The Twenty Minute VC (20VC) interviews the world's greatest venture capitalists with prior guests including Sequoia's Doug Leone and Benchmark's Bill Gurley. Once per week, 20VC Host, Harry Stebbings is also joined by one of the great founders of our time with prior founder episodes from Spotify's Daniel Ek, Linkedin's Reid Hoffman, and Snowflake's Frank Slootman.
If you would like to see more of The Twenty Minute VC (20VC), head to www.20vc.com for more information on the podcast, show notes, resources and more.
20VC: Keith Rabois and Mike Shebat on Creating an Olympian Mindset to Work Ethic, Why First-Time Founders are Better Than Serial Entrepreneurs, Why Remote Work Does Not Work, Why the Best Founders Always Start in their Teens & Why Companies are Cults?
Keith Rabois is a General Partner @ Founders Fund, one of the world's best venture funds with a portfolio including the likes of Facebook, SpaceX, Anduril, Tesla and many more. For the last 23 years straight, Keith has either invested in or founded a $BN company. Keith is also the Co-Founder and CEO @ Openstore, the company that will buy or run your Shopify business.
Mike Shebat is the Founder and CEO @ Traba, the company providing industrial staffing when and where you need it. To date, Mike has raised $49M with Traba from some of the best including Founders Fund, General Catalyst and Khosla Ventures.
In Today's Episode We Discuss:
1. What it Takes to Build a Great:
Why does Mike expect everyone to work in office 12 hours per day, 4 days per week? At what point does an extra hour of work not lead to more output? What are the expectations in terms of emails, out of office, the weekends? Keith, from the 23 BN companies you have worked with, is this insane work ethic aligned to all of them? Which had it? What did not? What core components of PayPal's work ethic made it so strong? What does Keith mean when he says Linkedin could and should have been 5x bigger?
2. The Hiring Process for the Swat Team:
What does the hiring process look like for this type of work environment? What are the signs that someone is really aligned to it vs faking it for the interview process? What have been Keith's biggest lessons on both compensation and title in the hiring process? Why does Keith believe that culture is like concrete? What are the biggest mistakes he has made on culture and what would he have done differently?
3. First-Time Founders, Innate Entrepreneurs & Europe's Failing:
Does Keith agree the best founders always show signs of early entrepreneurship in their teens? Why does Keith prefer first-time founders to serial entrepreneurs? Why are they better? Why does Keith believe that Europe has not created a $100BN company since 1990?
4. Remote Work, Network Effects and Baseball:
Why does Keith believe being great in venture is like baseball? Why does Keith and Founders Fund not invest in remote teams? How does he explain Gitlab? Why does Keith believe Airbnb has the best network effect he has ever seen?
20VC: AI's Biggest Questions: The Commoditisation of LLMs, Open vs Closed: Who Wins, Model Size vs Data Quality, Why Google are Vulnerable and Apple are the Dark Horse
Des Traynor is a Co-Founder of Intercom, and has built and led many teams within the company, including Product, Marketing, and Customer Support.
Yann LeCun is VP & Chief AI Scientist at Meta and Silver Professor at NYU affiliated with the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences & the Center for Data Science. He was the founding Director of FAIR and of the NYU Center for Data Science.
Emad Mostaque is the Co-Founder and CEO @ StabilityAI, the parent company of Stable Diffusion. Stability are building the foundation to activate humanity’s potential.
Jeff Seibert is the Founder & CEO @ Digits, building the future of AI-powered accounting. Digits have raised funding from the likes of Peter Fenton @ Benchmark and 20VC.
Tomasz Tunguz is the Founder and General Partner @ Theory Ventures, just announced last week, Theory is a $230M fund that invests $1-25m in early-stage companies that leverage technology discontinuities into go-to-market advantages.
Douwe Kiela is the CEO of Contextual AI, building the contextual language model to power the future of businesses.
Cris Valenzuela is the CEO and co-founder of Runway, the company that trains and builds generative AI models for content creation.
Richard Socher is the founder and CEO of You.com. Richard previously served as the Chief Scientist and EVP at Salesforce. Before that, Richard was the CEO/CTO of AI startup MetaMind, acquired by Salesforce in 2016.
