The Full Ratchet: Venture Capital Demystified

John Gannon of Going VC interviews Nick to discuss The Story Behind TFR & New Stack Ventures. In this episode, we cover:

  • How did you get Brad Feld on early on?
  • How did you stay true to your vision when you were getting asked early on by entrepreneurs to feature them on the podcast? (you mentioned this in episode 10, w/Brad Feld)
  • If you were starting TFR again, in 2019, what would you do differently?
  • Why the podcast format vs blogging vs. ... ?
  • When did you know that the podcast was "working" ... bringing deal flow or whatever you thought was a strong signal that things were clicking for your audience?
  • What surprised you once the podcast got "big"? Anything unexpected on the positive or negative side?
  • How did the podcast tie into your recent fundraising process? Where did it help, and did it hurt or cause any issues, too?
  • How did the podcast tie into your recent fundraising process? Where did it help, and did it hurt or cause any issues, too? Do you measure deal flow that is podcast related, and how much of your deal flow is it? How many completed investments came from the TFR community?
  • I have heard from multiple Angel List employees re: Angel List syndicates that it's very hard to get people to back a deal unless the deal has a lead like Sequoia or KPCB or another top firm attached to it. Has that been true for your syndications? If no, why?
  • What benefits did you see by using Angel List syndicates platform so early on? For those thinking of starting up a syndicate now, how has the game changed?
  • How do you find and vet interns for your fund? Or how do they find you?
  • Are there any processes at your fund that you think work REALLY well, and what are they? How do you execute them?
  • Since we're both Dads: Other than having less time now that you have a child, have there been new tactics you've applied to the podcast, the firm, etc to help you get more leverage at work and free up time for home life?

To listen more, please visit http://fullratchet.net/podcast-episodes/ for all of our other episodes.


Also, follow us on twitter @TheFullRatchet for updates and more information.


Michael Cardamone of Acceleprise joins Nick to discuss SaaS Acceleration, Sales Savvy Founders & the Rise of Tech-Enabled Services. In this episode, we cover:

  • What is Aaron Levie like to work for?
  • Backstory and path to Acceleprise
  • When you started Acceleprise a lot of folks told you not to -- the world doesn't need another accelerator. Why did you proceed?
  • Why an Accelerator and not a traditional VC fund?
  • Check size then and now?
  • The biggest criticism of accelerators that I'm hearing from investors is that accelerators admit companies that need a lot of help and can't figure things out on their own -- and those are not the companies that one wants to invest in. What's your response to these folks?
  • You've mentioned your interest in working w/ founders that have a "willingness to sell." How specifically do you develop the sell-skills of founders that are willing but green w/regards to sales.
    What are some the best demand-gen techniques that you use?
  • Talk to us about how you think through pricing models and strategies at early-stage SaaS businesses.
  • ACV initial vs. expansion rev opportunity
  • Lemkin.. TAM... initial traction in SOM/Beachhead niche market is most important. Any company that gets traction here can find a $1B market. Agree, disagree?
  • We talk a lot, on this show, about either why SF is the best place to build a company or why any place but SF is the best place to build a company. You've done both -- Objectively, can you break down the biggest advantages to building in the valley vs. the advantages to building outside?
  • Let's talk a bit about pedigree -- most investors have simple heuristics here. If the founder didn't study at a Stanford/Ivy level institution... pass. If the founder didn't work for a FAANG tech company or fast-growing private tech company... pass. At New Stack, we like to say we're in the business of exceptions (deals that have all the right ingredients for success -- except these optics of provenance). Michael, where do you stand on pedigree and how do you define it?
  • What percentage of the companies in the cohort to you invest in at completion?
  • In terms of measuring success -- what key metric do you measure that you're most proud of?
  • Over the past few years, what trends or major changes have you seen with regards to SaaS that founders and investors should be aware of?
  • Tech-enabled services - a real trend or not? Venture fundable?
  • There has been some recent issues in the Tech space with employee options -- what have you witnessed and what would you like to see change?

 

To listen more, please visit http://fullratchet.net/podcast-episodes/ for all of our other episodes.


Also, follow us on twitter @TheFullRatchet for updates and more information.


On this special segment of The Full Ratchet, the following Investors are featured:

  • Scott Dorsey
  • Aydin Senkut
  • Cyan Banister

Each investor discusses sectors, drivers and/or trends that may have significant impact in the future and are potentially positioned for outsized-returns.

To listen more, please visit http://fullratchet.net/podcast-episodes/ for all of our other episodes.

Also, follow us on twitter @TheFullRatchet for updates and more information.

Direct download: 121_Investor_Stories_121__Whats_Next_Dorsey_Senkut_Banister.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

On this special segment of The Full Ratchet, the following Investors are featured:

  • Tae Hea Nahm
  • SC Moatti
  • Jeff Clavier

Each investor highlights a situation where they decided not to invest, why they passed, and how it played out.

To listen more, please visit http://fullratchet.net/podcast-episodes/ for all of our other episodes.


