176. Creating Powerful Networks, 3 Rules for Great Products, and the Future of Mobile Tech (SC Moatti)

SC Moatti - Full Ratchet - Creating Powerful Networks, 3 Rules for Great Products, and the Future of Mobile Tech
Nick Moran Angel List

SC Moatti of Mighty Capital joins Nick to discuss Creating Powerful Networks, 3 Rules for Great Products, and the Future of Mobile Tech. In this episode, we cover:

  • What led you to start Mighty Capital?
  • Talk more about Products that Count, what was the origin and why?
  • You successfully built a network of over 25,000 PM’s and continue to lead the network… How have you built such a large network?
  • We all have ever-expanding networks… do you have any guidelines or essential rules to maintaining, staying connected, and strengthening your existing network?
  • In your book, you share 3 rules to create successful products. Can you give us an overview of these rules?
  • You’ve developed products that billions of people use at Facebook, Nokia and Electronic Arts. Can you give us an example of a key product decision or change that you led?
  • Portfolio companies have said that Mighty Capital brings the “best value for the dollar invested.” How, specifically, are you creating value for your portcos?
  • How do you determine if a startup has reached product-market fit? 
  • Let’s say, for example, you come across a product that, based on the metrics, has clear product-market fit, growth is accelerating and the team appears quite strong… but you have serious reservations about the product itself… maybe you question the design principles, the UX requires significant improvement, maybe it feels like it was designed by an engineer for an engineer instead of a customer… how do you approach a investment opportunity like this? 
  • Part of your investment criteria is ‘Bay Area-based leadership’ Why do you only invest in companies based in the Bay Area?
  • Tell us more about your book… why’d you write it and what would you like readers to gain from reading it?
  • So, to go a bit deeper on mobile and mobile products? What are some new innovations or opportunities that you think will emerge in the coming years?
  • What current mobile trends do you think have a limited shelf life and will phase out?
  • What are the most concerning trends to you… whether they be related to mobile, entrepreneurship, product or investing?

Guest Links:

Key Takeaways:

  • Products That Count, a nonprofit community of over 25,000 Product Manager’s, has added enormous value for SC’s portfolio companies by giving them access to the product expertise and purchasing power of the community members.
  • Time management and engaging with contacts on a personal level has been most essential for SC to maintain her network. 
  • SC’s 3 step process of joining, shaping and driving conversations through multiple outlets to successfully build a larger network. 
  • Technology is an extension or ourselves, therefore SC poses the question of “What makes a good human being?” when determining products that are great. 
  • SC’s 3 rules of the most successful products. The Body, products having efficiency and universality. The Spirit, products creating a personalized and meaningful experience. The Mind, technology that will learn and grow as we do. 
  • SC’s book “Mobilized” shares examples and case studies on how to successfully use her 3 rules to build a great product. 
  • The importance of shifting from a tech driven “wow factor” product to a user-generated content approach in order to keep people engaged.
  • Mighty Capital brings value to their portfolio companies by accelerating revenue through an understanding of go to market strategies and utilizing the Products That Count network to provide expertise.
  • SC determines a good product market fit when the beginning stages of a repeatable offering are present.
  • The approach of asking yourself “Am I the customer?” when evaluating companies that have good traction and a strong user base but a seemingly weak product. 
  • SC predicts that the data sourcing and recognition abilities of today’s mobile technology will open the door for innovations and opportunities in the health and genomics space. 
  • SC doesn’t see monetization in the VR and AR technology trends and predicts they are certain to phase out. 
  • The emergence of “mega phones” and the need to constantly get bigger and more robust, SC views as an innovators dilemma that will cause disruption. 

Transcribed with AI:

welcome to the podcast about investing in startups, where existing investors can learn how to get the best deal possible. And those that have never before invested in startups can learn the keys to success from the venture experts. Your host is Nick Moran, and this is the full ratchet

Welcome back to TFR today the great product guru SC Moatti joins us as he founded mighty capital which invests in post Product Market Fit companies in the Bay Area. In today’s interview, we discuss her 25,000 member product community products that count how she approaches network building the three rules for successful products. Why Porco say that mighty capital is the best value for dollar invested. How as he defines product market fit, how she approaches a startup with great traction, but seemingly inferior product, the takeaways from her book mobilizing. And finally as he talks about the most exciting and concerning trends in tech in the venture industry. Here’s the interview with SC melotti of mighty capital.

