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Seed to Scale

Author: Eniac Ventures

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Welcome to Seed to Scale. The podcast where Eniac Ventures sits down with founders, investors, and influencers to discuss all things startups and seed stage.

Each episode will be hosted by an Eniac General Partner - Hadley Harris, Nihal Mehta, Tim Young or Vic Singh - to talk about the ups and downs of building an early-stage company, securing funding and what it takes to build a lasting business.

Send topics or guest suggestions to seedtoscale@eniac.vc or @seedtoscale, and please subscribe, rate and review it.

Music Credit: http://bit.ly/2PgfCO1
27 Episodes
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Josh Kopelman, Founder and Partner at First Round Capital, a seed-stage venture firm that has invested in some of the biggest names, including Uber, Square and Flatiron Health. First Round aims to help early-stage companies build a strong product-market fit and offers some of the industry’s first and best tools from their custom-built software to sharing their deep industry insight with their publication First Round Review.In this episode, Josh speaks with Eniac Co-founding Partner Nihal Mehta on his journey from being one of the first students at Penn to get an email address to how he leveraged his early experience on the Internet to founding his first three companies - Infonautics, Half.com, and TurnTide. Josh then seized the opportunity to start First Round with Chris Fralic and Rob Hayes when the cost to start a company was decreasing, but the average venture firm tripled in size. Josh speaks to his advantage of living in Philadelphia, why they are placing big bets in New York and his perspective why it has never been easier to build a company outside of Silicon Valley. He also addresses scaling teams and the regional talent gap.He speaks to why First Round operates like a startup, continuing to improve and find new products that better serve their founders and community. He also shares why their fund size has remained consistent and how they view fund model vs fund size.Josh also shares why they left Twitter, DropBox, and Zynga on the table.If you liked this episode, please share and tag us on Twitter: @joshk@firstround@nihalmehta@EniacVC@seedtoscale Send comments or suggestions to seedtoscale@eniac.vc.
Jake Saper, Partner at Emergence Capital, a leading venture capital firm focused on world-changing enterprise cloud technology, including Salesforce, SalesLoft, Veeva, and Zoom. Jake serves on the boards of Textio, Guru, Drishti, and DroneDeploy. In this episode, Jake speaks with Eniac Co-founding GP Tim Young about the firm’s thesis on Coaching Networks and how they believe the under-explored side of machine learning is how to apply that same technology not just to automate tasks away, but to help augment workers that remain and make them better at their jobs.Jake also sheds light on a very important topic for all seed-stage founders and investors - something he and Tim Young refer to as Series A Signaling Effect. He breaks down his belief and experience on why founders should not take Series A funds during Seed and if so, all the ways it can impact the round, the board and the subsequent investments.Jake also shares his experience supporting the firm’s investment in Zoom and how he has been humbled by Eric Yuan’s incredible vision and leadership. He even shares a story about how Emergence found some surprising results when they dug through the company’s data.He also talks about how his entrepreneurial family and early experience operating in India has inspired his love of venture and supporting founders. He also speaks to his deep relationships with his founders, his time allocation and how he aims to balance work.If you liked this episode, please share and tag us on Twitter: @jakesaper@emergencecap@timy0ung@EniacVC@seedtoscale Send comments or suggestions to seedtoscale@eniac.vc.
Rich Wong is a General Partner at Accel, a global venture capital and growth equity firm. Rich’s investment focus is on software, internet services, and mobile technologies and he currently serves on the Boards of Atlassian, Checkr, Instabug, Osmo, Qwilt, ServiceChannel, Tune and UiPath. In this episode, Rich speaks with Eniac Founding General Partner Nihal Mehta on his thesis of picks and shovels and why he placed early bets across mobile with Admob and MoPub.Rich shares his experience supporting Accel’s investments in Facebook and Slack as well as why he believes the reigning technology companies today are not immune to another generational disruption. He also speaks to opportunities in enterprise why companies are expanding globally faster than ever before. As an investor in UiPath, Rich speaks to Enterprise Automation and why with the increasing pressure for companies to be digital-first it has become one of the fastest-growing industries.He also talks family; The lessons of grit instilled in him by his immigrant parents as well as his approach to his own family and finding balance between being there for his children and the CEOs during critical moments.If you liked this episode, please share and tag us on Twitter: @RWong@Accel@nihalmehta@EniacVC@seedtoscale Send comments or suggestions to seedtoscale@eniac.vc.
