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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.
In this episode you will learn:Why does Erik emphasize the importance of financial literacy and understanding money management?What motivated Erik to establish a VC fund alongside his marketing agency, Hawke Media?How did Erik and his team develop a strategic approach for their VC fund, Hawke Ventures?How did the extensive ecosystem and network of their marketing agency benefit their VC fund's operations?What advantages does owning an ecosystem bring and how does it benefit portfolio companies and the overall business?What challenges arise when raising a fund, and how does the emotional aspect impact the fundraising process, particularly with high net worth individuals?What defines dual threat CEOs, and how do they potentially generate better returns compared to traditional VC fund managers?Why is self-reflection and learning from missed investment opportunities crucial for growth?Why does Erik's fund have a lower frequency of investments in consumer brands? What current trend in commerce enablement excites Erik the most?About:Erik Huberman, the CEO and Founder of Hawke Media, is a highly accomplished entrepreneur and marketing expert. In 2014, he launched Hawke Media, which has become the fastest growing marketing consultancy agency in the United States, now valued at over $150 million. Prior to this, Erik had already built and sold two successful e-commerce companies by the age of 26.Erik's business portfolio has continued to expand strategically, including several company acquisitions. In 2018, he launched Hawke Ventures, which achieved a closed single fund of $5.6 million. In 2020, Erik started his own podcast called HawkeTalk, and in 2021, he introduced HawkeZ, an agency specifically designed to help brands connect with Generation Z. Most recently, he authored a book titled "The Hawke Method."Erik's expertise and achievements have earned him recognition within the industry. He has been honored with accolades such as Forbes Magazine's 30Under30, CSQ's 40Under40, and Inc. Magazine's Top 25 Marketing Influencers, among others.
In this episode you will learn:What did Brian learn from his internship at Intel that has helped him as an entrepreneur?What issues does Brian see in the current food system? Why does Brian believe that science and technology can uplevel the food system?Why does FTW Ventures have a highly focused and concentrated investment approach? What value does FTW Ventures aim to create for founders?Why are there not many VCs investing in the food and agriculture market?What are the indicators of a team that can successfully navigate the stages of product development according to Brian?How do Brian assess the market potential and customer interest in a startup's product?How does the focus on transportation affect the quality and nutrition of food? How does the current food system contribute to health crises?How does addressing climate change in the food system have both purpose-driven and profit-driven benefits?What approach should entrepreneurs take when entering the food and Agritech space?What are the potential future developments and investments in cell culturing and synthetic biology?What consumer behaviour in food according to Brian will become mainstream in the next five to ten years?What are the challenges faced by farmers today, and how can technology help address them? How can AI and technology help address labor shortages and augment human labor in agriculture?About:Brian is the Founder and General Partner of FTW Ventures. He is experienced in both Technology & Food, and understands the complexity of running startups at the intersection of these two, challenging spaces.Prior to founding FTW, Brian led 3 venture-backed businesses to successful exits and directed innovative products in communication, mobile, social & AI/ML for both startups & Fortune 500 Companies over his 20+ year career.
