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March 18, 2019

On the early days of AdMob, a call from Steve Jobs and the secret sauce to Sequoia’s success


Omar Hamoui is a Partner at Sequoia Capital, arguably one of the most well-known VC firms in the world, with investments in some of the biggest names, including Dropbox, WhatsApp, Xoom, Square, Evernote, InstaCart to name a few.

In this episode, Omar sat down with Nihal Mehta, Founding Partner at Eniac Ventures, to share his story on building AdMob, one of the most successful mobile ad networks, how it caught the attention of Steve Jobs and Sergey Brin and what it was like being acquired by Google.

From being a serial entrepreneur, Omar also discusses his move to VC, the core values of Sequoia and what it is like behind the scenes.

He opens up about the most challenging parts of venture capital, the long feedback loop and why it is a “low ego” job. He also shares his most used app – and it might surprise you!

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March 7, 2019

On board members: what to look for, how to optimize, expectations at each funding round and managing bad behavior


Jeff Richards, Managing Director of GGV, speaks with Eniac Ventures’ Founding General Partner Tim Young on all things managing a board, expectations when recruiting & building out your early team and how being a founder is a lot like his experience being a father.

As a two-time founder with more than 13 years of building and operating his companies across the U.S. and Asia, Jeff joined the world of venture capital with a wealth of first-hand experience. Today, at GGV, Jeff focuses on enterprise, cloud, and consumer/internet-based brands. His investments include HotelTonight, Flipboard, Voicera and has been involved in Opendoor, Domo, Square, and Wish. He currently sits on several boards, including Boxed, Brightwheel, Namely, Tile, to name a few, and most recently joined Electric.ai.

Having sat on more than a dozen boards, Jeff digs into all things board members — what to look for, how to optimize, expectations and how to handle bad behavior. He also gives his advice on the biggest differences between your board and team between Seed to A.

Jeff discusses when it is time to start building out your team, why it is important to have an org chart, expectations when recruiting top talent and how founders should be building teams outside tier one markets.

Jeff also shares some personal anecdotes from his life, like how being a founder prepared him for fatherhood and how he maintained his resilience during when his company crashed right before his wedding.

He also speaks to his biggest misses as an investor and the worst advice he’s received lately.

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January 25, 2019

On raising capital, scaling teams and funding the underserved


Shivani Siroya, Founder & CEO of Tala, speaks with Nihal Mehta about her journey from finance to entrepreneurship, and now a CEO of a fast-growth company with more than 270 employees across 5 countries and $100M in venture funding.

Tala is a mission-driven tech company opening financial access across emerging markets. Working for the UN Population Fund across Africa, Shivani saw the lack of access available to millions of people firsthand and started working on ways to solve the problem. Less than 5 years later, she had attracted some of the biggest names in venture capital, such as Chris Saca and Steve Case, and now has landed the support of financial giants including PayPal.

In this episode, Shivani talks about the inception of Tala and how it was born to close the huge financial access gap from traditional banking practices. She warns founders to not focus on name brand funds, but shares advice on staying true to your vision and focus on what you are solving and the opportunity will follow.

Shivani speaks about the challenges of hiring and finding the right people who can bring diverse viewpoints, but share Tala’s vision, as well as her responsibility for ensuring the workplace is not only diverse but an environment that is equitable and gives everyone the opportunity to succeed.

She also speaks to how she manages time, the importance of her CEO letters and why she holds a weekly AMA.

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January 23, 2019

On building the company that democratized podcasting, overcoming challenges of early-stage hiring and what is next for podcasting.


Founding General Partner Hadley Harris talks with Michael Mignano, Co-founder & CEO of Anchor, the company making it easy for anyone to create a podcast.

Michael built Anchor to democratize audio. By putting a free, full-stack podcasting platform in the pocket of anyone with a smartphone, Anchor is changing the way people think about audio, empowering everyone to have their voices heard, and pioneering new ways for creators to generate revenue. Anchor now powers one-third of all new podcasts in the rapidly growing market.

Prior to founding Anchor, Michael was VP of Product for Aviary, growing the company’s audience to over 100M users before being acquired by Adobe in 2014. Previously, Michael led Digital Product Development for Atlantic Records.

In this episode, Michael talks about how his passion for music and his drive for creativity lead him to build a company that aims to remove the friction from podcasting. He speaks about the challenges he and Co-founder & CTO Nir Zicherman faced early on, and how their roles and approaches to business have changed as they grew.

Michael also speaks to the learning curve they faced early on when hiring. As new entrepreneurs, they learned a lot about finding the right people who align and can execute on your vision and, on the flip side, how to pivot talent with the business needs.

He also shares his views on the industry, their latest new features and the podcasts he has in rotation – they are some good ones!

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December 18, 2018

Seed to Scale: Episode 13 with Mark Suster, Managing Partner at Upfront Ventures

December 18, 2018

On current startup and venture ecosystem in LA, why the city embraced Bird and the challenges facing cities as we embrace the future of transportation.


Founding General Partner Nihal Mehta talks with Mark Suster, one of the very best VCs in the biz and a true pioneer of LA venture capital.

Mark is the Managing Partner at Upfront Ventures, the largest and longest-serving fund in LA – all the way back to 1996, long before the region became known as Silicon Beach. To date, they’ve invested in more than $1 billion, with about 50% going to tech companies from Santa Barbara to San Diego. Mark’s investments include Bird, Density, Imbellus, Invoca, MakeSpace, mitú, Nanit, Osmo, and Tact.

In this episode, Mark speaks to how his prior experiences influence how he approaches his work today. Most importantly, how his mother was his earliest role model as an entrepreneur, a philanthropist and activist, and how he got into programming on his mother’s computer while still in high school which lead him to become a computer programmer in the late ’80s (when it wasn’t as sought after as it is today). Mark discusses what he learned during his time at Accenture and how it laid a strong foundation for understanding how businesses operate at scale.

Mark speaks to the current startup and venture ecosystem in LA, and why more influencers outside traditional VC are becoming investors. He also addresses the future of transportation, including the rapid adoption of Bird in Los Angeles and what cities are doing to solve the many challenges.

He also addresses the current state of politics, something he covers often on his blog Both Sides of the Table.

December 10, 2018

Seed to Scale: Episode 12 with Shahin Farshchi, Partner at Lux Capital

December 10, 2018

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 gives 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.

November 26, 2018

On the inception of the world’s first female founder-focused 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.

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November 6, 2018

On “What is it that we actually want to build?”


Founding General Partner Hadley Harris speaks with John 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.

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October 22, 2018

On the capital gap outside Silicon Valley, perspective on how founders operate businesses differently and advice to founders managing their board


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 speaks 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 also gives her perspective on the growing ecosystems across the up-and-coming cities, local talent 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.

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October 10, 2018

Advice to aspiring VCs and founders, his transition from angel investing to institutional seed, and what it was like in the early days of the micro VC movement in Silicon Valley


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 Capital 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.

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