20VC: Are VCs Still “Open For Business”, How VCs Attitude To Risk Has Changed & The 2 Most Valuable Assets To Founders Today with Fred Destin, Founding Partner @ Stride VC

Fred Destin is a Founding Partner @ Stride.VC, one of Europe’s newest and largest early-stage seed firms. Prior to co-founding Stride, Fred was a General Partner @ Accel where he was the lead investor and board member at Deliveroo, Pillpack (acq. AMZN for $1BN) and Carwow. Prior to Accel, he was a partner at Atlas Venture (now Accomplice) where he invested in and served on the board of Pillpack, Zoopla (IPO), Secret Escapes, Integral Ad Science (partial exit to Vista at $850M) and TheCurrencyCloud to name a few. Fun fact, his portfolio has a total enterprise value of more than $10BN and he generated in excess of $700M in exit value to investors.



In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How did Fred make his way into the world of venture and come to co-found one of Europe’s newest and largest seed funds in Stride.VC?

2.) If you look to Twitter, all VCs are “open for business”, does Fred really believe the market is still open for business? How will deal volume be affected? How bad does Fred think this could get? How does this downturn compare to that of the dot-com and 2008?

3.) Why did Stride decide to take the decision to pause on investing at this moment in time? How does Fred respond to the suggestion of better pricing and less competition at this time? How does Fred believe venture investors view of risk evolves at this time? What is the first to change?

4.) With many new funds deploying their first fund in 18 months, does Fred think we will see a gravyard of new fund managers out of cash and with cash hungry portfolios? What advice does Fred give to newer managers of other elements they have to be minfdul/aware of?

5.) How does Fred think about the right way for managers to communicate with their LPs at this time? What has Stride done that has worked? Does Fred believe we will see many LPs defaulting on their initial commitments? How does Fred think emerging managers can navigate this?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Fred’s Fave Movie: Mulholland Drive

Fred’s Most Recent Investment: Collective Benefits

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

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

20VC: Stride’s Fred Destin on Acceptable vs Non-Acceptable Risks When Investing, How Startup Founders Can Improve The Quality of Their Decision-Making & Why Plans Do Not Matter and No Board Member Should Bash An Entrepreneur For Missing Their Numbers

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Fred Destin is a Founding Partner @ Stride.VC, one of Europe’s newest seed funds with a portfolio including the likes of Cazoo and Forward Health. Over his 17 year career in venture, Fred has established himself as one of Europe’s leading VCs with the exit value of 3 of his portfolio companies alone last year totalling more than $4.5Bn with PillPack’s $1Bn sale to Amazon, Zoopla to Silverlake for $3Bn and Integral Ad Science to Vista for $850m. Fred has also led investments as a General Partner @ Accel in Deliveroo, the world leader of food on demand and Carwow, the number 1 for new car sales in the UK.



In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Fred made his way into the world of venture and early stage? What was behind his decision to leave Accel to found Stride with Harry?

2.) Why does Fred think many today misunderstand “risk” in venture? How does that apply across the portfolio? Does Fred agree with Brian Singerman, “venture is a game of upside maximisation”? What risks does Fred define as acceptable vs non-acceptable risks? How does Fred really look to strength test the quality and depth of a founder pre-investment? What are the benefits of going through conflict early?

3.) How does Fred think about price sensitivity? What are the core questions a VC can ask when considering the pricing of an opportunity? How does Fred think about reserve allocation? How does Fred analogize this to the best traders? To what extent does TAM play a dominant role in Fred’s evaluation? What does Fred mean when he says “we have to remember, we are the ones that get picked also”?

4.) How does Fred think about and assess innovation within venture? How does Fred perceive the role of data to impact venture over the coming years? Why does Fred believe it is exaggerated that data will disrupt the early stage in the coming years? Where would Fred like to see further innovation in the mechanics of venture?

5.) What does Fred believes separates the good from the great when it comes to board members? How can board members create an environment where the entrepreneur feels they can say all that is wrong? Where do many board members go wrong? Why are board members so wrong to bash a founder for missing their numbers? Why does Fred believe that plans are fiction? WHy is the framework of the plan what really matters?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Fred’s Fave Book: Man’s Search for Meaning

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

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

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20 VC: Fred Destin, General Partner @ Accel


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Items Mentioned In Today’s Episode:
Fred’s Fave Blog or Newsletter: The Atlantic, Tech.eu
Fred’s Most Recent Investment: Deliveroo
As always you can follow The Twenty Minute VCHarry and Fred on Twitter here!
If you would like to see a more colourful side to Harry with many a mojito session, you can follow him on Instagram here!

