Cover image of Origins - A podcast about Limited Partners, created by Notation Capital
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Origins - A podcast about Limited Partners, created by Notation Capital

Updated 2 months ago

Business
Technology
Investing
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Origins is a podcast about Limited Partners, the firms and institutions that invest in venture capital funds. Through a series of interviews, we explore what has historically been an opaque corner of the startup ecosystem and learn how the people behind the capital make decisions. This podcast was created by Alex Lines and Nick Chirls, partners at Notation.

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Origins is a podcast about Limited Partners, the firms and institutions that invest in venture capital funds. Through a series of interviews, we explore what has historically been an opaque corner of the startup ecosystem and learn how the people behind the capital make decisions. This podcast was created by Alex Lines and Nick Chirls, partners at Notation.

iTunes Ratings

49 Ratings
Average Ratings
40
4
2
1
2

Good stuff

By jlintz2 - May 31 2016
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A++++++ would buy again. Nice to peel back behind the curtains of the LP world

Great to hear the other side

By Nicoslepicos - May 12 2016
Read more
As an entrepreneur, appreciate hearing the perspective from LPs

iTunes Ratings

49 Ratings
Average Ratings
40
4
2
1
2

Good stuff

By jlintz2 - May 31 2016
Read more
A++++++ would buy again. Nice to peel back behind the curtains of the LP world

Great to hear the other side

By Nicoslepicos - May 12 2016
Read more
As an entrepreneur, appreciate hearing the perspective from LPs
Cover image of Origins - A podcast about Limited Partners, created by Notation Capital

Origins - A podcast about Limited Partners, created by Notation Capital

Latest release on Aug 11, 2020

Read more

Origins is a podcast about Limited Partners, the firms and institutions that invest in venture capital funds. Through a series of interviews, we explore what has historically been an opaque corner of the startup ecosystem and learn how the people behind the capital make decisions. This podcast was created by Alex Lines and Nick Chirls, partners at Notation.

Rank #1: Mike Maples, Floodgate

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Mike Maples is the founding partner at Floodgate and has been on the Forbes Midas List since 2010. Before becoming a full-time investor, Mike was involved as a founder and operating executive at back-to-back startup IPOs, including Tivoli Systems (IPO TIVS, acquired by IBM) and Motive (IPO MOTV, acquired by Alcatel-Lucent.) Some of Mike’s investments include Twitter, Twitch.tv, ngmoco, Weebly, Chegg, Bazaarvoice, Spiceworks, Okta, and Demandforce.

In this episode, we cover a wide range of topics, including Mike's decision to become a VC and how he raised Floodgate's first fund, how Floodgate's fund strategy and portfolio construction has evolved since, and how he and his partners think about building the firm in the years and decades to come.

Jul 24 2018

50mins

Play

Rank #2: Chad Byers, Susa Ventures

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Chad Byers is a co-founder and partner at Susa Ventures, a seed-stage venture fund based in SF that has backed companies like Robinhood, Flexport, and Andela. Chad discusses growing up in Silicon Valley, his path to venture, the unusual founding story of Susa with his partners, and how they've strategically planned their funds over time. Chad is one of the smartest young seed investors in SF, and this episode was essentially a playbook on how to build a seed firm.

A huge thank you to Carta, the title sponsor for this season of Origins. It's a core product that we use daily --> Get 10% off when you use the Notation Signup Link (Terms and conditions apply). This season is also sponsored by SVB and Cooley, two of the earliest and most trusted supporters of our work at Notation.

Jan 07 2020

52mins

Play

Rank #3: Lo Toney, Plexo Capital

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Lo Toney is the founding managing partner of Plexo Capital, a new $42.5 million fund incubated inside of GV focused on making investments in seed-stage VC firms led by women or people of color. In addition to investing as LPs, Plexo Capital makes direct investments in startups that are funded by firms where Plexo has an LP position. The fund’s investors include Alphabet, Intel Capital, Cisco Investments, the Royal Bank of Canada, Kapor Capital, the Hampton University Endowment and the Ford Foundation.

Previous to Plexo Capital, Lo was a partner at GV and Comcast Ventures, as well as an operator in various capacities at Zynga, Nike, and eBay. In this episode, we discuss Lo's unique career journey, some of the early lessons he learned helping to build iconic web products in the dot com era, how he landed at GV and more recently decided to build his own venture platform in Plexo Capital.

