DiscoverThe Twenty Minute VC (20VC): Venture Capital | Startup Funding | The Pitch
The Twenty Minute VC (20VC): Venture Capital | Startup Funding | The Pitch
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The Twenty Minute VC (20VC): Venture Capital | Startup Funding | The Pitch

Author: Harry Stebbings

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The Twenty Minute VC (20VC) interviews the world's greatest venture capitalists with prior guests including Sequoia's Doug Leone and Benchmark's Bill Gurley. Once per week, 20VC Host, Harry Stebbings is also joined by one of the great founders of our time with prior founder episodes from Spotify's Daniel Ek, Linkedin's Reid Hoffman, and Snowflake's Frank Slootman.

If you would like to see more of The Twenty Minute VC (20VC), head to for more information on the podcast, show notes, resources and more.
974 Episodes
Ariel Cohen is the Co-Founder and CEO @ Navan (formerly TripActions), the #1 travel management super-app used by over 8,000 companies. Ariel has raised over $2BN for Navan from some of the best including a16z, Zeev Ventures, Lightspeed, Greenoaks, and Elad Gil. Prior to TripActions, Ariel co-founded streamOnce, a business multimedia integration platform that was successfully acquired by Jive Software, where Ariel had previously served in a senior position following his time at Hewlett-Packard. In Today's Episode with Ariel Cohen We Discuss: 1.) Why Education is Outdated and Wisdom to People Entering the Working World: Why did Ariel not really attend many classes when he was a student? What would be his biggest advice to young people leaving school today? Where would he focus? Why does Ariel believe that traditional education is more outdated now than ever before? 2.) Why SAP and Salesforce Will Die: Why does Ariel believe that SAP and Salesforce have not innovated for a decade? Why does Ariel believe that Slack is a disaster inside of Salesforce? What are the single biggest advantages that startups have over these large incumbents? What can startups do to retain innovation and speed as they scale into becoming an incumbent? Why are the best founders willing to kill their own projects? 3.) Growing a Business 3x and Raising at a $9.2BN Valuation in COVID: How did Ariel grow the business 3x with all travel being banned? What were the tactics to blitz scaling during COVID? How did Ariel approach his investors for a new round in the middle of COVID? How did he get such a high price in the midst of a global pandemic? What is the bull case for how Navan can be a $40BN company? 4.) Margins Matter: Gaining Leverage Through Additional Margin: With Navan's 80% margin, they have 30% higher margins than other competitors, how do they have such high margins? With the additional 30%, how does Ariel plan to scale Navan's reach and use the margin to do so? How does OpenAI play a role in helping Navan increase its margin even further?
Orlando Bravo is a Founder and Managing Partner of Thoma Bravo. He led Thoma Bravo’s early entry into software buyouts and built the firm into one of the top private equity firms in the world. Today, Orlando directs the firm’s strategy and investment decisions. Orlando has overseen over 420 software acquisitions conducted by the firm, representing more than $235 billion in transaction value. Forbes named him "Wall Street’s best dealmaker" in 2019, and he was dubbed "Private equity’s king of SaaS" by the Financial Times in 2021. In Today's Episode with Orlando Bravo We Discuss: 1.) From Puerto Rico Roots to Wall Street's Best Dealmaker: How did Orlando come to co-found Thoma Bravo? What was that a-ha moment for him? Orlando mentioned 2 mentors that shaped how he thinks, who were they? What are his single biggest lessons from those mentors? What does Orlando know now that he wishes he had known when he started his career? Why does Orlando disagree with setting timelines in life? Why does it not help? 2.) The Secret to Success in Value Investing: What is good value investing today? What is it not? What three things does Orlando look for when doing a deal and acquiring a company? Why is every company in the world worth its future cash flows? How important is price today? How does Orlando reflect on his own price sensitivity? Many suggest Coupa and Anaplan were extremely expensive. How does Orlando respond and defend the prices he paid for companies in 2020-2022? 3.) WTF is Happening In Markets Today: How does Orlando reflect on where the market is today? Is this the new normal? How does Orlando expect the market to change over the next 12 months? Why does Orlando believe that the best companies win in the worst times? Is this the result of quantitative easing on behalf of central banks? Who is to blame? How does Orlando balance the mindset of his team between risk on and taking advantage of lower prices in market but also not catching a falling knife? 4.) Orlando Bravo: The Leader, Father and Husband: What is Orlando's biggest fear in investing? How has this changed over time? How does Orlando reflect on his own relationship to money today? How has that changed? What are Orlando's biggest parenting lessons from his mother? Why does Orlando believe that for most people, their late twenties are their toughest? How does Orlando instill the same drive and ambition in his children that he had, despite very different financial profiles growing up? How does Orlando maintain being at the top of his game in his profession but also being a great husband? What is the secret to a happy marriage? Items Mentioned in Today's Episode: Orlando's Fave Book: The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
Annie Pearl is the CPO @ Calendly, the company that makes scheduling meetings simple and painless. Before Calendly, Annie led Glassdoor’s product vision and user experience, managing a 70-person product and design org.  Shreyas Doshi is an investor, advisor, and all-around product OG. Most recently Shreyas spent over 5 years at Stripe where he was Stripe’s first PM Manager and helped grow the PM function (from ~5 to more than 50 people). Before Stripe, Shreyas was a Director of Product Management @ Twitter. David Lieb is one of the product OGs of the last decade. As the founder of Bump David pioneered how over 150M users shared data, contacts and more before the company was acquired by Google. At Google, David took this one step further by creating Google Photos. Marty Cagan is one of the OGs of Product and Product Management as the Founder of Silicon Valley Product Group. Before founding SVPG, Marty served as an executive responsible for defining and building products for Hewlett-Packard, Netscape Communications, and eBay. Aparna Chennapragada is the former CPO @ Robinhood, revolutionizing consumer finance with commission-free investing. Prior to Robinhood, she spent an incredible 12 years at Google, most recently as VP and GM for Consumer Shopping and also as the lead AR and Visual Search products.  Lenny Rachitsky is one of the OGs of product, having spent over 7 years at Airbnb as a product lead he left to start his newsletter, find it here. This has scaled to thousands upon thousands of readers and one of the most popular newsletters on Substack.  For the last 7 years, Kayvon Beykpour has been at Twitter where he led all of the teams across Product, Engineering, Design, Research, and Customer Service & Operations. Kayvon came to Twitter through Periscope, the live broadcasting app he founded that was acquired by Twitter in 2015. Scott Belsky is an entrepreneur, author, investor, and currently serves as Adobe’s Chief Product Officer. Scott oversees all of product and engineering for Creative Cloud, as well as design for Adobe. In 2006, Scott founded Behance, and served as CEO until Adobe acquired Behance in 2012. In Today's Episode on How to Hire a Product Manager, We Discuss: 1.) When to Hire Your First PM: What are the core signs that the founder must delegate and hire their first PM? What are the first things that are breaking when you do not have one but need one? How does the timing of the first PM differ when comparing B2B vs B2C? 2.) What is the Right Profile: What should founders look for in this first PM hire? What traits make the best? What are the biggest red flags in the personalities and styles of potential candidates? Should they have experience in the product domain they are entering? What are the single biggest mistakes founders make when analyzing the resumes of potential PM candidates? What should they look for in their resume? 3.) The Hiring Process: How To Hire a Product Manager How do we structure and run the hiring process for this person? What tests can we do to understand if they have the skill set we need for the role? How do we structure a hiring panel to make this process more effective? What are the biggest mistakes founders make in the hiring process for PMs?
