A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

My 1985 Nike Air Jordan Investment

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

Earlier this week I purchased 1% of a collection of five 1985 Nike Air Jordan sneakers using our portfolio company Otis’ mobile app. I paid $330 for ten shares (out of a total of 1000 shares) implying a value of $33,000 for the five pairs, or roughly $6600 each.

Correlation and Market Meltdowns

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

On the first episode of Howard’s new podcast , his guest said, “in panics, all assets are correlated.” ” I suspect that is true to some extent.

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Kickstarter Lights On

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

So many of our favorite community anchors have shuttered in the wake of the pandemic. And reopening them won’t be easy.

Not All Gross Margin Is The Same

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

I wrote a blog post in September of last year arguing that gross margins and operating margins really matter when valuing companies.

ABCs of Data Normalization for B2B Marketers

Data normalization. It’s not a far stretch to suggest that the topic isn’t exactly what gets marketers excited in their day-to-day workflow. However, if lead generation, reporting, and measuring ROI is important to your marketing team, then data normalization matters - a lot. In this eBook, we’ll break down the ins and outs of data normalization and review why it’s so critical for your marketing strategies and goals!

Masks4All

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

A couple of weeks ago, I saw this tweet by my partner Albert: Must read thread on #Masks4All #covid19 [link] — Albert Wenger ????? albertwenger) March 28, 2020.

Growth

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

One of the great joys of the work I do is I get to watch the leaders of our portfolio companies grow over time. I’ve had a number of moments over the last few months where I got off a call or a meeting and thought to myself “wow, she’s a new person.” ” Growing as a leader takes time, mistakes, failure, feedback, and a lot of work. You don’t magically show up as the CEO and you are good to go. It’s not like that at all.

Investing In Learning

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

USV has invested in the education sector for a bit more than ten years. We kicked things off with an event we called Hacking Education back in March 2009. We have focused on “direct to learner” businesses and have mostly avoided investing in companies that sell to the established education system. This has been a good strategy and we have assembled a fantastic direct to learner portfolio that includes companies like Duolingo , Quizlet , Skillshare , Codecademy , and Outschool.

American Kingpin

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

I read my friend Nick Bilton ‘s book American Kingpin over the last few weeks. It is the story of Ross Ulbricht (aka Dread Pirate Roberts), the founder and owner of The Silk Road.

Contact Tracing and Technology Conference

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

As I wrote about a few weeks ago , I am excited about the possibility that technology, particularly mobile computing technology, can supplement the work of manual contact tracing to keep us all safer until a permanent solution is found to this pandemic. But there is a ton of confusion about what contact tracing is, what exposure alerting is, what the role of legacy contact tracing systems are, and what role new applications can play in this moment.

Building Healthy Innovation Ecosystems for Your Projects

Speaker: Nick Noreña, Innovation Coach and Advisor, Kromatic

In this webinar, Nick Noreña will walk through an Innovation Ecosystem Model that he and his team at Kromatic have developed to help investors, heads of product, teachers, and executives understand how they can best support innovation in their own ecosystem. He'll also go over metrics we can use to measure the health of our ecosystems as we build more resources for innovators.

The Internet

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

I linked to a post by Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince the other day. In it , he wrote: The super heroes of this crisis are clearly the medical professionals at the front lines saving people’s lives and the scientists searching for a cure. But the faithful sidekick that’s helping us get through this crisis — still connected to our friends, loved ones, and, for those of us fortunate enough to be able to continue work from home, our jobs — is the Internet. The data is kind of incredible.

Accelerating Working Capital

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

As policy makers around the world seek to mitigate the economic shock from this pandemic, one less obvious but powerful place to look are working capital flows. Yes we do need direct relief for small businesses like the forgivable PPP loans. We also need things like payroll tax deferrals and other relief from the CARES Act. We also need our capital markets to work so actions like the Fed is taking are necessary and important.

Still Open For Business

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

I wrote a blog post on March 12th called Open For Business and thought I would return to the topic. If you search for “vc open for business” on Twitter , you will see almost universal scorn for the idea that VCs are open for business right now.

Why USV is Joining the Libra Association

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

A new blockchain & cryptocurrency project, Libra , was announced today. Libra has been incubated by Facebook. USV will be one of the founding members of the governing body, the Libra Association.

The 2019 Technographic Data Report for B2B Sales Organizations

In this report, ZoomInfo substantiates the assertion that technographic data is a vital resource for sales teams. In fact, the majority of respondents agree—with 72.3% reporting that technographic data is either somewhat important or very important to their organization. The reason for this is simple—sales teams value technographic data because it makes essential selling activities easier and more efficient.

The Duolingo English Test

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

I wrote about our portfolio company Duolingo’s English Proficiency Test back in August of last year. I have always loved the idea that a company that helps people learn a language can also help people prove their fluency in a language. It is two sides of the same coin. But the road to success with the English Proficiency Test has been hard.

Coinbase + Tagomi

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

Our portfolio company Coinbase announced yesterda y that it will acquire Tagomi to build out its institutional prime brokerage business. This is an important moment in the maturation of the crypto trading business. At USV, we have used Coinbase to transact in the crypto markets and I’ve wanted advanced offerings like we get when we transact in the stock markets like buying or selling on a volume weighted average price (VWAP) and other things like that.

