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Founder Real Talk

Author: GGV Capital

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From GGV, this is Founder Real Talk, where we get real about the challenges that founders and startup executives face, and how they've grown from tough experiences. Check out founderrealtalk.ggvc.com for more information on the podcast and how to reach us with your founder questions. Hosted by Glenn Solomon, Managing Partner at GGV Capital.
51 Episodes
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Dev Ittycheria is the President and CEO of MongoDB, the maker of the world’s most popular general purpose database. Built on open source, MongoDB has had an enviable run since its 2017 IPO. Dev joined MongoDB in 2014 and has steered the company through some of its highest-growth years. Before taking the helm of MongoDB, Dev founded and IPOed two companies—Breakaway Solutions, which went public in 1999 and was acquired by Verizon in 2001, and BladeLogic, which had one of the most successful IPOs of 2007 and was later acquired by BMC Software for $900 million. He has also invested in and served on the boards of many successful software companies including AppDynamics, Athenahealth, and Datadog. In this episode, Dev explains how he learned to be vulnerable as a CEO and galvanize the workforce to reset company goals and ultimately create the community-driven database that MongoDB is today.
Daniel Schreiber is the Co-Founder and CEO of Lemonade, the AI-powered insurance company with a commitment to making a positive social impact, that has risen to the top of the industry in less than five years. Founded in 2015, Daniel and his Co-founder, Shai Wininger set out to change the way we use insurance and instead present it as a 100% digital community resource meant to help those in their hour of need. With its Giveback program, successful 2020 IPO, and more than one million active users, Lemonade is paving the way for the future of insurance on a global scale. In this episode, Daniel talks about what makes a great founder and CEO, the importance of resilience in the tech industry, and more. This episode is co-hosted by GGV Capital Investor, Oren Yunger.
This is a crossover episode between Founder Real Talk and Evolving for the Next Billion and is co-hosted by GGV Managing Partners, Glenn Solomon and Hans Tung. Josh Silverman has been the CEO of Etsy since 2017. Etsy is an innovative online marketplace that connects millions of creative sellers and buyers around the world. Etsy’s mission is to“keep commerce human” and it’s become the global destination for unique and creative goods. The company has 3.1 million active sellers and 60.3 million active buyers from nearly every country. In 2019, 40% of Etsy sellers were located outside the US, 83% of sellers were women. Josh has two decades of leadership experience including growing consumer technology companies and scaling global marketplaces. Before Etsy, he served as president of consumer products and services at AMEX, CEO of Skype, and CEO of Shopping.com. He has also held various executive roles at eBay. Earlier in his career, Josh co-founded Evite, where he also served as the company's first CEO until its sale to IAC.
The Founder Real Talk Israeli Entrepreneur Series is back with a fifth episode. These episodes are dedicated to getting to know Israeli founders and their companies. Known as Startup Nation, Israel creates more companies per capita than any other country, with one startup for every 1,400 people. Read more about GGV’s commitment to funding and supporting the next generation of Israeli entrepreneurs: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/next-tech-wave-israel-global-company-creation-glenn-solomon/. This series is co-hosted by GGV Capital Investor, Oren Yunger. Oren Kaniel is the Co-founder & CEO of AppsFlyer, the global attribution leader, trusted by more than 12,000 brands including Coca Cola, HBO, Walmart, Ebay and the list goes on. Oren founded AppsFlyer in 2011 to solve one of the major problems in the mobile apps market – mobile campaign analytics and attribution. Oren talks about his journey and what he is focused on as AppsFlyer has become one of the fastest-growing SaaS companies today.
Susan St. Ledger is the President of Worldwide Field Operations at Splunk, where she built a SaaS, multi-product go-to-market organization and helped grow the business from nearly $700 million in revenue to almost $2.5 billion today. Susan recently announced her departure from Splunk and shared the exciting news that she will join Okta as President of Worldwide Field Operations shortly. In this episode, Susan shares her insights on making career pivots, the importance of mentorship and sponsorship, and adopting a growth mindset in any career.