Alex Bouaziz is the Co-Founder and CEO @ Deel, the all-in-one platform made to simplify all things HR, built for global teams near and far. In the last year alone, Alex has scaled Deel from $57M in ARR to $295M, EBITDA positive since Sept 2022, 85%+ gross margins, and over $5BN paid out to 250,000 people. Alex has raised over $679M with Deel, pricing the company at the last round at $12.1BN. Investors in the company include a16z, Spark Capital, Coatue, and many more. In Today's Episode with Alex Bouaziz We Discuss: 1.) From Student in London to Decacorn Founder: How Alex made his way into the world of startups and how he came up with the idea for Deel? Did Alex always know he would be successful when he was growing up? What does Alex know now that he wishes he had known when he was starting? 2.) The Importance of Execution: How important does Alex think speed of execution is for startups? What can startups do to deliberately increase their speed of execution? How does Alex think about the dilemma of losing quality with speed? What does Alex think you do need to go slow on to ensure it is perfect? How does Alex think about focus and prioritisation today with Deel? 3.) Scaling to $295M in ARR in 3 Years: When did Alex know he had true product-market fit with Deel? How did Alex use a 50-person Whatsapp group to both determine product market fit and to navigate product direction for the company? What was the key to Deel's blitz scaling strategy? What worked? What did not work? How did Alex hire 2,000 people in such a short space of time? What broke first in the organisation? How could they have prevented it? 4.) Secondaries, Angel Investing and Wealth Management: How much did Alex take out in secondaries in the last round of funding? How did Alex determine how much cash to allocate to angel investing? Why does Alex believe most founders make poor angel investments when they have cash? What have been Alex's biggest lessons from investing? How has it changed how he operates? Why should all founders be super transparent in investor updates?
Hunter Walk and Satya Patel are Co-Founders and Partners @ Homebrew, one of the leading seed funds of the last decade. Following 10 years of stellar returns with investments in the likes of Chime, Plaid, Gusto and many others, they decided to not accept any further LP capital and to only invest their own money moving forward through Homebrew Forever. In Today's Discussion on Homebrew We Breakdown: 1. ) The Foundings of a Great Partnership: What was the moment when Hunter and Satya decided they were going to go out and raise their first fund with Homebrew I? What are the core principles that all founding partners need to align on before they start a firm together? What questions should they ask of each other? Why does being independently wealthy coming into a partnership make the partnership easier and more efficient to operate? What changes when the partners have money already? 2.) What Changes When Moving From LP Dollars to Personal Capital: Why did Hunter and Satya decide to not raise any further capital from external LPs? Asset allocation-wise, how did they determine how much is the right amount to set aside for the first 2 years of investing? How many investments do they want to make with that cash? How does investing their personal capital change their deployment pace and cadence? How does it change their approach to reserves management and follow-on financing? How does it change their approach to pricing? How price sensitive are they today? 3.) Analyzing the Seed Landscape Today: Why do Hunter and Satya not think that a $100M seed fund is enough to properly execute a world-class seed strategy today? Who is their competition with the new strategy? How does it change their relationship with large multi-stage funds? How does it change their relationship with seed funds? Do they agree that the last generation of sub $20M micro-funds will not raise another fund in this cycle? How did their entrance impact the seed landscape over the last few years? Why are LPs also to blame for many of the original seed managers raising larger and larger funds? 4.) Companies: Money and People are The Problem: Why has too much money been such a problem for many Homebrew portfolio companies over the last few years? How has too much money changed their execution plans? What happens to the "living dead" companies with many years of runway but no product market fit? Who does this market cater to well? Who will thrive in this market? What have people forgotten about both startups and venture in the last 2 years that we have to remember? Why is this generation so entitled and expectant? Why are startups not a get-rich-quick scheme?
Cliff Obrecht is the Co-Founder & COO @ Canva, the free-to-use online graphic design tool that makes it easy for anyone to design anything from presentations to videos and social media. Cliff and Mel have scaled Canva to over 60 million monthly users, 2,000 employees, and 500,000 teams from companies like Intel and Zoom using Canva. During this incredible growth journey, they have raised over $580M with their last round valuing the company at over $40BN. In Today's Episode with Cliff Obrecht 1.) From Teacher to Billionaire Tech Founder: How did Keith make his way into the world of tech with his founding of FusionBooks? What did the process with FusionBooks teach him about how to run Canva? How did the early fundraising days for Canva go? Why does Cliff think they got over 100 no's? What are Cliff's biggest pieces of advice for founders today, not in Silicon Valley, looking to raise from Silicon Valley VCs? 2.) Scaling to $40BN: The Biggest Lessons: What does Cliff mean when he says the secret to successful hiring is looking for "distance traveled"? How does he determine this in the interview process? What have been some of the single biggest lessons in what it takes to acquire the best talent? What are some of the biggest mistakes Cliff has made in talent acquisition? How has his process changed as a result? What do Canva do to get the best operators as advisors in the company? How do they compensate these advisors? What does Cliff advise founders on how to do the same? 3.) The Art of Deal-Making: How does Cliff think through what makes a "good deal"? How does he approach negotiation? What are the biggest mistakes founders make when negotiating and doing deals? What have been Cliff's biggest lessons on successful investor relations over the years? How does Cliff and Canva approach acquisitions? What do they look for? What is their process? Why do most tech companies approach acquisitions the wrong way? 4.) Cliff Obrecht: Money, Fatherhood and Marriage: How does Cliff analyze his relationship to money today? How much money is enough? How has his relationship to money changed over time? Why have Cliff and Mel given away over $10BN to their foundation? Why is philanthropy so hard to do effectively? Why would Cliff hate for his children to be brought up in excess wealth? What does "great fatherhood" mean to Cliff? What are the most challenging aspects of parenting? What are the secrets to a happy marriage? How does co-founding a company with your other half work well? How does it work poorly?
