Seizing Opportunity When Incumbents Play It Safe | E1270

00:00 Jason Intros the show, Facebook, OnlyFans, Jack Ma
02:08 Facebook reveals previously hidden popular post data
10:58 Pipe – Start trading for free for 12 months at https://pipe.com/twist
12:30 The top performing article shared on Facebook contained misinformation
22:40 Ourcrowd – Check out the deal of the week at https://ourcrowd.com/twist
23:59 Tyga leaves OnlyFans to start his own competitor
34:57 Embroker – Get an extra 10% insurance for your business at https://embroker.com/twist
36:19 Jack Ma’s tech disruption now threat to CCP
46:29 FDA Pfizer Vaccine approval

FOLLOW Jason: https://linktr.ee/calacanis

The 4 Metrics that Matter in VC with Mark Suster of Upfront Ventures | E1268

  • MOIC (multiple on invested capital) aka gross returns
  • TVPI (total value to paid in)
  • DPI (distribution to paid-in) cash-in cash-out
  • IRR (internal rate of return)

News Roundup – Live from Italy

0:00 Jason intros the show – still from Italy!
2:58 Casey Newton’s misfire against Superhuman
12:46 Correcting Casey’s false statements, journalists lack of information, founders coming to the defense of Rahul Vohra and Superhuman
23:14 Apple announces a new on-device child porn screening technology, safety vs. privacy
35:02 Blockchain powered 5G network – Is Jason in or out on this idea?
43:03 Creating sensible new crypto regulation
49:45 WhatsApp & Facebook’s tricky situation in Afghanistan

FOLLOW Jason: https://linktr.ee/calacanis

“Github for music” my interview with Splice CEO Steve Martocci | E1265

00:00 Intro Jason’s Italy Trip & Steve Martocci from Splice
02:52 How “sampling” works in the music industry
10:07 What royalty-free means & how music rights work
21:59 How to ensure quality & originality
36:10 Will there be AI music creation?

Check out Splice: https://www.splice.com

FOLLOW Steve: https://twitter.com/smart
FOLLOW Jason: https://linktr.ee/calacanis

Running the best restaurant in the U.S. & Selling Tock to Squarespace for $400M – Nick Kokonas of Alinea | E1262

Featured

00:00 Nick Kokonas, CEO at Tock & Co-Owner of Alinea Restaurant Group
00:54 How Nick got into restaurants & met his co-founder Grant Achatz
09:30 Nick’s Angel investments
10:50 Ourcrowd – Check out the deal of the week at https://ourcrowd.com/twist
12:14 What OpenTable got wrong
18:05 Tock’s ticketing innovation
23:20 Benefits of having pre-paid reservations
25:00 Pipe – Start trading for free for 12 months at https://pipe.com/twist
26:40 Dynamic pricing in restaurants
28:55 Nick critiques Jason’s techniques to get a reservation
35:32 Why some Maître d’s hate Tock
38:22 Drata – Get 15% off SOC 2 and other audit at https://drata.com/twist
39:41 Digital checkouts at restaurant tables
44:50 Why tipping should be eliminated & what obstacles stand in the way
50:54 Will high-end restaurants keep doing delivery?
56:16 Hospitality labor supply
1:00:27 Inflation
1:02:42 How Alinea is handling vaccinations & employee health
1:07:18 Alinea’s signature desert
1:12:10 Nick’s core lessons as an entrepreneur
1:20:45 Mock meats

Check out Tock: https://www.exploretock.com

FOLLOW Jason: https://linktr.ee/calacanis
FOLLOW Nick: https://twitter.com/nickkokonas

Paul Judge on helping lead SoftBank’s $100M Opportunity Fund, the future of VC & more | This Week in Startups Blog

Top Insights


  • Investing over zoom expands the top of the funnel and lowers the barrier to entry for all founders
    • Investors can take 2-5x more meetings with founders from anywhere in the world
  • Paul’s thesis: Investing in overlooked founders will likely generate outsized returns
    • The American Southeast and Midwest include 44% of the US population but only receive 14% of VC funding
    • Despite this, 36% of last year’s Inc. 5000 reside in these regions with a median growth rate of 161% year-over-year
  • The “either-or” debate between making existing firms invest in underrepresented founders from their main funds OR raising “opportunity” funds that are specifically focused on underrepresented founders isn’t helpful, both are necessary to make VC funding more equitable
  • Jay-Z had the best Q1 2021 of any entrepreneur or investor
    • Tidal was acquired by Square for $297M, he sold 50% of Ace of Spades to LVMH for ~$300M, launched $10M cannabis-focused fund to back black founders, Oatly filed for IPO

