Balderton Capital are one of Europe's largest tech VCs, investing the best breakthrough technology companies in the continent. This podcast will share weekly insights for those at the forefront of the European technology scene: our partners, investment team, portfolio companies, and other selected experts and contributors. The 'cast will be a worthwhile listen for anyone who is looking to raise venture capital investment, building a technology company from the ground up, or is enthusiastic about the London & European tech community. If you'd like to read news & updates from our team, check out our news page: http://www.balderton.com/newsfeed
John Cole, Ezoic: Staying in stealth for three years, and balancing UX & Monetisation in Testing/AI
John Cole is the CCO of Ezoic. Ezoic is a Google award-winning artificial intelligence platform designed to automatically test ads, website layouts, mediation, and more to increase ad revenue and optimize user experiences at the same time.
John is the Chief Customer Officer of Ezoic. Formerly an officer in the British Royal Navy, John was a founding Director of Media Run Group – which started several online businesses in the mid 2000’s (Media Run Search, Media Run Ad Network, and Blowfish Digital Ad Agency). Following the acquisition of Media Run Ad Network by Adknowledge Inc in Oct 2007, John managed Adknowledge in Europe, which included the Super Rewards virtual currency platform (which monetized Facebook, MMO & Mobile Games) & Cubics – the first Social display advertising platform inside Facebook. After a brief and successful foray into the world of independent online publishing (he was founder of UK website operator ‘Epirical’), John sold his online interests to Ezoic in Dec 2011 and joined as CCO. John moved his family from London UK to live in San Diego in August 2013.
0034 John explains that Ezoic combines ad-testing, CMS and UX; and dives into some of the complexities of multivariate testing
0205 Why did Ezoic stay in stealth for three years?
0400 Even though the company has pivoted, the central idea has remained the same: where and how an ad appears on a page is as important as retargeting and context.
0500 John explains that Ezoic bought 500 websites, and used them to test and hone their theories
0715 The secret sauce is achieving the balance between UX and monetisation - the assumption is that one usually compromises the other.
1055 John talks about the human cost of staying in stealth for three years, and resisting the urge to shout about Ezoic from the rooftops
1400 Does staying in stealth for three years to undertake a long period of testing and re-testing mean that you guys are anti-'lean startup'?
1540 John explains the strategic rationale behind the choice of the name 'Ezoic'
2300 What's next? Times are exciting at Ezoic - making acquisitions and winning awards!
Mårten Mickos, CEO MySQL, Eucalyptus, Hackerone: Building a billion dollar software company
Mårten Mickos is a rare European founder. He has led 3 global software companies, including the Balderton-backed MySQL, and is now opening the London office of HackerOne, a new company which is used by Uber, Twitter and Github to protect their critical systems.
Mårten joined open-source database company MySQL as CEO early in the company's journey. He remained in charge until the $1 billion acquisition by Sun Microsystems in 2011.
Mårten's next role was again as a software CEO, at cloud software company Eucalyptus. Hewlett-Packard acquired the business in 2014.
In this video, Mårten is interviewed by Balderton's Managing Partner, Bernard Liautaud. Like Mårten, Bernard spent the majority of his professional life as a software CEO at the very highest level. As CEO and Founder of Business Objects, Bernard become the first European to IPO a software company on Nasdaq in 1994, and continued in the role of CEO until the company was acquired by SAP in January 2008, for $6.8bn.
For further reading, see Mårten's blog, which is intended help startup CEOs with questions around leadership and company-building here: http://schoolofherring.com/
Cherry Freeman, Nigel Whiteoak, Edward Griffith of LoveCrafts | Why 3 founders are better than 1
All three coFounders of Lovecrafts - Cherry Freeman, Nigel Whiteoak and Edward Griffith - joined Ben Goldsmith for the latest episode of the Balderton podcast.
Lovecrafts create online marketplaces such as LoveKnitting and LoveCrochet that bring traditional crafts to the digital age. Balderton first invested in the company in 2015, leading a $7.5m round. LoveCrafts have since raised a further $20m.
0030 You have three cofounders: is that better or worse than one, single CEO figure?
0100 Edward started the business and brought in Cherry and Nigel. How did that process work? Did they need convincing?
0230 How did the founders first meet?
0300 Nigel, how did Edward coax you to leave your job and join him at Lovecrafts?
0405 Is Lovecrafts an inherently difficult idea - getting a potentially older demographic online can be tricky.
0550 Edward has previously spoken about a craft renaissance - what is driving that?
0655 As leaders of the 'making' company, What do the Lovecrafts cofounders make?
0740 How does fundraising work with three founders? Does one take the lead?
0845 How do you divide responsibilities within the business.
0940 Hiring: is the hiring process at all complicated due to the 'three founder system'?
1210 Cherry explains why their hiring process won't drastically change as they scale.
1350 The trio share some advice for early-stage cofounding teams.
Jack Rivlin, CEO of The Tab: Starting a company at 19, going global, and learning on the job
The Tab's CEO and Founder Jack Rivlin talks to Ben Goldsmith about all of the 'first-times' he's encountered since founding student media company The Tab with a group of friends at Cambridge University. The first time Jack hired people outside of the founding team, the first fund-raise, the first time that The Tab decided that they were going to launch in New York...
