14 episodes

A place to talk about startups, venture capital and tech. For a full download, double-click on sandhillroad.io

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A place to talk about startups, venture capital and tech. For a full download, double-click on sandhillroad.io

    E15 Building a cloud unicorn for developers with Digital Ocean co-founder Moisey Uretzky

    E15 Building a cloud unicorn for developers with Digital Ocean co-founder Moisey Uretzky

    In this episode, Erasmus Elsner is talking to Moisey Uretzky,  co-founder of Digital Ocean. Digital Ocean is a cloud infrastructure unicorn built for developers and headquartered in New York City. In this episode we journal the founder journey from getting into Techstars to scaling the company with venture debt to a recent unicorn valuation. 

    00:00 Setting the scene 

    03:55 The Uretzky family 

    05:22 Roots of intellectual curiosity 

    07:15 Mathematics and first principles thinking 

    09:18 Startups before Digital Ocean 

    14:16 Finding co-founders on Craigslist 

    19:16 Digital Ocean MVP 

    23:12 First major Product Iteration: 5$ SSD Plan 

    29:36 Getting into Techstars 

    32:35 Raising the Seed from IA Ventures 

    37:19 Raising the Series A from a16z 

    42:28 Using venture debt to scale up 

    47:19 Scaling up Digital Ocean 

    54:22 Competition with big tech cloud providers 

    59:00 Running Digital Ocean during the Corona pandemic

    • 1 hr 4 min
    E14 The great hits and misses of venture capital with Brendan Wales of e.ventures

    E14 The great hits and misses of venture capital with Brendan Wales of e.ventures

    In this episode, Erasmus Elsner is talking to Brendan Wales, general partner at e.ventures on investing in data infrastructure unicorn Segment at the Seed and passing on TikTok (then Musical.ly) at the Series A.

    Check out Brendan Wales on Medium: https://medium.com/@brendanwales

    2:10 First job running a Golf shop while at college  

    3:20 First job out of college in 2009 and entrepreneurial ambitions  

    4:29 'I gotta get to the Valley' finding Zozi's on Crunchbase  

    6:06 Joining e.ventures in 2012  

    7:52 History and roots of e.ventures   

    9:53 e.ventures current fund and global footprint  

    11:10 Investing in Segment.io at the Seed along with Kleiner Perkins  

    15:08 Consumer-tech perspective on Segment  

    16:02 Passing on Musical.ly/TikTok  

    17:30 Warm introductions vs. metric-based discovery (digital exhaust)  

    20:30 Metrics requested from Musical.ly/TikTok founding team / key consumer social metrics  

    22:17 Machiavellian founder perspective on Musical.ly/TikTok consumer retention  

    24:35 Ex-post reflections why they passed on Musical.ly/TikTok  

    26:35 Comparison to the recent Clubhouse a16z-led Series A  

    28:50 Venture capital returns over the lifetime of a fund  

    31:10 Pattern matching for early markups  

    32:58 This Week's Seed Companies  

    35:24 EVA Growth Index / X-Factors  

    37:37  Nacelle: headless CMS for Shopify stores, backed by Index and Accomplice  

    39:05  Most recent investment: Airvet, $14m Series A led by Canvas Ventures

    • 42 min
    E13 Uncoding the ‘Coding VC’ Leo Polovets, Co-founder and General Partner at Susa Ventures

    E13 Uncoding the ‘Coding VC’ Leo Polovets, Co-founder and General Partner at Susa Ventures

    In this episode, Erasmus Elsner is talking to Leo Polovets,  co-founder and general partner at Susa Ventures. As a partner at Susa, Leo focuses on investments in enterprise software, developer tools, technical products and logistics and supply chain. In this session we discuss his journey from being the second engineer at LinkedIn to starting his own venture firm. We discuss some of his notable  investments in breakout companies, such as Robinhood and Flexport, as well as his most recent investment in Scalyr. As Leo is an icon on the VC twitter, we also dig into some of his previous tweets and try to draw lessons that go beyond the 280 character limit.

    • 48 min
    E12 Exploring the latest in data science with Sarah Catanzaro from Amplify Partners

    E12 Exploring the latest in data science with Sarah Catanzaro from Amplify Partners

    In this episode, Erasmus Elsner is talking to Sarah Catanzaro from Amplify Partners. As a partner at Amplify, Sarah focuses on startups that apply technological advances in machine intelligence and enterprise infrastructure to solve real-world problems. In this session we discuss her journey from data scientist to venture capital, her take on recent data sciences trends and her most recent investments, including OctoML, InterVenn Biosciences, Maze and Bayes.

    • 37 min
    E11 Investing in the next frontier of open source with Bryan Offutt from Index Ventures

    E11 Investing in the next frontier of open source with Bryan Offutt from Index Ventures

    In this episode, Erasmus Elsner is talking to Bryan Offutt from Index Ventures, which is an active investor in the open source vertical, having invested in the likes of Hortonworks, Confluent, Elastic, Kong, Cockroach Labs and most recently Starburst. In this session we talk about  the next frontier of open source, such as the open sourcing of pre-trained ML/NLP models (such as BERT) and distributed design. We also cover Index Venture's most recent COSS investment in Starburst, an open core company built around Presto, a distributed, open source query engine that has originally been developed at Facebook.

    Check out the Youtube version on: https://channel.sandhillroad.io

    • 32 min
    E10 Pioneering the gig economy with TaskRabbit co-founder Brian Leonard

    E10 Pioneering the gig economy with TaskRabbit co-founder Brian Leonard

    In this episode, Erasmus Elsner talks with Brian Leonard (@bleonard), the technical co-founder of TaskRabbit, which has pioneered the gig economy alongside Airbnb and Uber. In the session, they talk about the journey from the early days of TaskRabbit when it was just a few hundred Taskers to how they scaled it to one of the largest gig economy marketplaces that was eventually sold to IKEA.

    Check out the Youtube version on: https://channel.sandhillroad.io

    • 26 min

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