Seed to Scale

Brad Feld, Founder & MD of Foundry Group, gives advice to himself in the early days and speaks to why it is important to build long-term fund strategies with conviction and consistency

An episode of Seed to Scale

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By Eniac Ventures
Welcome to Seed to Scale. The podcast where Eniac Ventures sits down with founders, investors, and influencers to discuss all things startups and seed stage.

Each episode will be hosted by an Eniac General Partner - Hadley Harris, Nihal Mehta, Tim Young or Vic Singh - to talk about the ups and downs of building an early-stage company, securing funding and what it takes to build a lasting business.

Send topics or guest suggestions to seedtoscale@eniac.vc or @seedtoscale, and please subscribe, rate and review it.

Music Credit: bit.ly/2PgfCO1
Available on 11 platforms
Shahin Farshchi, Partner at Lux Capital, on leading the deep tech boom & science vs engineering risk
Founding General Partner Vic Singh sits down with Shahin Farshchi, a Partner at Lux Capital, to discuss his path to venture capital, by way of Detroit, a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and founding a company that stemmed from his research in wireless, vital sign monitoring. Shahin speaks to how Lux spearheaded investments in science and deep tech when most venture capitalists were interested in adtech, cloud, and SaaS. He shares the mistakes he made and lessons learned along the way, such as that time and money are grossly underrepresented when bringing a product to market and how important it is to build out a company, not just the technology. He also discusses the common mistakes investors make when “placing bets” on general themes and why Lux’s strategy is to identify amazing talent and let that talent drive you. He says, “We tend to find new investment themes at the fringes of our existing companies.” Shahin shares advice for founders with backgrounds rooted in science or technical founders on the transition to becoming a CEO as the company grows and matures, and when it makes sense to help recruit a CEO that has the skills to take the company to the next level. Lastly, he speaks to what it was like being a teenager in Iran and how it shaped his worldview. Send comments to seedtoscale@eniac.vc and tweet us @seedtoscale.
22:17
December 10, 2018
Anu Duggal & Sutian Dong of Female Founders Fund on the inception of the world’s first female-fund
Founding General Partner Nihal Mehta sits down with Anu Duggal and Sutian Dong, Partners at Female Founders Fund, to discuss the inception of the world’s first female-focused Venture Capital fund, how they were set up on a “blind date” by Ed Zimmerman of Lowenstein Sandler and have been able to use their unique backgrounds and points of views to make strong investments. In this episode, Anu speaks to risk tolerance and the challenges they’ve faced while fundraising and Sutian addresses the huge shift in the industry as female founders are securing more capital than ever. They also discuss building strong brand awareness and how collaboration across the VC community has been important to raising awareness for their fund and reaching the female founder community. Sutian shares that Female Founders Fund has always led with the mission to be the first place that FF think of going to when raising capital, but also want to be instrumental in supporting female entrepreneurs even before they think about starting a company. Lastly, see what #WWND means and why it hangs in their office, how they try to establish work/life balance and why they are excited about the rise of alternative communities. Send comments to seedtoscale@eniac.vc and tweet us @seedtoscale.
14:07
November 26, 2018
John Borthwick, Founder & CEO of betaworks on “What is it that we actually want to build?”
Founding General Partner Hadley Harris speaks with John Borthwick, the Founder & CEO of betaworks and long-time investor in the early NYC tech scene. In the past decade, John has helped hundreds of companies build products and scale - such as Giphy, bit.ly, Tumblr, GroupMe - and continues looking for ways to improve the model with each new company. In this episode, John speaks to a recent blog post he published on “Building Bicycles for Our Minds” in which he addresses his perspective on why there is a significant lack of vision for the next wave of technology and what we can do about it as tech leaders and entrepreneurs before it gets worse. John shares his thoughts on “just building stuff because you think it is interesting, doesn't mean you should," talks about the power of intent, and why it is important for entrepreneurs to look further out on the horizon than just the next hill. John also speaks to the evolution of betaworks. From a startup factory to a multi-faceted business, betaworks, including a venture fund, a formal accelerator program as well as the newly launched a membership-based resource community called Studios. Send comments to seedtoscale@eniac.vc and tweet us @seedtoscale. Read John's full blog post: https://render.betaworks.com/building-bicycles-for-our-minds-c79a2dd0b958
16:13
November 6, 2018
Clara Sieg, Partner at Revolution Ventures, on the capital gap & being bullish on tier 2-3 cities
