About this podcast
Weekly insightful conversations with leaders in the startup ecosystem discussing the truth about investing, building and running startups. Join your host, Matt Cohen, Founder & Managing Partner at Ripple Ventures, as he interviews CEOs, Venture Capitalist & Founders from around the world. Welcome to the Tank!
About this podcast
Weekly insightful conversations with leaders in the startup ecosystem discussing the truth about investing, building and running startups. Join your host, Matt Cohen, Founder & Managing Partner at Ripple Ventures, as he interviews CEOs, Venture Capitalist & Founders from around the world. Welcome to the Tank!
Tank Talk: Uri Pomerantz (VC @ Jackson Square Ventures) Anti-Hype Venture Investing
On today’s Tank Talk! We welcome our guest Uri Pomerantz, Venture Partner at Jackson Square Ventures to discuss, “The Truth About Anti-Hype Investing” Uri has an incredible background as a former Mckinsey consultant, Startup Founder and Venture investor. As a founder, Uri built a startup that was acquired by a Fortune 500 company (John Hancock), and went on to launch a fintech savings app within John Hancock called Twine which was awarded the best overall Fintech mobile app in 2019. Uri went on to lead strategic partnerships and new ventures at John Hancock, to invest in, partner with, and incubate new fintech startups globally. Prior to founding his first company, Uri also founded Jozoor Microfinance, as a non-profit microfinancing company focused on providing loans to help unemployed Palestinian and Israeli youth create new businesses in their communities in his early days. On today's talk, we ask Uri how Jackson Square Ventures defines “Anti-Hype Venture Investing” and why it is such a focus for the firm which has backed amazing companies like DocuSign, Strava and UpWork? We discuss how Uri sees the future of Venture Capital changing as more first time founders are rethinking moving to the Bay area and his views on emerging markets as it relates to venture capital. Uri’s Book Recommendations: - Man's Search For Meaning - Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less - Nonviolent Communication (A Language of Life) - The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself Uri’s words of inspiration - “Get to the best place you can personally and internally before you go out to do great work with others .” Follow Matt Cohen and Tank Talks here!
Tank Talk: Saurabh Sharma (GP @ Jump Capital) - The Democratization of Data Analytics & Machine Learning
On today’s Tank Talk! We welcome our guest Saurabh Sharma, General Partner at Jump Capital to discuss, “The Democratization of Data Analytics & Machine Learning” Saurabh has a diverse background in investing, operations & product management and leads Jump's efforts in Enterprise Software and IT Infrastructure. Prior to joining Jump, Saurabh led various roles at Groupon in product, marketing & operations. Previously, he was an early stage investor at Lightbank, an Investment Banker with Barclays Capital, an algo trader with Lehman Brothers, and was a founding team member of Benchprep (a venture-backed digital learning platform). On today's talk, we ask Saraubh his views on the Democratization of Machine Learning and Data Analytics. We discuss his investment thesis on Cloud & Data Infrastructure, CyberSecurity, and the industries he believes have been most affected by COVID and where AI and ML are needed most to uplift humanity. Saurabh’s Book Recommendations Mindset The New Psychology Of Success The World Is Flat Saurabh’s words of inspiration - “There is no one shape or form that entrepreneurs come in. It's up to you to look inside yourself and determine what drives you and what's your passion and drive towards making that happen.” Follow Matt Cohen and Tank Talks here!
Tank Talk: Dr. Haley Perlus (Peak Performance Coach) - How CEOs Can Handle Adversity Like a High-Performance Athlete
On today’s Tank Talk! We welcome our guest Dr. Haley Perlus, PhD, Peak Performance Coach to discuss “How CEOs Can Handle Adversity Like a High-Performance Athlete” Since the age of 12, Dr. Perlus aspired toward a career in Sport and Exercise Psychology after competing nationally in downhill ski racing. Within one year of earning her PhD. at the age of 28, she became a professor, public speaker, and consultant to the US national team. Dr Perlus has written four books on peak performance and how athletes can continue to achieve their highest potential long into the future. Sport Psychology has been coined the Science of Success because it studies how successful people optimize their psychological and emotional states for maximum results. On today's talk, you will get to hear Dr. Perlus’ thoughts on how CEOs can cope with their fear of failure and how to use stress to enhance peak performance. She shares her best tricks on how to get motivated to exercise after a long day of work, and how to avoid burnout as a young entrepreneur. Haley’s Book Recommendations: Way of The Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Mason Love is Letting Go of Fear by Gerald Jampolsky Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday Haley’s words of inspiration - “As we are proceeding through life, give yourself some grace for where you are at and accept who you are while you’re striving to be better.” Follow Matt Cohen and Tank Talks here!
