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Podcast – Technical.ly

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Looking back on the second season of investor education podcast Off the Sidelines

Four months ago, investor education podcast Off the Sidelines returned for a second season. Produced by us at Technical.ly and sponsored by Project Entrepreneur, a program by UBS, these 10 episodes explored how the systems and institutions of investing are changing, and how to accelerate that change in a positive direction. Project Entrepreneur partnered with Technical.ly on this series to advance its mission to change the status quo for female founders and accelerate their growth through increasing access to capital and building ecosystems to advance women entrepreneurs. Its goal is to improve the enabling environments for female founders and advance inclusive capital, with a targeted focus on investment readiness and building bridges to funders, as well as diversifying the pipeline of investors and supporters. Technical.ly CEO and host Chris Wink and journalists from the Technical.ly newsroom spoke with investors and experts on topics like alternative funding options for equitable wealth creation, what philanthropy and venture capital can teach each other, what white investors can do to combat racial inequality and more. We heard from folks like Rethink Impact’s Jenny Abramson, The Community Fund’s Lolita Taub, VC Del Johnson and “How I Built This” host Guy Raz. Listen to the season recap episode below featuring highlights, themes and takeaways, then dive into previous episodes for the full interviews. https://technical.ly/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/OfftheSidelines_S02E11_new.mp3 That’s it for the second season of Off the Sidelines, but you can always listen back to previous episodes for more conversations with notable figures throughout the investing world. Click below to subscribe and keep up to date when new episodes premiere, and please leave a review if you’ve enjoyed the series. Follow Off the Sidelines here Listen to episodes and subscribe here:

8 Feb 2021

Rank #1

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Who is an investor and how is that changing?

Close your eyes and picture “an investor.” What comes to mind? What do they look like? How do they talk and act? Where do they live and where did they go to school? Do you see your own identity and lived experiences reflected in them? If you pictured a white male with a degree from an elite university living and working in New York or California, you’re not to blame — a 2017 study found angel investors are overwhelmingly white and male, while 65% of venture capital firms have no women as partners and 81% have no Black investors. Still, there has been some progress in recent years and a growing awareness in the industry that this is an issue that needs to be addressed directly. A 2018 report by Deloitte and the National Venture Capital Association showed modest gains in the percentages of women and non-white investment professionals compared to 2016, but there is still much work to be done before the investing community more closely reflects the general population. That work has been a consistent topic of discussion on the second season of Off the Sidelines, an investor education podcast produced by us at Technical.ly and sponsored by Project Entrepreneur, a program by UBS. Project Entrepreneur is on a mission to change the status quo for women founders and accelerate their growth through increasing access to capital and building ecosystems to advance women entrepreneurs, and this season of Off the Sidelines has looked at the institutional and systemic factors necessary to enact that change. To examine this fundamental question of “Who is an investor and how is it changing?” we spoke with Pam Kostka of All Raise, as well as investor, entrepreneur and diversity advocate Tracy Chou. Check out the full episode to learn what essential qualities and experiences they think make a good investor regardless of background, and hear what each of them are doing to accelerate diversity, equity and inclusion in the investing world — and how you can help. https://technical.ly/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/OfftheSidelines_S02E10_new.mp3 Stay tuned to Off the Sidelines for more conversations with notable figures throughout the investing world. Click below to subscribe and keep up to date with all our episodes. Follow Off the Sidelines here Listen to episodes and subscribe here:

28 Jan 2021

Rank #2

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How can foundations and family offices invest for impact?

The investment world is always changing and expanding, and in recent years, that has been partly due to growing pools of money passing through organizations like foundations and family offices. A family office is an organization (or collection of entities) that leads financial management for ultra-high-net-worth individuals and families. So a family office might even include or work alongside a family foundation. Foundations can range from a small tax strategy for an individual to massive billion-dollar philanthropic institutions like the Ford Foundation or Knight Foundation. These vehicles for managing and distributing capital often have a stated mission or goal, usually toward some public good — but ensuring that their investments align with that goal is not always easy, especially when trying to maximize returns. That’s the focus of the latest episode of Off the Sidelines, an investor education podcast produced by us at Technical.ly and sponsored by Project Entrepreneur, a program by UBS. Project Entrepreneur aims to improve the enabling environments for women founders and advance inclusive capital, as well as diversify the pipeline of investors and supporters. Foundations and family offices, with their mission-driven focus and eye for impact, have an opportunity to be leaders in this effort for change. For perspectives in this episode, Technical.ly Assistant Editor Stephen Babcock spoke with Elizabeth Killough, co-CEO of the Untours Foundation, and Lauren Cochran, managing director at Blue Haven Initiative. In their conversations, they touched on different approaches to impact investing, and how these types of organizations evaluate companies differently than traditional venture firms. Listen to the full episode to hear what factors investors at foundations and family offices look at in addition to expected returns, and to find out what the acronym “ESG” stands for. https://technical.ly/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/OfftheSidelines_S02E09_new_v2.mp3 Stay tuned to Off the Sidelines for more conversations with notable figures throughout the investing world. Click below to subscribe and keep up to date with all our episodes. Follow Off the Sidelines here Listen to episodes and subscribe here:

21 Jan 2021

Rank #3

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How can more women actively invest their wealth?

Women, on average, live longer than men. That cold fact coupled with the rise of “gray divorce” means more women are predicted to be solely responsible for their financial management later in life. Yet nearly half of women with male partners let their spouse take the lead in managing finances, and even larger percentages of millennials and women with advanced degrees report deferring to these spouses. These trends suggest the rate of growth in the wealth that women control could outpace their experience in actively managing it. For those who aim to combat wealth inequality with business investment in diverse startup founders, this is a clear opportunity. This is changing already. In 2004, about 5% of angel investors were women — about 11,000. By 2016, around a quarter, or nearly 80,000, of active angel investors were women, according to the Center for Venture Research. How can these trends be continued and sped? How can more women actively invest their wealth? That was the focus of a webinar hosted lasted month by Technical.ly, featuring a live recording of Off the Sidelines, our investor education podcast sponsored by Project Entrepreneur, a program by UBS. Project Entrepreneur is on a mission to change the status quo for women founders and accelerate their growth through increasing access to capital and building ecosystems to advance women entrepreneurs. It aims to improve the enabling environments for women founders and advance inclusive capital, making it a natural partner for this event and podcast series. At the webinar, Technical.ly Philly reporter Paige Gross spoke with Jenny Abramson of Rethink Impact and Amy Griffin of G9 Ventures, two women with lots of experience in early-stage company investing. The panel covered personal stories of career growth and household financial philosophies to strategies for growing the number of women who actively invest. We also heard from Jamie Sears, head of community affairs and corporate responsibility for UBS Americas. Check out the full episode to hear the conversation and find out what you can do to help close the gender wealth gap. https://technical.ly/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/OfftheSidelines_S02E08.mp3 We have more episodes coming up this season with conversations from notable figures throughout the investing world, so be sure to subscribe and keep up to date with all our episodes. Follow Off the Sidelines here Listen to episodes and subscribe here:

10 Dec 2020

Rank #4

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What can philanthropy and venture capital teach each other?

Venture capital and philanthropy are both methods of moving large amounts of money around the economy, but they usually do so with very different goals and strategies. VC aims to beat the stock market and maximize returns. Philanthropy cares more about creating impact and change (and obeying the strict rules that govern its practice). Despite these different lanes that philanthropy and venture capital occupy, there is a growing movement of thought that they are not so far apart, and that there are indeed many lessons that each can take from the other. Philanthropy ought to take lessons on investing in teams, not just ideas; private business investing ought to consider the impact its dollars have on the world. That’s the focus of this week’s episode of Off the Sidelines, an investor education podcast produced by us at Technical.ly and sponsored by Project Entrepreneur, a program by UBS. Project Entrepreneur wants to improve the enabling environments for women founders and advance inclusive capital, which includes diversifying the pipeline of investors and supporters. Bringing VC and philanthropy closer together is one way to work toward achieving that. The majority of the episode is comprised of a conversation between Knight Foundation CEO Alberto Ibargüen and Slauson & Co. Managing Partner Austin Clements, conducted at ADVANCE, the annual conference on creating smarter impact hosted by Technical.ly’s sister site Generocity. Listen to the episode to hear what each thinks their respective industry does well (and could do better), and whether enacting change requires concessionary returns or if advancing impact could be a strong investment thesis on its own. https://technical.ly/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/OfftheSidelines_S02E07.mp3 We have more episodes coming up this season with conversations from notable figures throughout the investing world, so be sure to subscribe and keep up to date with all our episodes. Follow Off the Sidelines here Listen to episodes and subscribe here:

3 Dec 2020

Rank #5

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How investing in people can form a thesis of maximizing financial returns

