Episodes
On this episode Erik is joined by his fellow general partner at Village Global, Ross Fubini (@fubini), and Misha Esipov (@mishaesipov), co-founder and CEO of Nova Credit. Ross and Village are investors in Misha’s company and Ross has been obsessed with fintech for a very long time. Misha tells the story of how his team came upon the idea and why the mission of the company has been resonating with the founding team and subsequent hires. He explains why credit reports are not shared between...
Published 01/18/19
On this episode, Erik is joined by Deepen Parikh (@deepenparikh), partner at Courtside Ventures. Deepen explains how Courtside Ventures came to be and the thesis behind the fund. He breaks down the four areas where Courtside invests — all of which involve sports. Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, is one of Courtside’s LPs, and Deepen at one time worked for a family office that was looking to purchase a pro sports team — so Deepen knows a lot about the space. Erik asks whether...
Published 01/16/19
Erik is joined on this episode by Amir Bandeali (@abandeali1), co-founder and CTO of 0x, and Ivan Bogatyy, general partner at Metastable Capital. Erik and Ivan ask Amir about the background behind 0x and its creation. Amir says that 0x is a protocol, rather than an exchange. He also breaks down how a decentralized exchange is different from a centralized one. Amir predicts that "in the long run the types of assets that are going to be tokenized are mostly non-financial assets." Amir says...
Published 01/14/19
Erik is joined by his co-host for this episode Ray Batra (@reesesandcoke), founder of Shift_Up, a platform for in-person learning that Ray calls “gyms for productivity” and Austen Allred (@AustenAllred), co-founder and CEO of Lambda School, a pioneer in the income-sharing space. Their computing science program is free until a student gets a job, at which point they pay back their schooling with a percentage of their income (up to a capped amount). By the way, we apologize for the audio...
Published 01/11/19
Erik is joined on this episode by John Robinson (@RohnJobinson), president and CEO of 100 Thieves, and Blake Robbins (@blakeir), partner at Ludlow Ventures. Blake and John talk about how they got into eSports and what excites them most about the space. They run through some of the unicorns in eSports and the venture firms that saw their potential early. They also discuss how big companies like Amazon, Google, Apple, and Facebook are or are not getting involved in the space. The three of...
Published 01/09/19
On this episode Erik is joined by Ooshma Garg (@ooshma), CEO of Gobble, and Micah Rosenbloom, (@micahjay1) partner at Founder Collective. They talk about big changes in the food landscape over the past several years. Ooshma points out that people in Silicon Valley often underestimate just how massive the food space is until they realize how many component parts it has. They discuss the new wave of vertically integrated food companies acting as both producer and distributor of their product....
Published 01/07/19
On this episode of Venture Stories Erik is joined by Sean Byrnes (@sbyrnes) and Shastri Mahadeo (@ShastriMahadeo). Sean is CEO of Outlier, a company using AI to create better business intelligence, and previously founded Flurry Analytics. Shastri is co-founder and CEO of Union Crate, a demand-planning tool for consumer packaged goods companies. Sean shares an anecdote about how when he was in grad school for machine learning 20 years ago his classmates joked that what they were learning...
Published 01/04/19
Erik is joined by Jonathan Gheller (@jgheller), founder of OneFix. Jonathan is a former product manager at Facebook and aims to use that experience to create retentive, easy-to-use products that create lasting behavior change. OneFix helps people eat better through a team of individuals who provide personalized support. Jonathan talks about why preventable disease is such a big problem in the US today and the types of conditions like heart disease, stroke and diabetes that are entirely...
Published 01/02/19
Joining Erik on this episode is Jarrod Dicker (@jarroddicker), who is CEO of Po.et. He has a background in journalism and tech and formerly worked at the Washington Post and the Huffington Post. Jarrod explains how he came to the idea for Po.et, why blockchain technology is important, and how it can augment journalism. He points out that if the protocol is successful, the company is likely to go out of business since the network will be self-managing. He talks about the idea of “proof of...
Published 12/31/18
On this episode Erik is joined by three guests, each with a personal connection to elder care: - Natalie Dillon (@ntdillon), investor at Maveron - Shawn Xu (@shawnxu), managing partner at Dorm Room Fund - Lisa Marrone (@marronelisa), VC at August Capital They start off by discussing Lisa's recent post about how we can better care for our elders and how to solve the often-occurring problem of loneliness in the elderly. Throughout the episode the guests mention a bunch of startups doing...
Published 12/28/18
On this episode of Venture Stories, Erik is joined by Lee Jacobs (@leejacobs), partner at Edelweiss Capital. He recently wrote a great post about breaking up with his co-founder at a previous company. Lee and Erik discuss the post, some of the thorny issues around co-founder relationships, and investing strategy more broadly. Lee tells the story of the startup he co-founded and how he came to realize that he and the company needed to part ways. He talks about what he did well in the...
Published 12/26/18
This episode is part of a three-part series taking listeners behind the curtain to discuss the inner workings of venture capital. Erik is joined by co-host for this episode, Adam Corey (@frumpy), partner at Village Global, and Clint Korver (@ckorver), managing director at Ulu Ventures. They discuss Ulu’s approach to portfolio construction and how it is using data to figure out which companies to invest in. As you'll notice, Clint is a wealth of fascinating statistics about venture...
