300 episodes

Jason Calacanis and a rotating group of guest experts bring you this weekly take on the best, worst, most outrageous and interesting stories from the world of Web companies. Calacanis, a podcasting pioneer, gives you an insider's look at what's happening in the tech industry with his trademark blunt style and good humor. Looking to start your own company? Need strategies for improving your business or motivating your team? Just want to catch up on what's happening in Silicon Valley and beyond? Your journey begins here.

This Week in Startups - Audio ThisWeekIn

    • Technology
    • 4.6, 638 Ratings

Jason Calacanis and a rotating group of guest experts bring you this weekly take on the best, worst, most outrageous and interesting stories from the world of Web companies. Calacanis, a podcasting pioneer, gives you an insider's look at what's happening in the tech industry with his trademark blunt style and good humor. Looking to start your own company? Need strategies for improving your business or motivating your team? Just want to catch up on what's happening in Silicon Valley and beyond? Your journey begins here.

    E1070: The Power of Accelerators E7 Ravi Belani, Managing Director of Alchemist Accelerator on why the best entrepreneurs love the process, risk-taking, sourcing & investing in Justin.tv at DFJ & more

    E1070: The Power of Accelerators E7 Ravi Belani, Managing Director of Alchemist Accelerator on why the best entrepreneurs love the process, risk-taking, sourcing & investing in Justin.tv at DFJ & more

    0:20 Jason intros Alchemist's Ravi Belani

    3:41 Why is Alchemist named after Paulo Coelho book? What is the biggest benefit of Accelerators?

    5:47 Ravi's background at DFJ, sourcing the Justin.tv investment

    15:02 Why Ravi left DFJ to start Alchemist

    21:52 How many companies have gone through Alchemist and what is their standard deal?

    28:21 Why accelerators take more risk than VC firms

    35:07 The best entrepreneurs love the process

    38:35 How are Alchemist's programs structured? Did they have trouble transitioning to remote?

    44:38 Have virtual meetings been resulting in checks from investors? Dealing with investing in competitive companies

    49:59 What is Alchemist's diligence process like?

    55:01 What does venture capital funding look like in the medium-term

    • 1 hr 5 min
    E1069: Alexis Ohanian on Reddit’s crypto origins, turning VC into a team sport at Initialized, improving as an investor, fatherhood & more

    E1069: Alexis Ohanian on Reddit’s crypto origins, turning VC into a team sport at Initialized, improving as an investor, fatherhood & more

    1:02 Jason welcomes Alexis Ohanian to the show and asks about the Reddit sale & re-joining for the turnaround

    3:39 Why was Reddit "the last website standing" from all of the Web 2.0 sales in the early 2000s?

    6:05 History of Reddit Gold, future of micropayments & what will Reddit's Blockchain venture entail?

    14:59 Future of creators being able to monetize using micropayments, policing speech on Reddit

    19:45 Fatherhood, being a Girl Dad, balancing personal life & work life

    29:12 What is Alexis' role at Initialized? How Initialized is turning Venture Capital into a team sport

    36:10 Dealing with celebrity as a partner at a VC firm, building talent when starting Initialized

    42:44 Why Initialized's small ownership percentage was an issue early on, and how they think about it now

    47:59 Jason calls Reddit's crypto project: "The most credible thing I've ever seen in crypto.", parsing through legitimate and non-legitimate crypto businesses

    54:33 What investor skills has Alexis improved and what still needs work?

    1:00:52 Dealing with icon-level celebrity in his personal life

    1:04:30 Jason reveals the winner from their 2013 bet during Alexis' last appearance on This Week in Startups

    • 1 hr 6 min
    E1068 AMA: NEA’s Ben Narasin takes questions from founders: most important content in a pitch deck, COVID’s impact on dealmaking, traits he looks for in founders & more!

    E1068 AMA: NEA’s Ben Narasin takes questions from founders: most important content in a pitch deck, COVID’s impact on dealmaking, traits he looks for in founders & more!

    NEA's Ben Narasin takes questions from founders: most important content in a pitch deck, COVID's impact on dealmaking, traits he looks for in founders & more!

    Join the TWiST Slack: https://launchevents.typeform.com/to/kLq5Bi

    Follow Ben: https://twitter.com/bnarasin

    1:13 Paul: Has the current crisis changed your investment thesis? If so, how?

    2:40 Ash/Christopher: How to overcome the money raised vs revenue generated in enterprise SaaS that requires heavy product work to reach product-market fit?

    4:13 Emberlynn/Srinivas: What is the most important content in a pitch deck?

    7:26 Guilherme: What will the VC funding landscape look like after the crisis passes?

    8:37 Mary: What is the best way to present a newly launched startup that has been severely impacted by COVID-19 to investors?

    10:48 Daniel: What advice would you offer college students passionate about venture capital so that they can also become investors?

    12:22 Mark: What immediate skepticism do you have when you look at early-stage startups?

