or Newsletter: Hidden Brain

Seth Most Recent Investment: Sourcepoint

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

For a more colourful view of Harry’s world and maybe a few mojito sessions, check out Harry’s Instagram here!

20 VC 065: FOUNDRY GROUP WEEK 1: Brad Feld


Brad Feld is one of the world’s leading VCs having Co-Founded Foundry Group, Brad has made investments in the likes of Zynga, Makerbot and Fitbit, just to name a few. Brad is also Co-Founder of Techstars, one of the world’s most prominent startup accelerators, whose portfolio companies have raised over $1.3bn in funding. If that wasn’t enough Brad is also a best selling author having co-athoured Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and VC, alongside Dick Costolo and Startup Communities: Building An Entrepreneurial Ecosystem In Your Community. In addition to his investing and writing, Brad has been active with several non-profit organizations and currently is chair of the National Center for Women & Information Technology and co-chair of Startup Colorado. Brad is a nationally recognized speaker on the topics of venture capital investing and entrepreneurship and writes the widely read blogs Feld Thoughts, Startup Revolution, and Ask the VC.


In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Brad made his move from entrepreneurship to VC and later co-founding, The Foundry Group.

2.) Does Brad agree with the view that it is important for entrepreneurs to fail?

3.) Why did Brad turn Fitbit down on 1st opportunity and what changed the 2nd time?

4.) What gets Brad excited in a startup? What areas are Brad most interested in?

5.) What is the main characteristic that makes the Foundry Group the huge success it is?


Items Mentioned In Today’s Episode:

Brad’s Fave  Business Books:

1.) Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig

2.) Hot Seat by Dan Shapiro

Brad’s Fave Blog or Newsletter: Fred Wilson’s Blog, Dan Primack: TermSheet, MatterMark Daily

Brad’s Most Recent Investments: GlowForge: The 3D Laser Printer, Sphero

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

FF 009: How To Leverage Your Connections To Grow Your Business with Sarah Schupp, Founder & CEO @ University Parent


Sarah Schupp is the CEO and founder of UniversityParent. UniversityParent is the #1 site for college parents to find everything they need to help their children succeed. The company, which began with a single print guide for the University of Colorado Boulder, now prints parent guides for more than two hundred colleges, features information for 3,000 colleges and universities on its website, and distributes a weekly e-newsletter. In May 2014, UniversityParent celebrated its 10th anniversary and was named to the Mercury100, BizWest’s ranking of the 100 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in Boulder Valley.

Sarah has been named one of Inc. Magazine’s Top 30 Entrepreneurs Under 30, Businessweek’s top 25 Entrepreneurs under 25, and one of the Denver Business Journal’s Top Women Under 40. She’s been named a “Player to Watch” by the Gates Foundation, and was recognized by the White House and the United Nations as one of the country’s top young entrepreneurs.


In Today’s Show You Will Learn:

How the idea for UniversityParent came about?

How did Sarah manage to juggle a growing business with a University degree?

How individuals can leverage their university network to grow their business?

How important is it for entrepreneurs to be surrounded by like minded entrepreneurs?

In what circumstances should founders confide and not confide in their team?

How does Sarah as a leader show her support for her team?

How has Sarah found the fundraising process and what would Sarah change if she could start over?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Harry’s Fave Book: The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

Sarah’s Fave Book: The Alchemist by Paolo Coehlo

Sarah’s Fave Newsletter or Blog: Think With Google

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

20 VC 064: Finding Exceptional People with Big Ideas with Nick Beim, Partner @ Venrock


Nick Beim is a Partner @ Venrock where he focuses on internet, mobile, SaaS, big data and fintech investments. Nick blogs on the economics of innovation at www.nickbeim.com. Nick led the initial venture investments in a number of pioneering consumer internet companies including the Gilt Groupe, and Care.com (IPO). He also led the initial investments in a number of today’s leading big data innovators including Dataminr and Intent Media. Prior to joining Venrock, Nick was a General Partner at Matrix Partners and worked in the technology groups at McKinsey and Goldman Sachs. Nick’s primary passion outside of venture investing is international development, in particular accelerating international development through entrepreneurship. Nick serves on the board of Endeavor, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs in developing countries that Tom Friedman has called “the best anti-poverty program of all.”

In 2011, Forbes named Nick one of the “Elite 8″ to watch in Venture Capital.


In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Nick made his move into venture and started a bidding contest between two funds a bank for him!
  • How Nick got to be involved with DataMinr and how Nick believes society will use data in the future?
  • How does Nick standout in the super competitive rounds? What is Nick’s value add?
  • Is it still harder for female founders to get VC funding? Why?
  • What can be done to improve this imbalance in the tech ecosystem?
  • What is impact investing? How do you balance LP returns with social impact improvements?
  • Our friend @ August Capital, David Hornik asks Nick, what is the difference between investing in NY compared to SF?


Items Mentioned in Today’s Show:

Nick’s Fave Book: Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Nick’s Fave Newsletter or Blog: Reid Hoffman, Essays on Entrepreneurship

20 VC 063: What It Takes To Standout In A Crowded Market with Ezra Galston @ Chicago Ventures


Ezra Galston is a VC @ Chicago Ventures, where he focuses on consumer facing and marketing tech investments and is actively involved with Blitsy, BloomNation, Kapow Events, Luxury Garage Sale, Shiftgig, SpotHero, and Zipments. Ezra’s thoughts on startups, have been published in the Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, VentureBeat and Re/code.
Prior to Chicago Ventures, Ezra was a Young Entrepreneur at Foundation Capital. Before business school, Ezra served as the Director of Marketing for CardRunners Gaming – the parent company of CardRunners, Hold’em Manager and DraftDay – and before then earned a living as a professional poker player. If that wasn’t enough he is also the author of one of our fave VC blogs www.breakingvc.com.


In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Ezra became a Poker Player and then transitioned to the world of Venture Capital?
  • What is the mission with Chicago Ventures? Average ticket size? Preferred sector?
  • How important is it for startups to be close to their investors, geographically and relationship wise?
  • For marketplace startups, what metrics does Ezra really deep dive on?
  • With the likes of Instacart raising huge rounds, why are we seeing this huge increase in food tech?
  • In hugely crowded markets, how does Ezra sort the wood from the trees?
  • What advice would Ezra recommend to individuals looking to enter the VC industry?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Episode:

Ezra’s Fave Book: The Little Prince

Ezra’s Fave Blog or Newsletter: Stratechery by Ben Thompson, Carpool.vc

Ezra’s Fave Productivity Tools: Rapportive, Bitmoji

Ezra’s Most Recent Investment: Luxury Garage Sale, Attendant

Bill Gurley: 10 Factors To Consider When Evaluating Digital Marketplaces

HungryRoot: Charlie O’Donnell, Brooklyn Bridge Ventures

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

FF 08: Pierre Valade, CEO @ Sunrise on Being Acquired By Microsoft for $100m and Building Beautiful Products


Pierre Valade is Co-Founder and CEO @ Sunrise, the beautiful calendar app, acquired by Microsoft for $100m in February 2015, where he now works on Outlook Mobile for Microsoft. Prior to Sunrise, Pierre worked as a UX designer @ Foursquare following a successful hackathon in which he built an app in 6 hours, called Agora. Agora impressed Foursquare Founder, Dennis Crowley to the extent that Pierre was hired in the same month. As a result of Pierre’s success he was named on the Innovators Under 35.


In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Pierre came up with the idea for Sunrise?
  • What made Sunrise standout above all calendar apps as the best calendar?
  • What features are most requested by Sunrise users?
  • How was the design process in altering the design from a iPhone to a Apple Watch?
  • What was Pierre and Sunrise approach to testing and iterating products?
  • Having raised VC funding prior to acquisition, how did Pierre meet his initial investors, what was his fundraising experience like? Were there any surprises or challenges?
  • How did the Microsoft Acquisition come about? How has Pierre’s role and Sunrise changed since the acquisition?


Items Mentioned In Today’s Episode:

Pierre’s Fave Book: Zero To One: Peter Thiel

Pierre Most Impactful Purchase: iPhone 6

Pierre’s Fave Newsletter or Blog: Stratechery by Ben Thompson

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

20VC 062: Shaking Up London’s VC Industry with Fede Pirzio-Biroli, Founder @ Playfair Capital

Fede Pirzio-Biroli is Founder @ Playfair Capital, a leading investor in seed level, technology based startups. Fede founded Playfair Capital from his first investment in December of 2010 and the portfolio quickly grew to 20 investments by the end of 2012, including the likes of Duedil, AppearHere and On Device Research. During this period, Fede was an angel in residence at White Bear Yard. After working closely with Passion Capital, he built the Playfair Capital team and moved into Warner Yard, Playfair’s current home. Prior to Playfair, he spent several years in Africa working for the UN, Oxfam and PharmaSecure, after which he lobbied government and large aid organisations to increase the transparency of aid flows.


In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Fede made his move into angel investing and then transitioned to form his own fund?

2.) What is the mission at Playfair? What is the average ticket size? Does Playfair have any preferred sectors?

3.) What do startups need to have to get the Playfair stamp of approval? What are Playfair looking for?

4.) How has Fede seen the seed funding environment change in London?

5.) How does Fede and Playfair stave off competition for the ‘hot’ startups looking to raise VC money?

6.) What benefits do founders get for working in a co-working space? How important is it for VCs to offer this service?

7.) How does Fede create a united company culture in a co-working space with so many different companies?


Items Mentioned In Today’s Episode:

Fede’s Fave Book: The Circle by David Eggers

Fede Fave Newsletter or Blog: Dojo, AngelList

Fede’s Most Recent Investment: Knytton (Techstars London W14)

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

20 VC 061: Roxanne Varza on Successfully Pitching VCs in 10 Minutes

Roxanne Varza is currently the startup lead for Microsoft in France, running both Microsoft Ventures Paris and Bizspark. Prior to Microsoft, Roxanne was Editor of TechCrunch France and has been a guest author for the likes of The Telegraph and Business Insider. Roxanne is also the Co-Founder of Tech.eu, one of the few publications to cover the European tech industry as a whole, with the brilliant Robin Wauters. If that wasn’t enough Roxanne is also the Co-Founder of Girls In Tech both in Paris and London, which aims to raise the visibility of women in technology,entrepreneurship and innovation though monthly events, leadership programmes and much more. Roxanne has won a range of accolade including Top 30 Women Under 30 In Tech, Coolest 25 Women in Tech and 10 Women Shaking Up Tech In Their 30s.


In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Roxanne made her move into the tech industry and then made the move from TechCrunch to running Microsoft’s Accelerator in Paris?
  • What would Roxanne recommend to people in tech contemplating moving countries?
  • What can be done to unite the Euopean tech communities together?
  • What is the mission at Microsoft Ventures? What is the deal? What are the benefits?
  • In the 10 minute pitch to Roxanne, what does Microsoft want to hear?
  • How does Microsoft determine product-market fit?
  • What does the increase in US funds entering the European market suggest?
  • What are the benefits for startups of having global investors?
  • What can startups do to increase their media exposure in the sea of new startups?
  • How can founders be successful through submitting guest posts?


Items Mentioned in Today’s Show:

Roxanne’s Fave Book: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Roxanne’s Reading Material: News.me + Digg

Fred Wilson: Investing In Startups In Europe

Microsoft Ventures Alumni: Zocdoc: Find a Doctor, Xobni: Your Smarter Address Book Is Waiting

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

Founders Friday 007: Founding Europe’s Largest Mobile Trading App with Nick Bortot, Founder @ Bux

Nick Bortot

Nick Bortot is the Founder & CEO at Bux, Europe’s largest mobile trading platform with an incredible 175,000 active users. In his former life he was one of the driving forces behind the Dutch market leader in online brokerage, BinckBank. There he held several commercial positions before he was elected member of the executive board. After having spent five years in the boardroom, Nick started dreaming about a new company that would make the financial markets both fun and exciting. This dream turned into BUX. Bud has attained many incredible mentions and awards including being named on the Fintech50 2015. You can also check out their first TV add right here!


In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Nick made the move from broking to founding Bux?
  • What are the benefits of being a slightly older founder?
  • What Nick would recommend to anyone looking for a technical co-founder?
  • How to build a team of individuals with complimentary skills?
  • What are the drivers for the incredible growth to 175,000 users?
  • How is Nick planning to convert an audience of non trader to start trading?
  • What advice would Nick give founders entering into heavily regulated markets?
  • How Bux have built a great brand in a competitive market?
  • Having raised funds from Orange Growth Capital, what was surprising and challenging for Nick about raising angel and VC money?
  • What would Nick do differently if he was raising funds again?
  • Does Nick agree with the concept of building a ‘war chest’ of funds?

