The Full Ratchet: VC | Venture Capital | Angel Investors | Startup Investing | Fundraising | Crowdfunding | Pitch | Private Equity (general)

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 EST

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?

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

Chris Olsen
James Hardiman
Elizabeth Galbut
 
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_102_-_Strange__Unusual_Olsen_Hardiman_Galbut.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30pm EST

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: 177._Cram_Session_Episodes_121-128_Nick_Moran.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am EST

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

Rebecca Kaden
Chris Duovos
Carter Cast
 
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_101_-_Lessons_Learned_Kaden_Duovos_Cast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

SC Moatti of Mighty Capital joins Nick to discuss Creating Powerful Networks, 3 Rules for Great Products, and the Future of Mobile Tech. In this episode, we cover:

 

  • Backstory/ Path to becoming involved in venture?
  • What led you to start Mighty Capital?
  • Talk more about Products that Count, what was the origin and why?
  • You successfully built a network of over 25,000 PM's and continue to lead the network... How have you built such a large network?
  • We all have ever-expanding networks... do you have any guidelines or essential rules to maintaining, staying connected, and strengthening your existing network?
  • In your book, you share 3 rules to create successful products. Can you give us an overview of these rules?
  • You've developed products that billions of people use at Facebook, Nokia and Electronic Arts. Can you give us an example of a key product decision or change that you led?
  • Portfolio companies have said that Mighty Capital brings the “best value for the dollar invested.” How, specifically, are you creating value for your portcos?
  • How do you determine if a startup has reached product-market fit?
  • Let's say, for example, you come across a product that, based on the metrics, has clear product-market fit, growth is accelerating and the team appears quite strong... but you have serious reservations about the product itself... maybe you question the design principles, the UX requires significant improvement, maybe it feels like it was designed by an engineer for an engineer instead of a customer... how do you approach a investment opportunity like this?
  • Part of your investment criteria is 'Bay Area-based leadership' Why do you only invest in companies based in the Bay Area?
  • Tell us more about your book... why'd you write it and what would you like readers to gain from reading it?
  • So, to go a bit deeper on mobile and mobile products? What are some new innovations or opportunities that you think will emerge in the coming years?
  • What current mobile trends do you think have a limited shelf life and will phase out?
  • What are the most concerning trends to you... whether they be related to mobile, entrepreneurship, product or investing?

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

Brendan Wallace
Bilal Zuberi
Joe Medved

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_100_-_Why_I_Passed_Wallace_Zuberi_Medved.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

John Fein of Firebrand Ventures joins Nick to discuss From Operator to Accelerator MD to Fund Manager. In this episode, we cover:

 

  • So you participated in 5 startups, after which you scaled an organization from zero to 1,500 employees and $2B/year in revenue. Talk about your background and experience at United Health.
  • Tell us a bit about your decision to raise a fund.
  • When I started raising fund I, I had calls w/ 30+ GPs and my target was $5M but I told him, under no circumstances would I raise more than $10M, even if things went really well. He responded that the difference between a $5M and a $10M is significant and that the story and strategy would be very different for the two. So I know that you started with a $7M target and ended at $18M... how did your strategy change and did you get any pushback from early LPs as the fund got larger?
  • How did the process play out... in what ways was it different than what you expected?
  • How early do you go?
  • How did you create urgency w/ prospective LPs to make a decision. From personal experience, I found a number of large LPs that preferred to wait until final close
  • You've gone on the record stating that you'll avoid investing in arrogant founders, where many VCs specifically look for this character trait in entrepreneurs. Do you think it's the best economic decision to avoid working w/ arrogant founders?
  • Everyone says they're a founder-focused VC... but when I speak w/ founders I find that there are very few that are actually qualify. What does this mean from your standpoint and how are you serving founders in ways that others aren't?
  • What are some of the key strengths of your pipeline and dealflow.... how are you seeing more deals and higher quality deals than others?
  • The feedback cycle in venture is really long... you won't truly know how your fund stacks up against others from you vintage for many years. How do you track progress and assess if you're winning over the near term?
Direct download: 175._From_Operator_to_Accelerator_MD_to_Fund_Manager__John_Fein.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30pm EST

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

Paul Martino
Evangelos Simoudis
Ben Narasin
 
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_99-_Post_Mortems_Martino_Simoudis_Narasin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00pm EST

Roy Bahat of Bloomberg Beta joins Nick to discuss VCs Ride the Bus, Comeback Cities & Unorthodox Investing. In this episode, we cover:

  • Backstory / Path to Bloomberg Beta
  • Bloomberg Beta has taken a self-described "unorthodox approach"-- Tell us about your approach and why it's unique.
  • I was exploring your page on Github and noticed that you've open sourced the entire operating manual-- why'd you do so and do you think other VCs should do the same?
  • What's worked and what hasn't?
  • You've talked about how you struggled figuring out what you wanted to do for a living. Have you figured it out?
  • So, last year a number of SF-based VCs got on a bus and traveled the Midwest in what they called the Comeback Cities tour. Tell us about the experience and why you and others came to the Midwest to look for opportunities?
  • How did the tour lead to a venture fund?
  • Why do you think it's important to work w/ angels in the Midwest?
  • What surprised you on the trip?
  • Can you talk a bit about machine intelligence and how it's impacting the future of work?
  • How do you see the VC asset class changing over the next few years?
Direct download: 174._VCs_Ride_the_Bus_Comeback_Cities__Unorthodox_Investing_Roy_Bahat.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:30pm EST