    15:54 Len: What factor(s) would most set an early-stage (i.e. seed funding, launch-ready, pre-revenue) company apart from others seeking similar funding?

    18:15 Aneesh: My startup sells multiple SaaS products for restaurant digitization. We don’t have the bandwidth to handle sales and marketing of all products at once. What should be our strategy to prioritize?

    19:49 Linards: At what level of product traction will investors start to be interested? How does it differ across verticals?

    22:40 Avidan: What role (if any) will equity crowdfunding play in the venture capital ecosystem at large?

    23:43 Adam: What are you seeing related to startup valuations and VC terms post-COVID?

    25:18 Emin: What kind of marketplaces would you like to see in the next 5 years?

    26:34 Tammy: Do you think people will need a college degree for the jobs of the future?

    28:48 Ellie: Post-WeWork, how should a tech startup with profit margins on the smaller side think about building a scalable and ultimately profitable business model?

    30:15 Wei: What sectors are you investing in? What are you most excited about nowadays?

    31:40 Ope: What skill sets do you need to move into VC from a non-Investment Banking background?

    33:09 Suruchi/Mireille: In a medium article you wrote you wrote: "winter is here, severely ....don't obsess about the downside, think about the opportunities.” What opportunities have arisen so far? What changes are permanent and what changes are temporary?

    35:20 Nghia: What are some books that you recommend today?

    39:30 Ben: Are there areas that are non-investable at the moment whether it be overcrowded, overpriced, or the prospects aren’t great due to COVID?

    40:24 Charles: Do you have any instances where a founder's positive or negative traits/signals have influenced a deal decision? On reflection, has instinct proved a better indicator than hard numbers?

    43:42 Dave: What was your biggest exit/best investment? How did you source the deal? Alternatively, could you tell your worst anti-portfolio story (most successful company you passed on)?

    44:46 Barry: What are some interesting healthcare startups or spaces that you have a favorable outlook for?

    45:51 Raman: What’s your take on the future of learning?

    • 48 min
    E1067: Garry Tan, Managing Partner & Co-Founder of Initialized Capital, on dealing with downstream investors as a Seed-stage firm, software companies acting as governments, possibility of building IPO-level companies while fully-distributed & much more!

    E1067: Garry Tan, Managing Partner & Co-Founder of Initialized Capital, on dealing with downstream investors as a Seed-stage firm, software companies acting as governments, possibility of building IPO-level companies while fully-distributed & much more!

    1:03 Jason intros Garry Tan and checks in on how his quarantine has been going

    4:39 How does Garry look at Initialized's portfolio companies? What are his 3 groups of companies dealing with COVID?

    8:04 How will VCs react to the crisis? Why does Initialized specifically focus on Seed-stage companies?

    11:13 How does Initialized contact downstream investors about their companies, and how has that changed during COVID?

    14:12 Thoughts on Posterous, data-storage singularity & more

    18:04 Losing thousands of photos after getting banned from Flickr and how that plays into software as the new government, becoming a super-router

    22:32 How Spotify's access to public capital gives them an acquisition advantage, collab concepts

    24:51 How does Initialized size their follow-on investments?

    29:11 For how long is Initialized planning on operating fully remote? Thoughts on going back to work

    35:56 What skills has Garry had to improve during his investing career?

    43:33 How downstream investors try and take advantage of early-stage investors

    47:51 Thoughts on Clubhouse investment, how/if they can scale their exclusivity

    56:27 Thoughts on founders selling secondary shares, and how Chris Sacca helped Garry Tan at Posterous

    1:02:09 Structural inequality leading to rich-bashing, how Fiat currency impacts welfare inequality

    1:07:09 Thoughts on UBI, Instacart, potential profitability of food-delivery companies

    1:11:31 Perception of Tech in the Bay Area, commercial real-estate in SF, Facebook's game-theory remote pay scale

    1:18:27 Could today's tech giants (Google, Facebook, Uber) have grown to the heights they did as fully remote companies? Can IPO-level companies be consistently built while remote?

    1:24:49 Do the best founders appear ageless? New Twitter features: good or bad?

    • 1 hr 37 min
    E1066: The Power of Accelerators E6 David Brown, CEO & Co-Founder of TechStars on leading the virtual accelerator trend, benefits of going global, sustained vs. temporary changes from COVID & more!

    E1066: The Power of Accelerators E6 David Brown, CEO & Co-Founder of TechStars on leading the virtual accelerator trend, benefits of going global, sustained vs. temporary changes from COVID & more!

    0:43 Jason intros TechStars CEO David Brown

    4:47 TechStars leading the virtual accelerator trend

    10:21 Will TechStars go with a hybrid model going forward and what key points should remote accelerators focus on?

    15:27 How did TechStars settle on the number of 10 companies per cohort?

    17:28 What has TechStars seen across their portfolio since COVID started?