Stevie Case is the CRO @ Vanta where she oversees Vanta’s go-to-market team to support the company’s rapid growth. Prior to joining Vanta, Stevie was Vice President of Mid-Market Sales at Twilio, joining as one of their first account executives, Stevie helped to grow the sales team from a dozen to over 1,000 team members and played a pivotal role in establishing Twilio’s enterprise business with key Fortune 500 customers, generating more than $400 million in annual recurring revenue. If that was not enough, Stevie is also a Founding Operator @ Coalition Network and a prominent angel investor. In Today's Episode with Stevie Case We Discuss: 1. ) From World's First Pro Female Gamer to CRO: How did Stevie make her way from pro gamer to CRO? How did her career in gaming make her a better CRO and sales leader? In her early sales career, how did being a single mother with a child impact her approach to sales? What can founders do to make workplaces more inclusive for parents today? 2.) Enterprise or PLG: Which One To Choose: Why does Stevie believe it is not right to do both PLG and enterprise at the same time for startups? How can startups and sales teams move into enterprise selling gradually through testing and without committing a significant budget to an enterprise sales team? How do founders know when is the right time to move from PLG to enterprise? What are the signs? 3.) The Mythical Sales Playbook: How does Stevie define the term "sales playbook" today? What is it not? Should the founder be the person to create the sales playbook? If not them, then who? When is the right time to make your first sales hire? When is the wrong time? 4.) Mastering the Hiring Process in Sales Recruits: How should we structure the interview process for new sales reps? What is the right profile for these first sales hires? How do the best sales talent answer questions and perform in interview processes? How can we really test for grit and curiosity in the interview process? What are the single biggest mistakes founders make when hiring for sales? 5.) Discovery, Discounting, Deal Velocity: With sales cycles being so long, how do you know if enterprise sales reps are good? What is the difference between good discovery vs bad discovery? Should founders engage in discounting to get deals over the line? When does it work?
Albert Wenger is a managing partner at Union Square Ventures, one of the most successful venture firms of the last decade with a portfolio including Coinbase, Twitter, Twilio, Etsy, and many more. Before joining USV, Albert was the president of through the company’s sale to Yahoo and an angel investor (Etsy, Tumblr). He previously founded or co-founded several companies, including a management consulting firm and an early-hosted data analytics company. In Today's Episode with Albert Wenger We Discuss: 1.) From Failed Startup Founder to Leading VC: How Albert transitioned from being a failed entrepreneur to being one of the most respected venture investors with USV today? What were the clear signs for Albert that he was not a good entrepreneur? Why does Albert believe this downturn is different compared to the dot-com bubble? Why was there more hope and promise coming out of the dot-com bubble? 2.) Income Inequality, The Rise of Depression & The Role of Politics: Why is income and wealth inequality more concerning than ever? Why does Albert believe universal basic income is the right solution? Why is mental health worse than ever? What can be done to improve this? Why are our politicians failing us? What should our politicians be doing? How does the rise of Trump show us what society is looking for in politicians? 3.) Climate Change: Misnomers, Developing Countries, Civil Disobedience: What are the single biggest misnomers people have when it comes to climate change? How can we shift spending on climate change solutions from 5% of GDP to 50%? Is that possible? Why do developing nations have an advantage when implementing climate change solutions over more developed economies? Why is civil disobedience the right course of action to ensure society is on a path to change our approach to climate change? 4.) Crypto and Central Banks: The Future of Finance: Why does Albert believe that over the past few years, for many, crypto was a good hedge against inflation? How damaging does Albert believe SBF and FTX will be to crypto in the long term? How does Albert evaluate the potential for governments to create a "central bank digital currency"? What would Albert like to see in a potential currency like this? How could stable coins be the solution to this? What is Albert fearful of with central bank digital currencies? Why does Albert believe now is the best time to be investing in crypto? 5.) The Future of Social Media: Twitter & TikTok: What does Albert believe is wrong with Twitter today? Why was the blue check mark such a mess? What does Albert believe Elon should do with Twitter from this point on? How should Elon deal with the debt providers he has? What happens to Twitter moving forward? Why is it so hard to kill? What is the future of TikTok? Will it be banned in the US? How concerned should the consumer be concerning their data being shared with the Chinese Government?
Mike Cessario is the Founder and CEO @ Liquid Death, the man hacking the healthy beverage market with the first hilarious water brand. It is working, Liquid Death's latest valuation was over a staggering $700M and Mike has raised over $200M since founding the company from the likes of Science Inc. Away's Jen Rubio, Dollar Shave Club's Michael Dubin, Swedish House Mafia and Tony Hawk to name a few. Prior to founding Liquid Death, Mike was in the advertising industry at a number of dirrect firms including VaynerMedia. In Today's Episode with Mike Cessario We Discuss: 1.) From Canned Water to $700M Business: How did rockstars' hydration problems lead to the founding of Liquid Death? How did growing up with guns and heroine needles around him at school, impact how Mike sees the world today? What is he running from? What is he running towards? Everyone said, "canned water, that is a stupid idea". What does Mike tell to all entrepreneurs who are told their idea is stupid? How does Mike advise on picking your idea? 2.) How to Build a Truly Great Brand: What does the term "brand" mean to Mike? What does he mean when he says, "truly great brand transcends functional value"? What are the single biggest mistakes Mike sees founders make today on branding? Why does Mike believe people will always hate your brand, if it is good? What are the biggest brand mistakes Mike has made with Liquid Death? What brand does Mike most respect and admire? Why that brand? 3.) Marketing: The Secret to Reaching Millions of People with Little Budget: How does the Liquid Death team come up with the ideas they have for content? Why does Mike believe the label "storytelling" is kinda BS? Why does Mike believe people will always hate your marketing? What was Mike's biggest lesson from their Superbowl commercial with kids drinking Liquid Death, looking like beer? How does Mike decide which channel to prioritise? How has the rise of TikTok and short form video changed their approach to content? How does Mike approach resource allocation for new pieces of content? Do they spend big on few bits of content or spend little on many and see what works?  
Hila Qu is one of the leading growth execs of the last decade. Hila helped scale Acorns from 1 million to 5 million users as their VP of growth. Hila then joined GitLab, where she launched their PLG motion (on top of an established sales motion), and built their first-ever growth team. Today Hila is an advisor to amazing companies like Replit and funds like Mucker Capital, Openview and First Round Capital. In Today's Episode with Hila Qu We Discuss: 1.) From Biology and Explosions to Growth: How Hila made her way into the world of growth with What are 1-2 of the biggest takeaways from her time with Acorns and Gitlab? How do B2B growth orgs compare to B2C growth orgs? What is different? What is the same? 2.) WTF is Growth? When? How & Why: How does Hila define growth today? What is it not? When is the right time for early-stage founders to hire their first growth hire? Why does Hila always look for data analysts in this first growth hire? From a data standpoint, what should founders have ready and accessible for their first growth hire to have access to and learn from? Is Google Analytics enough? 3.) Hiring Your First Growth Hire: How should early-stage founders structure the hiring process for the first growth hire? What do the best growth job descriptions include? What do they not include? Once applications are in, how does Hila advise founders screen for the best candidates? How should founders structure the interview process post-screening? What are the must-ask questions? Who is involved in the interview process? What are some red flags? 4.) The Master of Onboarding: What should new growth hires want to achieve in the first week? What should they want to complete in the first month? In the first quarter, what do the best candidates have completed? What can founders do to set their growth hires up for success in the best way at this time? 5.) Growth Models, North Stars, Activation and Onboarding and Key KPIs: What really is a growth model? How do founders and growth teams create one? How does Hila advise founders on how to pick the right North Star Metric to focus on? Why are activation and conversion Hila's two favorite growth metrics? What are growth loops? What are growth funnels? How do they work together?
