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Understanding VC

Understanding VC

Author: Rahul

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Understanding VC is a podcast that provides founders with the knowledge and resources they need to understand venture capital. My goal is to create the best and most comprehensive resource on venture capital on the internet, so that founders can make informed decisions about their businesses and secure the funding they need to succeed.
83 Episodes
In this episode you will learn:[00:00:00] Introduction[00:05:15] Building an Enduring Firm[00:08:00] Challenges of Partnership Culture[00:10:43] Personal Brand vs Firm Brand[00:13:00] Succession Planning[00:17:00] Long-Term Commitment[00:19:00] LP Relationships[00:20:55] Advantages of a Partnership[00:21:37] Benefits of Scale[00:21:52] Building a Great Firm and Naming[00:23:00] Soft Aspects of Building a Firm[00:24:59] Unifying Themes in Firms[00:27:00] Progression in Venture Capital[00:29:40] Motivation and Managing a Firm[00:31:20] Understanding Carry[00:35:00] Managing Long-Term Careers[00:39:07] Carry Allocation[00:42:45] Team Dynamics and Carry Distribution[00:43:50] Inclusion of Back-Office in Incentives[00:44:40] Building a Successful VC Firm[00:45:56] Firm Evolution[00:47:32] Transition to a Bigger Institution[00:49:25] Challenges in Talent Retention[00:53:00] Philosophical Differences and Firm Evolution[00:57:00] Risks in VC Industry[01:02:00] Solo GPs vs. Venture Firms[01:04:38] Building a Healthy VC FirmAboutHussein is a partner at Hoxton Ventures. He currently represents Hoxton on the boards of Avantia Law, Baseimmune, BeyondRisk, Biocortex, Biotx, DruidAI, Finesse, Fy!, Giraffe360, Kbox, Kitt, Luminary, Peptone, PillSorted, Raptor Supplies, Really Clever, Rensair, Replai, Replan, Skin Analytics, TourRadar and XYZ Reality, and serves as a board observer on Behavox and Karakuri. He previously served on the boards of Babylon Health (NYSE:BBLN), bd4travel (acquired by Dnata), Campanja (acquired by 24/7 Media), Darktrace (LSE:DARK), Deliveroo (LSE:ROO), Panakeia, SOCOS (acquired by Sophos), Yieldify (acquired by Publicis) and Vidya Health.Hussein serves on the board of UCLB, the commercialization company of UCL and also sits on the advisory board of GTO Partners, a tech mid-market buyout firm, and Landscape, a venture capital review site. Previously he served on the board of Tech Nation, a UK quasi non-governmental organization. In a personal capacity, he is an angel investor in Apex:E3,, Callaly, GoCardless, Mellizyme, MyGlamm, Reachdesk and Signpost.While forming Hoxton, he helped Eros STX Global develop ErosNow, an online streaming video platform for Bollywood. Prior to Hoxton, Hussein was an associate with Accel Partners. He joined Accel from Microsoft Corporation. Earlier in his career, he worked with three startups, Safe-View (acquired by L-3), Radiance Technologies (acquired by Comcast) and Studio Verso (acquired by KPMG).Hussein holds an MBA from London Business School and did his undergraduate studies in Symbolic Systems at Stanford University.He stubbornly refuses to swear allegiance to a monarch and remains a proud American.