    21:21 Sustained changes vs. temporary changes due to COVID, will COVID lead to more entrepreneurs?

    31:58 How to explain edge-case funding scenarios to founders who have real businesses that are having troubling raising capital, taking a long-term view on accelerator engagement, why B2B is easier than B2C

    36:22 Why angels invest in one company over the other? Do metrics matter as much as personal relationships? What are ideal founder characteristics that David looks for?

    40:25 How TechStars selects mentors by surveying their mentees, comparison against Y Combinator

    51:45 Opportunity for going global, David's relationship with Co-Founder David Cohen

    1:00:30 Would TechStars ever go public?

    • 1 hr 7 min
    E1065 AMA: Slice CEO Ilir Sela answers questions from founders: tips on selling into scattered markets (like Mom & Pop shops), COVID’s impact on the restaurant industry, scaling Slice’s $43M Series C & more!

    E1065 AMA: Slice CEO Ilir Sela answers questions from founders: tips on selling into scattered markets (like Mom & Pop shops), COVID’s impact on the restaurant industry, scaling Slice’s $43M Series C & more!

    Slice CEO Ilir Sela answers questions from founders: tips on selling into scattered markets (like Mom & Pop shops), COVID's impact on the restaurant industry, scaling Slice's $43M Series C & more!



    Join the TWiST Slack: https://launchevents.typeform.com/to/kLq5Bi



    Check out Slice: https://slicelife.com/



    Follow Ilir: https://twitter.com/IlirSela



    1:05 Knyck: You mentioned Slice being a platform to provide the technology and buying power of scaled companies to small pizza businesses. Do you think that mom and pop stores in other industries like retail or services could use a similar platform, or is this type of structure specifically fitted for the economics of the pizza industry?



    3:32 Michael: How do you see the restaurant industry changing in NYC post-COVID, and where do you see the growth opportunities to create a new type of offering?



    5:17 Chris: I’m building a loyalty program startup for restaurants. We’re specifically targeting non-chain ethnic restaurants and customers who may have ethnic nostalgia for cultural foods. What do you think the opportunity looks like nationwide for this demographic? Are most restaurants using mainstream food ordering apps already, or is there a large segment of ethnic restaurants who are off-grid?



    9:01 Graham: Mom & pops are such a scattered customer base. Can you shed some light on how you started to get momentum in the early days as a small business yourself? Did early customers have any trust issues with something as important as payment?



    14:22 Laura: What is the biggest point of friction you have with adding new pizzerias to Slice? Do you experience many/any pizzerias that don't see the benefit of joining the Slice community? If so, how do you handle these?



    18:50 Henry: Have you thought of doing the same for other ethnic food restaurants like Chinese, Indian, Thai etc. and what challenges do you foresee? What would be your approach to tackle?



    22:04 Matt: With all the vacant retail that's about to become available, have you thought about helping pizza brands expand into ghost kitchens or helping existing pizzerias launch virtual brands (a la Chuck E Cheese)?



    24:33 Ian/Andrew (similar questions): What is this funding round helping your business and platform do for the Pizza shops and their customers? How do you plan on scaling your $43M Series C? How have your plans changed since Slice has gone mostly remote?



    31:10 Charles: Please expand on the apparent disparity in pricing across platforms/instore. How can food often be cheaper through a middleman? Our family often finds the most frictionless experience for our regular pizza place is to call in as it's often a single dish. How can this be simplified further? One push pizza?



    37:58 Matt: Can you speak to "why pizza” and not Chinese food? At the end of the day, are you limiting yourself by picking one category?



    40:32 Mahreen: Curious to know more about Slice's marketing. What marketing channels have been most effective for your platform (in acquiring both customers/new businesses)?



    42:14 Ian: What response did you get from companies to sign up, was the take up easy? Or did you have to convince them in a specific sales pitch, how did you frame it?



    43:51 Presh: You seem to have a curated following list on Twitter, curious to know your favorite accounts to follow that have impacted your business thinking.. top 5 accounts you recommend following?



    45:31 Presh: Where does Slice need to be in order to see an IPO?



    47:31 Ian: What are your plans to develop your branding and web/mobile app

    • 49 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
638 Ratings

638 Ratings

Milton Reynolds ,

Jason is Smart and Fun to Listen to

I love this podcast. Any entrepreneur should start listening. I find this a great way to stay motivated and educated in the startup world without having to live in the Bay Area.

Also Jason is fun... this isn't a mono-tone bland conversation.... it is entertaining and educational!

MarcGha ,

Best podcast for Entrepreneurs

I’ve been listening to TWIST for 3 years now! I enjoy the conversations and the insight that Jason and the guests provide. My favorites are News round tables and Ask Jason episodes!

That Designer Guy ,

Changed my life!

I’ve been listening weekly for years, and this show has been some of the most valuable education I could have wished for. It’s helped me have the courage and skills to start my own ventures, and I am incredibly grateful for all the hard work Jason and crew put into it!

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