SC melotti joins us today from Palo Alto s he is founding partner at mighty capital. Mighty capital is a Silicon Valley based venture firm with investments in Airbnb, Digital Ocean and fabric genomics among others, as he is also founder of products that count a community of over 25,000 founders and product leaders, and she is author of the popular book mobilized an insider’s guide to the business and future of connected technology. Previous to mighty capital S he built products at Facebook, Nokia and Electronic Arts SC Welcome to the program.

Thank you for having me. It’s great to be here.

Right? Yeah. Can you start off with your your background and your path to venture? Yes,

absolutely. I, I spent a dozen years building products and companies prior to becoming an investor. And before that I was a engineering electrical engineer, I got my MBA. The way I got into venture is, is actually two steps. I after I sold my last company, I spent a few years at Facebook and I started angel investing at that point. I left Facebook because I was invited to write a book, as you mentioned on what makes a great product. And as I was writing this book, I realized that every product manager has a very interesting perspective on on that question and topic. So I started a dinner series at my house, to discuss just that, what makes a great product. And one thing led to another that’s what started my other organization products that count, which is now one of the largest networks of product managers in the world. And as products that count grew, we started to get a lot of great deals from this network, to great deals to invest in. And so my two partners, Ellen, Jennifer and myself, we decided to spin off of our angel group and we started mighty capital as a VC firm.

Awesome. And what is the thesis I know that you guys invest, post product market fit is that usually a Series A investment or a late seed investments. The

earliest we’ve invested in Series A, and we’ve done series A Series B and Series C investments. And that’s what we have in the in the portfolio, where we invest is where we add the most value. And that comes from my product background, I want to meet a very specific need before I get involved. And so we invest were products that count my partners and I can add the most value to a company and that’s at the stage where a company is in hyper growth mode for two reasons. One is all three of us have been very involved in hyper growth companies that have had, you know, massive scale. Yep. And and also the products that count network is a pool of hundreds of 1000s of product managers. And the value of that network is two things. One is the expertise, the technical, technical expertise of product managers, which applies in pretty much any industry at scale. And two is the purchasing power of product managers. They are involved in in many, many decisions for b2b SaaS products. And we’ve worked with some of our portfolio companies and help them close millions of dollars in new business by giving them access to products that count.

Love it, love it. I’m a product manager myself and so this is I know this conversation is close to my heart but I want to touch on that in a second here the products account network, but before that, so back on the thesis are there certain sectors or, you know, other criteria that you guys look for?

Well, we invest in a balanced portfolio. So in our portfolio today, you’ll find a lot of tech, SAS, b2b. And you’ll find a few genomics and personalized medicine company.

Yes, yeah. So back on the products that count network, you mentioned the dinner series and sort of the origin there. Can you talk more about sort of the the early stages of that group? And, you know, how it how it grew so significantly into into such a large network?

Yeah, absolutely. It’s been such an interesting learning from me being in Silicon Valley for 17 years, and seeing how startups go like, have been at such a rapid pace. Because products, that count has been sort of the opposite of that story. It’s been on on slow growth for a bunch of years, the network is about four years old. And for two of these years, products, that count was not much more than a monthly speaker series in San Francisco. And it grew, we had your great speakers, great audience focused on quality, but it was really slow growth. And all of a sudden, a couple of things happen. One is we we started to get, I started to talk to great folks who are not based in the Bay Area. And I wanted them to be able to share their story. So I started a podcast program. And then to some of our audience members, some of our loyal folks started to move around to New York, London, other areas, and they said, Hey, we want to have products that count where we are. And so they offered to run different chapters and, and so two years ago, we started to host that podcast program. And we started pilot expansions to New York and other cities. And this is when things really started to take off, because we went from being a small, quality local Speaker Series, to being a growing and now a national network of product managers. And, and from there, it really was interesting to see how we started experimenting with different programs. I mentioned the podcast program, once I realized that, you know, a lot of people were listening to these podcasts. I thought maybe some people you know, want to listen to want to watch the videos we already have, they want to read. And so we started in editorial contributor program as a pilot. One key moment maybe I’ll share with you is very, very strong moment for me. It was about a year ago, somebody comes to the San Francisco Speaker Series, which is where everything started. And and finds me and grabs my hands like really vigorously and says, Oh my God, you are SC thank you so much. I am from Taiwan, and I listened to your podcast all the time. You can relate to that. Yeah, it’s such a such an emotional moment. And I realized that Okay, so now it’s not something that I do, because it’s cool. I like it. It’s fun. It turned into it’s my responsibility to be a great resource for product people around the world to promote, promote a product culture to make sure that every product manager can build great products. And so from there, the team became a professional team. And we started to think about, you know, our programs as, like regular programming, we we upgraded out of the program. So now if you listen to our podcast, it is a professional podcast, as opposed to some of the early episodes where it was more like SC talking to somebody interesting, you know, right? Yeah. So from there, it’s that early stage of growth and professionalization of you know, what is almost like a mini media organization.