Also, follow us on twitter @TheFullRatchet for updates and more information.

Direct download: Investor_Stories_120__Why_I_Passed_Hea_Nahm_Moatti_Clavier.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Scott Kupor of Andreessen Horowitz joins Nick to discuss Secrets of Sand Hill Road. In this episode, we cover:

  • When Marc and Ben first reached out to you about joining A16Z, you hesitated. Why?
  • "When Marc and Ben first started A16Z, they described a founder's leadership capability as "egomaniacal"... what do you think they mean by that and do you share this belief?
  • What are the key factors in determining if venture is appropriate for the new business and its founder?
  • How should one decide how much to raise?
  • Scenario I've heard all too often... founder goes out to raise their next round, they've more than doubled the business, hit major milestones but the offers are less than double that of the last round. Scott, can you talk us through the valuation mistakes you most often encounter?
  • Founder has started fundraising... the first step is to get their foot in the door. Talk us through the right and wrong way to get a meeting.
  • You mention the 5 pitch essentials in the book - can you talk us through each?
  • We've done an episode with Brad Feld where we went into detail on the Term Sheet... both Economics and Governance. I don't want to cover each term today but first, related to Economics, what's different now about the Economics terms or the negotiation than what you saw maybe five years ago?
  • Same question for Governance, what has changed and what are the key terms in focus?
  • Do you have any guidelines on how much of their business founders should sell in any given round?
  • So the next topic, we've all seen before, assuming you've been doing this long enough, but a founder is struggling to raise, has little capital left, and is scrambling to get creative. What are some of the more common mistakes and outcomes you see in this scenario?
  • Why should entrepreneurs care who the LPs are behind the VC fund that's investing?
  • We could spend hours discussing boards... any key items you'd like to highlight w/regards to boards?
  • Talk us through the acquisition process?
  • IPO process?
  • Great summary section where you talk about good VCs... can you recap your thoughts on what Good VCs do?

To listen more, please visit http://fullratchet.net/podcast-episodes/ for all of our other episodes.


Also, follow us on twitter @TheFullRatchet for updates and more information.

Direct download: 192._Secrets_of_Sand_Hill_Road_Scott_Kupor.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

On this special segment of The Full Ratchet, the following individuals are featured:

  • Nick Moran
  • Shea Balish
  • Henri Deshays

This will be a unique segment where, Nick Moran of New Stack Ventures and Henri Deshays of NewFund will discuss why they invested in Curv Labs.

Founder of Curv, Shea Balish, will join Nick and Henri to discuss his startup story and how he chose New Stack and NewFund to participate in the funding round.

To listen more, please visit http://fullratchet.net/podcast-episodes/ for all of our other episodes.

Also, follow us on twitter @TheFullRatchet for updates and more information.

Direct download: IS_114_Curv_Labs_Balish_Deshays_Moran.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm EDT

On this special segment of The Full Ratchet, the following Investors are featured:

  • Steve Glickman
  • Craig Wortmann
  • John Fein

Each investor describes the most unusual situation or pitch that they've encountered as an investor.

To listen more, please visit http://fullratchet.net/podcast-episodes/ for all of our other episodes.

Also, follow us on twitter @TheFullRatchet for updates and more information.

Direct download: Investor_Stories_118__Strange__Unusual_Glickman_Wortmann_Fein.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

David Horowitz of Touchdown Ventures joins Nick to discuss Corporate VC. In this episode, we cover:

  • Backstory/ Path to Venture
  • Talk about the 14 years you spent with Comcast Ventures -- what you learned and why you left?
  • What lead to founding Touchdown Ventures?
  • At Touchdown, you partner with leading corporations to manage the complete venture lifecycle from entity formation to investment management…Can you dive into the thesis/focus of the firm?
  • Why would a founder choose corporate VC funding over institutional funding?
  • I was reading through the “Risky Business” blog on the Touchdown website and found some pretty interesting articles…specifically one that talks about “the most overlooked skill in Corporate venture" being deal management…that it “requires more effort than all other activities combined”…why is deal management so challenging?
  • Why do you think CVC’s funding has historically been more inconsistent than institutional venture funds?
  • Why are corporations willing to take minority stakes in startups? As Fred Wilson said on CVC—“You want the asset? Buy it.” Is there a risk to founders of taking investment from a large corporate that can "look under the hood" and reverse-engineer the tech or exploit the IP?
  • Is the core objective of a CVC financial return or is it more of a strategy play? (i.e. market insight, actively trying to grow certain sectors)
  • How does the mindset of a CVC change in a bear market, especially compared to institutional VC?
  • How does follow-on funding work in corporate VC? If the corporate has a poor financial year, does a lower funding allocation affect follow-on allotment for winners?
  • The firm was recognized by Global Corporate Venturing for having both established and managed the most corporate venture funds to date… At the industry level corp VC has peaked in funding in recent years. Why do you think corp VC has grown to this level and why did you raise the number of funds that you did?
  • One of the articles on the Risky Business blog talks about fraud detection with reference to Fyre Festival and Theranos…Talk about some red flags that an opportunity may be a fraud and what you should do if those red flags are present?