Items Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Nick’s Fave Book: Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography

Nick’s Fave Newsletter or Blog: VICE News

Nick’s Fave App: BRAINTOSS: Toss your thoughts straight into your inbox

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

20 VC 060: 12 Acquisitions, $1bn In Exits, Mike Jones, Former MySpace CEO on Life At Science Inc

Mike Jones

Mike Jones is the Founder and CEO at Science Inc. a disruptive media, marketing and commerce company that creates, invests, acquires and scales successful digital businesses. Their incredible portfolio includes the likes of Medium, DollarShaveClub and DogVacay and their leadership is responsible for an astonishing 12 acquisitions and over $1bn in exits. Prior to Science Inc, Mike was the CEO at Myspace, where he was responsible for the relaunch, one of the most high-profile turn-around challenges in the industry, before selling MySpace to SpecificMedia on behalf of NewsCorp. Mike is also an active early stage investor having personally invested in over 30 startup businesses including Klout, Betterworks, Formspring, ShoeDazzle to name a few.


In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Mike began his entrepreneurial career, how MySpace came about then how Mike made the move to Science Inc?

2.) What is the mission at Science, what does Science provide and how do they differ from the likes of YC and Techstars?

3.) Science have a specific methodology to identify the best startups and the best sectors. What is involved in this methodology? Has it changed since the start of Science?

4.) What can a startup founder do or show you to impress you? Are there any real red flags for you when meeting startup founders? What are the commonalities of the great founders?

5.) What is Science’s involvement with the companies, what are your key value adds at Science?

6.) On Twist Mike stated ‘growth is the most important thing, without growth there is no money’? What is Science’s strategy towards growth and what are the challenges posed by this need for growth?

Items Mentioned in Todays Episode:

Mike’s Fave Book: The Power of Habbit, Why We Do What We Do by Chris Duhigg

Mike’s Fave News Source: FlipBoard


20 VC 059: How To Approach VCs with Arteen Arabshahi, VC @ Karlin Ventures


Arteen Arabshahi is a VC at Karlin Ventures, where he specialises in enterprise software, commerce platforms, and marketplaces. Prior to Karlin Ventures, Arteen spearheaded the launch of Built In LA, an online community for digital entrepreneurs and innovators. However, his passion for startups flourished while helping run operations at Excelerate Labs, now Techstars Chicago. In today’s incredible interview we delve into the best strategies for contacting any VC you want, how to make the approach, how to deal with the emotional and psychological pressure of starting a company and the rise of marketplaces. When not with startups, Arteen sits on the board of TEDxVenice Beach and is a supporter of TWLOHA, a non-profit raising awareness and support for those struggling with mental health.

As always you can follow Harry, The Twenty Minute VC, Arteen and Karlin Ventures on Twitter right here!


In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Arteen made the jump into the world of Venture Capital, from originally wanting to be a plastic surgeon!!
  • How did Arteen approach VCs when applying for positions?
  • What did Arteen say in those emails to achieve such a high response rate?
  • What tools did Arteen use to ensure he got the VCs real email address?
  • Does Arteen agree with the traditional routes into Venture: Startup Founder, Consultant, Investment Banking?
  • Why is Arteen so excited about marketplaces? Are there any in particular that Arteen is doubling down on?
  • How big a market does a market have to be to get Arteen excited?
  • What would Arteen advise founders potentially struggling from self doubt or lacking in confidence?
  • What mental health tools would Arteen recommend to help with this?
  • The biggest red flags for Arteen when being pitched to?

Items Mentioned in Today’s Episode:


FF 006: Acquired by Amazon, CEO @ Digg, EIR @ a16z and now Founder @ Pro.com with Matt Williams

Matt Williams is Founder and CEO of Pro.com. Prior to Pro.com, Matt served as entrepreneur-in-residence at Andreessen Horowitz, following his time at Digg where he led the complete overhaul of Digg which he joined as CEO in 2010 to rebuild the site from the ground up and contributed to its successful acquisition by Betaworks in 2012. Before Digg, Matt spent 12 years at Amazon where he managed Amazon’s Auctions and Marketplace, Community and Cross Merchandising, Tech Alliances, Web Store, and Consumer Payments divisions. Prior to Amazon, Matt founded and was the CEO of Livebid, which was acquired by Amazon in 1999.


In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Matt made his way into entrepreneurship and then later the VC world?

2.) How did LiveBid come about when Matt was only 23 and how did he build the product and the initial user base?

3.) What was the hardest aspect of the entire LiveBid journey and how did Matt overcome it?

4.) How did Matt’s life and work change moving from your own startup to working in a massive organization like amazon? What would Matt advise founders who have sold or are thinking of selling their companies to large corporations?

5.) Following a number of years at Amazon. How did you attempt to turn Digg around as CEO and was their anything you would have done differently?

6.) As EIR at Andreessen Horowitz what was it like, for Matt, working at a16z? Was there anything that surprised Matt about the move to venture?

7.) What would Matt say was the biggest lesson from working at these tech titans was? How has that affected how Matt runs Pro.com today?



20 VC 058: 10 Key Traits To Be A Successful Founder with David Wu, General Partner @ Maveron

David Wu is a General Partner at Maveron, which he joined in 2012 to help identify new investments in Web companies that have the potential to become leading consumer brands. He sourced and led Maveron’s investment, Eargo and Darby Smart, also serving on their board. David is very much founder focussed and you’ll often find him coaching entrepreneurs at top Bay Area incubators such as Y Combinator, AngelPad, 500 Startups, and Stanford’s StartX and was previously EIR at Redpoint Ventures. His close ties to the Silicon Valley entrepreneurial community have led him to invest personally in over 30 start-ups, including Practice Fusion, Postmates, Tile, Jaunt VR, and SeatMe.


In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How David made his move into the world of venture capital?
  • How David perceives the current seed funding environment?
  • What makes Stanford the breeding ground of tech unicorns that it is?
  • How to create a bay area style culture?
  • What is the most frequent problem David sees startups encounter and how do they overcome it?
  • How can entrepreneurs know which funding source to go for? Crowdfunding, VC, Angel?
  • Why should startups take seed VC money over angel money? What is the difference?
  • What are the key traits required to be a great founder?
  • How can products with early adopter usage transition to a mass market product?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

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

20 VC 057: The Investor Checklist with Nicolas Wittenborn

Did you know: The name Point Nine Capital originates from the 0.9 version of a product that is early but has great potential.

Nicolas Wittenborn is a VC at Point Nine Capital, one of the leading seed funds in Europe. Prior to Point Nine, Nicolas worked for the Team Europe Seed Fund. You can follow Nicolas’ incredible blog here, which include my favourite ever blog post, outlining the exemplar pitch deck that startups should follow!


In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Nicolas made the move from iPhone sales arbitrage to VC analyst!!
  • How big does a market have to be to get VCs excited?
  • Do VCs have preferences with regards to teams? Technical or not? Multiple founders or not?
  • At the Seed stage what do VCs expect in the product itself?
  • What are the key metrics investors look for when viewing startups for the 1st time?
  • What are the different types of competition and how can founders determine whether they are a real threat?
  • How can startups and mobile apps in particular, grow organically in the early stages?

Items Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

As always you can follow Harry, Nicolas, The Twenty Minute VC and Point Nine Capital right here!

Similarly if you want to see Harry in a more colourful light, head over to Instagram for copious amount of mojitos!

Founding WIRED 2014’s Winner, with Mutaz Qubbaj, Founder @ Squirrel


Mutaz Qubbaj is Founder @ Squirrel, a financial wellbeing platform that allows employees to  regain control of their financial lives. Mutual has celebrated much recent success with Squirrel having been named winner of WIRED 2014 and Pitch @ The Palace. Mutaz is also an expert on all things accelerator having been an alum at Barclays Techstars London with Squirrel, which you may remember from our interview with Greg Rogers, where Greg named Squirrel the next company to disrupt an industry.  Prior to Squirrel, Mutaz has had a financial career that includes an LBS Masters in Finance and more than a decade at Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and PIMCO as a trader, strategist and marketer.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Mutaz made his movement from banking to being a startup founder?
  • Was it difficult for Mutaz to leave the security of banking for the risky journey of entrepreneurship?
  • What would Mutaz advise anyone looking to make the jump into the world of entrepreneurship?
  • How did joining Techstars, help Squirrel as a company and Mutaz as a Founder?
  • What is the Barclays Techstars process like?
  • How can Founders decide which accelerator is right for them?
  • What red flags should founders look for when investigating accelerators?
  • How much equity do traditional accelerators take?
  • What tips does Mutaz have to get the most out of the accelerator experience?
  • How do individuals know when to give up the day job and become an entrepreneur?

Items Mentioned in Todays Show:

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

20 VC 056: The Life Cycle of Startups with Guy Turner @ Hyde Park VP


Quote of the Day: ‘Invest in people who do what they say they are going to do and have done what they said they would do’. Guy Turner, 20VC

Guy Turner is a Partner at Hyde Park Venture Partners where he focuses on fast growing companies run by ambitious entrepreneurs with disruptive ideas. All of his incredible findings can be found through his blog at vcwithme.co. Guy joined Hyde Park Venture Partners in 2011 from Boston Consulting Group where he focused on corporate strategy across a variety of industries; he started his investing career as an Associate and then actively investing Member of Hyde Park Angels in 2009. Guy has led investments in numerous B2B software companies and is a Director at Geofeedia, InContext Solutions and Iris Mobile. Guy is also a Siebel Scholar, Kauffman Fellow and a co-inventor on two US Patents.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Guy made his move into the investing industry?
  • How did Guy find the transition from academia to venture?
  • Why is it crucial for startups to innovate, test and sell quickly?
  • How can a startup determine whether their project is successful or if they should pivot?
  • What are the three steps to the 18 month runway, all startups need?
  • Do investors mind providing more financially to increase the runway?
  • What can startups do to maximise the hype surrounding their business?
  • Can hype ever be detrimental to a startup?
  • What are Guy’s preferences in terms of founders?
  • How can a startup know when VCs are subtly rejecting them?

Items Mentioned in Today’s Show:

  • Guy’s Fave Book: Thinking in Time
  • Guys Most Recent Investment: 250ok
  • FarmLogs

20 VC 055: Jonathon Triest @ Ludlow Ventures


Quote of the Day: ‘Advisors are the most crucial element to success for the young generation’. Jonathon Triest, 20 Min VC

Jonathon Triest is the Founder and Managing Partner of Ludlow Ventures and Sandwich Fund. Prior to launching Ludlow, Jonathon worked as creative director for New York’s Discovery Productions. He founded and operated Triest Group, a design firm with a deep UI/UX focus. In addition to his role at Ludlow, Jonathon is a Kauffman Fellow and a mentor at numerous technology accelerators including Silicon Valley’s Up West Labs, Cincinnati’s The Brandery, and San Francisco’s Highway 1. He is board member of The Trico Foundation and Venture for America.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Jonathon made his unorthodox way into starting his own fund at the age of 27?
  • What was Jonathon’s first investing strategy and how has it developed?
  • What Jonathon believes is wrong with the typical VC? How are Ludlow different?
  • How does Jonathon find the fundraising process as a VC?
  • Other than capital what are the benefits of fundraising?
  • How does Jonathon differentiate Ludlow from the huge amount of seed funds?
  • What are the benefits of accelerators for Jonathon and Ludlow?
  • How does Jonathon approach deal flow?
  • What does Jonathon look for in founders?
  • Does Jonathon have design input in his investments?
  • How important are advisors for the young generation coming into this community?
  • How Jonathon managed to convince the likes of Brad Feld and Eric Ries to mentor him?

Items Mentioned In Todays Show

Jonathon’s Fave Book: The Thief of Always by Clive Barker

Jonathon’s Most Recent InvestmentWrapify

Founders Friday 004: Life As A Non-Technical Co-Founder with Will Sacks, The Fertility King @ Kindara

Will Sacks is Co-Founder and CEO at Kindara, the fertility awareness app that provides tools to understand fertility and be in control of their own body. Kindara has achieved phenomenal success having significant press in the likes of Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, New York Times and Forbes. Their first product Kindara Fertility for iPhone has been ranked #1 on the App Store Medical Charts.  In this incredibly diverse conversation our talk ranges from wire framing and programming to vasectomies and uterus’, it’s a must listen!


In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • Why Will started Kindara and how he got the initial product off the ground, without being able to code?
  • Should Founders learn to code or learn how to be the best CEO they can be?
  • How and what was the wire framing process like? What advice does Will have for other non-technical co-founders?
  • How does Will feel being a male CEO for a female product?
  • How has Will created this community of incredibly engaged users?
  • How has Will managed to grow his audience so effectively?
  • What has Will learnt from raising $1.7m in angel and VC funding?
  • What is the hardest aspect of fundraising?
  • What advice would will give to a startup thinking of raising funds?
  • How is Will planning to transition into the world of hardware?
  • What theories of The Lean Startup did not work for Will?