I know, it’s interesting, right? It provides a lot of value. From my standpoint, you know, having a an audience and a way to network with folks that can provide a lot of value.

One of the key question that we had to answer as products that count started to grow is how do we how do we monetize it? And not because we want to make money of products that count. In fact, you know, I don’t want to make money of products that count because I want this to be something that is purely based on helping people build great products. So it’s so incorporated as a nonprofit. But as we get more professional, we had to bring in staff and so we have to have programs, we have to have revenue to pay people and scale the organization. And so it was a question in the organization to think about how we how we scale and we decided that we would scale with really partnerships with quality organization As opposed to, you know, advertising memberships, because we want to be very inclusive of our audience and make sure that they get a very, very high quality experience, and they don’t have to pay for it. Sure. Yeah, I

can relate. I fought sponsorships for I think the first two and a half years that I ran TFR. I just, you know, I looked at the other bloggers like the Fred Wilson’s of the world, and they don’t have advertisers, and they don’t have sponsors on their blogs. And so that was kind of always my response to folks that reached out that wanted to sponsor. And ultimately what happened is, so many audience members kept telling me you actually look less professional, by not having sponsors than if you had some, which kind of got me thinking. And so, you know, now I only work with people that, that are key partners in the ecosystem, and that make a lot of sense for venture folks and founders. There is no, you know, me undies, or or audible sponsorships on my show, and we’re gonna keep it that way.

That’s awesome. Yeah, I can totally relate to that. That’s great.

So you know, one of the challenges that I’ve had, and maybe you can shed some light on this, because I know that you’re, you’re a bit of a networking guru, but you know, we all have these ever expanding networks. And as the network continues to grow, and it breadth and depth, it becomes really hard to kind of manage existing relationships, you know, stay connected with folks strengthen those relationships, because we all have only so much time. You know, how do you think about this? How do you manage? I mean, you’ve got a product manager network, that’s 25,000, folks. I mean, that’s, that’s crazy large. How do you manage your network and stay in touch with folks and deepen those relationships when your network is so large?