 

To listen more, please visit http://fullratchet.net/podcast-episodes/ for all of our other episodes.


Also, follow us on twitter @TheFullRatchet for updates and more information.

Direct download: 191._Corporate_VC_David_Horowitz.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

On this special segment of The Full Ratchet, the following Investors are featured:

  • Bradley Tusk
  • Jim Kim
  • Jenny Rooke

Each investor illustrates a critical lesson learned about startup investing and how it's changed their approach.

To listen more, please visit http://fullratchet.net/podcast-episodes/ for all of our other episodes.

Also, follow us on twitter @TheFullRatchet for updates and more information.

Direct download: Investor_Stories_117__Lessons_Learned_Tusk_Kim_Rooke.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Bobby Franklin of NVCA joins Nick to discuss Immigration, Privacy, and Foreign Investment -- The Biggest Threat to Venture is in Washington D.C.. In this episode, we cover:

  • Backstory/path to Capitol Hill.
  • You served as the Executive Vice President of CTIA --tell us a bit about that experience and how it led to NVCA.
  • At NVCA - what's the mandate?
  • What specific actions does the organization take in order to deliver on this mandate?
  • You just wrapped up NVCA’s annual VC’s to DC conference this month-- What were the three most critical issues that Venture Capital is facing?
  • I came across your article on TechCrunch about FIRRMA (the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act) and CFIUS (the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S.). Can you talk a bit about the issue the industry is facing and the key players?
  • What suggestions do you have for VCs and high growth companies -- with exposure to FIRRMA and the expanded power of CFIUS?
  • At the VCs to DC conference there was a panel on the rise of populism…Trends from trade to immigration, tax policy and cross-border financial flows, that are rapidly impacting global commerce - Can you talk a bit about these issues and their impact on the ecosystem?
  • Currently large tech companies are under increased scrutiny in DC and policymakers are cracking down on data privacy regulation, antitrust enforcement, etc. Do you think this “techlash” is appropriate or not?
  • What guidance or insight would you give entrepreneurs to ensure that their companies are operating within regulatory boundaries?
  • Any other suggestions for the audience -- a mix of VCs, LPs, Angels and Founders -- on specific things we all can do to support this asset class in D.C.?

To listen more, please visit http://fullratchet.net/podcast-episodes/ for all of our other episodes.


Also, follow us on twitter @TheFullRatchet for updates and more information.


On this special segment of The Full Ratchet, the following Investors are featured:

  • Roy Bahat
  • Ash Rust
  • Wayne Kimmel

Each investor discusses sectors, drivers and/or trends that may have significant impact in the future and are potentially positioned for outsized-returns.

To listen more, please visit http://fullratchet.net/podcast-episodes/ for all of our other episodes.

Also, follow us on twitter @TheFullRatchet for updates and more information.

Direct download: Investor_Stories_116__Whats_Next_Bahat_Rust_Kimmel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Scott Dorsey of High Alpha joins Nick to discuss The Venture Studio. In this episode, we cover:

  • Backstory/ path to tech.
  • The story behind ExactTarget leading up to selling the company for $2.7B to Salesforce.
  • Why'd you launch HighAlpha?
  • Briefly touch on the thesis at High Alpha. 
  • I want to deep dive into the venture studio model as it's a bit misunderstood... Can you start us off with an overview of the venture studio model?
  • What are the key differences between a studio model and a traditional venture fund?
  • Why are you doing both at High Alpha?
  • Different studios have different specialities and focus areas - what is your studio speciality at High Alpha?
  • What types of founders and/or businesses are a strong fit for partnership with a venture studio?
  • What do you say to critics of the studio model that say that studios take too much equity?
  • Do you think that a studio-based approach can drive higher alpha ; ) than the traditional fund model?
  • In what ways do your portfolio companies get more value out of a partnership with you than non-studio-based partners?
  • I was browsing the High Alpha website and came across a passage about one of the core components of your process called “Sprint Week” which states "During Sprint Week, we focus on building the Minimally Viable Business (MVB) including branding, prototyping, and go-to-market strategy” Can you dive into the details of Sprint Week and how it helps your portfolio companies?
  • How do you define product-market-fit?
  • In regards to your partnership program at the firm, I see that not only do you partner with top tech corporations but also leading universities and academic programs. Talk about the benefits of these partnerships for your founders in terms of talent, networks, and technology?

 

To listen more, please visit http://fullratchet.net/podcast-episodes/ for all of our other episodes.


Also, follow us on twitter @TheFullRatchet for updates and more information.

Direct download: 189._The_Venture_Studio_Scott_Dorsey.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

On this special segment of The Full Ratchet, the following Investors are featured:

  • Aydin Senkut
  • John Fein
  • Cheryl Cheng

Each investor discusses a portfolio company that did not survive and why it was that they failed.