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


Sarah Anderson
Tim O'Reilly
Vic Pascucci
 
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_98_-_The_Strange__Unusual_Anderson_OReilly_Pascucci.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Bradley Tusk of Tusk Ventures joins Nick to discuss Corruption, Extortion and the Fight Against Entrenched Interests-- How a VC Saves Startups from Death by Politics. In this episode, we cover:

  • Why and how did you get into VC?
  • You have a nice model where you generate revenue through Tusk Strategies, which allows you to hire great talent and invest forward in startups. How has the model changed over time and how is the organization structured today?
  • How were you able to get allocations and generate dealflow when you were new to VC?
  • You spent some time in Illinois w/ an infamous Governor of our's... and you're very candid in the book about the issues and illegal acts that Rod Blagoyevich instructed you to do. Give us some of the highlights and lowlights from the experience.
  • You highlight the importance of narrative many times throughout the book. Can you touch on the key points w/ regard to picking and framing your narrative for tech startups?
  • You've said that when large industry incumbents are disrupted, "they punch back, and they punch hard"... have you seen situations where startups have died b/c of response of a large incumbent? Talk about some of your experiences.
  • Have you worked w/ any tech companies who's mission doesn't align w/ your political beliefs?
  • How can you possibly win a prolonged battle going jurisdiction by jurisdiction?
  • I enjoyed the section of the book you call "Pick your enemies = Win Your Battles (Strangle the baby in the crib). What's the best message founders can take away from this chapter?
  • We've all heard a lot about the political issues w/ independent contracts vs. employees. Uber has been the headliner in the media but you also cite Handy, in the book, the platform that connects independent handymen w/ home owners... what's been your involvement w/ this issue and where do we stand?
  • Talk a bit about your interactions w/ Elon and the work you did w/ Tesla against the dealership incumbents.
  • You close the book w/ an emphasis on voting and the importance of mobile voting. You've even said that mobile voting is "the biggest disruption fight of them all" and that "restoring our true democracy-- and actually confronting our nation's deepest problem."

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

David Cohen

Ben Einstein

Jordan Nof

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_97__Lessons_Learned_Einstein_Cohen_Nof.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00pm EST

Jim Tananbaum of Foresite Capital joins Nick to discuss Growth Investing in Biotech, Genomics and Pharma. In this episode, we cover:

-His 25 years in the industry working as both an entrepreneur and investor.. often at the same time
-Jim's investment focus at Foresight
-The major changes in biotech over the past two decades
-The key elements he looks for in a business
-The main drivers causing more opportunity in the sector
-The key challenges to investing in biotech, pharma and genomics
-The role of data science in their process
-How the experience of building and IPO'ing companies has helped Jim as an investor
-How they target specific areas to invest in
-Jim's take on predatory pharmaceutical pricing
-And finally how some of these solutions might become more affordable for more people that need them

Direct download: FR172_Tananbaum.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

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

  • Brian Ascher
  • Joe Medved
  • Ash Fontana

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

Direct download: IS96_Whats_Next_Ascher_Medved_Fontana.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

Wayne Kimmel of SeventySix Capital joins Nick to discuss Sports Tech and the Future of eSports. In this episode, we cover:

  • Talk about the investment focus and approach of your firm
    When did Ryan Howard start working w/ you and how did he become a part of the leadership team?
  • Talk a bit about sports tech has evolved over the past decade.
  • All these players or former players are getting involved on the investment-side... some pretty savvy, some more green... good thing or bad thing?
  • What lens or framework does your firm use to segment the sportstech landscape?
  • I've heard SportsTech categorized into Athlete performance tech, broadcast audience enjoyment tech, and In-person experience tech. Do you consider startups in these categories and where have you seen the most opportunities?
  • eSports (ie. video games as a sport)... has exploded in popularity. Talk a bit about what you're seeing in esports and how you're approaching it from an investment standpoint.
  • I know a number of sportstech investors that avoid the youth, amateur and collegiate markets, b/c they think all the money is in the professional markets. Missed opportunity or is there something to this position?
  • Lessons from owning the USFL champions, the Stars?
  • What are the specific ways you get involved with portfolio companies?
  • You've spoken a lot about the importance of networking, and even wrote a book about it. What key lessons do you have for listeners w/ regard to networking?
Direct download: FR171_Wayne_Kimmel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

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

  • Rebecca Kaden
  • James Hardiman
  • Evangelos Simoudis

 
Each investor highlights a situation where

they decided not to invest, why they passed,

and how it played out.

Direct download: IS95-Why_I_Passed_Kaden_Hardiman_Simoudis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00pm EST

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

Sarah Anderson
Ash Fontana
Chris Duovos

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  for updates and more information.

Direct download: IS91-_Why_I_Passed_Anderson__Fontana__Duovos.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:30am EST

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  for updates and more information.

Direct download: CS167.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00pm EST

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


-Bryce Roberts
-Mike Collett
-Niki Scevak
 
Each investor describes their investment thesis and
how they evaluate startups for investment.

 

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

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

Direct download: Investor_Stories_86_My_Investing_Strategy_Roberts_Collett_Scevak.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00pm EST

On this special segment of The Full Ratchet,

the following investors are featured:

  • Vic Pascucci

  • Ben Einstein

  • Ethan Kurzweil

  • David Verrill

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  for updates and more information.