We're also excited to announce Carta as the title sponsor for this season of Origins, a product we use and love. Get 10% off when you use the Notation Signup Link (Terms and conditions apply). This season is also sponsored by SVB and Cooley, two of the earliest and most trusted supporters of our work at Notation.

Dec 11 2019

50mins

Play

Rank #4: Brad Feld, Foundry Group

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We’re very excited to have Brad Feld to help us kick off season two. In addition to co-founding Foundry Group and Techstars, Brad also co-founded Mobius Venture Capital in 1996. So he’s as qualified as anyone in the world to discuss starting venture firms, and that’s exactly what we did in this episode. Brad has already spoken at length about starting companies and angel investing, so we dug into getting a first fund off the ground, building a firm that’s consistent with one’s belief system, and investing as a personal LP into dozens of funds including Lowercase, SoftTech, Techstars, USV, and now institutionalizing that endeavor with Foundry Next.

Nov 21 2016

1hr 12mins

Play

Rank #5: Fabrice Grinda, FJ Labs

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Fabrice Grinda is the founder of FJ Labs, a company co-creation and investment firm, focused on marketplace businesses. FJ Labs has invested in companies such as Flexport, Shippo, Lime, Brightroll, among many others. Fabrice is also a serial entrepreneur, previously founding three companies - Zingy, Aucland, and OLX - All of which scaled to significant size. He was born in France and is an avid traveler, writer, and speaker.

In this episode, we cover what it was like to come to the U.S. for college, starting his first company in the dot com in France at the age of 24 and riding it to massive scale before experiencing the fallout in the early oughts, as well as starting again, successfully exiting companies, and becoming a true expert on marketplace business dynamics. We also discuss the transition to investor, the unique aspects of FJ Labs, both from an LP perspective and an investment perspective, as well as making a personal decision a few years ago to live "asset-light."

Oct 01 2019

59mins

Play

Rank #6: Bryce Roberts, Indie VC

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Bryce Roberts is the founder of Indie VC, a 12-month program and venture fund designed to fund and support founders on a path to profitability. Before that, Bryce was a co-founder of OATV in 2005, one of the earliest seed focused VC firms, where they invested in companies like Fastly, Foursquare, Planet, Hipcamp, and others.

On this episode, we discuss the earliest days of seed investing and raising OATV while Bryce lived in Utah, as well as the difficult decision to morph OATV into what is now Indie VC. Bryce has a decidedly different and refreshing perspective on venture capital than anyone we've had on Origins - He believes that raising capital should not turn a business into a binary outcome and that more founders should think about the road to profitability - What Bryce describes as "permissionless entrepreneurship."

Jul 16 2019

56mins

Play

Rank #7: Michael Larsen, Cambridge Associates

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Mike Larsen is a managing director at the global investment firm Cambridge Associates, based in Boston. Mike works with endowments, foundations and other large institutional investors on their private investment programs, particularly focused on venture capital exposure. He spends his time meeting with managers, sourcing new ideas, and implementing VC programs for his clients’ portfolios.

Cambridge Associates has come up several times on Origins in the past, so in this conversation with Mike, we dig into exactly what it is that CA does—and how they advise their clients to invest in VC and PE. We discuss the difference between CA’s discretionary and non-discretionary activities, how they approach building venture portfolios from scratch, how Mike evaluates VC managers, as well as how he thinks about the future of the asset class.

Oct 10 2017

50mins

Play

Rank #8: Semil Shah, Haystack

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On this episode of Origins, we sit down with Semil Shah of Haystack, an early-stage venture firm based in SF. Semil has a non-traditional background for VC and has been vocal about the unique way he's building the firm, recently making the transition into an institutionally backed fund. He's an active blogger, and an investor in startups like Instacart, Giphy, Carta, and many others. In the interview, we focus on how Semil has approached each of the Haystack funds, the stories behind some of his best investments, and lessons learned along the way as he's grown the firm.

Jan 23 2018

45mins

Play

Rank #9: Lindsay Larsen, UVIMCO

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Lindsay Larsen is a managing director at UVIMCO, which represents the University of Virginia's $9B+ endowment. At UVIMCO, Lindsay co-heads the endowment's venture capital investing, as well as hedge fund investing and the growth equity portfolio. She previously held roles at Sequoia Heritage and Bluestem Asset Management, and she started her career at Goldman Sachs after attending UVA as an undergrad.