To listen more, please visit http://fullratchet.net/podcast-episodes/ for all of our other episodes.

Also, follow us on twitter @TheFullRatchet for updates and more information.

Direct download: Investor_Stories_115__Post_Mortems_Senkut_Fein_Cheng.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Steve Glickman of Develop Advisors joins Nick to discuss Opportunity Zones --- A Fit for VC?. In this episode, we cover:

  • Quick overview of your background prior to Develop Advisors?
  • Walk us through the origin story of EIG?
  • You are also the founder & CEO of Develop Advisors - tell us more about the work you do with fund managers.
  • Let's talk about OZ's -- and we'll start with the basics -- Give us an overview of the $6T OZ program.
  • Incentives aside from tax benefits?
  • Which asset classes are best suited to invest in OZs?
  • How is an Opportunity Zone defined? What credentials make a community an OZ?
  • As governors change -- are these OZs going to change with different administrations?
  • Is the expectation that entrepreneurs will actually relocate to these areas for the HQ of their business? It seems like that is a bit of a stretch.
  • Are there statistics on the number and amount of private capital funds that have been raised with a mandate to invest in OZs?
  • In your estimation, what are some risks factors and/or potential unintended consequences that we should be mindful of?
  • Part of my hesitation around this topic and why I've waited to cover it until I could get you specifically on the program, is because with any new gov't incentive program or over-hyped area in general (like we saw with crypto last year), it attracts a lot of "opportunists" or even "charlatans" looking to capitalize on something that's new and not well understood. How do we avoid and discourage "bad actors" from taking advantage of either LPs or Entrepreneurs?
  • One of the services that Develop Advisor's provides is the OZI or Opportunity Zone Index. What is this attempting to measure?
  • What do you say to the pundits that claim the majority of the benefits will accrue to the financial services investors and not to the distressed communities?

To listen more, please visit http://fullratchet.net/podcast-episodes/ for all of our other episodes.


Also, follow us on twitter @TheFullRatchet for updates and more information.

Direct download: 188._Opportunity_Zones_---_A_Fit_for_VC__Steve_Glickman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

On this special segment of The Full Ratchet, the following Investors are featured:

  • Adeyemi Ajao
  • Cyan Banister
  • Jeff Clavier

Each investor describes the most unusual situation or pitch that they've encountered as an investor.

To listen more, please visit http://fullratchet.net/podcast-episodes/ for all of our other episodes.

Also, follow us on twitter @TheFullRatchet for updates and more information.

Direct download: Investor_Stories_114__Strange__Unusual_Ajao_Banister_Clavier.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:00am EDT

Jim Kim of Builders VC joins Nick to discuss Transformative Tech for Old World Industry. In this episode, we cover:

  • Quick Backstory/ Path to founding tech?
  • Big news a few years ago that Formation 8 decided not to raise a fund 3. What happened with Formation 8 - why the decision not to raise fund 3?
  • Tell us about the thesis at Builders.
  • Why do you think these old world industries haven't been re-invented?
  • I've worked in some old world industries myself... that move quite slowly. I'm curious if you think the timeline is a bit longer for tech companies to scale in these industries, if, for nothing else than the decision makers are much more methodical? 
  • What are some of the key technology characteristics you're looking for in the companies you back?
  • Aside from technology, what are the other key ingredients your hunting for?
  • Vertical integration... building your own brand and own the customer relationship vs. serving many others as a component provider?
  • What percentage of your new investments are serial founders vs. first-time and how does your approach differ with each?
  • You've stated that "Synthetic biology will be the most important enabling technology of our lifetimes." Why?
  • Talk about some exciting innovations in the science and data space and what industries will they be most beneficial to?
  • How do you measure success with the companies in your portfolio and how do you help them get to that place?

 

To listen more, please visit http://fullratchet.net/podcast-episodes/ for all of our other episodes.


Also, follow us on twitter @TheFullRatchet for updates and more information.

Direct download: 187._Transformative_Tech_for_Old_World_Industry_Jim_Kim.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:30pm EDT

On this special segment of The Full Ratchet, the following Investors are featured:

  • Jim Tananbaum
  • Brian Ascher
  • Tae Hea Nahm

Each investor illustrates a critical lesson learned about startup investing and how it's changed their approach.

To listen more, please visit http://fullratchet.net/podcast-episodes/ for all of our other episodes.

Also, follow us on twitter @TheFullRatchet for updates and more information.

