19 Silicon Valley VCs In Podcasts Discuss The Startups They’re Looking For

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Entrepreneurs looking to learn the lay of the land of Silicon Valley venture capitalists will learn a lot by listening to these 30-minute podcast interviews with this varied group of investors.

Susan Mason, Aligned Partners – General Partner of Aligned Ventures, Susan talks about the dysfunctions of the broader venture capital model, and what her firm is doing to address those.

Stewart Alsop, Alsop Louie Partners – Stewart has been a VC for 20 years, and before that, a journalist for another 20 years covering the technology industry. Our discussion was wide-ranging, spanning autonomous vehicles, unreasonable entrepreneurs, etc.

Ho Nam, Altos Ventures – Managing Director at Altos Ventures, Ho makes a clear distinction between capital efficient company building and the “grow at costs in all sorts of unsustainable ways” philosophy. These are two distinctly different ways of building businesses.

David Hornik, August Capital – This General Partner, as some of you may know, shocked the industry about 10 years back by being the first VC to start blogging – his peers were aghast! We discussed a number of points – I want to particularly draw your attention to his views on the subject of Freemium.

Eric Benhamou, Benhamou Global Ventures – Managing Partner of Benhamou Global Ventures, Eric was the CEO of 3Com, a pioneer in the networking space, and the key competitor to Cisco. He also ran Palm, the first Smartphone maker, that 3Com acquired, then spun out and took public. He provides a window into the opportunities in the enterprise cloud infrastructure space, and in Cyber Security, and also explains why he is not necessarily looking for Unicorn companies to invest in. This, I might point out, is a highly unusual perspective in today’s VC universe, so you may want to pay attention to his analysis of the market.

David Blumberg, Blumberg Capital – Founder and Managing Partner of Blumberg Capital, David has been in the business for a long time, and we had a very interesting chat about the evolution of the venture business over the last 15 years. We also discussed some areas where there are opportunities to build new scalable businesses / VC-style startups.

Heidi Roizen, DFJ – Operating Partner at DFJ Venture, Heidi wrote an important article that every entrepreneur should read, “How to Build a Unicorn From Scratch – and Walk Away with Nothing.” She imparts crucial lessons to entrepreneurs on how to look at terms in a venture financing situation.

Brian Jacobs, Emergence Capital – General Partner, Brian discusses his views on where cloud opportunities are likely to be at this point. While we’re in a mature market, he is still bullish on innovation.

Ashmeet Sidana, Engineering Capital – The Founder of this a seed-stage venture fund focusing on infrastructure technology, Ashmeet has a lot of insights to offer, and delivers one particular piece of wisdom that is close to my heart. He says, “Funding is like candy. Don’t eat too much candy. Whole wheat bread and proteins are customers and revenues.That’s what you should focus on.”

Warren Weiss, Foundation Capital – As General Partner who has a long track record in the Silicon Valley venture capital industry, Warren shares areas he and Foundation are excited about as opportunities for building future Unicorns.

Asheem Chandna, Greylock Ventures – This General Partner discusses the topic of funding fat startups, something Asheem has done routinely, one of the very few VCs still doing so.

Ann Winblad, Hummer Winblad – One of the most successful women VCs in the industry, Ann has never been heard whining about a bias against women. One of the most encouraging things she discusses is how her firm is sourcing interesting ventures from all over the world, not just Silicon Valley.

John Dougery, Inventus Capital – As Co-Founder and Managing Director of Inventus Capital, a fund that is one of the earliest players in the Silicon Valley – India corridor, John discusses his firm’s investment focus, as well as reviews the trends of the Indian market.

Scott Sandell, NEA – One of NEA’s star investors, Scott has been named to the Forbes Midas list every year since 2007, and has been involved with eight Unicorn companies including Salesforce.com, Workday, Webex, Tableau, and others. Scott discusses, specifically, Webex and Tableau in quite a bit of depth. In both companies, the scrappy, capital-efficient management of those businesses were striking!

Bryce Roberts, OATV and Indie.vc – Managing Director at O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures (OATV), and Founder, Indie.vc, Bryce addresses the issues with the venture capital financing model, and explored alternatives.

Shomit Ghose, Onset Ventures – As Partner and also veteran startup executive with multiple IPOs under his belt, Shomit highlights the fact that 70,000 ventures received angel funding in 2014, but the number of companies receiving venture funding remains constant year over year at about 1,000 per year. Focusing on building value is of paramount importance, so that you can validate and prove your value proposition.

Tod Francis, Shasta Ventures – Managing Director, Tod covers the history of retail, all the way from shoe stores, to department stores, and back to specialty retail. This is followed by a similar overview of the history of e-commerce ranging from Amazon’s strategy to how specialty retail is translating into niche e-commerce, and how Tod is looking at investments in the category.

Jason Lemkin, Storm Ventures – Prior to becoming a VC, he was the CEO of EchoSign, a digital signature SaaS vendor that Adobe acquired some years back. This is an excellent discussion and offers very concrete pointers to where you might look for white spaces in the cloud computing space to do new ventures.

Gus Tai, Trinity Ventures – As General Partner, Gus discusses Trinity’s investment thesis around e-commerce over the years – from BlueNile in 1999, to Zulily, Dot and Bo, and Callisto Media more recently, and what he anticipates for the future.

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