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Origins is a podcast about Limited Partners, the firms and institutions that invest in venture capital funds. Through a series of interviews, we explore what has historically been an opaque corner of the startup ecosystem and learn how the people behind the capital make decisions. This podcast was created by Alex Lines and Nick Chirls, partners at Notation.
 
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Lisa Edgar is a Managing Director and member of the Investment Committee at Top Tier Capital Partners. She focuses on manager selection, due diligence and investment monitoring of Top Tier’s primary investments. Leveraging her 25 years of experience, Lisa is particularly interested in helping up-and-coming micro funds structure themselves for succe…
 
Frederik Groce is a Principal at Storm Ventures and a co-founder at BLCK VC. After finishing school, Frederik spent two years as CEO of Stanford Student Enterprises (SSE) with more than one hundred employees and total assets exceeding $18 million – including overseeing Stanford’s accelerator program. In this episode, we discuss Frederik's path to V…
 
In this special episode of Origins, we interview Alex Pall and Drew Taggart of The Chainsmokers, one of the most successful artists and producers in the world, and now active VCs through their firm Mantis. We discuss how they got into music, their break as DJs and rising up the early charts of Hype Machine and then Spotify, as well as more recently…
 
Josh Kopelman is the co-founder of First Round Capital, a pioneering seed-stage venture capital firm. He's been an active entrepreneur and investor in the Internet industry since it's commercialization. He co-founded Infonautics while still an undergrad in 1996, which went public in 1999. He then co-founded and ran Half.com, a fixed price marketpla…
 
Hunter Somerville is a General Partner at Greenspring Associates and is responsible for the sourcing and due diligence efforts on fund, direct and secondary opportunities. He's also actively involved in the assessment of micro-vc managers for the Firm. Additionally, Hunter serves on the LP Advisory Boards for firms such as Bullpen Capital, Redpoint…
 
Atul Rustgi is a Partner at Accolade, working across their early-stage and late-stage venture firm strategy. Prior to joining Accolade in 2007, Atul worked at McKinsey & Co. and the Robin Hood Foundation. In this episode, we discuss Atul's unique experience evaluating VC managers over the past decade, and Accolade's strategy investing in both very …
 
Kanyi Maqubela is a Managing Partner at Kindred Ventures. He previously served as a Partner at Collaborative Fund, where he was an early advisor to Tala and Walker & Co., and a board member at Buffer, Camino Financial, Spruce, and True Link. Kanyi is also a co-founder at Heartbeat Health, and has served as a Lecturer and Adjunct at New York Univers…
 
Ciaran O'Leary is a co-founder and general partner at BlueYard, a thesis-driven early-stage venture capital firm based in Germany. In the past several years, BlueYard has backed companies like Protocol Labs (Filecoin) and Open Source Coin in the Blockchain space, Meatable and bit bio at the intersection of science and technology, Pitch and Vectary …
 
Mark Suster is the Managing Partner at Upfront. He previously was the founder & CEO of two successful enterprise software companies, the most recent of which was sold to Salesforce.com where Mark became VP, Products. He's also one of the OG VC bloggers at https://bothsidesofthetable.com. In this episode, we discuss Mark's journey as both an entrepr…
 
This is a special episode of Origins focused entirely on the concept of VC portfolio construction. We recorded this discussion as a panel with three guests that provide different perspectives on this important topic. Beezer Clarkson is an LP and managing director at Sapphire Partners, Alda Leu Dennis is a partner at Initialized, a seed-stage ventur…
 
Chad Byers is a co-founder and partner at Susa Ventures, a seed-stage venture fund based in SF that has backed companies like Robinhood, Flexport, and Andela. Chad discusses growing up in Silicon Valley, his path to venture, the unusual founding story of Susa with his partners, and how they've strategically planned their funds over time. Chad is on…
 
