A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

How Not To Regulate Innovation

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

The Secretary Of Treasury, in his last month in office, is giving us a textbook case of how not to regulate important technology innovation. The issue is “unhosted wallets” and how regulated exchanges and other “hosted wallets” interact with them.

Rooftop Solar

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

I’ve been thinking a lot about the economics of rooftop solar. Our family has invested in rooftop solar over the last five years in an attempt to reduce our carbon footprint and reduce our electric bills.

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Computer Science Is For Everyone

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

Many/most of you know that a lot of my philanthropic time and energy is dedicated to making sure that all K12 students, but particularly young women and students of color, have access to a high quality computer science education.

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What Is Going To Happen In 2021

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

Hi Everyone. Happy 2021. Today, as is my custom on the first day of the new year, I am going to take a stab at what the year ahead will bring. I find it useful to think about what we are in for. It helps me invest and advise the companies we are invested in. Like our investing, I will get some of these right and some wrong. But having a point of view is very helpful when operating in a world that is full of uncertainty. Let’s start with the elephant in the room.

The Best Sales Forecasting Models for Weathering Your Goals

Every sales forecasting model has a different strength and predictability method. It’s recommended to test out which one is best for your team. This way, you’ll be able to further enhance – and optimize – your newly-developed pipeline. Your future sales forecast? Sunny skies (and success) are just ahead!

The De-Carbonization Of The Economy

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

Over the last decade, the Gotham Gal and I have moved away from oil and gas in our homes and have installed solar panels for electricity and heat pumps for heating and cooling. It has gotten less expensive to do this swap out as solar and heat pump costs have come down.

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The Revenge Of Retail

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

A number of people have been asking me what I think of the Game Stop situation. This is not really my world. I don’t trade stocks, we hold them. I don’t use Robinhood, though I have an account thanks to my friend Howard. I don’t hang out on Reddit, though I visit it from time to time. So I have not paid enough attention to this one, but it certainly is fascinating. The generational aspect of this is important.

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The Work-Life Balance Revolution

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

Yesterday, I had a gap in the middle of the day. So the Gotham Gal and I took an hour-long walk with our dog Ollie. It cleared my head and when I got back to work, I was full of energy and clarity. I’ve been working exclusively from home since the end of November 2019 when we left NYC to go to LA. It has been a stretch of incredible productivity for me. I am not arguing against going back to the office. As I’ve said in many posts recently, I can’t wait to go back to the office.

Venture Funding Trends Intact

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

The NVCA and Pitch Book are out with their Q3 report on the VC industry and what they report is that the VC industry continues to be very active throughout the pandemic. Deal counts and deal values are stable to up over last year.

The Rise Of Everywhere

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

This is a theme I have come back to many times over the last decade but in the wake of all of the headlines about high profile founders, VCs, and companies leaving the bay area, I thought I would return to it. There is no question that the bay area is losing some talent to other markets but I don’t think that is anywhere near the most important thing. It is also the case that Google and Apple show no signs of leaving the bay area any time soon.

B2B Pocket Playbook: End-to-End Guide to Sales Enablement

Sales enablement is the strategic process of providing sales teams with the content, guidance, and mentorship needed to engage targeted buyers. It’s all about equipping sales professionals with the tools they need to put their best-selling foot forward. And if sales teams want to continuously sell better -- and faster -- their sales enablement process must have a game-winning strategy. It's time for you to start selling smarter - and hitting your sales number - with the best B2B database in the market. Get started today.

Educating Electeds

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

A number of members of Congress sent a letter to the Office of Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) on Tuesday. I have embedded it below but readers via email may need to click here to read it. Letter to the OCC on Fintec… by CoinDesk. These elected officials are correct that way too many people in the US are unbanked or underbanked.

Rapid Innovation

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

When people ask me why I prefer to invest in software-based innovation vs other important areas like biotech, hardware, energy, etc, I always point to the speed at which software can be built, released, and iterated on. This is a personal comfort thing for me. I am not saying that these other areas are not important. They are. Society needs innovation in areas outside of software. And there are fantastic returns to be had to those who are prepared to take on those risks.

Secondary Markets

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

Buying something from the creator or issuer is often called the “primary market.” ” Reselling it to someone else is often called the “secondary market.” ” I have spent my career in the primary market, buying equity from very young companies and holding it for many years usually until a sale or IPO.

E-Commerce and Retail

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

Most of us have seen some version of this chart that shows how the Covid pandemic has accelerated e-commerce adoption: What is interesting to me is that it has also impacted in person retail experiences. Most restaurants in NYC are not passing out menus anymore.

Pressure Points: How to Ensure Your B2B Pipeline Passes Inspection

This eBook highlights best practices for developing a pipeline management process that helps sales leaders and their team C.L.O.S.E (you’ll see what we mean in this eBook) more revenue through data-driven prospecting, stage analysis, and subsequent sales enablement.

What Happened In 2020

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

It is my tradition to end the year looking back and start the year looking forward. So today, I will write about 2020 in the context of tech/startups/VC/crypto. While it is inarguably the case that 2020 was a terrible year with a global pandemic, racial strife and ugly politics in the US, and an economic downturn that is impacting exactly the people who have already been hurt the most, it was an inflection point for the tech/startup/VC/crypto sectors and a very significant one.

Smart Contracts On Bitcoin

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

While Bitcoin is the gold standard in crypto, Ethereum has been the innovator, bringing new ideas, particularly smart contracts, to the table. Smart contracts allow developers to easily build things on a blockchain and we have seen a proliferation of new things built on the Ethereum blockchain as a result. But what if you could do all of that on Bitcoin? Enter Stacks 2.0 which launches on its mainnet today.

