133 episodes

Venture Unlocked is the playbook for starting, operating, & scaling a successful venture capital firm. Samir Kaji, Host of Venture Unlocked has +20-years of experience assisting & advising startups and venture firms. Listen for VC fund guidance.

ventureunlocked.substack.com

Venture Unlocked: The playbook for venture capital managers Samir Kaji

    • Business
    • 4.9 • 74 Ratings

Venture Unlocked is the playbook for starting, operating, & scaling a successful venture capital firm. Samir Kaji, Host of Venture Unlocked has +20-years of experience assisting & advising startups and venture firms. Listen for VC fund guidance.

ventureunlocked.substack.com

    LP Unlocked shorts: What We're Hearing about Venture Liquidity with Meghan Reynolds of Altimeter

    LP Unlocked shorts: What We're Hearing about Venture Liquidity with Meghan Reynolds of Altimeter

    Follow me @samirkaji for my thoughts on the venture market, with a focus on the continued evolution of the VC landscape.
    Today we have another version of Venture Unlocked shorts, and this time it will be focused on topics within the GP/LP world.
    Joining me again is Meghan Reynolds, who leads capital formation at Altimeter Capital. 
    This time we discuss the significant liquidity challenges in the venture capital market, focusing on the concerns of LPs about funding future capital calls and the longer wait times for returns. With a decline in public offerings and exits, LPs and GPs are now turning to alternative strategies such as strip sales and GP-led secondaries. We highlight the need for GPs to establish clear liquidity management as the dynamics of the industry continue to change.
    If you’re a VC investor, then I’m sure you already know about Sydecar, the go-to platform for emerging VCs to manage their SPVs and funds. Sydecar is on a mission to make private markets more accessible, transparent, and liquid by standardizing how investment vehicles are created and executed. Their powerful software allows VCs to launch SPVs and funds instantaneously, track funding in real time, and offer hassle-free opportunities for early liquidity.
    Whether you’re syndicating your first or fiftieth deal, Sydecar acts as your silent operating partner, handling all back-office functions in a single place. Sydecar always has your back, so that you never have to worry about chasing subscription docs, lost wires, or late K-1s.
    With all the recent ups and downs in the private markets, the last thing you want to worry about is whether your back office is operating smoothly. Sydecar's responsive and proactive customer support team is there to assist, helping you build trust with your investors and tackle the challenges of building your firm.
    Visit sydecar.io/ventureunlocked to learn more.
    About Meghan Reynolds:Meghan Reynolds is Partner and Head of VC Capital Formation and Fundraising for Altimeter, a lifecycle technology investment firm. Prior to joining Altimeter, Meghan was Managing Partner and Co-head of Fundraising at TPG. She began her career and spent nearly a decade in the Investment Management Division of Goldman Sachs.
    Meghan graduated from the University of Notre Dame.
    In this episode, we discuss:
    (02:00) The current state of the venture capital market and LP perspectives on liquidity and the impact of market resets on traditional exit opportunities like IPOs and M&As
    (04:00) Liquidity and the challenges for LPs in funding upcoming capital calls due to increased venture activity and the need to adjust liquidity timeline expectations
    (09:00) The complexities of exit strategies and the necessity for alignment between GPs and LPs on exit timing
    (12:57) Using “Strip sales” as a liquidity management strategy are detailed, where a portion of a fund’s assets are sold to secondary buyers, and practical examples of how this strategy has been effectively implemented
    (21:56) The need for venture capital to adopt more institutional and LP-friendly practices akin to the private equity evolution post-2008, driven by current fundraising challenges that compel VC funds to innovate in liquidity management and LP relationships
    I’d love to know what you took away from this conversation with Meghan. Follow me @SamirKaji and give me your insights and questions with the hashtag #ventureunlocked. If you’d like to be considered as a guest or have someone you’d like to hear from (GP or LP), drop me a direct message on Twitter.
    Podcast Production support provided by Agent Bee


    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit ventureunlocked.substack.com

    • 25 min
    What's happening at the seed stage? Featuring Jenny Fielding, Kirby Winfield, and Nate Williams

    What's happening at the seed stage? Featuring Jenny Fielding, Kirby Winfield, and Nate Williams