In Today's Episode We Discuss:
Foundational Models: Analysis
Will foundational models become commoditized? Who are the major players? What are their different strengths? Who will win? Who will lose? How important is the size of the model vs the quality of the data?
2. Open vs Closed:
What are the biggest pros and cons of an open ecosystem for LLMs? Why is it naive to think that open-source LLMs will prevail? What will determine which method wins?
3. An Analysis of the Incumbents:
Why is Google the most vulnerable? What can they do to regain ground? Why is Apple the sleeping giant? How could they win the next wave of AI? What should Amazon do today to compete with Microsoft?
4. The Future: Doom and Gloom?
Why is it ridiculous to assume AI systems want to dominate? Why will AI create a renaissance of creativity and human freedom? What role should regulation play in the advancement and progression of AI?
20VC: Why OpenAI Will Become an Infrastructure Play, Why Apple Will Win in an AI World, Why Google is the Most Vulnerable Incumbent, Will LLMs Be Commoditised, Which Startups Are Thin vs Thick Wrappers on Top of LLMs with Jeff Seibert, Founder @ Digits
Jeff Seibert is the Founder & CEO @ Digits, building the future of AI-powered accounting. Digits have raised funding from the likes of Peter Fenton @ Benchmark and 20VC. Jeff previously served as Twitter's Head of Consumer Product, a position he came to following the acquisition of his prior company, Crashlytics. Today, Crashlytics is the de-facto mobile crash reporting solution for iOS and Android and runs on over 6 Billion monthly active smartphones worldwide.
In Today's Episode with Jeff Seibert We Discuss:
1. The Art of the Pivot:
What are Jeff's biggest pieces of advice to founders pivoting? How do you know when you have enough data to make the decision to pivot? What are the single biggest mistakes founders make when pivoting?
2. AI: Who Wins and Who Loses:
Why does Jeff believe that OpenAI will transition into an infrastructure play? What are the most significant challenges OpenAI will face moving forward? Why does Jeff believe that Apple are best positioned to win in an AI world? Why does Jeff believe that Google are the most vulnerable incumbent? What would Jeff do if he was CEO of Google?
3. LLMs: What Happens Now:
Will we see the commoditization of LLMs? What are the biggest misconceptions people have on training and fine-tuning LLMs? Will we see LLMs increasingly specialise to vertical-specific models or will they remain horizontal? What is the difference between a thick and a thin wrapper when building on top of LLMs?
4. Angel Portfolio in Review:
How many angel checks has Jeff written? How many failed? How many home runs? Does Jeff believe that company valuations are being kept artificially high? How did Jeff make 200x selling through the secondary market for a now failing company? What are Jeff's three biggest pieces of advice for angels today?
20VC: The Ultimate Hiring Playbook: Five Questions to Ask Every New Hire | What Makes Truly Great Leaders and How They Give Feedback | Do VCs Really Add Value; Lessons from Hard Fundraises with Matteo Franceschetti, Co-Founder @ Eight Sleep
Matteo Franceschetti is the Co-Founder and CEO @ Eight Sleep, a company dedicated to fueling human potential through optimal sleep. To date, Matteo has raised over $160M for the business from the likes of Founders Fund, Ryan Petersen, Naval Ravikant, Kevin Hart, AROD and many more.
In Todays Episode with Matteo Franceschetti We Discuss:
1. Why Did Sleep Need "Solving":
Why did Matteo decide he wanted to spend decades of his life-solving sleep? If Matteo has known how hard it was going to be, would he do it again? What does Matteo know now that he wishes he had known at the start of the journey?
2. Hiring the Best Team:
What is Matteo's playbook for hiring? What are the five questions that Matteo asks in every interview? What are big red flags? What are strong signals of great talent? If people have been let go in a RIFF, is that a concern? How does Matteo construct hiring panels? What vote count is enough for an approved hire? What are Matteo's biggest lessons on title and pay a new hire receives? What are some of Matteo's biggest lessons when it comes to firing people?
3. Funding the Business:
What was the hardest round to raise? Why? Are investors justified in their skepticism of hardware? What are the single biggest pieces of advice Matteo would give to founders on raising? How impactful has it been having Keith Rabois and Founders Fund as an investor? Do VCs really add value?
