The Full Ratchet (TFR): Venture Capital and Startup Investing Demystified

Spencer Maughan of Finistere Ventures joins Nick to discuss How the Generational Shift Is Affecting Food, Investing in Vertical Farming and in New Biologics, and Platform Solutions to Food Dilemmas. In this episode, we cover:

  • Walk us through your background and path to VC
  • What’s the thesis at Finistere Ventures? Focus? Check Size?
  • Talk a bit about your global footprint, and why that is of value to the firm or the founders?
  • What makes Finistere unique?
  • What do you see as some of the biggest drivers of change in the food value chain?
  • Are consumers going to embrace alternative produced meats when they are ready for market? With classically long timelines, they're expensive (producing a cost-effective product) and production is difficult. How do you think about that when you're underwriting the risk on an investment?
  • What do you think of insect-based protein as a primary protein source and nourishment source in developed countries?
  • What are the food-related effects from the pandemic that are ephemeral versus, you know, what do you think are here to stay?
  • Previously, you mentioned a few areas of vertical farming, new pesticides in FinTech within ag-tech that were of interest. So which of those remain sort of strong categories as you see it today? Any other aspects within the ag-tech sort of lens and frame that you guys are investing forward in?
  • You've also spoken about sort of a shift from point solutions in ag-tech to more platform, can you describe what you're observing here, and where you see the shifts occurring?
  • Lobbies wield incredible power in the Food and Ag space. Is that a challenge that must be managed? For you guys, as a firm focused on investing in very disruptive tech in this space?
  • What do you need to get better at?
Direct download: TFR_Spencer_Maughan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

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

  • Jonathan Hsu
  • Janet Bannister
  • Avichal Garg
  • Simeon Iheagwam

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

Direct download: IS-194.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Dharmesh Thakker of Battery Ventures joins Nick to discuss The Future of Cloud, Business Model Transitions from Subscription to Consumption, and The Shift from Technology-first to End-User Value. In this episode, we cover:

  • Walk us through your background and path to VC.
  • What’s the thesis at Battery?
  • Any significant differences in types of products being built across geographies?
  • How does Battery segment the cloud infrastructure market and find opportunity areas in the subsegments of most interest?
  • To what extent do legacy IT and legacy software impede the rate at which we can progress with new toolsets and new infrastructure?
  • Is there more appetite for modern solutions, just due to demographics?
  • When ROI is opaque, how do you measure time to value and how might time to value might be different for different decision-makers within the organization?
  • What does top-down enterprise selling moving to bottom-up user and influencer adoption mean to ROI of significant scale implementation to new infrastructure?
  • What sorts of businesses lend themselves well to product-led growth?
  • You’ve said that managing churn and focusing on customer success is more important now more than ever. In what ways have you observed leading tech companies apply innovative approaches to customer success (expansion and retention)?
  • Should Startups price on a consumption basis early on?
  • Do you believe should the customer success leader report up through the CRL?
  • What are your thoughts on open source and licensing models? There are impassioned, differing viewpoints on this with some worried about the integrity of open source while others cast blame on large tech companies, like Amazon, that are efficiently able to monetize R&D that they didn't invest in. What's your position and how does it inform the way you approach investing in open source?
  • You've been investing in cloud since, I believe, 2008... what stands out to you as you look across the biggest winners? Any common threads or key differentiators?
  • What do you know, you need to get better at?

Battery Ventures provides investment advisory services solely to privately offered funds and neither solicits nor makes its services available to the public or other advisory clients. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. This podcast mentions certain Battery portfolio companies; for a full list of all Battery investments and exits, please click here. Content obtained from third-party sources, although believed to be reliable, has not been independently verified as to its accuracy or completeness and cannot be guaranteed.