Tank Talk: Samir Kaji (Senior Managing Director @ First Republic Bank) - Breaking Through the Crowd as an Emerging Manager
On today’s Tank Talk! We welcome our guest Samir Kaji, Senior Managing Director @ First Republic Bank, to discuss “Breaking Through the Crowd as an Emerging Manager” Samir is a well known voice in the venture capital ecosystem having started his career at Silicon Valley Bank at the beginning of the tech boom in 1999. Samir started out as an Analyst and eventually made his way up to Managing Director of the Menlo office where he completed over $5 billion in debt transactions with over 500 companies. Samir later joined First Republic Bank in 2012 to lead their VC and tech banking efforts with a particular focus on early-stage venture capital startups and emerging managers focused at the Seed & Series A stage. On today's talk you will get to hear Samir's thoughts on how emerging managers can differentiate themselves when pitching institutional investors in a crowded fundraising environment. In addition, Samir shares his tips on building the perfect pitch deck and his thoughts on the issues with LP pattern recognition. Finally, Samir discusses the importance of mission statements for emerging venture funds and why he decided to launch his own venture podcast after such a successful venture blog series. Samir’s Book Recommendations The Success Equation Blink - The Power of Thinking Without Thinking The Advantage - Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business Eleven Rings - The Soul of Success Samir’s words of inspiration - “If you want to do something, go do it right now cause there's no better time than the present” Follow Matt Cohen and Tank Talks here!
Tank Talk: Fabrice Grinda (Founding Partner @ FJ Labs) - Investing in Marketplaces Before It's A Marketplace
On today’s Tank Talk! We welcome our guest Fabrice Grinda, Founding Partner of @ FJ Labs to discuss “Investing in Marketplaces Before It’s A Marketplace” Before starting FJ Labs, Fabrice was an incredibly successful entrepreneur having launched several startups before and after the dot-com bust in early 2000. His first startup Aucland was started by Fabrice at age 23 which grew into one of the largest auction sites in Europe. Next, Fabrice started Zingy in 2001 and grew it to $200 million in sales in four years. After selling Zingy, Fabrice launched OLX or the Online-Exchange as the Craigslist alternative for the world outside the US and grew it to over 300 million monthly unique visitors. On the investing side, Fabrice has over $300 million in exits across 150 companies and has made over 500 angel investments in total, with an impressive track record as an early investor in Alibaba, Lending Club, Delivery Hero and Brightroll among many others. Today you will get to hear Fabrice's tips and tricks on how marketplace startups should tackle challenges. You will hear his thoughts on supply/demand dynamics, SaaS tools in a marketplace, Payment infrastructure and the importance of frequency in building a marketplace. Fabrice’s Book Recommendations Loonshots - Safi Bahcall Why We Sleep - Matthew Walker, PhD Lifespan - Why We Age and Why We Don't Have - David A. Sinclair, PhD Fabrice’s words of inspiration - “Whatever you think you can, begin it, boldness is magic and genius to it.” Follow Matt Cohen and Tank Talks here!
Tank Talk: Elaine Zelby (Principal @ SignalFire) - Product-Led Growth Strategies
On today’s Tank Talk! We welcome our guest Elaine Zelby, Principal & Director of Growth @ SignalFire to discuss Product Led Growth Strategies for Startups. Before joining SignalFire, Elaine spent the early part of her career at Capriza, an enterprise software startup backed by a16z, and Charles River Ventures as one of the first employees building out many of the go-to-market strategies where she learned how to incentivize internal teams as well as external partners. Elaine later joined slack to lead the enterprise product marketing team but quickly realized she had a passion for blockchain technology and eventually moved over to Consensys, a blockchain-focused venture studio. While there, she built the Product Marketing and Growth teams working across the 50+ incubation companies and learnt the art of storytelling as a startup. Today you will get to hear Elaine's tips and tricks on how and when startups should think about product-led growth strategies and her own passion for podcasting and conversational AI. Elaine’s Book Recommendations Awareness - Anthony De Mello Never Split the Difference How to Win Friends & Influence People Elaine’s words of inspiration - “Happiness is an underrated commodity” Follow Matt Cohen and Tank Talks on Twitter here! Or check us out on LinkedIn & Instagram!