This is the fourth episode in our early stage series, a group of episodes that highlights younger companies to examine the issues and challenges these businesses uniquely face. Avi Shua is Co-founder and CEO of Orca Security, the cloud security company from Tel Aviv known for its proprietary SideScanning™ technology. After spending eight years in the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces), Avi worked at Check Point for over a decade before co-founding Orca in 2018. This episode covers Avi’s story, Orca’s meteoric rise and what sets them apart in the world of cloud security. This episode is co-hosted by GGV Investor, Oren Yunger.
Karthik Rau co-founded and served as CEO of SignalFX from inception in 2013 all the way through the company’s $1.05 billion acquisition by Splunk in 2019. Karthik is presently Vice President of Observability at Splunk and oversees the cross-functional strategy and execution of Splunk's application management, monitoring and observability efforts. SignalFx was founded to help operators of modern distributed applications perform real-time cloud monitoring and observability. Given Karthik’s position at SignalFX and now Splunk, this episode covers the transition to cloud, devops, modern application development and more.
This is the third episode in our early stage series, a group of episodes that highlights younger companies to examine the issues and challenges these businesses uniquely face. Barr Moses is the Co-founder & CEO of Monte Carlo, a company on a mission to accelerate the world’s adoption of data by improving data reliability and reducing data downtime. Prior to founding Monte Carlo, Barr built the customer data and analytics team at Gainsight, where she helped grow the company 10x in revenue. From a silent retreat to building a robust community of data leaders, Barr is setting an impressive example for aspiring founders. This episode is co-hosted by GGV Capital Investor, Oren Yunger.
This is the second episode in our early stage series, a group of episodes that highlights younger companies to examine the issues and challenges these businesses uniquely face. Streamlit is an open source product that has become extremely popular with data science teams growing to over 10,000 GitHub stars since launch in late 2019. Streamlit’s founders, Adrien, Amanda and Thiago, previously worked together at Google X. One thing led to another and now they’re back together empowering data scientists and machine learning engineers to create beautiful, performant apps quickly and easily. Streamlit is gaining traction fast and this conversation is a testament to the passion of the people behind it.
This episode kicks off our early stage series, a group of episodes that highlights younger companies to examine the issues and challenges these businesses uniquely face. Mike Fitzsimmons is the Co-founder and CEO of Crosschq, a SaaS company that has pioneered a new category for talent acquisition called “Human intelligence hiring.” Seeing as 40% of hires don’t make it through a year in their new job, Crosschq is solving a critical mis-hire problem by helping companies’ better source, match, and retain the best talent. In this episode, Mike discusses the importance of building a great product, the challenges of creating a brand new category, how to acquire early customers, and what to consider when fundraising.
Kris Beevers is the Co-founder and CEO of NS1, the leader in modern application and access networking. Kris is a recognized authority on global application delivery and DNS. He joins the show from his new, aptly named boat, Social Distance. Early on, when he was in the process of choosing his co-founders, Kris sought out people who he had a strong and respectful personal relationship with. As the business has grown, the roles of the leadership team have morphed, changed, and become better defined. Now as CEO, Kris considers his job to be hiring great people and letting them run. One thing he wishes he knew during his series A fundraise was that most investors are more interested in investing in the team rather than the product. They want to know you have a great team that will hustle for success. Glenn and Kris also discuss the important impact hiring a COO had on the business and Kris recommends hyper-communication and swift decision making as tools for success during these times.
Mitchell Hashimoto is the Co-founder and CTO of HashiCorp, the leader in multi-cloud infrastructure automation software. In this episode, which was recorded during a GGV live webinar, we learn how Mitchell and his cofounder, Armon Dadgar, built HashiCorp into a 1000-person company valued at over $5B—all with a very distributed team since day one. For companies suddenly managing remote workforces, or for startups just beginning the journey toward growth, how can you scale and succeed far into the future with a fully distributed team? HashiCorp’s experiences scaling into a global enterprise software powerhouse without opening the usual array of offices are especially valuable today, now that so many companies have gone remote almost overnight.