In this episode you will learn:Where did Terry grow up?  What sparked Terry's interest in investment and finance?Why did Terry and her team decide to move to Singapore from Hong Kong?What does Terry think of the state of deep tech in Singapore? What is AIC's investment strategy?What is the reason for US having the best talent and approach in AI, and why is Asia lagging behind?What is the disruptive technology approach that the Terry looks for in companies, and how does she assess it?Why is staying relevant in AI super important for all tech giants? What does Terry think about the opportunity for a startup to build the Next Trillion Dollar company in AI?What is the due diligence process of AIC like? What according to Terry is the most important trait of a founder?How can AI help with faster diagnosis and what are the challenges for a diagnostics AI business?What will be the consequences of generative AI tools in various sectors? What should individuals do to adapt to this change?About:Terry Chou is an accomplished investor with over 10 years of experience in venture capital and private equity. Her passion lies in investing and supporting entrepreneurs on their personal journeys. Terry's mission is to work with founders to bring disruptive AI technologies to the market, and she plays an essential role as a board member/observer of portfolio companies. As an investor at AIC, Terry has led advanced AI investments across regions with a focus on cybersecurity, FinTech, and SaaS. She joined AIC as an investor and founding member of Fund I in 2017 and has successfully led AIC's investments in several high-profile companies, including ReaQta, SenseTime, AI Music, QxBranch, Envelop Risk, Osaro, GetVisibility, and Vamstar. Before joining AIC, Terry spearheaded technology investments at VMS Investment Group, where she deployed over $180 million in investments in technology and health-tech investments, including notable investments such as iQiyi and Universal Medical Group Company. Terry holds a BSc in Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science and is also a personal investor in K Health and Sandbox VR. She is an advocate for FemTech entrepreneurs and investors in the APAC region.
In this episode you will learn:What is Connect the Dots and how does it help users find strong connections to desired contacts?How does Connect the Dots differ from other tools like Conspire, Affinity, or in terms of relationship intelligence?How does Connect the Dots enable users to keep their contacts and relationship history as they change jobs, without losing valuable information?Why did Drew choose to focus on solving the problem of relationship management?How did Drew's experience at Salesforce contribute to his decision to become an entrepreneur?What advice does Drew have for entrepreneurs wanting to build a network?How can multi-threading and using relationships across the organization help in speeding up the sales cycle and improving conversions? What benefits can an entire sales team and company experience when everyone is leveraging relationships for sales?How does having a network help with recruitment? In what ways are recruitment, fundraising, and sales similar?Why are introductions important for entrepreneurs seeking funding from VCs?About:Drew Sechrist is a serial entrepreneur, veteran sales leader, and the CEO and co-founder of Connect The Dots.A cold email to Marc Benioff in 1999 landed Drew an account executive job at Salesforce, where he was employee number 36. Drew became the company’s highest-producing seller, then the highest-producing sales manager as Salesforce scaled from zero to more than a billion dollars in revenue.When Drew moved on in 2010, he was the VP of Salesforce’s High Tech vertical, calling on customers such as Apple and EMC. Drew launched his first tech company, Koozoo, in 2010. He went on to serve as an investor, advisor, and Chief Revenue Officer for various startups before founding Connect The Dots in 2019.As a young seller, leaders like Marc Benioff, Jim Steele, Carl Schachter, and Susan St. Ledger transformed Drew’s career by opening their networks and making warm introductions on Drew’s behalf. With Connect The Dots, Drew is making that experience possible for anyone.
In this episode you will learn:What led Alex Felix from being a national ski champion to a career in finance and venture capital?How is private equity different from venture capital according to Alex?How did Coin Fund start? How do crypto VC firms design their support system?How do crypto companies tackle the challenge of composability?What does effective token distribution mean for crypto companies?How do you develop a non-consensus viewpoint in venture? Does a non-consensus viewpoint need to become a consensus viewpoint for success?Why is Alex so convinced about crypto?How might crypto-based solutions enable better alignment of incentives between platform participants and the platform itself?About:Alex Felix is Chief Investment Officer and Managing Partner at CoinFund. CoinFund founded in 2015 and headquartered in New York City and Miami is a cryptonative investment firm and registered investment advisor. Prior to CoinFund, Alex was in Private Equity and worked at America Capital, Bank of America, RBS and Guggenheim Partners.
