The Full Ratchet: Venture Capital Demystified (general)

Amy Nauiokas of Anthemis Group joins Nick to discuss Embedded Finance, Community-based Fintech, the Demise of Legacy Institutions, and Driving Returns with a Diversity Investment Mandate. In this episode, we cover:

  • Tell us a bit about your background and your path to venture.
  • Anthemis. What is it? Tell us a bit about the thesis and what you guys do?
  • So where do you find yourself spending most of your time? 
  • Amy can you give us a quick primer on the difference between FinTech and tech fin?
  • What is your quick take on regulation? Are there still major obstacles that need to be overcome?
  • We've seen large tech in some ways abuse opportunity before in FinTech and in other areas, that I'd be curious to hear what your take is on sort of the established incumbent large legacy financial institutions. How do you see them adapt in order to capture value and attempt to maintain their position as well as direct access to customers?
  • Let's talk more about embedded finance. How do you think that may affect wealth management, investing brokerage going forward?
  • Let's talk a bit about banking as a service. Can you give us an overview of some of these banking as a service platforms and maybe an example of a non financial company? And, you know, maybe the initial offerings that they are incorporating to improve user experience for customers?
  • Is Anthemis looking at virtual assets?
  • What is Anthemis doing to promote diversity and underrepresentation in venture?
  • I suspect there's also a belief that investing in underrepresented folks in women can outperform not doing so is that is that part of the thesis or not?
  • There's been a lot of changes in dynamics going on in venture capital from Spats to huge players in the late rounds and non-VC and financial players entering. There's also the mega-rounds that are now entering early-stage investing. I'd love your quick take on any of those sorts of phenomena that are occurring in venture capital.
  • What do you know, you need to get better at?
  • What's the best way for listeners to connect with you and follow along with Anthemis?
Direct download: TFR_Amy_Nauiokas.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

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

  • Paul Martino
  • David Goldberg
  • Maren Bannon
  • Neil Sequeira

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

Direct download: IS196.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Billy Libby of Upper90 joins Nick to discuss Non-Dilutive Financing Options, Fintech is Eating the World, Digital Asset Aggregation, and Quants Investing in VC. In this episode, we cover:

  • Walk us through your background and path to VC.
  • What’s the thesis at Upper90?
  • On the website, it says "We are not looking to finance major technology disruptors but rather the derivative businesses being created around them." Can you explain what you mean by that?
  • How do you underwrite and assess the risk of some of these platform-dependent technologies (channel choke)? If you build businesses that are dependent on top of Facebook, for instance, or on top of Slack, or businesses related to the Amazon ecosystem, like Thrasio, how do you think about the risk of the platform deciding they no longer want to play nice with you?
  • What is the split of your fund - the equity versus the debt component?
  • And the terms of the debt, are there multiple different forms and different terms, or have you standardized that?
  • Do you do some debt in non-dilutive financing options for non-portfolio companies? Or is it always an investment plus the credit?
  • Do you include rights in some of those agreements to convert into equity should you choose?
  • We've seen a lot of players, sort of FinTech startup-ish players, springing up providing access to capital for working capital needs and credit needs. Like Pipe and Lighter cap and CapChase and all these players. How are you similar and different from them? And how do you think about that?
  • Is there ever a conflict, you know, when you're making an equity investment, but you also have debt in these companies? If they get in a tight situation? potential for conflicts?
  • You said that you'll enter at seed. Are there certain metrics or revenue levels that you're looking for other structural dynamics, whether it be collateral or SAS subscription revenue? What's too early would be another question.
  • There are a number of market makers here in Chicago that have entered sort of the VC asset class, what skills or strategies from your experience in your background? What do you think lends well, no pun intended, to driving top returns in venture?
  • Can we get your thoughts on big drivers and opportunities in FinTech over, let's say the coming three years.
  • What do you know, you need to get better at?
Direct download: TFR_Billy_Libby.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

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

  • Eric Collins
  • Gigi Levy Weiss
  • Tim Guleri
  • Ben Casnocha

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

Direct download: IS195.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

  • Ryan Gembala
  • James Currier
  • Jesse Middleton
  • Ramy Adeeb

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

Direct download: 4.29_Why_I_Passed.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:18am EDT

Nicole Quinn of Lightspeed Venture Partners joins Nick to discuss The Effect of Technology on Relationships, The 5 Indicators of a True Brand, The Appeal of Love/Hate Businesses, & the Rise of Super Apps. In this episode, we cover:

  • Walk us through your background and path to VC
  • What if anything changed the most from your early days, angel investing on your own to the days you joined the team at Lightspeed?
  • I think a good place to start is with an article you wrote a little over a year ago about your investment philosophy, and how it was shaped by the book, Shoe Dog, by Phil Knight. What was the seminal learning from that book, and how has it shaped your approach?
  • What's the thesis at Lightspeed?
  • What are the consumer behaviors in different regions?
  • You emphasized the importance of hiring and the framework Lightspeed uses for its portfolio companies. Could you give us the broad strokes on that?
  • How did you develop your thesis on Lunch Club, and what makes you so excited about it and kind of the way they're thinking about relationships?
  •  You have such a lens on social and all these things, but how will relationships be affected over time with not being able to achieve that same level of authentic connection with folks when it's just over chat or the internet? 
  • Are you bullish or bearish on Clubhouse?
  • What are the early indicators in a company that signal that a true brand is being built? Are their must-haves vs. nice to haves?
  • Have you ever come across an opportunity where the NPS was? marginal or low, but the repeat rate and referral rate was high?
  • Have you looked at all this? You know, kind of buzzy new way of looking at that the Rahul Vohra Superhuman? How pissed off would you be if this was taken away or something like that?
  • Most of the super apps have been outside of the states, places like China, Latin America. Do you expect the rise of more super apps here? Why or why not?
Direct download: quinn_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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

  • Henrique Dubugras
  • Nikhil Basu Trivedi
  • Check Warner
  • Brian Hirsch

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

Direct download: is189.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Mike Smerklo of Next Coast Ventures joins Nick to discuss The Sustainable & Temporary Trends of COVID, The Self-Aware Founder, and Writing the Survival Guide for the Mental Aspect of Entrepreneurship. In this episode, we cover:

  • Walk us through your background and path to VC.
  • What's the thesis at Next Coast Ventures?
  • What are 'Next Coast' markets?
  • How do you come up with the themes that drive investment focus at NCV?
  • What are some of the trends emerging now that you are following that may have the most impact on new business creation over the next five years?
    • Which are sustainable and which are temporary? Especially in the post covid world. 
  • The biggest difference in the founder journey from the LoudCloud and ServiceSource days vs. today?
  • What qualities do you look for in founders when investing in the early-stage vs. growth stage?
  • How do you help founders?
  • What led you to write the book Mr. Monkey and Me?
  • Why are you giving all the proceeds for the book to charity?
  • I would love to hear your thoughts on self-awareness w/ entrepreneurs and your approach to it.
  • This question is called three data points. I'm going to give you a hypothetical situation w/ a startup, and you can ask three questions for three specific data points.
    • Let's say you're approached to invest in a Series A Marketplace startup...
    • The company is based in Houston
    • The sector is oil/gas.
    • They launched 24 months ago.
    • and they currently have $500k/month GMV and a 25% take rate ($125k monthly revenue run rate)
    • Again, the catch is, you can only ask 3 questions for 3 specific data points, in order to make your decision. What three questions do you ask?
Direct download: mike_final_v2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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

  • Maren Bannon
  • Simeon Iheagwham
  • Ty Findley
  • Paul Martino

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

Direct download: is_188.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:30am EDT

McKeever "Mac" Conwell II of RareBreed Ventures joins Nick to discuss Raising a Fund via General Solicitation & Twitter, How Rolling Funds Can Disadvantage LPs, and Facing the Reality of Diversity in VC. In this episode, we cover:

  • Walk us through your background and path to VC
  • What’s the thesis at RareBreed Ventures?
  • Why did you start RareBreed Ventures?
  • Tell me about the fundraise... when did you first kickoff and then start getting momentum?
  • Have you gotten better at raising over time? What have you improved most?
  • What resonates w/ LPs, what do you get pushback on?
  • What's been the biggest surprise in the process so far?
  • Optimistic, pessimistic or neutral on diversity in VC over the next decade?
  • Twitter -- blowing up, what's working so well?
  • Rolling fund vs. not... why?
  • Thoughts on thesis and portfolio construction...
  • What's the ideal fund size for your stage and strategy?
  • Founders... biggest mistake you see early stage founders make
  • Gives us a snapshot of Rarebreed in 3 years... how about 7 years?
Direct download: Mac_ver4.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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

  • David Goldberg
  • Sach Chitnis
  • Kane Hsieh
  • Reid Christian


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

Direct download: IS187.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:30am EDT

Brendan Wallace of Fifth Wall joins Nick to discuss How COVID Has Instigated a Massive Demographic Reshuffling, Accelerating the Transformation of Retail, and Why Real Estate Will Become the Largest Consumer of Climate Tech. In this episode, we cover:

  • The world becomes more flat over time, and w/ mobility tech, like Uber and others, the distance between points shortens over time, which all fundamentally disrupts urban planning of the cities themselves but also the suburbs and beyond... now we're in a situation where a wild card factor comes into play... this pandemic... that has altered how people live and work more fundamentally than ever expected?
  • First off... trends where you will deploy dollars?
  • Do we go back to a primarily in-office environment post-covid? why or why not?
  • Have you seen more value creation or more value destruction, in real estate, from the pandemic?
  • What strategies will cities implement to stay competitive post-covid? 
  • We have a new administration in office... How do you think this affects real estate and your strategy at Fifth Wall?
  • Climate issues and the net carbon effect of construction on the planet... is technology the primary solution to these issues, or is it even more basic than that?
  • Financial side or real estate, construction and AEC side, there's the post-construction in-service opportunities/retrofits for buildings whether residential, commercial or industrial... what part are you spending the most time in and do you feel there's the biggest gap between current state and desired state?
  • What are the most common mistakes founders make when building in this sector?

 

 

Direct download: brendan_tfr.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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

  • Ben Casnocha
  • Elizabeth Yin
  • Ed Sim
  • Tim Guleri

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

Direct download: Investor_Stories_186.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:04am EDT

Paul Martino of Bullpen Capital joins Nick to discuss Doubling Down on Data to Discover Overlooked Founders, Teaching and Coaching CEOs, & Bullpen's Approach to Measuring Fund Success. In this episode, we cover:

  • Can you first refresh us on the thesis at Bullpen and then maybe give us an update on the firm over the past three years?
  • How do you define post-seed today... and is it moving as other stages have?
  • Are you still one of the few specialized at post-seed or have you seen increasing competition?
  • Is there still a strong emphasis on metrics and using the data as an early filter of deals?
  • How are you using data to source?
  • What do you look for in founders?
  • Why are you committed to coaching/supporting companies?
  • We all know the scorecard of success in VC... DPI, TVPI, IRR, PME, etc... what are the leading indicators of success that you measure and manage to make sure you're driving success in those metrics.
  • You are a founder yourself, what advice would you give to founders right now that are building during the Coronavirus Recession
    • Wrote article: "The 2008 Recession Saved Our Company. The Coronavirus Recession Might Save Yours, Too"
  • Let's say you have a chance to speak w/ a younger Paul, circa 2010... what advice to give?
  • What does the underdog founder look like? or What do you look for in founders?
  • What's broken in the venture ecosystem?
  • This question is called three data points. I'm going to give you a hypothetical situation w/ a startup and you can ask three questions for three specific data points.
    • Let's say you're approached to invest in a post-seed stage SaaS startup...
    • The founder does not come from big tech.
    • Her HQ is in St. Louis
    • The sector is retail.
    • They launched 12 months ago.
    • and they currently have $80k MRR.
    • Again, the catch is, you can only ask 3 questions for 3 specific data points, in order to make your decision. What three questions do you ask?
Direct download: 275.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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

  • Niko Bonatsos
  • Niki Pezeshki
  • Farooq Abbasi
  • Jaclyn Hester


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

Direct download: IS_185.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:45am EDT

Alfred Chuang of Race Capital joins Nick to discuss The Next Generation of Tech & Venture Capital from the Perspective of a Unicorn Founder Turned GP. In this episode, we cover:

  • Walk us through your background and path to VC
  • What’s the thesis at Race Capital?
  • Why did you name your fund Race Capital?
  • I want to talk a bit about open source... there seem to be wildly differing takes on this but what is your opinion of for profit tech companies building products on open source architecture and, in some cases, just reskinning open source tech w/ a UI and selling for profit?
  • As we evolve to an increasingly cloud-first technology environment, what does it mean as we transition from a hybrid (onprem, cloud) approach to cloud only?
  • How does edge computing reconcile with this future cloud-only environment?
  • On the data side... Do you think we move to a Unified Data Infrastructure Architecture in the future?
  • Transition a bit to talk more about your journey...
  • I want to talk a bit about BEA Systems... sounds like an amazing journey and a great outcome. What is your biggest regret looking back (if any)?
  • Ultimately, why do you think entrepreneurs choose you over other firms?
  • What's your opinion on valuation and, as things have gotten more competitive, firms bidding price up and founders really optimizing for valuation at the early stages?
  • Is Silicon Valley’s exodus real?
  • Will these SPAC deals blow up?
Direct download: Alfred_Chuang_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:35pm EDT

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

  • Erik Torenberg
  • Maren Bannon
  • Shawn Carolan
  • Lanham Napier

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

Direct download: IS184.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Monique Woodard of Cake Ventures joins Nick to discuss The "Three Layer Cake" Fund, How Personal Experience Drives Your Investment Lens, The Future of Tech for the Aging Population, & How a Solo GP Can Do it All. In this episode, we cover:

  • Walk us through your background and path to VC
  • What’s the thesis at Cake Ventures?
  • You have a strong focus on looking for startups that are addressing the needs of a world undergoing massive demographic changes. Talk to us a bit about how you approach investing in demographic change?
  • What sort of demographic changes do you believe will have opportunities?
  • Were you surprised to see Baby Boomers dominating online shopping?
  • What is it like being a solo GP? What are the pros and cons?
  • How do you replicate and try to scale yourself?
  • Context switching is often cited as the hardest thing about what we do.  Talk us through your schedule and how you manage context switching?
  • This question is called three data points.  I'm going to give you a hypothetical situation w/ a startup and you can ask three questions for three specific data points.
    • Let's say you are approached to invest in a consumer social business with 100k MAUs, and 20% MoM growth for the last 3 months. The catch is you can only ask for 3 data points to make your decision.
    • What 3 questions do you ask?
Direct download: monique_woodard_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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

  • Lo Toney
  • Stephen McIntyre
  • Eric Collins
  • Trae Vassallo

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

Direct download: IS_183_v2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

David Goldberg of Alpaca VC joins Nick to discuss Staying Competitive in the Seed Fund Boom, Success Metrics at the Fund Level, and the Shifting Equilibrium of Investors and Founders. In this episode, we cover:

  • Walk us through your background and path to VC
  • Tell us about your shift from law to finance and to becoming a founder of FreshNeck?
  • What’s the thesis at  Alpaca VC?
  • Talk to us about your Field Studies and why you do them.
  • How do you develop a thesis on consumer behavior, trends, and how they will evolve in the coming years?
  • Similar to us you do a lot of OKR and KPI measurement and tracking as a firm... what are some of the most important metrics you track that should ultimately lead to the right progress?
  • What about w/ the portfolio companies?
  • Do you have systems and processes on the front-end, pre-investment
  • You are a remote team of fund managers in NY, CO, and FL... what are the advantages and drawbacks for startups with w/ remote teams?
  • Do you think the center of gravity is shifting away from the Valley?
  • You recently invested $2.5M of your personal capital into 6 Black and Latin fund managers - what drove this decision?
  • What are your thoughts on Carta X and new liquidity for late-stage equity?
Direct download: David_Goldberg_FInal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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