Yeah, that’s a great question. It’s a lot has to do with, with time management, and, and I’ve become really ruthless about how I spend my time. But at the same time, just like you’re saying, one of the things I really don’t want to lose is a way to stay connected. So what I’ve done over the years is I’ve I formalized it a little bit more. So for example, when somebody reaches out and says, I want to talk with you, I will try to be as helpful as possible, but also as effective as possible. So I’ll ask, you know, what is it that they seek out from me, and sometimes it’s just introductions, in which case, I give them a free ticket to one of our events, because that’s what they’ll get out of it introductions and meeting people, without me having to be in the middle. And sometimes it’s advice. And so I have a system where I, you know, people can grab 15 minutes of my time for free, and I try to be very helpful in sort of the mentoring that I give, but I’m not, you know, able, unfortunately, to do long coffee discussions. So it’s that setup gives them what they need, while making it possible for me to continue to be in touch. And then other things that I do is, you know, the newsletter, it still gets sent out from from my email. And so every week, we reach more than 25,000 people. And whenever they reply, I get to read all their replies, I get to be the one respond responding to them personally. And by the way, like, every time there is, every time I respond, I’m like, thank you so much for being a fan, because this is really what makes this network exist. So these are some ways that I stay connected. With that said, maybe something that could be helpful for your audience, which is how to build your network, as opposed to, you know, the situation where you and I are in, which is we have this huge network, we’re trying to manage the our time in a way that I think your audience can can build their network effectively. I think of it as a sort of a three step process. If you want to build a professional brand and say be perceived as a seven mobile expert. Well, the first thing you want to do is you want to join the conversation. And then step two, and three, which I’ll talk about in a minute is you want to shape the conversation and then drive the conversation. But let’s first talk about joining the conversation because about 99% of people that we hang out with are not part of the conversation, even though they often think they are and what I mean by joining the conversation is actually being for example active on social media voicing, like an opinion like this is cool or this is not cool, but just like saying I’m here. When I started on, you know this this journey. My new year resolution at the time was tweet one article in one interesting article Every day. And it seems like it’s very easy, but it’s actually not that easy when when you’ve not done anything, and you want to start doing something, because you have to have the discipline of doing it every day. And every day, you have to find one interesting article to tweet. And that means you have to read a lot of not so interesting articles before you find one. But in very little time, you’ll actually gain visibility, first of all your your Twitter follower will, will grow significantly, people will start to look at you as somebody who expresses themselves and it automatically puts you in the Union 1% of people, you will, you know, many people who do that, within a year, get invited to be on a board or get invited to consult if that’s their job or to find another job. Now, step two, is actually shaping the conversation. So once you start doing, you know, the one article a day, very soon, you’ll find that you want to actually express your opinion, like this article, I really liked part one, but two, part two, I think he misses this point, and so on and so forth. So you’ll start to want to add your two cents, yep. To somebody’s opinion. When I started doing this, my New Year’s resolution that was a year later, was I want to be on one panel each month. At a panel, you know, you’re given a topic, and all you have to do is answer the question. So you give your two cents on a topic. It’s not that difficult to get on one panel amongst you have to after you’ve gone to a lot of events, you reach out to the organization, hey, I have some opinions. Look at my Twitter feed. Do you want to have me on one of your panels, and all of a sudden you become somebody whose opinion is respected and thought out? And so step three, which is driving the conversation is typically something like you know, writing a book, or hosting a podcast, giving a keynote talk, because then you get to say, I think these are the trends in this whatever mobile topic or investing topic that I take. And so I may, you know, I hate the term, but I’m a thought leader in that field. Right. And so, you know, if your audience is seeking to to raise their professional profile, I think there’s very simple like 123 step is, is very helpful or has been helpful to me.

Yeah, for sure. Absolutely. You know, if we were to shift gears and in talk product for a while I know that you have you have deep expertise, when it comes to product and product management, you’ve written about rules, three rules that that helped create successful products, would you be able to kind of give us an overview of your rules for for successful products?

Yes, absolutely. Thank you for asking that. So the very simple way to, for me to describe what a great product is, is, is to think about technology as an extension of ourselves, like our phone is sort of like a limb for us and you know, sooner other other devices will be. So when I think about what makes a great product, I think about what makes a great human being. And then I use in my book, The Mind Body Spirit framework to describe this. So body, we all want to look good. And we expect that our technology is also going to be beautiful. And beauty is not is a lot more than the pretty pictures. It’s about efficiency and universality, and many other things. The second rule is the spirit rule. We all want to have meaningful lives. And so we want our technology and we expect that our technology is also going to be very personalized. And that comes with pros and cons, as we can hear in the news very, very often these days. And then the third rule is the mind role. Where we all want to learn, we all want to grow your listeners in particular everybody who’s taking a class reading a book, and we expect that our technology is going to learn and grow with us. And so to me, these are sort of these very, somewhat abstract rules of what makes a great product. And then in my book, I give you a framework case study examples on how you turn that into a great product.

