Villi Iltchev of Two Sigma Ventures joins Nick to discuss Using “George” a Proprietary Tool to Source Startups, The Commoditization of Capital, and the New Exit Environment. In this episode, we cover:
- Walk us through your background and path to VC
- What’s the thesis at Two Sigma?
- Tell us about George.
- What’s George’s biggest blind spot?
- What is your decision framework on investments?
- What characteristics do you look for in markets when identifying new sectors/spaces of interest?
- How long after investing in/working with a company do you tend to know whether it’s going to work or not?
- Do you attempt to handicap execution risk vs. technical risk vs. commercial risk?
- Capital is a commodity and, largely speaking, there doesn’t appear to be a lot of differentiation in venture. How do you combat the commoditization of venture?
- Aside from bankers… who do you think stands to lose the most from the increase in SPACs and direct listings?
- Any other downsides, unintended consequences, or problematic issues that could arise from the increase in SPACs?
- A decade from now, will the U.S. be the best country to start a tech company? If it shifts, what are the prime candidate countries to replace the U.S.?
- International investment strategy for Two Sigma?
- Three data points… hypothetical investment scenario
- Let’s say you’re approached to invest in an enterprise SaaS startup.
- Founder has a great background.
- MRR is $200k, growing 20% MoM. LTV:CAC is 5:1. Quick Ratio greater than 4.
- Catch is, you can only ask 3 questions for 3 specific data points, in order to make your decision. What three questions do you ask?
Transcribed with AI:
Speaker 1 0:02
welcome to the podcast about venture capital, where investors and founders alike can learn how VCs make decisions and reach conviction. Your host is Nick Moran. And this is the full ratchet.
Nick Moran 0:18
Villi Iltchev joins us today from San Francisco. He’s a partner at two sigma ventures, an early stage venture fund investing in data and engineering to create the future. Prior to two sigma ventures. He was a general partner at August capital, a member of the leadership teams at box and LifeLock, and vice president at Salesforce. Villi, welcome to the show.
Unknown Speaker 0:36
Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.
Nick Moran 0:38
Yeah, so I, you know, I did a very high level of your background, but can you talk us through your path to venture?
Speaker 2 0:46
Sure my path to venture is, for the most part an accident, and really, when, when somebody reaches out and asks me how they can pursue the same career path as I did, I tell them don’t. Because even if I had to try to replicate, where I ended up, I couldn’t do it myself. So long way of saying, you know, I think as you go through your career, be prepared for different things and keep an open mind and learn and build skills. But my philosophy at least is, don’t be too guess, prescriptive about where the path may lead. Because you never know, it may surprise you. So I started my career. And the reason I came to Silicon Valley is nobody wanted to hire me, except for the investment banks coming out of business school, it was right after the the.com had burst. And the only opportunities I had available to me were in investment banking. And but I didn’t want to go to New York. And so fortunately, Merrill Lynch asked me to come to California, and do technology. And that’s how I came here to the Bay Area in 2004. I did investment banking for a few years, which was a good experience, but very quickly, I realized, it’s just not what I want to do career career wise. And after in the spring of 2008, before the financial crisis, I called my two best clients. One of them was HP, one of them was Salesforce. And Salesforce at the time was a very small company. And HP was a very large and successful company at the time. And so Salesforce said, we don’t really have a role for you, you’re going to be bored. And he said, we’d love to have you. So I ended up at HP, I was there briefly for a year, basically running strategy for the enterprise hardware business. And then about 12 or 15 months later, Salesforce reached out again and said, We think we’re ready to get more active, more strategic, take advantage of the opportunities around us, we need somebody to help us kind of put together a strategy called that function. And so I joined Salesforce in 2009, which at the time was an obvious now it’s obvious, of course, because Salesforce is the largest enterprise software company today. But at the time, it was a relatively small company. But it was the best thing that ever happened to me. And so I had tremendous experience there. I learned a lot. You know, Salesforce was a very relevant and is a very relevant company today. Right place, right time. RTO. We’re very active on the investing fund, we had incredible access to founders who wanted to be associated with Salesforce, because the credibility brought to the table. We acquired a lot of really interesting companies that I was involved with. And after Salesforce, I had a couple of more kind of leadership operating roles at a company called LifeLock. And after that box, and then about four and a half years ago, five years ago, you know, out of a few random conversations, I started getting recruited by a couple of venture capital firms. That was not something I was actively pursuing. It really kind of happened. And long story short, I joined August capital in early 2016. And that was a great experience. And then last year, I joined two sigma ventures, which is a younger VC firm. That started in New York and now I’m going up presence in California in San Francisco.
Nick Moran 4:40
Again, well, I want to talk about two sigma. Deep. Were you doing corp dev at Salesforce?
