20 VC 094: Kanyi Maqubela @ Collaborative Fund on Rocketships, Feedback Loops and Turning Lemons Into Lemonade!


Kanyi Maqubela is a Partner at Collaborative Fund, who have made investments in AngelList, CodeAcademy, AltSchool, Reddit, Task Rabbit just to name a few. On a more personal note, and a little background on Kanyi, he is originally from Johannesburg South Africa, and was a founding employee at Doostang, a venture-backed peer-to-peer career marketplace, he attended Stanford University and as Kanyi states his most meaningful and difficult work done so far is his work on the Obama Campaign in 2008. You can checkout Kanyi’s blog here! I would like to thank Mattermark for providing all the data and analysis for this interview and you can check them out here!


In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Kanyi made the move into VC and tech from South Africa?

2.) Was the decision to leave Stanford tough? Why would Kanyi advise others to say in school? What was so tough about the startup experience for Kanyi?

3.) What is the investing thesis at Collaborative Fund? What stage do you prefer? Average cheque size? Sector preference? Does specializing in themes result in higher returns?

4.) How is it being such a young partner in the industry? What are the challenges Kanyi has face? Does Kanyi think his age acts as a disadvantage when it comes to attracting older founders?

5.) What are Kanyi’s personal marketing strategies that he uses to establish his own personal brand? What platforms are most effective?

6.) How effective does Kanyi find demo days and hackathons as source of deal flow? Are there any tips Kanyi would suggest to maximise their utility? What is Collaborative’s most effective form of deal sourcing today?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Episode:

Kanyi’s Fave Book: The Brothers Karamazov

Kanyi’s Most Recent Investment: CircleUp

As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and Kanyi 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!





20 VC: David Tisch @ Box Group on The Future of Consumer Mobile, Developing Pattern Recognition and FOMO

David Tisch is the Managing Partner of BoxGroup, one of New York most prolific seed investors with investments in over 120 seed-stage technology companies including Vine, Sunrise Calendar, Warby Parker, Harry’s, Oscar, Meerkat, and Zady. As of 2014, David is also the Co-Founder of Spring, an app that allows the worlds best brands to sell directly to consumers on mobile, with his brother Alan who is the CEO. Prior to Box and Spring, David co-founded TechStars NYC, and was named to NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s Advisory Council on Technology.
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 David made his way into the world of startups and investing?

2.) Having started Box in 2008, how has David seen the NY venture and startup scene develop over the last years? Matt Hartman @ Betaworks: how has that impacted the type of investments you make? Has it changed your thesis, theme, or any other aspect of how you invest? Kanyi Maqubela @ Collaborative: Does an ecosystem need anchor companies to be great? What are New York’s anchor companies?

3.) What is the vision with Box? Is this a fund that lasts through the ages? Last year I heard you made 3 hires, is this a sign of a desire to create the NYC fund? At Box you have a weighting towards mobile consumer tech, how do you respond to Fred Wilson’s post about the mobile downtown and the difficulty in attaining and maintating traction for mobile apps?

4.) What was the motivation behind moving into the world of entrepreneurship with Spring? What aspects of Alan’s and Box as a product has contributed to it’s massive success?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Episode:
David’s Fave Productivity Tools: Captio 
David’s Most Recent Investment: Nucleus: The Smart Home Wireless Intercom
As always you can follow The Twenty Minute VCHarry and David 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: Overcoming The Engineer Boys Club, Disrupting The “Pink Aisle” & Why VCs Are Missing A Trick Not Investing In The CPG Space with Debbie Sterling, Founder & CEO @ Goldieblox

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Debbie Sterling is the Founder & CEO @ Goldieblox, an award‐winning toy company on a mission to “disrupt the pink aisle.” An engineer and entrepreneur, Sterling has made it her mission in life to tackle the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Sterling was named TIME’s “Person of the Moment” and Business Insider’s “30 Women Who Are Changing the World” and is regarded as one of the leaders of the movement toward getting more girls interested in engineering and technology. In January 2014, GoldieBlox beat out more than 20,000 businesses in a contest run by Intuit to become the first‐ever small business to air a commercial during the Super Bowl.



In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Debbie overcame the “engineering boys club” at Stanford and the a-ha moment that led to the creation of Goldieblox?

2.) How does Debbie look to overcome those really tough times as an entrepreneur, from exclusion to the “engineering boys club” to a harsh reception at an accelerator, how did Debbie look to deal with that personally?

3.) Question from Kanyi Maqubela: Is the gender diversity issue primarily a pipeline problem? Where are the key cracks in the system? What does Debbie believe is the point of key leverage?

4.) Question from Harley Finkelstein @ Shopify: How does Debbie ensure that everyone of Goldieblox’s videos go viral as it does? What is both the content creation strategy? How does Debbie look to optimise distribution of their content to attain that virality?

5.) Why does Debbie believe that VCs are missing a massive opportunity by not investing in CPG and hardware? What single value add would be most attractive to Debbie for an investor entering the space? What must hardware and CPG founders really look for in their investor base?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Debbie’s Fave Book: The Brothers Karamazov

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

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

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