In this episode you will learn:00:00 Introduction to Voluntary Carbon Markets01:51 Exploring the Controversy Around Carbon Offsetting Firm Southport05:14 Defining Carbon Credits and Carbon Offsets11:09 The Challenges of Carbon Sequestration19:59 The Role of Nature-Based Solutions in Carbon Markets25:28 The Struggles and Potential of Nature-Based Carbon Credits29:28 The Need for Both Engineering and Nature-Based Solutions30:15 The Impact of Energy Sources on Carbon Credit Calculations31:05 The Importance of Clean Energy31:32 Challenges of Carbon Dioxide Capture32:30 Potential Low-Energy Solutions for Carbon Capture33:28 Discussion on Carbon Capture Techniques34:08 The Role of Rock Weathering in Carbon Capture34:48 The Potential of Carbonates in Carbon Sequestration37:04 Challenges in the Voluntary Carbon Market38:07 The Role of Compliance Market in Carbon Reduction38:53 The Impact of Corporate Carbon Reduction Goals39:43 The Need for More Credible Carbon Projects40:34 The Role of Government and Companies in Carbon Reduction52:01 The Rise of Climate-Focused Startups55:04 The Business Models of Climate Startups59:03 The Future of Carbon Capture StartupsAbout:Maryanna Saenko is an early-stage venture capitalist and cofounder of Future Ventures. She invests in frontier technologies that make the world a better place, and don’t prey on human frailty. Recent investments have been across a wide swath of sectors, including nuclear fusion, sustainable agricultural and land management, bee immunology, women’s reproductive longevity, and the application of AI to everything from the construction industry to medical therapeutics. Previously she was at Khosla Ventures, and prior to that DFJ. She was also an investment partner at Airbus Ventures where she led a series of venture investments strategically aligned with Airbus’ future-of-aerospace initiatives. Before Airbus, Maryanna was a consultant at Lux Research and a research engineer at Cabot Corporation. She’s worked on lunar rovers, martian landers, driverless cars, and long-range low-frequency communication systems. Maryanna graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a BS in BioMedical Engineering and a BS and MS in Materials Science and Engineering.
In this episode you will learn:00:00:00 - Introduction00:01:37 - Productivity of Agriculture in India00:05:34 - Why Manufacturing isn’t where it’s supposed to be00:06:54 - Opportunities for Tech Investment in Agriculture00:07:59 - Omnivore’s Investment Focus00:09:27 - Life Sciences00:11:28 - Can ALT protein address protein deficiency in the Indian diet?00:13:52 - Structural Changes in Diet00:19:04 - Opportunities in Life Sciences00:23:05 - Policy Changes for Agriculture00:27:52 - Land Reforms and Digitization00:30:30 - Leasing Land00:33:34 - Entrepreneurial Talent in Agri Tech00:36:42 - Diverse Business Models in Agri Tech00:38:06 - IPOs in Agri Tech00:40:07 - Small Holder Farming00:41:23 - Drawing Wisdom from Rudyard KiplingAbout:Mark co-founded Omnivore with Jinesh Shah in 2010. Previously, Mark was the Executive Vice President (Strategy & Business Development) at Godrej Agrovet, one of India’s foremost diversified agribusiness companies. At Godrej Agrovet, Mark was responsible for corporate strategy, M&A, R&D, and new business incubation.  Earlier in his career, Mark worked for Syngenta and PFM.  He earned a BA (Honors) from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he graduated as a Baker Scholar.
In this episode you will learn:00:00 Introduction and Overview01:37 Debate on Investing in YC Startups04:43 The Role of Accelerators in Startup Success06:34 Benefits of Joining an Accelerator08:31 The Challenges of Being a Startup Founder15:01 Choosing the Right Accelerator18:12 What Accelerators Look for in Startups22:46 Investment Deal Terms for Accelerators25:26 Reasons a Startup Might Not Join an Accelerator25:37 Understanding the Role and Value of Accelerators26:25 The Business Model of Accelerators27:37 The Importance of Providing an Excellent Founder Experience29:15 The Challenges of Running an Accelerator30:53 Exploring Different Models: Venture Studios and Incubators38:05 The Evolution and Future of Accelerators42:35 The Competitive Landscape for Accelerators47:02 The Impact of Tech Advancements on Accelerator Models50:25 Why Choose Forum VC for B2B SaaS StartupsAbout:Michael Cardamone is the CEO and Managing Partner at Forum Ventures. Prior to Forum Ventures, Michael was one of the first 30 employees at Box in a BD role and then led partnerships at AcademixDirect. He is also an angel investor in a dozen companies, including in the seed round of Flexport. 