Yeah, can you can you talk about an example. Now I know that you’ve developed products that, you know, billions of people have probably used at Facebook and Nokia and Electronic Arts. Can you walk us through maybe an example of a key product decision or something that you led that was a change to a product or developing a new product that kind of embodies some of these rules? Yeah,

I’ll give you an example from my days. I know Yeah, we built a an augmented reality service. And at the time, augmented reality was going through like a very, very big, like, hot wave. It was it was really trendy. But it was a bit of technology in search of a use case. Yep. And as it can be today, even. So, one of the, the, you know, v1 product that I launched at the time, was very much centered around showcasing that technology, because when you first launch an AR product, there’s this wall factor which gets you eyeballs, but then to keep people engaged after they’ve seen the same, you know, image recognition technology like three, four times, it’s really, really difficult. And so the big shift we made was to go from a technology driven wow factor product, to much more of a user generated content approach, where we said, Actually, our awesome technology or dozens of patterns, our awards and so on, that’s in service of letting people you know, tag their friends, tag their home, and contribute memories to the environment. And that was a huge shift. Because you can imagine in any product, like software environment, the engineers are the ones building a product, and they’re proud of their technology, and to get them to realize that if they want a product to be successful, they have their great product. They’re great technology has to get into the in the background, it was a hard transition.

Got it? Got it. Yeah, it certainly see that I’ve I’ve worked with a lot of other product managers, some, some are engineers, and some some aren’t. But for my experience, at least the folks that were almost customer obsessed and work the most closely with the customers on use cases and applications and workflows, develop the products that that were most successful, at least in my experience.

Yeah, absolutely. And in fact, a lot of that transition was to be customer obsessed. And in the environment we were in it was, you know, being on on forum and answering, you know, complaints from unhappy users who were maybe disenchanted or disappointed by the product. And then, you know, asking them for another chance to impress them. And when you you know, when you’re a PhD in computer vision, and you see that your amazing work is, is being discarded by people on the street, he can be really hard to accept so that that whole, you know, internal transition was actually a very, very important part of the, the turnaround and the and the change in the product, which made it very successful. We, we ended up with a product that had, you know, millions of downloads, but more importantly, very, very strong retention.

Wow, that’s great. That’s great. Yeah. So I do want to understand sort of the application of this product expertise to venture. You know, I read that portfolio companies have said that mighty capital brings the best value for the dollar invested. And I think at new stack, we we share a similar ethos. You know, when our portfolio founders are asked by other founders, who should I raise from our goal is to be the first investor recommended. So my my question to USC is, you know, how specifically, are you creating value for the portfolio companies that you’re investing in?

Yeah, this is a couple of ways. And I’ll give you examples. The first example is we help accelerate revenue at scale. And by that, I mean, we have generated millions of dollars in revenue for our portfolio companies. And the way we do that is we sit down with them, we ask, what their go to market strategy is, and where they see some, you know, maybe either weaknesses or areas where we could help, you know, boost the go to market, maybe it’s a geography, maybe it’s a specific segment of us buyers. And with the products that count network, which is, you know, hundreds of 1000s of product managers, some are in the Bay Area somehow in New York, some are all over the world, some are juniors some are seniors, some are in retail, so more in finance, we are able to give portfolio company access to a very large customer base at scale. That’s the first case study. The second case study is a acceleration of hiring and and expertise at scale. This audience of product managers, they are generally very technical audiences technical People, they have a certain expertise, be it in genomics, be it in AI, be it in something else. And so when we invest in a portfolio company, who’s looking to hire people who are going to build complex technical products, again, we can pull from our network, a group of people that are very close and very viable candidates for them to hire in the in the technical field. So to summarize, right acceleration of scale and acceleration of of hiring. Got it. And

you mentioned a couple of times that you like to engage post product market fit. Can you tell us kind of your personal definition of product market fit? And how you determine whether the perspective portfolio company has or not?

