How to Align with Your Investor – Susan Mason, General Partner at Aligned Partners

Susan MasonThis week, I am honored to welcome Susan Mason to The Pitch Deck. Susan is the General Partner at Aligned Partners, a Menlo Park-based venture firm focused on capital efficient investing. She has been a venture investor in the startup world since the mid 90’s.

Before becoming a VC, Susan spent time in engineering, marketing, sales, and general management at companies like NCR, Fujitsu and Fairchild. Prior to founding Aligned Partners, Susan joined ONSET Ventures, where she focused on building pre-wired startups for large corporations. 

Susan joins us today to share her incredible insight and wisdom on the best method to model your business after. With her advice, you can focus on the high pain points of your customers and create a company that will be a necessity, regardless of the financial climate.

Listen To The Full Interview:

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What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • How Susan got into venture capitalism.
  • The purpose of the Kaufman Fellowship.
  • The premise of Aligned Partners.
  • How to avoid bringing misalignment to the table with an investor.
  • How to stand out and meet Aligned Partners investment criteria.

Featured On The Show:

If you have questions about investing, early-stage capital raising, investor relationship and/or due diligence, tweet your question to @the_pitch_deck. In our future episodes, we will read your questions and get feedback from our featured guests.

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Bring Your Charisma – Erik Eliason, Co-Founder of Storefront

Erik EliasonToday, on The Pitch Deck, I am excited to bring you Erik Eliason to the show. Erik is the cofounder and CEO of Storefront, the world’s largest marketplace for connecting brands and retail spaces for short-term pop-up rentals.

Erik brings incredible first-hand knowledge of the best methods of how to approach working with accelerators and what you need to know before going in. Listen in to hear how Erik, with the help of an accelerator, is changing the way entrepreneurs are finding retail space to grow and develop their brands.

Listen To The Full Interview:

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What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • Erik’s journey into entrepreneurialism.
  • Why Erik and his co-founder started Storefront.
  • How consumers are driving the market.
  • The three reasons why Erik wanted to work with Angel Pad.
  • How working with an accelerator made a difference in Storefront’s success.

Featured On The Show:

If you have questions about investing, early-stage capital raising, investor relationship and/or due diligence, tweet your question to @the_pitch_deck. In our future episodes, we will read your questions and get feedback from our featured guests.

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Stay at It – Shruti Gandhi, Partner at Array Ventures

Shruti_GandhiOn this episode of The Pitch Deck, I am thrilled to have Shruti Gandhi as my guest. Shruti is a managing partner at Array Ventures. She is focused on investing in “agitated” entrepreneurs that are working hard to reinvent today’s world of work. Shruti previously worked with True Ventures, Samsung’s Early Stage Investment Fund, and three other funds where four of her companies had successful exits in less than three years. 

Shruti brings an insightful look at how her company helps entrepreneurs. Bringing her engineering background to the venture world, Shruti is making huge strides in the way that venture firms work with founders. You don’t want to miss Shruti’s insightful, yet practical, approach that has already paid off for her and her investments.

Listen To The Full Interview:

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What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • How Shruti stumbled into venture capitalism from engineering.
  • The two factors of successful companies.
  • Why you need to create a stand-alone deck.
  • The type of companies that Shruti loves to invest in.
  • Why Shruti asks for the deck before she will meet with a founder.
  • What Shruti wants to know from the pitch deck.

Featured On The Show:9

If you have questions about investing, early-stage capital raising, investor relationship and/or due diligence, tweet your question to @the_pitch_deck. In our future episodes, we will read your questions and get feedback from our featured guests.

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Finding Mutually Beneficial Venture Partners – John Frankel, Partner FF Venture Capital

john-frankelThis week, we are excited to welcome legendary venture capitalist, John Frankel, to the show. John is the founding partner of FF Venture Capital and has been an early-stage investor since late 1999. John has served as a director of over 35 companies and an investor in more than 76 companies, including Cornerstone OnDemand (CSOD on NASDAQ), Indiegogo, Ionic Security, Klout, SkyCatch, Plated, 500px, Distil Networks, and Bottlenose.