In this episode you will learn:00:00 - Introduction01:21 - Who is a solo capitalist?03:42 - What are the merits of being a solo capitalist?07:50 - How is a solo capitalist helpful for a founder?15:20 - Do solo GPs offer better founder friendly terms?17:30 - Can solo capitalists be a bad deal for some founders?22:10 - Why are LPs interested in backing solo GPs?24:20 - Do solo capitalists charge lower management fees than LPs?29:00 - Is there an upper limit to the fund size for solo capitalists?30:08 - What are the challenges of being a solo capitalist?35:40 - How should solo capitalists look at their succession?36:40 - How can solo capitalists stay on top of their game while maintaining work-life balance?38:50 - How do solo VCs and traditional firms differ in terms of diligence, sourcing, portfolio risk management, etc?41:40 - How has being a solo capitalist become a ‘trend’ in the last five years?47:50 - Are solo capitalists born out of the evolution of scout programs and super angels?51:00 - Do founders' agile fundraising strategies match the support provided by solo capitalists?56:00 - What is the next step in the evolution of solo GPs?57:15 - Will solo capitalists operate like traditional firms when it comes to managing reserves?01:00:00 - How will the relation between traditional VC firms and solo capitalists evolve?01:03:33 - ConclusionAboutItamar is a solo capitalist and the founder of Recursive Ventures, a pre-seed fund focused on fintech, AI and emerging tech startups. Itamar has been on all sides of the startup table: as a founder and executive, an institutional VC, and an angel investor. He has supported over 50 successful startups, including Deel, Honeybook, Placer, Credible (IPO), MileIQ (acquired by Microsoft), Automatic Labs (acquired by SiriusXM), Tile (acquired by Life360), SafeGraph, and Armory. He’s been recognized by Business Insider as a Top 100 global seed investor. As an operator, he helped take Life360 from Seed to IPO, scaling the business to over $250m in revenue. Before that, Itamar was a founding team member and head of Product at Gigya (acquired by SAP). He holds an MBA from Berkeley Haas and an undergraduate degree in computer science from the Tel-Aviv Jaffa College.
In this episode you will learn:00:00 - Introduction: The Essence of Startup Board Roles00:34 - Board Governance vs. Decision-Making: An In-depth Exploration00:37 - Understanding the Board of Directors and Their Vital Duties10:25 - The Optimal Timing for Establishing a Business Board16:50 - Defining 'Board Chairperson,' 'Board Observer,' and 'Non-Executive Board Member'22:50 - Founder or Investor as Chair: A Crucial Decision and Its Rationale23:55 - Finding the Right Board Size for Early-Stage Startups and Its Significance27:00 - Strategies for Assembling Your Startup's Dream Board31:40 - Red Flags to Watch Out for When Building Your Board33:30 - Ideal Dynamics Among Board Members: A Guide for Startups36:10 - Effective vs. Ineffective Communication Practices Between Founders and Investors39:55 - Smooth Sailing Through Board Meetings: Best Practices 47:40 - The Mystery of Board Packs and Their PurposeAboutJoe is a coach to CEOs. He works with CEOs at start-ups, high growth to IPO to public companies to the big exit; helping define what it means to be a leader, how to create impact, how to grow alongside the business and how to change the world all while enjoying every part of that journey. Joe is a recovering neuroscientist, then a spell as an elementary school teacher as well as 15 years in tech, $20b in revenue, experience with 30+ startups & FTSE / Fortune 100 giants.
