20VC: Benchmark’s Sarah Tavel on Why Chasing GMV Will Lead To The Wrong Direction, The 2 Crucial Tipping Points For Marketplace Adoption, Why UGC Plays Are Like Marketplaces & How To Determine Between Existential and Non-Existential Risk

Posted on 23rd November 2020 by Harry

Sarah Tavel is a General Partner @ Benchmark, one of the most successful funds of the last decade with a portfolio including the likes of Uber, Twitter, Dropbox, WeWork, Snapchat, StitchFix, eBay and many more. As for Sarah, prior to joining Benchmark, she was a General Partner at another globally renowned firm, Greylock, where she led deals in Sonder and Gixo. Pre-Greylock, Sarah was the first PM @ Pinterest where she led three acquisitions, launched Pinterest internationally, and was responsible for closing their $100m Series C financing.


In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Sarah made her way from being the first PM at Pinterest to being a General Partner at one of the world’s leading venture firms, Benchmark?

2.) What does Sarah mean when she says, “the small things are not the big things”? How does Sarah determine between existential vs non-existential risk? How does this impact the type of board member Sarah is? How has Sarah seen the best board members engage? Who are they?

3.) Why does Sarah believe that in marketplaces, chasing GMV will lead you in the wrong direction? How does Sarah think about good vs great when it comes to 1.) Average order values? 2.) Repeat purchase rates. 3.) NPS? 4.) Net revenue retention? How should they change with time?

4.) In marketplaces, what is a tipping point? What are the 2 crucial tipping points to be aware of? How can marketplaces ensure demand brings further demand? What can they determine from how demand engages with different suppliers? How does Sarah feel about feedback systems?

5.) Why does Sarah believe that UGC plays are like marketplaces? What lessons can be drawn from TikTok to suggest this? How does Sarah think about her biggest lessons when analysing the growth of DoorDash? What do many not see that is important to recognise?

Item’s Mentioned In Today’s Episode

Sarah’s Favourite Book: Pachinko: The New York Times Bestseller

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