Speaker 2 4:44
I was I was I mean my job was fairly broad at the time in that inside core Dev, we had the the investment arm of Salesforce what is now Salesforce ventures. And so in addition to that, The typical core dev strategy and m&a work. We also did a lot of investing work. And we invested in all kinds of amazing companies from DocuSign to Box, Dropbox, Evernote, Twilio, mule, soft, HubSpot, you know, wow, Gousto, Zapier, you name it, like we had the ability to invest in anything we just had better access than really any venture capital firm. Because what we brought to the table again, was we weren’t tightening, we were pretty straight up in how we engage with founders and, and there were a lot of benefits to startups to taking some money from Salesforce, because of the influence and reach Salesforce had in the ecosystem, and credibility. So really, what is the thesis at two sigma? The thesis is that, just like any other industry, data can be used and leveraged to improve your business process and informed decisions. And I think a lot of VC firms have talked to some extent about this. But nobody really does anything of substance, leveraging data, and two sigma, which started out as a technology enabled hedge fund. And what I mean by that is truly a world class data science shop up 300 PhDs about 600, software engineers, they would truly extraordinary in their data science and big data capabilities and build a very large business, you know, two sigma ventures kind of came out of that culture, as a sister organization that is very much inspired by their success, which is how can you use data to change venture capital? Now, at very early stage, I think most of the data we’re using is to help us with workflow. So turns out, everybody talks about ventures and needle in a haystack, which is kind of true, but not really, when you think about it. The about 4000 seed deals that happen per year in software, or less actually, that’s overall, you know, about 2000 of them are software deals, deals that I would consider within scope of our interest. And then the question is, how do you process that? How do you identify it? How do you touch it? How do you assess it? How do you then put it through some sort of a workflow to assess whether that’s something you want to consider investing in? How do you track it? And that’s when you have a team of 10 people? That’s really 200 200 companies per year? That’s like one a day. That is not an insurmountable challenge. Right? It is about workflow. It’s about how do you process that in a systematic way. Now, that’s not to say, data cannot inform our decision making for sure, I would say there are lots of untapped data sources that we can be leveraging, including, like open source, for example, there’s so much out there about projects and you know, when something is taking off and getting adopted and who’s behind it, and what companies are using it, or that is public information, you know, so there is definitely an opportunity for us to be leveraging data to make decision making decisions as well. But at least initially, with build an application, it sucks all the data that’s out there, or startups, and it basically distributed to the team puts it through a workflow, make sure we process it, and of course, over time want to graduate and we want to broaden the scope of what we do. Expand the capital we manage, at which time, I think there’s going to be more and more opportunities to leverage data, how
Nick Moran 9:05
many different partners at two sigma on the ventures, their
Speaker 2 9:09
total, four partners, the three partners that are on the investing side, and one of my partners, basically was the operations of the firm and what we call portfolio success, which is all the resources we have, that we try to make available to our companies.
Nick Moran 9:26
Many folks have come on the program and talked about pattern recognition. And there’s been some thoughts about whether VC is an apprenticeship business or it’s not, it can’t be taught, you know, how do you think about the team at two sigma and, you know, does that group attend do they all meet with companies and do some assessment and kind of surface the best ones and, you know, how do you make sure that sort of the the ideals and the the critical things that that need to be assessed in and are valued At two sigma, you know, are are embraced by the entire team. Yeah,
Speaker 2 10:05
I mean, I think, of course, pattern matching is very important to, to bento, that instinct of like, what makes something special is really hard to describe, it’s really hard to teach. And you can only do it by just seeing it a lot. And of course, the thing about venture too is to every pattern, there’s the exception. So. So, you know, it’s really hard. They are generalizations in which you can fit things, but you always have to leave the door open that this one may be an exception. And so I think, trying to rely just on your top three or five pattern matters, the partners, the people that have the most experience will never allow you to scale. That’s the problem with the boutique venture model is, it’s like five guys and their relationships is literally guys. And, you know, they source because they’re well networked and very smart and very experienced in their relationships. Well, yeah, that may be true, it’s just, you’re looking at a tiny subset of the opportunity to the opportunities that are out there. And so it just doesn’t scale. And so we are much more inspired by what Andreessen is doing what inside is doing what Sequoia is doing, which is we aspire to touch every opportunity out there and have an opportunity to render an opinion on it, to have a point of view, you know, we may not get them all right, we may not win them all. But if we don’t see them, there is no decision to be made. And therefore, we very much believe that, you know, meeting with companies, sourcing processing is a team sport, everybody needs to do it. And we need to hire people who have that instinct and can grow over time to be deals and have the experience to support the mentor and founders and sit on boards. So I’ve
Nick Moran 12:32
heard about this, this proprietary tool that you use called George, and I’m not sure if that’s something you talk about publicly. But I have to ask you, you know, what is George? Yeah,
Speaker 2 12:44
