30 episodes

Fund81 is a podcast for the next generation of venture capital. Elizabeth Kraus, general partner of the MergeLane venture fund for high-potential startups with at least one woman in leadership, tackles specific questions commonly asked by VCs.

Fund 81 Fund 81

    • Business
    • 5.0, 5 Ratings

Fund81 is a podcast for the next generation of venture capital. Elizabeth Kraus, general partner of the MergeLane venture fund for high-potential startups with at least one woman in leadership, tackles specific questions commonly asked by VCs.

    Diversity in Venture Capital | Taking Action to Actually Change the Ratio

    Diversity in Venture Capital | Taking Action to Actually Change the Ratio

    Kim Smith, executive director of the League of Innovative Schools, has worked for many years to address education equity and has a unique perspective on the barriers to entrepreneurship.

    In this interview, Kim shares her thought-provoking insights to help drive racial equality in our venture capital industry, and makes a powerful call for white co-conspirators who are ready, willing, and able to fight.

    For more, read Kim’s op-ed: A Call to Action — Black Educators Need White Co-Conspirators to Combat Racism in Schools and Empower Our Students to Succeed (https://www.the74million.org/article/smith-a-call-to-action-black-educators-need-white-co-conspirators-to-combat-racism-in-schools-and-empower-our-students-to-succeed/).

    If you want to become a white co-conspirator and change the venture capital diversity ratio, Kim emphasizes that anti-racist work must be done in parallel. She suggests taking time to:

    Reach out to a white colleague or industry peer who you can work with in affinity and invite them to be an accountability partner in anti-racist work.

    Reflect on the characteristics of a white supremacy culture and your role and perspective. Review the list (https://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/white-supremacy-culture-characteristics.html) and mark the characteristics that are evident in your organization and yourself. Engage in a candid exchange with a peer.

    Kim referenced Dr. Bettina Love in her op-ed. She is leading an abolitionist teaching movement. Watch her 30-minute presentation where she talks about co-conspirators (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_sL_DbXjr8&feature=youtu.be). While Dr. Love’s presentation is focused on education, there are many applicable lessons for VCs.

    • 45 min
    Fund81 Summer Spotlight: Five Startups Sourced from the Fund81 VC Forum

    Fund81 Summer Spotlight: Five Startups Sourced from the Fund81 VC Forum

    We sourced five startups from our Fund81 VC forum members to present for our June forum. Check out this episode to hear pitches from these incredibly tenacious entrepreneurs.

    Presenting Startups:
    Airin (Park City, UT) Nominated by both Resolute Ventures and Peterson Ventures
    www.airin.ai

    CarServ (Austin, TX) Nominated by Springtime Ventures
    Mars Mundy
    www.carserv.com

    Fleeting (Brooklyn, NY) Nominated by the Hustle Fund
    Pierre Laguerre
    www.fleeting.us

    Hostfully (San Francisco, CA) Nominated by me (MergeLane)
    Margot Schmorak
    www.hostfully.com

    Reality Check (Palo Alto, CA) Nominated by Peterson Ventures
    (Still in stealth mode) www.linkedin.com/company/reality-check-2020/

    This discussion is an expression of personal opinion and does not represent the opinion of MergeLane or any company we discuss. Our conversations are for informational purposes only, including any mention of securities or funds. This is not legal, business, investment or tax advice and is not intended for use by any investor. Certain MergeLane funds own, or may own in the future, some of the securities and companies discussed in this podcast.

    • 53 min
    I've Regressed: Marriage and Gender Equality in the Face of COVID - 19

    I've Regressed: Marriage and Gender Equality in the Face of COVID - 19

    I’ve always thought of myself as someone who has a modern marriage. Three months into this COVID-19 situation, however, I'm starting to feel like I'm stuck in a 1950s sitcom in which my husband is a fun, lovable guy who can't wait to hang out with his male friends to get away from his nagging wife, and that I am a responsible, well-intentioned, but unlikeable wife who can't stop treating her husband like her elementary school student.

    Through my conversations with other entrepreneurs and VCs, I've learned that we're not the only couple that has regressed into this dynamic.

    How did we get here? More importantly, how do we get out? I recorded this podcast episode to unpack our regression.

    • 19 min
    A Lesson in Leveraging My VC Network For Good | COVID - 19 in Vail, Colorado

    A Lesson in Leveraging My VC Network For Good | COVID - 19 in Vail, Colorado

    As a VC, I have the opportunity to build relationships with people who have tremendous financial resources and connections. I often hesitate to ask my network to support philanthropic causes, because I want to respect our business relationship. After seeing the devastating impact of COVID-19 on our community in Vail, Colorado, however, I decided it was time to ask.