In this unique look into how a large university endowment is managed, we dig into how UVA sets its return targets and goals, and how that impacts Lindsay's time spent across VC, hedge funds, and growth equity. We discuss the increasingly global nature of startups and the asset class broadly, and how that's led Lindsay and UVA to consider markets outside the US, particularly China, as well as her bottoms-up approach to picking VC managers and investment strategies. Lindsay has had a particularly interesting vantage point into the VC business over the past decade, and for any VC considering approaching or pitching a large endowment as an LP, this is an important episode to give a listen.

Feb 05 2019

52mins

Play

Rank #10: Beezer Clarkson hosts Anne Martin, CIO of Wesleyan University

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In this special episode of Origins, Beezer Clarkson of Sapphire Partners hosts Anne Martin, the Chief Investment Officer of Wesleyan University. Anne was previously a Director of Investments at Yale University, where she oversaw the private and natural resource portfolio. At Wesleyan University, she oversees all aspects of the endowment and reports to the university's board and investment committee.

Over the course of the conversation, Beezer and Anne cover exactly what it means to run and invest a university endowment, Anne's goals for the program, how she thinks about investing across asset classes, and particularly how she approaches venture capital and picking managers. Their discussion is a unique look into what is a typically opaque part of the Limited Partner ecosystem, and a must-listen for anyone considering raising capital from endowments.

Aug 06 2019

49mins

Play

Rank #11: Hunter Walk, Homebrew

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We talk with Hunter Walk, founding partner at Homebrew about his experiences building product as one of the first hires at Second Life and then at YouTube after the Google acquisition. We also dig into what it took to get Homebrew off the ground in 2013 with his partner Satya Patel.

Jan 31 2017

1hr

Play

Rank #12: Roland Reynolds, Industry Ventures

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On this episode of Origins, we sit down with Roland Reynolds, a managing partner at Industry Ventures. Industry Ventures is a fascinating “full stack venture capital firm.” Their funds invest into companies and venture capital partnerships through both primary and secondary transactions, which is an important part of the venture ecosystem that we have yet to cover on the Origins podcast.

We cover a lot in this episode — including Roland’s experience working earlier in his career at JP Morgan and Columbia Capital, as well as founding one of the first dedicated micro-VC fund of funds more than ten years ago. Roland’s firm, Little Hawk Capital, was an LP in Industry Ventures, and ultimately merged into it to begin their primary fund of funds business.

What we found most interesting about this conversation was the breadth of the Industry Ventures business — their flexibility to approach the venture landscape in many different ways — as buyers of other LP’s positions in VC funds, as well as secondary buyers of individuals and employees shares in VC funds and companies, as primary investors in VC funds, and finally as direct investors in startups. Industry has the ability, and in fact mandate, to do it all. We learned a lot in this episode and think you will too.

Jan 09 2018

1hr 3mins

Play

Rank #13: Leah Busque, Fuel Capital

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Leah Busque is a General Partner at Fuel Capital, an early-stage venture firm based in SF. Before Fuel, she was the co-founder and CEO of TaskRabbit for eight years, and before that an engineer at IBM. In this episode, we discuss Leah's path to founding TaskRabbit, moving to SF, and partnering with Chris Howard as Fuel's second GP just over a year ago. We also dig into how she discovered and has navigated the LP community, how she expects to support the founders she works with as a former founder and engineer herself, and finally how Leah and Chris plan to grow Fuel as a firm in the years to come.

Apr 18 2018

50mins

Play

Rank #14: Rob Mazzoni, TrueBridge Capital Partners

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Rob Mazzoni is a principal and one of the earliest members of the TrueBridge investment team, an alternative asset management firm founded in 2007 and focused on the venture capital industry. Rob first worked with TrueBridge co-founder and general partner Mel Williams at UNC Management Company, Inc. (UNCMC) as an investment and performance analyst.

In this episode, we discuss Rob's professional path as an LP since college, as well as the founding and evolution of Truebridge Capital Partners since 2007. We cover Truebridge's decision to partner early with now top-tier firms like a16z and Founder's Fund, as well as their decision to commit to seed as a category several years ago via firms like Lowercase Capital. Finally, we discuss their contributions to the larger venture community, including their work constructing the storied Midas List with Forbes.

Sep 18 2018

57mins

Play

Rank #15: Graham Pingree, Cendana Capital

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Graham Pingree is a limited partner at Cendana Capital, where he works with Michael Kim and invests in micro-VC funds. We discuss Graham's background working both at startups as well as firms such as Horsley Bridge and Cambridge Associates, and backing and working with funds such as Forerunner, Founder Collective, and IA Ventures.

