20VC: How a16z Uses NPS To Create Better Founder Experiences, Why Intellectual Curiosity Is The Most Important Investor Trait & Creating A Fund To Last Through The Ages with Zal Bilimoria, Founding Partner @ Refactor Capital

Posted on 16th April 2018 by Harry



Zal Bilimoria is Founding Partner @ Refactor Capital, one of Silicon Valley’s newest entrants to the early stage scene with a $50m fund looking to back founders solving fundamental human problems. Prior to co-founding Refactor, Zal was a Partner @ a16z where he co-led investments in Omada Health, Branch.co, AltSchool, Honor, and more, while helping to launch the firm’s Bio Fund. Before becoming an investor, Zal spent 10 years as a PM at Microsoft, Google, Netflix, and LinkedIn. He worked on emerging markets for Windows, became one of the first monetization team members at YouTube, and then  became the 1st Head of Mobile at Netflix and helped start the Sales Solutions business at LinkedIn.



In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Zal made his way into the world of VC with a16z from the very corporate worlds of Microsoft, Google, Netflix and LinkedIn?

2.) What were Zal’s 3 biggest learnings from seeing the internal processes and scaling of a16z? How does a16z use NPS in such a compelling way that it automatically improves founder treatment and interaction within the firm? What was it about a16z that led Zal to believe being insanely curious is the biggest skill of an investor?

3.) What are the signs and leading indicators that a scientist has the mental plasticity and ability to translate into a CEO and business leader? What are the biggest challenges as a VC in assessing whether this plasticity is present? Why does David believe that the very best founders are looking to solve “fundamental human problems”?

4.) Over the last few years we have seen an explosion of deep tech capital, Elad Gil suggested this reminded him of the 2007 cleantech days, does Zal agree with this suggestion? How does Zal think about the common concern of having to carry companies for longer given the extended milestones to prove progress?

5.) Zal has said before his goal is “to build a seed firm to last among the 100s of others”, what does Zal believe is crucial to this sustainability of fund and brand? How does Zal evaluate the insanely crowded seed market today?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Zal’s Fave Book: Seveneves

Zal’s Most Recent Investment: Solugen

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