The Full Ratchet: Venture Capital Demystified (general)

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

  • John Vrionis
  • Elizabeth Yin
  • Bobby Franklin
  • Jeremy Neilson

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: 142_Investor_Stories_142__Lessons_Learned_Vrionis_Yin_Franklin_Neilson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Melody Koh of Nextview Ventures joins Nick on a special Crisis Coverage installment to discuss Super-Technologies; The Everyday Economy; The Overlooked Working Class; and Fear of Missing Out vs. Fear of Looking Dumb. In this episode, we cover:

  • Background and path to venture
  • Thesis and Focus at NextView
  • Hands-on approach (only 2-3 investments/yr)?
  • You wrote that when it comes to investing in the COVID era -- FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is replaced by FOLD (Fear Of Looking Dumb). What are you seeing from other investors?
  • How will this effect 'Seed' as a Stage of investing?
  • How has the crisis effected your approach?
  • Conviction without face to face?
  • Recently heard about NextView’s new virtual Accelerator... congrats on the launch. Can you give us a quick overview of the program?
  • Do you have any predictions on the long-term effects of this crisis on the ‘Everyday Economy’?
  • I saw your tweet about companies shifting the real estate burden to employees as everyone works from home... do you think companies should subsidize this?
  • Super-Technologies...  railroads, electricity, automobiles, and now internet connectivity.  Ideas about what may be some of the next infrastructure type super-technology?
  • Why do you think the working class has been overlooked as an opportunity for innovation?
  • You cite labor as an opportunity ready for innovation. Why is now the time for innovation here?
  • You point out a really interesting observation -- that this demographic is more likely to use smartphones as their daily driver and that they tend to skew towards older devices. What does that mean for new tech products?
  • Are there examples of tech companies that have successfully built a company designed for this category of workers?
  • What are the key success factors or key criteria for success, when launching technologies for the working class?
  • Which working class industries do you think are in the best position for change?

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

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


Jeff Fluhr of Craft Ventures joins Nick on a special Crisis Coverage installment to discuss Launching StubHub During the Dotcom Crash; Why Market Need Trumps Market Timing; Choosing B2B vs. B2C; and Why Founders Shouldn't Let VCs Decide Their Fate In this episode, we cover:

  • Background and path to venture
  • Thesis and focus at Craft
  • So, you incorporated Stubhub in March 2000... just weeks before the dotcom bubble burst. Was there any hesitation or second thoughts as the tech world was collapsing around you?
    • LESSON 1: IT’S ABOUT THE MARKET NEED, NOT THE MARKET TIMING
      • You talk about the difference between market need and market timing. Can you explain what you mean by this point?
      • How did you validate the market need, beyond just the experience of you and others you knew?
    • LESSON 2: BE FLEXIBLE IN YOUR STRATEGY
      • Often founders face this question of choosing B2B vs. B2C... can you talk us through the early days and StubHub and the how the strategy evolved?
      • Do you think if you initially focused on the B2C segment when the crash just happened, results would’ve been different?
      • What metrics were you optimizing for in the early days. While there were some successful marketplaces, like eBay, the playbook and range of metrics, I'm sure, were much less known and developed in the early 2000s vs. the resources we have to leverage today.
    • LESSON 3: VCs DON’T DECIDE YOUR FATE
      • Tell us about the Series A Raise -- did it go smoothly?
      • When did you shift the model and begin engaging more B2B channels? Was that post-Series A, B?  What guidance do you have for founders re. focusing on one and when to expand?
      • What was it, do you think, that kept all the VCs from investing?
    • LESSON 4 : DEPRESSION-ERA VALUES CAN BUILD A STRONG CULTURE
      • What were the three values that were core to your DNA and culture -- that helped you survive and ultimately thrive?
      • Has this shaped the way you evaluate companies, pre COVID and during?
    • LESSON 5 : MANY THINGS ACTUALLY GET EASIER
      • In what ways is it easier to build during a recession?
  • If you were building another company right now, what’s one major thing you'd do differently?

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:

  • Ryan Gembala
  • Jenny Rooke
  • Jeff Clavier
  • Courtney Reum

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

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

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

Direct download: 141_Investor_Stories_141__Whats_Next_Gembala_Rooke_Clavier_Reum.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Sarah Tavel of Benchmark joins Nick on a special Crisis Coverage installment to discuss Consumer Marketplace Investing; Why Aggregate GMV is a Red Herring; and Minimum Viable Happiness as the Key to Market Leadership. In this episode, we cover:

  • Background and path to venture?
  • Quick overview of the thesis and your focus at Benchmark
  • What are your thoughts on platform VC?
  • What tactics or approaches do you use in the process of “scaling your founder”?
  • You sit on the board of some companies, such as HipCamp, that have been greatly affected by the pandemic -- What are some of the creative responses you've seen from portfolio companies?
  • Is there anything fundamental to Marketplace businesses that you think will shift as a result of the crisis and changes in consumer behavior?
  • In the food delivery space, we recently witnessed DoorDash unseating the larger incumbent: GrubHub, with the greatest market share. DoorDash started after PostMates and years after Grubhub... how'd they do it?
  • Do you currently see or do you predict more situations where a startup capturing more supply will lead to displacement of a large tech company as mkt share leader?... if so, in what markets?
  • Recently, you published a series of newsletters talking about the hierarchy of marketplaces... first off, what are the three phases that you've outlined here?
  • Why is a push to aggregate GMV across many markets, less important than dominance in one market?
  • What is Minimum Viable Liquidity?
  • How do you define/measure happiness?
  • At what levels do you know you've reached MVL or MVH?
  • Level 2 of your Marketplace framework... Can you talk about what it means for a marketplace to “tip” and how do marketplace based businesses achieve this?
  • Is there something specific that happens w/ the metrics of a businesses that show that the marketplace is tipping?
  • Do different stages of fundraising map to these phases?
  • The third phase you refer to is the 'Outrun' phase... walk us through the main focus areas in this phase.
  • Homogeneity of the buy-side as a negative... can you expand on this?
  • How does your evaluation of a marketplace based business differ whether it’s a b2b company or a b2c company, if at all?
  • Let's say you are approached to invest in a Consumer Marketplace company with $10M in GMV, a 25% take rate, and 20% MoM growth for the last 6 months.
    • Catch is you can only ask for 3 data points to make your decision.
    • What 3 questions do you ask for?

