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

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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?

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

LastMinute.com

Aire

DoPay

Squirrel 

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

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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?

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