Tank Talk: Ade Ajao (Partner @ Base10 Partners) - How to Invest in Automation & AI for the Real Economy
On today’s Tank Talk! We welcome our guest Ade Ajao, Managing Partner @ Base10 Partners to discuss Investing in Automation & AI tools for the real economy. Before starting Base10, Ade is best known for being the Co-Founder and CEO of the startup Tuenti, also known as the ‘Spanish Facebook” which he stared back in 2005 in college with some friends. The company eventually went on to be acquired by Telefonica for $100mm 5 years later. In his next act, Ade moved on to Co-Found Identified, a data and analytics company which started his obsession with machine learning and AI solutions. After 3 years of building Identified, the company was acquired by Workday. Ade joined Workday and helped launch workday ventures, the first Applied AI-focused fund. That is where Ade met his current Base10 partner TJ and after two years at Workday, TJ and Ade left to launch Base 10 Partners with over $400mm in assets across two funds. Today you will get to hear how Ade thinks about investing in Automation and AI Startups for the Real Economy and how his investments in Docsend, DollarShave Club, and Instacart among countless others as an angel investor started his passion for investing. Ade’s Book Recommendations: What is Life? - Schrodinger The Ethics - Baruch Spinoza The Power Broker - Robert A. Caro Ade’s words of inspiration - “Anything is possible but not everything is possible. That is the definition of focus.”
Tank Talk: Ryan Freeman (Head of Enterprise Partnerships @ DoorDash) - Managing Partnerships as a Startup
On today’s Tank Talk! We welcome our guest Ryan Freeman, Head of Enterprise Partnerships @ DoorDash to discuss Managing Enterprise Partnerships as a Startup. On today's Talk, we ask Ryan about his operator journey starting out in Consulting at Accenture where he worked his way into a global group focused on international expansion. Ryan explains how his experience at Accenture helped shape his views on how startups can deal with ambiguity and strong competencies around specific markets and technologies when working with enterprises. We get Ryan to dig into his transition to the startup world as a VP of Partnerships at Turnstyle where he had to learn the hard way on how to get a seat at the table when he had no brand name behind him. After spending time at Yelp in San Francisco, Ryan explains why he took on the role at DoorDash to head up their Canadian offices last year. We learn what startups should do to avoid being taken advantage of during partnership conversations and key items to look out for when starting partnerships negotiations. Ryan’s Book Recommendations How the Mind Works - Steven Pinker Guns, Germs and Steel - Jared Diamond Expecting Better - Emily Oster Ryans’ words of inspiration - “Don't think about the next step in your career journey as a linear set of steps that try to fit a mould. Try to solve for the most interesting next set of experiences to set you up for future success.” Follow Matt Cohen and Tank Talks here!
Tank Talk: Wes Tang-Wymer (Partner @ Rucker Park) - Late-Stage Mega Deals to Early-stage Venture
On today’s Tank Talk! We welcome our guest Wes Tang-Wymer, Co-Founder & General Partner @ Rucker Park Capital. On today's Talk, we ask Wes about his investor journey starting out in investment banking at Morgan Stanley and his unconventional path towards Wall St. Next, we ask Wes about his transition to the hedge fund world where he landed a role as a long/short equities analyst at Steve Cohen's family office, Point 72 Asset Mgmt, focusing on technology investments. We dig into the extremely fast- paced and high-pressure environment of working at such a notable firm like Point72. Wes explains the lessons he learned about risk management and portfolio construction. Moving on, we dig into Wes’ transition to venture capital as a founding member of the global investment team at Softbank in 2015 where he invested in some of the biggest unicorns of the last decade including Uber, Lemonade, Kabbage, SoFi, DiDi and countless others. We ask Wes about some of the mistakes he’s seen later-stage companies make after raising massive funding rounds that existing early-stage founders should try to avoid. Next get into Wes’ current role as co-founder of Rucker Park Capital w/ his former Softbank colleague Marrisa Campise and the firm's focus on early-stage investments. We ask Wes what he takes from his experience at SoftBank leading mega deals and the characteristics he looks for in founders he backs today. This Tank Talk really makes you appreciate the role luck, randomness and persistence plays in people's lives and how investing in yourself is the first step into taking you to where you eventually want to be in life. Wes’ Book Recommendations: Churchill: Walking with Destiny (Andrew Roberts) Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City (Matthew Desmond) The Mastermind: Drugs. Empire. Murder. Betrayal. (Evan Ratliff) Wes’ words of inspiration - “Embrace the role of luck and randomness while maintaining openness towards opportunities” Follow Matt Cohen and Tank Talks here!