Items Mentioned in Today’s Show:


20 VC 054: David Pakman @ Venrock on The Future Of The Music Industry


Quote of the Day: ‘A great entrepreneur has the ability to bend the world to their will’. David Pakman, 20VC

David Pakman is a Partner at Venrock, having spent the past 12 years as an internet entrepreneur. This includes David’s appointment as CEO of eMusic, the world’s leading digital retailer of independent music, second only to iTunes. Prior to joining eMusic, David co-founded Myplay in 1999, which he later sold, in 2001, to Bertelsmann’s ecommerce Group. Before Myplay, he was Vice President at N2K Entertainment, which created the first digital music download service. If that wasn’t enough David is also the co-creator of Apple Computer’s Music Group.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How David started his career as an entrepreneur and later made the move to VC?
  • How David found the transition from entrepreneur and CEO to being a VC?
  • What is the main value add that both Venrock and David provides to their investments?
  • What makes a great entrepreneur for David?
  • How long do VCs need to know entrepreneurs before making investments?
  • What 3 tips would David give for best sourcing deals as a VC?
  • What areas does David believe are soon to be disrupted? How does David predict the next big industries to be disrupted?
  • What did David think of Jay Z’s launch of Tidal?
  • Who will dominate in the music streaming sector in the coming years?

Items Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

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



20 VC 053: Inside Union Square Ventures with Jonathan Libov @ Union Square Ventures


Quote of the Day: ‘Keep an open mind from an early age’. Jonathan Libov, 20VC

Jonathan Libov joined the investment team at Union Square Ventures in September of 2014. Jonathan hails from New York but has lived for the last few years in Tel Aviv, where he most recently worked as a Product Manager at Appsfire. He’s a graduate of Vassar College with a degree in Cognitive Science and began his career in neuroscience research. He designs and codes, with Fifty among his side projects.

In Today’s Show You Will Learn:

  • How Jonathan made his move from product guy to VC at USV?
  • What is the key determinant for USV’s success?
  • How Fred Wilson and USV use blogging to market USV as ‘smart money’?
  • Is SMS dead? What is and will it be used for in the future?
  • What sectors are ripe for disruption?
  • How can technology and sport be integrated?
  • Apple Music: Success or failure?

Items Mentioned in Today’s Show:

Favourite Book: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

OB1: Making Trade free for everyone, everywhere


Founders Friday 003: 2m users, $2m Seed Round, 220,000 Instagram Followers with Phil Jacobson, Founder @ PumpUp


Phil Jacobson is Co-Founder At PumpUp, a community for healthy and active living, with over 2m users. Phil leads the operations, finance, marketing, business development and external relations for PumpUp, with great success having accumulated over 220,000 Instagram followers! Prior to PumpUp, Phil held brand management positions at Unilever and PepsiCo.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Phil started PumpUp?
  • How Phil got 1,500 downloads in day one?
  • What marketing strategies are PumpUp working on to continue growing?
  • What social media strategies Phil recommends founders attempting to build an online presence?
  • How did Phil accumulate the 220,000 instagram followers organically?
  • What has Phil done to create such a heavily engaged user base?
  • Who are Phil’s biggest competitors and how does PumpUp aim to stay ahead of them?
  • Where are PumpUp in the fundraising process, what has Phil learnt from the $2m seed round?
  • How can startups determine how much they need to raise?
  • What are PumpUp doing to ensure customer retention rates remain high?


Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

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

A new one recommended by Phil, click here to follow the awesome Instagram pages of Harry and PumpUp!


20 VC 052: How To Make The Leap From Seed To Series A with Ari Helgason @ Dawn Capital


Ari Helgason is a VC at Dawn Capital in London and a former entrepreneur with operational experience in both London and New York. Prior to Dawn, Ari founded SaaS sales and workflow management system World on a Hanger and ecommerce clothing marketplace Fabricly.com. More recently, he launched ecommerce sites for fashion and luxury brands in London and New York. Ari is an alumnus of the Y Combinator startup accelerator and he regularly visits Silicon Valley where he has extensive relationships.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Ari made his move into the VC scene?
  • Why Ari decided to bootstrap his first business?
  • Does Ari believe that Founders should always be fundraising?
  • Should Founders take more money than they need, ‘a war chest’?
  • What type of goals do VCs want to see from founders?
  • What do investors expect from startups at Series A?
  • How can founders learn what KPI’s make sense for their business?
  • How can founders know when is the right time to fundraise?
  • How can startup founders get their foot in the VC door?

Items Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

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


20 VC 051: The New Silicon Valley Style VC in London with Alessandra Sollberger @ Mosaic Ventures


Alessandra Sollberger is a VC at Mosaic Ventures, a new Silicon Valley style venture firm based in London, focussing on Series A rounds. Alessandra previously worked in private equity at Blackstone, covering sectors ranging from consumer brands to software. Prior to that, she worked in startups in the US and Europe and in M&A at Goldman Sachs. She is also the founder of Bright Mentors, an edtech non-profit teaching coding and science in secondary schools through a network of technology professionals.

In todays episode you will learn:

  • How Alessandra made her move into the VC world?
  • What are you Mosaic looking for? What is their typical investment size?


  • What Alessandra thinks of the different paths into venture?
  •  What advice would you give someone looking to enter venture?

    Why Alessandra believes there has been a resurgence in marketplaces? What is driving this growth?

  • What startup marketplaces is Alessandra most excited about?


  • Alessandra’s thoughts on the next big sector to be disrupted and why?


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




Founders Friday 002: Balderton’s James Wise interviews 20VC Founder, Harry Stebbings


Today is a very special show as James Wise, Principal at Balderton Capital turns the tables on Host of The Twenty Minute VC, Harry Stebbings. In today’s brilliant interview by James we delve into what has led to Harry’s interest in the VC industry, why did Harry start The 20 Minute VC, how does Harry identify guests to interview, how does he approach those guests, how has Harry found his first experience in the venture industry, what has surpassed Harry about the VC industry, what traits has Harry spotted that are common among the great VCs interviewed, is Harry optimistic or not about the venture industry, what would Harry recommend for other people looking to go into venture.

Items Mentioned in Todays Show:

Harry’s Favourite Books: Tim Ferris: 4 Hour Work Week, 4 Hour Body


Crowdcube, 3DHubs, Tictail

MMC Ventures, Founders Forum

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

20 VC 050: Starting, Building and Selling in SaaS with the King of SaaS, Jason Lemkin, Managing Director @ Storm Ventures


Jason Lemkin is Managing Director at Storm Ventures focussing on early stage SaaS and enterprise startups. Jason is an acknowledged thought leader in SaaS through his creation of the SaaStr community, connecting thousands of SaaS entrepreneurs and generating upwards of 1,000,000 views a month around core SaaS topics, with a particular focus on accelerating revenue and early-stage SaaS sales and marketing. Prior to Storm, Jason served as CEO and co-founder of Storm Ventures-backed EchoSign, the web’s most popular electronic signature service. Jason led EchoSign from inception through its acquisition by Adobe Systems Inc. in 2011. He then served as Vice President, Web Services at Adobe, where he oversaw the growth of EchoSign and Adobe Document Services to $100,000,000+ ARR in 2013.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

How Jason made his way into the SaaS and VC industry?

What actions did Jason do to get his blog to 1m+ page views per month?

What advice would Jason give to founders thinking of selling to large companies?

What type of entrepreneur does Jason like to invest in?

How does Jason see SaaS valuations, with recent enormous rounds from Zenefits?

What areas of the SaaS industries are neglected or undervalued?

Is the 40% growth rule broadly correct and can this be applied to early stage tech companies?

What is Jason’s pre-investment meeting approach like?

What makes a founder insane in a good way, rather than a bad way?

How are SaaS companies innovating to acquire new customers?

Quick Fire Round:

  1. Apple: Hit or Miss
  2. Most exciting SaaS companies and sectors
  3. Jason’s favourite book and why?

Items Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

SaaStr: Jason’s Blog

Jason’s Favourite Book: The Lion Who Shot Back

Mark Suster: Both Sides

Follow: @saleshacker (amazing content from VPs of Sales @ Top Tech Startups)

Emergence Capital: Joe Floyd

David Saks: Yammer

Slack: Stewart Butterfield, Zenefits: Parker Conrad


20 VC 049: Venture Capital is Getting Younger with Spencer Lazar


Spencer Lazar is a Principal at General Catalyst Partners, based in New York City. He focuses on early stage software & internet investments, with a particular interest in online marketplaces, mobile applications, web services, and enterprise IT. Spencer was previously the cofounder of Spontaneously, Inc – an iOS development studio. Prior to that he was an early stage software & internet investor at Accel in London, where he sourced and worked with companies including Hailo, Birchbox, Bonobos, ForgeRock, and Qriously.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

How is the roads into the venture industry changing?

What young people can do to make themselves more attractive to VCs?

What would make Spencer’s perfect founder?

How important is geography when investing in startups?

How does Spencer feel the education technology space is developing?

What metrics Spencer examines when investing in a startup?

What sectors is Spencer most interested in?

Items Mentioned in Today’s Show:

Spencer’s Favourite Book: The Everything Store on Jeff Bezos

Spencer’s Latest Investment: CampusJob

Insight Venture Partners

How Lightspeed’s Jeremy Liew invested in Snapchat?

Hot EdTech Startups: Lynda.com, PluralSight, General Assembly, Grovo, ClimbCredit

Oscar, Sensio

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

Founders Friday 001: How to Create Great Company Culture with Anand Sanwal, Founder @ CB Insights



Anand Sanwal is the CEO and Co-Founder of CB Insights. Specifically, CB Insights tracks financing trends and private companies in the healthcare, industrial, technology, software, energy & utilities, renewable, internet and mobile industries. CB Insights works primarily with venture capital, private equity, angel investors, corporate development, corporate strategy and family offices. Formerly, Anand was the Vice President at American Express. Sanwal was responsible for managing three primary functions which included the (1) Chairman’s $50 Million Innovation Fund, (2) CFO’s strategic planning function and (3) Enterprise Investment Optimization group. He is the author of “Optimizing Corporate Portfolio Management” which features a forward by former American Express and Citigroup CFO, Gary Crittenden.

In Todays Episode You Will Learn:

  • Why Anand chose not to take VC funding for CB Insights?
  • Should all subscription based companies be revenue funded?
  • What one key determinant has contributed to the success of CB Insights?
  • How has Anand’s hiring strategy changed over time?
  • How strategies does Anand use to create this company culture?
  • What is the biggest challenge facing Anand today?
  • What tactics have not worked when trying to create a good working environment?
  • Is CB Insights replacing VCs, potentially losing their core customers?
  • What metrics Anand would most look for in a startup?

We then delve into a quick fire round and discover what is Anand’s favourite business book, what gets Anand excited, what advice Anand would give to himself 10 years ago starting out in the industry and finally the next 5 years for Anand and CB Insights.

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


20 VC 048: What Do VC’s Really Add To Startups with Christian Claussen, Managing Partner at Ventech


Quote of the Day: “Capital is a crappy differentiator”. Dustin Dolginow

Christian Claussen is a Managing Partner with Ventech, a VC firm with offices in Munich and Paris. He has 16 years of experience investing in innovation and he leads Ventech investment activities in the German-speaking regions of Europe. He serves as a board member for Picanova and TV Smiles.

In today’s amazing episode with Christian we learn:

  • Which value adds are most important for founders to look for?
  • How can Founders determine whether VCs will carry out on their ‘Value Add’?
  • What are the signs of VC bulls***?
  • Will we see all VCs transition to Andreesen Horowitz service based VC model?
  • How have VCs offerings to startups changed over time?
  • What advice would Christian provide to founders entering a round of funding?

Items Mentioned in Today’s Show:

Christian’s Favourite Book: Phillip Roth: Everyman

Christian’s Article on VC Value Add

Speex: Online Language Training That Really Works

Andreesen Horowitz

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

20 VC 047: 4 Ways Investors Find Great Startups with Rob Moffat, Principal @ Balderton Capital


Rob Moffat is Principal at Balderton Capital, one of London’s leading VC firms. At Balderton Rob specialises in Fintech, Martech, Gaming and Marketplaces. Rob is currently a board director or observer with six portfolio companies: Qubit, Wooga, Housetrip, Carwow, Rentify and Nutmeg. Other investments Rob has been involved with at Balderton include Citymapper, Top10, Scoot and Archify. Prior to joining Balderton Rob worked for Google in London, as a Manager in the European Strategy and Operations team. He started his career with five years in strategy consulting with Bain, working mostly with financial services clients.