Lo Toney is the founding managing partner of Plexo Capital, a new $42.5 million fund incubated inside of GV focused on making investments in seed-stage VC firms led by women or people of color. In addition to investing as LPs, Plexo Capital makes direct investments in startups that are funded by firms where Plexo has an LP position. The fund’s inve…
 
Fabrice Grinda is the founder of FJ Labs, a company co-creation and investment firm, focused on marketplace businesses. FJ Labs has invested in companies such as Flexport, Shippo, Lime, Brightroll, among many others. Fabrice is also a serial entrepreneur, previously founding three companies - Zingy, Aucland, and OLX - All of which scaled to signifi…
 
Paul Mace is the Director of Investments for Private Equity and Real Estate in the Tufts University Investment Office. He is responsible for evaluating private market managers and their investment strategies to potentially include in the university’s portfolio. Before joining Tufts, Paul was an investment banker evaluating M&A and private equity tr…
 
In this special episode of Origins, Beezer Clarkson of Sapphire Partners hosts Anne Martin, the Chief Investment Officer of Wesleyan University. Anne was previously a Director of Investments at Yale University, where she oversaw the private and natural resource portfolio. At Wesleyan University, she oversees all aspects of the endowment and reports…
 
Bryce Roberts is the founder of Indie VC, a 12-month program and venture fund designed to fund and support founders on a path to profitability. Before that, Bryce was a co-founder of OATV in 2005, one of the earliest seed focused VC firms, where they invested in companies like Fastly, Foursquare, Planet, Hipcamp, and others. On this episode, we dis…
 
David Fauchier is the co-founder of Cambrial Capital, an investment firm based in London deploying a thesis-driven fund of funds strategy focused on the digital assets space. David has previous experience as a product leader and angel investor in Europe, and has one of the most thoughtful approaches to investing in the blockchain space that we've s…
 
Lindsay Larsen is a managing director at UVIMCO, which represents the University of Virginia's $9B+ endowment. At UVIMCO, Lindsay co-heads the endowment's venture capital investing, as well as hedge fund investing and the growth equity portfolio. She previously held roles at Sequoia Heritage and Bluestem Asset Management, and she started her career…
 
Manu Kumar is the founder of K9 Ventures, a technology-focused Pre-Seed fund based in Palo Alto, California. K9 Ventures was the first "pre-seed" venture firm in the industry, and Manu was the first investor in companies like Twilio, Lyft, Carta, Crowdflower, and many more. Manu has a truly unique outlook on the VC business, and has a highly discip…
 
Conrad Shang is a Director at UTIMCO, The University of Texas and Texas A&M Endowment, where he leads the VC portfolio for one of the largest university endowments in the country. He’s been on both sides of the table, having also previously been a VC at Norwest Venture Partners and Bain Capital Ventures. This was a particularly fascinating conversa…
 
Zach Aarons is a co-founder and partner at Metaprop, an early-stage venture firm and accelerator focused on real estate related technology. Zach has been working at the intersection of real estate and venture capital for the past decade, and he's the most active early-stage PropTech investor in the United States, having funded over 60 startups in t…
 
On this episode of Origins, we interview Sarah Anderson and Emily Geiger, who are responsible for two critical components of Cintrifuse, a unique organization and public-private partnership established to drive the next phase of growth in the Cincinnati region. Sarah is the Managing Director of the Cintrifuse Syndicate Fund, a fund of funds that in…
 
David Tisch is a founder and managing partner of Box Group, the most prolific angel and seed investing firm in NYC, where they're investors in companies such as Pillpack, Flatiron Health, GroupMe, Plaid, Roman, among many others. He previously co-founded Techstars New York, a fixture of the NYC tech community for many years, and is the head of Corn…
 
Rob Mazzoni is a principal and one of the earliest members of the TrueBridge investment team, an alternative asset management firm founded in 2007 and focused on the venture capital industry. Rob first worked with TrueBridge co-founder and general partner Mel Williams at UNC Management Company, Inc. (UNCMC) as an investment and performance analyst.…
 