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.


Beezer Clarkson of Sapphire Ventures joins Nick on a special Crisis Coverage installment to discuss Platform LP; Allocations in a Down-Market; COVID Strategy Drift; and Emerging Manager Selection. In this episode, we cover:

  • Background and path to Sapphire?
  • Overview of the thesis at Sapphire?
  • You have relationships with many different funds and fund managers, how have you been managing the current situation from the LP side?
  • Down years tend to be very good times to invest, what portion of institutional LPs do you think will view the current situation as an opportunity to deploy versus those that tighten up?
  • Strategy drift of a venture firm can be concerning. COVID has impacted some strategies more adversely than others -- what have you seen as far as shifts in theses and deployment strategies among firms and what's your opinion on GPs changing course due to COVID/SIP?
  • Changing gears a little bit, but I want to talk about OpenLP. What is OpenLP and why'd you launch it?
  • There was a good article recently published by Kauffman Fellows talking about the relationship between LPs and micro-vcs and emerging fund managers. It mentions that most institutional LPs won’t invest in emerging managers until they see them produce cash-on-cash returns, but at that point, they’re no longer an emerging manager. What do you need to see from emerging fund managers to consider investing in their subsequent funds?
  • As far as skills are concerned, which skills do you often see emerging fund managers have aside from having access to great deals, making good investment decisions and providing value to founders?
  • Have there been any novel ways that you've seen smaller firms differentiate themselves that you can mention? Any other areas where you'd like to see more focus?
  • Let's say you're looking at an emerging fund manager's existing LP-base -- what, if any, are the red flags or things that might give you pause?
  • I know you place significant emphasis on the human aspect of working with people, how do you assess whether or not a fund manager has the people skills that you require when deciding whether or not to invest into their venture fund?
  • How can a fund manager determine whether an LP has real interest vs. just being a tire kicker?
  • You are approached to invest in a Emerging VC Firm. Their last fund is currently at 35% IRR 1.3 TVPI and is 2018 vintage.
    • Catch is you can only ask 3 questions (for 3 additional data points) to make your decision.
    • What 3 question do you ask? Granted this is not how investing works! ; )
  • Any advice for fund managers that are early in the career, planning a fundraise within the next 12 months?

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:

  • Alex Osterwalder
  • Scott Kupor
  • Cheryl Cheng

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: 140_Investor_Stories_140__Why_I_Passed_Osterwalder_Kupor_Cheng.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Byron Deeter of Bessemer joins Nick on a special Crisis Coverage installment to discuss Why This is the Seminal Moment for Cloud and Lessons from 19 Unicorn Investments. In this episode, we cover:

  • Background and path to venture
  • Stage and focus area at Bessemer?
  • You’ve said that many of the lessons learned from the 08 crisis are applicable today -- what are the top 2 or 3 lessons that founders can directly apply to their business during the current crisis?
  • From a startup standpoint, how is this crisis different from the last?
  • What are your thoughts on the dynamics of the PPP and the role the government is playing amid the crisis?
  • We’ve seen significant volatility in the public markets, but Cloud has remained pretty resilient... what have been your macros observations on SaaS and Cloud businesses over the past couple of months?
  • Why is now “the iPhone moment” for Cloud? 
  • We’ve seen a number of business models gain increasing momentum, such as freemium, low friction and developer centric to name a few -- what have you observed w/respect to evolving business models and which do you think will become more pervasive in the coming years?
  • You’ve talked in the past about the importance of channel scalability for SaaS and cloud companies, define channel scalability for us and what some red flags that may reveal a lack of this?
  • A lot of analysis that goes into these businesses and every situation is different, so I don't want to over simplify... but have you found some general characteristics that separate the winners from the losers?
  • Trust is such an important part of a relationship between founders and investors, what's your approach to building relationships, and do you have a specific example/story?
  • We saw substantial growth in the number of unicorns from the 2000’s to the 2010’s, what do you expect to see this decade?
  • How do you feel about the trend of companies to stay private longer?
  • From the 10 Laws of Cloud Computing... which are the ones most often absent from opportunities you're reviewing?
    • Law 1: In the cloud economy, scale wins
    • Law 2: Growth at optimal cost
    • Law 3: Invest behind the cloud sales and marketing learning curve
    • Law 4: Product as a competitive advantage
    • Law 5: Master the 5 C’s of cloud finance
    • Law 6: Discover your secret KPIs
    • Law 7: Customer success is company success
    • Law 8: Impact through engagement or insights
    • Law 9: Tone starts at the top
    • Law 10: Map your fuel stops
  • In the last State of the Cloud report, you mentioned 5 predictions about the future of Cloud, can you highlight a few you're most excited about? 