 

Direct download: Investor_Stories_113__Lessons_Learned_Tananbaum_Ascher_Nahm.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:00am EDT

Jenny Rooke of Genoa Ventures joins Nick to discuss Seed Investing at the Intersection of Biology & Technology. In this episode, we cover:

  • Her background in genetics, physics, computer science... and how that lead to venture.
  • How was it to work with Melinda and Bill Gates?
  • You also successfully built the largest life-sciences syndicate on Angellist that is also one of the highest performing syndicates of any sector... I just took a peek at the rankings this morning and both New Stack and Genoa are in the top 5. Of course those rankings are done based on follow-on rate... so, it's nice to see we are in good company, up there w/ you Jenny... but talk a bit about why you started with a syndicate and how you've been able to drive such high performance.
  • You launched the Genoa fund last year... Syndicate and fund now?
  • "Genoa ventures invests in early-stage companies innovating at the intersection of biology and technology"... Jenny, what does that mean to you and what types of companies are you looking for?
  • Adverse effects from Theranos?
  • How and where do you source dealflow?
  • Talk a bit about your evaluation process and some of the unique things that you do when vetting prospective portfolio companies?
  • What's your take on VCs that pick a focus area and stay distinctly in their lane vs. those VCs that may have a focus but tend to dabble in variety of other areas?
  • A position I've heard from many tech VCs is... "There are additional layers of risk in life sciences... the science itself, clinical trials, regulatory approvals, etc. that don't apply w/ traditional tech startups... making it a very difficult category to successfully invest in"... Jenny, agree or disagree?
  • What's the biggest hindrance to either more or faster advancements in the life sciences space?
  • With regard to life sciences... What's required, in terms of progress, to raise a seed round... what about a series A?
  • How do you help your founders navigate the fundraising process where many VCs don't understand the science?
  • Have you invested in startups where the chief scientist is CEO? If so, how to you assess for and/or help coach the commercial skills and leadership skills required to build and scale a venture-backed startup?
  • How do you think the usage of automation and data will play a role in healthcare, therapeutics or other sectors?
  • If early performance is an indication of long-term results, Genoa is well positioned as an emerging brand in venture... but I'm curious to hear what winning looks like for you? How are you keeping score on yourself and portfolio you're building?
  • Talk about some exciting new innovations or trends that you’re seeing. Where do you think they will have a big impact and when?

To listen more, please visit http://fullratchet.net/podcast-episodes/ for all of our other episodes.


Also, follow us on twitter @TheFullRatchet for updates and more information.


On this special segment of The Full Ratchet, the following individuals are featured:

  • Nick Moran
  • Rick Stokes
  • Joe Dwyer

This will be a unique segment where, Nick Moran of New Stack Ventures and Joe Dwyer of Founder Equity will discuss why they invested in Winston Privacy.

Founder of Winston, Rich Stokes, will join Nick and Joe to discuss his startup story and how he chose New Stack to lead the investment and Founder Equity to participate in the funding round.

 

To listen more, please visit http://fullratchet.net/podcast-episodes/ for all of our other episodes.

Also, follow us on twitter @TheFullRatchet for updates and more information.

 


On this special segment of The Full Ratchet, the following Investors are featured:

  • Craig Wortmann
  • SC Moatti
  • Bradley Tusk

Each investor discusses sectors, drivers and/or trends that may have significant impact in the future and are potentially positioned for outsized-returns.

To listen more, please visit http://fullratchet.net/podcast-episodes/ for all of our other episodes.

Also, follow us on twitter @TheFullRatchet for updates and more information.

Direct download: Investor_Stories_111_-Whats_Next_Wortmann_Moatti_Tusk.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Ash Rust of Sterling Road joins Nick to discuss "Blessed" Teams, Pseudo Deal Leads, and Caps at Pre vs Post. In this episode, we cover:

  • His beginnings in tech and how that led to starting the fund
  • What's the investment thesis at Sterling Road?
  • What's unique about your approach that other firms aren't doing?
  • Something that I think is frustrating for many founders is seeing these idealistic stories of founders that are raising $5M on a $20M cap with zero traction. And, it's also misleading in that I have a number of founders that think they need to be raising a lot more than they are... very early on before indications of product fit or even a focused commercial plan. Can you talk about the profile of these teams that are able to raise seemingly irrational seed rounds and then later let's jump into consequences.
  • The seed round has now divided into a series of phases... we have pre-seed, seed, mango seed, seed+, seed exensions, etc. We've spoken to Semil Shah about this and how it's no longer a stage it's a series of phases and gates. Can you talk about these phases and how founders should think about milestones and raise amounts prior to raising an A?
  • At New Stack we've encountered some strange and troubling circumstances regarding who the lead investor is on a deal and who is not. What are you seeing in terms of who takes the lead and how has that evolved over the past few years?
  • Pro Rata has always been a hot button issue, for a variety of reasons and we're seeing some new challenges emerge as our portcos are raising up-rounds. What are the key issues you're observing with pro rata and what's your opinion on how it should be handled?
  • A number of my founders are either raising more in their seed round or trying to pull-in and raise their A rounds before their ready b/c everyone is sounding the alarms about an impending recession... raise the money now, before it dries up. This seems curious and a bit misleading from my standpoint... What are your thoughts on founders raising more money or raising sooner because of a potential recession?
  • I've been getting a number of pitch decks from so-called "CFOs" at startups... yet, upon review of a LinkedIN profile, it's pretty clear that these folks are bankers. Are you seeing the same and what are your thoughts?
  • I think it was about eight months ago that YC changed its SAFE to a post-money cap, instead of a pre-money cap. They claimed to have the right intentions when they made the switch but we were immediately suspect for a few obvious reasons, some less so. Talk about about SAFEs as an investment instrument and your thoughts on the switch to post money caps.