We always have wonderful guests, but it’s not often that we have a guest that has the wisdom, perspective and experience that John does. Leveraging his 20 years of experience from Goldman Sachs to the venture capital world, John helps his firm be uniquely poised to help founders grow their businesses. You don’t want to miss John’s actionable tips and advice that will help you find the right investor, be it angel or VC, for your growing business.

Listen To The Full Interview:

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What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • How John started in venture capitalism
  • Why venture capitalism garners so much attention.
  • How John moved from 20 years at Goldman Sachs to starting his venture capital firm.
  • The biggest reasons companies fail.
  • How FF Venture Capital is different from other venture firms.
  • How John’s firm selects their investments.

Featured On The Show:9

If you have questions about investing, early-stage capital raising, investor relationship and/or due diligence, tweet your question to @the_pitch_deck. In our future episodes, we will read your questions and get feedback from our featured guests.

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Passion for Success – Sim Blaustein, VC at BDMI

Sim___BlausteinToday, we are excited to welcome Sim Blaustein to The Pitch Deck. Sim is a partner with Bertelsmann’s corporate venture fund, BDMI. This fund focuses on seed and early-stage investments in digital media. Sim has led their investments in StyleHaul (sold to RTL), Dramafever (sold to Softbank), Jukin Media, Nativo, Food52, and Frank & Oak, as well as a number of seed investments.

If you are an entrepreneur with a focus in digital media, then you to need to listen up. Bringing his passion for business and engineering together, Sim started out working in venture firms until, ultimately, becoming a partner at BDMI. He joins me today to share his journey to venture capitalism and what you need to know before approaching VCs. You don’t want to miss Sim’s tips and tactics for ensuring you have your priorities and team in order before your next pitch.

Listen To The Full Interview:

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What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • Sim’s journey to venture capitalism.
  • How networking and karma helped Sim start out in venture capitalism.
  • The two separate vectors of firms.
  • BDMI’s philosophy for investing.
  • The three areas that BDMI focuses on.
  • Why cold calling investors never really works.
  • How founders can impress Sim and BDMI.

Featured On The Show:9

If you have questions about investing, early-stage capital raising, investor relationship and/or due diligence, tweet your question to @the_pitch_deck. In our future episodes, we will read your questions and get feedback from our featured guests.

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Believe in Your Story – Matt Bachmann, Co-Founder of Wandering Bear Coffee

Matt BachmannThis week on The Pitch Deck, I am thrilled to welcome Matt Bachmann to the show. Matt is the co-founder of Wandering Bear Coffee in New York City. Wandering Bear is taking a new approach to the exploding cold brew iced coffee category, focusing on making cafe-style iced coffee convenient for those that want to enjoy it at home or at work.

If you are an entrepreneur looking to break into the consumer market and have a different approach to solving consumer problems, then you are in luck! Matt joins us to share the unique problem that Wandering Bear is trying to solve, and how they are redefining the consumer issue in an incredibly unique way. With Matt’s help, you can learn to have a narrative with investors that will help them understand your solution and give them exactly what they are looking for – the belief that the startup team understands the mission and has their own perspective on how to solve it differently.

Listen To The Full Interview:

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What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • How Matt and his co-founder became accidental entrepreneurs.
  • Why you need to look at your business from the perspective of a consumer if you’re selling physical products.
  • How to make cold brew iced coffee.
  • What sets Wandering Bear Coffee apart from the competition.
  • The early pitfalls that Matt ran into.

Featured On The Show:9

If you have questions about investing, early-stage capital raising, investor relationship and/or due diligence, tweet your question to @the_pitch_deck. In our future episodes, we will read your questions and get feedback from our featured guests.

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