In this episode you will learn:How did Shwetank end up in venture?Why does Shwetank advise not to treat fundraising as a competition?What is the most challenging situation a VC can help a startup with, and why is it important?Is it easy to get the truth about VCs from founders, and where is the best place to get it?Why is it important to read what VCs write on LinkedIn or other places according to Shwetank?Why has insurance been a bit behind other financial services? How can InsureTech reduce costs and increase convenience?Why is building trust important for new insurers? What can new insurers do to build trust with their customers?How can standardized data provided by the health stack help insurers create better products and outcomes?What is the current state of venture in India and what positive changes are expected in the ecosystem?About:Shwetank Verma is the Co-Founder, and General Partner at Leo Capital. Shwetank leads Leo Capital's investments in South East Asia and supports the India investments. Based in Singapore, he is a frequent visitor to India and is personally passionate about health-tech and insurtech opportunities. Prior to his role at Leo Capital, Shwetank was the head of open innovation at MetLife Asia, where he established and managed Collab, a platform for matching the best technology startups with the right problem statements in the enterprise. He also served as an adviser on open innovation to several Fortune 500 companies. 
In this episode you will learn:Does Ansible Ventures only invest in seasoned entrepreneurs, or would it also invest in first-time founders?What is Ansible Ventures' positioning and how does it aim to bridge global networks and knowledge to Vietnam?Did Valerie face doubters while raising her fund, and how did she deal with them?What are Valerie's areas of interest in terms of investments and why?What is the current state of consumer internet in Vietnam and why is it attractive for investment?How does FinTech relate to e-commerce in Vietnam and what are some challenges in investing in FinTech?What are the three Cs that Valerie is bringing to the Vietnam startup ecosystem, and how is she using content creation through her TikTok channel and podcast to change the perception of startups and venture capital in Vietnam, and reach a wider audience?What is Valerie doing to build a community and bridge the gap between Vietnam and the Vietnamese diaspora?What motivates the interest of overseas Vietnamese and people of Vietnamese origin in building startups and contributing to their home country?AboutValerie founded Ansible Ventures, a seed fund dedicated to Vietnam in 2022. Previously, she served as Vietnam Country Head for Venturra Capital, where she led over a dozen investments from 2020 to early 2022. From 2016 to 2019, she worked at Deloitte U.S. as a senior consultant where she advised hedge funds, private equity funds and other investment management clients. Valerie graduated magna cum laude in 2016 from Temple University’s Fox School of Business with a major in accounting and is a Certified Public Accountant licensed in Pennsylvania. She also founded Career Opportunities in Vietnam (COVN), providing advice to aspiring professionals and co-hosted Forward Vietnam Podcast.
In this episode you will learn:What is Fast Forward, and what problem does it aim to solve for founders, according to WaterBridge?How important is it for founders to conduct a background check on VCs, and what percentage of founders actually do it?What does Anjali mean by Founder learnability and scalability, and why are founders hesitant to let an experienced CEO scale the company?What are the networks and channels that WaterBridge relies on for sourcing high-quality startups?When evaluating a startup, why does Anjali prioritize assessing the team over analyzing markets?Does consumer behaviour evolve over time, or does human psychology follow a hierarchy of needs, according to Anjali?Why does Anjali think that women should build more consumer products?What are the reasons behind the focus on vanity metrics and growth at all costs before VCs started focusing on profitability and real metrics, and how can this be avoided in the future to build sustainable businesses?AboutAnjali Sosale is a Partner at WaterBridge Ventures, an India-focused seed to series A fund that invests in early-stage technology companies. With a focus on consumer tech, e-commerce, marketplaces, and all enablers to Indian Consumer Demand, Anjali is dedicated to finding and supporting innovative startups that are changing the way Indians transact online. She is particularly interested in products that can enable the next half billion rural Indian Internet users to engage in e-commerce.
