The Full Ratchet: Venture Capital Demystified

On this special replay episode, Joanne Wilson joins Nick to discuss predatory investor practices and the dark side of venture, including:

  • On the founder-side, What are some of the activities you’ve seen from early-stage investors, that are predatory toward founders?
  • What are some of the major differences between investor practices of the mid-90’s and today?
  • What actionable measures would you recommend founders take in order to help prevent getting taken advantage of?
  • Moving to the investor-side.  What are some of the things that later-stage VCs will do to eliminate or water-out an angel’s equity position?
  • What can early-stage angels do to prevent this from happening?
  • How has your approach evolved throughout your investing history to position you and your portfolio companies for success?
  • Generally, what is your take on the gender balance in venture, how has it changed and what specific things are you involved in to help promote the role of women?

Missed a recent episode? Go to The Full Ratchet blog and catch up! Also, follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.


On this special replay, Charles Hudson of Precursor Ventures joins Nick to discuss Getting Smart on a New Market.

In this episode we cover: 

  • What Charles’ experience at SoftTech was like and how he made the transition to founding Precursor.
  • What his continuing role as a Venture Partner at SoftTech entails.
  • How Charles decides to study a new, emerging market and some of the markets that he’s analyzed over the years.
  • The three components of his approach to getting smart on a new area.
  • How important timing is and how he considers if the timing is right for a new area.
  • If he assesses markets vertically and looks for the level within the supply chain stack to see where a company is playing and which level within the chain is going to exert the most control over the market.
  • How he breaks down market structure and the critical components therein.
  • The importance of the degree of homogeneity of the customer base within a target market.
  • How he thinks about companies disrupting existing markets and those creating brand new markets.
  • We discuss how there’s always a good reason to say no to startups and, more importantly, the key, recurring reasons that come up that cause him to say yes.
  • How do you look at companies addressing industries where the incumbent product offerings are free.  Businesses like Slack that were replacing free options
  • Fresh Eyes… You’ve written about how you don’t look at decks before the first meeting w/ an entrepreneur. Can you touch on the key reasons why you take meetings without reviewing the deck?
  • If you are evaluating a startup that is pre-traction – what do you look for and why?
  • In the spirit of continuous improvement… What are your thoughts on how one can learn and improve once they have a job in VC?
  • What startup investor has inspired and influenced you most and why?
Direct download: 315_Replay__Getting_Smart_on_a_New_Market_Parts_1__2_Charles_Hudson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am EST

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

  • Dharmesh Thakker
  • Amy Nauiokas
  • Jonathan Lehr

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

Did you miss our guests full length episodes? Go to The Full Ratchet blog and catch up! Also, follow us on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/company/27155166/) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/TFR_Pod).

Direct download: 324_Investor_Stories_224__Why_I_Passed_Thakker_Nauiokas_Lehr.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST

On this special replay, Jaclyn Hester of Foundry Group joins Nick on a special Crisis Coverage installment to discuss GP and LP Alignment, Challenges for Emerging Fund Managers, and How the Explosion in Seed Fund Volume Plays Out.

Guest Update: Jaclyn is now Partner at Foundry Group. Congratulations Jaclyn! 

In this episode, we cover:

  • Tell us about your background and path to VC
  • For those who don’t know talk about the approach at Foundry with both the LP and GP model
  • Foundry traditionally had no apprenticeship model and no junior investors… were you the first?
  • Pandemic… Are you making investments currently and what are you hearing from other LPs?
  • What’s your advice for GPs re. building relationships and momentum w/ LPs during these uncertain times?
  • What’s the biggest mistake emerging managers make when fundraising?
  • What do new fund managers underestimate when starting a venture firm?
  • Does it matter how specific a thesis is? Do you need to see a unique, focused and compelling edge or are you just as receptive to a generalist w/ a strong network and track record?
  • What question tends to trip up GPs?
  • What are some of the most important things GPs should ask LPs when raising?
  • What do you think are the most important things GPs and LPs need to be aligned on for a successful relationship?
  • How does the explosion in volume of seed funds affect you approach to selection?
  • How do you think this plays out — most funds fail? Returns more evenly distributed? Power law no longer applies (or is less pronounced)?
  • Fast forward 5 years and let’s assume there’s been a fundamental shift in early stage Venture. What do you think is the most likely, largest change that’s occurred?
  • What advice do you have for young people that aspire to be a VC someday?
  • Not going to ask for favorite GPs but, I will ask, if you could break quarantine to grab a cocktail w/ one GP — who do you choose? ; )
  • 3 Data Points…
    • You’re approached by an emerging VC firm raising fund II. The fund manager did not work for a large, brand-name venture firm before and she has never had an institutional investor. Net TVPI is 1.4, and Net IRR is 35% and it’s a 2018 vintage.
    • The catch is you can only ask 3 questions (for 3 additional data points) to make your decision.
    • What 3 questions do you ask?

In this special replay of Episode 154, Ben Narasin of NEA joins Nick to discuss NEA’s Investment Process & The Key Ingredients for Startup Success. In this episode we cover: 

- Why he made the move to NEA
- His Investment focus
- 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

Missed a recent episode? Go to The Full Ratchet blog and catch up! Also, follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.


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

  • Mike Smerklo
  • Spencer Maughan
  • Vanessa Larco
  • Ben Wiener

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

Did you miss our guests full length episodes? Go to The Full Ratchet blog and catch up! Also, follow us on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/company/27155166/) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/TFR_Pod).

Direct download: 323_Investor_Stories_223__Post_Mortems_Smerklo_Maughan_Larco_Wiener.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Ruth Foxe Blader of Anthemis joins Nick to discuss The Embedded Opportunity in Insurtech, Crypto & Web 3.0 Applications, and the Future of Fintech. In this episode we cover:

  • Ruth's Background and path from English Major to VC
  • What trends she's following in Fintech and Insurtech
  • Opportunities for developing market founders & more! 

Missed a recent episode? Go to The Full Ratchet blog and catch up! Also, follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.


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

Did you miss our guests full length episodes? Go to The Full Ratchet blog and catch up! Also, follow us on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/company/27155166/) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/TFR_Pod).

Direct download: 322_Investor_Stories_222__Strange__Unusual_Mead_Sippel_Wilkins.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

Russ Heddleston of Dropbox joins Nick to discuss Founding DocSend, Creating a Winning PLG Motion, and Data From 1000's of Pitch Decks. In this episode we cover: 

  • Can you tell us a bit about your background and your path to founding DocSend?
  • How did you think about the PLG strategy for DocSend?
  • Why did you release the Seed Fundraising Report?
  • What are the typical numbers like for a seed round? How much are they raising? How many investors are people meeting with?
  • What makes for a successful pitch deck?
  • How to find a good co-founder?
  • Learnings from DocSend and a word of advice to founders.

Missed a recent episode? Go to The Full Ratchet blog and catch up! Also, follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.


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

Did you miss our guests full length episodes? Go to The Full Ratchet blog and catch up! Also, follow us on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/company/27155166/) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/TFR_Pod).

Direct download: 321_Investor_Stories_221__Lessons_Learned_Requarth_Mehta_Levine.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EST

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