20VC: How To Optimise Decision-Making Frameworks, How To Really Get The Most Out Of Your Board and When Your Brother Is Also Your Co-Founder; The Secret To Working with Family with Rob Sadow, Founder & CEO @ Scoop


Rob Sadow is the Founder & CEO @ Scoop, the startup that dramatically improves your commute providing convenient carpools with co-workers and neighbours. To date, Rob has raised over $46m in funding for Scoop from the likes of Danny Rimer @ Index, Brook Porter @ G2VP, Zaw Thet @ Signia Venture Partners and BMW i Ventures just to name a few. Before founding Scoop, Rob was a Manager @ Bain & Company and before that spent time in Israel with Better Place, working to provide electric vehicle networks to help accelerate the global transition to sustainable transportation.



In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Rob made his way from the world of consulting and Bain to founding the future of convenient commutes with Scoop?

2.) How does Rob approach key decisions? What does Brook Porter @ G2VP mean when he says, “from a first principles perspective”? How does Rob determine when to make decisions with the head or the heart? Does Rob agree with Fred Destin, “as a founder, decisions are never perfect, it is about batting average”? Where does Rob see many make mistakes when it comes to decision-making?

3.) How does Rob find the dynamics of working with his brother as his co-founder? What are some of the core challenges? How does one make it scale and how does the relationship need to change over time? What is Rob’s biggest advice to others when thinking about the person they partner with?

4.) How does Rob think about board construction? What have been some of Rob’s biggest lessons in really using your board to get the most out of them? What works well for this? What does not work? How can founders create this level of relationship with their board members? Should founders direct their ask to specific individuals when soliciting help from their board?

5.) Why does Rob believe that they have next to no attrition of employees at Scoop? What have been some of Rob’s biggest lessons when it comes to both culture creation and maintenance? How does Rob think leaders can invest more in their employees? What does this look like? Where do many go wrong or misallocate?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Rob’s Fave Book: The Wheel of Time

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

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

20VC Books

Anjney Midha’s Fave Book: Rainbows End Sam Lessin’s Fave Book: Lessons of History Joel Flory’s Fave Book: How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk  Josh Kopelman’s Fave Book: Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts Olof Mathe’s Fave Book: SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome Hunter Somerville’s Fave Book: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

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20VC: Why VC Is A Lifestyle Not A Job, Why You Must Do Post-mortems On Good and Bad Deals & Why Society Is On A Downgrade with Kathleen Utecht, Managing Partner @ Core Innovation Capital

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Kathleen Utecht is a General Partner @ Core Innovation Capital, I would say one of the most under the radar but immensely exciting funds in market and they are looking to revolutionize financial services with their portfolio. With their portfolio are the likes of NerdWallet, PayJoy, fundera and Mayvenn just to name a few. Prior to Core, Kat was an investor at Comcast Ventures and WVP Ventures. Prior to her venture roles, Kath invested in and led Green Rock Entertainment, an online/offline commerce startup. Before that, Kat cut her teeth in the world of finance working as an investment banker at Raymond James.



In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Kat made her way from car entrepreneur dreams to operator to now, General Partner @ Core?

2.) Why does Kat believe that “society is on a downgrade”? Does Kat agree with the Thiel thesis of “we expected flying cars and were given 140 characters”? Where does Kat most want to see entrepreneurs spending their time and skills?

3.) How does Kat view regulation with regards to startup operations and expansion? Why does Kat believe that “sector specific funds should be in every highly regulated deal”? What are the core benefits? How can VCs really aid with regulation?

4.) Kat has previously said that “VC is a lifestyle not a job”, what does Kat mean by this? How does this mean VCs should behave with regards to founder interactions and communications? How can entrepreneurs stress test whether a VC has this belief?

5.) How does Kat view the process of losing companies? What does her post mortem analysis look like? Why does Kat believe that if you do not lose companies, you are not taking enough risk?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Kat’s Fave Book: Atlas Shrugged

Kat’s Fave Blog: AVC by Fred Wilson

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

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

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