Feb 21 2017

47mins

Play

Rank #16: Nick Chirls and Alex Lines, Notation

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In this episode of Origins, Beezer Clarkson turns the tables and interviews Nick Chirls and Alex Lines of Notation. Having just closed Notation II, we figured this would be a good time to explain who we are, what we do, and why we do it. We cover our time working together in the early days at betaworks, our decision to ultimately leave and start Notation, the process of raising our first and now second funds, and how we think about the future of the firm.

One small footnote - We recorded this episode almost a year ago, when we first closed Notation II, so some of the language is a bit out of date - For example we prefer using "first-check" instead of "pre-seed." Check out our new website and Notation II launch announcement to see what we mean :-)

Feb 20 2018

54mins

Play

Rank #17: David Frankel, Founder Collective

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David Frankel is a managing partner and co-founder of Founder Collective, which launched in 2011 with a simple mission: To be the most aligned fund for founders at the seed stage. In the years since, they’ve become one of the most respected and highest performing venture firms in the industry.

Before starting Founder Collective, David spent most of his life as an entrepreneur, co-founding Internet Solutions, the first ISP in Africa, at the ripe old age of 23. When Internet Solutions was acquired by Dimension Data, he served as a key executive and on the board through its successful listing on the London Stock Exchange and up until it was ultimately acquired by NTT Japan for $3.2B.

In this episode, we discuss David’s early beginnings as an entrepreneur when he was a teenager, his decision to go back to business school after selling Dimension Data, challenging times raising Founder Collective’s first fund with Eric Paley, and FC’s contrarian approach to many widely held beliefs in the venture industry today.

Jul 18 2017

55mins

Play

Rank #18: Jeff Fagnan, Accomplice

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Jeff Fagnan is a founder of Accomplice and more recently Spearhead, in partnership with AngelList. Jeff is well known as a founding investor, working with most of his portfolio since inception, sometimes as a co-founder including Veracode (Sold to CA Technologies for $614M in 2017). Jeff sits on the board of many scaling startup‍‍‍s including AngelList, Carbon Black, InsightSquared, PillPack, and others. He's also the founder of Spearhead, a program that provides funding and mentorship for new angel investors; Maiden Lane, the first investment vehicle built on top of AngelList; Boston Syndicates (BOSS),a federated movement to create stronger angel substrate in New England; and TUGG (Technology Underwriting Greater Good), a nonprofit foundation harnessing the power of the tech ecosystem to catalyze social innovation in New England.

In this episode, we discuss Jeff's fourteen years as a partner at Atlas Ventures in Boston, the spinout and transition to Accomplice, and the many experiments with the venture model that's run with Maiden Lane, Angellist, and now Spearhead.

May 15 2018

48mins

Play

Rank #19: Lindel Eakman, Foundry Group Next

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For over a decade, Lindel Eakman managed the private investment program for the University of Texas Investment Management Company (UTIMCO), one of the largest endowments in the world. After 13 years at UTIMCO, Lindel left and joined Foundry Group to lead investments in other early-stage VC funds through FG's new fund, Foundry Group Next . We talk about his work at UTIMCO, where he backed iconic firms like USV, Foundry Group, Spark Capital, and True Ventures, and his decision to move to Boulder to work with Foundry Group.

Jan 18 2017

52mins

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Rank #20: Conrad Shang, UTIMCO

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Conrad Shang is a Director at UTIMCO, The University of Texas and Texas A&M Endowment, where he leads the VC portfolio for one of the largest university endowments in the country. He’s been on both sides of the table, having also previously been a VC at Norwest Venture Partners and Bain Capital Ventures. This was a particularly fascinating conversation because Conrad now oversees what is probably the largest VC portfolio of anyone we've had on the Origins pod.

On this episode, we discuss Conrad's background and what led him to this new role at UTIMCO, the strategies that are possible and make sense for an endowment of that size, and how they're approaching the venture asset class overall, now and into the future. We also discuss topics that are particularly relevant today as we head into 2019, including LPs increasingly looking to make direct investments, how UTIMCO is thinking about blockchain investing, and how the endowment thinks about allocating through both bull and potentially bear cycles.

Dec 18 2018

55mins

Play

Alex Pall and Drew Taggart, The Chainsmokers + Mantis VC

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In this special episode of Origins, we interview Alex Pall and Drew Taggart of The Chainsmokers, one of the most successful artists and producers in the world, and now active VCs through their firm Mantis. We discuss how they got into music, their break as DJs and rising up the early charts of Hype Machine and then Spotify, as well as more recently how they discovered angel investing and how they're building Mantis VC. Safe to say this was one of the most interesting episodes we've ever recorded and hope you'll give it a listen.