In today’s amazing discussion with Rob we discover:

  • What characteristics make a great VC?
  • How VCs assess incoming business plans and investment opportunities?
  • The biggest problem facing Rob today, as Principal at Balderton?
  • How the structure of VC firms is changing to a service based environment?
  • Does Crowdfunding pose a threat to VC as a alternative method of finance?
  • For individuals wanting to move into Venture, what can they do to optimise their employability in the VC world?

Items Mentioned in Today’s Show:

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


20 VC 046: How VCs Evaluate Investment Opportunities with Alan Chiu, Partner @ XSeed Capital


Alan Chiu is a Partner at XSeed Capital, with a strong background in enterprise software and data storage. Alan is currently Vice President for Stanford Angels & Entrepreneurs, an alumni association that seeks to strengthen Stanford’s startup community by fostering relationships among entrepreneurs and alumni investors. Prior to XSeed, Alan was previously Director of Product Management at Bycast (acquired by NetApp), and was engineering manager at Creo, which was acquired by Kodak for $1B in cash.

In todays amazing discussion with Alan we discover:

  • What the checklist is for Alan when investing in startups?
  • Why Stanford is the amazing place it is for startups?
  • What is the most important value add that VCs can bring to a startup?
  • When is the right time to pivot and how important is a product roadmap?

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

20 VC 045: From Idea To Pitch with Alan Jones, Founding Investor @ Startmate


Alan Jones is Chief Growth Hacker at Bluechilli, who have set the incredible goal of building 100 startups by 2016! Alan is also Founding Investor and Mentor at Startmate, an Australian Y Combinator style accelerator. If that wasn’t enough Alan also invests and advises through Blackbird Ventures, Pollenizer and Startmate.

In Today’s Amazing Discussion with Alan We Discover:

  • What you should do when you have a great idea?
  • How to validate a market?
  • How to figure out if it is a viable business?
  • What can non technical co-founders do to get their idea of the ground?
  • What individuals can do to meet technical co-founders?
  • What are the biggest tips for entrepreneurs when facing a pitch?

Items Mentioned in Today’s Show:

Dan Ariely: Predictably Irrational

Tzukuri: Bluetooth Wearable Technology



OtherLevels: Mobile Marketing Automation Platform


20 VC 044: Dominating AngelList Syndicates with Doug Scott



Doug Scott has one of the largest AngelList syndicates, now with an incredible £396,000 in his. Doug is one of first investors in Techstars, Ignite.io and Entrepreneurs First in Europe ( still an investor in all 3 ). Prior to angel investing Doug founded several internet companies based in the UK, carrentals.co.uk – over 1 million rentals, discountvouchers.co.uk – 6 million subscribers, timetobreak.com – over 5 milion page views per day.

In today’s discussion Harry and delves into what Doug really expects from founders, how Doug would like to be pitched by prospective startups, is AngelList challenging the VC model, what investors and startups can expect from Doug’s syndicate, his biggest tip to an aspiring entrepreneur and much more…

Items Mentioned in Today’s Show:

Doug’s AngelList SyndicateGil Dibner’s AngelList Syndicate, Tim Jackson AngelList Syndicate

Oxygen Accelerator, Jon Bradford, Springboard

Cashkaro, Meals, Lifebox, Chew

You can follow Harry, The Twenty Minute VC and Doug on Twitter here!


20 VC 043: How To Be A VC Analyst and Lessons From Union Square and First Round with Charlie O’Donnell, Founder @ Brooklyn Bridge Venture


Charlie O’Donnell is the Founder and Sole Partner @ Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, the first venture capital fund based in Brooklyn. Prior to founding Brooklyn Bridge, Charlie worked at the prestigious First Round Capital, with the likes of Josh Koppelman and Union Square Ventures with Fred Wilson. If that wasn’t enough Charlie is one of only a dozen to be named to Business Insider’s 100 Most Influential People in NY Tech five or more times and has served on the founding board of the New York Tech Meetup and is one of the group’s first 100 members. His blog, This is Going to Be BIG!, is one of the ten most widely read VC blogs in the country with over 8,000 readers.

Among the many discussions Harry and Charlie delve into how to enter the VC job industry, how the seed stage fund raising environment is behaving, what Charlie learnt from Union Square and First Round, tactics that individuals can do to increase their own branding, Charlie’s views on investing in hardware, investing in Kickstarter backed companies, the next five years for Charlie, what has blown Charlie’s mind in the last four weeks, the marketing possibilities of Instagram for startups and much more…


Items Mentioned in Today’s Show:


James Altucher on Ideas, Investing and Entrepreneurs


James Altucher is a successful entrepreneur, investor, board member, and the writer of 11 books including the recent WSJ Bestseller, “Choose Yourself!” (foreword by Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter). He has started and sold several companies for eight figure exits. He’s on the board of a billion $ revenue company, has written for The Financial Times, The New York Observer, he’s run several hedge funds, venture capital funds, and is a successful angel investor, having invested in over 30 startups alongside Silicon Valley’s Top VC’s.

In today’s conversation Harry and James discuss how to continuously come up with great ideas, what tasks activate the ‘idea muscle’, what tactics have produced the greatest investing returns for James, what traits do great founders have, how has James’ investing strategy developed, what is the future for Uber, the scam that is University and much more…

Items Mentioned in Today’s Show:

Alternatives to College and Careers: Learn to Become an iOS Developer, Learn to Become a Web Developer

James Altucher: Choose Yourself!

Tim Ferriss: AngelList Syndicate

Shyp: The Easiest Way To Ship Your Stuff

Enjoy! All show notes, links and resources from this episode can be found at http://www.thetwentyminutevc.com and you can follow Harry and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter.

Jason Calacanis: The World’s Greatest Angel Investor

Jason Calacanis is arguably the world’s greatest angel investor with over 60 investments including the likes of Uber (1st round), ThumbTack and Calm, just to name a few. Jason is also the Host of This Week In Startups, the world’s biggest startup podcast and Founder of Launch and Launch Festival, the world’s biggest startup festival.

In this interview we discuss, how Jason invested in Uber’s 1st round, what Jason looks for in startups, how Jason can tell whether a founder has got what it takes, which VC’s Jason most likes to work with, which entrepreneurs Jason most likes to invest in, what pisses Jason off more than anything, what inspires him more than anything, what industries will see the most disruption in the coming years, what makes a great entrepreneur and how startups can position themselves best for entering a round of funding.

Enjoy! All show notes, links and resources from this episode can be found at http://www.thetwentyminutevc.com and you can follow Harry, Jason and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter.

Mentioned in Today’s Show:


20 VC 040: The Required Qualities To Be A Great Founder with Scott Taylor, CEO @ miDrive


Scott Taylor is the CEO @ miDrive, a startup focussed on reinventing the learner driving experience. Scott is also an advisor to leading London based VC firm EC1 Capital. If that wasn’t enough he is a mentor at Richard Branson’s Virgin Startup Program and an investor in Coupang and Mavrx. Prior to miDrive, he was Chief Product Officer at Livedrive, one of Europe’s leading cloud storage providers, assisting with its sale to j2 Global.

Items Mentioned in Today’s Show:

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) Where it all began for Scott and how he made his move into technology and venture?

2.) Having founded several successful companies, what Scott believes the qualities required to be a good founder are?

3.) The hardest part for Scott in building companies and how he overcome them?

4.) What is Scott’s role at EC1, what is he looking for in companies at EC1 and how does that differ from his own angel investments?

5.) At Virgin Start Up, what is the process like to attain funding?

6.) What are Scott’s views on early stage funding? Does he agree with the friends and family round?

7.)What would you suggest to entrepreneurs looking to gain external capital?

The episode will then finish with a quick fire round. Where we hear Scott’s thoughts on:

Next 5 years for Scott? Asian tech market? Favourite book and why? Most recent investment and why he said yes?

You can follow Harry, Scott and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter


20 VC 039: How to Pitch a Top VC with Simon Menashy @ MMC Ventures


Simon Menashy is Investment Director at MMC Ventures where he is responsible for leading new and follow on investments as well as supporting existing MMC portfolio companies. He also sits on the board for WeDo, Boticca and Sky Futures and works closely with a number of other B2B and B2C businesses including Growth Intelligence, Mubi, Small World, Somo.  Prior to MMC Simon worked in European tech and media consulting, working with clients including the BBC, Virgin Media, BT, Thompson Reuters and Ofcom as part of the Deloitte Strategy team in London

Items Mentioned in Today’s Show:

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Simon made his move from consulting into the world of VCs?

2.)Simon recently tweeted how not to pitch to VCs, so what should founders be doing when pitching? What are the fundamentals in terms of required documentation?

3.) Does Simon agree with Peter Thiel’s opinion that disruption is fundamentally bad for society? What industries does Simon feel will be next disrupted?

4.) With the increasing length of time it takes for venture backed companies to IPO, how does Simon feel the funding path is changing?

5.) How does Simon believe the tech eco system is going in London and what can be done to increase VC funding and engender a silicon valley esque feel to London?

Today’s episode finishes with a quick fire round where we hear Simon’s thoughts on the apple watch, what the biggest red flags are when viewing a pitch and his most recent investment and why he said yes?

You can follow Harry, Simon and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter.



20 VC 038: How To Make Connections with VCs and Maximise Employability with Angela Tran Kingyens @ Version One Ventures


Angela Tran Kingyens is an associate at Version One Ventures, where Angela manages the day to day activities of the fund from identifying new startups to advising portfolio companies on product. Prior to Version One, Angela Co-Launched Insight Data Science, a Y Combinator backed startup, helping academics transition into a career in industry. In today’s episode, Angela describes the best ways to network with VCs, how you can increase employability instantly and the most effective ways to conduct market research!

Items Mentioned in Today’s Show:

mattermark Daily Newsletter

Dan Primack: TermSheet

Fred Wilson: AVC

Good To Great by Jim Collins

Headout: Your Best Local Friend in a New City

In Today’s Episode you will Learn:

1.) How Angela made the transition from a career in academia to a YC backed startup to a Palo Alto Venture Fund?

2.) What can individuals do to network effectively with VCs, even if they have no existing VC contacts?

3.) What advice Angela would give to someone looking to leave the academic path for a career in tech? How can they maximise employability?

4.) What should individuals look for when considering incubators? Do they increase the validity of a startup, from the Version One perspective?

5.) Version One specialise in Marketplaces. Why is that? Is it normal for VC funds to specialise? What Angela thinks the future of marketplaces will look like?

6.) How to identify where there are up and coming areas for disruption? What resources are most effective for this market research?

We then finish today’s episode with a lightning round where we hear Angela’s thoughts on what industry she would never invest in, whether Uber will be a $trillion company, how VCs measure their own success, Angela’s favourite business book and her most recent investment and why she said yes?

You can follow Harry, Angela and The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter here.


20 VC 037: How To Get a Job at a Startup, Startup Lessons and Brad Feld’s ‘Open Office Hours’ with Tak Lo, Director @ Techstars


Tak Lo is Director at Techstars, helping entrepreneurs do more faster – on both sides of the Atlantic through Techstars London and Techstars NYC. Tak is also Founder at Travelst and Frontlyst. Prior to his road to entrepreneurship, Tak was a Consultant at Deloitte, Booz Allen Hamilton and was a specialist in the US ARMY. In today’s incredible episode Tak shares his lessons from his own startup experience, the required reading for all entrepreneurs and of course when thinking TechStars, how can we not discuss the man himself, Brad Feld, and how Tak has adopted Brad’s use of open office hours.

Items Mentioned in Today’s Show:

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How and why Tak made the transition first from the army to a career in consulting and then what made Tak take the entrepreneurial route and start his own company?
  • Tak is renknowned for the amazing service and contribution he brings to every startup. What services does Tak bring and what does Tak feel all entrepreneurs and advisors must add?
  • Does Tak back singular founders, or does he prefer a founding team?
  • Tak is a Specialist on Leadership, for founders wanting to gain or develop their leadership skills, what can founders do, read or learn to further their leadership skills?
  • For individuals contemplating moving into the tech world, how do they know which is the right job? Are there any immediate aspects they must look for or be wary of?
  • What are the biggest misconceptions of the tech industry?
  • How can people find out about networking events
  • What sector Tak believes is the next to be disrupted and why?
  • What is the premise behind Brad Feld’s ‘Open Office Hours’? Why has Tak decided to adopt this tactic? What does Tak hope to gain from it? How is it going so far?

We then finish today’s episode with a lightning round, hearing Tak’s thoughts on the greatest leader and why, the future of the asian tech market, his favourite book and why and his most recent investment and why he said yes?