Financial rewards often come to those who bring a product or service that can solve a problem better, cheaper or faster than an incumbent. The productivity gains that contribute to that sort of solution often amount to reducing the amount of human labor involved. This might sound counter to people-forward investment strategies like the early-stage mantra to invest in a company’s founding team, rather than that company’s business plan. Others think there are even more lucrative investment opportunities being ignored because they sound too people centric. Look at The Community Fund, a new investment vehicle focused on community-driven companies — meaning those with products and services based around a group of people, like memberships. In a different way, look at Right to Start, a campaign to lower the barriers to entrepreneurship — with an eye toward the economic gains that can create. Ask the founders of these efforts, Lolita Taub and Victor Hwang, respectively, and you’ll find that neither see their work as an act of charity. That people are at the center of their efforts is not do-goodery but rather a thesis on financial returns. To explore what “investing in people” really means, Technical.ly spoke to Taub and Wang for this week’s episode of Off the Sidelines, an investor education podcast. The podcast is produced by us at Technical.ly and sponsored by Project Entrepreneur, a program by UBS. Project Entrepreneur is on a mission to change the status quo for female founders and accelerate their growth through increasing access to capital and building ecosystems to advance women entrepreneurs. It works to improve the enabling environments for female founders and advance inclusive capital, including diversifying the pipeline of investors and supporters. The ultimate goal of all these efforts is for more people to become entrepreneurs and investors from more varied backgrounds, filling gaps in existing markets, supporting their communities and creating economic opportunities across the board. Check out the episode to hear exactly how people reward entrepreneurs and investors when you invest in them, and subscribe to learn more with Off the Sidelines. https://technical.ly/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/OfftheSidelines_S02E06.mp3 We have more episodes coming up this season with conversations from notable figures throughout the investing world, so be sure to subscribe and keep up to date with all our episodes. Follow Off the Sidelines here Listen to episodes and subscribe here:

23 Nov 2020

Rank #6

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To make venture capital more equitable, we must understand how that capital flows

Most private business investing isn’t from an individual investor putting their own money up to capitalize a single company they believe in. Early stage investing is first and foremost an asset class aiming to outperform the stock market. But it’s also a window into bets on the future. A swirl of factors — including low interest rates — have brought in vast new pools of money into venture capital and other forms of private market business investing. Consider the following: University endowments — It was once a novelty for university endowments to invest heavily in even the stock market. Last year, a fifth of Yale’s $30 billion endowment was in venture capital. This is true across the Ivy League, which tends to lead in university endowment investing. Corporate venture capital — The number of corporate VC funds has more than doubled in the last decade, according to Global Corporate Venturing Analytics. Sovereign wealth funds — The amount of these kinds of public money has grown by nearly 20 times in the last decade, including this year, though none more prominently than the Saudi fund’s participation in the embattled first $100 million Vision Fund from Softbank. VC firms were always primarily deployers of other people’s money. But the scope of how this industry has changed in recent years may still be misunderstood. So whether you are an individual investor — who put $228 million into early stage companies in 2019 — trying to understand the landscape or another part of the ecosystem agitating for change. it’s crucial to understand the financial forces at play. Can the way capital flows through institutions be changed for more equitable outcomes? To answer that question, we turned to Bahiyah Robinson, the CEO and founder of VC Include, and Del Johnson, scout and fund manager for indie.vc. They provided perspectives and context on the current systemic structure of the investing world, as well as insights on what changes need to happen for venture capital to address modern challenges, and what actions individual funds or investors can take to drive that change. Their conversations are part of the latest episode of Off the Sidelines, an investor education podcast produced by us at Technical.ly and sponsored by Project Entrepreneur, a program by UBS. Project Entrepreneur wants to improve the enabling environments for female founders and advance inclusive capital, with a targeted focus on investment readiness and building bridges to funders, and this concept of redirecting the flow of capital aligns with that mission. (We’ll be doing a live recording of a future episode of Off the Sidelines on Nov. 17 — join us.) Tune in to the episode to hear from Del and Bahiyah on how VCs are going to have to change some of their practices or risk failing as an asset class, and whether not changing could hold even greater risks for the economy and society as a whole. https://technical.ly/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/OfftheSidelines_S02E05.mp3 We have more episodes coming up this season with conversations from notable figures throughout the investing world, so be sure to subscribe and keep up to date with all our episodes. Follow Off the Sidelines here Listen to episodes and subscribe here:

16 Nov 2020

Rank #7

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What are alternative funding options for equitable wealth creation?