Jeff Jordan is a General Partner @ a16z where he serves on the boards of Airbnb, Incredible Health, Instacart, Lookout, and Pinterest, just to name a few. Before a16z, Jeff was CEO OpenTable, where he led the company during a period of hyper-growth and oversaw its IPO. Prior to OpenTable, Jeff was Senior VP and General Manager of eBay North America where he oversaw eBay's early growth into one of the Internet's leading commerce brands. In this role, he drove the successful acquisitions of PayPal and and went on to become President of PayPal, where he was responsible for establishing the company as the global standard for online payments.   In Today's Episode with Jeff Jordan We Discuss: 1.) From Taking Opentable Public to Being a GP @ a16z: What led to Jeff making the jump from CEO @ Opentable to becoming a GP at a16z? How does Jeff believe his operating career impacted how he thinks and acts as an investor today, both positively and negatively? What is his 1 biggest learning from eBay and then Opentable that has really shaped his mindset today as an investor? How did those experiences impact what he looks for in companies? 2.) The Two Core Features To Look For in Marketplaces: Fragmentation of supply side: Why does Jeff look for fragmented supply sides? Does this not take longer and is more expensive? How fragmented is fragmented enough? What are the most common reasons founders fail to acquire a fragmented supply side? Intelligent Lead Generation: What does Jeff really want to see in the way that new marketplaces acquire their customers? How does this change with the rise of TikTok and short-form video? What are some other really core features or traits that excite Jeff when he sees them in an early marketplace? What are some massive red flags for Jeff when he sees them early? 3.) How to Acquire and Retain the Demand Side of a Marketplace: Messaging and Brand: What are the biggest lessons Jeff has on how to craft the messaging of a marketplace to make it resonate with the target consumer? What are Jeff's biggest lessons from working with Brian Chesky on how they craft their messaging at Airbnb? What works? What does not work? Perfect Customer Cohorts: What does Jeff most want to see when examining prospective marketplace investment cohorts? What do the best have? What is the sign of a truly retained user in a marketplace? What is a good date duration to measure retention against? What are the biggest mistakes founders make presenting their cohorts? Lessons from Instacart: What are Jeff's biggest lessons from being on the Instacart board on cohorts? What makes good cohorts? How cohorts can seem bad but be good? 4.) Growth vs Profitability, CACs and LTV: Uber, OfferUp, Instacart, Deliveroo, respectfully, the level of profits these businesses are able to drive is questionable, why does Jeff believe marketplaces are good investments still? Many marketplaces start with poor unit economics, how does Jeff think about having the mental plasticity to project out to a time when unit economics could be better? Does Jeff pay attention to CACs at all? When are they important? When are they not? How can they be misleading? What is the best way for founders to present their CACs? 5.) It's Time to VC: Jeff Jordan: The Board Member What are the single biggest misalignments between VCs and their founders? How would Jeff describe his style of board membership today? How has it changed with time? What is the best way to deliver hard feedback as a board member? What are the biggest mistakes board members make? What does Jeff advise young board members today? What are the single best and worst changes that have happened at a16z in the last 24 months?
The question is: "are VCs still investing?". Today we are joined by Jason Lemkin; one of the OGs of SaaS of the last decade. As the Founder of SaaStr, he has inspired more SaaS founders than one can imagine building “The World’s Largest Community for Business Software.” Jason also invests out of the $100M SaaStr Fund and in the past Jason has led rounds into TalkDesk, Pipedrive, Algolia, Gorgias, Salesloft, and many more incredible companies. Prior to founding SaaStr, Jason was the Co-Founder of Echosign, an early e-signature business, funded by Emergence Capital and that was acquired by Adobe for $100M. In Today's Episode on "Are VCs' Still Investing" We Discuss: 1. What Does it Take To Get Funded Today: Early-Stage: How has what VCs want in early-stage investments changed in this new environment? Should startups prioritize growth? Profitability? Capital efficiency? How long a runway is sufficient enough for founders to feel comfortable? Why does Jason believe most founders are still deluded that they are fundable? Growth Stage Companies: Is the growth stage totally dead? What will we see happen to all the companies that raised $50M+ at large valuations that have very little revenue? Why does Jason believe that any operator who joined a $BN company in the past few years will not make any money on their equity? What should they do now? Will we start to see down rounds and structured rounds at the growth stage? If so, when? Public Markets: Why does Jason believe this is a time unlike any he has seen before? Are we in full recession now in Jason's mind? In Dec 2023, will this be better or worse? Which are the most under-priced assets in the public markets today? Why does Jason believe VCs investing in public markets are losers? 2. Micro Funds Will Be Decimated and LP Behaviour in 2023 Why does Jason believe that micro-funds in 2023 will be decimated and unable to raise new funds? How will the majority of LPs approach new fund investments? How will LPs approach re-investing in their existing managers? How has what they need to see changed? 3. Marketing and Sales: We Need To Change Budgets and Targets How should CEOS be changing their marketing budgets in 2023? What are the single biggest mistakes CEOs are making in this downturn with regard to their marketing budget? How do sales targets need to be amended in the face of changing buying patterns? How do the best sales and marketing leaders respond to these changing budgets and targets? How do the worst respond?        
How To Raise a Venture Capital Fund Over the last 4 years, I have raised around $400M across different vehicles from many different types of investors. Today I am going to break down the early stages of how to raise a venture capital fund and then stay tuned for a follow-up to this where we will break down a fundraising deck for a fund, what to do, what not to do etc. But to the first element.  Your Fund Size is Your Strategy: The most important decision you will make is the size of fund you raise. So much of your strategy and approach will change according to your fund size target (LP type, messaging, documentation, structure etc). Remember, your fund size is your strategy. If you are raising a $10M Fund, you are likely writing collaborative checks alongside a follower, if you are raising a $75M fund, you will likely be leading early-stage seed rounds. These are very different strategies and ways of investing.  MISTAKE: The single biggest mistake I see fund managers make is they go out to fundraise with too high a target fundraise. One of the most important elements in raising for a fund is creating the feeling of momentum in your raise. The more of the fund you have raised and the speed with which you have raised those funds dictate that momentum. So the smaller the fund, the easier it is to create that heat and momentum in your raise. LESSON: Figure out your minimum viable fund size (MVFS). Do this by examining your portfolio construction. In other words, how many investments you want to make in the fund (the level of diversification) and then alongside that, the average check size you would like to invest in each company. Many people forget to discount the fees when doing this math and so the traditional fund will charge 2% fees per year and so across the life of the fund (usually 10 years), that is 20% of the fund allocated to fees.  