Beezer Clarkson is the Managing Director at Sapphire Ventures, leading Sapphire Partners‘ investments in venture funds domestically and internationally. Beezer began her career in financial services over 20 years ago and has held various direct and indirect venture investment roles, including Draper Fisher Jurvetson Global Network, which then had $7 billion under management across 16 venture funds worldwide, as well as operational roles in software business development.In this episode, Beezer speaks with Eniac Partner Nihal Mehta on the genesis of OpenLP, a community effort she spearheaded to foster greater understanding in the entrepreneur-to-LP tech ecosystem, as well as the fundamental role of an LP in venture, their relationship to partners and how they want to ensure they are bringing value to the funds beyond just capital.Beezer also discusses the recent string of IPOs and her perspective on how it impacts the ecosystem, as well as how staying private longer impacts employees and how equity/liquidity is viewed.She also gives advice to funds just starting out - what she looks for, expectations and opportunities.If you liked this episode, please share and tag us on Twitter:@beezer232@SapphireVC@nihalmehta@EniacVC@seedtoscale Send comments or suggestions to seedtoscale@eniac.vc.
Brian Feinstein is a partner at Bessemer Ventures. Since joining in 2008, has focused on investments in early and growth-stage vertical SaaS, including Procore, Restaurant365, and LiveAuctioneers, as well as supported the firm's investment in Mindbody. Brian is interested in founders who are shaping their industries outside of the Silicon Valley mold. In this episode Brian sits down with Tim Young, a founding partner at Eniac Ventures, to discuss Bessemer’s thesis around vertical SaaS and their top-down strategy for identifying investments. He digs into how they map out industries by GDP, IT spend and the criteria they look for within a sector.As a lead investor in Procore - the de facto leader of construction software now valued at more than $3 billion dollars after their December 2018 funding round - Brian discusses how they identified the construction sector and what led them to invest in the company’s Series D. Brian also speaks to the fund's interest in SaaS for the public sector. He points out that it is one of the largest verticals from an IT spend perspective and has historically lacked software innovation, but he is optimistic for big changes. He also addresses how machine learning with the ability to make predictions and detect anomalies can be a powerful driver in vertical markets.If you liked this episode, please share and tag us on Twitter: @brianfeinstein@BessemerVP@timy0ung@EniacVC@seedtoscaleSend comments or suggestions to seedtoscale@eniac.vc.
Jenny Fielding is the newly appointed Managing Director of Techstars, an organization helping entrepreneurs grow their companies through a process of programming, mentorship, and funding. She has been involved with the organization for the past 5 years, working with the former MD Alex Iskold.Jenny also is the Founder and General Partner of The Fund, a community successful New York City founders and operators supporting the next generation of NYC-based entrepreneurs.In this episode, Jenny sits down with Eniac Founding Partner Nihal Mehta to discuss Techstars and The Fund, along with her major plans to double down on their commitment to the NYC tech community, partner with local organizations that promote inclusivity. Jenny addresses the role of New York universities can play in shaping the mindsets of entrepreneurs and founders and why she recently began teaching at Columbia University as an Adjunct Professor on "Venturing to Change the World.” She speaks to how her class is helping open the minds of students that might otherwise not have the exposure or the support to take an entrepreneurial track - namely women - and get them involved in the growing NYC tech community.Jenny also shares her thoughts on Bad Blood and what she looks for in founders, as well as her favorite podcasts. If you liked this episode, please share and tag us on Twitter: @jefielding@Techstars@nihalmehta@EniacVC@seedtoscaleSend comments or suggestions to seedtoscale@eniac.vc.
Sarah Cannon is a Partner at Index Ventures focused on investing in consumer businesses. She has had an unconventional path to venture, starting her early career by working in Ghana and as a Policy Advisor on the National Economic Council at the White House during the Obama Administration. In this episode, Sarah sat down with Hadley Harris, Founding Partner at Eniac Ventures, to share how she went from Ghana, the White House to CapitalG, what led her to join Index in 2018 and why she got into an argument over open source the first time meeting a partner.Sarah speaks to her time at Capital G, how she supported the India launch and the breadth of her work across Oscar, Multi-Plan with Hellman and Friedman, Care.com and Looker. She also discusses what she is seeing across the future of work industry and the bottom-up approach to productivity tools and its effect on the unbundling of Microsoft. Sarah also digs into the disaggregation of work into the gig economy from her perspective as an economist, the opportunities she sees across vertical marketplaces and her interest in new tools to serve this new class.Sarah shares what it is like to work with Danny Rimer, his thesis on authenticity, her time as a Board Observer at Slack and valuable lessons she’s learned from Stewart Butterfield about building a disruptive product and rethinking customer service.If you liked this episode, please share and tag us on Twitter: @SarahRCannon@indexventures@hadley@EniacVC@seedtoscale Send comments or suggestions to seedtoscale@eniac.vc.