As always, a huge thank you to Carta, the title sponsor for this season of Origins. It's a core product that we use daily  -->  Get 10% off when you use the Notation Signup Link (Terms and conditions apply). This season is also sponsored by SVB and Cooley, two of the earliest and most trusted supporters of our work at Notation. 

Aug 11 2020

48mins

Play

Josh Kopelman, First Round Capital

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Josh Kopelman is the co-founder of First Round Capital, a pioneering seed-stage venture capital firm. He's been an active entrepreneur and investor in the Internet industry since it's commercialization. He co-founded Infonautics while still an undergrad in 1996, which went public in 1999. He then co-founded and ran Half.com, a fixed price marketplace connecting buyers and sellers of used books, movies and music products, which he sold to eBay in 2000.

In this episode, we discuss Josh's early career as an entrepreneur and all of the lessons learned having started two companies, taking one of them public at a really young age, and then selling Half.com to eBay at the height of the dot com. We discuss his early angel investing practice, including investments in companies like Linkedin and Delicious, and the ultimate decision to start First Round Capital with his partners, raise institutional funds, and build out their unique "platform."

As always, a huge thank you to Carta, the title sponsor for this season of Origins. It's a core product that we use daily  -->  Get 10% off when you use the Notation Signup Link (Terms and conditions apply). This season is also sponsored by SVB and Cooley, two of the earliest and most trusted supporters of our work at Notation. 

Jul 07 2020

40mins

Play

Hunter Somerville, Greenspring Associates

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Hunter Somerville is a General Partner at Greenspring Associates and is responsible for the sourcing and due diligence efforts on fund, direct and secondary opportunities. He's also actively involved in the assessment of micro-vc managers for the Firm. Additionally, Hunter serves on the LP Advisory Boards for firms such as Bullpen Capital, Redpoint China, Fika Ventures, Foundry Group, among many others.

In this episode, we discuss Hunter's path at Greenspring (and LP firms in general), leading to his promotion to General Partner, how he spends his time at the firm and evaluates opportunities and managers, how the firm is responding to the Covid-19 pandemic, and his outlook for the future.

Jun 24 2020

51mins

Play

Atul Rustgi, Accolade Partners

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Atul Rustgi is a Partner at Accolade, working across their early-stage and late-stage venture firm strategy. Prior to joining Accolade in 2007, Atul worked at McKinsey & Co. and the Robin Hood Foundation.

In this episode, we discuss Atul's unique experience evaluating VC managers over the past decade, and Accolade's strategy investing in both very small early-stage venture funds and much larger late-stage growth equity funds. We also discuss Atul's deep conviction around portfolio construction, fund size, and ownership. Finally, we discuss his views on the impact of Covid-19 on the venture ecosystem today and his outlook for 2020 and beyond.

As always, a huge thank you to Carta, the title sponsor for this season of Origins. This season is also sponsored by SVB and Cooley, two of the earliest and most trusted supporters of our work at Notation. 

Jun 02 2020

46mins

Play

Kanyi Maqubela, Kindred Ventures

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Kanyi Maqubela is a Managing Partner at Kindred Ventures. He previously served as a Partner at Collaborative Fund, where he was an early advisor to Tala and Walker & Co., and a board member at Buffer, Camino Financial, Spruce, and True Link. Kanyi is also a co-founder at Heartbeat Health, and has served as a Lecturer and Adjunct at New York University Tisch School of the Arts.

In this episode, we discuss everything from Kanyi's childhood to founding his first startup out of Stanford to joining Collaborative Fund to ultimately founding Kindred Ventures with his partner Steve. But in between his story, this was a fascinating conversation about the arc of venture capital, how to build an investment process and conviction, and navigating the current Covid-19 health and economic crisis.

As always, a huge thank you to Carta, the title sponsor for this season of Origins. This season is also sponsored by SVB and Cooley, two of the earliest and most trusted supporters of our work at Notation. 

May 13 2020

59mins

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Ciaran O'Leary, BlueYard

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Ciaran O'Leary is a co-founder and general partner at BlueYard, a thesis-driven early-stage venture capital firm based in Germany. In the past several years, BlueYard has backed companies like Protocol Labs (Filecoin) and Open Source Coin in the Blockchain space, Meatable and bit bio at the intersection of science and technology, Pitch and Vectary in open data, among other fascinating companies and theses.