In this episode you will learn:[00:01:15] Purpose of Due Diligence: Caroline on the importance of due diligence for informed investment decisions and responsible investing[00:03:00] Team Evaluation: Starting with the founding team's compatibility, execution ability, and responsiveness[00:06:00] Advisor Relevance: Listing advisors who genuinely contribute value[00:07:53] Confidence vs. Arrogance: Balancing self-confidence and avoiding arrogance for founders[00:09:44] Team's Ability to Execute: Examining past experiences, references, and operational skills[00:11:26] Team Dynamics and Skills: Assessing teamwork and complementary skills[00:13:45] Motivation: Evaluating the team's motivation, especially in the early stages[00:15:00] Ownership Percentage: Considering founder ownership's impact[00:15:44] Online Background Checks: Basic online checks for red flags[00:18:09] Professionalism and Responsiveness: Indications of founders' business approach[00:20:00] Evaluating the Product: Understanding development, data, pricing, and product demos[00:23:00] Competitive Differentiation: Assessing primary differentiators[00:25:07] Finding Competitors: Methods for identifying competitors[00:30:34] Market Sizing Strategies: Caroline's bottom-up approach to market sizing[00:33:00] Market Size Threshold: Seeking markets greater than a billion dollars[00:34:40] Timing Matters: Consideration of market growth timing[00:35:24] Sales and Marketing Due Diligence: Early-stage focus on founder's vision and go-to-market strategy[00:38:00] Red Flags in Sales and Marketing: Warning signs like high churn rates and unclear strategies[00:40:38] Financial Due Diligence: Critical financial aspects, including balance sheets and revenue growth[00:44:49] Financial Projections: Looking for realistic financial projections[00:45:54] Exit Analysis: Assessing potential returns for fulfilling responsibilities to LPs[00:49:33] Assessing Milestones: Founders' realistic funding goals[00:51:26] References: Importance of talking to various references[00:55:21] Timing of Due Diligence: The duration and starting point for due diligence[00:58:00] Compromising on Due Diligence: Avoid rushing due diligence[01:00:13] Challenges with Pre-Seed Due Diligence: Dealing with limited data[01:02:27] Using Diligence Reports Internally: The role of diligence reports in the process[01:04:36] Transparency with Founders: Benefits of sharing the diligence process with foundersAboutCaroline is a Partner at VITALIZE Venture Capital, a seed stage venture fund that invests in the future of work. As Partner, Caroline spends her time sourcing and evaluating potential investments, managing the firm's diligence process, and supporting portfolio companies.Prior to joining VITALIZE in 2018, Caroline worked for GE Ventures in San Francisco where she helped incubate and operate a startup in the drone space. Before transitioning into venture capital, Caroline worked in corporate finance for various GE businesses in Chicago, Atlanta, London, and San Francisco.Caroline received a BBA with honors in math and psychology from Boston College and a Masters of Science in Management from the University of Notre Dame, where she was valedictorian of her class.
Jyri's deck on How to Invest in Startups Even If You’re Not a VCIn this episode we discuss:[00:01:14] Introduction: Defining "Dual Threat CEOs"[00:02:35] Getting on Other People’s Cap Tables is About Developing Social Capital[00:03:42] Importance of Starting Early in Your Career[00:06:31] Turning Your Angel Investing into a Fund[00:08:28] How to Invest with Limited Capital[00:11:24] Thinking About Everything as an Opportunity to Invest[00:14:57] Why You Should Invite Other Operators on Your Cap Table[00:24:44] Exploring "Parallel Entrepreneurs"[00:29:20] A Structured Approach to Angel Investing[00:38:00] Importance of Starting Early in Your Career[00:41:00] Why You Should Not Stop Investing[00:42:42] Doubling Down on Your Winner[00:48:00] Doing All This in the U.S. vs Europe[00:52:18] How Jyri Invests in and Starts Companies at Yes VC[00:55:29] Forming a Venture Studio Around a Single Exceptional Founder[00:56:51] Having Multiple Parallel Successes[00:57:29] Easier to Let One Fail When You Have Many, Psychological Benefits of Not Depending on One ThingAbout:Jyri Engeström is an early investor in Unity, Dapper Labs, Oura, and many other successful companies. Together with his partner Caterina Fake he runs Yes VC, an early stage firm based in San Francisco. Before starting Yes VC he founded two companies. The first one sold to Google, the second one to Groupon.
In this episode we discuss00:00:00 Introduction to Quantum Computing and Challenges00:06:00 Quantum Computing Basics00:10:45 Hardware Architectures and Quantum Systems00:15:14 Progress and Challenges in Quantum Computing00:21:44 Quantum Cryptography and Security00:25:39 Challenges and Adoption of Quantum Computing00:30:43 Quantum Computing's Business Applications00:31:43 Investment in Quantum Computing00:32:16 Hybrid Approach and Quantum-Classic Interaction00:34:38 Human Influence on Quantum Outcomes00:38:55 VC Funding for Quantum Startups00:42:17 Risks and Assessment of Quantum Startups00:50:41 Challenges and Future of Quantum Computing00:52:07 Advice for Those Interested in Quantum ComputingAboutIon is a Principal at APEX Ventures, where he invests in European early-stage deep tech startups in the areas of quantum technologies, future computing, space and AI.He brings over 12 years of experience at the intersection of technological breakthroughs and financial capital. He has a PhD in quantum physics from Heidelberg University and has previously worked as Chief Operating Officer at GlassDollar, VP Corporate Venturing at Bosch and Management Consultant at Oliver Wyman, while actively angel investing and mentoring startups for many years. He supports companies in fundraising, talent acquisition and strategic partnerships.A passionate technical and rescue diver, Ion is based in Munich, Germany, with his wife and son.