Shan-Lyn Ma is the co-founder and CEO of Zola, the fastest growing wedding registry and planning site in the U.S. Before Zola, Shan-Lyn was the chief product officer of chloe + isabel, and an executive at Gilt Groupe. In this episode, we cover a wide range of topics, including Shan-Lyn's experience growing up in Australia, discovering the Internet …
 
Mike Maples is the founding partner at Floodgate and has been on the Forbes Midas List since 2010. Before becoming a full-time investor, Mike was involved as a founder and operating executive at back-to-back startup IPOs, including Tivoli Systems (IPO TIVS, acquired by IBM) and Motive (IPO MOTV, acquired by Alcatel-Lucent.) Some of Mike’s investmen…
 
Ryan Nece is a Managing Partner at Next Play Capital, a mission-driven co-investment and fund of funds focused on venture capital. He started his career playing football for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he played for eight years, winning a super bowl championship as a rookie. After retiring from football, Ryan co-founded Straightcast Media, whic…
 
Jeff Fagnan is a founder of Accomplice and more recently Spearhead, in partnership with AngelList. Jeff is well known as a founding investor, working with most of his portfolio since inception, sometimes as a co-founder including Veracode (Sold to CA Technologies for $614M in 2017). Jeff sits on the board of many scaling startup‍‍‍s including Angel…
 
Leah Busque is a General Partner at Fuel Capital, an early-stage venture firm based in SF. Before Fuel, she was the co-founder and CEO of TaskRabbit for eight years, and before that an engineer at IBM. In this episode, we discuss Leah's path to founding TaskRabbit, moving to SF, and partnering with Chris Howard as Fuel's second GP just over a year …
 
Ro Gupta is the co-founder and CEO of Carmera, a street-level intelligence platform. The company's flagship product is CARMERA Autonomous Map, which delivers real-time, 3D maps and navigation-critical data for autonomous vehicles. Ro previously spent six years with Disqus, the web's largest community discussion network. He's also the first Notation…
 
As CEO of the Danish Growth Fund since 2001, Christian Motzfeldt has been instrumental in building the new Danish ecosystem of entrepreneurship. Through the Danish Growth Fund, he has built one of the largest portfolios of venture and small-cap funds in the Nordics, and now has 2 Billion USD under management. This is the first sovereign wealth fund…
 
In this episode of Origins, Beezer Clarkson turns the tables and interviews Nick Chirls and Alex Lines of Notation. Having just closed Notation II, we figured this would be a good time to explain who we are, what we do, and why we do it. We cover our time working together in the early days at betaworks, our decision to ultimately leave and start No…
 
On this episode of Origins, we sit down with Semil Shah of Haystack, an early-stage venture firm based in SF. Semil has a non-traditional background for VC and has been vocal about the unique way he's building the firm, recently making the transition into an institutionally backed fund. He's an active blogger, and an investor in startups like Insta…
 
On this episode of Origins, we sit down with Roland Reynolds, a managing partner at Industry Ventures. Industry Ventures is a fascinating “full stack venture capital firm.” Their funds invest into companies and venture capital partnerships through both primary and secondary transactions, which is an important part of the venture ecosystem that we h…
 
On this episode of Origins, we sit down with Bruce Ou, a Managing Partner at Grove Street Advisors. GSA is a unique type of investment firm in that they build customized private equity fund portfolios to address each of their LP clients’ individual investment needs. Their sole business is to manage discretionary separate accounts, investing in lowe…
 
We cover a lot in this episode — including Andy’s experience working in the early days at AOL and how that informed the creation of betaworks. We discuss what it was like joining Fred, Brad, and Albert as the fourth partner at USV, and subsequently becoming a managing partner at the firm a few years later. What we found most interesting about the c…
 