4. Mastering Health, Sleep and Nutrition:
How does your diet impact the quality of sleep you have? How does exercise and the time of exercise impact your sleep? What are some common rules on sleep that are BS and myths? What are some of the most non-obvious truths about getting great sleep?
20VC Will Seed Pricing Remain High | Where is the Funding Crunch? | Three Core Elements Required to Raise a Series B/C | Why AI is Like the Lottery Today | Why Now is the Best Time to be Investing in Crypto | Why Investors Do Not Want to Reprice Compani
Rebecca Kaden is a Managing Partner @ Union Square Ventures, one of the leading early-stage firms of the last decade with investments in Twitter, Twilio, Coinbase and many more.
Nicole Quinn is a General Partner @ Lightspeed where she has led investments or sits on the board of Calm, Cameo and LunchClub to name a few.
Eurie Kim is a Managing Partner @ Forerunner Ventures, the leading early-stage consumer fund. Eurie has led investments and sits on the board of Oura, The Farmers Dog, Curology and more.
In Today's Roundtable We Discuss:
1. Seed Rounds:
Is it even possible for traditional seed funds to play in a world of multi-stage funds investing so aggressively at the seed stage? Is seed immune to the macro environment? Will seed pricing remain as high as ever? What advice does the team have for seed founders approaching a Series A? What do they need?
2. Series A:
How is the Series A market looking today? Is there a crunch at the Series A? To what extent are valuations compressed at the Series A? What 3 core elements do companies at the A stage, looking for a Series B next, need to focus on?
3. Series B and Beyond:
Is the real crunch at the Series B? Why are down rounds so much better than structured rounds for companies raising? Will we see a wave of M&A in the next 12 months?
4. Crypto, AI and Hot Takes:
Why is now the best time to be investing in crypto? Why is investing in AI a lottery right now? What is the most controversial thing that each believes today?
20VC: How to Survive and Thrive in a World of OpenAI, Are LLMs Being Commoditised, Where Does the Value Lie; Infrastructure or Application Layer, How Apple Could Win in a World of AI, How Amazon Could Threaten OpenAI and Why Google Struggle with Des Tra
Des Traynor is a Co-Founder of Intercom, and has built and led many teams within the company, including Product, Marketing, and Customer Support. Today Des leads all Intercom’s R&D efforts, and parts of Intercom’s marketing.
In Today's Episode with Des We Discuss:
1. From Consultancy to Founding a Unicorn:
What was the founding a-ha moment for Des and the team with Intercom? Why does Des believe that most startup advice is BS and outdated in 5 years? What does Des know now that he wishes he had known when he started?
2. LLMs: The World is Not Equal:
What does Des mean when he says the world of LLMs is not equal? How do the different LLMs very in quality, price and speciality? Does Des agree with Alex @ Nabla, "the best companies in the future will work with many LLMs at the same time and switch between them for different things"? To what extent does Des believe LLMs will be commoditised and it will be a race to the bottom? Would Des be a buyer of OpenAI at a $90BN price? Why not?
3. How to Survive in a World of OpenAI:
What two simple questions will determine if Open AI will kill your existing business? What 3 criteria will determine if there is a new business to be built on top of OpenAI? What is the different between a thin layer on top of an LLM and a thick wrapper with real value? Which traditional incumbents are most vulnerable? What should they do in this new world? How long does it take for incumbents to really be impacted?
4. The Titans of Tech: Who Wins:
Why does Des believe that Apple could be a massive winner in the next wave of AI? Why does Des believe that Google have not been impressive and failed to keep pace? Why does Des think OpenAI should be wary of Amazon? What could they do to threaten them? What opportunity does Facebook have here? How could Instagram and Whatsapp win?
5. Startup and Investing 101:
Why does Des believe that every founder should write a blog post per week? Why does Des believe that most B2B marketing sucks? What makes great B2B marketing? What are Des' biggest lessons from the Hopin journey? How has Des' angel investing changed in the last year with the rise of AI?
Asparagus from Veggie Tales
I’m almost certain the host is the voice actor for the asparagus from veggie tales
Harry is terrific. Content is interesting and he doesn’t waste time. Love 20vc.
Great show, look forward to it
This past pod with Lori Jimenez was best one yet.