20VC: SPACs. What Are They? Why Now? How Do They Change The Venture Landscape? Are They Better Than IPOs & Direct Listings? How Should Founders Think About Them? Kevin Hartz & Troy Steckenrider @ A*

Posted on 31st August 2020 by Harry

Kevin Hartz is Co-Founder & Partner @ A*, a newly listed special acquisition company which raised $200M to acquire and take public a tech startup. Kevin is also the Co-Founder, former CEO, and Chairman Eventbrite (NYSE: EB). Before Eventbrite, Kevin was the Co-Founder & former CEO of online money transfer service, Xoom (acquired by PayPal for $1.1B). Kevin is also one of the most successful early-stage investors in the business with a portfolio including the likes of Airbnb (Seed, Series A), Uber (Series B), Pinterest (Seed, Series A), Trulia (first check) and PayPal (Seed).

Troy Steckenrider is Kevin’s co-founder and Partner @ A*. Prior to A*, Troy was COO @ ZeroDown changing the landscape for homeownership with $136M in funding. Before ZeroDown, Troy spent 5 years at Opendoor as Director of Capital Markets. Before that hyper-growth experience at Opendoor, Troy enjoyed roles at both Bain Private Equity and McKinsey.


In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Troy and Kevin came together to co-found A*? What is a SPAC? What are Kevin and Troy looking to achieve with the SPAC?

2.) What does Kevin believe are the primary drivers for the rise in SPAC’s over the last few years? How will they change the structure of both the VC and startup industry? How will the SPAC landscape evolve over the next few years? What is the biggest challenge they face?

3.) Why does Kevin believe that the fee structure for SPACs is egregious? How would they like to change the incentive structure? How does the timeline for a SPAC transaction compare to that of an IPO? How does the fee structure compare when comparing SPACs to banks in IPOs?

4.) Why did Kevin and Troy choose $200M for the right size for their first SPAC? How does the size of the SPAC determine the type of company the SPAC will merge with? What are Kevin and Troy looking for in their partner company?

5.) What does the fundraising process look like for a SPAC? How do SPAC sponsors deal with the challenge that LPs call pull out if they do not like the proposed partner deal? When evaluating SPACs, what do investors look to invest because of? What makes A* special?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Troy’s Fave Book: Churchill: Walking with Destiny

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