  • Janet Bannister
  • Simeon Iheagwham
  • Somesh Dash
  • Jonathan Hsu

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

Direct download: 182.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Marcelino Pantoja of Tribe Capital joins Nick to discuss LP Turned VC, Mistakes When Pitching to Allocators, and Managing Limited Partner Relationships. In this episode, we cover:

  • Walk us through your background and path to VC
  • Refresh on the thesis at Tribe?
  • Talk to us about the mindset of the allocator — what are their key objectives and what do they care about?
  • What are the biggest mistakes you see emerging managers making when pitching LPs?
  • Let's say an aspiring VC has a few years until they will raise from institutions... what should they be focusing on in order to create a really compelling offering in the medium term?
  • Let's say an emerging GP is raising from institutions imminently... what advice would you have for them?
  • Do you think it's significantly easier for an institution to make an investment in some coming from a large successful Tier 1 fund, spinoff, vs. a successful operator or angel?
  • What are the key challenge areas that the LP is really going to scrutinize on the spin-off and what are the areas under scrutiny for the operator?
  • Sometimes it's hard to get information on LPs from a distance... do you have any advice for fund managers that are trying to pre-qualify?
  • What is the difference between a good LP and one that may be a problem... how does a GP determine that early enough to avoid bringing on the wrong types of LPs?
  • In what ways is your job similar and different moving from LP to VC?
  • How do you compete against other firms for deals?  I understand the value-add but the value has become competitive with a larger number of firms... how can you continue to win and do so at a price that makes sense for the return potential?
Direct download: Pantoja_Final_v2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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

  • Grace Isford
  • Erik Torenberg
  • Eric Collins
  • Villi Iltchev

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

Direct download: IS_2.25.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Vincent Diallo of Interlace Ventures joins Nick to discuss Retail Apocalypse or Renaissance, the Commerce Evolution, and Fundraising from Corporates. In this episode, we cover:

Article Mentioned in Episode: http://bit.ly/TFR-Vincent

  • Walk us through your background and path to VC
  • What’s the thesis at Interlace?
  • COVID has affected commerce severely -- for better and for worse. Has this changed your investment approach?
  • Many investors are avoiding all physical retail as COVID has created a “retail apocalypse”, but you've stated that you see it more as a retail renaissance.  Why?
  • What are some trends from COVID that you think investors are overreacting to that you expect will return to pre-pandemic levels?
  • What new consumer experiences or behaviors are emerging that you are excited about?
  • You mentioned supply chain as another area of interest, where are the biggest opportunities in the supply chain?
  • Biggest mistake fundraising? Biggest win fundraising?
  • Oper8tor program?
  • Is now a good time or a difficult time to be a diverse fund manager?
Direct download: Vincent_Diallo_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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

  • Tom Tunguz
  • Patrick Gallagher
  • Trae Vassallo
  • Brian Hirsch

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

Direct download: why_i_passed_2.18.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Sach Chitnis of Jump Capital joins Nick to discuss Discovering the Next Sectors of Opportunity, The Impact Platform, & The Exit Discussion. In this episode, we cover:

  • Walk us through your background and path to VC
  • What’s the thesis at Jump Capital?
  • Talk about developing a thesis on a specific market opportunity — can you give us the broad strokes on your process of how you dissect emerging markets and identify where existing offerings are lacking?
  • How do you determine who will be the winner?  Is it common that, of the existing set of players, none will emerge as the winner and you need to wait for a fresh approach?
  • Having a portfolio support platform is unusual for your size — how are you able to make it work at your fund size and what all does it entail?
  • In what areas do you find a Series A funded company needs the most help?
  • How do you advise a founder that's in a hot space, doesn't need capital but has inbound interest and large investment offers, maybe at inflated valuations, from tier 1 coastal investors?
  • Let's talk about exits a bit...  you've been around for 8 years, I noticed the good news of both 4C and Personal Capital's recent large exit,  where are you finding most of the exit discussions begin... do they start w/ the founder considering it, do you discuss it as an option, or do meetings/partnerships start coming from strategics that get the process rolling?
  • How do you advise founders on negotiation and getting the right offer, not just any offer?
  • What is "swing time" and how do you systematically build that into your schedule?
Direct download: Chitnis_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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

  • Niko Bonatsos
  • Melody Koh
  • Ramy Adeeb
  • Mark Suster

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

Direct download: Post_2.11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Maren Bannon of January Ventures joins Nick to discuss Breaking the Founder Stereotype, Mastering Conviction Over Zoom, & the Contrast between European and American Entrepreneurs. In this episode, we cover:

  • Walk us through your background and path to VC
  • What’s the thesis at  January Ventures?
  • How are you and your team at January Ventures making tech more of an equal opportunity?
  • What is your approach to portfolio construction in this fund and how will that evolve in the future?
  • What's one thing you know now that you wish you knew prior to raising the fund?
  • You take meetings with founders VERY early — no warm intro, no pitch deck, or no revenue required to pitch to January Ventures. How do you evaluate the potential this early?
  • How do you filter all of the opportunities -- what is your pre-filter process?
  • How have you changed your work/process at January post COVID?
  • What is your experience like moving from SF to Europe and what is your view of the European tech ecosystem?
Direct download: Bannon.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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

  • Henrique Dubugras
  • Jim Douglass
  • Beezer Clarkson
  • Avichal Garg

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

Direct download: IS_2.4.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Tim Guleri of Sierra Ventures joins Nick to discuss Advice from a Unicorn Founder Turned VC, the Future of the VC Landscape for Founders & VCs, and the Founder Love Metric. In this episode, we cover:

  • Walk us through your background and path to VC
  • What’s the thesis at Sierra Ventures?
  • What's been your biggest influence on the firm's ethos?
  • You've had two incredible outcomes as a founder... first question is do you think the process of building a company today is materially different than it was when you did it... if so how?
  • We've talked a lot on the show, over the past 8 months about the effects of COVID on venture... what have been you main observations on how VCs are adjusting to investing during COVID?
  • What do you think the new normal for startups looks like post-covid?
  • How do you advise a founder that's in a hot space, doesn't need capital, but has inbound interest and large investment offers, maybe at inflated valuations, from tier 1 coastal investors?
  • How do you handle situations where the product is just not a great fit for the market and the momentum is not building the way it should?
  • You've been through the exit process this yourself and, I'd imagine, even w/ great outcomes those are some of the hardest decision one faces as a CEO... Do you have a framework or an approach to assessing whether an exit offer is strong and should be taken or whether the founder should hold out for a bigger outcome.
  • There are a lot of factors that play into having to wind down a company...  are there any that standout that signal to you that it's no longer working and we need to face to reality?
  • You mentioned something interesting recently pertaining to your relationship with founders and that’s that you track a metric that you dub “Founder Love”. Can you explain how you gauge and measure this?
  • What do you think the venture industry looks like in 5-10 year
Direct download: Tim_Guleri_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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

  • Check Warner
  • Ty Findley
  • Lo Toney
  • Byron Deeter

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

Direct download: IS177.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Ed Sim of boldstart ventures joins Nick to discuss: Velocity as a Superpower, Why Contrarians Win, The Role of a Board Member, and Why Some Challenge When they Should Chill

  • Walk us through your background and path to VC
  • What’s the thesis at boldstart ventures?
  • What was it like starting Boldstart in NYC in 2010?
  • Tell us a bit about the thesis at investment and how things evolved over the years until the ultimate exit?
  • What's your preference...  Niche and narrow problems or big and expansive opportunities?
  • What is your mental model for investing in enterprise founders with ideas?
  • category creation
  • Why only technical founders?
  • Will this enterprise bull market sustain?
  • You've talked about being involved and sitting on boards from "whiteboard to scale" ?...  how do you manage ever-increasing board responsibilities with other demands of the job?
  • Where are VCs most lacking when it comes to the value that early-stage founders require?
  • Do you think there's too much money in venture?
  • How do you win in a seed with so many seed funds?
Direct download: Ed_Sim_Ready.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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