Intro


  • Paul Judge, Ph.D. is Managing Partner of Panoramic Ventures, a VC fund that invests in “underserved geographies and overlooked founders” prioritizing the American Southeast and Midwest. Paul is also Co-Founder & Executive Chairman of Pindrop, an information security company that provides risk scoring for phone calls to detect fraud and authenticate callers). Pindrop’s most recent valuation was $900m in 2018.
  • Paul also serves on the investment committee for SoftBank’s $100m+ Opportunity Growth Fund to invest in Black, Latinx and Native American founders
  • Paul is based in Atlanta, but has become a Miami regular.
  • Atlanta’s startup scene is heating up:
    • Airbnb just located it’s East Coast engineering team there
    • Local Unicorns: Calendly ($3B), Greenlight ($1.2B, consumer fintech), Rubicon ($1B, recycling technology), SalesLoft ($1B, sales software)
    • Strong talent pipeline from Georgia Tech

The virtual-first investing paradigm shift


“I see more companies than I would have seen otherwise, the top of funnel is wider. From the entrepreneur’s standpoint, it’s easier to get a meeting with an investor than it was traditionally. That means a whole new generation of entrepreneurs that wouldn’t have had access, now have more access to venture capital funds & angel investors.”

Paul Judge
  • Paul has made 25 investments in 2020, all over Zoom. He has met 2 founders in person, but only after investing.
  • Being an active investor in 2020 required going virtual. Most investors never considered this a viable method prior to the pandemic. Both Paul & Jason discovered that virtual investing offered a new set of benefits:
    1. Investors can take 2-5x more meetings because intro meeting times went from 2-3 hours to 20-30 minutes. How?
      • Commutes and pleasantries are eliminated, and everyone gets down to business ASAP.
      • Conversations now start with hard numbers. Entrepreneurs have become more direct in their approach, making the information needed to diligence an investment up-front in their first email.
    2. Investors now have much greater access to founders outside their city. Travel and cost of living in the Bay Area are high and are no longer an obstacle for founders.
      • By taking more meetings from broader geography, investors are able to reduce their bias.
      • With more meeting slots available, it’s easier to take a chance on a founder you wouldn’t have met with pre-COVID.
    3. Virtually, the pattern-matching necessary to be a great VC becomes more about assessing the founder based on their performance, rather than by charisma or presentation skills.

How Paul Judge invests


  • Paul’s Techsquare Labs was focused on backing top talent (students & professors) from local universities like Georgia Tech, funding founders at the pre-seed and seed stages.
  • He is now expanding to be involved at Series A & B both at SoftBank and Panoramic Ventures, which just launched a $300M fund.
  • Paul knew 2/4 other members of the Softbank Opportunity fund’s investment committee from being a part of the 2016 class of Aspen Institute’s Henry Crown Fellow Program.
  • Panoramic’s thesis: investing in overlooked founders will generate outsized returns.
    • The American Southeast and Midwest receive only 14% of VC funding even though they include 44% of the country’s population.
    • 36% of last year’s Inc. 5000 reside in these regions with a median growth rate of 161% year-over-year.

How to make investing more equitable


“Black founders are not just solving black problems, they are solving some of the most meaningful problems that exist.”

Paul Judge
  • The “either or” debate between making existing firms invest in underrepresented founders out of their main funds OR raising “opportunity” funds that are specifically focused on underrepresented founders isn’t helpful, we need both to make venture capital more equitable.
  • VC firms typically don’t change their partners often (turnover typically occurs with a new fund every 3-7 years), so adding new diverse partners to existing firms is a slow process.
    • The industry needs to evolve in this way, while also meeting fiduciary responsibility to limited partners who invested in the fund.
  • Purpose-built investment vehicles like SoftBank’s Opportunity Fund have a clear mission and can make an impact right away.
    • Another benefit is creating an ecosystem where some of the top underrepresented entrepreneurs can support & inspire each other.

Jay-Z’s groundbreaking Q1 2021


“I was just talking with somebody about who had the best quarter, Chamath or some other venture capitalist and I was was like, ‘No, I think Jay Z had the best, he just sold half Ace of Spades to LVMH.'”

Jason

“I love that love Jay-Z’s going after industries that have traditionally been unfair to the people that have been creating value. The music industry is traditionally unfair to the creators, so he did Tidal. In food and beverage, the Crystal CEO got shot himself in the foot, so [Jay-Z] went after that. Then if you look at the cannabis industry, I mean, it’s not exactly tech, but it’s creating tens of billions of dollars of value. It’s one of the most valuable crops that this country’s ever seen. But if you look at everyone that’s going public, there’s no diversity, but we all know this country was built on the backs of blacks tending to crops.”

Paul Judge

Companies Paul shouted out during the episode



We recently launched a curated list of the most generous software discounts for startup founders. View all deals at startupdeals.tech.

The best job for an audio/video genius in San Francisco!

16078702253_798ca60c79_kFor the past six years I’ve taped over 500 episodes of my podcast, This Week in Startups. We’ve had the most amazing guests on the show, from Travis at Uber (Ep180) to Peter Thiel (Ep525) to Chris Sacca (Ep291) to Glenn Beck (Ep526) to VC John Doerr (Ep520) to Anne Wojcicki (Ep521) to Reid Hoffman (Ep490) to Fred Wilson (Ep523) to Yancey at Kickstarter (Ep524) to Chamath (Ep480) to Evan from Twitter (Ep345) to Kevin from Instagram (Ep196) to Andrew from Groupon (Ep52) to Tim Ferriss (Ep484) … the list goes on and on and on and on.