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:

  • Michael Cardamone
  • Jim Kim
  • Jason Calacanis

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: 139_Investor_Stories_139__Post_Mortems_Cardamone_Kim_Calacanis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Leah Solivan of Fuel Capital joins Nick on a special Crisis Coverage installment to discuss Building TaskRabbit in a Recession; COVID Effects on the Independent/Gig Economy; and Key Factors for Early-Stage Marketplace Success. In this episode, we cover:

  • Background -- path to venture?
  • How is the current climate affecting your investing?
  • Differing viewpoints on how much runway to plan for w/ a new capital raise... are you suggesting founders raise for more than 18-months or does the standard runway guidance hold?
  • This crisis has had a pretty profound impact on the sharing economy/the gig economy/the independent economy. As someone with experience working in this space, what are your observations?
  • Key lessons learned from building TaskRabbit in 2008/2009 during a recession?
  • What will be the big opportunities post-covid, given the changes to consumer behavior?
  • What are the main 3-5 things your looking for in a consumer marketplace business at the seed stage?
  • Are there GMV levels that you're looking for?
  • How about take rate?
  • Best advice on investing in marketplace businesses that you've come across and incorporated into your approach?
  • I've seen a number of consumer marketplace business that start w/ an auction-style format where vendors bid for consumer business, like thumbtack... then they flip to more of an affiliate/referral model where the consumer enters the specs for their job, those leads are sent to vendors and the vendors reach out individually w/ proposals. Why have we seen this shift?
  • Does the transaction interface/format between vendors and customers influence your interest as an investor?
  • You've said that you think investor's should stand in a founder's corner, not their kitchen. What do you mean by that?
  • How involved do you get w/ founders, and how has that changed as the portfolio continues to grow?
  • Advice for founders that are approaching an exit process w/ strategics?
  • I know you pride yourself on your efficiency... do you have any efficiency hacks or tips for investors young in their career?

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.


Grace Isford of Canvas Ventures joins Nick on a special Crisis Coverage installment to discuss How Companies Can Maintain Growth Post-COVID. In this episode, we cover:

  • You're an extroverted, people-person... how you holding up w/ the quarantine?
  • Quick overview of your background and path to VC?
  • Your focus (and thesis) at Canvas?
  • You developed a 30 page GTM Playbook based on interviews w/ 10+ CROs/VPs of Sales across major B2B companies. First of all, is this publicly available and also what were some takeaways that really stood out?
  • There's a segment of VCs that believe that one must be an operator to be a good VC... what's your stance?
  • Examples of successful non-operators?
  • You completed a comprehensive analysis of the portfolios of over 200 venture firms, looked at 100 successful GPs, and winning, U.S.-based investments w/ a valuation greater than $500M... what were your key takeaways?
  • A bit about signaling... Many in the industry and those observing determine the value of a startup based on whether a brand name venture firm is in the deal... "If Sequoia is in the deal, startup must be great"... what are your thoughts on this common perception?
  • What does your weekly routine look like and how have you prioritized the various demands of the job?
  • What have you found to be most challenging in your career as a VC?
  • What advice do you have for young folks trying to make an impact as an investor or board observer?
  • You wrote a great piece that analyzed three areas where VCs could invest to address the societal challenges of COVID-19.
  • Can you walk us through each of these and why the opportunity here is greater?
  • What do you think the future holds for venture & entrepreneurship in a post-COVID world?
  • The old playbook for winning deals is gone... Any idea on how one might win a deal virtually?

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:

  • Minnie Ingersoll
  • Scott Dorsey
  • M.G. Siegler

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: 138_Investor_Stories_138__Strange__Unusual_Ingersoll_Dorsey_Siegler.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Ash Fontana of Zetta Venture Partners joins Nick on a special Crisis Coverage installment to discuss The AI Investing Playbook; Why "Dev Tools" for Data Scientists is the Next Great Opportunity; When Fund Returns Don't Fit the Power Law; and Ash's Favorite Investment Heuristic from Naval Ravikant. In this episode, we cover:

  • Zetta III was announced recently, a $180M fund for founders building AI-first companies.
  • You went from $60M -> $125M -> $180M... how was the fundraise different this time around?
  • Quickly can you give us your definition of an AI-first company?
  • What will you be doing differently with the new fund and how does the pandemic affect your approach?
  • Tom Tunguz just mentioned that in the data they're analyzing they are seeing a drop in spend on Machine Learning Infrastructure.  How much of a concern is this to you and your portfolio companies?
  • With the launch of the new fund, you outline focus areas both Applications as well as infrastructure and tools...Is the application-layer ready to leverage AI in a significant way or is there still a lot headway that needs to be made at the infrastructure level first?
  • Carlota Perez has written about technology cycles and how new technologies typically go through this installment phase, w/ rapid development and heavy investment, followed by crash and subsequent recovery leading to the deployment phase...  in your estimation where are we in the tech life cycle of AI and is it really ready (or will it be ready over the next 3-7 years) for mass deployment?
  • How effective are the AI models today when much of the input data, generally speaking, is flawed?
  • Talk about the next 3-5 years for Data Science... we've seen significant advances in developer tools and systems for software but I still feel like we're at very early stages in evolution, efficiency and scalability of data science tools/fundamentals.
  • Does your fund returns follow the power law?
  • Part of the advantage to AI-first startups is the supreme data moat that they can build, preventing others from gaining traction w/ competitive solutions. While this is an advantage for the startups that get a head start (and their investors) is there an adverse impact on other startups that are founded later and don't have the extensive data sets?
  • Many of the startups you invest in are "deep-tech" and will not monetize and grow ARR the same way many familiar SaaS or transactional businesses will.  What are the major gating factors to raise each of a Seed Round, a Series A and a Series B, in these longer cycle tech-first approaches?
  • You've create a Playbook on how to build an AI-first company.  It's evergreen with plans to update regularly as you work w/ companies...  I wonder if you might give us the basics... What do AI-First companies have in their DNA and when building a company, what's the sequence and major building blocks required at the early stages?
  • Last time you were on the show you mentioned you learned a lot of great heuristics and mental models from Naval Ravikant. Can you give us a couple of these that have been really valuable in helping you quickly frame startup investment potential?

