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: From $57M in ARR to $297M in Just 12 Months; Why Speed of Execution is the Most Important Factor to Success, Hiring 2,000 People in 3 Years Remotely & Secondaries; Why, When and How Much To Take Out with Alex Bouaziz, Co-Founder & CEO @ Deel
Alex Bouaziz is the Co-Founder and CEO @ Deel, the all-in-one platform made to simplify all things HR, built for global teams near and far. In the last year alone, Alex has scaled Deel from $57M in ARR to $295M, EBITDA positive since Sept 2022, 85%+ gross margins, and over $5BN paid out to 250,000 people. Alex has raised over $679M with Deel, pricing the company at the last round at $12.1BN. Investors in the company include a16z, Spark Capital, Coatue, and many more.
In Today's Episode with Alex Bouaziz We Discuss:
1.) From Student in London to Decacorn Founder:
How Alex made his way into the world of startups and how he came up with the idea for Deel? Did Alex always know he would be successful when he was growing up? What does Alex know now that he wishes he had known when he was starting?
2.) The Importance of Execution:
How important does Alex think speed of execution is for startups? What can startups do to deliberately increase their speed of execution? How does Alex think about the dilemma of losing quality with speed? What does Alex think you do need to go slow on to ensure it is perfect? How does Alex think about focus and prioritisation today with Deel?
3.) Scaling to $295M in ARR in 3 Years:
When did Alex know he had true product-market fit with Deel? How did Alex use a 50-person Whatsapp group to both determine product market fit and to navigate product direction for the company? What was the key to Deel's blitz scaling strategy? What worked? What did not work? How did Alex hire 2,000 people in such a short space of time? What broke first in the organisation? How could they have prevented it?
4.) Secondaries, Angel Investing and Wealth Management:
How much did Alex take out in secondaries in the last round of funding? How did Alex determine how much cash to allocate to angel investing? Why does Alex believe most founders make poor angel investments when they have cash? What have been Alex's biggest lessons from investing? How has it changed how he operates? Why should all founders be super transparent in investor updates?
20VC: Homebrew's Hunter Walk and Satya Patel on Why $100M is Not Enough To Execute a Seed Strategy Today | Why They Decided not to Raise New External Funds | Where Are We in the Cycle & What is Truly F***** | Why Founders Should Take Secondaries Earlier
Hunter Walk and Satya Patel are Co-Founders and Partners @ Homebrew, one of the leading seed funds of the last decade. Following 10 years of stellar returns with investments in the likes of Chime, Plaid, Gusto and many others, they decided to not accept any further LP capital and to only invest their own money moving forward through Homebrew Forever.
In Today's Discussion on Homebrew We Breakdown:
1. ) The Foundings of a Great Partnership:
What was the moment when Hunter and Satya decided they were going to go out and raise their first fund with Homebrew I? What are the core principles that all founding partners need to align on before they start a firm together? What questions should they ask of each other? Why does being independently wealthy coming into a partnership make the partnership easier and more efficient to operate? What changes when the partners have money already?
2.) What Changes When Moving From LP Dollars to Personal Capital:
Why did Hunter and Satya decide to not raise any further capital from external LPs? Asset allocation-wise, how did they determine how much is the right amount to set aside for the first 2 years of investing? How many investments do they want to make with that cash? How does investing their personal capital change their deployment pace and cadence? How does it change their approach to reserves management and follow-on financing? How does it change their approach to pricing? How price sensitive are they today?
3.) Analyzing the Seed Landscape Today:
Why do Hunter and Satya not think that a $100M seed fund is enough to properly execute a world-class seed strategy today? Who is their competition with the new strategy? How does it change their relationship with large multi-stage funds? How does it change their relationship with seed funds? Do they agree that the last generation of sub $20M micro-funds will not raise another fund in this cycle? How did their entrance impact the seed landscape over the last few years? Why are LPs also to blame for many of the original seed managers raising larger and larger funds?
4.) Companies: Money and People are The Problem:
Why has too much money been such a problem for many Homebrew portfolio companies over the last few years? How has too much money changed their execution plans? What happens to the "living dead" companies with many years of runway but no product market fit? Who does this market cater to well? Who will thrive in this market? What have people forgotten about both startups and venture in the last 2 years that we have to remember? Why is this generation so entitled and expectant? Why are startups not a get-rich-quick scheme?
