The Full Ratchet: Venture Capital Demystified

Samir Kaji of First Republic joins Nick on a special Crisis Coverage installment to discuss Relief $ for Startups via CARES Act, EIDL, PPP; & How an Extended Downturn Affects Emerging VC Funds. In this episode, we cover:

  • Startups...
    • The CARES Act became law on 3/27, but many are having trouble making sense of it and how it applies...
    • Let's start out w/ the two types of loans that are available to small businesses...
    • First off, can you explain the difference between the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL) and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)?
    • EIDL - No forgiveness potential and and requires personal guarantee?
    • PPP - Forgiveness potential and no personal guarantee?
    • Affiliation...  Dan Primack was writing about how the 500 employee rule and how much of Private Equity portfolio companies will be excluded b/c of how the language is written.  Can you explain the "affiliation issue?"
    • How can this be enforced/checked... so many obscure LLCs used for investment in companies... hard to verify.
    • April 3rd - Is this the date that PPP applications are available?
    • What advice do you have for startups right now, to be prepared and get to the front of the queue?
    • How will seed stage be impacted?
    • Some of the best companies (Uber, AirBnB) first took institutional capital after the 2008 crisis; is now the time to be aggressively investing?
  • VCs...
    • How are the existing funds w/ committed capital adjusting?
    • Will we see a lot of attrition / VC firms shutting down?
    • What are the impacts on firms that are actively raising?
    • Advice for those planning to raise a fund in the next year?
    • What do VCs and LPs need to hammer out before moving forward in this environment? (projections/protocol for capital calls, projections for investments, communication plans, etc.)
  • LPs...
    • What are you hearing from institutional LPs?
    • How about the family offices?
    • Is it still in a crisis/panic mode or have some allocators put together a solid investment plan going forward?
    • If you had to estimate, what % of capital commitments will default and/or be adjusted down?
    • Final thoughts and advice for startups and investors?


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.


David Horowitz of Touchdown Ventures joins Nick on a special Crisis Coverage installment to discuss How Corporate VC Will Respond. In this episode, we cover:

  • What is your current view of the venture market given the current crisis?
  • Corporates have a history of pulling back in economic downturns, what will happen now?
  • This is your 3rd economic downturn, What is different about this economic period vs. prior recessions?
  • Are there advantages to new corporate funds vs. existing corporate funds?
  • Committed capital vs. not committed
  • You told me you believe corporations are more important in this environment than startups why?
  • What advice do you have for start-up companies on dealing with corporations?
  • Fair that those discussions or partnerships slow down?
    What is your prediction when things return to normalcy?


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.


Chris Douvos of Ahoy Capital joins Nick on a special Crisis Coverage installment to discuss the LP Lessons from '01 and '08, The Denominator Effect, Capital Calls & Fundraising in a Down Market. In this episode, we cover:

  • What is the denominator problem/effect?
  • Why does it matter?
  • How do LPs react when they face the denominator problem?
  • How quickly do LPs tend to rebalance their investment portfolio?
  • What's the implication to VCs?
  • How should VCs react when their investors face the denominator problem?
  • LPs lose access to future funds if sell position as secondary?
  • When VCs make capital calls at times like these, what's the ripple effect down the line for these LPs?
  • What were some of the typical LP reactions you've seen from the dot com bubble and the 2008 crisis, that you expect to see again?
  • Can you talk more about the thought process of LPs during a crisis like this? Are they rushing to liquidate? Are they putting that money somewhere else?
  • VC capital calls - guidance?
  • What's the impact on VCs that are fundraising?
  • What type of VCs have had success raising in a down market? 
  • What are some best practices/principles for managing LP relationships in a time like this?(Chris was in PE, as Co-head of PE Investing at the Investment Fund for Foundations in 2008 crisis)
  • What was the biggest lesson you've learned from previous crises in 2001 and 2008?
  • VC's metrics are dependent on the market, like PME. What's the impact of the current situation on the VCs performance metrics?
  • Is there some downward pressure for VCs to lower the Net Asset Value (i.e. the valuation of portfolio companies) to reflect the current market situation?
  • Can you explain the disconnect between VCs that want to actively invest (because of lower valuations) and the LPs who are rushing to liquidate?
  • What does this mean for later-stage startups that were thinking of IPO-ing in the near future?

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.