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.


Tomasz Tunguz of Redpoint Ventures joins Nick on a special Crisis Coverage installment to discuss SaaS Strategies, Sector Data, and the $ Ceiling for Deals over Zoom. In this episode, we cover:

  • September of 2015 was the last time we had you on the program...  bring us up-to-speed on major milestones and changes since then?
  • Has your thesis changed at all?
  • Aside from the effects of the pandemic now, what has been the biggest change in SaaS investing since then?
  • Lots of varying advice from so-called experts... some suggesting to deep cuts across the board, extend runway out for a few years... others saying now is the time to lean-in, expand and take advantage of opportunities that are created by the crisis.  You put together a pretty simple two by two decision-matrix for startups.  Can you talk through this and how you're providing different counsel to startups in different positions?
  • If you're vetting a startup for a Series A that has benefited from the crisis, how do you disentangle or segregate temporary or non-sustainable revenue sources from the steady-state?
  • Have you adjusted your vetting criteria or expectations around metrics due to the crisis?
  • What's something you look for and analyze that is less common?
  • What's your take on situations where there is an agreed MRR but the contract is structured such that the bulk of the contract value is paid upfront.  On one hand is a great boost to working capital but how do you look at that from an MRR standpoint?
  • Any tactical advice for founders/sales teams w/ regards to structuring new customer contracts in this environment?
  • Is there a maximum $ contract size that you think can be closed over the phone?
  • To determine the sectors impacted most by COVID-19, you looked at Roger Lee's data on Layoffs.  We've discussed a lot of the impacted sectors anecdotally here on the show... according to the data, what has been impacted most?
  • Are there some sectors where we'll see a lagging effect... due to factors like sales cycles maybe we don't see the effects yet but will over the coming quarter or two?
  • You've discussed sectors and categories that this crisis might accelerate... aside from the obvious like teleconference, telehealth, grocery delivery, video streaming, etc... what are some non-obvious areas that may get a big boost?

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:

  • Aydin Senkut
  • Steve Glickman
  • Ash Rust

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: 137_Investor_Stories_137__Lessons_Learned_Senkut_Glickman_Rust.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Richard Kerby of Equal Ventures joins Nick on a special Crisis Coverage installment to discuss the Tactical Advice for Raising VC Fund 1, Why Not to "Raise the Bar," and a Framework for Startups Adjusting to COVID-19. In this episode, we cover:

  • Walk us through your background and path to Venrock
  • Why'd you leave to launch Equal?
  • You, Rick and the team just launched a $56 million Fund 1 at Equal Ventures in February...congrats on the final close! Tell us a bit about your thesis and how you differentiate?
  • You invest in retail, insurance, supply chain and the care economy. From afar those seem unrelated - how'd you arrive at those four categories... is there a common thread?
  • What is the best tactical advice you'd give to someone raising a fund?
  • What's the biggest mistake you made during the raise process that prospective fund managers should do their best to avoid making?
  • So you're early in the fund cycle w/ multiple years of initial check deployment in front of you... has the deployment strategy changed at all given the current environment?
  • Many investors are talking about and tweeting about "raising the bar” for investments... due to the pandemic and recession. Are you "raising the bar" at Equal?
  • Many famous investors opine on the importance of market size when making investments. What's your position on market size and how does one estimate an accurate market size in categories that have not yet been created?
  • You recently published your framework for COVID-19 Scenario Planning on Medium. Walk us through this framework and how it's applied.
  • What impacts has the virus had on your incubation arm at Equal?
  • Do you see this being a permanent change in incubators once this passes?
  • Diversity in venture is terrible... what is Stealth Mode and how are you trying to improve diversity?

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.


Elizabeth Yin of Hustle Fund joins Nick on a special Crisis Coverage installment to discuss Investing after 1 Zoom Meeting, 2nd & 3rd Order Effects of the Virus, and Why "Market Pull" is Critical. In this episode, we cover:

  • Tell us a bit about your background and path to venture
  • Why'd you leave 500 and start Hustle Fund?
  • What is the thesis at Hustle Fund?
  • From a macro standpoint, how do you think the pandemic effects the venture landscape?
  • What were some trends you were following, prior to the virus, that have accelerated in this environment?
  • What are some that have regressed?
  • What are some non-obvious sectors or business types that you're bullish on?
  • Due to maybe second and third order effects of the virus, what are some sectors you are bearish on?
  • You’ve said that you can make a decision after one Zoom conversation in 48 hours. Without much time to conduct diligence on the company and its founders, how are you able to get conviction so quickly?
  • Many of us are trying to figure out how to invest w/o meeting founders in-person... what are some of the key things you’re listening that help you make a quick decision w/o having met the founder?
  • NFX's launched a new application process where startups can apply for funding, give up 15% equity and receive a funding decision in 9 days? What are your thoughts?
  • You've stated that long term success for you is in changing the way that early stage VCs invest and think about investing. What's wrong w/ early stage investing and how do you see it changing over the next decade?
  • I appreciate your contrarian belief that the best startups will be founded outside the Bay Area. Why do you think this is the case?
  • Are there specific areas/geos you're focused on?
  • I want to talk about this concept of "market pull"... Can you define “market pull” for the listeners and how you assess whether a startup has it or not?
  • What advice do you have for investors/fund managers as we proceed amidst a very uncertain 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.