20VC: Canva Co-Founder, Cliff Obrecht on The Journey From 100 VC Rejections to a $40BN Company, Why Good Enough is Not Good Enough, The Secret to Hiring Non-Obvious Talent and Relationships to Money and Why They Are Giving Away Billions
Cliff Obrecht is the Co-Founder & COO @ Canva, the free-to-use online graphic design tool that makes it easy for anyone to design anything from presentations to videos and social media. Cliff and Mel have scaled Canva to over 60 million monthly users, 2,000 employees, and 500,000 teams from companies like Intel and Zoom using Canva. During this incredible growth journey, they have raised over $580M with their last round valuing the company at over $40BN.
In Today's Episode with Cliff Obrecht
1.) From Teacher to Billionaire Tech Founder:
How did Keith make his way into the world of tech with his founding of FusionBooks? What did the process with FusionBooks teach him about how to run Canva? How did the early fundraising days for Canva go? Why does Cliff think they got over 100 no's? What are Cliff's biggest pieces of advice for founders today, not in Silicon Valley, looking to raise from Silicon Valley VCs?
2.) Scaling to $40BN: The Biggest Lessons:
What does Cliff mean when he says the secret to successful hiring is looking for "distance traveled"? How does he determine this in the interview process? What have been some of the single biggest lessons in what it takes to acquire the best talent? What are some of the biggest mistakes Cliff has made in talent acquisition? How has his process changed as a result? What do Canva do to get the best operators as advisors in the company? How do they compensate these advisors? What does Cliff advise founders on how to do the same?
3.) The Art of Deal-Making:
How does Cliff think through what makes a "good deal"? How does he approach negotiation? What are the biggest mistakes founders make when negotiating and doing deals? What have been Cliff's biggest lessons on successful investor relations over the years? How does Cliff and Canva approach acquisitions? What do they look for? What is their process? Why do most tech companies approach acquisitions the wrong way?
4.) Cliff Obrecht: Money, Fatherhood and Marriage:
How does Cliff analyze his relationship to money today? How much money is enough? How has his relationship to money changed over time? Why have Cliff and Mel given away over $10BN to their foundation? Why is philanthropy so hard to do effectively? Why would Cliff hate for his children to be brought up in excess wealth? What does "great fatherhood" mean to Cliff? What are the most challenging aspects of parenting? What are the secrets to a happy marriage? How does co-founding a company with your other half work well? How does it work poorly?
20Sales: Why You Should Not Do PLG and Enterprise Sales at the Same Time | How To Move Into Enterprise Sales Gradually | How To Make a Comp Plan For Sales Teams | Why Discounting is Good and Can Be Used with Stevie Case, CRO @ Vanta
Stevie Case is the CRO @ Vanta where she oversees Vanta’s go-to-market team to support the company’s rapid growth. Prior to joining Vanta, Stevie was Vice President of Mid-Market Sales at Twilio, joining as one of their first account executives, Stevie helped to grow the sales team from a dozen to over 1,000 team members and played a pivotal role in establishing Twilio’s enterprise business with key Fortune 500 customers, generating more than $400 million in annual recurring revenue. If that was not enough, Stevie is also a Founding Operator @ Coalition Network and a prominent angel investor.
In Today's Episode with Stevie Case We Discuss:
1. ) From World's First Pro Female Gamer to CRO:
How did Stevie make her way from pro gamer to CRO? How did her career in gaming make her a better CRO and sales leader? In her early sales career, how did being a single mother with a child impact her approach to sales? What can founders do to make workplaces more inclusive for parents today?
2.) Enterprise or PLG: Which One To Choose:
Why does Stevie believe it is not right to do both PLG and enterprise at the same time for startups? How can startups and sales teams move into enterprise selling gradually through testing and without committing a significant budget to an enterprise sales team? How do founders know when is the right time to move from PLG to enterprise? What are the signs?
3.) The Mythical Sales Playbook:
How does Stevie define the term "sales playbook" today? What is it not? Should the founder be the person to create the sales playbook? If not them, then who? When is the right time to make your first sales hire? When is the wrong time?
4.) Mastering the Hiring Process in Sales Recruits:
How should we structure the interview process for new sales reps? What is the right profile for these first sales hires? How do the best sales talent answer questions and perform in interview processes? How can we really test for grit and curiosity in the interview process? What are the single biggest mistakes founders make when hiring for sales?
5.) Discovery, Discounting, Deal Velocity:
With sales cycles being so long, how do you know if enterprise sales reps are good? What is the difference between good discovery vs bad discovery? Should founders engage in discounting to get deals over the line? When does it work?