Published 12/24/18
This episode is part of a three-part series taking listeners behind the curtain to discuss the inner workings of venture capital. On this episode Erik is joined by Parker Thompson (@pt), partner at AngelList, and angel investor Dustin Dolginow (@dolginow). The trio discuss the past, present and future of scout programs. They start out by talking about Sequoia’s creation of the scout program nearly ten years ago and why it was considered a “loss leader” for the firm, meaning that it generated...
Published 12/24/18
This episode is part of a three-part series taking listeners behind the curtain to discuss the inner workings of venture capital. Parker Thompson (@pt), partner at AngelList, and Ash Fontana (@ashfontana), general partner at Zetta Ventures, join Erik on this episode. They start off by discussing why topics around VC and portfolio construction in particular are so controversial. Parker and Ash give a rundown of how they invest with their respective funds and what their theses are when it...
Published 12/24/18
On this episode of Venture Stories Erik is joined by Parker Thompson (@pt), partner at AngelList, and Parker Conrad (@parkerconrad), CEO of Rippling. In this episode they talk about how much value investors provide to founders, if any at all. They agree that the number one piece of value that an investor provides is as therapist for the founder. They get into the issues around mis-alignment of incentives between investors and founders and discuss some investor horror stories they’ve heard...
Published 12/21/18
Noah Smith (@Noahpinion) joins Erik on this episode. Noah is an economist and Bloomberg Opinion writer. The two have a wide-ranging discussion on a number of topics around tech, economics, politics, and more. Noah explains why concern over big Silicon Valley tech companies is perhaps overblown. They discuss cryptocurrency and why in Noah’s opinion the Austrian economists have it wrong. He also explains why he is not a fan of techno-libertarianism and runs through the gun as historical...
Published 12/19/18
Laura Deming (@laurademing) joins Erik in downtown San Francisco on this episode of Venture Stories. She is the creator of Longevity Fund, a venture capital firm investing in companies that will let humans live both longer and healthier. Erik starts by asking about the state of longevity science and which discoveries about aging Laura is most excited about. It turns out that certain animals don’t age the way that humans do and that there are certain animals that are similar to each other...
Published 12/17/18
On this episode of Venture Stories, Erik is joined by Daniel Gross, founder of Pioneer, “an online tournament for productivity.” Prior to starting Pioneer, he founded Cue, a machine learning company that was acquired by Apple. Erik and Daniel discuss a wide variety of topics, including why saying something is “insanely great” isn’t necessarily a compliment for a founder, how to play “the video game that is life,” why the best way to get the physique you want is to move (cities), and how...
Published 12/14/18
Mark Lutter (@MarkLutter), founder and executive director of the Centre For Innovative Governance Research, joins Erik on this special two-hour episode to talk about charter cities. They start off by discussing how Mark became interested in the idea of charter cities. Mark explains the two main schools of thought when it comes to new forms of governance and talks about his philosophy for figuring out the best way to govern and how that involves charter cities. He talks about the recent...
Published 12/12/18
On this episode of Venture Stories, Erik is joined by two exciting guests: Qasar Younis (@qasar), co-founder of Applied Intuition, and Alexandr Wang (@alexandr_wang), CEO of Scale. Both Qasar and Alex are creating software that is transforming the way autonomous vehicles are being developed. The three of them have an expansive conversation about where autonomous technology is at today and how the technology and industry might evolve in the future. Throughout the conversation the founders...
Published 12/10/18
Erik Torenberg, co-founder and partner of Village Global, recently hosted an event for entrepreneurs in San Francisco to hear from founders of Village Global portfolio companies who have been through Village’s Network Catalyst accelerator. Joining Erik were: Nancy Yu (@nancyyu25), co-founder and CEO of RDMD, a company working to accelerate treatment for patients with rare diseases. Amrita Saigal, co-founder of Saathi, a company creating fully eco-friendly, compostable sanitary napkins in...
Published 12/06/18
Joining Erik for this episode are Brianne Kimmel (@briannekimmel), investor, advisor and Village Global Network Leader as well as Josh Stein (@dfjjosh), partner at DFJ. They start off by discussing the "consumerization of enterprise SaaS." More and more frequently new software is implemented at enterprises because ordinary employees use a service as a consumer and advocate for its use within the company. Brianne and Josh talk about why the enterprise is such a different animal compared to...
Published 12/05/18
In the first all-Australian episode of Venture Stories Erik interviews returning guest Ash Fontana (@ashfontana), general partner at Zetta Ventures, and his fellow countryman, Anthony Goldbloom (@antgoldbloom), CEO of Kaggle. Ash’s fund is the first fund devoted exclusively to AI and machine learning, and the three talk about how to evaluate companies, founders and ideas in the space. Ash says that the founders he looks for are often pre-traction but post-data, meaning that they have the...
Published 12/03/18
In this extended episode of Venture Stories, Erik interviews Tyler Cowen (@tylercowen), professor of economics at George Mason University. They discuss about a wide range of topics, including Tyler’s book Stubborn Attachments, the value of watching sports, travel, Bitcoin, the Knicks, and Effective Altruism — among many, many others. Tyler explains why he has only two “stubborn attachments” — human rights and economic growth. He takes us through his argument that there’s a moral imperative...
Published 11/30/18
On this episode of Health Stories, Erik is joined by Nikhil Krishnan (@nikillinit), of CB Insights and Nick Soman (@nicksoman), of Decent. Today they're talking about “the combination of two insanely complex topics.” They start out by discussing the potential applications of blockchain technology in the healthcare space and why it might not be ready for primetime just yet. They dive into some of the applications, including unique patient identifiers and why the lack of a system to transfer...
Published 11/28/18