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

  • Adeyemi Ajao
  • Oren Klaff
  • Leo Polovets

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

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

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

Direct download: 136_Investor_Stories_136__Whats_Next_Ajao_Klaff_Polovets.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Patrick Gallagher of Tuesday Capital joins Nick on a special Crisis Coverage installment to discuss VC Firm Survival, How Seed Investing Scales, & A Glimpse at the Road Ahead. In this episode, we cover:

  • Walk us through your path to venture
  • How did things first come together for Crunchfund w/ you and Michael Arrington?
  • Why did Michael leave and why did you rebrand Crunchfund to Tuesday?
  • Gives us the highlights of your thesis?
  • How do current events effect your approach going forward?
  • Anything you'll avoid/be much more cautious investing in?... or anything you're leaning into?
  • Some have said that many seed venture firms will not survive the current crisis.  I think there may be more than 1000 seed firms currently...  Do you think the volume of seed players reconciles as a result of this correction?
  • What is your reserve strategy?  How much and how do you make decision as to how you deploy reserves into current portcos?
  • Why the partnership with Frog and what does that mean for your portcos?
  • Aside from design, branding, storytelling... what is an area that is significantly under-utilized as an area of value that VCs can provide to starutps?
  • I believe you're in Airbnb and Uber... was it difficult to invest in their later rounds while you had a young seed-focused fund?
  • Do you believe seed funds can scale?
  • Why do you think there are so many people that want to do this job?  The numbers aren't good... it takes a long time to establish yourself, most funds fail and even the successful ones take a long time to make money.
  • Before we wrap things up, what would you say to a young individual that wants to make a career in venture capital?

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.


Darren Bechtel of Brick & Mortar Ventures joins Nick on a special Crisis Coverage installment to discuss The Built World in Crisis. In this episode, we cover:

  • Background and path to venture?
  • South Park... must be a story behind the name there?
  • Overview of the thesis at Brick & Mortar?
  • Just have to say... I suspect that the impacts of this crisis on the built world will be more profound that we can possibly imagine... and I won't pretend to know what those might be. Can you talk a bit about what you're seeing and what that could mean for the future?
  • Circling back to your path to venture... How did your family react to your pursuit of a career in VC in lieu of the family business?
  • Walk us through your first angel investment -- was it opportunistic or were you looking for startup investments actively?
  • How'd that one turn out?
  • Prior to founding the firm, were there any existing firms in the space that you looked to for inspiration?
  • Talk about your first fundraise... you had access to a lot more capital than you closed. Why didn't you raise more?
  • What was the biggest mistake you made when launching your first fund?
  • Now that you're nearly 5 years into Brick and Mortar, is Built/ Construction tech where you expected it to be and are you as bullish on it now as you were then?
  • Do you think a major infrastructure bill gets passed? Trump has been talking about this for years and it seems like, with the current stimulus, now is his opportunity?
  • I have to imagine this will be a big tailwind for some of your portcos (and prospectives)?
  • Safety has been an area of interest that you've spoken about in the past. How does that apply in the context of your investment focus and does that change w/ the current crisis?
  • What advice would you give to a founder in the built technology space and how might that advice differ from the standard advice given to SaaS or consumer tech companies?

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: 215_215._Crisis_Coverage_w__Darren_Bechtel_-_The_Built_World_in_Crisis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm EDT

Welcome back to TFR for the first Investor Stories Cram Session. In these special releases, we have aggregated the Investor Stories from previous episodes. In this installment, the following investors are featured:

  • Jonathan Struhl
  • John Greathouse
  • Joanne Wilson
  • Semil Shah
  • Bryce Roberts
  • Troy Henikoff
  • Jason Heltzer
  • Christopher Mirabile
  • David Brown
  • Brad Feld

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.


Somesh Dash of IVP joins Nick on a special Crisis Coverage installment to discuss Late Stage Impacts and Prioritizing Mental Health. In this episode, we cover:

  • Quick background and what led you to venture/IVP?
  • Overview of the firm and your focus?
  • Covid impact on later stages
  • The 2008 crisis... '08 was still strong for C round funding, steep dropoff in 2009, stayed pretty low in 2010, returning to fairly strong levels in 2011... thoughts on timing, severity and duration of impact on later stage funding?
  • Directional impact on average valuations at late stage?
  • Thoughts on exits?
  • What do you think happens in the secondary market?
  • What do you think happens with the well-funded, late stage companies in markets that are highly dependent on social interaction, mobility, travel, etc.?
  • Reasonable to complete deep diligence in a completely remote environment?!
  • You've been w/ IVP since '05... best recollections of changes in strategy made at IVP in '08/'09?
  • Suggestions on how early-stage VCs should adapt the playbook?
  • Best moves startups made to survive and/or thrive at that time?
  • Biggest mistakes you've seen CEOs make?
  • Investment in Lyra's Series C....
  • Mental health now more than ever... expectations for industry amidst WFH/social distancing?
  • Tips for delivering hard news? -- furloughs, layoffs.. especially remotely
  • Suggestions for leaders to help their people through this?
  • How to keep team morale high?
  • How are you adapting communication or work habits at IVP to better keep engagement of your people, your portcos and your LPs?