To listen more, please visit http://fullratchet.net/podcast-episodes/ for all of our other episodes.


Also, follow us on twitter @TheFullRatchet for updates and more information.


On this special segment of The Full Ratchet, the following Investors are featured:

  • Cyan Banister
  • David Cohen
  • John Fein

Each investor highlights a situation where they decided not to invest, why they passed, and how it played out.

To listen more, please visit http://fullratchet.net/podcast-episodes/ for all of our other episodes.


Also, follow us on twitter @TheFullRatchet for updates and more information.

Direct download: Investor_Stories_110_-_Why_I_Passed_Banister_Cohen_Fein.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Aydin Senkut of Felicis Ventures joins Nick to discuss Iconic Companies, Frontier Markets & a Truly Founder Centric Approach. In this episode, we cover:

  • Backstory / Path to tech in SF?
  • Prior to founding Felicis Ventures, you were a Product Manager at Google, launching their first 10 international sites, its first online search licensing products, and its first Safe Search…talk about what lead to your transition to investing.
  • What’s the story behind founding Felicis Ventures?
  • Talk about the investment focus and approach of your firm.
  • It states on the firms website that you back founders looking to open up frontier markets, such as longevity and engineered foods, and reinvent critical markets such as mental health and insurance….what are some of the success factors you've observed in startups trying to create or reinvent markets.
  • You’ve invested in many iconic companies that have revolutionized their industry such as Shopify, Fitbit and CreditKarma, when investing at early stages, how do you differentiate between the ideas or trends that are going to have this long term affect from the ones that may not be so successful?
  • Felicis states on the site that "The difference between a good product and a great product is one incalculably better than the current alternative. Successful founders have laser sharp focus on true product differentiation, intelligent time and capital allocation" Help us understand what seperates good product from great product.
  • Differences in investing in domestic vs. international startups?
  • You do this survey every year of your portfolio companies... can you talk about the key insights you've learned from doing that?

 

To listen more, please visit http://fullratchet.net/podcast-episodes/
for all of our other episodes.

Also, follow us on twitter @TheFullRatchet for updates and more information.


On this special segment of The Full Ratchet, the following Investors are featured:

  • Rebecca Kaden
  • Roy Bahat
  • Elizabeth Galbut

Each investor discusses a portfolio company that did not survive and why it was that they failed.

To listen more, please visit http://fullratchet.net/podcast-episodes/ for all of our other episodes.

Also, follow us on twitter @TheFullRatchet for updates and more information.

Direct download: Investor_Stories_109_-_Post_Mortems_Kaden_Bahat_Galbut.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Adeyemi Ajao of Base 10 Partners joins Nick to discuss Automation vs. AI. In this episode, we cover:

  • Backstory - Growing up in Spain and Nigeria and his path to entrepreneurship.
  • Previous to Base10 Partners, you had quite a successful career as an entrepreneur, founding highly influential companies such as Tuenti, Identified and Cabify in Latin America - talk a bit about your experience founding and scaling multiple tech companies, ultimately to exit?
  • How did you, TJ and Reggie come together and decide to create Base10?
  • On the website it says that you "started Base10 to take a profoundly different approach to Automation." Tell us more about your thesis on automation and how it's different.
  • Talk about Automation vs. AI and the potentially misleading guidance that we're hearing from many firms in the valley with regard to AI.
  • Of course, with any big changes that are made to the way people traditionally do things, there is a reaction. While some will embrace automation tools, others will have an adverse reaction. Are there certain sectors, categories or even functions that you think will more readily adopt automation solutions?
  • You mentioned a number of industries... Real Estate, Construction, SaaS, Agriculture, Logistics, Consumer... you have these Partners listed on the website, like Fifth Wall, Bessemer, Owl, Shasta, Bain Capital... can you explain the details of your partnership program?
  • When researching sectors that you’re interested in and assessing the opportunity to implement automation tools, what key factors are you looking for?
  • "We know automation. We have seen it succeed and fail. We know what playbook to apply from team structure to go-to-market, automated customer service or data collection systems." Talk to us about the playbook elements that have application across the automation-focused startups you work with?
  • You've discussed the pride you take in being: Hispanic, American, European, African, black and white. It's quite notable that you raised the first black-led VC fund of over $100M. How were able to break through such a significant glass ceiling where others haven't?

To listen more, please visit http://fullratchet.net/podcast-episodes/ for all of our other episodes.


Also, follow us on twitter @TheFullRatchet for updates and more information.

Direct download: 183._Automation_vs._AI_Adeyemi_Ajao.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00pm EDT

On this special segment of The Full Ratchet, the following Investors are featured:

  • Evangelos Simoudis
  • Cheryl Cheng
  • Wayne Kimmel

Each investor describes the most unusual situation or pitch that they've encountered as an investor.