  • Steve Blank
  • Niki Pezeshki
  • Lolita Taub
  • Jesse Middleton

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

Direct download: IS176.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Brian Hirsch of Tribeca Venture Partners joins Nick to discuss Maintaining a Disciplined Fund Size and Strategy, The Rise of NYC Tech, and Changes in the Exit Environment. In this episode, we cover:

  • Walk us through your background and path to VC
  • What’s the thesis at Tribeca Venture Partners (TVP)?
  • We've seen notable firms in the valley launch platform and service offerings to founders... have you considered this at Tribeca - why or why not?
  • Biggest differences between NYC tech vs Bay Area Tech
  • COVID is causing many people to move away from the city. Any concerns about losing tech talent?
  • How much does the exit environment for tech companies effects what you invest in?
  • what's most undervalued in the public market or exit market at large that will be more appropriately valued in 3-5 years from now
  • What's your take SPACs?
    • 10/9 Brain's Tweet: "New 🦄 every 3 days this year vs. how many SPACs?  Unicorns and SPACs are like pizza. If the ratio of cheese to sauce is off the 🍕 tastes bad and goes down poorly."
  • What's your take on rolling funds?
Direct download: Hirsch_Readyl.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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

  • Janet Bannister
  • Shawn Carolan
  • Reid Christian
  • Villi Iltchev


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

Direct download: IS175_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Simeon Iheagwam of Noemis Ventures joins Nick to discuss Starting a Fund w/ Life Savings, Why it Takes More than Just Performance to Find Success, and Sticking to Your Framework. In this episode, we cover:

  • Walk us through your background and path to VC
  • What’s the thesis at NOEMIS Ventures?
  • What is your process for investing?
  • Are there any must-haves?
  • Like Brad Feld... you are syndication agnostic... don't care about who else is in the round and you're willing to be the first yes.  How do you get to conviction -- especially not having worked for a large VC fund?
  • Where do you help your portfolio companies the most?
  • In your words... why is it difficult to launch a fund as a diverse manager?
  • What were some of the most unexpected and challenging aspects of launching a fund?
  • Strangest question you've received from an LP?
  • What's your approach to investing in diverse founders?
  • You were recently highlighted by Grasshopper Bank and Left Tackle Capital as an extraordinary funder.  And I believe you joined their inaugural cohort called the Future Funders Institute?  We've seen a few different accelerator-like programs spin up, targeted at emerging GPs.  Tell us a bit about the program.
  • 3 data points...
    • Let's say you are approached to invest in a Fintech SaaS business with $5k MRR, and 20% MoM growth for the last 3 months. The catch is you can only ask for 3 data points to make your decision.
    • What 3 questions do you ask for?
Direct download: Iheagwham_READY.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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

  • Stephen McIntyre
  • Gigi Levy Weiss
  • Richard Kerby
  • Kane Hsieh

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

Direct download: IS174.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Charles Adler of Kickstarter joins Nick to discuss The Founding Story of Kickstarter — Community, Competition, and Customer-Obsession. In this episode, we cover:

  • Walk us through your background and path to tech.
  • Growing up what inspired you most?
  • How did the idea for Kickstarter begin?
  • Was there an MVP - was there an initial target vertical?
  • When did you know that it was working?
  • What was the biggest mistake you made during the journey?
  • When competition arose... did it scare you?
  • Is Kickstarter today still delivering on the initial vision you and your co-founders had?
  • What was the hardest part of growing a venture-backed company?
  • What advice would you have for founders before selecting VC partners?
  • Organic growth and categories?
  • We often talk on the show about the importance of customer obsession, really knowing what they care about and spending time to understand that -- what has been your philosophy and approach w/ customers?
  • Many founders and investors talk about the importance of diversity.  We talk about the importance of climate change and the environment.  We campaign for socio-economic equality.  How do you think founders (and investors) can be more intentional about building their beliefs into their business and their culture?
  • What are you focused on now... tell us about Lost Arts?
  • Why do it alone?
  • Community has been a common thread/focus across many of your efforts.  Is community core to everything you do... if so why?
Direct download: 261_261._The_Founding_Story_of_Kicks.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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

  • Ben Casnocha
  • Janet Bannister
  • Nikhil Basu Trivedi
  • Farooq Abbasi


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

Direct download: IS173.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Guest Update: When the episode was recorded in 2019, Cyan was a partner at Founders Fund. Currently, Cyan is a partner at Long Journey Ventures. 

In this special replay of episode 180, Cyan Banister of Long Journey Ventures 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: REPLAY_CYAN_BANISTER.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

In this special replay of episode 135 & 136, Eric Paley of Founder Collective joins Nick to dispel some conventional wisdom in VC. We address questions including:

  • What’s the focus at Founder Collective?
  • What are the downsides of heavily funded companies?
  • Overview and Methodology of the study of 71 IPOs: ‘Overdosing on VC: Lessons from 71 IPOs’ Conventional VC...
Direct download: REPLAY_ERIC_PAYLEY.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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

  • Eric Collins
  • Trae Vassallo
  • Ramy Adeeb
  • M.G. Siegler

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

Direct download: 172.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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

  • Nick Moran
  • Thomas Gentle

This will be a unique segment where, Founder of Shotcall, Thomas Gentle, will discuss his startup story and how he chose New Stack to participate in the funding round.

follow us on Twitter @TheFullRatchet for updates and more information.

Direct download: Why_I_Invested_in_Shotcall_Thomas_Gentle.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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

  • Check Warner
  • Henrique Dubugras
  • James Currier
  • Lanham Napier

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

Direct download: IS_171.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Avichal Garg of Electric Capital joins Nick to discuss The Intersection of Crypto and VC and the Future of Digital Currency. In this episode, we cover:

  • Walk us through your background and path to VC
  • What’s the thesis at Electric Capital?
  • How does the crypto focus change the fund structure of Electric Capital?
  • When you invest capital and receive equity and/or coins in return...  What determines that breakdown?
  • For pure coin investments, how do you think about and manage liquidity and transactions over time?
  • What are some of the big differences between traditional tech investing and crypto investing?
  • How are the founder's different?
  • What’s are the biggest risk factors that are unique for early-stage cryptocurrencies?
Direct download: 260_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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

  • Jason Whitney
  • Leah Solivan
  • Jim Douglass
  • Elizabeth Yin

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

Direct download: IS170.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Lolita Taub & Jesse Middleton of The Community Fund
join Nick to discuss The Fund that Started on Twitter, Why Community-driven Startups Win, and Embracing the Underestimated. In this episode, we cover:

  • Background of Lolita & Jesse
  • How did the two of you meet and ultimately decide to launch a fund together?
  • What's the thesis at the Community Fund?
  • Conflicts or issues running multiple funds that invest at similar stages?
  • Why did you create a distributed investment team of 13?
  • How did you select them?
  • Approach to investing in cold reach outs?
  • How does decision-making work?
  • What does a great founder look like to you?
  • You invest in community-driven companies... what does that mean, and how do you define community-driven?
Direct download: TFR259_final_v2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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

  • Niki Pezeshki
  • Somesh Dash
  • Byron Deeter
  • Trae Vassallo

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

Direct download: is169.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Reid Christian of CRV joins Nick to discuss Developer Tools, The Surge of European Tech, and Why Founder Needs Differ Across Regions. In this episode, we cover:

  • Walk us through your background and path to VC
  • What’s the thesis at CRV?
  • $600M closed in July... any change to approach or thesis?
  • What are some of the focus areas that you're leaning into amidst the circumstances?
  • How do you evaluate teams?
  • What type of founders excites you to invest?
  • Centralization — the shift from consumers to creators
  • Why is your focus on SAAS/CLOUD/ENTERPRISE IT/BIG DATA?
  • What does the future look like for Enterprise SaaS companies?
  • How has your sourcing of startups changed?
  • In another lifetime, would you like to be a professional basketball player or a venture capitalist?
  • Three data points question