20VC: USV's Albert Wenger on What Elon Musk Should Do with Twitter | The State of Crypto Today; The Impact of SBF and Why Now is the Best Time To Invest in Crypto | Are We Too Late to Save The Climate and Why Civil Disobedience is Required | Will TikTok
Albert Wenger is a managing partner at Union Square Ventures, one of the most successful venture firms of the last decade with a portfolio including Coinbase, Twitter, Twilio, Etsy, and many more. Before joining USV, Albert was the president of del.icio.us through the company’s sale to Yahoo and an angel investor (Etsy, Tumblr). He previously founded or co-founded several companies, including a management consulting firm and an early-hosted data analytics company.
In Today's Episode with Albert Wenger We Discuss:
1.) From Failed Startup Founder to Leading VC:
How Albert transitioned from being a failed entrepreneur to being one of the most respected venture investors with USV today? What were the clear signs for Albert that he was not a good entrepreneur? Why does Albert believe this downturn is different compared to the dot-com bubble? Why was there more hope and promise coming out of the dot-com bubble?
2.) Income Inequality, The Rise of Depression & The Role of Politics:
Why is income and wealth inequality more concerning than ever? Why does Albert believe universal basic income is the right solution? Why is mental health worse than ever? What can be done to improve this? Why are our politicians failing us? What should our politicians be doing? How does the rise of Trump show us what society is looking for in politicians?
3.) Climate Change: Misnomers, Developing Countries, Civil Disobedience:
What are the single biggest misnomers people have when it comes to climate change? How can we shift spending on climate change solutions from 5% of GDP to 50%? Is that possible? Why do developing nations have an advantage when implementing climate change solutions over more developed economies? Why is civil disobedience the right course of action to ensure society is on a path to change our approach to climate change?
4.) Crypto and Central Banks: The Future of Finance:
Why does Albert believe that over the past few years, for many, crypto was a good hedge against inflation? How damaging does Albert believe SBF and FTX will be to crypto in the long term? How does Albert evaluate the potential for governments to create a "central bank digital currency"? What would Albert like to see in a potential currency like this? How could stable coins be the solution to this? What is Albert fearful of with central bank digital currencies? Why does Albert believe now is the best time to be investing in crypto?
5.) The Future of Social Media: Twitter & TikTok:
What does Albert believe is wrong with Twitter today? Why was the blue check mark such a mess? What does Albert believe Elon should do with Twitter from this point on? How should Elon deal with the debt providers he has? What happens to Twitter moving forward? Why is it so hard to kill? What is the future of TikTok? Will it be banned in the US? How concerned should the consumer be concerning their data being shared with the Chinese Government?
20VC: Turning Canned Water into a $700M Media and Health Company, What Makes Truly Great Brands, How Founders Can Build Their Brand From Day 1 Today & How to Create Viral Content with Little to No Budget with Mike Cessario, Founder and CEO @ Liquid Deat
Mike Cessario is the Founder and CEO @ Liquid Death, the man hacking the healthy beverage market with the first hilarious water brand. It is working, Liquid Death's latest valuation was over a staggering $700M and Mike has raised over $200M since founding the company from the likes of Science Inc. Away's Jen Rubio, Dollar Shave Club's Michael Dubin, Swedish House Mafia and Tony Hawk to name a few. Prior to founding Liquid Death, Mike was in the advertising industry at a number of dirrect firms including VaynerMedia.
In Today's Episode with Mike Cessario We Discuss:
1.) From Canned Water to $700M Business:
How did rockstars' hydration problems lead to the founding of Liquid Death? How did growing up with guns and heroine needles around him at school, impact how Mike sees the world today? What is he running from? What is he running towards? Everyone said, "canned water, that is a stupid idea". What does Mike tell to all entrepreneurs who are told their idea is stupid? How does Mike advise on picking your idea?
2.) How to Build a Truly Great Brand:
What does the term "brand" mean to Mike? What does he mean when he says, "truly great brand transcends functional value"? What are the single biggest mistakes Mike sees founders make today on branding? Why does Mike believe people will always hate your brand, if it is good? What are the biggest brand mistakes Mike has made with Liquid Death? What brand does Mike most respect and admire? Why that brand?
3.) Marketing: The Secret to Reaching Millions of People with Little Budget:
How does the Liquid Death team come up with the ideas they have for content? Why does Mike believe the label "storytelling" is kinda BS? Why does Mike believe people will always hate your marketing? What was Mike's biggest lesson from their Superbowl commercial with kids drinking Liquid Death, looking like beer? How does Mike decide which channel to prioritise? How has the rise of TikTok and short form video changed their approach to content? How does Mike approach resource allocation for new pieces of content? Do they spend big on few bits of content or spend little on many and see what works?
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