The rules of how private companies capitalize in the United States is mostly the governance of the federal government. The definition of an accredited investor from the Securities and Exchange Commission is still largely outlined by the Securities Act of 1933. Changes and advisements have come steadily in the last decade, including the JOBS Act in 2012. Most recently, this August, the SEC expanded its definition of an accredited investor. These are efforts to expand the types of outside financing that private companies can access. These changes have spurred innovation from the private market. Consider two such examples of alternative funding: Clearbanc, a Toronto-based company that is experimenting with equity-free investing to help startup founders grow their businesses, and Republic, a platform for crowdfunding startup investment. Both are prominent examples of the ways in which the financial world is adapting to become more open, accessible and equitable. Any investor should be well-informed on the tools companies have. We’re exploring the topic on this week’s episode of Off the Sidelines, an investor education podcast produced by us at Technical.ly and sponsored by Project Entrepreneur, a program by UBS. (We’ll be doing a live recording of a future episode of Off the Sidelines on Nov. 17 — join us.) Register for our next live recording To explore alternative funding strategies, we spoke to Andrew D’Souza, the CEO and one-half of the prominent founding behind Clearbanc, and Republic CEO Kendrick Nguyen. Project Entrepreneur wants to improve the enabling environments for female founders and advance inclusive capital, including diversifying the pipeline of investors and supporters. This mission aligns them with efforts across the investment community to redefine who is a funder and who gets funded. Listen to the full episode to hear how private market investing is changing, and what that means for investors as well as entrepreneurs. https://technical.ly/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/OffTheSidelines_S02E04.mp3 We have more episodes coming up this season with conversations from notable figures throughout the investing world, so be sure to subscribe and keep up to date with all our episodes. Follow Off the Sidelines here Listen to episodes and subscribe here:

9 Nov 2020

Rank #8

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How can white investors combat racial inequality in venture capital? 

Private market business investing is overwhelmingly white — both who is investing and who is being invested in. In 2018, only 1% of decision-makers at large VC firms were Black. Likewise, about 1% of VC dollars went to Black startup founders that same year. Whether you think this represents a massive business failing — consider the “Lost Einsteins” and underserved consumers — or a moral failure, there’s growing urgency to make lasting change. Recent years have seen a wave of Black-led venture funds; look to BLCK VC as one example of a coalescing of some of them. But this lack of diversity in a powerful growth part of our economy stems from the choices and systems perpetuated by white investors. This mess isn’t the responsibility of Black, brown and other underrepresented people. To play with the old protest slogan: White silence is complicity. No doubt some white investors may dismiss racial inclusion in their work as outside their work. But to those who do want to be part of change, Technical.ly spoke to the founder of one of the country’s newest Black-led investment firms and one the firm’s limited partners. That’s the focus of this week’s episode of Off the Sidelines, an investor education podcast produced by us at Technical.ly and sponsored by Project Entrepreneur, a program by UBS: How can white investors combat racial inequality in venture capital? Project Entrepreneur works to advance inclusive capital and diversify the pipeline of investors and supporters, which is why Technical.ly partnered to create this podcast around the investor journey, business trends and the future of the industry. This episode pulls on Technical.ly reporting and a conversation with Brian Brackeen, cofounder and general partner of Lightship Capital, and Todd Khozein, the co-CEO of consultancy SecondMuse, which has an investment arm and put $20 million into the $50 million fund. Listen to the full episode below, and watch the interview farther down. https://technical.ly/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/OffTheSidelines_S02E03.mp3 Brackeen, who is Black, and Khoezein, who is Iranian, discussed the opportunities of their fund, and others, diversifying where and with whom they invest. With their help, we developed a kind of framework that any investor, whether with a firm or angel investing on their own, could use to audit their investments. Here are a few of those questions: What is the makeup (race, gender, socioeconomic, geography, etc.) of the last 10 contacts who offered you introductions to entrepreneurs? What is the makeup of other places you establish deal flow (co-investors; inbound; events; media)? What is the makeup of the last 100 investments you evaluated? What is the makeup of the last 10 entrepreneur pitches you took, but did not choose to analyze? What is the makeup of the last 10 investments you analyzed, but did not invest in? What is the makeup of the last 10 entrepreneurs you invested in? What is the makeup of the 10 most successful investments you’ve made (which might serve as a pattern against which you match)? What is the makeup of your team and/or most common co-investors? But asking those questions is only the first step, and there’s much more to absorb in the discussion. We have more episodes coming up this season with conversations from notable figures throughout the investing world, so be sure to subscribe and keep up to date with all our episodes. Follow Off the Sidelines here Listen to episodes and subscribe here:

2 Nov 2020

Rank #9