Running Through Walls is a Venrock podcast featuring candid conversations between investors and entrepreneurs. Each episode, we offer a behind-the-scenes look at the breakthroughs, challenges and nuttiness associated with building and growing companies. Venture capital firm Venrock has been investing in entrepreneurs across technology and healthcare since 1969.
Culture and Connection
Venrock partner Brian Ascher speaks with Nicole Alvino, co-founder and CEO of Firstup, about effective workforce communication both digitally and in person. Alvino highlights fostering employee connection through authentic and transparent communication, using the power of video to drive engagement, and discusses expectations for corporate social responsibility. Plus, Alvino reveals a non-obvious lesson learned – employees want to hear from their peers (not just their leaders).
High Will Over High Skill
Company success is predicated on the people, according to Daversa Partners founder and CEO, Paul Daversa. Venrock partner Bryan Roberts chats with Daversa about the nuances of recruiting impactful senior-level leadership candidates who are a fit for the needs of the company. They cover hiring high will over high skill, understanding that candidates are stage sensitive and ways to avoid terminal hires. Daversa also discusses the intentionality of Dreamscape, the challenges, and the impact they’ve made thus far.
Course Correcting for Long-Term Success
Venrock partner Andrew Gottesdiener speaks with Jigar Raythatha, former CEO of Constellation Pharmaceuticals, about lessons learned from his time at Constellation. As Constellation has evolved from an early-stage company to being acquired by MorphoSys, Raythatha dives into its many life-cycles, his heavy involvement in the recruitment process, and the decision to conduct a PIPE financing. Raythatha also shares the characteristics to look for in an investor syndicate and the challenges of scaling a public company.
Be Comfortable Being Uncomfortable
Venrock partner Racquel Bracken speaks with Markus Renschler, President and CEO of Cyteir Therapeutics, to discuss the journey that led him to Cyteir, and the company’s path to going public. Renschler dives into an important lesson his parents instilled in him from a young age, “be comfortable with being uncomfortable,” and explains how this lesson has played an important role in his career journey. As a practicing hematologist oncologist, Renschler highlights the value of people skills and how developing those skills can positively influence leadership style, recruiting, and even fundraising. Renschler shares some of his highs and lows along the drug development process, provides advice for young clinicians entering the industry, and how his experience as a practicing physician influences the decisions he makes as a CEO.
Public Health & Pandemic Premonitions
With rising reports of Omicron in the United States, Venrock partner Bryan Roberts speaks with Dr. Charity Dean, CEO and co-founder of Public Health Company (PHC), to discuss her predictions and concerns for the latest Covid-19 variant. Dean and Roberts also talk about the long-term societal impacts of Covid, the severity of disease, and which groups are best protected. As Covid-19 revealed the cracks in the U.S. public health system, Dean shares how she anticipates public infrastructure to evolve, including more public and private sector partnerships. Dean delves into what led her to become a public health officer, the most exciting part of her first year as CEO at PHC, and her thoughts on her starring role in Michael Lewis’s book The Premonition: A Pandemic Story.
Laying the Foundation for Sustainable Success
Brad Stulberg, bestselling author of the books ‘The Passion Paradox’ and ‘Peak Performance,’ joins Venrock partner Bob Kocher to discuss his newest book, ‘The Practice of Groundedness.’ Stulberg offers a healthier, more sustainable model for success and dives into what groundedness means to him – a sense of feeling solid, stable, and whole; in a way that doesn’t eliminate ambition. Stulberg highlights the value of being present and how his views on well-being and performance have evolved. Kocher and Stulberg also discuss the importance of active reading, how grit only works if you have the right fit, and how wisdom impacts peak performance in different disciplines.
This show does such a good job covering a variety of topics. The guests offer awesome advice as well. I would recommend this show to anyone looking to be motivated and inspired!
Inspiring & Real
Venrock is doing great work here! Each and every episode serves up huge helpings of inspiration combined with tangible advice we can all apply to our own lives and businesses. If you're looking for your next favorite podcast you're in the right place. Thanks for putting out such a wonderful show - keep up the great work!
As a top venture captial firm, the folks at Venrock live and work and the intersection of new technology, new business and new category ideas. This wonderful podcast is one of my go-to's. THANKS VENROCK!