In this episode we discuss:[00:37:00] Who is an angel investor?[00:01:39] What is the average investment check size for angel investors these days?[00:02:40] How is angel investing different from venture capital?[00:04:07] Why has angel investing historically been concentrated in the U.S.?[00:06:40] How has the angel investing landscape evolved, and what trends do you see?[00:10:52] What are the advantages and disadvantages of being part of a syndicate or doing angel investing individually?[00:13:20] How do you see technology and tools shaping the future of angel investing?[00:15:22] What challenges are angel investors facing right now?[00:17:46] When is the right time for an angel investor to make investments in startups?[00:19:30] What types of companies should angel investors consider investing in?[00:21:58] What are the misconceptions about angel investing?[00:22:35] How can individuals decide if angel investing is right for them?[00:24:33] What advice would you give to angel investors to be successful?[00:28:25] What Is angel squad? Is it similar to a syndicate?[00:31:38] How do you approach due diligence for investments in areas where you lack expertise?[00:34:33] How do you negotiate investments and win allocation?[00:36:50] How do you manage risk and approach making follow-on investments?[00:41:47] How important is it to stay informed about emerging tech trends?[00:44:44] What advice would you give for new angel investors?[00:47:20] Why angel invest despite the high risk?[00:50:56] Why are you passionate about angel investing and educating other people about Angel Investing? AboutBrian Nichols is the founder of Angel Squad, a program affiliated with the early-stage VC firm Hustle Fund. This initiative provides a unique opportunity to delve into the realm of angel investing, enabling you to both learn about and participate in investments alongside Hustle Fund in its portfolio companies. By joining Angel Squad, you not only gain access to a vibrant community of fellow angel investors and operators but also unlock a wealth of valuable resources pertaining to angel investing.Brian's notable career highlights include pivotal contributions to the achievements of Lyft, Zoox, BlackBird, and others. In 2019, he partnered with Ann Miura-Ko to establish Uplyft, a syndicate catering to Lyft alumni. This endeavor attracted over 300 initial employees of Lyft, who collectively injected more than $30 million into the initiative. Brian's commendable reputation as a guiding figure in the realm of alumni syndicates further propelled him to share his expertise with renowned companies like Airbnb, Stripe, Pinterest, and DoorDash.
In this episode we discuss:[00:02:12] How did Nitin's definition of "impact" change over time?[00:03:44] When did Nitin join the VC industry, and what was the market condition at that time?[00:07:54] What was the most important lesson Nitin learned from his time at NEA (New Enterprise Associates)?[00:10:50] How is the VC industry different in the US compared to India?[00:16:06] What are some things that founders in India don't understand about VCs?[00:20:29] Why did Nitin become interested in EdTech?[00:23:00] What is Nitin's view on the future of EdTech in India and the role of AI in the sector?[00:27:00] What is Antler and what is its mission in the startup ecosystem?[00:28:23] What specific pain points is Antler India addressing for founders in the ideation phase?[00:29:01] How does Antler differentiate itself from traditional venture capitalists?[00:30:30] How does Antler's global network benefit startups in India and help them think about their products and teams differently?[00:31:14] What does Antler focus on in the early stage investing process, particularly at the pre-seed stage?[00:31:54] Does Antler only look for future founders in colleges or does it consider applicants from various backgrounds?[00:32:35] What is the Antler India Fellowship, and how does it help democratize entrepreneurship?[00:35:00] How does Antler reduce the cost of experimenting and building startups, and what are the key factors that Antler considers when evaluating founders?[00:38:00] What are the challenges and limitations of venture capital in India?[00:41:25] What factors make India a promising market for startups, and what are some counter examples that indicate the potential for significant success?[00:44:00] What is the role of a VC, and what are the key learnings and qualities required to be successful in venture capital?