Sandeep Bhadra (Partner @ Vertex Ventures) - Investing in Cloud, Data & Cyber for the Next Decade
On today’s Tank Talk! We welcome our guest Sandeep Bhadra, Partner @ Vertex Ventures. On today's Talk, we ask Sandeep about his operator journey starting out in engineering and product management roles at Texas Instruments. Sandeep explains the lessons he learned around building next-gen technologies and trying to sell his visions internally while navigating around the politics at such a large company. Next we ask Sandeep about his transition to corporate development at Cisco Systems where he made over 5 acquisitions and invested over $400mm into strategic investments during his two years there. Moving on, we dig into Sandeeps transition to venture capital as a Principal at Menlo Ventures and the struggles he faced trying to stay focused while figuring out how to convince Partners at the firm to see things his way. We ask Sandeep why he decided to lead the series B investment into Signifyd and the lessons he learned after passing on the company at the series A. Next, we get into Sandeeps current role at Vertex Ventures and the firms focus on early-stage investments into enterprise SaaS companies. We ask Sandeep what he’s most excited about when it comes to Microservices and his views on cloud infrastructure companies and where he is looking to invest next. Finally, we ask Sandeep what he looks for when investing in cloud and cyber focused startups who have limited traction but massive market opportunities. This Tank Talk really makes you appreciate the vision and excitement investors like Sandeep bring to startups at the early-stage. You will also hear how Sandeep thinks about the future of cloud infrastructure and who he believes will win in the end. Book Recommendations: 2666 - Roberto Bolaño On Beauty - Zaide Smith The Three-Body Problem Love in the time of Cholera Sandeep’s words of inspiration - “Great teams build great companies, so treat your people well and you will be rewarded on the other side”
Tank Talk: Reid Christian (General Partner @ CRV) - Investing in SaaS for the Next 50 Years
On today’s Tank Talk! We welcome our guest Reid Christian, General Partner @ CRV (Charles River Ventures). On today's Talk, we ask Reid about his journey starting out on the investment banking and private equity side at RBC Capital Markets and Symmetric Capital in Boston. Next, we dig into his transition to venture capital with his role at Battery Ventures and the challenges he faced moving from the corporate banking side over to traditional venture capital. We dig into his lead investment into OpsGenie’s $10M Series A raise and his role in the quick acquisition that followed by Atlassian two years later for almost $300M. Up next, we ask Ried about his decision to join CRV as a Partner at the 50-year-old Venture fund and how the firm is investing in SaaS for the next 50 years. We discuss his predictions for SaaS over the next decade and what areas he’s most excited about that he has yet to invest in. Finally, we ask Reid about his firm's thoughts on holding investments post-IPO and the recent push towards Direct Listing and SPACs in the tech space. This Tank Talk really makes you appreciate the long-term vision firms like CRV have towards investing and their ability to stay focused on early-stage ventures while seeing half of their portfolio companies go on to be public or get acquired. Books Mentioned In The Show: -The Four - The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google - Startupland - How Three Guys Risked Everything to Turn an Idea into a Global Business - Good to Great - Why Some Companies Make the Leap...and Others Don't Reid’s words of inspiration - “There’s almost no better time to be an entrepreneur” Follow Matt Cohen and Tank Talks here!