Open Up Instead Of Break Up

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

In the wake of the news yesterday that the FTC plus 46 states and a few other locales sued Facebook for being a monopoly, I want to, yet again, argue for a different, more modern, and more powerful regulatory approach to tech monopolies. I first posted this a year and a half ago , and have reposted it at least once since. There have been many calls to break up the large Internet monopolies; Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple, etc.

Digital Dollars

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

I have written about stablecoins a bunch here at AVC. I believe cryptocurrencies that are not highly volatile are important for use cases like e-commerce. I explained why here. So we need crypto assets that are price stabilized and one of the best ways to do that is to peg a crypto asset to a fiat currency like the dollar. You do that by fully reserving the asset with dollars. The two most popular digital dollars are USDT (Tether) and USDC.

Marketing-Led Post-COVID-19 Growth Strategies

Businesses are laying off workers, shutting their doors (some permanently), and struggling to react to the radical destruction that coronavirus (COVID-19) is doing to our society and communities. However, there’s no team better suited to lead that charge than the marketing department.

Investments That Don’t Work

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

I woke up to a dream this morning where I was playing a game that was very similar to Turntable.fm , a failed effort to create a social music experience that had a moment back in 2011 and that I had invested in via USV. In the dream, someone had created a new version of the game that was basically identical to the original version. It was as fun to play it as it was to play Turntable back in the day.

Ten Years And Just Getting Started

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

I remember meeting Zach Sims and his co-founder Ryan Bubinski back in 2011 when they started Codecademy. Zach was still in college and thinking of dropping out to focus on the Company. I just realized this morning that it has been ten years since then. Time does fly. Like many great companies their idea was simple, but powerful. build the easiest way to learn to code.

A Failing Grade

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

I wrote yesterday , about the quarterly numbers for VC investing activity: If this was a student coming home with a report card, it would be straight As.

Circulate Networking Events

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

My friend and former colleague Charlie O’Donnell created a new kind of networking event for the moment we are in. These are virtual networking events designed to “include diverse perspectives in the innovation community.” ” They are called Circulate.

How ZoomInfo Helps Overcome the Top Pain Points of Inside Sales

Recent digital transformation has shifted the B2B landscape by ushering in the era of buyer empowerment. With more access to user reviews, analyst opinion, and industry research, decision-makers are more informed than ever while navigating what is now known as the “buyer’s journey.”

Sora

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

My partner Rebecca wrote about our most recent education investment, Sora , on the USV blog today. We have been investing in learning for over a decade at USV and have built a terrific learning portfolio focusing on companies that are providing services direct to the learner (as opposed to selling “ed tech” to institutions). What we had not done, until now, is backed a company providing an alternative learning “institution.” ” Sora does that.

The NYC Fintech Innovation Lab

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

The NYC Fintech Innovation Lab is a program which accepts fintech entrepreneurs to develop their businesses with the assistance of senior execs at the leading NYC banks and insurance companies. The key priorities of the CTOs and CIOs of the Lab’s partner organizations include: cloud, cyber-tech, data, digital engagement, enterprise IT and sustainability. If you are building a fintech company and are focused on one or more of these areas, you should consider applying.

Removing The CEO

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

In almost thirty five years of working on boards, the hardest decisions I have had to make involve removing the CEO. It is an important decision and one that must be made from time to time. I am not a fan of removing the CEO until and unless it is abundantly clear that it must be done.

Quizlet’s State of Remote Learning Report 2020

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

Our portfolio company Quizlet put out a “ State of Remote Learning Report ” this week based on what they are seeing across their global learning platform during the pandemic. Quizlet wrote a blog post about it as well.

Marketing Ops: The New Revenue Hero

As data continues to play a starring role in today’s B2B organizations, both marketing and sales operations professionals are poised to solidify their place as critical revenue drivers. In particular, the evolution of the Marketing Operations (Ops) role has created a new standard in marketing and has become a vital component of an organization’s success.

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. This page shows the highlights of this sale, including a video, a link to the investment deck, and a link to the offering circular.

Going Direct To Learners With Software

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

I was talking to a group of education entrepreneurs (on Zoom naturally) last week and was advocating for the “direct to learner” approach that defines our eduction investing strategy at USV.

USV 2021 and USV Climate

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

Last fall, USV raised two new venture capital funds from our loyal and supportive investors. We announced the new climate fund on January 8th and I blogged about it here. While the climate fund is something new and important, we also raised another early stage fund to invest in the same kinds of companies we’ve been investing in at USV for over 15 years. While it is less newsmaking, it is worth talking about. And so we did that yesterday on the USV blog and I tweeted about it. "we

Negative Social Proof

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

I explained this last week on a call with some of our investors and I thought it might be useful to explain it more broadly. Most of USV’s big wins have been in companies where we were the first institutional VC to talk to the company or where we had way more conviction about the opportunity than other investors at the time of our investment. There was no social proof on these investments other than the fact that nobody else wanted to make the investment as much as we did.

What We Learned From Our Own Data-Driven ABM Strategy

ZoomInfo has created the following eBook to help other B2B organizations gain insights on how to launch their own data-driven ABM strategy. In this eBook, we will reveal the good and the bad from our own campaign and highlight some key takeaways on how to improve your ABM strategies moving forward.

Michelle Zatlyn on Gotham Gal’s Podcast

A VC: Musings of a VC in NYC

Michelle Zatlyn is the co-founder and COO of our former portfolio and now public company Cloudflare ( NYSE: NET ). In this conversation she did with the Gotham Gal a few weeks ago, she talks about how she and her co-founder Matthew decided to work on cybersecurity versus many other ideas they had.