Steve Blank joins Nick on this special "Crisis Coverage" installment to discuss The Playbook for Startup Survival. In this episode, we cover:

  • What industries will be most affected by social isolation?
  • How do you see this playing out over the next 3 - 6 months?
  • How does this pandemic and the impact on the economy compare to the past 3 market crashes? Similarities/differences?
  • Having lived through 3 crashes, what's the biggest mistake CEOs make?
  • So lets say I’m a startup founder -- What are the major questions I should be asking before putting a new strategy together?
  • Let's talk about burn and runway -- can you break down the key elements and how much runway one should plan for?
  • What are the first cost cutting measures that should be taken?
  • Should startups consider a change in business model, go-to-market or even target customer -- why or why not?
  • Do you have any guiding principles when it comes to communication -- whether it be to employees, customers or investors?
  • What happened to startup fundraising at different stages (seed, A, B, C) in the last crisis of 2008?
  • You've stated that the health of the venture business may depend on what hedge funds, investment banks, private equity firms, sovereign wealth funds and large secondary market groups do. What are the possible and likely scenarios in your estimation?
  • What advice do you have for those companies that have limited runway (3 months or less)?
  • How about advice for pre-funded startups that are just getting off the ground?

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.


Mark Suster of Upfront Ventures joins Nick on a Pre-Crisis chat - Mark Predicts the Crisis. In this episode, we cover:

  • Last time we had you on the show was December 2016. Any notable updates or changes at Upfront since then?
  • Just chatting w/ Minnie Ingersoll and she was saying how great the Upfront Summit was and how I need to attend next year... what were the highlights for you this year?
  • Content companies are beginning to optimize for quick 1-5 minute gaps everyone has in their day, on their commute, between meetings, etc. where really short form content can be consumed beginning to end.  You had a chat w/ Meg Whitman, CEO of Quibi at the Summit... and I'm going to read a quote from your blog post about that interview "her analogy of content like “The Da Vinci Code” which had 464 pages and 105 bite-sized, fully realized chapters. In essence, you’re not intimidated by the size of each episode so you dig in and might just read 8 chapters in a sitting before realizing you read 35 pages. And so it is with video."  Clearly Quibi is trying to capitalize on this short form video content w/ A-List celebrities and over $1.75B in venture funding...  Mark, do you believe this is significant emerging trend or is it overhyped and overfunded?
  • Quibi successfully sold out of $150m in first-year ad inventory even before they launched, which says a lot about the current marketing landscape. Channels like Google and Facebook are becoming saturated, and marketers are desperate to find that new channel that will give them an advantage... thoughts here on the macro digital marketing landscape?
  • Seen any great companies doing last-mile attribution? - Whether it be the corona virus, the election and/or a potential market correction... what do you think the next 6-12 months will hold and what effect will that have on early stage startups, funds and IPOs.
  • What's the biggest mistake LPs or the VCs that are guiding them, make when co-investing?
  • Who haven't you gotten yet as a featured guest at the Summit that you'd like to get in the future?
  • Since we last spoke, you’ve inserted an “Inclusion Clause” into your term sheets at the firm. Why'd you do it? 
  • Talk a bit about investing...  You wrote a blog post about key lessons since the first VC check you ever wrote.  Can you highlight the most critical things you've learned. - Assessing the intangibles are so important when evaluating an early stage founder ie. grit, personality, drive etc. Are there specifics methods you apply to assess for these intangibles?
  • Are there any traits or characteristics that you think are being over-indexed on by some investors?
  • Jason Calacanis was on recently and mentioned that you work harder for your startups than anyone else... what is your playbook for helping startups and what determines your level of involvement?
  • In early 2019, you wrote a post about why seed investing has declined. You ended the post saying "Seed investing is here to stay (although the firms may change — with some seed funds becoming A investors).” What are the biggest shifts you see happening in early stage VC?
  • It looks as though you took a 4 month "forced hiatus" from the blog.  What was the motivation for the break?