Tank Talk: Lo Toney (Founding Managing Partner @ Plexo Capital) - How Emerging Managers Can Succeed
On today’s Tank Talk! We welcome our guest Lo Toney, Founding Managing Partner @ Plexo Capital. On today's Talk, we ask Lo about his operator journey starting out in product & marketing leadership roles at firms like Nike, eBay & Zynga and the lessons he learned around empathy and compassion. Next, we ask Lo about his transition to venture capital with his first job at Comcast ventures where he worked on the catalyst fund as part of their minority-oriented venture program. Moving on, we dig into Lo’s time as a Partner at Google Ventures where he focused on marketplaces, media, gaming & enterprise investments and the lessons he learned about portfolio construction. We ask Lo about how he came up with the idea for Plexo Capital while still at GV and how his mission evolved until the time he spun it out. Next we ask Lo for his thoughts on how emerging fund managers can balance long-term success vs short term gains in venture capital. We get Lo to share his thoughts on seed funds who lead rounds vs angel funds who follow-on and how funds can demonstrate their internal processes and value-add skill sets beyond just quantifiable metrics when pitching institutional LPs. Finally, we ask Lo how emerging managers can stand out from the pack when they are still in the early days of building a fund and what firms like Plexo Capital look for beyond mark-ups. This Tank Talk really makes you appreciate the passion and commitment Lo has applied to his life's work at Plexo Capital in helping under-represented entrepreneurs and fund managers navigate the complicated and often unfair world of venture capital. Books Mentioned In The Show: Why should white guys have all the fun? Lo’s words of inspiration - “persistence overcomes resistance” Follow Matt Cohen and Tank Talks here!
Tank Talk: Susan Su (Portfolio Growth @ Sound Ventures) - Startup Tips for Growth, Branding and Strategic Partnerships
On today’s Tank Talk! We welcome our guest Susan Su, Head of Portfolio Growth & Marketing @ Sound Ventures. On today's Talk, we ask Susan about her operator journey starting out in leadership roles in product and marketing at companies like Google and AppSumo in San Francisco. We dig into Susan's role as a venture partner and marketer-in-residence at 500 Startups where she launched and operated a 10-week program for startups and ask her about her proudest accomplishments during her time there. Moving on, we dig into Susan's time at Reforge where she built and led the growth marketing team and worked with companies like Facebook, AirBnB, Slack and Uber and the mistakes she made along the way. Next, we ask Susan why she decided to join Ashton Kutcher & Guy Oseary’s Sound Ventures and what excited her most about moving to the venture side. We discuss the common mistakes startups make with growth experimentation and what tools and resources are in her growth tech stack. Finally, we ask Susan what to look for when hiring for growth and the best interview questions for growth hires. This Tank Talk really makes you appreciate the challenges and mistakes startups face when trying to apply growth tactics and the experimentation that goes into building long term customer relationships along with enduring brands that live on forever. Books Mentioned In The Show: Thinking in Systems Advertising Secrets of the Written Word Ogilvy on Advertising Susan’s words of inspiration - “It's crucial to lean into your creativity and have fun at it with growth” Follow Matt Cohen and Tank Talks here!
Tank Talk: Anil Achyuta (Investment Director @ TDK Ventures) - Investing in Frontier Tech at a CVC
On today's Talk, we ask Anil about his journey starting out as a research scientist at global institutions like Draper Labs & Johnson & Johnson in Boston. We dig into Anil's role as head of the “brain on a chip” project funded by DARPA and MIT to study brain diseases. Next we dig into his time as head of external innovation at L’Oreal and the challenges he faced while looking at over 200 startups without making one venture investment. Next, we ask Anil about his journey to TDK Ventures and his role as investment director at the 85 year-old Japanese multinational electronics company. We discuss his focus on investing globally in frontier technology startups in areas ranging from Health & Diagnostics, to next Gen Transportation like flying cars and even Robotics, IoT devices and Material Sciences. We ask Anil how TDK Ventures balances investing in frontier tech that may one day replace TDK Corporate products as competitors vs. supporting TDK’s ability to adapt and grow. Finally, we ask Anil how he overcomes founders' concerns of partnering with a corporate investor whose goals may be misaligned. This Tank Talk really makes you appreciate the challenges corporate venture funds face internally while competing against traditional investors while at the same time taking big bets on investing in frontier technologies that may not pan out for decades while still supporting the short term goals of its parent company. Books Mentioned In The Show: -Great Feuds in Mathematics - Big Bang : The Origin of the Universe by Simon Singh - Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawkings - Science of everything: How things work in our world Anil’s words of inspiration - “If people are not laughing at your goals, your goals are too small” by Azim Premji, Wipro Chairman Follow Matt Cohen and Tank Talks here!