In this episode, we discuss the European tech and venture capital environment over the past decade, what led Ciaran to Earlybird and then BlueYard, raising two funds for BlueYard since, how their thesis and strategy has evolved in recent years, and what the future holds in store for BlueYard and European tech startups. We also touched on how Ciaran and team are navigating the current Covid-19 crisis. This was a fascinating discussion and hope you find it as interesting as we did.

Apr 14 2020

49mins

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Mark Suster, Upfront Ventures

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Mark Suster is the Managing Partner at Upfront. He previously was the founder & CEO of two successful enterprise software companies, the most recent of which was sold to Salesforce.com where Mark became VP, Products. He's also one of the OG VC bloggers at https://bothsidesofthetable.com.

In this episode, we discuss Mark's journey as both an entrepreneur and VC going back to the dot com, how he joined GRP Partners in 2007 and transitioned the firm into what it is now Upfront, and how he plans to grow the firm's team and talent into the future. This was a master class in VC firm building.

As always, a huge thank you to Carta, the title sponsor for this season of Origins. It's a core product that we use daily  -->  Get 10% off when you use the Notation Signup Link (Terms and conditions apply). This season is also sponsored by SVB and Cooley, two of the earliest and most trusted supporters of our work at Notation. 

Mar 03 2020

55mins

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"Portfolio Construction" w/ Beezer Clarkson, Alda Leu Dennis and Trae Vassallo

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This is a special episode of Origins focused entirely on the concept of VC portfolio construction. We recorded this discussion as a panel with three guests that provide different perspectives on this important topic. Beezer Clarkson is an LP and managing director at Sapphire Partners, Alda Leu Dennis is a partner at Initialized, a seed-stage venture firm, and Trae Vassallo is a founder and partner at defy, an early-stage venture firm focused on Series A investments.

In this episode we cover many of the most critical items related to portfolio construction and how different LPs and VCs might approach different strategies, including portfolio company concentration, reserves and follow-on strategy, recycling, time diversity, opportunity funds and SPVs, and much more. Of all the episodes we've recorded on Origins, this might be the single most important one we've done, for VCs and LPs, emerging and established. We welcome any and all feedback, as well as thoughts on topics or strategies not covered, so that we might do so in a future episode. Send us an email at hello@notation.vc or tweet with #OpenLP to join the discussion.

As always, a huge thank you to Carta, the title sponsor for this season of Origins. It's a core product that we use daily  -->  Get 10% off when you use the Notation Signup Link (Terms and conditions apply). This season is also sponsored by SVB and Cooley, two of the earliest and most trusted supporters of our work at Notation. 

Jan 28 2020

1hr 5mins

Play

Chad Byers, Susa Ventures

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Chad Byers is a co-founder and partner at Susa Ventures, a seed-stage venture fund based in SF that has backed companies like Robinhood, Flexport, and Andela. Chad discusses growing up in Silicon Valley, his path to venture, the unusual founding story of Susa with his partners, and how they've strategically planned their funds over time. Chad is one of the smartest young seed investors in SF, and this episode was essentially a playbook on how to build a seed firm.

A huge thank you to Carta, the title sponsor for this season of Origins. It's a core product that we use daily --> Get 10% off when you use the Notation Signup Link (Terms and conditions apply). This season is also sponsored by SVB and Cooley, two of the earliest and most trusted supporters of our work at Notation.

Jan 07 2020

52mins

Play

Lo Toney, Plexo Capital

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Lo Toney is the founding managing partner of Plexo Capital, a new $42.5 million fund incubated inside of GV focused on making investments in seed-stage VC firms led by women or people of color. In addition to investing as LPs, Plexo Capital makes direct investments in startups that are funded by firms where Plexo has an LP position. The fund’s investors include Alphabet, Intel Capital, Cisco Investments, the Royal Bank of Canada, Kapor Capital, the Hampton University Endowment and the Ford Foundation.

Previous to Plexo Capital, Lo was a partner at GV and Comcast Ventures, as well as an operator in various capacities at Zynga, Nike, and eBay. In this episode, we discuss Lo's unique career journey, some of the early lessons he learned helping to build iconic web products in the dot com era, how he landed at GV and more recently decided to build his own venture platform in Plexo Capital.