Armon Dadgar is the Co-founder and CTO of HashiCorp, a commercial open source company that provides the fundamental building blocks around infrastructure and automation that developers need to create scalable, secure, high-performance applications hosted in the cloud. Valued at over $5 billion and now with over 1,000 employees worldwide, HashiCorp started out life in 2010 as an open source project and since grown into the defacto standard for modern cloud-computing development. In this episode, which was recorded live at GGV’s annual Evolving Enterprise conference, we learn how Armon and his Co-founder, Mitchell Hashimoto, initially met, what it took to sell to the enterprise and how to hire the right people as a distributed company.
This is the fourth episode in the Founder Real Talk Israeli Entrepreneur Series, a group of episodes dedicated to getting to know Israeli founders and their companies. Known as Startup Nation, Israel creates more companies per capita than any other country, with one startup for every 1,400 people. Read more about GGV’s commitment to funding and supporting the next generation of Israeli entrepreneurs. This series is co-hosted by GGV Capital Investor, Oren Yunger. Netanel (Nati) Davidi and Uri Alter are two of the Co-founders of VDOO, the only automated device security solution that is integrated across the entire product lifecycle, and a GGV portfolio company. Nati and Uri have had quite the journey together. They first met in the Israeli military service in 1999 and went on to co-found Cyvera, which was acquired by Palo Alto Networks in 2014. Their mission didn’t stop there. In 2017, with co-founder Asaf Karas, they started VDOO, a company born out of one of the biggest shortfalls of IOT. In this episode, we learn how Nati and Uri’s journey lead them to pioneer a way to scale security for connected devices.
This is the third episode in the Founder Real Talk Israeli Entrepreneur Series, a group of episodes dedicated to getting to know Israeli founders and their companies. Known as Startup Nation, Israel creates more companies per capita than any other country, with one startup for every 1,400 people. Read more about GGV’s commitment to funding and supporting the next generation of Israeli entrepreneurs. This series is co-hosted by GGV Capital Investor, Oren Yunger. Shlomi Ben Haim is Co-Founder and CEO of JFrog, provider of the world’s first universal artifact management platform that ushered in a completely new era in DevOps. Founded in 2008, JFrog has become the “database of DevOps” used by over 6000 customers worldwide including Amazon, Cisco, and Netflix. In this episode, we learn how Shlomi’s 12 years in the Israeli Air Force influenced his startup mentality, how the JFrog team has scaled an open source company, and what it takes to expand globally.
This is the second episode in the Founder Real Talk Israeli Entrepreneur Series, a group of episodes dedicated to getting to know Israeli founders and their companies. Known as Startup Nation, Israel creates more companies per capita than any other country, with one startup for every 1,400 people. Read more about GGV’s commitment to funding and supporting the next generation of Israeli entrepreneurs. This series is co-hosted by GGV Capital Investor, Oren Yunger. Slavik Markovich is the Co-founder and CEO of Demisto, a leading Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR) platform that helps security teams accelerate incident response, standardize and scale processes, and learn from each incident while working together. Slavik sold Demisto to Palo Alto Networks in Feb 2019, less than four years after its founding, for over $560 million. Starting from his early days in the Israeli military, Slavik shares his thought process while walking us through his impressive journey. From founding his first company, Sentrigo, in 2006 to moving from Israel to the Bay Area in 2008, to building Demisto and ultimately getting acquired by Palo Alto Networks, Slavik’s story is noteworthy and full of lessons for current and future founders.