To listen more, please visit http://fullratchet.net/podcast-episodes/ for all of our other episodes.

Also, follow us on twitter @TheFullRatchet for updates and more information.

Direct download: Investor_Stories_108_-_Strange__Unusual_Simoudis_Cheng_Kimmel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Jeff Clavier of Uncork Capital joins Nick to discuss Market Cycles, Escalating Costs to Start Up, and the Micro VC Surge. In this episode, we cover:

 

  • In 2004 you started making angel investments in emerging Web 2.0 companies and at that time, only a handful of individuals backed entrepreneurs in the internet space…What was your first investment and how did you get involved in the space? 
  • What's the story of the founding of SoftTech--now known as Uncork Capital. 
  • What led to the rebrand from SoftTech to Uncork? 
  • The investment focus/thesis of Uncork. 
  • You mentioned...FitBit, EventBrite, and Sendgrid...it's striking how different each of these businesses are...How you are able to get conviction and understand key success factors across different sectors with different models and overall profiles? 
  • How have the market cycles affected VC, your fund strategy, raising capital and the impact on portfolio companies? 
  • What are the most common mistakes you see early investors making? 
  • With the 600+ micro-VC funds now...is the stage over capitalized? 
  • Is it more expensive to build a startup today than 10 years ago? 
  • Being that you are from France...in your estimation, what have been the primary differences in funding European based startups vs. those in the States? 
  • Said to be one of the most helpful investors in the valley... what are some of the specific ways you get involved? 
  • On the firms website it talks about your “No Playbook” and “No Bullshit” approach that you’re not delivering “prescriptive formulas on how to build or scale” but instead developing custom plans, one on one. Tell us about these custom plans and the key elements. 
  • How Jeff balances time and energy with so many portfolio companies.

On this special segment of The Full Ratchet, the following Investors are featured:

  • SC Moatti
  • Brendan Wallace
  • Vic Pascucci

Each investor illustrates a critical lesson learned about startup investing and how it's changed their approach.

To listen more, please visit http://fullratchet.net/podcast-episodes/ for all of our other episodes.


Also, follow us on twitter @TheFullRatchet for updates and more information.

Direct download: Investor_Stories_107_-_Lessons_Learned_Moatti_Wallace_Pascucci.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Welcome back to TFR for another Cram Session. In these special releases, we have aggregated the takeaways and tips from previous episodes. In this installment, we will be recapping the following episodes:

 

 

To listen more, please visit http://fullratchet.net/podcast-episodes/ 
for all of our other episodes.

Also, follow us on twitter @TheFullRatchet for updates and more information.

Direct download: 181._Cram_Session_Episodes_130-136_Nick_Moran.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

On this special segment of The Full Ratchet, the following Investors are featured:

  • Jim Tananbaum
  • John Fein
  • Sarah Anderson

Each investor discusses sectors, drivers and/or trends that may have significant impact in the future and are potentially positioned for outsized-returns.

To listen more, please visit http://fullratchet.net/podcast-episodes/ for all of our other episodes.


Also, follow us on twitter @TheFullRatchet for updates and more information.

Direct download: Investor_Stories_106_-_Whats_Next_Tananbaum_Fein_Anderson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Cyan Banister of Founders Fund joins Nick to discuss the Self-Made Engineer, Angel, and Venture Capitalist. In this episode, we cover:

 

  • So, Cyan you have a really interesting story and background that led you to where you are today. Feel free to start wherever makes most sense but can you talk about your life experience and how it led you to where you're at now?
  • You spoke publicly about your early life at the 2018 TechCrunch Disrupt conference, from living on the streets to becoming a venture capitalist, tell us about this incredible journey, what you accredit your success to and how it lead to venture?
  • Where along the way did you meet Scott? Did you guys every consider raising your own fund?
  • How early are you able to go at Founder's Fund?
  • How do you work with founders post-investment?
  • Judicious with your magic bullets?
  • Have you funded founders with non-traditional backgrounds or missions dedicated to folks living in poverty or providing access to upward mobility?
  • How has your approach changed from your time as an angel to now your experience as a VC ?
  • Do you have any good stories or learnings from Naval?
  • Prior to FF you were an early stage investor in successful companies like Uber, Postmates, PayPal at others... I know you invest alongside Scott... who started angel investing?
  • What was your early approach to angel investing and how were you able to source and select such iconic tech companies at very early stages?
  • Can you tell us a bit about Founder's Fund and your focus? Stage, Sectors, Geographies?
  • "The most promising companies tend to share a few characteristics: They are not popular. They are difficult to assess. They have technology risk, but not insurmountable technology risk. If they succeed, their technology will be extraordinarily valuable. We have no idea what these companies might look like, only that they probably will share these characteristics. Entrepreneurs often know better than we do what might be enormously valuable in the future." -- It's a very humble approach and one that resonates with me and many others. Can you elaborate on the thesis and characteristics of founders that are the best fit for Founders Fund?
  • What's your take on the prevalent number of VCs that remove CEOs of their portfolio companies, on average, within three years of investment?
  • What's your take on contrarian vs. conformist investing... first, how do you even determine what is contrarian and then what's your take on how each ties to performance?
Direct download: 180._The_Self-Made_Engineer_Angel_and_Venture_Capitalist_Cyan_Banister.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30pm EDT

On this special segment of The Full Ratchet, the following Investors are featured:

Bradley Tusk
Roy Bahat
Brian Ascher

Each investor highlights a situation where they decided not to invest, why they passed, and how it played out.