 

Direct download: 258TFR.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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

  • Erik Torenberg
  • Ryan Gembala
  • Jaclyn Hester
  • Jonathan Hsu


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

Direct download: IS168.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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

  • Nick Moran
  • Kwame Boler

This will be a unique segment where, Founder of Neu, Kwame Boler, will discuss his startup story and how he chose New Stack 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: Why_I_Invested_in_Neu_Kwame_Boler_v2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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

  • Minnie Ingersoll
  • Oren Klaff
  • Jason Whitney
  • Nikhil Basu Trivedi

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

 

Direct download: IS167.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Niko Bonatsos of General Catalyst joins Nick to discuss Investing in First-time Founders, the Evolution of Social, the Future of Big Tech, and the Freedom of Remote Work. In this episode, we cover:

  • Walk us through your background and path to VC
  • What's the thesis at General Catalyst?
  • Livongo... up nearly 300% since public debut last year — I hear you were in the room during the early formation stages.
  • You have been at GC for almost 10 years — what has been the most significant change in VC, aside from the pandemic, since you began your career?
  • What are your thoughts on the explosion of seed funds and now many angel funds as well?
  • Since the pandemic broke, what's been the most significant adjustment at GC, and/or how do you see the approach to investing changing going forward?
  • What surging trends during the pandemic will continue to grow faster, and which will revert once the pandemic is over?
  • Do you think this fundamentally changes benefits that are offered to employees?
  • I'm not sure if you caught the recent documentary on Netflix — social dilemma explaining social media issues. Many experts argued that we are not evolved to handle all of these inputs and that big tech has and will continue to manipulate our beliefs and actions. What's your take?
  • Tweet: "Are you building a consumer product that is perceived as annoying, controversial, or stupid by most people? If yes, I'd love to hear from you!" What are some examples of consumer successes that started this way?
  • What qualities does a founder need to have for you to be interested in?
  • Break up big tech?
  • The three data points
Direct download: TFR257_V2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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

  • Alex Osterwalder
  • Mark Suster
  • Melody Koh
  • Farooq Abbasi

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

Direct download: IS166.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Villi Iltchev of Two Sigma Ventures joins Nick to discuss Using "George" a Proprietary Tool to Source Startups, The Commoditization of Capital, and the New Exit Environment. In this episode, we cover:

  • Walk us through your background and path to VC
  • What’s the thesis at Two Sigma?
  • Tell us about George.
  • What's George's biggest blind spot?
  • What is your decision framework on investments?
  • What characteristics do you look for in markets when identifying new sectors/spaces of interest?
  • How long after investing in/working with a company do you tend to know whether it's going to work or not?
  • Do you attempt to handicap execution risk vs. technical risk vs. commercial risk?
  • Capital is a commodity and, largely speaking, there doesn't appear to be a lot of differentiation in venture.  How do you combat the commoditization of venture?
  • Aside from bankers... who do you think stands to lose the most from the increase in SPACs and direct listings?
  • Any other downsides, unintended consequences, or problematic issues that could arise from the increase in SPACs?
  • A decade from now, will the U.S. be the best country to start a tech company?  If it shifts, what are the prime candidate countries to replace the U.S.?
  • International investment strategy for Two Sigma?
  • Three data points...  hypothetical investment scenario
    • Let’s say you’re approached to invest in an enterprise SaaS startup.
    • Founder has a great background.
    • MRR is $200k, growing 20% MoM.   LTV:CAC is 5:1.  Quick Ratio greater than 4.
    • Catch is, you can only ask 3 questions for 3 specific data points, in order to make your decision.  What three questions do you ask?
Direct download: TFR256_v2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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

  • Ty Findley
  • Stephen McIntyre
  • Beezer Clarkson
  • Sarah Tavel

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

Direct download: IS165_v2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Janet Bannister of Real Ventures joins Nick to discuss Launching Canada's #1 Local Classifieds Site, Kijiji, The Flourishing Canadian Tech Ecosystem, and What to Look for in Early-stage Marketplace Startups. In this episode, we cover:

  • Walk us through your background and path to VC
  • What’s the thesis at Real Ventures?
  • Tell us about your time at Kijiji
  • You became the Managing Partner at Real Ventures  a few months before the pandemic.  What timing to take on the MP role!
  • You've talked about how it's just as important to focus on founder development as it is to focus on business strategy and growth... in what areas do you find that founders need the most development help?
  • Largely speaking, what stats or trends across Canada lead you to believe that it will have a booming tech economy over the next decade?
  • What city gets most of your attention and what city/region is under-the-radar but shouldn't be?
  • What are the top 3 things you're looking for in a marketplace startup?
  • come for tool stay for marketplace... vice-versa?
  • Balanced scorecard
  • Let's say you are approached to invest in a Consumer Marketplace company with $5M in GMV, a 30% 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?
Direct download: 3Janet.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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

  • Tom Tunguz
  • Grace Isford
  • Ben Casnocha
  • Courtney Reum

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

Direct download: 164IS.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

George Arison of Shift joins Nick to discuss Going Public via SPACs and PIPEs, The First Mover in Ridesharing That Lost to Uber, and Building the Online Marketplace for Used Cars, Shift. In this episode, we cover:

  • Walk us through your background and path to tech.
  • What was the outcome of taxi magic? Shut down?
  • When you spoke with Bill Gurley - rumor has it he pushed back on the model.  Did you consider switching?
  • What is Shift?
  • How are you different than Carvana?
  • How accurately can you price a car sight unseen?
  • It feels like you are effectively CarMax online...  If CarMax is such a good value prop for seekers and buyers, why do you think they only have a 1% market share?
  • There were lots of ways you could have expanded early on... your offerings... geography... and even product/business lines (like financing)... talk us through the early decisions that were made and how they were made
  • The name is great but does Gen Z get it?  No one shifts anymore
  • Online marketplace solving an extremely frustrating and time-consuming consumer life event but it's a very Infrequent transaction so you need to be top of mind when someone is buying a new car or ready to make a transaction... How are you thinking about that?
  • Talk about your decision to go with a SPAC to go public.
  • The decision to go direct-listing would be in cases where the company is more of a household name?
  • SPACs were a four-letter word in the '90s... apparently, there were some bad situations... what is the risk here, and how has that been addressed by the modern SPAC structure?
  • Do sponsors get 2% or 20% off the top?
  • What was the value of the SPAC vs. the valuation of your company... were you (and other shareholders) diluted by the SPAC investment amount
  • And the rest/the balance of capital comes from a PIPE, correct?
  • As an investor, wouldn't the preference be to invest in the SPAC vs. the PIPE?
  • Building a company in SV or not, and where that is headed?
  • What advice would you have for founders before selecting VC partners?
  • What was the experience as an openly gay man building a tech company -- do you think that presented a more difficult path to success?
Direct download: 254TFR_George_Arison.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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

  • Check Warner
  • Ramy Adeeb
  • Patrick Gallagher
  • Shawn Carolan

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

Direct download: 163IS.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Eric Collins of Impact X Capital joins Nick to discuss The Changing "Search Image" of Founders, Lack of Diversity = Missed Opportunity, and COVID Effects on the BLM Movement in Europe. In this episode, we cover:

  • Walk us through your background and path to VC
  • What's the thesis at Impact X?
  • As a black CEO and fund manager, in what ways do you think your experience fundraising was different than your white, male peers at other firms?
  • How do you approach sourcing?
  • What's unique about the way you've built your network vs. other firms?
  • Less than 1% of venture funding goes to black-led and we've heard the tired line that "not enough companies are founded by underrepresented founders and black founders"...  Are you concerned that you'll have fewer deals or less pipeline?
  • What's the right number of deals per year where you feel like you're seeing a sufficient amount?
  • I've heard about the "deep analysis" you do and how that creates the edge.  Can you describe what this entails?
  • Do the issues run deeper in the LP community than even the GP community?
  • Are the return expectations different for your LPs vs. a non-Impact fund?
  • A lot of the impact you are creating is long-term in nature.  What are the leading indicators of success for your fund?
  • How do you set objectives and measures to know if you're winning/exceeding the plan?
  • In response to the pandemic, the gov't created a number of programs to help fast-growth companies.  What was the impact on your underrepresented pipeline and portfolio?
  • Black Lives Matter has been the center of attention here in the states.  What's the status of the movement in the UK and how has it impacted your efforts at Impact X?
Direct download: TFR253.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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

  • Richard Kerby
  • Jaclyn Hester
  • Lanham Napier
  • Steve Blank


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

Direct download: 162.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Erik Torenberg of Village Global joins Nick to discuss Decentralization of VC, Why Your Fund Size is Your Strategy, and Why Startup Formation is the Most Important Contributor to Economic Growth. In this episode, we cover:

  • Walk us through your background and path to VC
  • What were the biggest lessons learned from Product Hunt that you took to investing?
  • Recently had Ben Casnocha on... anything specific you'd like to add about the thesis behind Village Global?
  • How do you think about working with experienced vs non-experienced angels?
  • How do you think about portfolio construction for VG?
  • Fast forward... some angels have strong early signals of success, others don't -- do you cull the herd or amplify those that are good pickers?
  • Considering this, why do you think so many VCs have concentrated portfolios?
  • How do you think about follow on investing?
  • What is the role of a pre-seed firm?
  • If there's a weakness in the Village model... what is it?
  • Part of your model is to increase the amount of founders and investors.  What do you say to those that argue there's too much capital already?
  • What’s does the future look like for Venture?
  • What’s your advice for people getting into venture?
  • Three data points
    • Let’s say you’re approached to invest in an early seed stage SaaS startup...
    • The founder is a technical serial entrepreneur with two solid 8-figure exits.  And she has a credible co-founder that is more business/commercially focused;
    • An MVP of the product has been launched and was the top product of the day on Product Hunt, when it launched;
    • and The Product launched two months ago and currently has $5k of MRR.
    • The catch is, you can only ask 3 questions for 3 specific data points, in order to make your decision.  What three questions do you ask?
Direct download: 252TFR_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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

  • Jonathan Hsu
  • John Vrionis
  • Trae Vassallo
  • Kane Hsieh

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

Direct download: IS162.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Farooq Abbasi of Preface Ventures joins Nick to discuss Funding the Misunderstood Technical Founder, Self Evaluation as a Solo Capitalist, and Capital to Underwrite R&D risk vs. S&M risk. In this episode, we cover:

  • Walk us through your background and path to VC
  • Why did you launch Preface?
  • What's the thesis at Preface?
  • How do you define enterprise/infrastructure frontier enterprise?
  • What's most different about your approach?
  • Are the businesses you fund created and ideated by the founders or is it a collaboration between you and the founders or do you take concepts and bring them to future founders?
  • What's your approach to sourcing?
  • Because your model is different and the founder profile is a bit different than most...  in what unique ways do you provide value post-investment?
  • You're a solo-capitalist...  How do you evaluate yourself and keep some checks/balances on your decisions?
  • Did you put together an LPAC -- if so how big is the group, how often do you meet and when/where do they help?
  • Are you actively investing in open-source startups?
  • What are your thoughts on the Bifurcation in the VC industry... capital underwriting of R&D risk vs. S&M risk?
  • What are your thoughts on biases in founder selection, data-driven predictors of founder success?
  • What's been the greatest challenge in your VC career and how have you overcome it?
  • You’re passionate about Diversity, having founded Diversity.vc in 2016. How are you practicing a more inclusive style of venture capital?
  • Three data points...  hypothetical investment scenario
Direct download: TFR251_v2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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

  • Darren Bechtel
  • Melody Koh
  • Somesh Dash
  • Jeff Fluhr


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

Direct download: IS160.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:36pm EDT

Ty Findley of Ironspring joins Nick to discuss Industrial Innovation, Where Blitzscaling Doesn't Work, Why Sector Focus Wins, and Beginning with the End in Mind. In this episode, we cover:

  • Walk us through your background and path to VC?
  • Why the decision to leave Pritzker and become an MP at Ironspring?
  • What's the thesis at Ironspring?
  • Lots' of new firms and new funds being launched…  How is Ironspring different?
  • You're a "sector-focused" fund… why do you think specialized funds will outperform their generalist counterparts?
  • We work in an asset class that often promotes bliztscaling, exponential growth and often spending ahead of progress… how do you rationalize the expectations of startups in our industry with the much slower pace that many legacy and heavy industrial industries… that your startups are serving… are going to move at?
  • Glacial pace has benefits… long-term durability of cash flows, customer retention, pricing power… the moat
  • Do you think product-led growth can work in these sectors?
  • Talk about the difference between "occupations" vs. "activities" and why this is especially relevant in industrials amidst the pandemic?
  • How do you think your style as an investor differs most from others (ie. discussion of decision making process/thinking in bets… focus on the decision not the outcome)
  • How would you describe your system for investment decision making?
  • 4-part framework of the “Day in the life of a VC fund manager”?
  • Must-haves for an investment?
  • Aligned with your recent collaboration on the article, "Evaluating the Successful Industrial Technology Exits", you've talked about startups in industrial tech "beginning with the end in mind"… why is this important?
  • Rumor has it you're starting a podcast -- lots of new podcasts these days, why will your's standout and what's the objective?
Direct download: TFR250.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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

  • Minnie Ingersoll
  • Jim Douglass
  • M.G. Siegler
  • James Currier

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

Direct download: IS159.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Lo Toney of Plexo Capital joins Nick to discuss Common Traits Shared by Top GPs, Why Underrepresented Fund Managers Will Produce Superior Returns, and SPACs vs. Direct Listings vs. IPOs. In this episode, we cover:

  • Walk us through your background and path to VC?
  • Why are Product Management skills similar to the skills required for VC?
  • What's the thesis at Plexo Capital?
  • Do you think a thesis on investing in underrepresented founders will produce superior returns?
  • What do you say to pundits that claim you've restricted your options and will have far fewer managers to choose from... which will adversely impact returns?
  • On a percentage basis... will there be more outsided outcomes from diverse founders (or managers) vs. those that are not diverse?
  • How are you innovating on the LP side?
  • We talked about some of the challenges of raising funds... are there ways that you work with and help emerging managers raising a first-time fund?
  • Not just about performance... especially early on.  What are the common success traits you see in GPs?
  • What's your position on investing in the management company or even the GP itself?
  • Where do you see the market for secondaries evolving?
  • I'd like to talk about the exit market a bit...
  • What are your thoughts on companies listing direct?
  • How about the explosion of SPACs -- net positive or negative for venture?
  • Any unintended consequences that founders (or investors) need to watch out for?
  • Zoom is now worth more than Uber, Airbnb, and Stripe combined... Are the three companies undervalued or is Zoom overvalued... or is the pricing about right?
  • Amazing to see companies like Paypal and Square have surpassed Goldman in market cap
  • "3 Data Points"...
  • You’re approached by a first-time fund manager.  The fund manager did not work for a large, brand-name venture firm before and she has never had an institutional investor.  She has been actively investing for 3+ years.  She plans to raise $20M to invest in 30 seed-stage companies w/ no reserves.  The catch is you can only ask 3 questions (for 3 additional data points) to make your decision.
  • What 3 questions do you ask? 
Direct download: TFR249.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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

  • Elizabeth Yin
  • Michael Cardamone
  • Gigi Levy-Weiss
  • Niki Pezeshki

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

Direct download: IS158_v2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Lanham Napier of BuildGroup joins Nick to discuss Scaling Rackspace, The Evolving Responsibilities of a Venture-Backed CEO, and Confronting Big Tech Monopolies. In this episode, we cover:

  • You took on capital from Seqouia, Norwest and others while at Rackspace.  What was the biggest challenge to taking on venture capital?
  • How were you able to move from the early product-market-fit days to true scale... what were the defining decisions/actions that helped you expand exponentially?
  • As a company leaves the product-market-fit stage and reaches scale, what is the job of the CEO or how does the job of the CEO change as the company scales?
  • You've talked about investing "long-term capital"... what do you mean by that?
  • How have you created a fee-light model, where management fees are eliminated?
  • How do you guide CEOs that have been conditioned to think in 12-18 months cycles, when the long-game is much more critical?
  • You've hired and developed a lot of folks over the years.  What advice do you have for young CEOs with regards to selection and/or development of people?
  • Leadership -- great ones emerge in hard times.  What are some of the most important lessons you've learned about leadership?
  • We're in an environment where the largest tech companies have monopolized a lot of the upside in the market.  Of course recently many of the CEOs appeared in front the house judiciary committee.  Where do you stand on the position of large tech companies and how that impacts emerging startups?
  • Do you think China is a threat to the U.S.'s position as world power and tech leader?
  • What would suggest we do about it?
Direct download: 248_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:04pm EDT

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

  • Henrique Dubugras
  • Ryan Gembala
  • Grace Isford
  • Scott Kupor

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


Trae Vassallo of Defy Partners joins Nick to discuss Leaving Kleiner Perkins to Start Defy Partners, The State of Venture in the Bay Area, and Maintaining a Beginner's Mind. In this episode, we cover:

  • Can you talk about your transition from Kleiner Perkins?
  • How tough was that decision to make?
  • What was it like to work with John Doerr?
  • What’s the thesis at Defy Partners?
  • When you began Defy you chose not to look at San Francisco. Can you talk about why that is?
    • How do you think this plays out? What will tech and venture in the Bay Area look like a few years from now, when COVID is behind us?
    • Any stats on flight of talent form Bay area to other cities/regions?
  • What changes have you observed in venture/tech that this crisis has either caused or accelerated?
  • You’ve been a founder and can relate w/ the folks you’re working with. How do you try and keep that beginner’s mindset as you gain more experience and get further away from your founder journey?
  • What are some the biggest mistakes you see founders making when pitching investors?
  • What tips can you give founders around building relationships as well as pitching in a completely virtual environment?
  • You experienced a severe personal experience… near death situation a few years ago. How has that changed you as a person and as an investor?
  • 3 data points…
    • Let’s say you’re approached to invest in a consumer hardtech startup.
    • The startup is doing $1.5M ARR
    • It’s growing at 15% MoM
    • And LTV:CAC is 4:1
    • Catch is, you can only ask 3 questions for 3 specific data points, in order to make your decision. What three questions do you ask?

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

  • Jason Whitney
  • Shawn Carolan
  • David Horowitz
  • Jaclyn Hester

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


Nikhil Basu Trivedi of joins Nick to discuss Agglomerators vs. Specialists, the Rise of the Solo-Capitalist, and the Importance of Founder-Investor Fit+. In this episode, we cover:

  • Why did you decide to leave Shasta?
  • What's the plan moving forward?
  • The Rise of Solo Capitalists
    • You wrote a great piece on the rise of this behavior, ‘The Rise of the Solo Capitalists’. What do you think has caused the rise in single GP funds?
    • What are the main benefits to both investor and entrepreneur with this model?
    • What are the limitations and/or downsides of this model?
    • You wrote that an LP said that this model ‘may be the biggest threat traditional venture capital firms have seen in a long time’. Why?
  • Founder-Investor Fit
    • What do you think are the most important things for founders to consider when choosing an investor?
    • There are many firms that don't care about the "fit" per se... they just want to get money into the best deals.  And it can be tough for a founder to turn down the best offer or the biggest name investor.  Do you think that lack of fit can lead to the demise of the company?
    • Do you think that founder-investor relationships/dynamics will change significantly over the next decade?  Why or why not?
  • Agglomerators vs. Specialists
    • Can you break down the types of focus amongst VCs? Agglomerators vs. Specialists?
    • What do you think has caused the rise of the agglomerators?
    • From a returns (TVPI) standpoint, do you think one model is superior to the other?
    • A large, institutional LP said to me this week that he doesn't believe in sector-focused fund models and returns suggest that they underperform.  He only invests in generalists with stage focus.  Have you found that the specialists have underperformed the generalists?
    • What do you think about the future of these models?  Where will the most crowded section be, five years from now?
    • What are your thoughts on rolling funds?
Direct download: FR246.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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

  • Oren Klaff
  • Tamara Steffens
  • Leo Polovets
  • Byron Deeter


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

Direct download: IS155.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:00am EDT

Ben Casnocha of Village Global joins Nick to discuss Backing from Bezos, Zuckerberg, and Gates; Lessons from Reid Hoffman; and Building a Network-centric Venture Firm. In this episode, we cover:

- How have things changed for the firm since the pandemic broke?
- You've raised from some very big names in tech -- Zuckerberg, Hoffman, Gates, Bezos, Greene, Blakely and many more.  How exactly did the formation of Village and fundraise from these notable tech leaders come together?
- Village has a unique approach to sourcing...  Tell us about the scout network?
- Decision making process, architecture when doing deals at this pace and volume?
- Many firms talk about their founder networks and Slack Groups.  But often if you ask founders, the density and connectivity of those networks are lacking.  What is it about your broad founder community that succeeds where others don't?
- Worked with Reid Hoffman for two years... what were some of the key lessons from that experience w/ Reid?
- YC is in full swing right now... many investors I've chatted with this week are a bit dizzy with the number of companies they're meeting with.  Do you invest in companies coming out of YC?
- What do you think the future holds for accelerators like YC?
- How do you determine when to make an exception on a deal?  We all have rules, check-size, valuation range, etc... how  do you know when to go off-thesis?
- What are your thoughts on the future of Valley-based investing vs. investing outside the Valley?
- Thoughts on all these large, multi-stage firms investing at seed and pre-seed?
- Capital Supply and concentration is at new levels in the Bay Area... especially for seed investors.  While it's reasonable that more great companies will be built with the tools and opportunities available, this all won't end well.  I've seen pricing spike and aggressive tactics changing from investors to get access to deal.  What are you observing and how do you think it plays out?

Direct download: FR245.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

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


-Beezer Clarkson
-Alex Osterwalder
-Patrick Gallagher
-Steve Blank


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

Direct download: IS154.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00pm EDT

- You recently published research on the expansion of 175 US companies into Europe. I’d like to discuss a number of points from the piece, but first off… what prompted you to do this research and write the piece?
- Part of the report is about timing… ie. when is the right time is for a b2b SaaS company to make the leap and expand into Europe.  Talk us through your findings and conclusion w/ regard to timing.
- In preparation to make that jump, you recently talked about the challenges for “globalizing” a company and that it really starts at the CEO’s desk… what do you mean by that?
- As an investor, how do you prepare a CEO to shift mindset from US-centric to a more global one?
- When a company makes the leap to Europe, what are some of the most common pitfalls/mistakes they make?
- How do the challenges of growing a b2b software company across Europe differ from that of growing it in the United States?
- Is there a particular playbook that you follow when bridging the gap between the US and European markets, if so can you share the broad strokes of what that entails?
- Do you think it’s more difficult for companies to start in the United States and grow into Europe or start in Europe and grow into the States? Why?
- As part of the report, you talk about the difference between sales led expansion versus product and engineering led expansion, what are the primary differences?
- How has COVID affected which expansion strategy to choose, if at all?
- How to build a fully functioning sales force remote from the ground up
- What, if any, tailwinds have emerged for the growth of the European tech ecosystem?