Yes, you know, it’s, it’s interesting, because I use this term, and then I have a talk where I say, product market fit is a is a fallacy, it doesn’t exist. And so I’m glad you’re asking me, you know, my perspective is the minute you reach, quote, unquote, product market fit, you’re going to lose it. Because what it means is you have a number of people who are willing to pay you for what you offer. And so there’s something of value in what you offer. But as you grow this customer base, you’re going to get new people who are going to have new requirements. And so in a way you lose product market fit, you have to find it again, over and over again. Right. So what what we where we invest, and where it makes sense for us to invest is when there is that beginning stages of a repeatable offering. So even though sometimes it can be misleading, because we say we have so many product managers, we’re not the investors who will sit down with you and figure out what your product is going to look like. Where are the investors who will sit down with you, once you have a product that say, like, half a dozen to a dozen customers have bought? And you’re like, oh, now I’m on the hook for, you know, tripling or 10, nixing my my sales, and I’m gonna have to hire a bunch of people to get there. That’s when we’re really able to add value because of the scale we have.

Got it, too. So what does that mean, you, you, you get involved when when it’s repeatable? Is there? Is there something that you’re looking for in the metrics? Or is there a customer profile? That you’re looking at? Like, you know, is, is the product ready for mass market? Do they have some mass market customers already? I mean, what are some of the specifics around that?

Yeah, it’s a great question. So because we invest in multiple industries, the answer will will differ. We we like there’s sort of two two scenarios. One is your customers, you don’t have a ton of them. And the the the ticket item is, is relatively big. And two is you have a ton of customers and the ticket item is small. What we want to see is that on the first one, you have some really happy customers. So if they pay you big, and they’re happy, we know that we can help you scale. And then on the other one, the you many, many customers that are low price point, we want to see some velocity.

Got it? Got it. Let’s say, for example, you come across a product that based on the metrics does have clear product market fit, and growth is accelerating. And the team apparently appears quite strong. But you have serious reservations about the product itself. Maybe you question the design principles, or the UX. Maybe it feels like it was designed by an engineer for an engineer instead of for a customer. I have come across a couple of these recently, were really strong traction, the appearance of an engaged user base, but the product to me seems weak. And so you know, I’m curious, se you know, how do you approach an investment opportunities like this?

Yeah, so the big question is, am I the customer or not? And most of the time, I’m not. So we when we do due diligence, we do customer references, and we really try to understand what customers are saying about the product and more generally, the service. So in other words, even though I have a product background, I don’t necessarily believe that. You know, my view on a great product is the perfect view. And so if another you know, if a company comes up with a product that I don’t like that other people like and buy, that’s good for me

Yeah, that’s a good point, right? We’re not always the customer, it’s often not the customer actually. And so kind of to your earlier point is always going back to the customer and speaking with them is, is, is definitely smart advice. Se, you know, part of your investment criteria I noticed is Bay Area leadership. Why is it that you only invest in companies whose leadership teams are based in the Bay Area?

It’s, it’s a matter of our own scale and limitation. And I hope that if you and I speak a year from now, I will tell you things have changed. We’re a relatively young firm. And because of that, or as a result of that, we want to make sure that the portfolio we have right now, we deliver a huge amount of value to them, and our networks, our expertise, our our commutes are in the Bay Area. And so that’s that’s how we know we’re going to be able to add a lot of value. But what I hope is that, in about a year, we’ll be able to invest in New York and, and in other US, cities, great cities, because we see a lot of innovation there. The products, that count network has grown to be very strong in many different cities. And so we feel that we can scale that value very soon, probably with our next fund.

Well, I know you get to Chicago every once in a while sec, don’t forget about us.

Absolutely. I love going to Chicago. So tell us

a little bit more about the book. Why did you write it? And what are what would you like readers to gain from reading it?

Yeah, it’s really, it’s a great question. So I always wanted to write a book. And so when the my publisher reached out and offered a book deal, I was excited, it was the right time for me. And so I went for it. And the day after I signed my contract, I remember my publisher, pulling me aside and saying, you know, I see, I have to tell you something, nobody reads books anymore. And they buy your book, but you want to make sure that when if they buy your book, you’re gonna give them a very, very easy way for them to feel as if they have read the book, even though they might not do that. And, and, you know, I can understand that I am an avid reader, but there are still like, way more books that I would like to read and books that I have read. So the one idea that I want my readers to gain from it is, is that the best products are like our best selves, because our technology is an extension of ourselves. And so you know, Mind Body Spirit, the mind rule, the best products, keep learning and growing. The Spirit rule, the best products are personalized, and keep giving us more meaning and value. And then body the best products are, are absolutely beautiful in that they’re extremely efficient. And and they have a relationship with us that that’s universal.