Tank Talk: Villi Iltchev (Partner @ Two Sigma Ventures) - Investing in Emerging Areas at the Early-Stage
On today’s Tank Talk! We welcome our guest Villi Iltchev, Partner @ Two Sigma Ventures. On today's Talk, we ask Villi about his journey into technology investing after starting his career at HP on the corporate development side and then moving over to Salesforce during the last crisis. We ask Villis' about his time as Vice President of Corp Dev at Salesforce Ventures and about some of the amazing startups he invested in like BOX, Hubspot, Zapier and countless others. We dig into Villi’s experience moving from corporate venture into traditional venture roles as a Partner at August Capital where he made his investment into unicorn startup Gitlab as the Series B lead and his reasons behind that investment even after 100 Venture firms already passed on them. Next, we ask Villi to explain why Two Sigma Ventures was the best fit for him for his next journey in venture and how their quantitative approach to investing on the public side has shaped their investment strategy on the venture side. Finally, we ask Villi what he looks for when investing in emerging areas and how he manages timing risk and avoids being too early into an emerging market. This tank talk really helps you think about the ways in which venture investors are forced to think outside the box and into the future sometimes decades ahead in order to place bets on startups at the early stage today and how founders should approach these kinds of investors. Now please welcome today's guest to the Tank, Villi Iltchev. Books Mentioned In The Show: -The Brothers Karamazov - The Death of Ivan Ilych Villi’s words of inspiration - “Have a truthful life, do things that are meaningful and do things that matter.”
Tank Talk: Elizabeth Yin (Partner @ Hustle Fund) - How to Assess for Hustle at the Early-Stage
On today’s Tank Talk! We welcome our guest Elizabeth Yin, Co-Founder & Managing Partner @ Hustle Fund. On today's Talk, we ask Elizabeth about her journey in leaving Google during the last crisis to start Launchbit, an ad-tech platform that she eventually sold to BuySellAds and how she eventually made her way onto the investment side with 500 Startups. We dig into Elizabeth's time in running the 500 Startups Mountain View office and how she was able to select founders to back after reviewing over 20,000 pitch decks. Next, we discuss the reason she started Hustle fund with her partner Eric and what their mission is for the next 25 years. Finally, we ask Elizabeth to explain what hustle means to her as an early-stage investor and how she assesses hustle when meeting founders for the first and sometimes only time before deciding on backing them with a $25,000 investment. This tank talk really helps you think about what characteristics and qualities to look for when making early-stage investments. Books Mentioned In The Show: -The Lean Startup - The Hard Thing About Hard Things -Predictable Revenue Elizabeth’s words of inspiration - “Building a startup is tough, so make sure you dig deep and decide why you want to do it, besides the money, because it can really be your north star when moving through difficult times” Follow Matt Cohen and Tank Talks here!
Tank Talk: Darrell Heaps (Founder @ Q4 Inc.) - How Being An Elite Athlete Makes You a Better CEO
On today’s Tank Talk! We welcome our guest Darrell Heaps, Founder & CEO @ Q4 Inc. On today's Talk, we ask Darrell about his journey as an Elite Mogul Skier on the World Cup stage and his transition to Founding and Leading Q4 Inc. for the last 15 years. We discuss the bumps and bruises Darrell experienced both on the mountain and in the boardroom. We also dig into Darrell's ability to overcome adversity as an Elite Athlete and how his competitive nature in sports has helped him build Q4 into a market leader in the investor relations space while raising over $90M in financing and completing 5 acquisitions. Finally, we discuss Darrell's plans for Q4 in the future and how his team's culture has played a vital role in managing these uncertain times during COVID. This tank talk really makes you appreciate the hustle, determination and no bullshit attitude Darrell brings to his company each and every day. Books Mentioned In The Show: -Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice - That Will Never Work - the Story of Netflix -American King Pin - the story of Silk Road - Billion Dollar Whale Darrell’s words of inspiration - “Don’t believe your own bull-shit!” Follow Matt Cohen and Tank Talks here!