    Follow me @samirkaji for my thoughts on the venture market, with a focus on the continued evolution of the VC landscape.
    This week we're doing another special roundtable discussion with a focus on the seed stage market. Joining us are Jenny Fielding of Everywhere Ventures, Kirby Winfield of Ascend, and Nate Williams of UNION Labs.
    This whole conversation was focused on seed stage investing. We spent most of our time discussing how the market reset affects seed-stage decision-making, fund sizing, and reserve strategies. We also touched on what they are seeing and hearing from LPs that invest in seed funds.
    If you’re a VC investor, then I’m sure you already know about Sydecar, the go-to platform for emerging VCs to manage their SPVs and funds. Sydecar is on a mission to make private markets more accessible, transparent, and liquid by standardizing how investment vehicles are created and executed. Their powerful software allows VCs to launch SPVs and funds instantaneously, track funding in real time, and offer hassle-free opportunities for early liquidity.
    Whether you’re syndicating your first or fiftieth deal, Sydecar acts as your silent operating partner, handling all back-office functions in a single place. Sydecar always has your back, so that you never have to worry about chasing subscription docs, lost wires, or late K-1s.
    With all the recent ups and downs in the private markets, the last thing you want to worry about is whether your back office is operating smoothly. Sydecar's responsive and proactive customer support team is there to assist, helping you build trust with your investors and tackle the challenges of building your firm.
    Visit sydecar.io/ventureunlocked to learn more.
    About Jenny Fielding:Jenny Fielding is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Everywhere Ventures. She is one of the most active global pre-seed investors, having invested in 300+ companies as the first money in. Jenny has built a thriving community of 500+ founders and operators who help source, diligence, and invest in the next generation of startups across 3 core verticals: money, health, and work.
    Prior to Everywhere, Jenny spent 7.5 years as the Managing Director of Techstars where she invested in a portfolio of companies with a current market cap over $10B. Jenny is a 2x founder, a lawyer by training, and an adjunct professor at Columbia University and Cornell Tech.
    About Kirby Winfield:Kirby Winfield is the Founding General Partner at Ascend.vc, the most prolific pre-seed stage venture fund in the Pacific Northwest.
    Kirby has been operating and investing in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning since the 1990s. His first startup pioneered the use of semantic AI for web search. He advised the Allen Institute of Artificial Intelligence on the launch and growth of its highly regarded Ai2 Incubator program, and has backed 30+ AI startups as a VC.
    Early in his career, Kirby was a founding team member and operating executive at back-to-back tech IPOs, with Go2Net and Marchex. He is also a two-time venture capital-backed CEO, with AdXpose (DFJ, Ignition) acquired by comScore, and Dwellable (Maveron, VersionOne) acquired by HomeAway.
    About Nate Williams:Nate Williams is the co-Founder and Managing Partner of DeepTech seed fund UNION Labs Ventures and formerly an Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) at Kleiner Perkins focused on opportunities in Climate, PropTech, and Mobility. Nate's track record includes senior leadership experiences executing through startup, growth and turnaround stage culminating in successful exits for 4Home (to Motorola '10), Motorola Mobility (to Google '12), Motorola Home (to ARRIS '13) and August Home (to Assa Abloy '17).
    Prior to Kleiner Perkins, Nate was CRO & Head of Platform PM at August Home, Inc. a leader in Smart Home Access where he secured August commercial growth with market leaders and integration partners including Airbnb, Wal-Mart, Amazon, Honeywell, Comcast, and Google/Nest. Nate was also Senior