So to talk a little bit more about mobile here and mobile products, what are some of the new innovations or opportunities that you think will emerge in the coming years?

Yes, you know, I do believe there’s a tremendous amount of opportunities in the health and life science. Space. When I when I think about where we spend our healthcare money today, our system was designed to treat really bad terminal diseases, like, you know, cancer and your fatal diseases, as opposed to handle chronic diseases. And today, 75% of healthcare costs goes to chronic diseases, which can be managed very effectively with mobile technology. So I anticipate that there will be a lot of personalized medicine. The other thing is, you know, mobile has has created a lot of technologies and in services that handle data at scale, because this is the first time in our history, that we have access to so much data. So if you look at you know, AI and machine learning, the problems they were solving 10 years ago was how do I make up a huge amount of data from a small amount of data and the problems they’re solving today is how do I make sense of the massive amounts of data that I have? Well, there’s another massive body of data that’s sitting there waiting to be to be approached, which is genomics data that’s inside us, as opposed to mobile data, which is data that’s outside of us. And so I think that, paradoxically, mobile is going to open up the door for a ton of innovation in the field of genomics. Wow. Because the technology that has been developed with mobile to use and, and make sense of huge body of data is going to be applied to the genomic body of data. And so we’ve made a couple of investments there. You mentioned fabric genomics, and the other one being mission bio, of companies who rely on the genomics platform to to innovate, but they also use sort of mobile technology as in like, AI and machine learning and, and much more. So I suppose

sensors would have to evolve quite a bit biometric sensors, etc, in order to collect a lot of that genomic data that’s, that’s not currently being captured.

So that’s if you’re talking about real time, but there are also many ways to do that. In, you know, a synchronous mode. So Fabry genomics, for example, has access to a lot of genomics data and computes that information to provide research that helps hospitals and pharmaceuticals make better decision. So it’s not necessarily a consumer application, it can be also a b2b application.

Got it? Got it. What about? What about current mobile trends that may have a limited shelf life? Right? So we see a lot of a lot of different trends in mobile, are there any that you think, are short term and will likely phase out?

So I’m, I’m not a very bullish investor. And when it comes to AR and VR, and maybe that’s because I am too close to, to to this field, I spent a year to three years building service like this. But I honestly I don’t see a monetization potential at scale. And so I think that while there’s a lot of hype around it, and while it has a lot of great applications in, in gaming, and in some very limited b2b use cases, I don’t see that necessarily be a long lasting trend in mobile.

Got it. So some of the common monetization methods from mobile, you don’t think are transportable to VR AR environments?

I’m not really and I say that. And at the same time, I’m a huge fan of Jaron Lanier, I don’t know if you know this guy, but he’s one of the fathers of VR and, and a brilliant technology thinkers, thinker, one of the one of the brightest, I know, he just wrote a book called The dawn of the new everything, which is a manifesto for VR. And I have so much respect for him. But at the same time, I just, I’m just not seeing them the opportunity at scale. Interesting.

So what are what are the most concerning trends to you? Whether they be related to mobile entrepreneurship, product investing? You know, are there any current trends in the industry that you’re concerned about?

So there’s sort of two sides to that right. Concern? I will, I will turn first to do do I think there are bad things happening? And yes, I you know, I do see inequality rising. I don’t like that at all. I, I believe that the two sort of weapons against inequality or technology and education, and so we we make donations to, to organizations that support that we, we have a lot of value behind behind that products account is sort of very much a way to give people opportunities to change their lives, through technology and learning. But that’s sort of a, you know, very high level macro trend. And there’s, there’s, there are things that I can do about it, but But it’s more of a systemic trend. The other answer to your question is in in our current venture capital industry, what do I see? That I think is is a concern, I will say, I see I see more as an opportunity than a concern. And I’ll say two things there. One is the emergence of these mega funds. And the second one is a liquidity crisis. And what I think it’s doing is it’s putting the venture capital industry in an innovator Dilemma situation where the premises if I want To survive, I’m going to have to keep getting bigger and bigger. And that’s very much the situation that I experienced at Nokia. If I want to survive, I’m going to have to, you know, build a bigger camera was the the answer at the time for for for devices. And then somebody in this case, in the case of Nokia Apple came in and changed the game. And so what I see emerge is, is a new trend of VC that is going to disrupt the incumbents, which is a trend that’s network driven ecosystem driven very much along the lines of what you do where you’re building a solid network, that that creates value. Intrinsically, I very much what of course, I’m doing with mighty capital and products account.