Tank Talk: Tony Conrad (Partner @ True Ventures) - People-First Approach to Investing
On today’s Tank Talk! We welcome our guest Tony Conrad, Partner @ True Ventures On today's Talk, we ask Tony about his humble beginnings of growing up in a rural farming community in Indiana and how he made his way around the world living in places like Paris, New Delhi & Jakarta. We dig into Tony’s experiences of Co-Founding two startups that both exited to AOL and what he looks for when backing founders. We also ask Tony why he backed specialty coffee brand Blue Bottle Coffee and how it became a billion exit for the fund. We also ask Tony about his passion for Community based investment like Wordpress, Voiceflow & Zero Fasting and the experience in watching Wordpress grow to power over 30% of all internet websites. Finally, we ask Tony about his incredible 16 year career at True Ventures and the firm's people-first approach to investing. This tank talk really makes you appreciate the empathy, passion and patience Tony brings to his investments and everyday life. Books Mentioned In The Show: -The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz - Bird Lives! -Shackleton's Boat Journey Tony’s words of inspiration - “Everyone should take a step back from their day jobs and make sure you are taking a more holistic experience as a human and figuring where you side on the societal and economic issues facing our world today and take a stand.” Follow Matt Cohen and Tank Talks here!
Tank Talk: Mimi Lam & Drummond Munro (Co-Founders @ Superette) - Building a Private Cannabis Company
On today’s Tank Talk! We welcome our guestMimi Lam & Drummond Munro, Co-Founders of Superette, Canada’s Most Awarded Cannabis Startup. On today's Talk, we ask Mimi & Drum about how they originally entered the Cannabis industry before teaming up to start Superette. We dig into how they came up with the unique concept for Superette’s brand and how they differentiated themselves in the already crowded retail cannabis space. We discuss their ability to recruit passionate and talented employees who are not necessarily interested in the cannabis industry and what that has done for company culture. Finally, we ask them how staying private has helped them navigate the volatile cannabis markets and if they have any plans to go public soon. This tank talk really makes you appreciate the passion and commitment Mimi and Drum have towards building the most loved and respected cannabis company in the world. Books Mentioned In The Show: -Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World - How to Change Your Mind: The New Science of Psychedelics -Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind -Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike Drum’s words of inspiration - “Stick to your vision and commit to that...its the only way to truly succeed” Mimi’s words of inspiration - “Have a vision, but focus on execution. It’s easy to have ideas, but how that shows up in the real world and how you build a company and a team around that is what matters.” Follow Matt Cohen and Tank Talks here!
Tank Talk: Devon Wright (GM @ Yelp!) - Bootstrapping a Startup & How to Succeed After VCs Say No!
On today’s Tank Talk! We welcome our guestDevon Wright, General Manager at Yelp! In San Francisco & former Co-Founder & CEO of Turnstyle Solutions. This talk is a special one for me personally as I owe a lot of my entrepreneurial and venture investing career to Devon. Not only was Devon the first person I wrote my initial angel check into back in 2012 to help start Turnstyle before it was even a company, but Devon has become one of my closest friends and supporters to push me to leave my cushy job on wall st and start my own venture fund. I could go on and on, but you will hear more about that and more on the show. On today's Talk, we ask Devon about the humble beginnings of starting Turnstyle in 2012 along with my initial capital investment that in hindsight was truly based on a ridiculous idea. We also dig into what it was like trying to find a Venture Fund let alone one to pitch to in Toronto during the first few years of the company. We learn how Devon found a way to beg, borrow and hustle his way through the early years at Turnstyle with limited capital and supporters. Finally, we dig into Devon's journey building Turnstyle into a profitable 40 person company with some amazing talent around him even after all the VC funds turned him down and why he decided to eventually sell to Yelp in 2017. Devon's entrepreneurial journey is one of hustle, persistence and the desire to prove others wrong in the face of adversity. Books Mentioned In The Show: -Loonshots - How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas that Win Wars - by Safi Bahcall - Brick by Brick - How Lego Rewrote The Rules Of Innovation - By David C. Robertson -The Perfect Store - Ebay’s Story - By Adam Cohen -Teams of Teams - New Rules of Engagement for Complex Worlds - By Gen. Stanley McChrystal Devon’s words of Inspiration “Be fair and be generous to everyone on your team when it comes to equity. It is really easy to get sucked into the capital side of your balance sheet. But don’t forget your role as an employee. And how important those people are to your success every day. Do what you can to give your employees ownership of the company. To make sure they win from the upside of your success. “ You can follow Matt Cohen and Tank Talks here!