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34 minutes | Apr 14, 2020
Boris Wertz: As a Board Member, You're a Coach
Boris is the founding partner of Version One, one of the leading seed stage venture funds in America and Canada. He previously founded JustBooks, which he sold to AbeBooks and became the COO, leaving when the company was acquired by Amazon. Afterwards, Boris moved into investing, first as an angel investor, and now with Version One. Today, Boris is recognized as one of the top tech investors in North America and focuses blockchain, marketplaces, SaaS and everything network effects.In this episode, we chat with Boris about interacting with boards as an entrepreneur and how to navigate an exit. We touch on how he transitioned into angel investing, and how he approaches being a board member and his investment philosophy at Version One. Boris also discusses his thesis around crypto, blockchain, and DeFi, as well as the implications on governance surrounding these business models.If you want to know what Boris is up to, you should follow him on Twitter @bwertz. For more information about his firm, follow @versiononevc on Twitter or visit their website https://versionone.vc/. For more podcasts on how to build better Boards, join us at www.boardsnetwork.com and follow us on Twitter @boardsnetwork.
24 minutes | Apr 7, 2020
Kate Mitchell: Be Open, Be Honest (Part 2)
After a career in banking, Kate co-founded Scale Venture Partners that went on to back high growth companies such as Hubspot, Box, and DocuSign. She attended hundreds of Board meetings for more than a dozen private and public tech companies.In this episode, Kate, Justine and I reflected on the difference between public and private boards and discussed the difference between diversity and inclusion. On diversity, we also discussed the mission, vision, and purpose of the Venture Forward initiative that Kate co-founded. Finally, we reflected on the pipeline issue that some argue is the main reason for the lack of diversity at board level. Kate shared creative ways to bring diversity at the Board level and we can only conclude that the pipeline issue is not a good excuse!If you want to know what Kate is up to, you should follow her on Twitter @KateDMitchell. For more information about her firm, follow @ScaleVP on Twitter or visit their website https://www.scalevp.com/. For more podcasts on how to build better Boards, join us at www.boardsnetwork.com and follow us on Twitter @boardsnetwork.
30 minutes | Mar 31, 2020
Kate Mitchell: Be Open, Be Honest (Part 1)
After a career in banking, Kate co-founded Scale Venture Partners that went on to back high growth companies such as Hubspot, Box, and DocuSign. She attended hundreds of Board meetings for more than a dozen private and public tech companies.In this episode, Kate was kind enough to open up about her career path and first board experiences. We discussed what a banking career can bring to future board members, the importance of mentors, and why independent board members are so critical. Kate also helped us compare and contrast non-profit, private, and public boards. Finally, we discussed what a bad board looks like, how to build trust with management teams as a new board member, and how to continuously become a better board member.If you want to know what Kate is up to, you should follow her on Twitter @KateDMitchell. For more information about her firm, follow @ScaleVP on Twitter or visit their website https://www.scalevp.com/. For more podcasts on how to build better Boards, join us at www.boardsnetwork.com and follow us on Twitter @boardsnetwork.
38 minutes | Mar 24, 2020
Mark Selcow: Think Company First
Mark is a serial startup founder and operator who is now an investor at Costanoa Ventures focusing on SaaS, fintech, future of work, and marketplaces. Prior to joining Costanoa, Mark was an operator, co-founding and serving as President of two companies, BabyCenter (sold to Johnson and Johnson) and Merced Systems (sold to NICE Systems). At Costanoa, Mark helped several portfolio companies as an Advisor and Board Member, and even became Interim CEO of Quizlet, a leading consumer learning tool.In this episode, we hear about Mark's experiences as a founder of two very different businesses - BabyCenter and Merced Systems. We also hear about how market conditions in the late '90s impacted the BabyCenter trajectory and how that experience has informed Mark's role as a board member and investor today.Furthermore, we address topics such as ideal board composition, the role of industry experience, what its like to be an interim CEO, and how to think about exits as a founder.If like Mark, you are interested in early stage business-oriented technologies and SaaS, fintech, and the future of work, you should absolutely follow him on Twitter @mselcow. For more information on his firm, follow @CostanoaVC or visit their website https://www.costanoavc.com/. For more podcasts on how to build better Boards, join us at www.boardsnetwork.com and follow us on Twitter @boardsnetwork.