Direct download: FR244.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:00am EDT

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

  • Leah Solivan
  • Kane Hsieh
  • Richard Kerby
  • James Currier

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: 153_Investor_Stories_153__Strange__Unusual_Solivan_Hsieh_Kerby_Currier.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

Jonathan Hsu of Tribe Capital joins Nick to discuss how to Acquire Data, Build Abstractions and Do Research. In this episode, we cover:

  • Walk us through your background and path to VC
  • What’s the thesis at Tribe Capital?
  • How do you define PMF?
  • Could you explain what the 8 Ball diligence framework is?
  • When is a deal too early -- how much data (or over what time continuum do you need data) in order for the model to assess appropriately?
  • Just for evaluation or also sourcing?
  • Can you apply this tool to a range of business types (ie. SaaS vs. Maretkplaces vs. User-Growth, etc.)?
  • How to avoid false positives? Data looks great for early phase -- early market… How do you know that it isn’t luck and the company didn’t stumble onto something with early signals of PMF but they don’t have the insight or flexibility to evolve the business through growth and scale phases?
  • What aspect of early stage investing don’t you use data for?
  • Why is this not appropriate to measure with data?
  • Loss ratio goes down -- do you think it increases potential outcome size?
  • On the evaluating side of things, it seems like Tribe has a big emphasis on using data to understand early product market fit. What is your definition of product market fit?
  • Does Tribe conduct portfolio support in a similar way?
  • What happens when data and intuition clash?
  • Do you always lean one way or another? Examples of either?
  • How do you account for exogenous factors?
  • Ever been a scenario w/ a company misrepresenting data (fake data)?
  • How long did it take to build this out -- what is the current team structure of investors, developers, and data scientists?
  • Where do you and the team at Tribe need to improve most?

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: FR_243_FINAL_v2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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

  • Courtney Reum
  • Mark Suster
  • Sarah Tavel
  • Jason Calacanis

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: 152_Investor_Stories_152__Lessons_Learned_Reum_Suster_Tavel_Calacanis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

Check Warner of Ada Ventures joins Nick to discuss Structural Disadvantages in Venture, Investing in the "Overlooked," and Open-Sourcing the VC Fund Raise and Investment Playbook. In this episode, we cover:

  • Background / Path to Venture
  • The thesis at Ada Ventures
  • Is it tough getting the up-rounds from Tier 1 VCs when the profile of the founders doesn't look like the standard, obvious profile that's been funded for the past couple of decades?
  • You look for founders and markets that have been mis-priced… what are the three that you believe to be underpriced?
  • Novel scout program -- how many scouts and who are they?
  • How did you recruit them and how are they incentivized?
  • Talk about your recent fundraise…
    • How did you determine how much to raise?
    • Walk us through the timeline of the fundraise.
    • What resonated most w/ LPs?
    • What was the biggest surprise?
    • How did you create urgency and get LPs to move from a maybe to a yes?
    • What will you do differently next time?
  • You and I have discussed your seed investing framework -- how you make decisions on investments. Can you give us the broad strokes?
  • You have an incredibly transparent approach… from your fundraising to your sourcing to your evaluation. Are there any concerns about revealing too much about your strategy?
  • You publicized your investment process and shared some of your funnel data. Have you noticed any differences or changes (relationships with founders, LPs, brand, PR) from when you shared the inner workings?
  • Many issues w/ racial and gender diversity in the news… what message would you like to share re. Diversity?
  • "3 Data Points"
    • Let's say you are approached to invest in a consumer user-growth company with 30k DAUs, and has a 10% WoW growth rate for the last 4 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.

Direct download: 242_v2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:36am EDT

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

  • Ramy Adeeb
  • Somesh Dash
  • Jeremy Neilson
  • Minnie Ingersoll

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: 151_Investor_Stories_151__Whats_Next_Adeeb_Dash_Neilson_Ingersoll.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

Niki Pezeshki of Felicis Ventures joins Nick to discuss Finding Markets with Long-Term Tailwinds; Macro Impacts on Venture; and Robust vs. Fragile Data. In this episode, we cover:

  • Background and path to venture.
  • Thesis at Felicis and your focus there?
  • How has the pandemic affected your approach to investment?
  • You’ve mentioned that you look for market tailwinds, especially tailwinds that will be lasting. Right now, we’re seeing a number of shifts that will have lasting effects -- which are you watching most closely?
  • Why do you think the public markets have, largely, stayed high during a very large health and economic crisis?
  • Can you give us an overview on your three-part investing framework for making investment decisions?
  • Where do you look for these large shifts, creating opportunity -- aside from Mary Meeker's report?
  • How do you make sure you are current on-trend instead of getting anchored on data that's old or fragile?
  • What are you looking for in the business model that indicates to you that it is not only the correct approach but can lead to transformational changes in the industry?
  • In which types of businesses do you like to see product-focused founders versus marketing-focused founders, is there a heuristic or systematic way that you think about this?
  • You mentioned that business is a formula and that it’s clear early on whether it’s going to work or not -- can you give us an example of the formula?
  • What's your approach to coaching and advising founders? 
  • There's this fine line between being overbearing w/ advice and not providing enough insight in an area that could derail a company.  How do you strike the balance?
  • What keeps you up at night... the ones you invested in that you shouldn't have or the ones you didn't invest in that you wished you had?
  • 3 Data points: Let's say that you have a consumer SaaS company that is doing 300K in ARR, growing 20%  MoM and that’s all you currently know about the company.
    • Which 3 data points do you ask for and why?

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:

  • M.G. Siegler
  • Grace Isford
  • John Vrionis
  • Ash Rust

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: 150_Investor_Stories_150__Why_I_Passed_Siegler_Isford_Vrionis_Rust.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

Henrique Dubugras of Brex joins Nick to discuss the Blazing Fast Path to $B+; Binary Outcomes; The Fintech Revolution; and A New Approach to Employee Comp. In this episode, we cover:

  • Background -- path that led to Brex?
  • Origin story for Brex Tag-line / One sentence overview
  • What's so different about Brex?
  • Why is more than just a credit card?
  • How has the pandemic affected the business thus far?
  • What do you offer that no one else does?
  • Who do you consider to be competition?
  • What is the moat here - why can't another well funded startup replicate your offering?
  • A criticism I've heard is that, when businesses need credit most, when bank balance/working capital is low, is when Brex cuts off access to credit. What's your response?
  • How would you describe your leadership philosophy?
  • Are you recruiting/hiring? Is the approach different while 100% remote?
  • What's the compensation structure at Brex?
  • One of the fastest companies to multi-billion+ valuation -- more pressure w/ all that capital?
  • With the raise and expectations some suggest that the outcome is binary -- is it?
  • What advice do you have for early-stage, pre-A, founders trying to build a venture scale business?

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
  • Scott Dorsey
  • Elizabeth Yin
  • Jeff Fluhr

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: 149_Investor_Stories_149__Post_Mortems_Gembala_Dorsey_Yin_Fluhr.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

Gigi Levy-Weiss of NFX joins Nick on a special Crisis Coverage installment to discuss What's Next in Gaming; The True Essence of Product-Market-Fit; & Investing with an Emphasis on Retention and Engagement. In this episode, we cover:

  • Background and path to venture.
  • The thesis and your focus at NFX?
  • Did you invest in Houseparty when it was Meerkat?
  • You've written about your thoughts on PMF...  How do you assess whether a company has real product market fit?
  • What advice would you have for those still trying to find it?
  • With this focus on product and retention...  What's your response to investors that say distribution is more important than product?
  • Why do you think VC interest has been declining in the gaming space?
  • What has been the history/evolution in the gaming sector?
  • What's next for gaming -- Is there a step beyond the platform?
  • Are there any niches or segments within gaming or esports where you see the most potential?
  • 3 Data points:
    • Let's say a gaming startup comes to you... they have 50k DAUs, K value of 1, 20 % MoM growth... 
    • What 3 data points do you ask for and why?

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
  • Melody Koh
  • Tom Tunguz
  • Jim Douglass

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: 148_Investor_Stories_148__Strange__Unusual_Kupor_Koh_Tunguz_Douglass.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

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

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

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.