Example: We are raising a $10M Fund.  20% is allocated to fees for the manager and so we are left with $8M of investable capital.  A good level of diversification for an early-stage fund is 30 companies and so with this fund size, I would recommend 32 investments with an average of $250K per company. That is the $8M in invested capital. Big tip, I often see managers raising a seed fund and are only planning to make 15 investments, this is simply not enough. You have to have enough diversification in the portfolio if you are at the seed stage. No one is that good a picker. Likewise, I sometimes see 100 or even 200 investments per fund, this is the spray-and-pray approach, and although works for some, your upside is inherently capped when you run the maths on fund sizes with this many investments.  A big element to point out in this example is we have left no allocation for reserves. For those that do not know, reserves are the dollars you set aside to re-invest in existing portfolio companies. Different funds reserve different amounts, on the low end there is 0% reserves and on the high end some even have 70% of the fund reserved for follow-on rounds.  In this example, given the size of the fund being $10M with a seed focus, I would recommend we have a no-reserves policy. Any breakout companies you can take to LPs and create SPVs to concentrate further capital into the company. This is also better for you as the manager as you then have deal by deal carry on the SPVs that are not tied to the performance of the entire fund. So now we know we know $10M is our MVFS as we want to make at least 30 investments and we want to invest at least $250K per company. Great, next step.  Set a target that is on the lower end, you can always have a hard cap that is significantly higher but you do not want the target to be too far away that LPs question whether you will be able to raise the fund at all. This is one of the biggest reasons why many do not invest in a first time fund, they are unsure whether the fund will be raised at all.  The Team: Alongside the size of the fund, the team composition is everything, simply put, LPs like managers who have invested in the stage you are wanting to invest in moving forward. They like to see track record. IMPORTANT: I see so many angels write checks into breakout Series B companies and then go out and try and raise a seed fund with this as their track record. Do not do this, this does not prove you are a good seed investor but merely shows you have access at the Series B. These are very different things.  With regards to track record, in the past, TVPI or paper mark-ups were enough, now there is a much greater focus on DPI (returned capital to investors). LPs want to see that you have invested before at that stage and they also want to see that the team has worked together before. You want to remove the barriers to no. If you have not worked with the partners you are raising with before, LPs will have this as a red flag, and as team risk, it is that simple.  Navigating the World of LPs (Limited Partners) The size of the fund you are raising will massively dictate the type of LPs that will invest in your fund.  MISTAKE: You have to change your messaging and product marketing with each type of LP you are selling to. A large endowment fund will want a very different product to a Fund of Funds.  Example: If you are a large endowment, you will invest in early funds but you want the manager to show you a pathway to them, in the future, being able to take not a $10M check but a $50M check from the endowment. Whereas the Fund of Funds will likely want you to stay small with each fund. So when discussing fund plans, it is crucial to keep these different desires in mind.   If you are raising a $10M fund, you will be too small for institutional LPs and will raise from individuals and family offices. An LP will never want to be more than 20% of the LP dollars in a fund and so the size at which an institutional LP (really the smallest fund of funds) would be interested is when you raise $25M+ and they can invest $5M. Generalisation but a good rule of thumb to have.  LP Composition of Your Fund: Speaking of one LP being 20% of the fund dollars, it is helpful to consider the LP composition you would like to have for your fund. The most important element; you want to have a diversified LP base. A diversified LP base is important in two different forms: No LP should be more than 20% of the fund at a maximum. That said you do not want to have so many investors in your fund it is unmanageable. LPs need time and attention and so it is important to keep that in mind when considering how many you raise from. Some LPs will want preferred terms or economics for coming into the first close or being one of the first investors, if you can, do not do this. It sets a precedent for what you will and will not accept and then for all subsequent investors, they will want the same terms and rights.  You want to have a diversification of LP type (endowments, fund of funds, founders, GPs at funds etc). Why? In different market cycles, different LPs will be impacted and so if you only raise from one LP type, if a market turns against that LP class, then your next fund is in danger.  Example: We will see the death of many mico-funds ($10M and below). Why? The majority raised their funds from GPs at larger funds and from public company founders. With the changing market environment, most GPs are no longer writing LP checks and most public market founders have had their net worths cut in half by the value of their company in the public market and so likewise, are no longer writing LP checks. In this case, the next funds for these funds will be in trouble as their core LP base is no longer as active as they used to be. We are seeing this today.  Prediction: 50% of the micro-funds raised in the last 2 years will not raise subsequent funds.   Going back to the question of diversification, my preference and what we have at 20VC, the majority of dollars are concentrated from a small number of investors. Of a $140M fund, we have $100M invested from 5 large institutions. These are a combination of endowments, Family Offices, a High Net Worth Individual and a Fund of Funds. The remaining $40M originates from smaller institutions or individuals, for us we have over 50 making up that final $40M. For me, I really wanted to have a community around 20VC Fund and so we have over 40 unicorn founders invested personally in the fund as LPs.  Bonus Points: The best managers select their LPs to play a certain role or help with a potential weakness the manager has. For example, I was nervous I did not have good coverage of the Australian or LATAM startup market and so I was thrilled to add founders from Atlassian, Linktree, Mercado Libre, Rappi and Nubank as LPs to help in regions where I do not have such an active presence. If you can, structure your LP base to fill gaps you have in your ability. Status Check In: Now we know our minimum viable fund size, we know the team composition we are going out to raise with, we know the LP type that we are looking to raise money from and we know how we want our desired fund cap table to look.  Now we are ready to move to the LPs themselves.  Fill Your Restaurant with Friendlies: As I said, the appearance of your raise having heat and momentum is important.  Mistake: The biggest mistake I see early fund managers make is they go out to large institutional investors that they do not have an existing relationship and spend 3-4 months trying to raise from them. They lose heat, they lose morale and the raise goes nowhere. Whatever fund size you are raising, do not do this. Fill your restaurant with friendlies first. What does this mean? Go to anyone you know who would be interested in investing in your fund and lock them in to invest. Create the feeling that progress is being made and you have momentum.  BONUS POINTS: The best managers bring their LPs with them for the fundraise journey. With