0014 Without pausing for breath, Jack starts the episode by sharing the news that The Tab recently smashed one of their own traffic records.
0135 Jack talks about Babe, The Tab's very recently launched new title for a female readership.
0200 Why launch Babe? Jack discusses how a lot of media aimed at women is patronising, and heavily product and celebrity focuses. The 'Babe' team want to change that.
0240 The subject of 'firsts' - as a 19 year old founder, Jack has had to go through a lot of complex, important and often high profile experiences at a comparatively early age.
0325 What was the first story published on The Tab?
0450 When did The Tab first gain the attention of the national media?
0550 When was the firs time that The Tab got into hot water?
0640 Jack talks us through the first apology issues by The Tab... which is now taught on journalism courses.
0710 What was the mission of the business when you first launched The Tab? As I'd imagine it wasn't "we want to build a media company that gets funded by VCs in 7 years time!"
0830 When was the first time you did something wrong?
1040 Jack talks about achieving a blend of serious journalism and more frivolous stories
1220 Why do you do 'the fun stuff'?
1350 Jack explains how what The Tab is doing is different, and why it is good for young people to have a publication like The Tab
1430 How did you make your first hires outside the original team?
1600 Jack talks about finding their first sales person... at Glastonbury.
1745 When did The Tab stop being the fun publications that a group of friends set up at Cambridge, and become a business?
1950 When did you decide to take The Tab to the USA?
2250 What's next for The Tab?
Steve O'Hear of TechCrunch: the Future of Media & lessons from Entrepreneurship
Steve O’Hear is best known as a technology journalist, currently at TechCrunch where he focuses on European startups, companies and products.
Steve joined TechCrunch in November 2009 as Contributing Editor for TechCrunch Europe, where he worked alongside Editor Mike Butcher to help build TechCrunch’s coverage in the continent. In June 2011, Steve took a break from journalism to co-found the London and Prague-based startup Beepl. In his role as CEO, he helped the company raise its first VC round, along with seeing the Question & Answer site through development, private alpha and a high profile public launch.
Steve joins Ben Goldsmith to talk about the future of journalism, and whether being an entrepreneur helped Steve to be a better journalist.
0055 Steve talks about why he left journalism in 2009 in order to become the cofounder of a startup…
0300 Steve talks about what it was about Beepl that was so tempting it lured him away from journalism
0430 Did Beepl fail?
0735 The big question: has being an entrepreneur helped Steve to become a better journo
0940 Steve explains why the VC fundraising process necessities a conflict of interest on part of the entrepreneurs raising the money
1230 In the modern age of journalism, will the strict line between church and state (editorial and money-making) move?
1630 Would Steve work for a publication that pays a journalist based on how many clicks they receive?
1855 Steve talks about the kind of journalism that the internet is killing
2030 Clickbait is overhyped: it has always existed; just it used to be only available in print.
2130 So called ‘content creators’ are everywhere. Will this deluge of content ever render the journalist extinct?
2320 Steve talks about how he covers news
2600 Even though social media allows journalists to build personal profiles, they are rarely bigger than the publication they write for.
2830 White, male, middle class… the internet has democratised journalism at the entry level.
2900 Big shoutout for Harry Stebbings and the 20VC!
James Cook, Tech Editor of Business Insider UK: How tech startups can get newsjacking right
In the latest Balderton Capital podcast, James Cook talks to Ben Goldsmith about how technology entrepreneurs (and their PRs) can get newsjacking right, and avoid falling foul of a journalist's 'delete' button.
James Cook is Technology Editor at Business Insider UK. He was formerly Contributing Editor at The Daily Dot, and the Deputy Editor of The Kernel. He also runs @LedZepNews.
0100 James explains why he currently deletes most of your emails.
0125 “We’ve done this to ourselves” – James admit that journalists do ask for this kind of stuff, but he urges his peers to take caution.
0225 James explains what happens to his inbox when a big news story breaks, and why it is (at present) very difficult to sift through the heft of messages to find the really useful emails.
0400 How can we fix comment fatigue? James tells entrepreneurs not to stop emailing, but warns against sending emails just to check the box that says ‘do some PR’.
0525 A big question: How do you, as a tech entrepreneur or a PR, work your way into a journalists’ good books?
0830 Entrepreneurs need to consider what they can tell a journalist that no one else can. James reminds us that startup founders do usually have incredibly useful knowledge of something very specific, by virtue of them dedicating their lives to one industry.
1130 Journalists have gaps in their knowledge – if you’re sharing a comment, aim to fill those gaps; don’t just repeat obvious sentiment or well-reported facts.
1345 What questions should an entrepreneur ask themselves to ‘sanity check’ whether they should email you?
1520 Entrepreneurs should feel encouraged to give journalists more than just comment: don’t be shy about sharing data, case studies, reports etc.
1720 If you’ve just started out, how do you get to know journalists?
1830 It helps if entrepreneurs demonstrate an understanding of how news works. Understand that journalists are on deadlines, that breaking news need to be fast, and that they appreciate things like imagery and data.
Very good interviews. Great guests as well. Wish had more episodes