Follow Harry, Tak, The Twenty Minute VC

20 VC 036: The Pitching Process: From Email to Term Sheet with Stephan von Perger @ Wellington Partners


Stephan von Perger is an Early Stage VC at Wellington Partners where his primary role is identifying investment opportunities and building lasting relationships with the entrepreneurs behind these companies. Stephan started his career at McKinsey before moving to Stylistpick.com as Head of Operations, he then progressed to setup and run the business operations at CityMapper.com. In today’s interview Stephan walks us through the pitching process from the first email to signing the term sheet!

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How and why Stephan made his move from the world of startups to the venture industry?
  • What are the right reasons for a founder to enter a round of venture funding?
  • How should founders go about meeting and connecting with VCs? What can founders actively do to position themselves well and how should founders phrase their emails and communication?
  • Are there any aspects or buzzwords in emails which instantly make VCs interested?
  • What documentation is required for the initial meeting? Is there anything founders must bring?
  • How can founders make the most out of their meeting with VCs? Are there any questions founders should ask? How should founders respond to a question they do not know the answer to?
  • What happens if a VC says they will contact you but a week later the founder has heard nothing? What should the founder do?

We then finish todays episode with a quick fire round where we hear Stephan’s thoughts on which pitch or communication has impressed him the most, what single thing Stephan most looks for in founders and his most recent investment and why he said yes?

20 VC 035: The Ultimate Marketing Guide for Startups with Jay Acunzo, VP of Platform @ NextView Ventures


Jay Acunzo is NextView Ventures VP of Platform and runs the View from Seed blog. At NextView, he leads the creation of business development and educational resources for startups, from board deck templates to mobile workshops to the popular Hitchhiker’s Guide to Boston Tech (bostontechguide.com). Prior to NextView, Jay led content marketing and production teams at HubSpot (IPO) and Dailybreak Media (acquired). A former sports journalist, he began his career in tech at Google. As a result of Jay’s tremendous success Jay has been named Top 10 B2B Marketer in Boston, 70 Rising Social Media Stars and 100 Most Influential Content Marketers.

Items Mentioned in Today’s Show:


In Today’s Episode you will Learn:

  • How Jay made his move into the world of tech with Google and how he then transitioned into the world of venture with NextView?
  • What does VP of Platform really entail? Why has it become an emerging trend in the venture industry?
  • How is the structure of VCs firms changing, with the likes of a16z moving to a much more service orientated venture fund.
  • Are there any individuals or sections of society that should or should not be blogging?
  • How can individuals drive traffic to their blog and what tactics Jay uses to get visitors to his blog?
  • What Jay would suggest to business and startup founders thinking about whether to start blogging?
  • What is the best platform to market your content or startup? Is Twitter really an effective marketing tool? How can individuals and businesses increase engagement on Twitter? What not to do on Twitter?

We then finish today’s episode with a lightning round where we hear Jay’s thoughts on the best and worst aspects as VP of Platform, his best resource for content marketing, his favourite book and why.


20 VC 034: 250 Investments, AngelList Syndicates and Microsoft with Jon Staenberg


Jon Staenberg is one of the most experienced venture capitalists in the Pacific Northwest, having made over 250 startup investments and having raised two funds totaling over $100 million. Jon’s investments include the likes of AngelList, StubHub, SAPHO, KitchenBowl (through AngelList syndicates) and many more. If that wasn’t enough Jon sits on the boards of Class.com, Micropath and even owns his own vineyard! Previously, Jon worked in the marketing area at Microsoft for six years and is a Stanford alum!

Items Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Jon started off in the tech industry and then made his move into venture?

2.) Having established 5 companies, what was the hardest element of the process and how did Jon overcome it?

3.) Having invested in over 250 startups what is Jon’s investment strategy? What is Jon looking for in startups?

4.) Once invested in a startup, what is Jon’s role and what services can VCs bring to a startup?

5.) Whether Jon feels AngelList syndicates are going to change the funding environment? Does it present a challenge to the more traditional VC model?

We then finish with a quick fire round where we hear Jon describe the highlight of his glittering career, the biggest tip Jon would give to an aspiring entrepreneur and his most recent investment and why he said yes?



20 VC 033: The Pros and Cons of Venture Capital, Atomico and What VCs Really Mean When They Say Interesting with Chris Dark, President @ C2FO



Quote of the Day: “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” John F. Kennedy

Chris Dark is President International at C2FO, the Union Square Ventures backed company is the priceline for working capital where companies ‘name their own price’. Prior to C2FO, Chris was VP at Atomico, the London based venture fund founded by Nicklas Zennstorm. At Atomico, Chris was on the boards of Chemist Direct, Fab, Hailo, Quipper, Wrapp, Knewton, Bebestore, and Gengo. If that wasn’t enough Chris has also held roles at AOL, Bain & Co and started his own company GameReplays.org, an early esports community, which Chris built to 1 million uniques per month!

Items Mentioned in Today’s Show


In Today’s Show You Will Learn:

  • Where it all began for Chris and how he made his move into venture?
  • What skills Chris learnt from founding his company and how he applied them to the venture industry?
  • What were the hardest aspects of building Chris’ company and how did he overcome them?
  • What are the best reasons to want to join the venture industry?
  • What made Chris leave his VP role at Atomico to rejoin the entrepreneurial game with C2FO?
  • Having both invested in startups and raised funds as a startup, what tips would Chris give to founders potentially entering a round of funding?
  • How does Chris feel the tech eco system in London is developing and what Chris believes can be done to further improve it?

We finish today’s show with a lightning round where we hear Chris’ thoughts on whether university is necessary or not, the next 5 years for him and his most recent investment and why he said yes?

20 VC 032: Inside Y Combinator with Nicolas Michaelsen, Founder @ AirHelp



In today’s show I am joined by the immensely talented Nicolas Michaelsen, Founder & CMO at AirHelp, the go to place if you have grievances during air travel. Nicolas pulls back the curtain on the exclusive world of Y Combinator, this includes the admissions process, the infamous interview, the tutoring available to YC startups, the effects of YC on the valuation of startups and the key takeaways from his time at YC.

Items Mentioned in Today’s Show:

In today’s show you will learn:

  • How Nicolas got AirHelp started?
  • At what point did Nicolas realise that Y Combinator was the place to go?
  • Had Nicolas considered other more local incubators?
  • What was the admissions process like? Is there any specific documentation required to apply?
  • How is the YC interview structured? What type of questions do the partners ask?
  • What percentage of the partners need to say yes for a startup to be accepted?
  • How does the tutoring system work at YC? Who did Nicolas receive as tutors for AirHelp?
  • What is a typical day in the life of a YC startup?

We then finish today’s episode by hearing Nicolas’ thoughts on his most valuable takeaway from YC, the impact of YC on the valuation of a startup, what the future holds for AirHelp?

If you would like to follow The Twenty Minute VC on Twitter, click here!

If you would like to stay up to date with Nicolas and AirHelp, click here!


20 VC 031: Investing in Gaming, Luxury Goods and Disruption with Maha Ibrahim, General Partner @ Canaan Partners


Maha Ibrahim is General Partner at Canaan Partners. Maha is renowned in the venture industry for her ability to to spot technology trends extremely early, proven through Maha being one of the 1st investors to recognise the huge potential of social gaming. As a result, Maha led Canaan’s early investment in social games pioneer PicksPal (acquired by Liberty Media) and was a seed investor in Kabam, the world’s largest developer of massively multiplayer social games. Due to Maha’s incredible success in venture, she was included in Silicon Valley the ’40 Under 40′ award by The Silicon Valley Business Journal and is a regular on Bloomberg TV.

Items Mentioned in Today’s Show:

In today’s episode you will learn:

  • How Maha made her transition into the world of Venture Capital?
  • As one of the 1st investors in social gaming, what did Maha see that other people did not?
  • With the gaming industry being as fast moving and fickle as it is, shown through the likes of Zynga’s troubles, is Maha concerned for her gaming portfolio companies, in their ability to maintain their dominant presence in the sector?
  • Maha is an investor in The Real Real, a company which had revenues of over $100m last year. What does Maha believe is the reason for this incredible success and where does she see the future for The Real Real?
  • Increasing amounts of capital means increasing competition for VCs, what does Maha believe VCs can bring to the table to beat off the competition?
  • What is Maha most impressed by, in terms of entrepreneurs pitching to her?
  • Where does Maha believe the next big forms of disruption are coming from?

We finish today’s episode with a quick fire round where we hear Maha’s thoughts on the hardest part about being a VC, how Maha measures her success as a VC and her most recent investment and why she said yes?

You can follow Maha on Twitter here!


20 VC 030: VC Funds, Angels and IPOs with John Taylor, Head of Research @ NVCA


In today’s show I am joined by John Taylor, a nationally recognised authority in the venture capital and entrepreneurial finance sector. Currently, John is Head of Research at the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA). In 2003, he co-founded the NVCA CFO Task Force which focuses on regulation and emerging issues dealing with a diverse range of CFOs within Venture Capital firms.

Some of the many gems of this conversation include: where venture funds actually obtain their funds from, what is the main difference between an angel and a VC, what investors expect from their VCs, how has the IPO market changed since 2000, what do VCs look for in potential investments, how do VCs manage their time, what is the typical workload of a VC, can University students go straight into the VC industry?


Items Mentioned in Today’s Show:

Dave McClure | Lean VC | 500 Startups

Andreeson Horowitz 

20 VC 029: The Potential Upside To A Tech Bubble with TechCrunch’s Brandon Lipman

The debate over whether or not we are in a tech bubble is dominating the minds of many in the tech world and today Harry talks to major player, Brandon Lipman, Co-Founder of 3DLT and writer of the recent TechCrunch Article: The Potential Upside To A Technology Bubble. Brandon shares his views on why seed deals have decreased by 300%, following from Scott Nolan’s TechCrunch article, Brandon answers Does Burn Rate Really Matter, what sectors will survive or thrive in a tech bubble and why companies are preferring to raise later rounds rather than go public. They also dive into the dogfight between Meerkat and Periscope, the biggest winners from a bubble and the companies Brandon is most excited about.

Items Mentioned in Today’s Show:

Chris Sacca and Tony Hawk with Jason Calacanis on TWIST

500 Startups: Dave McClure on Stanford’s Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

MatterMark Complete Report

Meerkat vs Periscope


20 VC 028: Co-Founding TechCrunch and The Benefits of Not Raising Venture Funding with Keith Teare


Keith Teare is the Founder of Palo Alto incubator, Archimedes Labs whose incubated startups include the likes of M.Dot (acquired by GoDaddy), TechCrunch (acquired by AOL) and Ivan Kalanick’s Red Swoosh. Keith is also the Co-Founder of TechCrunch alongside Michael Arrington. Prior to TechCrunch Keith founded RealNames Corporation raising more than £130m of venture funding before filing for an IPO with an implied valuation of £1.5bn.

Items Mentioned in Today’s Show:

What you will learn in todays show:

  • How did Keith get into the tech world at a time when technology was not mainstream?
  • A venture of Keith’s, Cyberia was heavily used by women. Does Keith believe that there have been improvements in balancing the gender gap?
  • What Keith believes can be done to reduce the gender inequality that persists throughout the tech sector?
  • How did Keith’s Co-Founding of TechCrunch with Michael Arrington come about?
  • Why did Keith try and persuade Michael not to create TechCrunch?
  • What are the benefits of bootstrapping your startup and not raising venture funding?
  • Why Keith was never able to raise venture funding in the UK?
  • How is the valley different from creating a company in the UK?
  • Keith’s beliefs on the barbell venture capital ecosystem that persists in the US?

We then finish today’s episode with a quick fire round where we hear the best advice Keith has ever been given, the highlight of his career so far and the 3 companies that he is most excited about and why?

20 VC 027: Greg Rogers on Techstars, Mentors and The Potential for Fintech


Greg Rogers is Managing Director at Techstars, the world’s leading accelerator programme for early stage technology start-ups and is responsible for the Barclays Accelerator. Prior to joining Techstars, he spent eleven years in New York City as an entrepreneur and senior manager. Most recently, he was founder and CEO of Pictela, a super rich media technology company that was acquired by AOL in 2010. An active angel, Greg was an early investor in Schedulicity and has recently co-founded SmartUp, a new ed-tech company with Frank Meehan (Siri), Brent Hoberman (Lastminute.com), and Barry Smith (Skyscanner).


Items Mentioned in Today’s Show:

The Fundraising Rules by Mark Peter-Davis

Brent Hoberman, Frank Meehan, Jon Bradford





In today’s episode you will learn:


1.) How Greg got into the TechStars world?

2.) What attracted Greg to the the Fintech space and how has he seen Fintech develop over the last 5 years?

3.) What areas within the Fintech space Greg finds most interesting and why?

4.) What does Greg see the future of Fintech looking like? Does he see any trends arising in the space in 2015?