In this episode you will learn:How does access to credit impact low income countries like India?Why does Sheel insist on a minimum ownership of 10%?What are the reasons for Sheel's reluctance to invest in startups that need to raise a lot of funds?Are both first-time founders and second-time founders equally willing to accept the valuations offered by Better Tomorrow Ventures?Under what circumstances would Sheel stop supporting one of his portfolio startups?What kinds of fintech startups are poised for success in this decade?Do all neo banks face challenges with customer trust and what factors are preventing them from competing with traditional banks?What are Sheel's plans for scaling Better Tomorrow Ventures in the coming years?AboutSheel Mohnot is a Co-Founder & Partner at Better Tomorrow Ventures, a seed-focused venture capital firm that invests in transformative fintech companies founded by exceptional individuals across the world. With its second set of funds amounting to approximately $225M, Better Tomorrow Ventures is dedicated to investing in innovative ideas that can revolutionize the fintech industry. Sheel's exclusive focus on fintech investment dates back to 2015, following a couple of successful FinTech exits. Sheel has also co-founded the podcast "The Pitch," which was acquired by Gimlet Media / Spotify and attracts around 100k weekly listeners. Additionally, Sheel has co-founded Thistle, a food company that serves tens of thousands of customers every week.
In this episode you will learn:Why does Capria Ventures act as both a VC fund and a fund of funds, and what benefits does this approach offer?What is the "state of the art venture capital innovation" that Capria Ventures brings?How does Capria Ventures nurture its partnerships with fund managers across different regions?What are some of the challenges that founders from the global south face and how different are they to the global north?According to Dave, what is the most common mistake made by founders or founding teams?Why is the "spray and pray" investment strategy unsustainable, according to Dave?Why does Capria Ventures focus on the global south, and is it possible for this region to achieve the same level of wealth as the global north over time?AboutDave Richards is Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Capria Ventures. Dave is an experienced entrepreneur, operating executive, and venture capital investor. He co-founded Capria Ventures in 2012 and has since made 60+ investments in early- and early-growth tech startups across the Global South -- India, SE Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Previously, Dave led Unitus Group, a leading early venture catalyst and capital investor in microfinance in the Global South. He has also held business operating leadership roles with RealNetworks, Sybase, and Symantec managing large global teams and building multiple zero to $100M technology-led businesses in digital media, databases, and business productivity tools. Dave received his Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of British Columbia.
In this episode you will learn:After building multiple successful startups, why did Sergey get into VC?What is the fund strategy at Flint Capital?Is it a good strategy for startups to target the single biggest enterprise market in the world - the US? Based on Sergey’s experience, what are some of the mistakes that startups make while trying to expand into the US market?How does he add value to his portfolio startups?How does Sergey assess startups, especially at the very early stages?What does Sergey think about the cybersecurity industry, since Flint Capital has invested in a bunch of cybersec startups?What are Sergey’s thoughts on OpenAI?Is the future of tech exciting, considering the recent layoffs at big companies?AboutSergey Gribov is an experienced technology entrepreneur and investor, currently serving as a Partner at Flint Capital, an early-stage venture fund with a global focus on investing in startups across Israel, the USA, and Europe. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, Sergey has been involved in many successful startups as a founder or top manager in the U.S. and Israel. Notably, he was part of the founding team at Vivox and served as the Director of R&D and Operations. Sergey has a diverse background in various IT sectors including software development, cybersecurity, digital health, and fintech. He holds an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management and a B.Sc. in Computer Science from Beer-Sheva University, and has also studied Computer Science at the University of Ben Gurion (Israel). In addition to his professional accomplishments, Sergey is also a licensed pilot and Bareboat IYT Skipper. Currently, he serves as an investor and board member at companies such as Socure, Cyolo,, XRHealth, and others.
