Tod Francis, Managing Director at Shasta Ventures, starts with a discussion on the history of retail, all the way from shoe stores, to departmental stores, and back to specialty retail. This is followed by a similar overview of the history of e-commerce ranging from Amazon’s strategy to how specialty retail is translating into niche e-commerce, and how Tod is looking at investments in the category.
Scott Sandell, General Partner at NEA, is one of NEA’s star investors. He has been named to the Forbes Midas list every year since 2007, and has been involved with eight Unicorn companies including Salesforce.com, Workday, Webex, Tableau, and others. Scott discusses, specifically, Webex and Tableau in quite a bit of depth. In both companies, the scrappy, capital-efficient management of those businesses were striking!
Among Silicon Valley’s venture firms, NEA holds a special place in my own entrepreneurial journey, being the first VC firm that I successfully raised funding from. Oddly, and we discuss this, at the time in the late nineties, the fact that my company was doing product development in India was considered unacceptable. Of course, all that changed in due course, and today India is firmly established on the startup map, as are China, Europe, and many other nations. NEA was an early adopter of the global entrepreneurship trend, and has offices in India and China. They also invest elsewhere in the world, where they don’t have offices.
Shomit Ghose, Partner at Onset Ventures, is also a veteran startup executive with multiple IPOs under his belt. He highlights the fact that 70,000 ventures received angel funding in 2014, but the number of companies receiving venture funding remains constant year over year at about 1,000 per year. Focusing on building value is of paramount importance, so that you can validate and prove your value proposition.
Susan Mason, General Partner at Aligned Ventures, talks about the dysfunctions of the broader venture capital model, and what her firm is doing to address those. Excellent conversation, please listen.
Ho Nam, Managing Director at Altos Ventures, makes a clear distinction between capital efficient company building and the “grow at costs in all sorts of unsustainable ways” philosophy. These are two distinctly different ways of building businesses.
Stewart Alsop, Partner at Alsop Louie Partners, has been a VC for 20 years, and before that, a journalist for another 20 years in the technology industry. This conversation is wide-ranging, spanning autonomous vehicles, unreasonable entrepreneurs, etc.
Rehan Yar Khan is General Partner at Orios Venture Partners, and an early investor in the Indian startup scene. Rehan’s core focus is on the Indian consumer opportunity, and that is what we focus on in this discussion.
Hernan Kazah is Co-founder and Managing Partner at Kaszek Ventures, one of the earliest VC firms to start investing in the Latin American market. Hernan is a Co-founder of MercadoLibre, Latin America’s ecommerce leader. This discussion features a comprehensive overview of the trends in the Latin American startup scene.
Heidi Roizen, Operating Partner at DFJ, discusses her important article, “How to Build a Unicorn From Scratch – and Walk Away with Nothing,” and imparts crucial lessons to entrepreneurs on how to look at terms in a venture financing situation.
Eric Benhamou, Managing Partner of Benhamou Global Ventures, was the CEO of 3Com, a pioneer in the networking space, and the key competitor to Cisco. He also ran Palm, the first Smartphone maker, that 3Com acquired, then spun out and took public. He provides an insightful window into the opportunities in the enterprise cloud infrastructure space, and in Cyber Security, and also explains why he is not necessarily looking for Unicorn companies to invest in. This, I might point out, is a highly unusual perspective in today’s VC universe, so you may want to pay attention to his analysis of the market.
Brian Jacobs is General Partner, Emergence Capital, SaaS / Cloud domain experts boasting a fabulous portfolio, including solid exits like SuccessFactors, Yammer, and Veeva. He discusses his views on where cloud opportunities are likely to be at this point. While we’re in a mature market, he is still bullish on innovation.
Ashmeet Sidana, Founder of Engineering Capital, a seed-stage venture fund focusing on infrastructure technology, had a lot of insights to offer, and delivered one particular piece of wisdom that is close to my heart. He says, funding is like candy. Don’t eat too much candy. Whole wheat bread and proteins are customers and revenues. That’s what you should focus on. Brilliant analogy, don’t you think?
Ashish Gupta, Co-Founder of Helion Ventures, one of the key players in India’s venture capital eco-system. If the topic interests you, this discussion is extremely crisp and insightful.
Anand Daniel, Partner with Accel Partners, discusses Accel India’s investment strategy at length.
David Blumberg, Founder and Managing Partner of Blumberg Capital, has been in the business for a long time, and we had a very interesting chat about the evolution of the venture business over the last 15 years. We also discussed some areas where there are opportunities to build new scalable businesses.