5.) What does Techstars offer startups and what do they take in return?

6.) What does Greg think are the characteristics of effective mentors? Are mentors necessary for startups in their early growth?

7.) What is Greg’s new venture, SmartUp. Who is involved and what are his plans for the future of SmartUp?


We finish today’s episode with a quick fire round where we hear Greg’s plans for the next five years, what tip Greg would give Fintech entrepreneurs and the 3 companies from TechStars or Barclays Accelerator that Greg is most excited about and why?




20 VC 026: Chris Redlitz on The Importance of People, Pivoting and The Last Mile



Chris Redlitz is Managing Partner at Transmedia Capital, an early stage venture fund specializing in digital media. Their portfolio includes the likes of Snapchat, Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook, just to name a few. Chris also Co-Founded The Last Mile with his wife Beverly, a program that integrates the nation’s penal system with the technology business. Prior to Transmedia and The Last Mile, Chris launched the first online independent yellow page directory, automated coupon platform and content syndication system. As a result, he received Ad Age’s prestigious i20 award for his contributions to the development of interactive marketing and advertising.

Items Mentioned in Today’s Show:

In today’s Episode you will learn:

1.) How Chris made his transition into the Venture Capital industry?

2.) How do VCs compete to be involved in the funding rounds of such attractive startups, such as, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook etc?

3.) How has Chris’ investment strategy changed over the years? What were his early deals? What did he learn from them? What does he do differently now?

4.) What is the premise of The Last Mile?

5.) How does Chris plan to scale the Last Mile to be nationally adopted in all prisons in the US?

6.) What has been the most challenging aspect of Chris’ journey with the Last Mile and how did he overcome it?


The episode will then finish with a quick fire round where we hear Chris plans for the next five years for The Last Mile, the resource he would most recommend to aspiring entrepreneurs and his most recent investment and why he said yes?

20 VC 025: Finding the Right VC and The Evolution of Summly with John Henderson of White Star Capital


John Henderson is Principal at White Star Capital, a VC firm helping exceptional entrepreneurs build great technology companies, with a presence in Europe and North America. Prior to White Star, John was Head of Business Development and Operations at Summly, playing a crucial role in the build up to their acquisition by Yahoo in May 2013. John has also spent time at Facebook working in strategy and business development and was a strategy consultant at The Boston Consulting Group.


Items (and incredible people!) Mentioned in Today’s Show:

Ben Horowitz: The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers (THE TWENTY MINUTE VC BOOK CLUB: WEEK ONE)

The Innovators by Walter Isaacson

Shakil KhanChristian HernandezNick D’Aloisio, Frank Meehan





What you will learn in today’s episode:

  • How John got into the technology industry and later made his transition into the world of Venture Capital?
  • As Head of Business Development and Operations at Summly, what was it like for John working with Nick D’Aloisio? How did his role change in the buildup to the acquisition by Yahoo?
  • What does John think about Summary’s evolution into Yahoo News Digest?
  • What has been the biggest difference between John’s life as a entrepreneur compared to his life as a VC?
  • Does John believe it is crucial for startups to find a well-suited VC for their startup?
  • What does John advise startup founders to do or ask to ensure that a VC is the right match for them and their company?
  • Having made angel investments of his own, does John approach these personal investments in a different manner to his professional investments?
  • What advice John would give to anyone contemplating angel investing?

The episode then finishes with a quick fire round where we hear John’s thoughts on the future of bitcoin, John’s personal news reading preferences and his most recent investment and why he said yes?


20 VC 024: Financing Fintech with Marc Bernegger of Orange Growth Capital


Marc Bernegger is Venture Partner at Orange Growth Capital, a Fintech investment firm with notable investments in the likes of Bux, Knip and Zopa. Prior to OGC, Marc was Partner at Next Generation Finance Invest (today Ayondo Holdings). However, Marc has experienced both sides of the table, as he was only 20 when he founded usgang.ch (trade sale to Axel Springer) and later went on to be founder of amiando (trade sale to Xing). As a result of these many successes Marc was awarded ‘Newcomer of the Year 2010’ by Swiss ICT.

Items mentioned in today’s show:

In today’s show you will learn:

1.) How and why Marc made his entry into the VC world in 2010?

2.) Marc specializes in the Fintech sector and has done since 2010, when it was really a very niche sector. How has Marc seen Fintech develop over the last 5 years? What did Marc see that everyone else did not?

3.) Which areas within the Fintech space Marc finds most interesting?

4.) What Marc sees the future of Fintech to look like? Does Marc see any trends arising in the space in 2015?

5.)In recent years Switzerland has trailed behind the likes of London and Scandinivia in Fintech, this seems to be changing with the recent Fintech hackathon held in Zurich, what does Marc think is bringing about this change?

6.)Where does Marc stand on the social integration of mobile payments?

7.) OGC is a investor in Bux, the social gamified trading platform, is this the way Marc believes stock market trading is moving? How does Marc respond to critics who suggest Bux allows the mass market who do not have the significant investing knowledge to gamble recklessly.


The episode will then finish with a quick fire round where we hear Marc’s thoughts on the future of Bitcoin, what tips Marc would give to aspiring entrepreneurs and what the biggest difference between being an entrepreneur and an investor.


20 VC 023: The Recipe to a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign with Tom Britton


Tom Britton is Co-Founder and CTO of Syndicate Room, an equity crowdfunding platform that allows it’s members to co-invest alongside professional investors. To date Syndicate Room have raised an incredible £20m for 30 companies. Prior to Co-Founding Syndicate Room, Tom was a professional football player playing in a number of countries including the US and UK.

Items Mentioned in Today’s Show:

Nesta Report: Crowdfunding Page 52


Ego Airplanes

Inn Style

Salty by Simon West

In today’s episode you will learn:

1.) How Tom got into the technology industry and then moved into the very early concept at the time of, equity crowdfunding?

2.)How does SynidcateRoom operate and does their process differs from the likes of Crowdcube?

3.) How much of the £19m was invested by people on the Syndicate Room network rather than the anchor angels?

4.) Does Tom believe with the rise of crowdfunding in recent years, the crowd are a competing finance model to the traditional VC model?

5.) Having witnessed numerous successful campaigns to date, what does Tom believe are the recipes for a successful crowdfunding campaign?

6.) For startups contemplating raising funds for their business, what are the largest benefits of raising seed capital through SyndicateRoom?

7.) CrowdCube is the No 1 equity crowdfunding site in the UK, how does SyndicateRoom treat this competitive threat?


The episode will then finish with a quick fire round where we hear Tom’s plans for the next 5 years, the hardest obstacles Tom has faced in building Syndicate Room and the 3 companies that Syndicate Room has funded that Tom is most excited about?




20 VC 022: Letting go of the life we planned and the Power of the Female Narrative with Matthew McCall


Matthew McCall is a Partner at Pritzker Group Venture Capital and was previously a Partner with DFJ Portage. He has been involved with investments with Feedburner (acquired by Google), Playdom (acquired by Disney) and EverDream (acquired by Dell), just to name a few. Matt has been named in Chicago’s ’40 under 40′ and their Top Tech 25 list. He has been named as one of the Top 100 VCs in the US, a Media 100 and a Hollywood 100 Power Player.

Items Mentioned in Todays Show:

In todays show, you will learn:

  • How Matt got into the VC world?
  • What is Matt’s normal investment size?
  • When investing does Matt have a mental timeline of the startup with a clear strategy of when a desired exit will take place?
  • Matt has been named to the AlwaysOnTop 100 VCs list, leading me to ask how has Matt’s investment strategy changed over the years? What were his early deals? What did Matt learn from them? What does Matt do differently now?
  • Matt has written about the 15 year tech cycle and has quoted Steve Juvertson ‘if you can see it, it isn’t the revolution’, leading me to ask where does Matt stand on a ‘tech bubble’. Is it occurring and why does he say that?
  • Has Matt seen a rise in the emergence of the female entrepreneur?
  • Matt LOVES commencement speeches. Why is that and are there any Matt would recommend in particular?

The episode will then finish with a quick fire round where we hear the resource that Matt would most recommend to an aspiring Founder and Matt’s recent investment and why he said yes?

*Shortly after the interview Matt strongly recommended to me Never Eat Alone by Keith  Ferrazzi



20 VC 021: Gender Equality, Startup Valuations and ‘Friend Raising before Fund Raising with Sharon Wienbar


Sharon Wienbar invests in Mobile and Internet companies at Scale Venture Partners, where she sits on the board of Actiance, Applause, BeachMint, Everyday Health, PlayPhone, Reply.com and uTest. Prior to working at Scale Venture Partners, Sharon was VP of Marketing for Amplitude Software and Critical Path.

Items Mentioned in Today’s Show:

What you will learn in Today’s Show:

  • How Sharon made her entry into the technology world and later the Venture Capital sector?
  • Why is there gender misrepresentation in both the tech and the VC industry and what can be done to improve this gender inequality.
  • What Sharon’s views are on investing outside of the valley?
  • What are the necessary aspects required for a startup located outside of the valley?
  • With such large amounts of capital creating extremely high valuations, is it possible to make money investing in startups?
  • With increasing competition between VC firms for startups, what else can VC’s bring to the table other than capital?
  • What sector is Sharon most excited about and why?

We then move on to a quick fire round where we hear Sharon’s thoughts on what Sharon likes and dislikes about being a VC? The most recent investment Sharon has made and why she said yes?



20 VC 020: Revolutionising Investing with Luke Lang, Co-Founder of Crowdcube


Luke Lang is Co-Founder and CMO of Crowdcube, the world’s leading investment Crowdfunding platform. Crowdcube enables anyone the opportunity to invest alongside professional investors in start-up, early-stage and growth businesses. They have raised over £67m for an incredible 207 companies and have an amazing 150,000 registered investors

Items Mentioned in Today’s Show:

What you will learn in today’s episode:

  • How Luke got into the technology industry and really came to be Co-Founder to the world’s 1st quit Crowdfunding platform in the world?
  • Other than capital what else will Balderton bring to you to aid your growth and development?
  • Does Luke believe Crowdfunding is a competing finance model to the traditional VC model?
  • Having seen 207 companies experience successful Crowdfunding campaigns, Luke describes what he believes the formula to be for a successful campaign?
  • For businesses thinking about Crowdfunding, what are the biggest benefits to businesses of raising seed capital through the Crowd?
  • With the increasing number of Crowdfunding sites, how does Crowdcube treat the competitive threat?
  • Is there an opportunity to attract more institutional style money to Crowdcube through retail bonds, which might appeal to income funds.

As the interview comes to a close we engage in a quick fire round where we hear Luke’s views on the hardest obstacle Luke has faced in building Crowdcube? Where Luke sees Crowdcube in 5 years time? 3 companies funded by Crowdcube that Luke is most excited about?

20 VC 019: Funding the Future with James Wise of Balderton Capital


James Wise is Principal at Balderton Capital, one of Europe’s most successful venture funds. At Balderton, James invests and advises early-stage technology start-ups, holding board member positions at Crowdcube.com, Surnrise.am, 3Dhubs.com and many more… Prior to Balderton, James helped build one of the UK’s first social venture funds and was a consultant at McKinsey & Company, working with entrepreneurs in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Items Mentioned in Todays’s Show:

What you will learn in today’s show:

  • How James made his entry into the world of Venture Capital?
  • How does James feel the VC model differs in the UK compared to the US?
  • Does Silicon Valley deserve the plaudits it receives for producing revolutionary tech companies?
  • Following Balderton’s recent investment in Crowdcube.com, how does James believe the crowd will become more involved in the future?
  • Is Crowdfunding not a competing method of financing to Venture Capital?
  • What is Balderton’s competitive advantage for winning deals?
  • What James believes makes the perfect Series A round?
  • Does James believe the mini-bond, introduced by Crowdcube.com have the potential to revolutionise funding for businesses?
  • Which sector James is most excited about and why?
  • When thinking of success who is the first person that comes to James’ mind and why?

We then move into a rapid fire round where we hear James’ thoughts on his latest investment and why he said yes? Does James experience a fear of missing out (FOMO) when passing on investments? Finally, James’ favourite book and why?


20 VC 018: Seed Stage Investing with Stefan Glaenzer of Passion Capital


Stefan Glaenzer is Founding Partner at Passion Capital an early stage VC fund who have invested in the likes of DueDil, GoCardless and CarThrottle. He is also Co-Founder of White Bear Yard, a co-working space in London’s East End. Prior to Passion, Stefan was Chairman of Last.fm, an early investor in Wahanda and remains an active member of their board and founder of Ricardo, which went public in 1999.