In this episode you will learn:What are some of the success stories, challenges, and crisis that Karl faced while building multiple startups, and how did he navigate them?According to Karl, why should a VC think like an entrepreneur, and how can this approach benefit startups?Does Karl believe that prior experience as an entrepreneur is ideal for someone looking to become a VC, and why?How is M13's propulsion platform different from the platform model of other VC funds, and how does it help startups?Why is it important for VCs to support their portfolio companies when there are leading indicators of a crisis?Why is building trust with founders important for a VC to ensure that they are taken seriously and not create friction?What is M13's investment thesis, and why do they prefer to back startups that are building infrastructure layers?What are some common mistakes made by the teams and founders of infrastructure layer startups, and how can they be avoided?What does Karl mean when he says, "The value I seek can only be realized at scale," and what kind of startups is he looking for?How should startups strategize their fundraising and operations during an economic downturn like the one we are experiencing now?AboutAs DigitalOcean's COO, Karl built the business from first product to >500 employees & $250M ARR over six years and prepared it for its eventual IPO (NYSE: DOCN). Having previously managed and exited two startups over a 20 year operating career, Karl is now M13’s managing partner and oversees its day-to-day operations.
In this Fundraise episode, I speak with Tim Flannery, CEO at Passthrough on their Series A fundraise. Tim shares the problem Passthrough is trying to solve, his larger vision for the company, the progress they’ve made so far and how he sees Passthrough positioned among its competitors in the market. Tim also explains why he chose to work with Positive Sum, the fund that backed Passthrough during the seed round and led their Series A round. He also offers insight into the difficulty of the series A funding round.2 interesting things that they did while fundraising was:Used a memo instead of the usual pitch deck Included ‘why you should not invest’ information in the memo
In this episode you will learn:Elizabeth shares the story of how she got into entrepreneurship and subsequently a VCWhat is the fund strategy of Hustle fund?According to Elizabeth, why is the speed of execution so important for the success of a startup?Having made more than 700 investments in startups, how does Elizabeth rate herself as a VC? What does it take for a VC to get into the top 1% echelon?What are some of the processes that Hustle Fund has in place to make investments and portfolio support faster and efficient?How does she manage her time as a VC?How can founders manage their risk during tough times like we are experiencing now?What does Elizabeth mean when she says that startups are a ‘multi-turn game’?Why do customer acquisition costs (CAC) almost always go up for a startup?AboutElizabeth Yin is a co-founder and General Partner at Hustle Fund, a pre-seed fund for software entrepreneurs. Previously, Elizabeth was a partner at 500 Startups where she invested in seed-stage companies and ran the Mountain View accelerator. In a prior life, Elizabeth co-founded and ran an adtech company called LaunchBit (acq 2014). Elizabeth has a BSEE from Stanford and an MBA from MIT Sloan.Elizabeth has reviewed over 20k startup pitches from around the world in the last few years and has helped numerous portfolio founders raise hundreds of millions of dollars. Her work and writing on startup fundraising have been featured in numerous publications including TechCrunch, Forbes, Huffington Post, BetaKit, and more.
In this episode you will learn:Why James became a VC despite having an opinion that it was a bad idea?How does Creative Ventures evaluate startups and why do they study the market they invest in deeply before looking at tech solutions for it?Why James doesn’t invest in startups with R&D risk and also talk about the strict protocols they have in place to make investments?Why startups who don’t share information about their tech or product is a sign of a really bad one?Does investing in more diverse founders outside of the elite networks that get most of the venture potentially offer better venture returns?What challenges are faced by healthcare startups in aligning the different stakeholders to ensure a successful GTM strategy?How even the end of the Ukraine war is not going to end the global food shortage and the challenges faced in agriculture to improve productivityAboutJames Wang is a General Partner at Creative Ventures, an early-stage VC focusing on healthcare, agriculture, and industrial technologies, and a co-founder of Lioness Health. Previously, he was on the core investment team at Bridgewater Associates, founded a non-profit consulting firm specializing in microfinance, and did a stint at Google X's Makani project.James holds an MBA from UC Berkeley where he was a Jack Larson Fellow in Entrepreneurship, a BA with Honors from Dartmouth, and an MS in Computer Science at Georgia Tech. He also holds a Data Science Specialization from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and completed the course track for a Ph.D. Designated Emphasis in Computational Sciences and Engineering at UC Berkeley.