Direct download: IS85_Passed_Pascucci_Einstein_Kurzweil_Verrill.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Sarah Anderson of Cintrifuse joins Nick to discuss LP Value Creation, Why DPI is King, and Secondaries as a Means of Exit. In this episode, we cover:

  • What is the investment focus/philosophy at Cintrifuse? Can you tell us a bit more about the Cintrifuse model?
  • What impact has the Cintrifuse Syndicate Fund had?
  • Can you explain how this benefits large corporates?
  • What about startups-- what's in it for them?
  • Are the corporate LPs hesitant to invest directly in funds-- Is that why they come to you?
  • Does your diversified portfolio preclude certain vertically-focused corporates from investing in a fund of funds model?
  • Does Cintrifuse work w/ other types of financial institutions, aside from insurance? If so, how have you seen them react to the explosion in crypto and disruptive fintech?
  • Tell us about your role as matchmaker-- how do you get involved and facilitate between VCs, startups and corporations?
  • What's the strategic value-add to a VC fund manager?
  • What industry disruptions have you observed and what are the impacts on large corporate companies?
  • Advice for entrepreneurs-- whether underserved spaces or where they should be focused that they're not? What message do you want to send to founders?
  • In Rob Go's recent study on fund metrics, he said "In the early days of a fund, VCs tend to optimize for TVPI. But in the long run, DPI is king. You can’t feed your family with TVPI, and you can’t spend IRR." Is he right and what do you suggest to Fund I and Fund II managers that have attractive paper gains but no distributions to paid-in (ie. a DPI of zero)?
  • Let's discuss reinvesting in startups, I want to talk about doubling down on firms and investing more in their new funds. When Chris Duovos was on we discussed the concerning stats related to persistence. And Antoinette Schoar, of MIT did a notable study on fund returns, which showed persistence of returns from private-equity funds has gone down in the last decade. She said: “If LPs are not vigilant, we'll start seeing persistence at the bottom. So many LPs want so much to get into PE that they are not sensitive enough to poor perf and keep reinvesting in partnerships that are not deserving” Sarah, what's your take on the study and her position here?"

 

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

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

Direct download: FR162_Anderson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

On this special segment of The Full Ratchet,

the following investors are featured:

  • Bilal Zuberi

  • Madhavan Ramanujem

  • Tim O'Reilly

Each investor discusses a portfolio

company that did not survive and

why it failed.

 

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

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

Direct download: IS84_Post_Mortems_Zuberi_Ramanujem_OReilly.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Ash Fontana of Zetta Venture Partners joins Nick to discuss Why SaaS is not a fit for VC and How AI Compounds Competitive Advantage. In this episode, we cover:

  • Categories of AI that Ash is most interested in
  • The difference between real AI and AI-enabled companies
  • Why SaaS will cease to be investable by VCs
  • The current AI stage of adoption
  • How he times the market
  • The four phases of AI
  • What phase of AI they invest in
  • How AI is and will be affected by limited data
  • How startups can compete for talent w/ GAFA (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple)
  • The moats being created by their AI-first portcos
  • How they think about metrics and milestones for AI-backed companies
  • If AI should be feared
  • and finally we wrap up w/ Ash's thoughts on Chris Dixon's position that we will see a movement from centralization back to decentralization in tech-- and the role that AI will play

 

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

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

Direct download: FR161_Fontana.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00pm EST

On this special segment of The Full Ratchet,

the following investors are featured:

  • Lindel Eakman

  • Chris Duovos

  • Semil Shah

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  for updates and more information.

Direct download: IS83_Unusual_Eakman_Duovos_Shah.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

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  for updates and more information.

Direct download: FR153_Cram_Galston_Larkins_Roberts_Kurzweil.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EST

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

  • Sheel Mohnot
  • Guy Turner
  • Ben Narasin

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  for updates and more information.

Direct download: IS82_Lessons_Mohnot_Turner_Narasin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:30am EST

Elizabeth Galbut of SoGal Ventures joins Nick to discuss Better Diversity, Better Outcomes. In this episode, we cover:

  • Her involvement in creating the first VC investment group at Johns Hopkins
  • What the focus is at SoGal and why that creates their edge
  • How she and her partner divide responsibilities
  • How the establishment has reacted to her and her firm
  • We talk about her experience as a design professor and how that impacts her approach
  • she gives an example of a design-centric investment
  • she discusses her thinking when evaluating an early stage business
  • we review their dealflow and sourcing strategy
  • and we wrap up w/ Elizabeth's advice for a younger version of herself if she had the opportunity to give it

 

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

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

Direct download: FR160_Galbut.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00pm EST

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

  • Vic Pascucci
  • Brendan Wallace
  • Rebecca Kaden 

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  for updates and more information.