Henry Schuck is the Founder and CEO @ ZoomInfo. From ZoomInfo's founding moment, putting $25,000 on a credit card, Henry has led the company to today, with over $1BN in ARR, a market cap of over $10BN, and a team of over 3,600. This is one of the untold but truly great stories in software. In Today's Episode with Henry Schuck We Discuss: 1. From a $5,000 College Fund to Founding a $10BN Company: Why did Henry always believe early in life that he would be successful? Along the way doubt sets in, what did Henry do to combat that doubt when he questioned his own ability and potential? What does Henry believe he is running from? What is he running towards? How did seeing the work ethic of his single mother impact his work ethic with ZoomInfo? 2. Henry Schuck: The Leader: What does Henry believe is the difference between trust vs safety in team culture? Why does Henry believe safety is built through performance? How does Henry manage and communicate underperformance? How long do you give an under-performer? Why does Henry believe that happier teams outperform? What does Henry do deliberately and specifically to drive happiness in the business? ZoomInfo is magnitudes larger than some competitors who receive a lot more attention, how does Henry think about this? How does he manage his own ego as a leader today? 3. Henry Schuck: A Leader in a Changing Market: How does Henry maintain internal morale when employees see their stock options get smashed every day? Does it suck to be a public company CEO in the current market? What element is the worst? How are the buying patterns and behaviors of customers changing in 2023 vs 2021? How does this impact the sales cycle, retention rates, upsell plans, and the structure of the customer success teams? Dec 2023, will we be in a better or worse macroeconomic position? 4. Henry Schuck: Relationship to Money and Fatherhood: How does henry evaluate his relationship with money today? How has it changed over time? Why does Henry very rarely fly private planes? What does he believe this says about his values? How does Henry instill the same desire and worth ethic within his children despite being a billionaire? What does Henry know now that he wishes he could give to his 23-year-old self founding the company? Items Mentioned in Today's Episode: Henry's Favourite Book: The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology that Fuel Success and Performance at Work
Jason Fried the Co-Founder and CEO at 37signals, makers of Basecamp and HEY. Over an incredible 21-year journey, Jason and his co-founder David have scaled Basecamp to become the communication tool trusted by millions. Jason is also the co-author of the widely acclaimed, ReWork and has also made several angel investments in the likes of Intercom, Gumroad and Hodinkee to name a few. In Todays Episode with Jason Fried We Discuss 1. From Web Design Agency to Founding Basecamp: What was the a-ha moment for Jason when they had to make the pivot from a design agency to going full-time launching and running Basecamp as a SaaS company? What is Jason running towards? What is he running from? What is the single biggest fear that Jason is trying to avoid? 2. Jason Fried: The Leader: Why does Jason believe he is running from his position as leader and CEO @ Basecamp? Why does Jason not like or agree with goals or targets? Why are they not helpful? How does Jason make decisions today as a leader and CEO? What one question does he ask that determines his decision-making process? Why does Jason never compare himself to the competition? Why does he believe competition is for losers? 3. Jason Fried: The Politicisation of Leadership: Why did Jason and David decide to not allow politics in the workplace? How did they manage with 1/3 of their team leaving overnight? How was that experience for them personally? How did it impact the company? Is there anything they would do differently? Does Jason believe we will see the continued politicization of leadership in the coming months? How would Jason advise other CEOs when it comes to taking a stance on politics? 4. Jason Fried: Building the Best Team: What is the one question that determines whether you made a good hire? Why does Basecamp start with hiring all employees on a week-long project contract? Why does Jason believe the best CEOs approach management as the art of the individual? 5. Jason Fried: The Partner, Father, and Husband: Jason and David have been partners for 21 years, why does Jason believe it is helpful that they do not see each other much? Is it right for co-founders and partners to be friends? What have been Jason's single biggest lessons on what it takes to be the best husband? What does great fatherhood mean to Jason? How has it changed over time?
20VC: Fundraising 101 Today we are going to walk through the process of raising a funding round for a hypothetical company. We will break it down by different stages in the fundraising process and at those stages I will talk about how each element differs according to the round being raised.  First, for 99% of fundraises it is a game of shots on goal. You need to have enough investors in the pipeline, it is a sheer numbers game. Miki Kuusi @ Wolt said on 20VC recently for his Series B he got 68 rejections before Laurel Bowden @83North said yes. Wolt sold in 2021 for $7BN to Doordash making a monster return for the company's investors. But 68 meetings before that yes, for the Series B. Also goes to show, you sometimes just need one true believer.  How to Create a Target List of Investors Now we know we need enough shots on goal, we need to bring together a target list of investors, put these investors in three buckets: Priority (5 names of people you really want.) Tier 2 (15 names of people you would like) Tier 3 (15 names of people you would take money from but would not invite to your birthday!)  So how do we choose who goes in what bucket? First, founder references speak volumes and lead to warm intros, so speak to your friends who are founders, ask which of their VCs have been the best, place even more weight on their recommendation if the company has not been a success. It is easy to be a VC champion when the company is flying, you often see the true colours of the VC when a company is really struggling or fails. Get a couple of names there and then analyse the VC landscape, you can do this on Twitter or the VCs website or blog and find the VCs that resonate best with your company. Look at the types of deals they have done before, are they interested in pre-seed fintech in Europe, do they do enterprise SaaS Series A in the Silicon Valley. You can see their portfolio, make sure it is a fit for them. I get about 200 inbounds per day across channel, about 150 are clearly not a fit for me because of stage, sector or location and so making sure the obvious are aligned is crucial. Then double down on their Twitter or public profile to see as much as you can about their values and how they portray themselves. Rule No 1, never work with assholes. Value alignment is really important. Now we have the five priorities and then I would say do the same for the Tier 2 and Tier 3 bucket, make sure they invest both in your stage, sector and geography.  The Biggest Mistakes Founders Make Pitching: So now we have our pipe of investors. A couple of big mistakes I see founders make in this next step.  They go to their priority names first. Do not do this. Your pitch both in delivery, style and messaging will improve so much with each meeting. Start with a couple where you would not be sad if they said no. Analyse in real time in those meetings what messages are hitting and what are not, where are investors spending the majority of the time, are there common questions that keep coming up. If so, create an FAQ page that is in the deck and that will prevent you from having to answer the most obvious in other meetings. With each meeting, you will find ways to iterate the deck, the messaging and the way you present.  Another massive mistake founding teams make, if you are doing a Zoom call and it is a first meeting, do not have more than 2 people on the call from your team. It makes it tough to get to the core of the discussion and removes a lot of the relationship building with too many people too soon. If the investor likes the opportunity, they will ask to meet more team members but do not put too much in front of them to the point it dilutes the message and pitch.  Now we have done the first investor meetings and we have iterated our deck and messaging in accordance with the feedback we got. We now progress to taking meetings with investors we want as our partners.  