Founding General Partner Tim Young speaks with Clara Sieg, a Partner and Founding member of Revolution Ventures. Clara has been featured on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 for Venture Capital and named LinkedIn’s Top 10 Professionals Under 35 for VC & Finance. In this episode, Clara discusses how her hometown of Pittsburgh has evolved as a tech hub and how it has influenced her passion for finding and investing in companies outside of Silicon Valley. She talks about the early days of Revolution and why they were one of the first funds that strategized around the opportunities in second and third-tier cities. She talks about the growing ecosystems across the up-and-coming cities, the local talent coming out of local schools and how she leverages this to recruit and scale companies. Clara shares her perspective on the mindset and unit economics of founders outside of the valley, how they operate businesses due to less capital flow and can think differently about taking on investments and dilution. Clara also gives advice to founders managing and optimizing their board and how to make sure you get the best possible people around the table versus just optimizing for valuation. Send comments to seedtoscale@eniac.vc and tweet us @seedtoscale.
14:41
October 22, 2018
Jeff Clavier, Founder of Uncork Capital on transitioning from Angel to Seed & advice to aspiring VCs
Founding General Partner Vic Singh speaks with one of the OG’s of seed investing and a Veteran of the Forbes Midas List, Jeff Clavier, Founder & Managing Partner at Uncork Capital. In this episode, Jeff recounts his journey from a small town in France to studying in Paris and landing in the startup circuit as an engineer that eventually led him to angel investing in successful the Web 2.0 companies of the early 2000’s. Jeff gives advice to aspiring VCs, his thoughts on what it was like transitioning from an angel to his first institutional fund and how the timeline for building credibility as an investor is very different today. He also speaks to the challenges faced as their funds grew, the best strategy to stand out to LPs and how Uncork views co-investors. He also speaks on his journey building hardware companies and how he saw the opportunity to apply the capital efficient model of software as well as his experience with Fitbit.
16:32
October 10, 2018
Marah Lidey & Naomi Hirabayashi on how they are disrupting the wellness industry & secured Series A
Nihal Mehta speaks with the talented founders of Shine Text, Marah Lidey and Naomi Hirabayashi on how they’ve built one of the fastest-growing health and wellness companies. Working together at DoSomething.org, they realized the importance of daily peer-to-peer support and seized the opportunity to build a community to help others. In this episode, Naomi and Marah speak about the early days growing Shine from 50,000 to now 3 million users and their approach to fundraising. They discuss the changing model of investor-founder relationship and how keeping an open dialogue led them to a Series A on Christmas Eve. Marah and Naomi also touch on how millennials are dispelling the Baby Boomer Myth of being too broke to invest in yourself and the intersectionality of self-care and technology, especially how important it is today in response to what is happening in the world. Send comments to seedtoscale@eniac.vc and tweet us @seedtoscale.
15:11
September 26, 2018
Brad Feld, Founder & MD of Foundry Group, on what makes an excellent board member, the biggest reasons startups fail and the three machines that must work together in order for a company to scale
Hadley Harris continues the conversation from last week with Brad Feld, Founder and Managing Director of Foundry Group. In this episode, Brad talks about the changing model of VC firms and how partners should be investing in each other in order to make the partnership and the firm stronger. He also answers fellow VC Jeff Clavier from Uncork Capital’s question on what makes an excellent board member, as well as the biggest reasons startups fail and the three machines that must work together in order for a company to scale. If you haven’t heard Part 1, make sure to subscribe and listen to last week’s show. It’s too good to miss: He discusses why it’s important to build long-term fund strategies, and gives his perspective on team size and geography. He also gives advice to himself looking back early in his career.
11:52
September 17, 2018
Brad Feld, Founder & MD of Foundry Group, gives advice to himself in the early days and speaks to why it is important to build long-term fund strategies with conviction and consistency
Hadley Harris speaks with Brad Feld, Founder and Managing Director of Foundry Group. Brad has been an early stage investor and entrepreneur since 1987 and has authored several books on VC and entrepreneurship that are must-reads for everyone in the industry. In this episode, Brad shares his perspective on why it is important to build long-term fund strategies with conviction and consistency. Brad talks about one of his heroic figures, Warren Buffett, and how his thesis that everything runs in cycles applies to the cycles of venture capital. Brad gives advice to himself back in the early days and compares Foundry’s strategy now against how he was investing in the late 80’s and 90’s. He also shares how team size and geography play a role at Foundry, and how he has configured his work and life in Boulder to enable him to work with startups through the country. Send comments to seedtoscale@eniac.vc and tweet us @seedtoscale.
13:11
September 10, 2018