In this episode you will learn:What is a term sheet and why does it exist?What are the key sections of a term sheet? Why is the term sheet less like a legal document and more like a commercial document?Do you need a lawyer to negotiate the term sheets that VCs offer startups when they’re raising a fund?What are exclusivity rights, voting rights, governing laws, and information rights in a term sheet?What do the terms liquidation preference, anti-dilution, break-free, and preemptive mean?Can VCs back out of a term sheet?What should be the mindset of a founder while negotiating a term sheet?How should a promoter conduct negotiation if he receives multiple term sheets?What are some of the red flags that a founder should look out for in this process?Why is full ratchet anti-dilution a red flag?What are non-standard protective rights?AboutSiddharth Mody is a Senior Partner at Desai and Diwanji. With 18 years of rich experience advising on transactions, general corporate law, and disputes, and regularly commended for his pragmatism and responsiveness, Siddharth has served both large and mid-sized funds as well as early-stage and emerging companies in the tech sector and conventional sectors.
In this episode you will learn:According to Amra, should everyone start a business at least once in their career?What is Accelerating Asia? What are 3 services that they offer the startup ecosystem?Why was sustainability always a priority for Accelerating Asia right from the start?Why does Accelerating Asia focus on investing in startups that are between the MVP stage and the product-market fit stage?Is building a venture-backed startup the best way to create impact? What is one other alternative?Why is Amra bullish on Bangladesh and Bangladeshi startups?AboutAmra Naidoo is Co-Founder and General Partner at Accelerating Asia, an award-winning VC, and startup accelerator that scouts and propels the best founders in the region and invests up to US$250k in pre-Series A startups.For close to a decade, Amra has spearheaded high-impact partnerships and programs, including the award-winning UN Women global social entrepreneurship program, Project Inspire, and was a key contributor to muru-D’s startup selections, including investing in Shop Up.She's the Southeast Asia Lead for Impact Capital and the Outgoing Curator for the Global Shapers Singapore Hub, a World Economic Forum initiative. She's also the host of the Doing Good Podcast.
In this episode you will learn:How did Puiyan break into the VC industry despite having an engineering background?According to Puiyan, should a startup founder engage with a big corporation as their initial customer or should he/she go after the SMB & Mid-Market segment?What are the core values of Vertex Ventures?What does it take to raise a Series A?How do Vertex Ventures assess Series A startups? How do they go about evaluating the founding team?Does it make sense for startups to raise as much funds as possible in series A? What are some downsides of doing this? The creator economy is on a boom, but at the same time, there are very few creators creating sustainable businesses. Will the creator economy expand, and sustain at the same time?What are the opportunities that Puiyan sees in the creator economy?What is climate tech and how do VCs look at it?AboutPuiyan Leung serves as Partner, Investment in Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India, and focuses on opportunities in Southeast Asia. Prior to joining Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India, Pui Yan was an Investment Director at Singtel Innov8, the CVC arm of Singtel.  Prior to that, she assumed a range of operating roles, including Business Development, Product Marketing, and Strategy. Pui Yan is a Kauffman Fellow and graduated with a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering Degree from the National University of Singapore. 
In this episode, you will learn:Pavel’s journey of building a web development company straight out of universityHow hard was it for Pavel to move to the US from  Russia and start a venture fund?How does Mindrock Capital operate and the value it provides to its investors?How does the prediction model at Mindrock Capital that evaluates the probability of a startup’s success work? What are its data points?What is the Hack Temple project, the reason why Pavel started it and why it's a mystical project for him?Implications of the war in Ukraine on Mindrock Capital and how they have managed to cope with it AboutPavel Cherkashin is the Managing Partner at Mindrock Capital. At Mindrock, Pavel is responsible for it's vision and strategy. He oversees over $1B in AUM. Earlier in his career, Pavel held senior positions at Microsoft Russia, Adobe Systems and Siebel Systems. He founded several IT companies that were acquired by leading global organizations and managed two early-stage venture capital funds.
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