Direct download: IS81_whats_next_pascucci_wallace_kaden.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:48pm EST

Paul Martino of Bullpen Capital joins Nick to discuss the emergence of the Post-Seed round. In this episode, we cover:

  • Why Paul passed on joining Mike Maples at Floodgate in order to start Bullpen
  • The product/market fit algorithm he developed for Mike
  • If the stages of funding are moving out or if there are just more of them
  • How Bullpen is differentiated
  • The metrics they require to engage with startups
  • How his quant background has helped make this subjective discipline more objective
  • The hardest aspect of developing new, young VCs
  • We discuss lack of innovation in the asset class
  • Why herd mentality is pervasive
  • Other contrarian principles he and Bullpen embrace
  • If it's harder to get A or B round funding for the non-traditional founders or industries that he invests in
  • How Private Equity is impacting exits
    the differences in sourcing at post-seed
    and we wrap up w/ Paul's thoughts on how branding and investment focus helps drive opportunity for Bullpen

 

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

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

Direct download: FR159_Martino.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:17pm EST

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

  • Peter Boyce
  • Jordan Nof
  • Sergio Gurrieri 

Each investor describes their investment thesis and
how they evaluate startups for investment.

 

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

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

Direct download: IS80_Thesis_Boyce_Nof_Gurrieri.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:52am EST

James Hardiman of Data Collective joins Nick to discuss The Deep Tech Debate: Why Invest in a Capital Intensive, Long Time-to-Exit Category?. In this episode, we cover:

  • James' definition of deep tech
  • The segments within the category
  • How this area differs from others
  • Types of founders and founder profiles that he looks for
  • Why he's willing to invest in a capital intensive, long-time horizon category
  • Why deep tech will drive the biggest outcomes
  • How founders are able to de-risk deep tech opportunities where many others don't
  • The waves that are coming in deep tech
  • and finally how some consumer, social companies became deep tech companies by accident.

 

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

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

Direct download: FR158_Hardiman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:44pm EST

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

  • Chris Farmer
  • Chris Olsen
  • David Cowan

Each investor describes a situation where they did
decide to invest, what the key factors were that led
to “Yes” and how that investment has worked out.

 

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

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

Direct download: IS79_Invested_Farmer_Olsen_Cowan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:12pm EST

Rebecca Kaden of Union Square Ventures joins Nick to discuss USV's Newest GP on Leveraged Growth, Consumer Brand Building & Customer Obsession. In this episode, we cover:

  • I've heard you talk about Allbirds, Zullily, and others before, can you highlight a few notable investments from your time at Maveron?
  • Previous career as a journalist? Did you write about tech?
    How'd you end up joining Maveron?
  • Why the move to USV?
  • Fred Wilson said: "Each partner who has joined USV has done two things very well. First, they have figured how to operate inside of our shared investment thesis. And second, they have figured out how to stretch it."
  • You've said: "Next up: exploring the intersection between our core USV thesis around network effects, whether centralized or decentralized and the entrepreneurs building the standout consumer businesses that integrate into our hearts and minds." Talk about the types of Network effects that you look for and can create large, strong businesses on the consumer-side.
  • Investment Process/Structure at Maveron vs. USV?
    You often talk a lot about one of my favorite items... customer obsession. It's well documented on this podcast that I will not invest in founders that aren't customer obsessed. I'd love to hear your thoughts here and how you test for this characteristic with early-stage founders.
    What are your thoughts on the role of brand and importance of brand in consumer companies?
  • What are the key elements to building strong brand and can you give us specific examples that you've observed in portfolio companies?
  • Thoughts on vertically-integrated brands-- strengths and weaknesses, is that critical for a brand w/ a physical good for you to make an investment?
  • What's your role as investor, are you passive or active; are you coaching and teaching or more of a listener and support?
  • What's your style?
  • What do you like least about your job?
  • In what ways do woman VCs support and help each other out in this male-dominated industry.
  • Case Study-- very incomplete information, two companies, early stage, very similar sector and product category, both have exceptional founding teams... one has modest growth rates but exceptional NPS scores, the other has exceptional growth rate but modest NPS.  All other things being equal, which one are you more likely to invest in?

 

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

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

Direct download: FR157_Kaden.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am EST

Chris Douvos, the Super LP, joins Nick to discuss Chaos Capital, the new Micro VC Movement and LPs Chasing Hype. In this episode, we cover:

  • How his mindset as an LP has evolved
  • Startups out of Standford vs Berkley and if the valley is over-fished
  • how the micro VC movement has changed
  • Chris' selection criteria and what he looks for in managers
  • Why he most often says no
  • The impact on LPs of companies staying private longer
  • Yhe impact of new LPs coming into venture on asset class
  • How the LP community interacts... adversarial, collaborative, competitive or othewise
  • The areas where Chris can grow most as an LP
  • and we wrap up w/ his thoughts on co-investment alongside GPs as well as follow-ons in later rounds

 

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

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

Direct download: FR156_Douvos.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00pm EST

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

-Zach Coelius
-Nathan Benaich
-Jason Calacanis
 
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  for updates and more information.

Direct download: IS78-_Why_I_Passed_Coelius__Benaich__Calacanis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EST

The Trend Spotter joins us today on the program. Tim O'Reilly is one of the top minds in tech, who has predicted and/or driven many of the movements that now seem so obvious to us. In today's episode we discuss:

  • Tim's path to becoming an investor
  • How he linked up w/ Bryce Roberts and launched O'Reilly Alphatech
  • The shift in their model w/ Indie VC
  • We talk about Tim's focus on profitability and his counter to those that cite some of the biggest and best tech companies that are not profitable
  • We discuss Tim's new book WTF: What the future and why it's up to us
  • Tim outlines the way he thinks about business model maps
  • He explains his thought process of identifying technology shifts before they happen
  • We discuss fear and it's role in shaping consumer mindset
  • Tim references the historical lessons most overlooked by today's society
  • and we wrap up w/ a conversation on ICOs and cryptocurrencies and get Tim's opinion on their role in the future of tech

 

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

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

Direct download: FR155_OReilly.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am EST

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

  • Stuart Larkins & Ezra Galston
  • Ben Einstein
  • Bilal Zuberi 

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  for updates and more information.