Got it? Got it. Wow. So the whole industry could be disrupted? Hmm.

I think so. Yeah.

I hope? Well, I hope you’re right. I think it’s time I mean, like you said with the megaphones coming in it’s, it’s unfortunate. When you see a Softbank come in and make, you know, a massive investment in one startup, you know, in a in a space, that gives them a huge competitive edge at that point. Even if, you know, it may not be the best structured startup or the best offering or, or creates the most value for customers. I don’t love venture capital, when it’s just a race to advertise. And, you know, build the biggest user base, you talked before about how you, you really like to see products that have high engagement, right? And we look for that, too, I tend to preference engagement, more so than just customer acquisition. Because customer acquisition is fleeting. And it’s, it’s unfortunate when we see that the big tech companies, the Googles, the Apples, the Facebook’s of the world are getting so much of our venture dollars, right? You dump all these venture dollars into these companies, these companies use advertising tech, and they send the the VC dollars, right back to the ad tech companies. That’s just kind of an unfortunate cycle. I’d rather the, the customers in the companies themselves capture more of the the total value that they’re creating.

Yeah, I mean, I couldn’t agree more. At the same time, I think that creates huge opportunities as well. You know, when I look at what’s happening with these mega startups, is they have to grow so big, so fast, that often they they miss niche opportunities that you and I can find, and then can get acquired by these companies. And so, you know, they’re the size of a Softbank and Sequoia, I believe opens up a lot of opportunities for smaller, more like ecosystem funds, like ours, sir point.

That’s a really fair point. So see if we could cover any topic here on the program, What topic do you think we should address? And who would you like to hear speak about it?

Yes, I’d love to hear more about ways people add value to to their portfolio companies. And I know you do a great job at this. But you know, I think having some concrete examples of value of being in the trenches would be very helpful to, to me as an investor so that, you know, when I think about CO investing with someone, I can learn about their philosophy, their approach by listening to one of your podcasts, or when an entrepreneur is looking to take money from somebody, they learn more specific stories. So beyond the thesis, like, tell me a story from the trenches. Love it.

Love it. That’s great. So what investor you mentioned before that you’ve had some very influential teachers and CO investors, but if you had to pick one, what investor has influenced you most?

So I would take my mentor Susan Mason, who has been a very successful investor here in Silicon Valley for a few decades. She started at onset and climbed the ranks there, and then spun out her own firm aligned partners. But most importantly, she’s the founding chairman of the Kauffman Fellow Program. Anyway, very influential, strong, powerful insider investor. And what really blew me away is when I you know, met her and started developing a relationship with her. How humble, approachable, available, transparent she was so she’s influenced me because Is she really represents the type of person I would I would want to be one day.

That’s amazing. That’s great. And then finally, I see what’s the best way for listeners to connect with you?

Yeah, so shoot me an email SC at mighty that capital. And I’ll also point to our website because it has a lot of resources to help you craft a great pitch, understand our due diligence and then also a lot of knowledge related to you know, managing your company like what kind of executive compensation are you looking for? What’s a great way for you to build a go to market business development practice and a lot of other things. So mighty dot capital?

Well, SEM, I’m so happy we had a chance to connect i I always enjoy reading your insights on networking and product and investing. And I’m so happy that you carved out some time to share those insights with us today.

It was a really fun talk. Thank you so much for having me. I had a great time.

That will wrap up today’s episode. Thanks for joining us here on the show. And if you’d like to get involved further, you can join our investment group for free on AngelList. Head over to angel.co and search for new stack ventures. There you can back the syndicate to see our deal flow. See how we choose startups to invest in and read our thesis on investment in each startup we choose. As always show notes and links for the interview are at full ratchet.net And until next time, remember to over prepare, choose carefully and invest confidently thanks for joining us