How to Master the Subtleties of a First VC Call: Every investor call usually starts with each side telling a little about themselves and how they came to be the founder or the VC. As the founder, practice your intro, make it succinct, concise, break it into three chapters, a minute per one is a good guidance. In these you want to show a couple of things, founder problem fit or in other words, why you specifically have the right experience or skills to attack this problem. I also like to understand “insight development” as taught to me by the famous OG of seed investing, Mike Maples @ Floodgate. Insight development is the notion that the best companies are founded on a unique insight that the founder has about a product or market that is different to the way the world currently sees it. Include these two in your intro. Keep the intro to no more than 3-4 mins.  For the VCs intro, it is important to try and understand a little more about them. Many VCs give boring and bland intros; “we do Series A and B in Europe and like to lead rounds.” Very standard response and so you should ask them how they like to work with their founders, ask them about a company that struggled and how they worked with the founder to help. Ask them about their decision making process for reserves and pro rata. This creates more of a conversation which will instantly give you as a founder more gravitas in the eyes of the VC.  Use the deck as a vitamin and not a painkiller. I hate pitches where it is read off slide by slide. I would not have the slides showing at all, I will have asked for a deck pre the meeting and I should have gone through it before. The call is for me to ask about questions I want to understand more or double click on. That said, the deck can often be useful as a crutch and so it can work well to have it ready and refer to certain slides as and when necessary.    The 7 Sins of Fundraising Decks: So while we are on the deck, I want to go through a couple of elements that I so often see and they are killer mistakes: Length: Keep the deck less than 10 slides. If you need a couple more to show data or additional research, put it in the appendix at the end of the deck.  Introduction: First slide, company name and then answer the question; if I had a billboard in Times Sq, what would it say on it? 10 words max. From your first slide alone, there should be no doubt about what your company does.  The Team Slide: where do people go wrong here. They put 12 faces on it with their names. No information about the people, where they worked, why they are the best team to solve this problem. A totally useless slide if done like this. So do not do this. Instead, take 4 of those people, break the slide into quadrants and expand on those 4 people’s backgrounds to why they are perfectly suited to do what they are doing. Fewer people more context.  The Useless Advisor Slide: Aligned to the terrible pictures of many team members with no context, the advisor slide, honestly, advisor slides just carry such little weight these days, they are not worth having. Take it out, it is not needed.  Market Sizing Errors: This is a massive one. I see so many make the mistake on market size slide. Say we have a CRM for hairdressers, taking a very random example here, so often I will see a $100BN market, thats the TAM for the hairdressing market or the CRM market, but we are CRM for hairdressers so that is not the right representation and is entirely misleading. It is much better to start with that, then show the slither of wallet spend that hairdressers spend on software and then show the even smaller slither that they spend on CRMs. Use the market sizing slide as a way to show your insight and intellect both into how the market is carved up today but also how it is going to change in the future. There is always the debate of what matters more, large market or amazing founders, the truth is, a massively growing market can cover a lot of operational sins and so showing how the market is and will expand and what causes this, the why now, will always be important. But do not show the massive market for hairdressing or whatever it is, I have seen more $1TN TAM for pet grooming businesses that you can imagine. So do not do that.  Exit Slides are Terrible: I do not see this so often now but do not have an exit slide in the deck for your early stage company, the wrong type of investors will be attracted to you if they like this slide, it encourages short term thinking and is not the right way to present for a company that will reshape an industry so no exit slide.  Why You Should Not Invest: One thing I love in startups and always have when I present my funds is a slide, why you should not invest in me. I think the most important thing for all founders is to be aware of their biggest weaknesses and then have clear action plans on what they are doing to mitigate the chances of them impacting their success. So have a slide that says, hey, these are our 3 biggest weaknesses and then tied to each one, this is what we are doing to solve it. This inspires trust in the relationship with the investor and really shows your self-awareness and strategic thinking. How To Structure The Size and Composition of Your Funding Round: Now at some point in the discussion the size of the round and the price of the round will be asked. Use this as a chance to show your calibre as a founder.  You Cannot Sit With Us (You Get The Joke!!!): Massive mistake founders make is they structure a round that does not allow for a VC to invest. What do I mean by this? VCs that lead rounds need to own at least 8% very minimum and if you come in raising $2M on a $25M cap, that is not enough allocation for the VC and pro-rata amount and then angels as well. Do not prohibit the VC from investing because of the structure of your round. For that example, $5M on $25M would allow for the VC to have 12.5% ownership, a smaller fund to have 3-4% and then a 3-4% allocation for angels.  Is This Check Meaningful?: An important question to ask is: is the
Barry McCarthy is Peloton’s CEO and President. McCarthy is a seasoned executive who served as CFO of Spotify from 2015 to January 2020, and CFO of Netflix from 1999 to 2010. Prior to Netflix, McCarthy held various leadership positions in management consulting, investment banking, and media and entertainment. McCarthy has served on the boards of directors of Spotify and Instacart since January 2020 and January 2021, respectively. In addition, McCarthy has served as a member of the boards of Chegg, Eventbrite, MSD Acquisition Corp, Pandora, and Rent the Runway.  In Today's Episode with Barry McCarthy We Discuss: 1. From Netflix to Spotify to Leading Peloton: How did Barry make his way into the world of startups and come to work with Reed Hastings at Netflix? What are his single biggest takeaways from working with Reid? Why did Barry decide to move to cold Stockholm to work with Daniel Ek and Spotify? What makes Daniel the special leader that he is? Was Barry nervous about assuming the role of CEO @ Peloton? Are the elements he was most worried about the elements that are his biggest challenges today? 2. Barry McCarthy: The Leader What does "high performance" in business mean to Barry? Daniel Ek has described Barry as the "most strategic dealmaker in the world". What does Barry believe makes him so good at dealmaking? Where do so many go wrong? Barry pioneered the model of the direct listing, why does he believe they are better? Why was it right as an approach for Spotify? Will we continue to see more? What is Barry's framework for making tough decisions? How has it changed over time? 3. Barry McCarthy: The Master of Boards: Barry has sat on some of the best boards from Netflix to Spotify to now Peloton and Instacart, what does Barry believe makes the best boards? Where do many boards go wrong? Where do they become dysfunctional? What can and should be done to stop that? How does Barry advise other board members on the right way to deliver tough news constructively? What is the single biggest advice Barry would give to young board members assuming their first boards? Where do many young board members go wrong? 4. Barry McCarthy: Mastering the Mechanics: Daniel Ek suggested that I had to ask about “demand creation theory and your ideas about whether the market is efficient”. What did he mean by this? How does Barry think about it? How does Barry think about the interplay between gross margin, experience and retention? Why did Barry decide it was the right decision to evolve the strategy from owning distribution to working with Amazon etc?