 

To listen more, please visit http://fullratchet.net/podcast-episodes/ for all of our other episodes.

Also, follow us on twitter @TheFullRatchet for updates and more information.

Direct download: Investor_Stories_105_-_Why_I_Passed_Tusk_Bahat_Ascher.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Craig Wortmann of Sales Engine joins Nick to discuss Sales Mastery & Storytelling at Scaling Startups. In this episode, we cover:

-Craig's background and how he became involved in the early stage tech community.

-You've spent a lot of time looking at how companies make this difficult transition from the scrappy, do-it-all world of "Entrepreneurial Selling" to a "Professional Selling" organization. Talk to us about what you've observed and how companies struggle in this transition.

-When is the right time to transition from 'guerilla selling' to a more organized, professional process?

-When we had Tae Hee Nahm on the program he talked about three different types of sales leaders at different stages of a startup. At the beginning it was a Davey Crocket- like individual, an independent explorer who will find their own path through the wilderness... then at the growth stage, Braveheart individual- someone with that warrior spirit and finally at the scale stage he looks for the Dwight Eisenhower-- someone with political savvy to align all the sales folks and move in the right direction... do you agree or disagree and how does your philosophy differ?

-What do you do when a top performing salesperson won't use the tools, align with the culture or conform to processes.

-How do you handle it when the product is broken... it's clear that the offering is lacking and the issue is not with sales.

-How about situations where one is selling something that doesn't exist?

-Storytelling... I see founders fail at this often and even I often failed in telling my story when raising Fund I. Where do most people go wrong?

-What's the story canvas and how should it best be used?

-You talk about how folks should think about 'capturing, distilling, and telling' the right story at the right time for the right reasons. What's your advice here?

-One of the more popular things you teach at Kellogg is called the 'The Perfect Sales Meeting'. Can you talk to us about how one should think, plan and increase their sales meeting effectiveness?

-Between sales meetings or when a prospect is slow to make a decision... how does one create urgency and positive momentum toward a decision?

Direct download: 179._Sales_Mastery__Storytelling_at_Scaling_Startups_Craig_Wortmann.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:25pm EDT

On this special segment of The Full Ratchet, the following Investors are featured:

Ash Fontana
Wayne Kimmel
Chris Farmer
 
Each investor illustrates a critical lesson learned about startup investing and how it's changed their approach.

To listen more, please visit http://fullratchet.net/podcast-episodes/ for all of our other episodes.

Also, follow us on twitter @TheFullRatchet for updates and more information.

Direct download: Investor_Stories_104_-_Lessons_Learned_Fontana_Kimmel_Farmer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

On this special segment of The Full Ratchet, the following Investors are featured:


Tae Hea Nahm
David Cohen
Yoav Leitersdorf

Each investor discusses a portfolio company that did not survive and why it was that they failed.

To listen more, please visit http://fullratchet.net/podcast-episodes/ for all of our other episodes.

Also, follow us on twitter @TheFullRatchet for updates and more information.

Direct download: Investor_Stories_103_-_Post_Mortems__Nahm_Cohen_Leitersdorf.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:00am EDT

Cheryl Cheng of Blue Run Ventures joins Nick to discuss The Gen-Z Consumer, Real-Time Health Data, and Persistent Top Fund Returns. In this episode, we cover:

  • Cheryl's background in retail marketing and innovation while you were with Clorox and The Sharper Image.
  • How did that lead to your career in venture?
  • On your website it says, "WE HELP ENTREPRENEURS BUILD MAGICAL COMPANIES,"... how specifically do you help?
  • Talk to me about about the Gen-Z folks... this is part of your focus at BRV... what are the high-level characteristics of this coveted consumer segment?
  • Are founders adjusting their approach to tech to better serve this group?
  • How the evolution of mobile apps and real time data has influenced the health and consumer industries?
  • You recently spoke on a panel about acquisitions... can you talk a bit about what it takes to build a company that's well-positioned for an exit?
  • Talk to me about Equity Summit coming up in January... what is it, what was the genesis and what are you hoping to accomplish?
  • This year Prequin reported that BRV is one of the most consistently high performing firms in venture... I know that you've been at this for ten years now at Blue Run... what are some of the key factors that have led to your sustained success?
  • I came across your recent article on succession planning and it had me a bit worried... are you planning leaving the industry anytime soon?

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