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.


Semil Shah of Haystack joins Nick on a special Crisis Coverage installment to discuss VC Fund Management in a Pandemic World. In this episode, we cover:

  • Last time we had you on was Nov. 2017... quick update on you and Haystack since then?
  • LP interaction - are capital call defaults a serious issue to consider in this environment?
  • How do you think investment dollar volume adjusts in 2020 vs. '19?
  • I know you've had a lot of calls w/ friends and mentors lately... what are you hearing from the veteran investors right now?
  • What feedback or insights have surprised you?
  • What actions have you taken since the crisis hit to adjust your own strategy?
  • How do you see the value of face-to-face interaction playing out in the VC-Founder interaction during pitches moving forward?
  • How are you prioritizing reserves when triaging?
  • In the case of a fund running low on dry powder right now, what are your thoughts on reopening a fund?
  • In what cases should an early stage company change their business model to address the changing environment?
  • What are your thoughts on GTM, or changes in GTM, in this environment?
  • I saw that you guys are Crowdsourcing a list of startups who have changed their business model to help fight covid-19.  What have been the most interesting so far?
  • Over/under on duration?

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.


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 to discuss Building a VC Franchise; The Shift to Bite-Sized Video Content; Last-Mile Attribution; & the Impact of Corona Virus Over The Next 6-12 Months. 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

Mark Suster of Upfront Ventures joins Nick to discuss Economic Theory in Venture Capital. In this episode, we cover:

  • You’ve written about a major lesson from Clayton Christensen’s book, the Innovator’s Dilemma, which was one of ‘deflationary economics.’ Can describe what this means and why it should be a focus for startups?
  • In light of deflationary economics, what are the key questions that a founder should ask him/herself about the business?
  • Why is it that incumbents have such a hard time responding to startups w/ this approach?
  • What should new market entrants focus on when it comes to price vs. functionality?
  • At a high-level what are your thoughts on the trade-offs between growth and profitability?
  • What are your impressions of what Bryce Roberts is doing at Indie VC?
  • How have your thoughts on investment psychology and economics been influenced by The Black Swan by Nassim Taleb?
  • What other principles of economics, that we haven’t touched on, have informed your investment philosophy?
  • In light of today’s topics, what are the key things you’re looking for in startups?
  • Can you talk about Defy Ventures and your experience visiting California State Prison and the impact that Defy is having?

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: 201_201._REPLAY_Economic_Theory_in_Venture_Capital_Mark_Suster.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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

  • John Vrionis
  • Bradley Tusk
  • Oren Klaff

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: 128_Investor_Stories_128__Strange__Unusual_Vrionis_Tusk_Klaff.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Jason Whitney of IU Ventures joins Nick to discuss University-Affiliated Funds & Angel Networks. In this episode, we cover:

  • Backstory/path to venture
  • At IU you have 3 core initiatives - The Quarry, IU Venture Fund and the IU Angel Network. What's the focus of each?
  • Talk about the investment focus for the IU Philanthropic Fund.
  • What're the criteria to be eligible for funding?
  • How does IU Ventures support the University's mission? How does it affect or benefit current students?  
  • As a broader goal, I know the organization ultimately hopes to entice investors and entrepreneurs from around the country to return to Indiana as a result of participating in the network. Are you measuring this and are your efforts working thus far?
  • So, a criticism of both university venture funds and angel groups is speed -- traditional angel groups and academia move slowly with investment decisions.  How do you combat that issue for founders raising on a tight timeline, trying to close a round?
  • I was speaking with a university-affiliated investor just last week and he was saying, there's just not enough deal flow when you restrict investments to companies that have a specific university affiliation... do you agree/disagree?
  • I've heard from a number of the Alumni Ventures Groups in recent years  -- there are folks leading funds and angel groups with alumni from a particular university... are you a part of this effort and what's your impression of the Alumni Ventures Groups?
  • Let's talk more about the IU Angel Network. How do you go about becoming a member? What do you gain access to as a member?
  • Aside from the university affiliation, which is appealing to many, what advantages and points of differentiation does IU Angels have vs. other angel groups?
  • For the founders out there... why should they fight to get IU Ventures and/or IU Angels on their cap table -- how specifically are you driving success beyond that of other investors?
  • Advice for 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.

Direct download: 200_200._University-Affiliated_Funds__Angel_Networks_Jason_Whitney.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30pm EDT

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

  • Craig Wortmann
  • David Horowitz
  • Cyan Banister

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: 127_Investor_Stories_127__Lessons_Learned_Wortmann_Horowitz_Banister.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Jeremy Neilson of Assure joins Nick to discuss SPV's, Side Cars, & The Syndication Surge. In this episode, we cover:

  • Quick walkthrough of your background
  • Can you give us a brief overview of Assure?
  • What is an SPV Investment in the context of this discussion?
  • Can you walk us through the history of how sidecars and/or angel groups have handled (or mishandled) these syndication style investments in previous decades?
  • Why do you think startups and seekers of capital are increasingly raising through SPVs and targeting syndicate leaders?
  • What are the pros and cons of utilizing an SPV as an LP or individual investors?
  • What are the pros and cons of utilizing an SPV as an institutional investor or syndicate leader like myself?
  • Do the lead investors on these SPVs make money upfront -- initiation fees, mgmt fees, broker/transaction fees?
  • Some critics of the SPV model may say that the fees associated with SPVs can also create misalignments between the VC and LP. I haven't heard this critique myself but what are your thoughts on comments like these and how should the vehicle be structured to avoid misalignment?
  • With the SPV model, you're providing members with specific rights, such as redemption, voting, and pro-rata rights. Talk about thee member rights and its effect on the associated parties. From the investor's standpoint, are there any issues or risks associated with providing such rights and what's your opinion on how it should be handled?
  • What are your thoughts on sidecar investments and how should they be handled correctly? What are some challenges and in what situations do they work best?
  • Do you see fund managers that use SPVs exclusively for pro ratas? What are the advantages here?
    What are the regulatory risks for sidecar funds?
  • How big should a side car fund be and what's the appropriate minimum contribution?
  • SPVs are viewed by some VCs as passive investors (non-strategic money) and that the company should have pursued more active investors. An SPV leading the round has the potential to magnify this thinking even further. What's your opinion here and what advice would you have for those raising capital?
  • There are other platforms offering "SPV as a service"... platforms that you've powered on the back-end like AngelList and SeedInvest. Why would lead investors use you over one of the other platforms?
  • At the VC or PE fund-level, you also offer fund administration. What does that entail and how is it different than admin at the SPV-level?

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: 199_199._SPVs_Side_Cars__The_Syndication_Surge_Jeremy_Neilson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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

  • Bobby Franklin
  • Steve Glickman
  • Cheryl Cheng

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: Investor_Stories_126__Whats_Next_Franklin_Glickman_Cheng.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

M.G. Siegler of GV joins Nick to discuss Streaming Wars, The Future of Mobile & The Evolution of User Interaction. In this episode, we cover:

  • Backstory/path to Venture
  • How'd you find your way from Hollywood to SV?
  • Who was the first VC that, based on your writing talent, saw your potential as an investor?
  • Why did you leave Crunchfund for GV? 
  • A little confusion about the array of venture funds affiliated with Google - can you give us a quick overview and whether there is still an affiliation between Google and GV?
  • Tell us about your thesis.
  • How hands-on do you get w/ portcos?
  • How does Jony Ive's departure affect Apple?
  • What are the most valuable consumer tech companies by market cap - five years from now?
  • Right now, in the streaming market, we have a fragmented group of services yet know one platform to unify the user experience...  what do you see for the future of streaming?
  • How do you see the competition between Apple and Disney play out?  Who wins?
  • Just heard the announcement that Facebook is acquiring CTRL - Labs. Why do you think this is a good strategic buy for FB? removing monotony.... repetitive tasks....  mental fatigue....  Impact of constant stimulation, content consumption, on happiness, creativity, etc.?
  • You’ve invested in some big names such as Medium, Slack and Stripe to name a few. What's the single biggest common success factor that you've observed across very different companies?
  • What are some of the major trends we will see in mobile in the coming year and what do you think will phase out?
  • Who is your favorite writer in the space?
  • If you ever get around to writing your screenplay, what will you write about?

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:

  • Michael Cardamone
  • Jenny Rooke
  • Scott Dorsey

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_125__Why_I_Passed_Cardamone_Rooke_Dorsey.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

John Vrionis of Unusual Ventures joins Nick to discuss The DNA of Startup Success. In this episode, we cover:

  • Backstory/path to venture.
  • Talk about your experience at Lightspeed and your decision to leave.
  • Where/when did you first meet Jyoti Bansal, the founder, AppDynamics?
  • What's unusual about what you do?
  • 'Unusual Academy' and 'Get Ahead Platform' -- what are they and what's the difference?
  • You’ve spoken about your team at Unusual being focused on redesign the early-stage VC market and giving founders a distinct advantage. What about your approach gives founders a distinct advantage?
  • You've spoken about founder focus on "How it works" vs. "Why it matters" -- what's the disconnect you've observed with early-stage founders?
  • You've covered your own experience of learning through suffering -- is that also a quality/characteristic you look for in founders?
  • Arrogance vs. Humility -- have you invested in founders displaying these traits? What's been your experience?
  • 3 must-haves that you look for in a new investment?
  • If there's one common theme in failed investments -- what is it?
  • Is there anything unusual about your approach to sourcing? If so, what is it?
  • What are some best practices for founders when picking a VC?
  • Over the past year or so the percentage of total VC dollars invested in early-stage deals fell to the lowest levels the industry has seen in five years. Why do you think this is the case?
  • You've talked a lot about the seed funding gap and challenges to get to Series A. I'd love to get your thoughts on what's required to raise an A?
  • Do you focus on product-market-fit prior to the A round -- if so, how do you define it?
  • What's the problem with Sovereign Wealth in Silicon Valley?
  • Do you have specific examples of unintended consequences or challenges with certain types of LPs behind a VC fund?
  • Re. founders -- You've said that "the biggest mistake you can make is taking an investment from a mega-fund" Why?
  • How has the early-stage venture landscape shifted from previous years? What do you expect to see in the 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.