This episode kicks off our Israeli Entrepreneur Series, four episodes dedicated to getting to know Israeli founders and their companies. Known as Startup Nation, Israel creates more companies per capita than any other country, with one startup for every 1,400 people. Read more about GGV’s commitment to funding and supporting the next generation of Israeli entrepreneurs. This series is co-hosted by GGV Capital Investor, Oren Yunger. Roy Mann is the CEO and Co-Founder of monday.com – one of the fastest-growing SaaS companies in the world, connecting people to processes while creating an environment of transparency in business. Before monday.com, he was part of Wix’s senior management team. Prior to that, he founded the online social game Save an Alien. Roy obtained a Bachelor of Science focused in Computer Science from the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC). In this episode, we learn how Roy and his Co-founder, Eran Zinman are scaling the fastest growing company in Israel. With over 100K customers, users in over 160 countries, Monday.com is helping shape the future of work globally. Learn why the company’s name changed to Monday.com, what it’s like to maintain the same company culture in Israel and NYC offices, and why transparency is fundamental to Monday.com's success. 
Sarah Nahm is the Founder and CEO of Lever, a recruiting software company that is tackling the most strategic challenge that companies face: how to grow their teams. Prior to Lever, Sarah worked at Google as speechwriter for Marissa Mayer and later joined the product team that launched Google Chrome, helping it become the world’s top web browser. A self-taught programmer, Sarah received her BS in engineering and product design from Stanford University, where she occasionally returns to coach design students at Stanford’s d.school. In this episode, we learn how Sarah’s inclination to pick the uncertain path over the logical path eventually lead her to Lever. Having grown up in Birmingham Alabama where she was one of two nonwhite people in a high school of 800, Sarah’s commitment to diversity and inclusion runs deep. The Lever team has been a 50/50 gender ratio since 2016 and inclusion is ingrained in the company culture Sarah has built. Her message to operators who are hiring: “If you're not building a database of talent the same way that you're investing in your sales and your marketing database, you're throwing away the opportunity to have cumulative value over time and you're always going to be hiring.”
Dheeraj Pandey is the Founder, CEO & Chairman of Nutanix. He brings a wealth of experience of working at high growth enterprise software companies. Prior to founding Nutanix, Dheeraj was the VP of Engineering at Aster Data (now Teradata), where he helped build the product and its engineering team from the ground up. At Oracle, he managed the storage engine group for Oracle Database/Exadata, and co-authored numerous patents in the area of distributed databases. Dheeraj is a Ph.D. dropout from University of Texas (Austin), where he was a Graduate Fellow of CS. That didn’t stop him from founding the fastest growing startup in history in 2009. In 2014 (the companies 5th full year), Nutanix eclipsed 100 Million in revenue. In this episode, we learn that behind the rosy story, there were a few near death experiences for the company. Inspired by Apple’s playbook, Dheeraj applied simplicity and elegance to a “very nerdy, geeky thing called web scale architecture for data centers” (his words). Dheeraj engineered significant transitions, turning Nutanix from a device company to a software business to a subscription software business. It doesn’t stop there. In the next 10 years, Dheeraj and his team are committed to making computing invisible anywhere (edge, core, public cloud). Beyond business, Dheeraj emphasizes the importance of building strong ties around you and finding joy at home. His movie recommendations? Darkest Hour and The Post.
Michelle Zatlyn is Co-founder and COO of Cloudflare, a leading Internet security, performance, and reliability company that was named to CNBC’s Disruptor 50 List, selected by the Wall Street Journal as the Most Innovative Internet Technology Company for two successive years, and named a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum. Before co-founding Cloudflare, Michelle held positions at Google and Toshiba and launched two successful startups. She holds a BS degree, with distinction, from McGill University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School, where she was awarded the Dubliner Prize for Entrepreneurship.    In this episode, we learn why Michelle turned down a job at LinkedIn in June 2009 to pursue an idea that started as a school project with Matthew Prince and Lee Holloway at Harvard Business School and ultimately turned into Cloudflare. Among Michelle’s recommendations to founders is to think about cofounders as Venn diagrams in an effort to cover as much surface area as possible. She also encourages founders to go after something you’re “proud" of, not necessarily something you are “passionate” about. Cloudflare has maintained its momentum by creating a culture of shipping projects fast, empowering team members to showcase their work and be human.
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Comments (2)

Austin Peek

If you're looking for other real talk with Founders... Here's another sweet podcast for ya 😚: Entrepreneur Stories 4️⃣ Inspiration 👌...

Dec 5th
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