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:

  • John Vrionis
  • David Horowitz
  • Cyan Banister

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: 134_Investor_Stories_134__Post_Mortems_Vrionis_Horowitz_Banister.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Ryan Gembala of Pathbreaker Ventures joins Nick to discuss Breaking Convention, Hitting The Fundraise Wall & Why Deep-tech Is Not More Capital Intensive Than Software. In this episode, we cover:

  • Backstory/Path to Venture
  • Talk about your time at Facebook and working in M&A.
  • What's the thesis at Pathbreaker?
  • How do you define pre-seed?
  • Most of your dealflow inbound or outbound?
  • Quote from the website: "We don't believe all great companies, nor all phenomenal investments, look the same early on. So we are flexible, realistic, and patient - solving for supporting the founders best-suited for tackling the most meaningful problems." I'm curious, what are the must-haves that cut across all investments that you do?  
  • You've said to me that hardware isn't more capital intensive than software. As a hardware investor myself, that was refreshing to hear but I'm sure there are many founders and investors that would strongly disagree. Why is not more capital intensive?
  • Do you think the time horizon to exit is longer?
  • We've all been in this situation where founders hit a wall — they're running out of money, having a hard time telling your story, investors aren't pulling the trigger to invest, there are team challenges, maybe trouble converting from pilots to licenses... Give us examples of how you dig in and help when it gets tough.
  • We've seen some recent failures or, at least, setbacks in the automation/robotics space. High profile companies like Zume pizza and CafeX have had significant challenges... what's your take on where these companies went wrong?
  • What's your POV on robotics investing and the types of opportunities that are going to be successful?
  • Just speaking to Kane Hsieh at Root about the effect of automation, robotics on jobs... what's your stance on the impact of these technologies on employment?
  • You've had a number of Series A's just here in the past couple of weeks... seems like every time we connect you are dealing w/ a number of up-rounds at A and B. Clearly something is working so congrats on the early success. Talk to me a bit about how hard it is to raise a Series A?
  • Different types of companies have to achieve different milestones/benchmarks to raise and A but have you seen any common traction levels or standards to successfully close an A round?
  • For founders that are considering M&A and maybe some options are emerging for exit... what advice would you have?

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:

  • Jeremy Neilson
  • Jason Whitney
  • Jenny Rooke

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: 133_Investor_Stories_133__Strange__Unusual_Neilson_Whitney_Rooke.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Alex Osterwalder of Strategyzer joins Nick to discuss The Ultimate Testing Framework. In this episode, we cover:

  • Take me back and talk through the origin of the business model canvas?
  • Just to refresh listeners can you provide a high-level overview of the business model canvas and how it's used?
  • Let's chat about your new book, Testing Business Ideas, co-authored with David J. Bland... Why'd you right the book?
  • Who is the target audience?
  • If I'm the reader, what outcome can I achieve after reading this book and applying it's principles?
  • What are the four phases outlined in the book?
  • Walk us through the objective and key elements of the testing phase.
  • A significant focus is the elimination of risks?  How does one systematically reduce or remove risks from their business?
  • We recently had Leo Polovets on the program and discussed the challenge of balancing testing with executing.  I think it can be difficult to know when something is working well enough that you should stop testing and move forward quickly in that direction.  What's your guidance here?
  • How does one avoid getting too caught up in rigid frameworks and checking boxes vs. finding that key insight that warrants 90+% of their attention?

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: 206_206._The_Ultimate_Testing_Framework_Alex_Osterwalder.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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

  • Scott Dorsey
  • Jeff Clavier
  • John Fein

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: 132_Investor_Stories_132__Lessons_Learned_Dorsey_Clavier_Fein.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Jason Calacanis joins Nick to discuss Unicorn vs Pegasus, The Softbank Effect, & Impacts of a Recession on VC. In this episode, we cover:

  • Last time we had you on the show was July 2017. What big things have happened over the past (almost) three years with yourself and Launch?
  • Last time you talked a bit about the "Goldilocks zone"... sort of that post-seed, pre-A round. Is that still the stage getting most focus from you?
  • I read an article where you suggested that SoftBank is changing the way Silicon Valley thinks about going public.
  • What are the biggest positive effects you've seen from the Vision Fund?
  • What about negatives and adverse effects?
  • The volume of startups seems to be ever increasing... Any advice for founders on how to stand out?
  • Lots of people talking about an upcoming recession in 2020. If a recession were to hit, what happens to venture? How do you think it could potentially impact startups as well as investors or VCs?
  • How does your investment strategy change in a recession?
  • Anything founders should should do to prepare for a correction?
  • As part of the fallout from WeWork... I've been hearing a lot of VCs talk about a shift from growth at all costs to a focus on profitability. Are these empty words or are you seeing a material change amongst VCs?
  • Want to get your input on investment and selection...
  • First off, in the book, if memory serves, you suggest angels should focus exclusively on SF-based startups and founders should relocate to SF. We recently committed to a Launch Accelerator company that is not in SF, they're in Chicago. Have your thoughts changed on location?
  • What is a unique requirement or heuristic you use that you don't think other investors consider?
  • What are your biggest red flags or dealbreakers?
  • What are some acceptable risks or issues vs. what's not acceptable?
  • I notice you talking about Pegasus startups (vs. Unicorns). What the heck is a Pegasus?
  • What tips do you have for founders to reach the Unicorn as well as Pegasus status?
  • You also talk about the “Dark Pegasus” can you give us some insight into what that entails and how to avoid these startups 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.