Omar Hamoui is a Partner at Sequoia Capital, arguably one of the most well-known VC firms in the world, with investments in some of the biggest names, including Dropbox, WhatsApp, Xoom, Square, Evernote, InstaCart to name a few.In this episode, Omar sat down with Nihal Mehta, Founding Partner at Eniac Ventures, to share his story on building AdMob, one of the most successful mobile ad networks, how it caught the attention of Steve Jobs and Sergey Brin and what it was like being acquired by Google. From being a serial entrepreneur and successful founder, Omar also discusses his move to VC, the core values of Sequoia and what it is like behind the scenes. He opens up about the most challenging parts of venture capital, the long feedback loop and why it is a “low ego” job. He also shares his most used app - and it might surprise you! If you liked this episode, please share and tag us on Twitter:  @omarh @sequoia@nihalmehta@EniacVC@seedtoscale  Send comments or suggestions to seedtoscale@eniac.vc.
Jeff Richards, Managing Director of GGV Capital, speaks with Eniac Ventures’ Founding General Partner Tim Young on board members: what to look for, how expectations when recruiting & building out your early team and how being a founder is a lot like his experience being a father. As a two-time founder with more than 13 years building and operating his companies across the U.S. and Asia, Jeff joined the world of venture capital with a wealth of first-hand experience. Today, at GGV, Jeff focuses on enterprise, cloud, and consumer/internet-based brands. His investments include HotelTonight (just acquired by Airbnb), Flipboard, Voicera and has been involved in Opendoor, Domo, Square and Wish. He currently sits on several boards, including Boxed, Brightwheel, Namely, Tile, to name a few, and most recently joined Electric.Having sat on more than a dozen boards, Jeff digs into all things board members - what to look for, how to optimize, expectations and how to handle bad behavior. He also gives his advice on the biggest differences between your board and team between Seed to A. Jeff discusses when it is time to start building out your team, why it is important to have an org chart, expectations when recruiting top talent and how founders should be building teams outside tier one markets.Jeff also shares some personal anecdotes from his life, like how being a founder prepared him for fatherhood and how he maintained his resilience when his company crashed right before his wedding. He also speaks to his biggest misses as an investor and the worst advice he’s received lately.If you liked this episode, please share and tag us on Twitter: @jrichlive @GGVCapital @timy0ung @EniacVC @seedtoscaleSend comments or suggestions to seedtoscale@eniac.vc.
Chris Farmer, Founder and CEO of SignalFire speaks with Eniac Ventures’ Vic Singh on his early background as an investor and how he flipped the traditional venture model on its head with data-driven insights and a founder-centric thesis.In this episode, Chris discusses, after years of research, what led him to build SignalFire on top of infrastructure that powers the fund and empowers their founders through data, talent and their expansive advisory network. SignalFire aims to offer founders maximum impact by opening doors to the expertise and services they need to move the needle through their many-to-many approach. He also speaks to their unique team, complete with engineers and data scientists, and how they are consistently building products and innovating their services.Chris also digs into their barbell approach to investing, typically starting with an early stage - their sweet spot - and then being able to come back in with support during later stages, bringing their unique offerings to the table to complement the traditional firms. Additionally, he talks through how the firm has scaled, what sectors they are currently interested in, their deal sourcing strategy and his advice for founders on finding the right investment partners.SignalFire’s portfolio includes Uber, Lime, Zume Pizza to name a few. Prior to SignalFire, Chris was a Partner at General Catalyst and Bessemer Venture Partners.Follow Send comments to seedtoscale@eniac.vc and tweet us @seedtoscale.
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Comments (1)

Bryce Porter

what is that tapping noise? very annoying.

Sep 20th
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