53 minutes | Mar 17, 2020
Brett Hurt: Public Benefit Corporations Can Have It All
Brett is the CEO and Co-founder of data.world, which is building the most meaningful, collaborative, and abundant data resource in the world as a Certified B Corporation. He is also a seed-stage investor at Hurt Family Investments in partnership with his wife, Debra, and previously founded several companies such as Bazaarvoice and Coremetrics.In this episode, we discuss the key characteristics of B Corporations, why you can “have it all” by converting to that legal form, how to convince your investors and partners to convert, and how it impacts the board not only legally but also behaviorally. We also address topics such as communication with board members as an entrepreneur, investor, advisor, and board member. Finally, we discuss the level of transparency conducive to productive culture as well as to what extent the board should be involved in shaping mission, vision, and culture.If you want to follow what’s happening in the data world or the startup community in Austin, check out what Brett is up to at https://medium.com/@databrett and http://lucky7.io/. You can also follow him on Twitter @databrett. For more podcasts on how to build better Boards, join us at www.boardsnetwork.com and follow us on Twitter @boardsnetwork.
41 minutes | Mar 10, 2020
Kevin Oxendine: Lower Middle Market Entrepreneurship And Search Fund Boards
Kevin is a Partner at Pacific Lake Partners and works closely with search fund entrepreneurs throughout their search, acquisition, and operating phases and is a Board Member of Emporos and Kantola. In this episode, we discuss the critical differences between the COO and CEO role, the search fund model, and deep dive into search fund boards and their life cycle, from the search phase to the acquisition and liquidity event. We also discuss what it means for Boards Members to work with relatively young CEOs, as well as the role of independent Board Members and alignment with search fund CEOs. Finally, we also talk about Board compensation and why Board members can be the best mentors for a young CEO.If you want to follow some of the best investors in the lower middle market, check out what Kevin and his team are up to at www.pacificlake.com. You can also follow Kevin and Pacific Lake on LinkedIn or Twitter @koxendine & @PacificLake. For more podcasts on how to build better Boards, join us at www.boardsnetwork.com and follow us on Twitter @boardsnetwork.
49 minutes | Mar 3, 2020
Brad Feld: Best Practices and Stories from the Author of Startup Boards
What was Brad Feld's experience as a board member of successful companies such as SendGrid like? How does the experience differ from a company such as ReturnPath, which took considerably longer to arrive at a positive exit? How about when to start a board as a startup and how to construct said board?Brad Feld has been a venture investor for over 30 years. He founded Foundry Group and has invested in companies such as FitBit, SendGrid and many others. In addition, Brad is a prolific blogger/author in the startup space, having authored many useful works such as Startup Boards and Venture Deals.In this episode, Brad shares stories about boards he has served on and the insights he has derived from those experiences. You will hear stories about conflicts and how they were resolved at the board level, and best practices for consensus building and on-boarding board members using a "board orientation package". We explore how to think about board construction at the earliest stages, the importance of boards as a helpful tool for early-stage companies, and the "emotional priorities" of the board.If you want to follow what Brad is up to, you can follow him on Twitter at @bfeld. For more podcasts on how to build better Boards, join us at www.boardsnetwork.com and follow us on Twitter @boardsnetwork.
32 minutes | Feb 25, 2020
Nikhil Basu Trivedi: Taking A Chance On Young Board Members, First Boards As A Venture Capitalist, And More Insights On The Role Of Observers
What is it like to be on a Board with heavy hitters such as Mamoon Hamid (KPCB), Aileen Lee (Cowboy), and Angela Strange (Andreessen Horowitz)? Why are google docs not an entirely bad idea to share the Board deck with Board members? Why can Observers have a relationship advantage with founders compared to Board Directors? Nikhil is a board member/observer at ClassDojo, Frame.io, Imperfect Produce, Plays.tv, Tally, The Farmer’s Dog. He has co-sponsored many of Shasta’s investments since joining the team in 2012. Nikhil was named in 2015 to Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30 list for Venture Capital.In this episode, we discuss how Observers can be in the ear of the entrepreneurs without the tension that exists between a Board Director and the CEO. We discuss why Observers can be strong allies for CEOs by being an informal point of contact for them to better understand the Board, and oftentimes they have more capacity to do work. Nikhil also reflects on his first investment as lead and first Board seat as full Director at The Farmer’s Dog when he was still a Principal, why your first Board seat is as much the founder betting on you than the other way around, and more generally why that first Board seat is so special. Finally, we also debate why alignment is usually not an issue in early stage VC, and hence why the first role of a Board member in early stage startups is to provide services to the founders and make sure their Board duties don’t consume too much of their time and energy.If like Nikhil, you are interested in consumer-oriented businesses and the transformation of healthcare, education, energy, and the life sciences by mobile and web technologies, you should absolutely follow him on Twitter @nbt. For more information on his firm, follow @shasta or visit their website www.shastaventures.com. For more podcasts on how to build better Boards, join us at www.boardsnetwork.com and follow us on Twitter @boardsnetwork.