    • 45 min
    The Craft of Venture Capital with David Sacks

    The Craft of Venture Capital with David Sacks

    Follow me @samirkaji for my thoughts on the venture market, with a focus on the continued evolution of the VC landscape.
    We are thrilled to bring you a conversation with David Sacks, Founder and Partner of Craft Ventures. Based in San Francisco, Craft was founded in 2017 and currently has over 3 billion in assets under management.
    Across the last three decades, David has been incredibly influential as an investor, entrepreneur, and public thought leader. When starting Craft, he was able to draw from his deep operating background, having worked as an early leader at PayPal, and then later founding Yammer, which he sold to Microsoft for $1.2 Billion.
    He is also one of the hosts of the All In Podcast, one of the most listened podcasts in the world.
    We had a wide-ranging dialogue that took us through the evolution of Craft Ventures from its initial days to today, the strategic decision-making behind scaling fund sizes and team growth, and his overall views on the current outlook of venture capital.
    If you’re a VC investor, then I’m sure you already know about Sydecar, the go-to platform for emerging VCs to manage their SPVs and funds. Sydecar is on a mission to make private markets more accessible, transparent, and liquid by standardizing how investment vehicles are created and executed. Their powerful software allows VCs to launch SPVs and funds instantaneously, track funding in real time, and offer hassle-free opportunities for early liquidity.
    Whether you’re syndicating your first or fiftieth deal, Sydecar acts as your silent operating partner, handling all back-office functions in a single place. Sydecar always has your back, so that you never have to worry about chasing subscription docs, lost wires, or late K-1s.
    With all the recent ups and downs in the private markets, the last thing you want to worry about is whether your back office is operating smoothly. Sydecar's responsive and proactive customer support team is there to assist, helping you build trust with your investors and tackle the challenges of building your firm.
    Visit sydecar.io/ventureunlocked to learn more.
    About David Sacks:David Sacks is Co-Founder and Partner at Craft. He has been a successful founder and investor for over two decades, building and investing in some of the most iconic companies in tech. David has invested in over 20 unicorns, including Affirm, AirBnB, Bird, ClickUp, Eventbrite, Facebook, Houzz, Lyft, OpenDoor, Palantir, Postmates, Reddit, Slack, SpaceX, Twitter, Uber, and Wish.David first got involved in the technology industry in 1999 when he joined early-stage startup Confinity, later renamed PayPal. Serving as the company’s first product leader and then as COO, David built and ran many of the company’s key teams, including product management and design, sales and marketing, business development, international, customer service, fraud operations, and HR. He pivoted the product from beaming money on Palm Pilots to emailing money on the web, and introduced the business model. When the company IPO’d on the Nasdaq in 2002, David was 29 — the median age of the “PayPal Mafia” executives listed on the S-1. PayPal was later acquired by eBay and eventually spun back out into a publicly traded company (under ticker symbol PYPL).David is well-known in Silicon Valley for his product acumen. AngelList’s Naval Ravikant has called David “the world’s best product strategist.” And has received acclaim as one of the Besties on the All In Podcast.
    In this episode, we discuss:
    (02:56) David Sacks discusses transitioning from being an entrepreneur with experiences at PayPal and Yammer to founding Craft Ventures, emphasizing the focus on SaaS and leveraging operational expertise to support startups.
    (04:56) The growth of Craft Ventures from its initial fund to managing $3.5 billion, focusing on SaaS and marketplaces, and how fund size affects strategy
    (08:15) Portfolio construction and the strategic shift towards reserving mor

    • 55 min
    Adam Bain of 01 Advisors on scaling Twitter from 0 to $1B+, being coached by Bill Campbell, and why they don't take board seats

    Adam Bain of 01 Advisors on scaling Twitter from 0 to $1B+, being coached by Bill Campbell, and why they don't take board seats

    Follow me @samirkaji for my thoughts on the venture market, with a focus on the continued evolution of the VC landscape.
    This week we are pleased to be joined by Adam Bain of 01 Advisors, a San Francisco-based firm with nearly $1 billion under management.
    Adam and his partners, including Dick Costolo, have taken a very different approach to the venture model, drawing from their experiences as operators. While Adam was COO and Dick was CEO at Twitter, they helped the company scale from zero to in revenue as fast as any consumer tech company in history. During this time, they spent a significant amount of time with the late Bill Campbell, the legendary CEO coach who helped inspire the foundation for 01 Advisors.
    Since founding the firm in 2018, they have a uniquely focused approach to venture coaching and unlike other Series B and later VCs, they do not take board seats. We went through the why of this model. Along with topics such as the transition from operating to investing. And the future of potentially using models to determine founder archetypes.
    If you’re a VC investor, then I’m sure you already know about Sydecar, the go-to platform for emerging VCs to manage their SPVs and funds. Sydecar is on a mission to make private markets more accessible, transparent, and liquid by standardizing how investment vehicles are created and executed. Their powerful software allows VCs to launch SPVs and funds instantaneously, track funding in real time, and offer hassle-free opportunities for early liquidity.
    Whether you’re syndicating your first or fiftieth deal, Sydecar acts as your silent operating partner, handling all back-office functions in a single place. Sydecar always has your back, so that you never have to worry about chasing subscription docs, lost wires, or late K-1s.
    With all the recent ups and downs in the private markets, the last thing you want to worry about is whether your back office is operating smoothly. Sydecar's responsive and proactive customer support team is there to assist, helping you build trust with your investors and tackle the challenges of building your firm.
    Visit sydecar.io/ventureunlocked to learn more.
    About Adam BainAdam is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner for 01 Advisors, a venture & advisory firm that helps founders go from building a product to building a company with operational expertise.He was previously the COO for Twitter and a Board Director for Opendoor.
    In this episode, we discuss:
    (03:01) Adam shares his journey from Twitter to founding 01 Advisors, focusing on the transition from advertising and social media to a venture model that combines investing and advising
    (05:00) The unique backgrounds of 01 Advisors' partners in scaling companies from zero to significant revenues, showcasing a rare collective experience in tech leadership
    (08:01) The venture coaching approach at 01 Advisors that was inspired by Bill Campbell
    (14:35) Why 01 Advisors chooses not to take board seats, aiming to offer more effective and unrestricted guidance to CEOs
    (18:14) Helping CEOs appoint seasoned operators to board positions, ensuring comprehensive support without direct board involvement
    (22:08) 01 Advisors' focus on Series B investments, aligning their operational expertise with companies at a pivotal growth stage
    (24:16) 01's strategy of a concentrated portfolio to deeply engage and support their investments, contrary to the broader trend towards more extensive portfolios.
    (27:25) Diligence process for revenue streams and operational dynamics, aiming to identify areas where 01 can significantly impact growth.
    (29:00) The use of cognitive psychology for deeper CEO assessments post-investment, aiming to tailor support strategies to each leader's unique strengths and challenges
    (31:16) The early successes of this cognitive approach
    (34:42) The transition from high level operator to investor
    (39:58) Why he’s excited continuous intellectual growth and the diverse learning experiences