Direct download: IS77_Strange_Unusual_Larkins_Galstron_Einstein_Zuberi.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm EST

Ben Narasin of NEA joins Nick to discuss how NEA makes decisions, why he joined the firm and the key traits he looks for in founders. In this episode, we cover:

-Why he made the move to NEA
-His Investment focus
-the role of Venture Partner at NEA
-the investment process the firm... and if decisions are made by committee
-Ben's Evaluation Process
-the key factor that every successful founder possesses
-The common red flags that pop up and cause him to say no to strong startups
-Why he believes his job is to say no
-How he assess opportunities with 100 reasons to say yes and one reason to say no
-Ben's evolving approach toward weighing risk factors in startups
-how the tech and investing industry has changed over the past decade
-how AUM is driving a bifurcation in venture
-finally we get Ben's response to the recent Techcrunch article highlighting the crash in early-stage VC funding

 

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

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

Direct download: FR154_Narasin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EST

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

-Guy Turner
-Jonathon Triest & Brett DeMarrais
-William Mougayar
-Madhavan Ramanujam

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  for updates and more information.

Direct download: IS76-_Whats_Next_Turner__TriestandDemarrais__Mougayar_Madhavan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EST

Eric Ries, author of the Lean Startup and The Startup Way, joins Nick to discuss his new book and his response to the naysayers. In this episode, we cover:

  • Eric's backstory and path to working in tech
    Steve Blank was on the program and mentioned Peter Thiel's famous comments where he decried the MVP and lean startup approach. Steve thought he was entirely wrong. But I'd love to hear your response to Peter.
  • Peter said in his book, "forget minimum viable products. Ever since Apple started in 1976, Jobs saw that you could change the world through careful planning, not by listening to focus group feedback or copying other's successes."
  • For those that read the lean startup some time ago or maybe those that are newer to tech, can you provide a refresher of the key concepts?
  • Why'd you write The Startup Way?
  • Who is the audience for The Startup Way?
  • Is this for transforming existing, large organizations or for companies establishing their culture and their process?
  • In part one of the book, you talk about the modern company... What, in your estimation, is the biggest problem with the today's corporation?
  • You've said that "the way to stay on top can be traced to two things: treating employees like customers, and treating business units like startups." This runs counter to the common capitalist mentality where there is a focus on margins, incremental product development and creating value for shareholders, not necessarily employees. Are you suggesting significant cultural and strategic change and, if so, how is that possible to achieve?
  • Can large organizations really apply the concepts from the lean startup in the way that a startup can?
  • Do you have a tech and non-tech example of organizations that have successfully applied this methodology?
  • Tell us about the 'Big Picture' elements and your unified theory of entrepreneurship.
  • Mark Suster was on the program and stated that it's nearly impossible to innovate behind the moat... meaning that large corporations should invest in venture and startups on the outside b/c it's too hard for them to disrupt from the inside.  How would you respond to Mark's comments?
  • What would you say to those that claim that the entrepreneurial-minded folks often leave large corporations and those that stay are not inclined to embrace these principles?

 

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

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

Direct download: FR153_Ries.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EST

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:

  • 96. Student-Focused VC Funds, Part 1 (Peter Boyce II)
  • 97. Student-Focused VC Funds, Part 2 (Peter Boyce II)
  • 98. Public Policy for Angel Investors, Part 1 (David Verrill)
  • 99. Public Policy for Angel Investors, Part 2 (David Verrill)
  • 102. The Limited Partner, Part 1 (Lindel Eakman)
  • 103. The Limited Partner, Part 2 (Lindel Eakman)

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

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

Direct download: FR152_Cram_Boyce_Verrill_Eakman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

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

  • John Buttrick
  • Semil Shah
  • Eric Paley

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  for updates and more information.

Direct download: IS75_Lessons_Learned_Buttrick_Shah_Paley.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:00am EST

Brendan Wallace of Fifth Wall Ventures joins Nick to discuss Kingmaking, De-Risking Every Investment & the Future of Real Estate Tech.  In this episode, we cover:

  • how building a fund is different from a startup
  • why fifth wall invests in real estate tech
  • why they take a different approach to workign with LPs and portcos
  • how large corporate LPs get comfortable with threatening tech that can destroy existing asset value
  • Brendan gives an overview of the real estate tech landscape and how it's segmented
  • why he thinks no other funds are focused on this sector
    the common demoniator he looks for in startups
  • the concept of the built world and how tech will bridge the gap between physical and digital
  • the most disruptive ideas he's come across in real estate
  • how the hot trends like AI, AV, robotics and VR/AR will effect the sector
  • and finally, what's surprised him most since raising fifth wall fund 1

 

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

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

Direct download: FR151_Wallace.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:00am EST

J.B. Pritzker of Pritzker Group Venture Capital joins Nick to discuss his impact on tech in Illinois, where he gets his motivation and why he's running for Governor. In this episode, we cover the following questions:

  • Take me back to your childhood...What was it like growing up in your family and what did you learn from your parents?
  • Your father and uncle famously built and managed Hyatt Hotels...Who was your biggest inspiration in the family?
  • You could have gone in many directions with your career... hotel industry, education, straight into politics. Why'd you choose the path you did?
  • Who were your primary inspirations in tech?
  • Looking through your accomplishments, you're clearly a builder, a creator, you've got internal drive. Where do you get your motivation?
  • What's the greatest lesson you've learned from your career in venture that informs your bid for governor?
  • If you could go back and talk to young J.B... a J.B. in his teens, what would you tell him?
  • What's the best lesson that you've learned from your kids that has changed the way you approach business and/or politics?
  • We've got Donald Trump in the office of the president and Bruce Rauner in the office of Illinois Governor...Do we really need another rich guy in office?
  • The talent vacuum is real and everyone experiences it. In Illinois, the best and brightest in rural areas, leave for the metro areas. In Chicago, many of the best in tech leave for the coasts. How do we approach talent suck more thoughtfully and address a real problem?
  • Can you highlight your plans for tech and innovation, if you are elected?

 

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

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

Direct download: FR150_Pritzker.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:04am EST

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


-Christine Tsai
-John Greathouse
-Lindel Eakman
 
Each investor describes a situation where they did
decide to invest, what the key factors were that led
to “Yes” and how that investment has worked out.

 

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

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

Direct download: IS74-_Why_I_Invested_Tsai__Greathouse__Eakman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30pm EST

Bilal Zuberi of Lux Capital joins Nick to discuss Startup Moats. In this episode, we cover:

  • An overview of moats
  • Example companies with moats
  • How to build a monopoly from the outset and if Bilal requires in startups he invests in
  • Incremental vs. step-change innovation and the implications on the breadth and depth of the moat
  • The types of moats
  • Bilal's take on data and network effect-based moats
    using a business model as a moat
  • His thoughts on building brand as a sustainable competitive advantage
  • How NPS score plays a role
  • An example where Bilal thought there was a moat but it proved not to have the defensibility predicted
  • And finally I get Bilal's take on Lux's investment strategy, their portfolio and how they are building value in the water, on the ground, in the air and even up in space

 

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

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

Direct download: FR149_Zuberi.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am EST

Vic Pascucci of Lightbank joins Nick to discuss New Founders, New Stages, New Offerings-- The Only Constant in Venture is Change. In this episode, we cover:

  • Where'd you get your start in venture and how'd your path lead to Lightbank?
  • Can you walk us through the Lightbank backstory... before you joined?
  • What's the current thesis and investment focus for the firm?
  • How active a role do you play with portfolio companies?
  • What, if anything, do you think the team at Lightbank can do a better job of going forward?
  • Do you think your approach is different than Eric and Brad's?
  • Recently spoke w/ Semil Shah about the multiple stages, within seed... pre-seed, seed, inst seed, post seed, seed extension. WTF is going on with the seed round?
  • There's been an explosion of seed funds... do you think this is a problem? Is there a bubble at seed or, w/ the way barriers to startup have come down, is the influx of capital warranted?
  • I'm noticing entrepreneurs moving away from SAFEs and Convertibles... are you seeing the same? If so, why do you think that's the case?
  • How have you seen startup capital raises change over time and do you think it's moving in the right direction?
  • What should every founder be thinking about, during a fundraise, that most often they're not even considering?
  • Are you seeing a difference in the makeup of founding teams and their capabilities? From personal experience, I certainly notice a difference in the style and approach of a early-20's tech founder vs. a mid-30s founder w/ domain knowledge.
  • So, you're a blockchain guy... I see you on various blockchain boards and I know that you invested in Coinbase in 2015... and, on the record, you were very bullish on cryptocurrency's at the time, when many were not. But what's the deal w/ all these token offerings and ICOs? I'm a relative novice here... can you explain to me what's going on and where you see it going?

 

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

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

Direct download: FR148_Pascucci.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:55pm EST

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

  • Adam Draper
  • Chris Farmer
  • Mark Suster

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  for updates and more information.

Direct download: IS73_Passed_Draper_Farmer_Suster.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:30pm EST

Madhavan Ramanujam of Simon-Kutcher & Partners joins Nick to discuss Monetization Strategy & Why Price Trumps Product. In this episode, we cover:

  • What's the backstory and how did you develope this monetization expertise?
  • What VC firms and/or investors have you worked with?
  • What's the most common missteps that innovators make?
  • What are the 4 types of innovation fails?
  • I want to talk about your three key rules for monetizing new products: Having the WTP conversation early, Investigating how to charge not just what to charge and not settling for one-size fits all... Let's start w/ the WTP conversation, walk us through this point and the three questions one should ask?
  • Essentially, are you suggesting that startups run a conjoint analysis to see what features customers want and how much they'll pay or is it more than that?
  • How do the results inform the pricing strategy?
    Is this the Van Westendorp methodology, if not, how's it different?
  • Talk more about the second rule... Investigating how to charge, not just what to charge.
  • The final rule is: Don't settle for one-size-fits-all... walk us through your point here. form factor, application, segment
  • This is controversial in the venture space where many investors are looking for one business model across all customers... what's your response to VCs here?
  • How do you apply your methodology in situations with a nascent market... where customers may not fully understand their needs, the problems they will experience or the solutions available?
  • Final thoughts and advice for startups that are creating a new product?
  • Any words of advice for investors that are assessing startups very early on?