[00:47:29] How do ONDC and Web3 differ in their approach to decentralization, and what are the challenges and opportunities for both?[00:52:15] What are some of the potential benefits of ONDC for small businesses in India, and how could it bridge the gap between digital payments and digital commerce?[00:54:16] Where does Nitin see Antler India in 10 years and what is the desired impact on the startup ecosystem?AboutNitin is a seasoned early-stage investor, having invested in 60+ tech startups in multiple geographies. With First Principles, he built a thesis-driven proprietary portfolio of 40+ angel investments backed by marquee investors. As the founder of Incrypt Blockchain, he has been the first Indian VC to play an active role in fostering India’s blockchain ecosystem. Nitin and his team have invested in 16 blockchain projects since 2017, with the Incrypt Blockchain portfolio spanning projects such as Arweave, Mudrex, OnJuno, BAT, Ocean, Molecule, Persistence and more.Previously, Nitin was a founding team principal at Lightbox Ventures, one of India’s leading consumer-focused VCs, where he helped build the first two funds since the very inception.Earlier in his career, he learnt the ropes of the VC business in the US, while being at New Enterprise Associates (NEA), one of the world’s preeminent venture funds. At NEA, he worked on multiple investments with successful IPO/M&A outcomes (Millennial Media, AddThis, OPower, etc.) and co-led the firm’s first education technology investment. He also served as an early executive at EverFi (one of the world's largest education networks, $250M raised), and started his career as a technology investment banker at UBS Investment Bank in San Francisco.Nitin holds an MBA from The Wharton School, and two degrees from the University of Southern California. He serves on the India Advisory Boards of AngelList, the USC Viterbi School and The Better India, and advises the Indian government (NITI Aayog) on frontier tech policy.
In this episode we discuss:[00:00:00] Why Melody chose to stay in the US for startups and her hobbies growing up[00:07:00] What values Melody upholds as a VC when working with startup founders[00:12:00] The important lesson Melody learned in early-stage venture investing[00:13:00] Why Melody believes in investing in exceptional founders with high potential[00:18:00] Melody's hands-on approach as a VC and how she supports founders[00:21:00] The benefits of NextView Ventures' concentrated bets on startup founders[00:22:00] Why building trust is crucial in the VC-founder relationship[00:23:00] Melody's role as a VC and how she guides founders[00:25:00] How NextView faced challenges during COVID and supported a struggling portfolio company[00:28:00] The key trait that makes founders successful in the fast-changing startup world[00:30:00] Understand the mindset founders need to overcome obstacles and achieve their mission[00:32:00] Why startups should focus on problems in large, pervasive markets[00:35:00] NextView's investment thesis and the problems they aim to solve[00:37:00] How NextView supports concept-stage companies through their accelerator program[00:42:00] Meaning of different seed and pre-seed funding stages for startups and what matters most[00:53:00] Investors Melody would reach out to if she were starting a new startup todayAboutMelody is a Partner at NextView Ventures based in its New York office. She has spent her entire career working with technology and Internet startups as an entrepreneur, operator, and investor.Prior to joining NextView, Melody was Head of Product at Blue Apron (NYSE: APRN). Melody joined Blue Apron as the first product hire when the company was 18 months old with 20 HQ employees. She helped scale the business through hyper-growth (25x in 3.5 years) and to its IPO, building and leading a 35-person team across Product Management, Product Design, and Analytics/Data Science.Previously, Melody was a Product Manager at leading marketing & analytics products and the founder/CEO of a seed-funded wine subscription e-commerce service. Melody was also a venture investor at Time Warner’s strategic VC group and was a one of six inaugural members of First Round Capital’s Product Co-op initiative. Melody began her career as a tech/media M&A investment banking analyst at Evercore Partners.Melody holds an MBA with Distinction from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Commerce with Distinction from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and son. 