43 minutes | Feb 17, 2020
George Bradt: Onboarding do's and don'ts for Board Members
Would you like to know how to make sure your onboarding as a Board member is a success?Well, our conversation with George Bradt details the do’s and don’ts of leaders onboarding, with a focus on Board members. Learn how to get a head start, how to manage the communication aspects of onboarding, and how to set direction.So, are you ready for Boarding?If you want more personalized advice on executive onboarding, check out what George is up to at www.primegenesis.com and on Twitter @georgebradt. For more podcasts on how to build better Boards, join us at www.boardsnetwork.com and follow us on twitter @boardsnetwork.
36 minutes | Feb 17, 2020
Benjamin Levin: Styles Make Fights, Styles Make Boards
Would you like to know how a non-traditional path in Private Equity can lead you to establish your own investment firm? Would you like to learn how Board formation should be approached for bootstrapped technology businesses? Would you like to know how information can best flow between management and its shareholders through the Board?Ben Levin shares what he has learned about Boards and investing throughout his career. By listening to this episode, you will learn why getting more responsibilities early on in your career matters, how to become the translation engine between management and shareholders, and how to develop your own style as a Board member.If you want to follow some of the best growth investors in technology, check out what Ben and his team are up to at www.levelequity.com. You can also follow Ben and Level Equity on twitter @bslevin5000 & @LevelEquity. For more podcasts on how to build better Boards, join us at www.boardsnetwork.com and follow us on twitter @boardsnetwork.
41 minutes | Feb 17, 2020
Christa Quarles: From Research Analyst to CEO, the Board from all Angles
Few people have seen technology company Boards of Directors from as many perspectives as Christa Quarles. From her early career as an Analyst on Wall Street to her role as CEO at OpenTable, she learned from and worked with the best in the industry.In this episode, we discuss what her equity research experience taught her that made her a good Board member. We also discuss how to interact with your Board as an executive when your acquisition pace is high (i.e. acquiring 8 companies in 8 months), her journey from CFO to CEO at OpenTable, and why you need to make it unsafe for Boards not to take risks. We zoom in on the breaking points of companies in terms of number of employees and she explains why 150 is remarkable in particular.If you want to follow what Christa is up to, you can follow her on Twitter @cquarles. For more podcasts on how to build better Boards, join us at www.boardsnetwork.com and follow us on twitter @boardsnetwork.
34 minutes | Feb 17, 2020
Anarghya Vardhana - From Board Observer to Board Director, A Learning Journey
How should one behave as a first time Board member? How differently should one act as a Board Observer compared to a Board Director? What are management's expectations regarding Board Observers?Since joining Maveron, Anarghya Vardhana has invested in a number of companies, including Masse, Co-Star, Illumix, Imperfect Produce, Two Chairs, and others. She was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 in 2017, and is an active member of AllRaise. In this episode, Anarghya shares her first Board experiences with us. We discuss where you should draw the line between being helpful and overstepping your role as an Observer. We explore what goes through your head before you pull the trigger on an investment that will end up being your first Board. Finally, we discuss the importance of emotional intelligence to become an excellent Board member and ways we can improve diversity at the Board level.If you're interested in anything that is consumer tech-related, we strongly encourage you to follow Anarghya on Twitter @anarghya503 as well as her firm @Maveron. For more podcasts on how to build better Boards, join us at www.boardsnetwork.com and follow us on Twitter @boardsnetwork.
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