We're also excited to announce Carta as the title sponsor for this season of Origins, a product we use and love. Get 10% off when you use the Notation Signup Link (Terms and conditions apply). This season is also sponsored by SVB and Cooley, two of the earliest and most trusted supporters of our work at Notation.

Dec 11 2019

50mins

Play

Fabrice Grinda, FJ Labs

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Fabrice Grinda is the founder of FJ Labs, a company co-creation and investment firm, focused on marketplace businesses. FJ Labs has invested in companies such as Flexport, Shippo, Lime, Brightroll, among many others. Fabrice is also a serial entrepreneur, previously founding three companies - Zingy, Aucland, and OLX - All of which scaled to significant size. He was born in France and is an avid traveler, writer, and speaker.

In this episode, we cover what it was like to come to the U.S. for college, starting his first company in the dot com in France at the age of 24 and riding it to massive scale before experiencing the fallout in the early oughts, as well as starting again, successfully exiting companies, and becoming a true expert on marketplace business dynamics. We also discuss the transition to investor, the unique aspects of FJ Labs, both from an LP perspective and an investment perspective, as well as making a personal decision a few years ago to live "asset-light."

Oct 01 2019

59mins

Play

Paul Mace, Tufts University

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Paul Mace is the Director of Investments for Private Equity and Real Estate in the Tufts University Investment Office. He is responsible for evaluating private market managers and their investment strategies to potentially include in the university’s portfolio. Before joining Tufts, Paul was an investment banker evaluating M&A and private equity transactions for a boutique advisory firm.

In this episode, we dig into the many similarities and differences in evaluating private real-estate funds and venture funds, two areas that Paul is responsible for at the Tufts endowment. We also discuss how the Tufts endowment has evolved over the past 15 years, and their plans for the future, particularly their approach to venture capital and emerging managers.

Sep 10 2019

43mins

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Beezer Clarkson hosts Anne Martin, CIO of Wesleyan University

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In this special episode of Origins, Beezer Clarkson of Sapphire Partners hosts Anne Martin, the Chief Investment Officer of Wesleyan University. Anne was previously a Director of Investments at Yale University, where she oversaw the private and natural resource portfolio. At Wesleyan University, she oversees all aspects of the endowment and reports to the university's board and investment committee.

Over the course of the conversation, Beezer and Anne cover exactly what it means to run and invest a university endowment, Anne's goals for the program, how she thinks about investing across asset classes, and particularly how she approaches venture capital and picking managers. Their discussion is a unique look into what is a typically opaque part of the Limited Partner ecosystem, and a must-listen for anyone considering raising capital from endowments.

Aug 06 2019

49mins

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Bryce Roberts, Indie VC

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Bryce Roberts is the founder of Indie VC, a 12-month program and venture fund designed to fund and support founders on a path to profitability. Before that, Bryce was a co-founder of OATV in 2005, one of the earliest seed focused VC firms, where they invested in companies like Fastly, Foursquare, Planet, Hipcamp, and others.

On this episode, we discuss the earliest days of seed investing and raising OATV while Bryce lived in Utah, as well as the difficult decision to morph OATV into what is now Indie VC. Bryce has a decidedly different and refreshing perspective on venture capital than anyone we've had on Origins - He believes that raising capital should not turn a business into a binary outcome and that more founders should think about the road to profitability - What Bryce describes as "permissionless entrepreneurship."

Jul 16 2019

56mins

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David Fauchier, Cambrial Capital

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David Fauchier is the co-founder of Cambrial Capital, an investment firm based in London deploying a thesis-driven fund of funds strategy focused on the digital assets space. David has previous experience as a product leader and angel investor in Europe, and has one of the most thoughtful approaches to investing in the blockchain space that we've seen. We cover a wide range of topics in this episode, including the varied types of strategies that blockchain VC firms and crypto funds are pursuing today, why a fund of funds in this space makes sense, and how David sees the digital assets space evolving in the years to come. Whether you're a crypto noob, or a blockchain expert interested in the sector, whether you're a small personal investor in the space or a large asset allocator considering it, David does not disappoint :-)

Feb 26 2019

55mins

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Lindsay Larsen, UVIMCO

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Lindsay Larsen is a managing director at UVIMCO, which represents the University of Virginia's $9B+ endowment. At UVIMCO, Lindsay co-heads the endowment's venture capital investing, as well as hedge fund investing and the growth equity portfolio. She previously held roles at Sequoia Heritage and Bluestem Asset Management, and she started her career at Goldman Sachs after attending UVA as an undergrad.