Direct download: 197._The_DNA_of_Startup_Success_John_Vrionis_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

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

  • Jeff Clavier
  • Bradley Tusk
  • Scott Kupor

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_124__Post_Mortems_Clavier_Tusk_Kupor.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:30pm EDT

Courtney Reum of M13 joins Nick to discuss Creating Unfair Advantages, Surviving Founder Burnout and Driving Successful Exits. In this episode, we cover:

  • Backstory/path to venture
  • Tell us about your experience being an investor at Goldman Sachs and working with brands like Procter & Gamble, Under Armour and Vitamin water. What are some takeaways you got from that experience that influence you today? 
  • You and your brother founded VEEV Spirits which became the first line of organic ready-to-drink cocktails. VEEV received the Technomic Fast 50 Award and was named an Inc. Magazine 500 Fastest-Growing Companies in the U.S. What are some key factors that helped you establish such a successful brand? Tips for founders?
  • Tell us about the approach you used to raise capital for Veev?
  • Tell us the story behind founding M13. What was your vision for the firm early on? 
  • What is your current focus/thesis at M13? Tell us about your “repeatable playbook” approach. 
  • You took some big risks investing early in companies like Lyft, Ring, and Slack, which of course has paid off. Can you share with us some key points as to why you invested and how you were able to get conviction so early on?  
  • I want to switch gears and talk a bit about your book that you and your brother, Carter, wrote “Shortcut Your Startup.” The book is focused on separating yourself from the pack and flipping traditional startup advice on its head to provide an empowering toolkit for founders. Can you dive into that toolkit and a brief summary of the book? 
  • The benefits and biggest challenges to working with your brother?
  • One of the topics in the book I thought was interesting was “obsessively take advantage of your unfair advantages” tell us about what this means and how founders can implement it. 
  • Another topic I want to ask you about was “Success doesn’t equate to a successful exit” - What does lead to a successful exit and how do you gauge that you're on the right track? 
  • You also talk about “getting into the trenches” and “knowing if you're a speedboat or a sailboat” in the book. Can you give us some insight on these topics and why they’re important? 
  • From your experience, what do you think contributes most to founder burnout and how do you avoid it? 
  • What advice would you give CEOs or other C-suite executives to keep employee morale high and help their employees thrive? 
  • What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a founder and that you commonly see founders face today?
  • You have a passion for startups that are thinking about what consumers don't even know they want -- maybe for 10-20 years. Yet, in the future can't imagine living without. How do you vet a startup investment with such nascent consumer demand?

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:

  • David Horowitz
  • Jim Kim
  • Ash Rust

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_123__Strange__Unusual_Horowitz_Kim_Rust.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Oren Klaff of Intersection Capital joins Nick to discuss Flip The Script & Perfect Your Pitch. In this episode, we cover:

  • Backstory/path to finance
  • What led to the founding of Intersection?
  • What's your mandate and focus at Intersection? Tell us about the Velocity product.
  • Your bestselling book Pitch Anything, provides a detailed methodology on effectively presenting, persuading and winning a deal during the pitch. Can you go over some key takeaways from the book for listeners?
  • In the book you talk about the "S.T.R.O.N.G Method.” Can you briefly summarize the most important components of this approach and give some examples on how it works? 
  • Your newest book "Flip the Script: Getting People to Think your Idea is Their Idea" is about to launch on August 13th.. why'd you write the book?
  • I liked the title of your first chapter... Inception.  Many will remember the blockbuster movie.  What's the "We are evolved distrust information from the outside world"... how does this impact the approach?
  • Is there a framework of structure that folks should follow to successfully flip the script?
  • What's the biggest mistake folks make when trying to sell?
  • Whats' the most practical, simple, pragmatic advice you can give... let's say a founder trying to raise venture capital... that they can take away from this convo and implement immediately.
  • Do you have a set of questions and structure for every sales discussion going in or do understand the concepts and then treat every conversation organically? Any tips on getting the meetings w/ prospects? 
  • Let's say someone has optimized their close rate... do you have tips on securing more qualified meetings?
  • If you write another book... what topic is next?

 

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: 195._Flip_The_Script__Perfect_Your_Pitch_Oren_Klaff.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00pm EDT

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

  • Adeyemi Ajao
  • Roy Bahat
  • Cheryl Cheng


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_122__Lessons_Learned_Ajao_Bahat_Cheng.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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

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

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


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


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

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

 

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


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


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

  • Scott Dorsey
  • Aydin Senkut
  • Cyan Banister

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

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

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

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

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

  • Tae Hea Nahm
  • SC Moatti
  • Jeff Clavier

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

  • Nick Moran
  • Shea Balish
  • Henri Deshays

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Steve Glickman
  • Craig Wortmann
  • John Fein

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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


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

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

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

  • Bradley Tusk
  • Jim Kim
  • Jenny Rooke

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

  • Roy Bahat
  • Ash Rust
  • Wayne Kimmel

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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


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

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

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

  • Aydin Senkut
  • John Fein
  • Cheryl Cheng

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

  • Adeyemi Ajao
  • Cyan Banister
  • Jeff Clavier

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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


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

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

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

  • Jim Tananbaum
  • Brian Ascher
  • Tae Hea Nahm

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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


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


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

  • Nick Moran
  • Rick Stokes
  • Joe Dwyer

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

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

 

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

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

 


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

  • Craig Wortmann
  • SC Moatti
  • Bradley Tusk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

  • Cyan Banister
  • David Cohen
  • John Fein

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

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


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

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

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

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

 

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

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


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

  • Rebecca Kaden
  • Roy Bahat
  • Elizabeth Galbut

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

  • Evangelos Simoudis
  • Cheryl Cheng
  • Wayne Kimmel

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

  • SC Moatti
  • Brendan Wallace
  • Vic Pascucci

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

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


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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

  • Jim Tananbaum
  • John Fein
  • Sarah Anderson

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

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


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

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

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

 

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

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

Bradley Tusk
Roy Bahat
Brian Ascher

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tae Hea Nahm
David Cohen
Yoav Leitersdorf

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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."