[ Click to Tweet (can edit before sending): http://ctt.ec/c731y ]

The show has massive reach and massive resources now. We tape in our own studio, we have the latest cameras, microphones and technology.

We have an Emmy-Award winning producer named Jacqui!

We do live shows that sell out in seconds with 500 attendees.

Most importantly, we have hell of a good time! We laugh and joke and sit in awe of the subjects we get to interview.

The show is doing so well that we are adding two full-time directors and video editors. We are looking for at least one with a lot of experience, and the second one can either have a lot of experience or a lot of hustle!

You can Apply here.

If you ever want to reach me and pitch me on working on my team, I have the winners@launch.co email always open!

Working for me will level you up and you’ll have me as an advocate for life. I’ve invested in my alumni’s startups, and helped get my former team members the greatest gigs in the world. I’m loyal like a bulldog and I love seeing my people do their best work and go onto great things.

plunge

Working for me is like joining the Navy Seals: most folks can’t do it, but those who can go on to change the world — and push themselves to a level they didn’t even know they could.

This Week in Startups is pure joy at this point, with a ton of resources to do things correctly.

Join us as we tell these stories!

Super smart, cool toy Sphero is a robotic ball that moves, follows algorithms

What’s the next Barbie? If you ask Paul Berberian, he’ll say a small round ball, about the same size and weight of pool ball. Inside, a robot, gyroscope, and a couple of motors. Jason sat down with Paul at Tech Stars Foundercon to talk about his company Orbotix, and its programmable robotic ball, called Sphero. The 1.0 release sold about 100,000. Now in 2.0, Sphero is airtight, watertight and can travel at 7 feet per second, all controlled by a smart phone. This is an incredibly cool and smart toy. Paul predicts Orbotix will sell millions of units, setting Sphero up to be a powerful brand like Mattel’s Barbie or Hot Wheels. Plus, why VCs are scared to invest in hardware.

Never miss an episode! Subscribe in iTunes: Audio (http://bit.ly/TwiStA) || Video (http://bit.ly/TwiStV)

Show Paul some love!
@gosphero
@pberberian

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Thanks to our sponsors. Show your support for the show by thanking them on Twitter! http://clicktotweet.com/1GeJ8

Audible is the leading provider of audio books with over 150,000 titles. Jason’s pick of the week is Flourish by Martin Seligman. Get your free audiobook: http://audible.com/twist.

And to Hiscox. When you buy insurance directly through the insurer (instead of an agent) you get: tailored coverage, a simple process, and competitive rates starting from $22.50 a month. hiscoxusa.com/smallbiz

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Follow on Twitter:
@jason
@twiStartups

LAUNCH:
Launch Ticker: http://launch.co
Launch Events (Festival, Mobile, Hackathon): http://events.launch.co

Special thanks to the members of the TWiST Backchannel Program!

Lynda Weinman on how she stayed profitable on $25 monthly subscriptions

Lynda Weinman bought the domain lynda.com in the mid 90s, when she was teaching herself web design. Fast forward through writing how-to books, and a classroom education program in Ojai, California. Today Lynda.com is an online resource with video-based courses, millions of registered users, and over $100m in late stage investment. The videos aren’t free, but Lynda has never raised prices above $25 per month. And the company has been profitable every year. From her garage to a 12 acre campus with a 100 person sales team, Weinman shared her journey at LAUNCH Education & Kids.

Never miss an episode! Subscribe in iTunes: Audio (http://bit.ly/TwiStA) || Video (http://bit.ly/TwiStV)

Show Lynda some love!

http://twitter.com/lyndaweinman
http://twitter.com/lynda

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Thanks to our sponsors. Scott Walker of Walker Corporate Law specializes in startups and provides flat-rate services. Call him directly at 415-979-9998, or email scott at walkercorporatelaw dot com.

And to Audible. My Audible picks of the week are One of Kind: The Story of Stuey “The Kid” Unger, the World’s Greatest Poker Player, and a bonus pick: Wheat Belly. To get your free audiobook, go to audible.com/twist.
==============

Follow on Twitter:
http://twitter.com/twiStartups
http://twitter.com/jason

LAUNCH:
Launch Ticker: http://launch.co
Launch Events (Festival, Mobile, Hackathon): http://events.launch.co

Special thanks to the members of the TWiST Backchannel Program!

Yves Behar on smart locks, and why great design matters

A good product needs great design, as Yves Behar knows all too well. The August smart lock is just his latest in a long line of projects. He designed One Laptop per Child’s XO Laptop, Jawbone’s iconic bluetooth headset, and the dance party-starting Jambox. This is must-watch on the huge role that design plays in your company, your product, and innovation.

Show Yves some love!

http://twitter.com/yvesbehar
http://www.august.com/
http://twitter.com/AugustSmartLock

Never miss an episode! Subscribe in iTunes: Audio (http://bit.ly/TwiStA) || Video (http://bit.ly/TwiStV)