Event Driven Growth

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

I realize that most businesses are suffering greatly in this pandemic. Many have been shut completely. But there are some that are experiencing the opposite situation. They have a growth spurt as a result of this moment. Businesses in food delivery, e-commerce, online education, telehealth, remote work, and cloud infrastructure are examples of such situations. I’ve seen event driven growth spurts over the years. A plane lands in the Hudson and everyone heads to Twitter to see it.

Slowing Down

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

One of the silver linings to this awful pandemic is that things have slowed down a lot. Not just work. Everything really. I find myself taking more time to do the dishes, work out, meditate, etc. There is less “racing through the day” and more time to do things right and carefully. We clean the house on Sundays and it takes the two of us almost three hours and while I can’t call it enjoyable, there is a certain satisfaction from doing it well and doing it right.

The Time-Saving Power of Intent Data for Sales

By using the power of intent data, capturing buyer interest has become more feasible for sales. Not only that, but using it will save immense time during your workflow; a win-win on all fronts.

No Shenanigans

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

I was talking to a friend today about company values and how important they are but also how lame so many of them are. I told him that some of my favorite company values come from our former portfolio company Twilio (which in the spirit of full disclosure I am still a large shareholder of).

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Funding Friday: The $1k project

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

This is the fourth funding friday blog post in which I’ve suggested good causes to contribute to during this pandemic. March 20th – restaurant workers. March 27th – health care protective gear. April 3rd – feeding people in need. Today, I would like to highlight The 1k project. The 1K project was built by Alex from NYC, Minda from Seattle, and a group of over 20 volunteers consisting mostly of tech founders.

Computer Science For All NYC

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

About ten years ago, I started asking why were weren’t teaching computer science to every student in the NYC public school system.

Teaching Online

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

I have been teaching in one form or another since college. I helped pay for graduate school by teaching other grad students. For most of my life, teaching has meant standing up in front of a group of people and explaining things to them in a large group setting. But, like many things, that is quickly changing right now. I mentioned that we have a new group of analysts at USV.

How ZoomInfo Enhances Your Database Management Strategy

Forward-thinking marketing organizations have continuously invested in a database strategy for enabling marketing processes. Download this ebook to learn how to maintain a strategy that includes refreshed information, database cleanses, and an accurate analysis at the same time.

Some Thoughts On Crypto

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

The crypto sector is in an interesting phase right now. The market has rallied from its lows this past winter and is up a lot in 2019: But Bitcoin now makes up almost 70% of that aggregate market cap. In some ways, Bitcoin is the one protocol that has found lasting product-market fit.

The AVC Cap Table Template

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

I woke up to this tweet this morning: @fredwilson someone has hijacked your cap table link in this post – it now goes out to some random company rather than your template [link] — John Henderson (@johnhenderson) April 21, 2020. I went to that blog post and clicked on the link and sure enough someone had swapped out my cap table template from 2011 with their own cap table.

What Happened In The 2010s

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

My friend Steve Kane suggested I take a longer view in my pair of year end posts this year: What, no decade end/decade ahead posts? — Steven Kane (@stevenkane) December 26, 2019. And so I will. Here are the big things that happened in tech, startups, business, and more in the decade that is ending today, in no particular order of importance. 1/ The emergence of the big four web/mobile monopolies; Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook.

r/CryptoCurrency Moons

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

We have been looking for ways in which crypto assets can go mainstream. Our interest and investment in Dapper’s crypto games is an effort in that area. So is our involvement in the Libra project. We also have been involved in legacy mobile and web apps that have built cryptocurrencies inside of them. Kin and Props are two examples of that. But we are also always looking outside of our own portfolio for examples of ways in which crypto assets can go mainstream.

How ZoomInfo Enhances Your ABM Strategy

For marketing teams to develop a successful account-based marketing strategy, they need to ensure good data is housed within its Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. More specifically, updated data can help organizations outline key accounts for their campaigns. And to begin the targeting process, marketing teams must develop an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) with appropriate firmographic and behavioral data to ensure they’re going after the correct audience.Download this eBook to learn how to start improving your marketing team's data!

The Long Buy

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

One of the many things that venture capital has taught me is the value of the long buy. What I mean by a “long buy” is buying shares in a company over a long period of time. We have investments where we have bought shares seven or eight times over a ten to twelve year period.

Helium

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

One of the areas of blockchain innovation I am most excited about is building open, permissionless, and decentralized technology infrastructure.

What Will Happen In The 2020s

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

It’s 2020. Time to look forward to the decade that is upon us. One of my favorite quotes, attributed to Bill Gates, is that people overestimate what will happen in a year and underestimate what will happen in a decade. This is an important decade for mankind. It is a decade in which we will need to find answers to questions that hang over us like last night’s celebrations.

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A SEC Safe Harbor For Crypto

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

SEC Commissioner Hester Pierce proposed a “safe harbor” for crypto projects that raise money before they are sufficiently decentralized. I am a big fan of “safe harbors”and wrote a bit a few years ago about why I like them so much and why a crypto safe harbor is such a needed and good idea. There is a chicken and egg problem in financing crypto projects.

Data-Driven Marketing 101

This eBook highlights how data-driven strategies empower marketing campaigns through personalization tactics.

Whales Not Unicorns

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

I have been vocal here that I do not like the term Unicorn to describe highly valued venture-backed startups. Unicorns are mythical creatures that don’t really exist and highly valued venture-backed startups do exist. They might be rare, but they are not fictional.