Items Mentioned in Todays Show:

What you will learn in today’s episode:

  • How Stefan got into the technology industry and later pivoted into the VC world?
  • What is Stefan’s preferred stage to enter into an investment and what is the standard amount invested in a startup?
  • How much equity Stefan would look for in an investment?
  • What interaction is typical for VCs following investing in a startup?
  • How individuals should pitch their idea to Stefan?
  • How many startups does Passion typically invest in on an annual basis?
  • Does Stefan encounter the fear on missing out on a startup?
  • What is it about the Peer to Peer lending sector that excites Stefan so much?
  • Does Peer to Peer have a brighter future than Crowdfunding?
  • What sector is Stefan most excited about and why?
  • How can an entrepreneur show their enthusiasm and make an awesome pitch?
  • Is there a formula for making a successful pitch?
  • What are Stefan’s red flags when a startup pitches to him?

As the interview concludes we ask Stefan some quick fire questions where we hear his thoughts on the hardest decision of his life? The best piece of advice Stefan has been given and his most recent investment and why he said yes?

For all the resources mentioned in today’s show head on over to www.thetwentyminutevc.com

Likewise, if you have a suggestion for a VC that you would like us to interview please do let me know by emailing harry@thetwentyminutevc.com

20 VC 017: Nektarios Liolios of Startupbootcamp on Fintech, Pitching and London’s Tech Scene


Nektarios Liolios is Co-Founder and Managing Director of Startupbootcamp Fintech, the leading innovation program in the financial industry providing access to a global network of investors and VCs for up to 10 lucky startups selected. Nektarios himself has more than 15 years in business, having spent the last three with InnoTribe, running the Innotribe Startup Challenge.

Items mentioned in today’s show:

What you will learn in today’s episode:

  • How Nektarios got into the world of tech accelerators?
  • How Startupbootcamp Fintech varies from the traditional VC model?
  • What makes the best pitches at Demo Days?
  • What is the selection process to get accepted at Startupbootcamp?
  • What can startups prepare to do before pitching to Startupbootcamp?
  • What is the most common reason Nektarios says no to startups?
  • What would Nektarios advise someone who is looking to find a co-founder?
  • What sector is Nektarios most excited about for the future?
  • What Nektarios thinks about the future of bitcoin?

We then complete todays interview by having a quicker round where we hear Nektarios’ thoughts on his favourite entrepreneur? The happiest moment Nektarios has enjoyed in his career? A day in the life of a Managing Director of a Startupbootcamp? What was Nektarios’ most recent investment and why he said yes?

For all the resources mentioned in today’s show, head on over to www.thetwentyminutevc.com

For any suggestions about future guests or questions you would like to hear, we would love to hear from you. If so email harry@thetwentyminutevc.com



20 VC 016: Y Combinator, Twitch.TV and SocialCam with Mike Seibel

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Mike Seibel has enjoyed the most incredible career in the technology industry on both the Founder and the VC side of the table. He was Co-Founder and CEO of Justin.TV which was part of the Y Combinator Winter Class of 2007, and was later acquired as Twitch.TV by Amazon for $970 million. In that time Mike also created a spin off from Justin.TV, SocialCam, where he was Co-Founder and CEO, culminating in their acquisition in 2012 for $60 million by Autodesk.

Items mentioned in Todays’ Show:

What you will learn in this episode?

  • How Mike got into the technology industry and later the tech accelerator business with Y Combinator?
  • Why Mike did not learn to code?
  • Mike’s own experiences in Y Combinator.
  • What is it that Y Combinator does to produce such amazing and revolutionary companies?
  • What does Demo Day look like at Y Combinator?
  • What is the selection process for choosing which companies to back and which not to?
  • What do you look for in the interviews with the Founders?
  • Are top level University degrees necessary for entry into the Y Combinator class?
  • What are Mike’s biggest red flags when looking at startups?
  • Why Mike would never outsource engineering?
  • What can startups do to prepare themselves for the Y Combinator process?
  • What sector is Mike really excited about and why?
  • What is a day in the life of a Y Combinator partner?

We then finish todays episode with a rapid fire round where we hear Mike’s thoughts on the best piece of advice Mike has received, the hardest decision Mike has had to make in his career, how can an individual start a company with no technical skills or experience?

For all the resources mentioned in today’s show, check out www.thetwentyminutevc.com

Likewise, we would love to hear from you, so if you have any questions you would like asked or VCs you would like to have on the show, send an email to harry@thetwentyminutevc.com

20 VC 015: Marketplaces, IPOs and the NY Startup Scene with Lisa Wu

Lisa Wu is Vice President at Norwest Venture Partners (NVP), where she focuses on early to late stage investments with emphasis on consumer internet. Before joining NVP, Lisa worked in Amazon’s Worldwide Corporate Development Team, in which she evaluated acquisition targets and identified strategies for potential expansion. Prior to Amazon, Lisa was at Bessemer Venture Partners. If that wasn’t enough Lisa also founded her own startup, Banzai! Fresh, providing high quality nutritious foods to schools and hospitals in Northern California. 

 Items Mentioned in Todays show: 


Lending Club

SkyBox Imaging




Love, Freedom and Aloneness by Osho 

 What you will learn in today’s show:

  • How Lisa got into the investing game?
  • Why Lisa is investing in marketplaces?
  • What Lisa’s normal investment size is?
  • Lisa’s most recent investment and why Lisa said yes?
  • Does Silicon Valley deserve the accolade it gets? Or is NYC fast approaching?
  • Do VCs investment attitudes differ when comparing SF to NYC?
  • How early is too early for Lisa to invest?
  • What was the one thing that propelled Lisa’s career?

We then move into a quick fire round where we hear Lisa’s thoughts on the best advice she has ever been given, the number 1 reason Lisa says no to startups and what Lisa would do if all she had was a laptop and $100!

20 VC 014: Acquired by Salesforce now VC with Kyle Lui

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Kyle Lui is Principal at DCM Ventures where he helps entrepreneurs scale their companies and advise on product development across IOT, consumer internet and mobile and enterperise Saas. Prior to DCM, Kyle was Co-Founder at ChoicePass, a enterprise perks and rewards Saas company backed by prominent angel investors, later acquired by Salesforce.com and Rypple. At Salesforce, Kyle served as Director of Product Management on the founding product team for Work.com, growing the business to over 1,000 enterprise customers.

Items mentioned in this episode:

In this episode you will learn:

  • How Kyle made the leap from Startup Founder to Venture Capitalist?
  • How did Kyle learn to code?
  • How did Kyle feel on selling ChoicePass to Salesforce?
  • What was it like working in such a large company, such as Salesforce?
  • How did your role change when Salesforce was acquired?
  • What was the most difficult element faced by Kyle in his time at ChoicePass?
  • Where does Kyle see the future of incentivising employees and how important is this aspect of corporate life?
  • When investing in a company what aspects really attract you to a deal and what can be a real red flag?
  • Are University and College degrees necessary for you to invest in a founder?
  • Is Kyle concerned that a potential increase in regulation could damage his investment in Eaze, medical marijuana delivery startup?

We conclude today’s show with a quick fire round where we hear Kyle’s thoughts on what Kyle would do if all he had was a laptop and $100, what advice Kyle would give to entrepreneurs starting a company?

For all the resources and items mentioned in todays show, head on over to www.thetwentyminutevc.com

If there are any VCs you would like us to interview, send an email to harry@thetwentyminutevc.com and we will arrange it!

20 VC 013: Series A, Spark Labs and The Future of the Asian Tech Market with Frank Meehan

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Frank Meehan is Co-Founder and General Partner at Spark Labs Global seed fund where he has invested in 40 companies in the US, UK and Asia. Previously, Frank was part of Horizon Ventures where he represented them on the boards of Siri, Summly and Spotify, just to name a few.

Items mentioned in today’s show:


Horizon Ventures


Youth Digital


In today’s episode you will learn:

  • How Frank made his entry into the technology industry and later the world of venture capital?
  • What Frank would recommend someone who is trying to learn to code?
  • Is coding necessary for a Founder to be successful?
  • What does Frank believe makes the perfect Series A round?
  • How early is too early to invest for Frank?
  • How do VCs compete for the most competitive rounds?
  • What was Frank’s most recent investment and why he said yes?
  • What sector is Frank most excited about and why?
  • When thinking of success, who is the 1st person that comes to Frank’s mind?
  • What Frank learnt from working at Horizon?

We then finish today’s episode with a quick fire round where we hear Frank’s thoughts on the future of the Asian tech market and the hardest decision of Frank’s career.

For all the resources mentioned in today’s show, head over to www.thetwentyminutevc.com

Likewise we would love to hear from you, if you have any questions you would like us to ask, send us an email harry@thetwentyminutevc.com

20 VC 012: Angel Investing, Accelerators and AdTech with Clark Landry

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 12.36.04Clark Landry is Founder and Chairman at Shift, the leading social advertising network for brands. He is also Executive Chairman of GraphEffect, a prominent social media marketing firm. In recent years Clark has made his foray into the investing industry with investments in the likes of AngelList and Lettuce. In his short time investing in startups, Clark has achieved an incredible 10 exits.

Items Mentioned in today’s show:

Shift Platform



Limitless by Alan Glynn

The Black Tux


In today’s episode you will learn:

  • How Clark made his entry into the world of tech and what caused his transition into angel investing?
  • The most valuable insight Clark has learnt from being both a Founder and an Investor?
  • How does Clark pick which startups to back, does he focus on any particular aspects of the company?
  • What sector Clark is most excited about and why?
  • How can someone make an entry into the tech startup world without having any coding ability?

We then finish the interview by hearing Clark’s thoughts the effectiveness of tech accelerators, his most recent investment and his favourite book.

For all the reasons mentioned in today’s show, head on over to www.thetwentyminutevc.com

If you have a question you want answered, send it in to harry@thetwentyminutevc.com and we will ask it on an upcoming show.

20 VC 011: London’s Early Stage Funding Scene with Thomas Jones

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A very exciting day on the 11th episode of The Twenty Minute VC as we welcome our 1st London based guest on the show, Thomas Jones. Thomas is Founder and Partner at Charlotte Street Capital, who invest up to £200,000 in early stage UK technology companies. Their impressive portfolio includes the likes of Chilango, GoSquared and SeedCamp, just to name a few. Prior to Charlotte Street Capital, Thomas was Founder and Executive Director of SMARTS Group International, offering a real time market surveillance platform, now used in dozens of stock exchanges around the world.

Items Mentioned in todays show:

In today’s session you will learn:

  • How Thomas made his entry into the world of Venture Capital?
  • When investing in a startup, do you have a mental timeline of the startup’s journey in your head with a clear strategy of when a desired exit will occur?
  • When it comes to investing, what really gets Thomas excited about the potential of a company?
  • What Thomas believes the main differences to be between VCs in Europe compared to the USA?
  • With the evolution of funding methods, how does Thomas see the ‘crowd’ becoming more involved in the future of early stage funding?
  • What advice Thomas would give to a graduate looking to make their entry into the industry?

We finish today’s episode with a quick fire round, where we hear Thomas’ immediate thoughts on the future of disruption.

For all the resources mentioned in today’s show head over to www.thetwentyminutevc.com where you can sign up for you free 7 DAY BUSINESS PLAN COURSE

We would love to hear from you, so if you have a VC you would like to hear from, send us an email: harry@thetwentyminutevc.com and we will see what we can do!

20 VC 010: Niko Bonatsos on Startup Valuations

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It is a great pleasure to have Niko Bonatsos on today’s episode of The Twenty Minute VC. Niko is Principal at General Catalyst Partners where he specialises in mobile, consumer and healthcare technology. At General Catalyst Partner, Niko has been involved in the investments in the likes of Snapchat, TuneIn and SpoonRocket, just to name a few. Niko is also reknowned for being the 1st Angel Investor in Yik Yak, recently valued between $300-400 million.

In today’s episode you will learn:

  • How Niko made the jump into the world of Venture Capital?
  • What were the fundamental lessons Niko learned when his startup failed?
  • Why Niko prefers to invest in founding teams instead of individual founders?
  • How Niko determines whether a startup will be successful or not? What Niko looks for in startups?
  • Does Niko ever experience FOMO (fear of missing out) on an investment?
  • How do you value a company, in particular a startup with no revenue?
  • Does Niko think Silicon Valley will continue to be the dominant hub for innovation and investment?
  • What parts of the world have seen large growth in both funding and innovation?
  • What Niko would advise graduates looking to make the entry into the Venture Capital industry?
  • What is the best piece of business advice Niko has ever received?

We then move onto a quick fire round where Niko tells us his thoughts on the future of education technology and the primary reason Niko says no to startups.