Mike Larsen is a managing director at the global investment firm Cambridge Associates, based in Boston. Mike works with endowments, foundations and other large institutional investors on their private investment programs, particularly focused on venture capital exposure. He spends his time meeting with managers, sourcing new ideas, and implementing…
 
David Frankel is a managing partner and co-founder of Founder Collective, which launched in 2011 with a simple mission: To be the most aligned fund for founders at the seed stage. In the years since, they’ve become one of the most respected and highest performing venture firms in the industry. Before starting Founder Collective, David spent most of…
 
Aaron Gershenberg is a founder of Silicon Valley Bank’s fund of funds and direct investment group, SVB Capital. Aaron joined SVB in 1999 and has been part of the venture capital industry since 1996. Under his leadership, the group has over $3.3 billion under management across fund of funds, direct funds and separate accounts. Prior to joining SVB, …
 
Bradley Tusk started Tusk Ventures to help startups work with governments at scale. To date, this unique venture capital firm has worked with companies like Uber, Fanduel, Handy, Eaze, and others to help them navigate regulatory challenges. Tusk Ventures grew out of Tusk Strategies, which Bradley started in 2010 to help major institutions run multi…
 
Winter Mead is a Vice President at Sapphire Ventures, where he focuses on Sapphire's fund investments in the United States and internationally. Before joining Sapphire Ventures in 2014, he worked at Hall Capital Partners. Prior to Hall, Winter founded Mead and Mead, an international food distribution and logistics business. He also spent a number o…
 
Eva Ho is a General Partner and co-founder of Fika Ventures, a new $40M seed fund based in LA. She's also an EIR of the City of Los Angeles and a board member of the California Community Foundation. She was previously a co-founder of Susa Ventures, and before that an operator and early employee at Factual and Applied Semantics, and a co-founder of …
 
Graham Pingree is a limited partner at Cendana Capital, where he works with Michael Kim and invests in micro-VC funds. We discuss Graham's background working both at startups as well as firms such as Horsley Bridge and Cambridge Associates, and backing and working with funds such as Forerunner, Founder Collective, and IA Ventures.…
 
For over a decade, Lindel Eakman managed the private investment program for the University of Texas Investment Management Company (UTIMCO), one of the largest endowments in the world. After 13 years at UTIMCO, Lindel left and joined Foundry Group to lead investments in other early-stage VC funds through FG's new fund, Foundry Group Next . We talk a…
 
Jonathan Abrams, founder and CEO of Nuzzel, is a busy man. Jonathan previously founded Friendster and Hotlinks, is an active angel in companies like AngelList and Docker, co-founded Founders Den in San Francisco, and is an LP in some great VC funds. We discuss Jonathan’s move to Silicon Valley in the late nineties to work for Netscape as an enginee…
 
Thomas Lenehan is Deputy Chief Investment Officer at Rockefeller University, helping to manage their $2 billion endowment. Tom’s perspective on the venture ecosystem is unique compared to other guests we’ve had on Origins, particularly given his role managing a science university’s endowment, which funds both their ongoing mission and operations. I…
 
We’re very excited to have Brad Feld to help us kick off season two. In addition to co-founding Foundry Group and Techstars, Brad also co-founded Mobius Venture Capital in 1996. So he’s as qualified as anyone in the world to discuss starting venture firms, and that’s exactly what we did in this episode. Brad has already spoken at length about start…
 
Evan Jaysane-Darr is a Partner at Invesco Private Capital, a public asset management company where he focuses primarily on investing in venture. We discuss what's different about investing in venture as a public company, his experience investing in private equity vs venture funds, and why emerging managers are still important even though Invesco is…
 
Judith Elsea is a co-founder and Managing Director at Weathergage Capital. Judith and her Weathergage partners are investors in some of the most respected venture firms in the world. We discuss building out a venture practice at the Kauffman Foundation, where she was previously Chief Investment Officer, starting Weathergage Capital, what they look …
 
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