Welcome to Venture Studio!
Dave interviews angel investors, venture capitalists and other great personalities who comprise the NYC tech ecosystem and beyond.
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Ep 52 - Building Blocks of the New World with Sean Ford
Sean Ford is the COO of Algorand, pioneers of a new future powered by blockchains. In this episode, we dive into the fascinating world of blockchain, and how Algorand is leading the charge by providing an infrastructure for existing businesses to operate globally in this emerging, decentralized economy.
Let’s head up to the office….
“[Blockchain is] really designed to remove the friction from financial exchange and participation” - Sean Ford
What is a blockchain, and why is it important to society?
What are the challenges of building an infrastructure through blockchain?
How do you evaluate the quality of a blockchain project?
What is Algorand, and how is this recent incarnation unique?
Who is Silvio Micali, and why is he important?
Which entities/businesses are building off of Algorand?
How do governments/institutions build on top of Algorand?
How is Algorand structured?
Where is Algorand going in 5-10 years? And how about blockchain as a whole?
What’s a good way to get the next generation into the industry?
“[Algorand] has never experienced even a millisecond of downtime since we launched in June 2019” - Sean Ford
Ep 51 - The Crypto Future with Ken Kruger, CEO of MOON
I’m sure like me, a lot of you who don’t work in crypto are trying to understand and learn about it these days. I know that some of us are very skeptical, some are intrigued, and that some are just curious, and trying to learn as much as they can.
After this conversation with Ken Kruger, you can consider me among those who are really inspired at the possibilities. Ken deeply believes that Cryptocurrencies are the future of money — he is walking the walk, and is the founder and CEO of Moon, a company on a mission to bring this future to fruition.
By background, Ken is a serial founder and software engineer with a computer science degree from Cornell, and an MS in industrial engineering and Operations Research from Columbia, where he studied Financial engineering. In the past he’s has worked at Lockheed Martin as a software engineer, and as a Product Manager on classified military projects.
Let’s head up to the office….
“Stablecoins you just can’t ignore; there’s so much value there” - Ken Kruger
-About Ken’s intro to the world of Crypto
-What are stable coins?
-The currency situation in Venezuela
-What does Dave get consistent pushback on regarding crypto?
-China, and bitcoin mining prohibition
-What is the importance of stable coins?
-How do you obtain a stable coin?
-What are the methods for converting to local currency from your crypto wallet?
-Why are stable coins important in the scenario of currency exchange in foreign countries?
-What are some alternates to stable coin?
-Which Crypto communities are “up and coming”?
-What are the problems with crypto payments?
-What are some companies that allow for purchases in crypto?
-What’s driving consumers to want to transact in crypto?
-What is “Moon”, and how does it work?
-What is the Moon user base like, demographically?
-What’s in the future for Moon?
-Increasing use cases of Moon
-What are systems like Moon unlocking for the future?
“The power of crypto is that every time a new application comes up, it brings new people, and that’s the built-in network effect of these cryptocurrency networks.” - Ken Kruger
Ep 50 - Lylan Masterman - White Star
Lylan Masterman is General Partner at White Star Capital where he leads the New York office. In this episode, Masterman discusses White Stars history and his approach to venture capitol investments. Masterman has an impressive technical background that informs his work and makes him a dynamic figure in the venture investing world.
We learn about the impressive companies White Star Capital has backed and how Masterman has meticulously crafted successful venture investment teams. He talks at length about the various responsibilities of Board Members, successful relationship building within the realm of venture investing, and the importance for startups to have a strong finance leader. It was an illuminating and inspiring conversation that I’m excited to share this week.
-The benefits of Transatlantic Investment
-How co-lead investments can lead to successful ventures
-Where Whitestar Capital is focusing there investments
-How digitization of finance has influenced their investments
-What disruption of commerce is and how they pursue companies engaging in it
-Why Whitestar Capital is interested in companies that work on sensor and algorithm technology
-Why Masterman decided to invest in the KeyMe company
-The importance of Whitestar’s most recent investments in Drop, Mnubo, and Unicast
-How Masterman got into VC investing with an educational background in math and computer science
-The importance of a high functioning team and what a founder should do to create a successful company
-How to conduct effective board meetings and maintain a good relation with the COO and CFO
-What a good board meeting schedule is and how to find a rhythm
-What good internal dynamics of a VC team look like
-The benefits of having complimentary skill sets on a VC team
-How to maintain valuable relationships across industries and borders
-The importance of evaluating companies based on their location
-How diversity of specialization in startups can be related to region and urban center
“Part of our DNA since day one has been to be TransAtlantic.” - Lylan Masterman
“If your product can be used by clients across all the countries of the world, why would you want to ignore that addressable market.” - Lylan Masterman
“We’re not afraid to go out and be the lead, but we also enjoy having another valuable investor.” - Lylan Masterman
“It should always be about the CEO owning the decisions.” - Lylan Masterman
“At White Star we have chosen to really get complimentary skillsets.” - Lylan Masterman
Ep 49 - Arne Halleraker - FJ Labs
A Norwegian native, Arne joined the FJ Labs team in the spring of 2016. He lived in San Francisco for 1.5 years, where he was director of global partnerships for Telenor and focused on business development with Google [x].
Ep 48 - Wendy Xiao Schadeck - Northzone
This episode's guest is Wendy Xiao Schadeck of Northzone. Wendy joined Northzone in 2016. She has a particular interest for media, fintech, real estate tech, edtech, and blockchain, and specifically companies that connect the New York and European ecosystems. Prior to joining Northzone, Wendy worked at A. T. Kearney and Accenture, where she helped solve the toughest business problems for industry giants in financial services, CPG, retail, telecommunications, and transportation.
Wendy’s most recent blog post:
Tim Ferriss Podcast with Nick Szabo & Naval Ravikant:
Ep 47 - Lindsey Gray - Two Sigma Ventures
Lindsey Gray leads the Platform Team at Two Sigma Ventures. She is responsible for identifying the needs and challenges of portfolio companies, and developing resources, programs, and connections to help them succeed. Lindsey is also helping to build out Two Sigma Ventures' marketing and content strategy.
Lindsey joined Two Sigma Ventures from NYU where she was Senior Director of the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute. Prior to NYU, Lindsey worked with Fortune 500 companies on corporate spin-outs and innovation strategy as part of Clay Christensen’s consulting firm, Innosight. Lindsey received an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from Connecticut College.
You’ll learn a ton from every episode. Dave Lerner is the man you need to listen to when it comes to venture and entrepreneurship!
Broad, Informative, Entertaining
I’ve learned a lot from Dave’s podcast. His own expertise and his ability to attract truly accomplished guests makes every listen worthwhile.
The "Actor Studio" of VC
Lerner has spent virtually his entire career in and around venture capital and entrepreneurs. His experience shows clearly in this podcast series in which he elicits insights from industry professionals that are invaluable to amateur early-stage investors and professionals alike.