20VC: The Biggest Lessons From Working Alongside John Doerr, How To Optimize The Speed of Investment Decision-Making & Why Saying No Graciously Is The Most Important Thing with Shabih Rizvi, Founding Partner @ Gradient Ventures
Posted on 10th September 2018 by hstebbings1
Shabih Rizvi is the Founding Partner @ Gradient Ventures, Google’s new AI-focused venture fund, which will invest in and connect early-stage startups with Google’s resources, innovation, and technical leadership in artificial intelligence. Prior to Gradient, Shabih was a Partner at KPCB, where he was actively involved with investments in TrueCaller, Mobcrush, Veem and Ujet. In addition, he helped the firm build their seed program and served as advisor to Flipagram and Victorious. Before KPCB, Shabih founded and led the startup outreach program for Google Play. Prior to Google Play, Shabih worked on the Mobile Apps Lab team which built SMB products. His primary focus was scaling TalkBin (Acquired by Google) to enterprise clients. Shabih joined Google after Google’s acquisition of AdMob, where he was a manager on the Business Development team.
1.) How Shabih made his way into the world of venture with Kleiner Perkins and how he came to be a Founding Partner @ Google’s AI focused venture fund, Gradient? What were Shabih’s greatest lessons from working side by side with John Doerr?
2.) Shabih has said to me before “founder relationships and their longevity really matter”. What does Shabih mean by this? How has this played out for Shabih in an investing environment? What have been Shabih’s subsequent learnings?
3.) How does Shabih identify the “3 buckets” that VCs source from? How does Shabih look to filter through opportunities at scale? What must he see in the deck? What are his quick no’s? What is Shabih’s framework for saying no both with efficiency and kindness? Why does Shabih believe this is one of the hardest parts of the role?
4.) What does the internal investment decision-making process look like at Gradient? Why do they believe that 2 partner meetings a week is optimal? Prior to that, how does Shabih structure his meetings with founders? Why does Shabih believe it is so important to go to them at their HQ? Should all investors go to the founder?
5.) Why is Shabih a strong believer in the decentralisation of talent away from the valley? What are the primary drivers for this decentralization? How does Shabih think about pricing in different regions? To what extent does it differ wildly? How does Shabih respond to traditional SaaS wisdom that you have to build your SaaS business in the valley?
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