Alex Iskold, tech entrepreneur, investor & former MD of Techstars NYC, on why raising capital should be a side effect of growth and the importance of finding the Magic Moment
Vic Singh speaks with startup triple threat Alex Iskold. As a three-time founder, investor in 90+ startups and engineer, Alex is passionate about helping early-stage founders build the next generation of companies and connecting entrepreneurs through a global network. In this episode, Alex discusses the evolution of the semantic web, why he is bullish on blockchain for the enterprise and the new crop of personalized health startups focused on breakthrough technologies for health and longevity. Alex also shares his perspective on how founders should approach fundraising, why he believes startups should stay scrappy and his advice for the Best Startup Hack. Note: Just days after they spoke, Alex announced he is leaving his post at Techstars NYC after 5 years at the helm. The Eniac Team is excited to support him in his next venture. Send comments to seedtoscale@eniac.vc or @seedtoscale.
16:03
August 28, 2018
Lior Susan, Founder of Eclipse Ventures on why he is bullish on full-stack hardtech startups and what founders should do the second they raise their Seed Round
Vic Singh speaks with Lior Susan, Founder and Partner of Eclipse Ventures, a leading investor in full stack companies, combining hardware and software with the data layer. Lior’s journey as a founder of a venture backed hardtech Israeli startup with an outsized exit to Cisco, his time starting Lab IX at Flex to ultimately creating Eclipse offers a unique perspective as an investor in Silicon Valley. In this episode, Lior talks about the “Broken Market” and why he believes the excess of capital is affecting the ecosystem and venture capital as a business. He gives advice to founders on how to think of fundraising like climbing mountains and what they should be doing the second they close their seed round to make sure they are on the right path to an A. Lior also addresses his thoughts on what makes a winning company, what he thinks is the best and worst part about being a VC and some exciting news on the growth of Eclipse VC. Send comments to seedtoscale@eniac.vc or @seedtoscale.
18:22
August 8, 2018
Heather Hartnett, CEO of Human Ventures, on the Myth of the Big Idea and looking Beyond the Resume
Tim Young speaks with Heather Hartnett, the CEO at Human Ventures. She was NYC’s first female-led start-up studio founder and her philanthropic background brings a unique approach to investing, helping set the firm apart with their Human Network approach. In this episode, Heather speaks on the “Myth of the Big Idea” and how Human proactively looks at the zeitgeist to see what types of patterns and opportunities are starting to form. She gives the scoop on how this method redefines their thesis to focus on “Reinventing Life Stages,” looking at how each generation experiences life’s stages with unique lenses and what market opportunities each brings. Heather also talks about Human’s new strategy, Beyond the Resume, born to evaluate founding teams beyond just experience and take into account dynamics and the multidimensional factors that are critical for success, yet so often overlooked at the early stage. Send comments or suggestions to seedtoscale@eniac.vc or @seedtoscale.
11:29
July 13, 2018
Chieh Huang, Founder of BOXED, on company culture & how his role as CEO changes every 6 months
Hadley Harris speaks with Chieh Huang, the co-founder & CEO of BOXED, an early Eniac company and one of Bloomberg’s Top 50 people to watch in 2018. Chieh is a charismatic, natural born leader, and his passion and dedication have grown BOXED from his parent's garage to raising over $130M with hundreds of employees. In this episode, he digs into his journey to BOXED, from his start as a lawyer to co-founding Astro Ape which sold to Zynga in a few short years. He speaks candidly about how his role as CEO changes every 6 months, the most important qualities when working with co-founders and how to recalibrate as the company grows. BOXED sets itself apart with a vibrant culture and Chieh speaks to why it's critical to keep employees motivated and how they adapted benefits to fit the distinct needs of employees, such as tuition and wedding costs. Send comments or suggestions to seedtoscale@eniac.vc or @seedtoscale.
12:09
July 13, 2018
Mike Maples, Founding Partner of Floodgate, on spotting the Thunder Lizards before they hatch
Nihal Mehta kicks off Seed to Scale’s opening episode with one of VC’s most prominent investors Mike Maples, the founding partner of Floodgate. Mike has backed some of the most well-known tech companies today, including Twitter, Twitch.tv, Lyft, Okta, Chegg, Demandforce, among many others. In this episode, Mike talks about his journey from being an entrepreneur in junior high writing video games to being a founder of two IPO companies, Tivoli and Motiv, and how his pivot to investor was his way to remain close to startups in order to “stay forever young.” He gives advice to investors on the importance of making randomness your friend and to remember you don’t have a monopoly on truth. Mike also digs into his role of spotting the Thunder Lizards before they hatch, what he believes makes a good founder: “They want to start a movement, not just a company,” and his biggest red flag. Let us know what you thought: Send comments or suggestions to seedtoscale@eniac.vc or @seedtoscale.
15:32
July 13, 2018
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