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

  • Scott Kupor
  • Michael Cardamone
  • M.G. Siegler

Each investor discusses sectors, drivers and/or trends that may have a 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: 131_Investor_Stories_131__Whats_Next_Kupor_Cardamone_Siegler.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Minnie Ingersoll of TenOneTen Ventures joins Nick to discuss Embracing Failure, Capitalizing on Crisis & Building Resilience. In this episode, we cover:

  • Backstory/path to Venture
  • You co-founded Shift, which you scaled to $100M. What was the most unexpected/surprising aspect of leading and scaling a venture-backed startup?
  • Where did you spend most of your time (and mindshare) at A vs. B vs. C/D?
  • What was it like building a venture-backed startup as a woman?
  • Tell us a bit about the thesis at TenOneTen.
  • I was recently speaking with M.G. Siegler about the societal impacts of tech... all of which are not positive.  I know you're a mother, so this probably takes on new meaning for you... but how to you consider social and societal responsibility in your role as a tech investor?
  • You've experienced early struggles in your life that have informed your approach as an investor and founder.  Can you talk about what you've been through, the impact and the perspective you've gained from it?
  • Is failure acceptable?  As an investor failure makes me really uneasy and I've not had to deal with this yet with a portfolio company but I'm sure it's just a matter of time.  What's your stance on failure and how to speak with founders about it?
  • You've spoken about the importance of founder resilience... Is it something you select for in investments or something you work on with existing portco founders... trying to help them build resilience?
  • How are the challenges for women similar different as a founder vs. investor?
  • Favorite Podcast guest?
  • Best/favorite low profile investor in LA?

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:

  • Jim Kim
  • Courtney Reum
  • Aydin Senkut

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: 130_Investor_Stories_130__Why_I_Passed_Kim_Reum_Senkut.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Leo Polovets of Susa Ventures joins Nick to discuss Raising Fund III, A Framework to De-risk Your Startup, & When to Explore vs. Exploit. In this episode, we cover:

  • Give us an update on your investments at Susa since we last chatted?
  • How has the thesis at Susa evolved over the past couple of years?
  • Do each of the GPs at Susa have specialty areas of focus?
  • This year Susa closed on 2 new funds - Susa III a $90M early stage fund, along with your first opportunity fund to which investors committed $50M. What was the elevator pitch to LPs and what worked well in the first two funds that resonated with LPs, leading to the successful raise?
  • What would you have done differently in Fund I and Fund II if you could go back?
  • What it takes to raise a Series A... often founders will have a singular focus on the vanity metrics -- they assume if they hit $2M in ARR they'll attract the A round at an attractive multiple from Tier 1 investors. But, we've seen this play out and it's not all that's required. Why is a singular focus on ARR a poor approach to raising money?
  • Leo, you have an original framework here focused on de-risking the the major risks centers facing a startup. What are the high-level principles?
  • The 9 risk centers that you've identified include Product Market Fit, Product Quality, Team, Recruiting, Sales, Market, Funding, Short-term Competition, and Long-term Competition -- can you pick one of these areas and walk us through an example?
  • What are the common mistakes founding teams make with regard to these risks?
  • Talk a bit about the balance between testing and execution? 
  • How should founders balance figuring out the best path forward with running fast in the direction they think is best?
  • Increasingly our founders have been sending us dealflow, operating as scouts, making angel investments in early stage companies. Where do you stand on this -- distraction that should be avoided or net benefit to those involved?
  • In what ways have you changed most as an investor since the early days?
  • One piece of advice for founders -- what is it?

 

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:

  • Adeyemi Ajao
  • Ash Rust
  • SC Moatti

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: 129_Investor_Stories_129__Post_Mortems_Ajao_Rust_Moatti.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: 202_202._Cram_Session_Episodes_138-143_Nick_Moran.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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