    • 48 min
    Mitchell Green of Lead Edge Capital on the Moneyball approach to investing, the art of effective cold calling, and managing 700+ strategic LPs

    Mitchell Green of Lead Edge Capital on the Moneyball approach to investing, the art of effective cold calling, and managing 700+ strategic LPs

    Follow me @samirkaji for my thoughts on the venture market, with a focus on the continued evolution of the VC landscape.
    We have a conversation with Mitchell Green, Founder and Managing Partner at Lead Edge Capital. 
    With offices in New York and Santa Barbara, the firm has over $5B in Assets under management and specializes in helping growth-stage companies scale.
    The firm has an interesting model that combines elements of PE, growth, and an active network of over 700 LPs to build a very powerful moat.
    I was really interested in several business components, especially the LP base's strategic nature and the programmatic way they evaluate companies. 

    A word from our sponsor:
    Invest in innovation. Allocate allows investors to access top-tier private funds and co-investment opportunities within the technology sector.
    Despite the enormous growth of the private markets and the rapid increase of retail demand for private alternatives, investing in the highest quality private assets within the innovation sector still remains limited to institutions and ultra-connected high net worth individuals.
    With Allocate, wealth advisors, banks, family offices, and other qualified investors can have a streamlined way to responsibly invest with confidence.
    Go to allocate.co to find out more and please sign up to the waitlist to learn more and get early access to the platform.
    About Mitchell Green:Mitchell Green is the Founder and Managing Partner at Lead Edge Capital, a $5B growth equity firm investing in software, internet, and tech-enabled services businesses globally. Mitchell oversees the fund’s global activities and has led several of the fund's largest investments, including Alibaba Group, Asana, Bumble, FIGS, Grafana, SignalSciences, Spotify, Toast, Uber, and Wise. His career began with roles on the investment teams at Bessemer Venture Partners and Eastern Advisors. Mitchell is a former nationally ranked alpine ski racer and currently serves on the boards of the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Foundation and the Laguna Blanca School in Santa Barbara, CA.Mitchell holds a B.A. in Economics from Williams College and an M.B.A. in Marketing from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
    In this episode, we discuss:
    (01:38) Shares the origin story of Lead Edge Capital, reflecting on the early experiences before 2009, and the influence of Bessemer's deal-sourcing approach of cold calling and direct outreach.
    (09:57) The value of being his own boss and learning from failures
    (12:35) Building a team for outbound cold calling to find unique investment opportunities.
    (15:27) Leveraging LPs in the due diligence process for valuable insights and validation of potential investments
    (17:21) Creating a community among LPs where engagement and assistance are core expectations
    (20:55) The resilience and opportunistic nature of high-net-worth individuals during market downturns
    (21:59) The "moneyball" approach to investment criteria, prioritizing revenue, growth, gross margins, and capital efficiency
    (26:00) A success story of investing in a rapidly growing, COVID-enabled electronic signatures company
    (30:32) Many companies raising venture capital should not exist
    (36:09) The need for persistence to get into the best companies
    (38:57) Trusting your instincts and the strategic advantage of being contrarian in investment