In this unique look into how a large university endowment is managed, we dig into how UVA sets its return targets and goals, and how that impacts Lindsay's time spent across VC, hedge funds, and growth equity. We discuss the increasingly global nature of startups and the asset class broadly, and how that's led Lindsay and UVA to consider markets outside the US, particularly China, as well as her bottoms-up approach to picking VC managers and investment strategies. Lindsay has had a particularly interesting vantage point into the VC business over the past decade, and for any VC considering approaching or pitching a large endowment as an LP, this is an important episode to give a listen.

Feb 05 2019

52mins

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Manu Kumar, K9 Ventures

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Manu Kumar is the founder of K9 Ventures, a technology-focused Pre-Seed fund based in Palo Alto, California. K9 Ventures was the first "pre-seed" venture firm in the industry, and Manu was the first investor in companies like Twilio, Lyft, Carta, Crowdflower, and many more. Manu has a truly unique outlook on the VC business, and has a highly disciplined (and successful) investment model that he's stuck with since the beginning.

In this episode, we discuss Manu's time at Carnegie Melon and Stanford, where he received his PhD, his success as an entrepreneur, how he started K9 as a solo GP, his unique investment approach and portfolio construction strategy, and how he is planning to build K9 Ventures in the decades to come.

Jan 15 2019

54mins

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Conrad Shang, UTIMCO

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Conrad Shang is a Director at UTIMCO, The University of Texas and Texas A&M Endowment, where he leads the VC portfolio for one of the largest university endowments in the country. He’s been on both sides of the table, having also previously been a VC at Norwest Venture Partners and Bain Capital Ventures. This was a particularly fascinating conversation because Conrad now oversees what is probably the largest VC portfolio of anyone we've had on the Origins pod.

On this episode, we discuss Conrad's background and what led him to this new role at UTIMCO, the strategies that are possible and make sense for an endowment of that size, and how they're approaching the venture asset class overall, now and into the future. We also discuss topics that are particularly relevant today as we head into 2019, including LPs increasingly looking to make direct investments, how UTIMCO is thinking about blockchain investing, and how the endowment thinks about allocating through both bull and potentially bear cycles.

Dec 18 2018

55mins

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Zach Aarons, Metaprop

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Zach Aarons is a co-founder and partner at Metaprop, an early-stage venture firm and accelerator focused on real estate related technology. Zach has been working at the intersection of real estate and venture capital for the past decade, and he's the most active early-stage PropTech investor in the United States, having funded over 60 startups in the space as an individual as well as 40 startups (and counting) through MetaProp NYC's venture capital funds. In addition to early-stage investing, Zach is a project manager at Millennium Partners, and has worked on large-scale mixed-use development projects with experience in real estate development, commercial asset management, property marketing, and commercial leasing.

In this episode, we discuss how Zach started in the NYC tech community, his time as an angel investor before Metaprop, and what it took to get Metaprop off the ground with his two partners. We also dive into Proptech investing, building a sector-specific firm, and their unique model that brings together startups, real-estate executives, and large real-estate companies across the U.S. and Europe.

Nov 27 2018

58mins

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Sarah Anderson and Emily Geiger, Cintrifuse

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On this episode of Origins, we interview Sarah Anderson and Emily Geiger, who are responsible for two critical components of Cintrifuse, a unique organization and public-private partnership established to drive the next phase of growth in the Cincinnati region. Sarah is the Managing Director of the Cintrifuse Syndicate Fund, a fund of funds that invests in VC managers across the U.S. Emily is the VP of BigCo Innovation at Cintrifuse, where she focuses on bridging partnerships, as well as exploring new potential areas for innovation and collaboration between large companies in the Cincinnati region and the broader U.S. startup community.

Cintrifuse is a special organization - Unlike any other we've had on the Origins pod - made up of a diverse group of people, funds, startups, big companies, and ideas all dedicated to establishing a stronger tech presence in Cincinatti in order to improve the economy in the region. But it's also had a big impact on startups and VC across the U.S., and so we're thrilled that Sarah and Emily could spend some time giving us a look inside the Cintrifuse universe.

Oct 30 2018

49mins

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iTunes Ratings

49 Ratings
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Good stuff

By jlintz2 - May 31 2016
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A++++++ would buy again. Nice to peel back behind the curtains of the LP world

Great to hear the other side

By Nicoslepicos - May 12 2016
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As an entrepreneur, appreciate hearing the perspective from LPs