    I invited four Vail nonprofits to present to my network. I’m sharing the recording of the event in hopes that it will inspire others to leverage their connections for good. I organized this event prior to George Floyd’s death, but I think this idea can easily be translated to support efforts to achieve racial equality. I am thinking about how I might implement that myself and welcome any of your ideas or opportunities for collaboration.

    The presenting organizations are below.
    Eagle Valley Community Foundation (link to donate: https://secure.qgiv.com/for/oucomfou/)
    Eagle Valley Behavioral Health (link to donate: https://donate.vailhealthfoundation.org/campaign/eagle-valley-behavioral-health-website/c247252)
    The Vail Valley Foundation COVID-19 Community Response Fund (link to donate: https://vvf.org/donate/community-fund/thank-you/)
    Walking Mountains (link to donate: https://www.walkingmountains.org/give/other-ways-to-give/)

    I learned far more than I expected from this presentation. Here are just five of my takeaways:
    Vail Valley unemployment has surged from 2% in January to over 30%.
    Unemployment checks will be reduced by $600 on June 26.
    Eagle County has seen more suicides in the past seven weeks than COVID-19 deaths.
    Feeding America has estimated that 8,000 of our 50,000 local residents were food insecure prior to COVID-19 and the explosion in unemployment. Based on experience at the food bank, the Eagle Valley Community Foundation believes the number of food insecure is now over 15,000 of our 50,000 neighbors.
    The Eagle Valley Community Foundation food banks and pantries served over 4,000 people last week. This is almost a 300% increase over demand for food before the pandemic, and the number seeking assistance is increasing each week. The food served is also now often the primary source of family meals, rather than a supplemental source of meals.

    Despite these dire statistics, I also heard many signs of hope in the presentation. You can hear more in the podcast episode.

    Thanks for listening.

    • 59 min
    Finding BIG-Thinking and Executing Entrepreneurs with Dick Rothkopf

    Finding BIG-Thinking and Executing Entrepreneurs with Dick Rothkopf

    I’ve now invested in close to 100 entrepreneurs. When I think about the patterns I’ve seen, my most successful investments are backed by entrepreneurs who can really visualize a big idea and genuinely believe it’s possible. To get there, almost all of these entrepreneurs had to shed some deep-seated limiting beliefs. This has me wondering, how can we better spot big thinkers and big ideas with the propensity to scale, and how can we help our entrepreneurs think bigger? I invited Dick Rothkopf, co-founder of Learning Curve International, the manufacturer of the Thomas the Tank Engine toys, to share his thoughts.

    • 34 min
    Feeling Stretched by COVID-19? Outsourcing and Delegating with Foundry Group's Seth Levine

    Feeling Stretched by COVID-19? Outsourcing and Delegating with Foundry Group's Seth Levine

    Seth has been a MergeLane investor and advisor since the very beginning. I invited Seth to join the show because we’ve had some nice conversations about the challenge we each have in managing our personal bandwidth. Since having these conversations, we’ve both managed to carve out more time through some creative outsourcing and delegation, and I thought it might be helpful to share some of our lessons learned.

    If you are listening to this sometime in the future, it is April 2020 and most of us are under a stay-at-home order because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Since many of us are feeling stretched by the new realities of pandemic life, we thought this topic would be especially useful.

    Related thoughts:
    https://www.sethlevine.com/archives/2020/04/investing-in-downturns.html

    https://www.mergelane.com/post/how-conscious-leadership-bought-me-5-hours-of-extra-time-each-day

    • 55 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
5 Ratings

5 Ratings

JoshCrist ,

Empowering, insightful and actionable! 🙌

Whether you’re already deep into your journey of authentic leadership and transformation, or just getting started catalyzing change within your ecosystem - this is a must-listen podcast for you! Elizabeth does an incredible job leading conversations that cover the entire range of mental, emotional, spiritual and physical challenges we all face learning to holistically lead and guide the organizations of tomorrow. Highly recommend listening and subscribing!

Dan_13_nella ,

Must-Listen for Emerging Managers

Elizabeth asks the questions most new fund managers want to know but are afraid to ask. These interviews go beneath the surface and result in deep, meaningful insights from some of the most influential folks in early-stage VC.

Evan92L ,

Insightful, Practical, and Constructive!

Fund81 is an excellent show for emerging managers, associates, analysts, and the next generation of VCs. Whether you are thinking of raising a fund or are already on fund I or II, this show will deliver valuable insight.

Elizabeth is a great host, and it’s awesome she is providing this resource for new managers and those looking to make the jump to venture. If that’s you, this show is worth every minute!

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