    I’d love to know what you took away from this conversation with Mitchell. Follow me @SamirKaji and give me your insights and questions with the hashtag #ventureunlocked. If you’d like to be considered as a guest or have someone you’d like to hear from (GP or LP), drop me a direct message on Twitter.
    Podcast Production support provided by Agent Bee


    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit ventureunlocked.substack.com

    • 42 min
    Limited Partner Unlocked shorts: What we're Hearing from LPs with Meghan Reynolds of Altimeter

    Limited Partner Unlocked shorts: What we're Hearing from LPs with Meghan Reynolds of Altimeter

    Follow me @samirkaji for my thoughts on the venture market, with a focus on the continued evolution of the VC landscape.
    Today we have another version of Venture Unlocked shorts, and this time it will be focused on topics within the GP/LP world.
    Joining me for this around-the-water-cooler recurring series is Meghan Reynolds, who leads capital formation at Altimeter Capital. 
    Meghan recently attended iConnections in Miami, one of the biggest global capital intro summits in the world, which served as inspiration for this episode. We discussed what she observed during the summit, including how LPs are thinking about early-stage and late VC, and the place for venture overall in private portfolios.
    Hope you enjoy our episode!
    A word from our sponsor:
    Invest in innovation. Allocate allows investors to access top-tier private funds and co-investment opportunities within the technology sector.
    Despite the enormous growth of the private markets and the rapid increase of retail demand for private alternatives, investing in the highest quality private assets within the innovation sector still remains limited to institutions and ultra-connected high net worth individuals.
    With Allocate, wealth advisors, banks, family offices, and other qualified investors can have a streamlined way to responsibly invest with confidence.
    Go to allocate.co to find out more and please sign up to the waitlist to learn more and get early access to the platform.
    About Meghan Reynolds:Meghan Reynolds is Partner and Head of VC Capital Formation and Fundraising for Altimeter, a lifecycle technology investment firm. Prior to joining Altimeter, Meghan was Managing Partner and Co-head of Fundraising at TPG. She began her career and spent nearly a decade in the Investment Management Division of Goldman Sachs.
    Meghan graduated from the University of Notre Dame.
    In this episode, we discuss:
    (02:11) Report from the iConnections summit in Miami and what it means for the VC industry
    (06:38) The complex dynamics of fundraising in the current venture capital landscape
    (09:49) The recalibrated expectations among LPs with a strategic emphasis on seed and Series A investments as a method to hedge against portfolio volatility
    (17:01) Forecast for a tough adjustment period for Unicorns and the venture capital ecosystem, with some hope on the horizon
    (19:00) Challenges posed by multiple compression rounds and the reality for companies looking for exits
    (21:11) The long journey for VC-backed companies in navigating valuation adjustments and exit strategies, with an increased reliance on the secondary market for liquidity
    (23:12) The extended impact of the substantial funding raised in 2021, adding complexity to the venture capital environment
    I’d love to know what you took away from this conversation with Meghan. Follow me @SamirKaji and give me your insights and questions with the hashtag #ventureunlocked. If you’d like to be considered as a guest or have someone you’d like to hear from (GP or LP), drop me a direct message on Twitter.
    Podcast Production support provided by Agent Bee


    This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit ventureunlocked.substack.com

    • 25 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
74 Ratings

74 Ratings

that costs what?! ,

Information to beat out the plentiful misinformation out there

As an experienced investor and now an emerging manager, I found the conversation between Mark Suster and Samir Kaji super relevant. Key takeaway is that GPs should expect our fundraising experience to mirror startups’ experience raising from us. Keep up the great work, Samir.

imsaba ,

Simply brilliant

This is an incredible creation. Calling it a podcast almost reduces it. Samir’s product is the ultimate resource for emerging fund managers. I’m just five episodes in but I’ve already got pages worth of learnings.

His interviews style is perfect. He asks questions, sits back and let’s the guest answer and chimes in only time to time - allowing the audience to learn from all the experienced investors.

This is basically a mini-MBA, which means I would pay for an online course by him if he ever did it. Check it out!

djkezako ,

Good content but

Flat sound sometimes too soft. Also too not enough meat on VC and Founders. Thanks

Boost volume!!

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