In this episode we discuss:06:00 - The Importance of Design in VC09:00 - Visionary Founders vs. Hypothesis-Driven Founders15:00 - Importance of Strategy in VC22:00 - Sprint Method and Product-Market Fit26:00 - Hypothesis driven approach - How it can save time and money28:00 - Introduction to the OATS scorecard system32:00 - Longitudinal use and comparison of scores33:00 - Reasons for not investing39:00 - Challenges of FOMO and saying no42:00 - Detachment and enthusiasm in investment decisions47:00 - Name selection process and the significance of "Character"AboutJohn Zeratsky is co-founder and general partner at venture-capital firm Character, bestselling author of Sprint and Make Time, and former design partner at GV. Previously, John was a design leader for YouTube, Google Ads, and FeedBurner, which was acquired by Google in 2007.
In this episode you will learn:Why did Rex decide not to start a company and pursue venture capital instead?How has the Cambrian community evolved over time? How does Rex see the value of adding value to the ecosystem and creating access over time?What impressed Rex about Deel and its founders? Did he expect Deel to become one of the fastest growing companies in the world when he first met them?What is the role and importance of product counsel in a FinTech company?How does Rex assist startups in navigating the FinTech ecosystem? How does connecting with other founders who have built on similar platforms benefit entrepreneurs in making partnership decisions?What is vertical SaaS and why is it an interesting trend in 2023? What are the dynamics of winner-takes-most in vertical SaaS markets?What is embedded FinTech and how does it relate to vertical SaaS? What are examples of financial services that can be embedded within vertical SaaS platforms?How can AI impact financial services and improve operational efficiency according to Rex? Will incumbents in the financial industry be able to adopt AI more effectively than other technologies like cloud and mobile?What is the potential impact of embedded financial services on the distribution of financial products and services?AboutRex Salisbury is the Founder and General Partner of Cambrian, an early-stage VC fund specializing in fintech startups. With prior experience as a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, Rex has invested in over 50 fintech companies. Known for his talent in connecting founders with vital resources, Rex's fintech community, Cambrian, has become a platform for fostering success. His exceptional understanding of the fintech landscape enables him to identify promising opportunities and support entrepreneurs on their journey.
PitchMeNot is a podcast that takes listeners inside the initial pitch meetings between startup founders and VCs. It goes beyond the pitch by featuring candid debriefs from the VCs once the founders leave the room, providing valuable insights into the world of startups and investments. In this episode, I’m joined by Joseph Mocanu, Managing Partner at Verge HealthTech Fund, an early stage VC firm based in Singapore investing in health tech companies and we will be talking to Laina Emmanuel, Founder and CEO of BrainSight, a startup that is building the google map of the brain.
In this episode you will learn:What is the greatest risk Vlad has taken in his life?How does Vlad compare angel investments to an MBA in terms of education and learning?According to Vlad, how important is a founding team's psychology in the success of a startup? What are some positive signs and negative signs to look for in a founding team from a psychology perspective?How did Vlad become a VC? What are the reasons behind Digital Horizon focusing on immigrant founders in terms of risk-taking and cost efficiency?How should startups think about growth, especially at the Series A stage, considering the previous growth strategies of startups?What are the current demands and changes in wealth management that require a new infrastructure?How can VCs overcome prejudices and biases in their investment decisions?What are the key factors in building relationships and trust in the VC industry?What aspects of VC will remain unchanged, such as the importance of networking and relationships?What new tools and technologies are emerging in VC to enhance deal sourcing, decision-making, and efficiency?About:Vlad Tropko is a Partner at Digital Horizon, a venture firm specializing in FinTech Infrastructure, B2B Software, and AI applications. With over 15 years of experience in the VC/PE industry, Vlad is a seasoned executive with a focus on investments in European and American startups. Throughout his career, he has successfully closed more than 50 deals, including notable acquisitions such as "Quantenna Communications" by OnSemiconductor and "Zipline International."Vlad is known for actively supporting immigrant and female founders, recognizing the unique perspectives, drive, and ambition that often accompany individuals who have migrated to new communities. He believes in the distinct vision, capabilities, and growth potential that arise from such experiences.Digital Horizon operates globally with offices in London, UK, and Tel Aviv, Israel. The firm's strong connections to local ecosystems enable an active investment approach and effective portfolio management. Their investment focus aligns with their specialization in FinTech Infrastructure, B2B Software, and AI applications. Digital Horizon's commitment to supporting founders with a migratory background stems from their belief in the transformative power and innovative ideas that emerge from diverse experiences.