Hadi Partovi is a tech entrepreneur and investor, and CEO of the education nonprofit Before founding, Hadi founded two prior startups: Tellme Networks (acquired by Microsoft, discussed on 20VC with Emil Michael), and iLike (acquired by Newscorp). Hadi has also been an active advisor and angel investor to some of the best including Facebook, Dropbox, airbnb, and Uber. If that was not enough, Hadi currently serves on the Board of Directors of Axon and MNTN. In Today's Episode with Hadi Partovi: 1.) From the Iran-Iraq War to Founding Startups: How Hadi and his family made their way from war-torn Tehran to the US and Silicon Valley? How did seeing his family have nothing and struggle financially impact Hadi's mindset as an entrepreneur? What does Hadi believe he is running from? What is he running toward? 2.) Lessons from Ballmer and Zuckerberg: How did Hadi first come to meet a young Mark Zuckerberg when TheFacebook had less than 10 employees? Why did Hadi believe he was so special from that first meeting? What are Hadi's biggest takeaways from working with Steve Ballmer? How did the reign and leadership of Ballmer compare to the reign of Bill Gates? Hadi has helped both Facebook and Dropbox with their engineering hires, what is the secret to hiring amazing engineers? How does he structure the process? Where do so many go wrong? 3.) Hadi Partovi: The Leader: How does Hadi define "high performance" in leadership? How has it changed with time? What is Hadi's framework for making tough decisions? How does Hadi teach that framework to his team? What are the biggest mistakes leaders make in decision-making? How important does Hadi believe speed of execution is? How does Hadi determine when is the right time to go slow to go fast? 4.) Hadi Partovi: The Person: How does Hadi analyze his relationship with money today? How does it change over time? Hadi stepped off the for-profit treadmill with, why did he make that decision? How does he avoid the trappings of chasing wealth? How does Hadi think about ego and ego management today? How does Hadi separate self-worth from financial gain and accomplishment? Items Mentioned in Today's Episode: Hadi's Favourite Book: Sapiens: The #1 bestselling journey through human history and anthropology
Maggie Hott is the Director of Sales @ Webflow where she leads their Sales Dev, Account Executive, and Solution Engineering orgs. Prior to Webflow, Maggie spent an incredible 6 years at Slack in a period of hypergrowth for the company having joined as the founding AE scaling to a Sr Enterprise Leader. Before Slack, Maggie was the founding Sales hire at Eventbrite. If that was not enough, Maggie is also an active angel investor, an advisor to Cowboy Ventures, Scribble Ventures, and is a Founding Operator and LP @ Coalition Partners. In Today's Episode with Maggie Hott We Discuss: 1. The Cold Email that Led to a World-Class Sales Career: How a cold email to Kevin Hartz @ Eventbrite led to Maggie's career in sales? What are the 1-2 biggest takeaways from her time at Slack? How did they impact her mindset? What does Maggie know now that she wishes she had known when she entered sales? 2. The Sales Playbook: PLG and Enterprise: How does Maggie define the sales playbook? What is it? What is it not? Is it possible for early-stage companies to do both enterprise and PLG at the same time? When is the right time to add enterprise to a PLG motion? What are the steps to build an outbound sales engine in enterprise? Where do many go wrong? 3. Building the Bench: Hiring Your First Sales Team: Should founders look to hire a Senior Head of Sales first or a more junior sales rep? Should they be hired one at a time? What are the benefits of hiring many at the same time? What is the right process to hire your first sales hire? What are the core traits and habits that make the first 10x sales hire? What are the right questions to ask to unveil those characteristics? 4. Making the Machine Work: The Process: What can sales leaders do to proactively build relationships with other parts of the org? How can more junior sales reps build relationships with other functions? Why does Maggie believe that mis-hiring can be a $1M mistake? What are the early signs that a new hire is not working out in sales? How does this differ for outbound? Why is it dangerous to make your self-serve product too good?
Ben Chestnut is the Co-Founder of Mailchimp, the all-in-one marketing platform for small businesses. Last year, in Sept 2021 it was announced that Intuit would acquire Mailchimp for a reported $12BN. There are so many things to love about the Mailchimp journey to this point. First, Mailchimp was founded as the result of a side project of a design agency Ben and his co-founder, Dan, used to run. Second, Mailchimp is and has always been based in Atalanta, eschewing the notion you have to be in SF or NYC to build a massive business. Then third, they never raised venture funding for the business all the way until their $12BN acquisition. Ben led Mailchimp to over 1,200 employees and millions of global users. In Today's Episode with Ben Chestnut We Discuss: 1. From Mama's Kitchen to the Smell of Business and Founding Mailchimp: How did Ben turn a mediocre agency into the founding of Mailchimp? What was the a-ha moment? At what stage of the business did Ben quit the agency and go all in on Mailchimp? What sign did he need that Mailchimp had true product-market fit? When Ben's mother died, he bought every flower in the local town to commemorate her. How did Ben's mother impact the type of father and husband he is today? How did she impact the way that he led Mailchimp as CEO? Ben's fishing trips with his father played a big role in his early years, what were the single biggest lessons for Ben from his fishing trips with his father? 2. Ben Chestnut: The Leader: How does Ben define the term "high performance" in leadership? What does Ben mean when he says "the secret to happiness is to stay in your lane"? Why would Ben describe himself as the "leader of the misfits"? How did that early experience and labeling impact both the people he hired and the culture he created at Mailchimp? What does Ben mean when he says he used to have a "hands off, eyes off" leadership style? What have been the single biggest drivers in his development as a leader? 3. Ben Chestnut: The Person: Relationship to Money: How does Ben reflect on his relationship to money? How has it changed over time? Why does Ben still to this day buy lottery tickets with his wife? Conquering Fatherhood: What does being a great father to Ben mean? How does Ben attempt to instil the same work ethic and drive when his children are born into immense wealth? The secret to Marriage: What does Ben believe is the core to a successful and thriving marriage? How does Ben view his role in the marriage? How has it changed over time? Potential Lost Identity: A founder's identity is so closely tied to their company, how did Ben manage the challenge of selling his company but retaining his identity? What did Ben learn about himself through many different acquisition processes? 4. Mailchimp: The Business: Why did Ben never raise venture money in the 21 year journey of Mailchimp? Why did Ben never accept any of the acquisition offers that came before Intuit? How did Ben motivate his team after they knew each acquisition offer was being turned down? Why did Ben decide the acquisition by Intuit was the right decision for the company? How does Ben view his role in the company now and moving forward?
Comments (9)

John Wise

A cool podcast where you can find a lot of useful information about venture capital. By the way, if you are also interested in this type of investment and do not know which fund to trust, then you need to pay attention to the reviews collected on this Revain review platform Here you can find all the latest reviews about venture funds from leading experts. And given the fact that these reviews are written on blockchain technology, you can be sure that they are tested and high quality.

Jul 21st

Ronnie Walker

Awesome listen

Mar 26th


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Jan 31st

Ronnie Walker

Wow! Seriously came through with the book recommendations 👌

Aug 5th
Reply (1)

Henry Suryawirawan

Inspiring product vision! I'm giving Roam a try.

Jun 26th

Matthew Human

m. .... ....m ..

Mar 1st

Joey Clover

Amazing podcast. My personal favourite for commutes.

Nov 24th
Reply (1)
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