 

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

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

Direct download: FR147_Ramanujam.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am EST

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


David Verrill
Galen Mason
Jason Calacanis

 

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

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

Direct download: IS72-_The_Strange__Unusual_Verrill__Mason__Calacanis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EST

Zach Coelius of joins Nick to discuss Investing in Rocket Ships Before they Take Off, Part 1. We address questions including:

  • His Path to investing
  • The Biggest difference between entrepreneur Zach vs. the entrepreneur Zach invests in?
  • Best lesson from his startup, Triggit?
  • Right place, right time... how do you apply to investing?
  • Top 3 characteristics you look for in founders?
  • Great entrepreneur... bad idea/bad market... how do you proceed?
  • How about with founders that aren't quite ready yet for funding?
  • How did you get your start on AL?
  • Strengths of Syndication Process?
  • Krypto Labs in Abu Dhabi- major takeaways, thoughts on crypto & ICOs?
  • Early exits... do you take them when you get the option?  At what amount/multiple do you take money off the table
  • Lessons from poker that you apply to investing?

 

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

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

Direct download: FR146_Coelius.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00pm EST

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

  • Andrew Parker
  • Niki Scevak
  • Bryce Roberts
  • Charles Hudson

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

Direct download: IS71_Lessons_Parker_Scevak_Roberts_Hudson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:30pm EST

Semil Shah of Haystack joins Nick to discuss First Institutional VC Fund Raised-- Key Learnings, Part 1. We address questions including:

  • Maybe we can start off with how your investment focus has evolved since the last time you joined us.
  • What are your thoughts on how seed has split into pre-seed, seed, seed extension, and post seed?
  • Are you investing once with a company or reserving for these various stages within seed?
  • You just closed fund 3... tell us about the first two funds that set the stage.
  • Would you do things differently if you could go back?
  • Which raise was the hardest?
  • How did the expectations of LPs change from the early funds to the institutional fund?
  • What surprised you most about the raise?
  • Did you connect w/ prospectives through referrals, cold calls, a combination?
  • Walk us through the metrics... how many targets, meetings, avg commitment amt, etc.
  • Did you ever think you might not complete the raise?
  • What's the best advice you got on the raise and who'd you get it from?
  • In our first interview, you talked about how you couldn't get a full-time job at a venture firm. I'm sure you've had plenty of offers as you've built a track record. Did you ever consider making the jump?
  • When I sent my fund deck to you, you said "Awesome and looks good. As I always say, the deck matters much less than having capital partners who believe in you" For anyone listening that aspires to raise... talk about what you meant by this comment.

 

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

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

Direct download: FR145_Semil.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:29pm EST

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

-Ben Einstein
-Ezra Galston & Stuart Larkins
-David Cowan

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  for updates and more information.

Direct download: IS70_Whats_Next_Einstein_Galston_Larkins_Cowan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00pm EST

Guy Turner of Hyde Park Venture Partners joins Nick to cover founder profiles and the characteristics that lead to the strongest startups. We address questions including:

  • You've observed over 50 startups, across your portfolio, and have written extensively about founder profiles. What are the two high-level categories of characteristics that you've observed?
  • Within the inspection characteristics category... what are the three dimensions that matter most?
  • The first two modes seem to differ primarily on the experience dimension... what are the two modes and what are their strengths and weaknesses?
  • Mode 3 you call the exec turned founder.... and mode 4 seems to have the ingredients for big outcomes or big flameouts. Walk us through each of these and their defining characteristics.
  • We've discussed four modes, but based on your framework there should be eight. What about the other four modes?
  • Do you think modes 1 and 2 work better for all investors or just HPVP?
  • Dealflow filtering and evaluation... can you use the inspection characteristics?
  • So we've discussed the inspection characteristics... let's transition to the the second major category, the experience characteristics. Talk more about what they are and how you assess them.
  • What are the five actions that matter most in startup teams?
  • How do you handle a situation where the deal comes late and there's already a term sheet and you don't have time to observe these characteristics over time?
  • What are the five styles that matter most?
  • Self-reflection, do you and Ira and Tim look in the mirror w/ Hyde Park and consider these expectations
  • How about for building the team at HPVP... do you apply founder assessment criteria in your hiring?
  • Are there any soft skills or overlooked founder characteristics that you haven't written about but you look for?
  • What's your take on the issues w/ ethics, not only amongst founders but at the investor level?

 

Guest Links:

 

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

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

Direct download: FR144_Guy_Turner.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:20pm EST

 

Guy Turner of Hyde Park Venture Partners joins Nick to cover founder profiles and the characteristics that lead to the strongest startups. We address questions including:

  • You've observed over 50 startups, across your portfolio, and have written extensively about founder profiles. What are the two high-level categories of characteristics that you've observed?
  • Within the inspection characteristics category... what are the three dimensions that matter most?
  • The first two modes seem to differ primarily on the experience dimension... what are the two modes and what are their strengths and weaknesses?
  • Mode 3 you call the exec turned founder.... and mode 4 seems to have the ingredients for big outcomes or big flameouts. Walk us through each of these and their defining characteristics.
  • We've discussed four modes, but based on your framework there should be eight. What about the other four modes?
  • Do you think modes 1 and 2 work better for all investors or just HPVP?
  • Dealflow filtering and evaluation... can you use the inspection characteristics?
  • So we've discussed the inspection characteristics... let's transition to the the second major category, the experience characteristics. Talk more about what they are and how you assess them.
  • What are the five actions that matter most in startup teams?
  • How do you handle a situation where the deal comes late and there's already a term sheet and you don't have time to observe these characteristics over time?
  • What are the five styles that matter most?
  • Self-reflection, do you and Ira and Tim look in the mirror w/ Hyde Park and consider these expectations
  • How about for building the team at HPVP... do you apply founder assessment criteria in your hiring?
  • Are there any soft skills or overlooked founder characteristics that you haven't written about but you look for?
  • What's your take on the issues w/ ethics, not only amongst founders but at the investor level?