In this episode you will learn:What is Vinod's perspective on risk appetite in the venture capital ?What is the connection between the venture business and Black Swan events according to Vinod? How does Vinod define controllable Black Swans in the context of venture capital?How did working at Kalaari impact Vinod's knowledge, sourcing, and relationships in the startup ecosystem?What are the core value systems of Java Capital? What are the key metrics used to measure values such as serendipity and quality of investments?How does Java Capital evaluate missed deals and learn from them?How does Java Capital support portfolio companies in hiring, business development and fundraising?Why does Java Capital focus on founders in smaller cities like Coimbatore?What excites Vinod the most about the future?About:Vinod Shankar is a Partner and Co-founder at Java Capital, an early stage venture capital firm based in India. With over 18 years of experience in venture capital, angel investing, retail marketing, technology, and startups, Vinod has established himself as a prominent figure in the industry. He has an extensive investment portfolio that includes successful ventures such as Agnikul, Eplane, Customfit, Daily Ninja, SandboxVR, and plasmic.Before co-founding Java Capital, Vinod managed the seed portfolio at Kalaari Capital, one of the leading venture capital firms in the country. Prior to that, he gained valuable experience as an entrepreneur, marketer, and technology developer while working at Emuzed, which was later acquired by Sequoia and KKR. He also contributed to the growth of JustBooks, a tech-led retail library chain. Vinod has been an active angel investor since 2013, supporting over 20 startups with his expertise and funding.
PitchMeNot is a podcast that takes listeners inside the initial pitch meetings between startup founders and VCs. It goes beyond the pitch by featuring candid debriefs from the VCs once the founders leave the room, providing valuable insights into the world of startups and investments. In this episode, I’m joined by Saurabh Gunwant, senior associate at 8X ventures, a deep tech VC firm based in Dubai and we will be talking to Varun Gupta, Founder and CEO of Atmax, a SaaS solution that helps companies automate their sales incentive and performance management.  
In this episode you will learn:What were the motivations behind Chandan's career pivots from consulting to working at Twitter and then joining B Capital?What are the key areas of focus for B Capital's operating team, and how do they provide value to portfolio companies?How does B Capital proactively identify potential crises and provide support to their portfolio companies?How does Chandan measure success in her role?How can startups minimize poor decisions, especially in a challenging environment?What are some strategies startups can employ to thrive during tough times?How should startups approach fundraising during such a period?AboutChandan Deep is the Vice President of Strategy and Operations on B Capital Group’s Platform team covering India and South East Asia. Chandan has a passion to build and operationalise businesses within the tech space and partners closely with founders of BCap’s portfolio companies to help them scale.Prior to B Capital, Chandan launched and grew Twitter’s commercial operations in emerging markets for Asia Pacific as the company commenced it’s monetisation journey post IPO. She also spent several years in management consulting with Accenture and the Boston Consulting Group. A keen champion of women in tech, she seeks to actively mentors young professionals and has previously led Twitter’s women chapter in Asia and co-founded Connected Women, a leadership forum to bring together women across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Airbnb & Google.Chandan earned a B.A. in Economics from the Shri Ram College of Commerce and an M.B.A. from Faculty of Management Studies in Delhi. Raised in India, she now lives in Singapore with her husband and her two sons. She enjoys good food, design, décor and fitness.
In this episode you will learn:Why is psychology important for an investor, especially when dealing with early-stage companies?What made Mikhail decide to explore VC? What were some of the adjustments Mikhail had to make when transitioning from private equity to venture capital?Why did Mikhail choose AI as a technology to focus on? Why do they have a global mandate for their fund?What value proposition does AI offer traditional heavy industries, like mining? Why aren't many people building companies in this space?How does Mikhail spend his time as a solo VC?What do people overvalue in venture that he doesn't? Why does he believe knowledge of finance is not as important at the early stages of a company?Why did Mikhail name the fund after his own name?About:Mikhail Taver is the founder and managing partner of Delaware-based Taver Capital, an international venture capital fund focused on investing in global artificial intelligence companies. In 20 years of top executive roles with major financial groups and industrial companies, he has closed over 250 M&A and private equity deals. He holds CFA, ACMA and CGMA certifications.
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