For all the resources mentioned in today’s show, check out www.thetwentyminutevc.com

We would love to hear from you. If you have any questions you would like to ask the VCs, drop us an email at harry@thetwentyminutevc.com

20 VC 009: Red Flags, Becoming a VC and Saas with Joe Floyd

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On today’s episode of The Twenty Minute VC, I am hugely excited to welcome Joe Floyd to the hotseat. Joe is Principal at Emergence Capital Partners. His expertise in building cloud startups has evolved over 10 years of advising and investing in startups. Prior to Emergence, Joe worked in American Capital’s technology group where he focused on fast growing internet companies. At American Capital Joe was involved in their investments with the likes of PeopleMedia and HomeAway.

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show

What you will learn in today’s show:

  • How Joe made his transition from the world of tech investment banking into the Venture Capital industry?
  • What Joe would advise an individual looking to get into the industry?
  • What Joe believes to be the most important aspect that a startup must have in order to attain VC funding?
  • Whether Joe prefers a founder or a founding team?
  • Joe describes what the main red flags are when startups pitch?
  • When Joe thinks of success, who is the first person that comes to mind?
  • What business books have been the most transformative to Joe?

We then delve into a quick fire round where Joe gives his immediate thoughts on the future of Amazon and Tesla and whether we really are in a tech bubble or not?

As always thank you so much for listening to today’s show, for furthr details and resources, head on over to www.thetwentyminutevc.com. Likewise we would love to hear who you would like to have on the show, if you have any suggestions please do email harry@thetwentyminutevc.com with your suggestions.

20 VC 008: Startup 101 with Mark Peter Davis

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Mark Peter Davis is the founder of Interplay Ventures with investments in the likes of Venwise and Warby Parker, just to name a few. Mark is also author of ‘The Fundraising Rules’, which clearly outlines the funding process of startups. If that wasn’t enough Mark is Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Singularity University. Business Insider has listed Mark as one of the most influential Digital NYers and is included in a list of the 30 most interesting members of the Columbia University Startup Community by CVC30.

Items Mentioned in Todays Show:

In this episode you will learn:

  • How Mark got into the VC industry?
  • How startup founders can increase their network and gain influential mentors?
  • When looking at startups what makes Mark want to get involved?
  • What are the biggest mistakes made by startup founders?
  • What are the key characteristics for a founder to have, in order to be successful?
  • How does an individual or startup get a meeting with a VC?
  • What Mark would advise graduates wanting to get into the Venture Capital Industry?

We end todays show with The Ultimate Quick Fire Round. Here Marks explains his views on startup valuations and how much equity the traditional VC looks for when investing.

Thank you so much for listening, if you are loving the show please do subscribe on iTunes and I would be so grateful if you would leave a review. If you do, you will be entered into the competition to win a meeting with one of the VCs and all the books mentioned in the first 10 episodes. Likewise, if there is a VC we have not interview who you would like us to send an email to harry@thetwentyminutevc.com and we will arrange it!

20 VC 007: The Evolution of Content and the Venture Capital Industry with Peter Csathy

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Peter has had an astonishing career in the media industry with an unbroken track record of success in startups and emerging growth companies. Peter is currently CEO of Manatt Digital Media, which not only offers Venture Capital but is unique in also providing legal services and business consulting. Prior to Manatt, Peter was CEO of Sorensen Media, which serves 70 of the Fortune 100 and CEO of SightSpeed, Inc in which Peter oversaw their acquisition by Logitech.

Items Mentioned in Todays Show:

In this episode you will learn:

  • Why Peter decided to enter into the Venture Capital Industry?
  • What are the unique service that Manatt offer that other VCs do not provide?
  • Why are these service necessary for startups to have access to?
  • What is the most important thing for a startup to have in order for you to invest?
  • Does an entrepreneur’s track record of failure reduce the chance of you investing?
  • Where do you see the disruption of content in 2015?
  • What book would you give to an aspiring entrepreneur looking to attain funding?

In the final few minutes, we delve into a quick fire round where we hear Peter’s thoughts on: The importance of location for a startup, future of online video and the company Peter is most excited about.

20 VC 006: Google Glass & Founding Teams with Ifty Ahmed

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Ifty Ahmed, General Partner at Oak Investment Partners. Ifty started his career with Goldman Sachs and Fidelity Ventures before joining Oak Investment Partners in 2003. He currently focuses on investing across the technology sector with an active interest in Consumer Internet companies.

*This episode was recorded before Google’s anouncement to stop producing Google Glass prototypes, making Ifty’s prediction even more impressive.

Items mentioned in today’s show:

In this episode you will learn:

  • How Ifty got into the Venture Capital industry?
  • What does Ifty believe are the must haves for startups, in order for them to gain funding?
  • Why Ifty prefers to invest in a founding team rather than a single founder?
  • What Ifty would recommed to to an individual founder starting a company?
  • What are the uncomfortable questions companies should ask VCs before they accept VC funding?
  • What Ifty believes a startup should do before a pitch, in order to increase the chances of success?
  • What book would Ifty give to an aspiring entrepreneur?
  • What advice Ifty would give a graduate wanting to get into the VC industry?
  • What tips Ifty would give to about where to network with VCs?

We finish the episode with a quick fire round where we hear Ifty’s views on the future of Google Glass, the valuation of Snapchat and the potential for Bitcoin.

20 VC 005: Be The Best CEO with Kent Godfrey

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In episode 5 of The Twenty Minute VC, we are joined by Kent Godfrey, General Partner at Pond Ventures. Prior to entering into the VC industry Kent was Chairman and CEO of Andromedia before merging it with MacroMedia. Kent was also CEO of Frictionless Commerce concluding with the sale of the company to SAP in 2006.

Kent has previously served on the board of numerous companies including LiveRail (acquired by Facebook), TRM Corporation (Nasdaq:TRMM), HipBone Communications (acquired by Kana) and Vocal Point Inc (acquired by Telecom Italia).

In this session you will learn:

  • What is the most challenging aspect of being a CEO?
  • What can a CEO do to position themselves to be more successful?
  • How can an individual develop the skills to be a successful CEO?
  • What Kent learnt from his meetings with Steve Jobs?
  • What do VCs do when concerned about an investment?
  • What is the best aspect of being a Venture Capitalist?
  • Is it possible to go straight into the Venture Capital industry from University?

We end the episode with a quick fire round where Ken describes the future of the Internet Of Things (IOT). Why Founders are better than a Founder? Plus, what the biggest misunderstanding of the Venture Capital industry is?


20 VC 004: David Hornik on The Magic of Stanford and Startups

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David started his career as legal attorney to some of the hottest startups in Silicon Valley before making his foray into the Venture Capital Industry with August Capital in 2000. If that wasn’t enough, David created the 1st Venture Capital blog, VentureBlog and is also the presenter of VentureCast.

Items Mentioned on Today’s Show

In today’s episode you will learn:

  • Why David made the transition from the legal world into the VC industry?
  • What is so special about Stanford that enables a continuous flow of revlolutionary companies?
  • Whether legal skills are attributable to the funding industry?
  • What David looks for when investing in a company?
  • Does it always have to be a big market opportunity for VCs to invest?
  • What the best piece of business advice David has ever received?
  • What book David would recommend to a Startup Founder?

We then progress into a quick fire round where we hear David’s views on Peter Thiel’s 20 Under 20 and the 1st $Trillion business.

VC 20 003: Bob Ghoorah on Startups, The Pitch and Uber

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Bob Ghoorah, Managing Director at Columubus Nova Technology Partners. Bob has experienced both sides of the table having been an early employee at three technology companies in Silicon Valley; LoudCloud (Nasdaq: LDCL), Opsware (Nasdaq: OPSW) and Ning, a privately-held software platform (sold to Glam Media in 2011).

In this episode we find out:

  • The benefits of having a legal knowledge in the Startup community.
  • What characteristics make the best entrepreneurs?
  • Who does Bob think of, when the word ‘success’ is mentioned and why?
  • Where Bob sees the future of Uber?
  • What aspects of a Startup are essential in order to obtain VC funding?
  • Is it important for Startups to be located in Silicon Valley?
  • What books Bob woulg give to an aspring entrepreneur and startup founder?
  • What advice Bob would give to anyone looking to get into the Venture Capital Industry?

Finally, we head to the quick fire round. Here, we get Bob’s immediate reactions to the latests tech topics including tech bubble, company valuations and the first trillion dollar company.

20 VC 002: How to Become a VC with Kris Jones



Kris-Jones-color-250x250In this session of The Twenty Minute VC, I’m so excited to have the opportunity to interview Kris Jones. Kris has enjoyed an amazing career in the technology industry, founding PepperJam, an internet marketing agency in 1999 and later selling it to Ebay in April of 2010. More recently, Kris has made his transition into the Venture Capital Industry through the founding of an early stage technology investment fund, KBJ Capital, which includes portfolio companies Highlighter.com, French Girls App, ReferLocal.com and many more incredible companies.

Items Mentioned In This Podcast:

In this session you’ll learn:

  • Why Kris decided to make the transition from the Startup ecosystem to the world of Venture Capital.
  • How did it feel for Kris, selling his company to Ebay?
  • What was the most important lesson Kris learnt in the journey from having the idea for PepperJam to being acquired by Ebay?
  • What is the key characteristic a Founder must have?
  • What can an individual do to get employed in the Venture Capital industry

Kris is also a prolific writer here are some of his articles, you can check out!

Forbes: 15 Steps to Set Your Company Up for a Successful M&A

Mashable: 9 Ways Social Media Marketing Will Change in 2014

Citibank: How to Impress a Potential Investor

Guy Kawasaki of Apple Inc, Motorola and Alltop.com


Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 12.10.18What is the most important thing for a startup to have? Join us as Guy shares his investment strategy and provides inside access into the mind of a top VC.

Guy Kawasaki is the founding partner of Garage Technology Ventures, a seed & early stage venture capital fund investing in extraordinary entrepreneurs with unique technologies. Previously, he was Chief Evangelist of Apple Inc and an advisor to the Motorala Business Unit of Google. Guy is also the author of many best selling books including the recent best seller, The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users.

Items Mentioned in This Podcast

The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users

If You Want To Write: Barbara Ueland

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion: Robert Cialdini

In this session you’ll learn:

  • Who Guy associates with having achieved the most success and why?
  • Why Guy made the leap from the tech startup scene to the world of Venture Capital?
  • What exactly Guy looks for when investing in a startup?
  • Characteristics of entrepreneurs nowadays that drives Guy insane?
  • What books Guy recommends to aspiring entrepreneurs?
  • Apps and Software that Guy uses on a daily basis and could not live without.

Finally, we finish the session with a quick fire round, where we hear Guy’s views on the latest and greatest from the technology industry. This includes Guy’s opinion on whether we are in a tech bubble? The future of Tesla? Whether Amazon is a Buy or Sell?



Startup has lost it’s meaning!


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Startup, a term bandied round like funding in the tech bubble, but what does it really mean and has it lost it’s original meaning.

The standard belief is that a startup is a small company with potential for excessive growth with the cumulative goal of it becoming the next tech titan.

However, is that really correct? If so, should the mass of tech companies be attributed with the class of ‘startup’? Is Airbnb really a startup still? Hell no.

So if the likes of Airbnb and Uber are deemed to have lost their designer ‘startup’ status, what really is a ‘startup’ in today’s tech sector? Well everyone has very different definitions, however, it is my belief that a company may be judged to be a startup based on three different criteria:

  1. Valuation: If a company is worth more than $250 million, leave your startup status at the door.
  2. Revenue run rate: If this exceeds $35 million, sack the startup name and call yourself a tech company.
  3. Employee count: If you have over 100 employees it’s time to start targeting or avoiding the looming IPO.

If however, you do not exceed these limits. Awesome job. You can keep the startup badge on for all to see. Just to show an example, Timehop has team of 11 and at last round of funding (May 2014) was given a reported valuation of $200 million. Well done Timehop, you are officially still a startup.


5 reasons Uber is better than buying a car

Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at 12.35.101.) The average car in the UK now costs £27,219 ($42,649). The average uber journey is estimated to be £8.60. With those estimates you could take 3,250 uber journeys before it would amount to the initial cost of a car.

2.) Cars are in motion for an average of 4% of the day. The remaining 96% of the time they  sit there losing value.

3.) According to recent statistics 47 hours of lessons are required before a test should be taken. With that time you could learn an entirely new skill. For instance, you could learn to be a professional web developer in just 28 hours with this course:


4.) Maintenance: The average fuel expenditure is £2,600 per year, with a whopping £600 on insurance. Making the total maintenance excluding servicing £3,200. YIKES!

5.) The typical car on the road has 1.2 passengers, a partnership of Google’s driverless cars and Uber would allow the car to be on the road for 23/24 hours, reducing the number of cars by an estimated 4/5. Therefore not only is Uber awesome but it is environmentally friendly.

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