 

Guest Links:

 

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

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

Category:general -- posted at: 1:19pm EST

In today's special segment the following investors are featured:

  • Chris Olsen
  • Jay Acunzo
  • Mike Collett

Each investor describes an outstanding entrepreneur that
they've worked with and what key traits and behaviors
make for the best startup leaders.

 

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

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

Direct download: IS69_Founders_Olsen_Acunzo_Collett.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:39pm EST

Today we publish part two of the interview with Chris Farmer of Signal Fire Ventures. In this segment we address:

  • Why he's using Beacon to make VC investments when their are numerous other applications that may have more economic value
  • How he's created an engaged, active advisor network that are also LPs in the fund
  • What characteristics the best advisors share
  • Chris' thoughts on the surge in micros VCs and how that has impacted the asset class
  • Chris' advice for founders raising initial capital
  • Wrap-up of Key Takeaways & a Tip of the Week

Guest Links:

Key Takeaways:

1- Deconstructing Beacon
 
Beacon is a connected platform that starts w/ sourcing but also does monitoring, context, diligence, syndication and most importanty, per Chris, portfolio support.  It's a data platform that looks like a Bloomberg terminal for the startup industry.  They started building it seven years ago and they employ a full-blown engineering team of data scientists and tech engineers.  Beacon tracks a vast array of data on 6M different companies.  And Chris started with first principles, asking "what are the KPIs that the management teams of these companies are measuring?"... those are the same elements we should measure with Beacon.  It analyzes items including customer behavior, frequency, engagement, CLV, consumer transactions, financial flows, quality of those flows, news sentiment and also team construction and quality, just to name a few.
 
And signal fire's platform isn't just for the investors.  There is a UI for advisors and most importantly founders as well.  Founders can utilize heir robust SaaS recruiting platform to address the key need of early stage companies... recruiting top talent.  With Beacon, Signal Fire has set out to tech enable the entire value chain of a venture firm from end-to-end.  Early indications from folks in my network are that it's an impressive platform indeed.
 
 
2- The Prepared Mind
 
Signal Fire did not coin the concept of "the prepared mind" but Chris does follow it.  The approach that came out of Accel has an emphasis on heavy research on existing domains.  The creation of market maps that help visualize the landscape and reveal opportunities.  In a previous episode, David Cowan discussed his approach to the Space vertical that leverages this methodology.  And in Chris implementation, he is constantly refining the maps.  He meets with LP experts and founders to go much deeper and broader than they could do w/ data alone.  The result is that Signal Fire is often much less bullish on the en vogue sectors and vice-a-versa.  Their investment in pizza making robot company, Zume, certainly illustrates their fresh perspective on an oft-ignored industry.
 
3- The Common Thread of Success 
 
I asked Chris for a common thread that he's noticed across successful startups.  And I really enjoyed his response.  The common thread in winners are those companies that are doing things full-stack. They are creating an end-to-end solution that is vertically integrated.  Where a company can be it's own customer in order to provide a better solution for the end consumer.  I discussed this concept w/ Charles Hudson in a previous episode.  We talked about finding the place within the vertical supply stack that enforces discipline on the chain and drives the most value.  Chris point was compelling in that he looks for startups that own the chain, not just a part of it.
 
Tip of the Week:  Tail Wags Dog -- The Affinity Investor
 
 

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Direct download: FR143_Farmer_p2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:56am EST

Chris Farmer of Signal Fire Ventures joins Nick to discuss his firm and their platform, Beacon, a robust data engine that reveals the best sector, market and startup investment areas. We address questions including:

  • Can you start off with the firm's thesis and your main focus at SignalFire?
  • You talk about the four big founder pain points that you've observed... what are they?.
  • Number one pain point is Hiring top engineers...  Tell us about his Data platform, Beacon, and how it addresses this pain point?
  • Sourcing and analysis tool that helps show you where to focus?
  • Can you give me an example of what you see when you look at a sector, sub-sector or even at the company level?
  • Does this data really exist with very early-stage startups or nascent sectors, before they've really emerged and have traction?
  • Sources?
  • I've worked for companies that had a difficult time getting one database to talk to another.  Can you really source unstructured data, from limitless sources and structure it in a way where it's streamlined, uniform, single record and can be used to drive insights?
  • Do you think about data that is empirical and fixed vs. data points that can be influenced... and if you find an strong startup profile that is missing a couple of key elements that can be influenced, will you engage and attempt to address those factors w/ the founder?
  • I've looked over the consumer and enterprise sector lists where you invest... and it's a pretty broad list.  Can you really have a data engine that works well for such a varied and broad landscape?
  • Essentially a sector by sector sensitivity and regression analyses?

 

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Direct download: FR142_Farmer_p1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:36am EST

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:

 

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for all of our other episodes.

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Direct download: FR141_CRAM_Mohnot_Urban_McClure.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:36pm EST

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