Direct download: TFR_Dharmesh_Thakker.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

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

  • Monique Woodard
  • Sach Chitnis
  • Brendan Wallace
  • Mike Smerklo

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

Direct download: IS193.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Glenn Rockman of Adjuvant Capital joins Nick to discuss The Future of Public Health, VC Differentiation within Life Sciences, and Preventing the Next Pandemic. In this episode, we cover:

  • Walk us through your background and path to VC.
  • What’s the thesis at Adjuvant?
  • When taking on strategic LPs, especially those that are very high profile, and have their own mandates and their own agendas, do they inform you where you deploy capital, or is Adjuvant completely independent and financially motivated?
  • Is there a standard stage within the clinical or development process that you enter in? Standard check size? Are you multi-stage?
  • You're investing in products designed for people who live on just a few dollars per day ... There's a lot of VCs that won't invest in the underbanked category, for instance, because of low-income dynamics and socio-economic effects, even though there are some big, winners and category creators there. When you're pitching this different lens and different frame to LPs in the life sciences space that are used to deploying into a certain model ... that's designed for a different maybe category of patients. How did that resonate? And how were you able to compete against peers in the life sciences space for LPs?
  • Regarding geopolitical risks to deployment and ideological or philosophical risks amongst the public that have been maligned by governments or biotech companies... How do you address risks of that nature, especially when you're going into different countries with heterogeneous agendas across and belief sets across both?
  • Did your firm take an active position investing in vaccines or treatments or COVID-19? And how do you look at that in the short and medium-term?
  • What do you think happens in the future with public health spending? And do you see a lot more dollars being allocated for prevention and other activities to address public health issues?
  • There's this common belief that I hear you disagree with that becoming a good VC requires an apprenticeship. Why do you think it doesn't?
  • Are there any best practices from traditional VC that you embrace and then others that you just ignore?
  • What do you know you need to get better at?
Direct download: TFR_Glenn_Rockman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

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

  • Erik Torenberg
  • Patrick Gallagher
  • Alfred Chuang
  • Stephen McIntyre

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

Direct download: IS192.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Neil Sequeira of Defy joins Nick to discuss Overlooked Opportunity in EdTech, Letting the Entrepreneur Be the Guide, and Defy’s Sage Program. In this episode, we cover:

  • Walk us through your background and path to VC.
  • Remind us of the thesis at Defy.
  • Tell us a little about your team at Defy. How it has grown and evolved and all of the things each person brings to the table which makes the firm stronger?
  • What do you think is one of the most underappreciated skills of the great venture investor?
  • How do you think founders have changed since you first started investing, if at all?
  • Why is leading a round of financing and ownership important to venture capital firms?
  • At the later stages and growth stages, what's the biggest risk or mistake you've seen founders make when bringing on investors, and/or what's the biggest issue that investors may impose that causes issues?
  • What resources would you recommend to the listeners that you found valuable on founding startups or being a long-term sustaining venture investor?
  • What do you need to get better at?
  • What is the best way for listeners to connect with you?
Direct download: TFR_Neil_Sequeira.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

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

  • Monique Woodard
  • Marcelino Pantoja
  • Niko Bonatsos
  • Jim Douglass

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: 191.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Guy Perelmuter of GRIDS Capital joins Nick to discuss The Deep Tech Revolution, Predictions for the Job Market, Crypto, and NFTs, and The Inevitabilities of the Next Decade. In this episode, we cover:

  • Walk us through your background and path to VC.
  • What's the thesis at GRIDS Capital?
  • A common critique of deep tech — it takes longer, it's more unpredictable, timing is of greater risk, and it's more capital intensive — why commit your firm to exclusively targeting a segment that most venture investors refuse to consider?
  • Present Future: Business, Science, and the Deep Tech Revolution —Why did you decide to write a book about the deep tech revolution?
  • Protocols of standardization
  • What factors lead to standardization and choosing of a protocol?
  • What are the "inevitabilities" of the next decade?
  • What does the job market of the future look like?
  • Do crypto coins become a primary Treasury Reserve asset or a major currency in the next three to five years?
  • A quick take on NFTs? 
  • What does the future for Brazil and South America look like?
  • You're a previous risk manager, and you've claimed before that being risk-averse is a strength in VC. Why is that?
Direct download: TFR_Perelmuter.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:48am EDT