I mean, it’s, it’s, I don’t know how you heard about it. I don’t know if it’s on our website, but it is an application we have built. It’s, we have two and a half data scientist working on it full time. And what it does is it basically sucks, or startup data from everywhere, or public and proprietary databases out there. It looks at the investors, who they are, who the team is, it looks up LinkedIn data, it looks at blog data, it looks at Investor data, and we score the credibility of those investors and and basically tries to surface those in a systematic way. So that I can look at something, say, here’s all the information, it basically will take me probably half an hour to research becomes available in a dashboard immediately, I can quickly assess, is this a company I want to meet with or not? If so I can create a lead in our CRM, I can from the to reach out to the founder and say, Hey, Nick, I just saw your company, I noticed that it looks very interesting. We’d like to connect, we’d love to connect. And so it basically allows me to process that within minutes, within seconds, actually. And so that too, is getting more and more intelligent as we put more and more data into it. As it recognizes the things I like and don’t like. It sorts the opportunities by based on how I’ve behaved and interacted with in the past. And so our goal, again, is to make sure that it knows what I’m interested in. It knows the people I care about and want to invest with. And it surfaces the right opportunities in front of me. So I don’t have to manually go look at databases or talk to every single of my VC funds. What companies in your portfolio, it just happens automatically. That’s not to say relationship Don’t matter, relationships are very important. And I probably rely to this day, mostly on relationships, you know, which, which is a good problem to have I, you know, lots of people that are very helpful to me in industry want to see me be successful, and I’m very grateful for it. But if you’re just starting in the business, or you’re your principal and associated, it gives you a very structured way of sourcing and finding great opportunities, or reminds me
Nick Moran 15:31
like we’re, we haven’t launched a fundraise yet. But we’re thinking about launching a fundraise for ourselves soon. And there’s two ways to do that, right? You talk to people and other GPS say, hey, you know, we’ve got some LPS that are a good fit. And that’s great. But you can also look at what are the landscape of LPs out there that invest in emerging funds of your approximate size? And then you at least know, you know, here are the here’s where we should be aimed, here are the folks that you know, are a good idea to get in touch with. And, of course, there’s always some serendipity in the former, but important to do the latter as well. There.
Speaker 2 16:07
That’s right. I mean, George is a huge differentiator for us. Nobody else has anything like it, everybody talks about it. It’s got the UI, it’s it looks, it looks, the way I would describe it is it looks like a proprietary version of affinity. I would, I would argue that in a couple of years, if you want to make a business out of it, I sell it to venture firms, I bet I can get half of venture firms to buy it. It’s just a really, it’s a great application with give
Nick Moran 16:46
me an example of a company. And some of those characteristics, or some of those things that would jump out at you is this is interesting, this is something I should probably take a deeper look.
Speaker 2 16:56
Yeah, I mean, for example, it would know it will know that I’m looking at Dev Tools, or know that I’ve looked at two similar companies in the past, and I’ve connected with all the founders entities, my emails and all that stuff, you will see that pick an investor I really like but say, I’ll give a shout out to my friends at Bloomberg Beta in knows I track Bloomberg very closely. It knows I want to see all their companies. You know, it’s an API, I’ve done two deals that are, you know, API first companies, and it will just surface it and you’ll say, raised 2.5 million, you know, six months ago from the set of investors, you track all these investors, LinkedIn data would suggest this type of traction. Here’s here’s a few data points that may be a bit proprietary that would indicate you should connect with this company. And I’ll take a look, I’ll say, Yep, I like it clearly. Email the founder, you know, connect. So
Nick Moran 18:02
aside from disposition of the founders, what do you think is George’s biggest blind spot?
Speaker 2 18:09
George’s biggest blind spot is to really good question. It, it we haven’t invested enough yet in, like, analytics around founder profile, what does a great founder look like? And there are a lot of things there you can do with data, from the greatest universities, to networks to all that stuff, it doesn’t really understand the relationship between when a seed round was done. And how time changes, the probability of that company being exciting was successful, for example. So if a seed round occurred more than two and a half years ago, and the company hasn’t raised capital yet, it’s probably not going well. So even though you may have a bunch of great seed investors on the cap table, it’s probably not exciting, but that’s okay. I can quickly ascertain that again myself and and just dismiss it doesn’t really fully understand relationships between funds and people as well yet. So yeah, I like felices as an investor, but what other data points can you infer that are public that would suggest whether this is something that is a significant investment for felices or not, whether there is something there? It looks like, is exciting for them or not? Like? I don’t know. There’s so much data out there again, like, Is anybody out felices promoting this company on Twitter or other places? or is it forgotten? So I just think there’s a lot of these relationships and nuance that we can continue to improve the algorithm on. It’s just not a priority right now, the priority, again, is we’re not dealing with an infinite number of opportunities. The opportunities number is, I don’t know, 2500 to 4000 per year, pretty reasonable. Not that much. It can also is that the question is, can you do it in a systematic way? Or is everybody like calling on the same company and doing the same thing? So I’m sure we can geek out on George all day long. But there’s a point of diminishing returns, sir. Yeah,
Nick Moran 20:44
it makes me smile, thinking, you know, about companies that you and I have spoken about, I can just imagine you typing it into George and checking it out. But, um, so let’s say George has identified a company, it’s interesting for you, right, it becomes a lead. Walk us through, you know, you’re engaging with this company? What is your thought process? And can you give us some clarity on your decision framework when you’re looking at at an investment?
Speaker 2 21:11
Yeah, I mean, I think here, I’m not that differentiated or unique. I probably look and behave like most VCs. I, you know, tried to connect with the founder. Oftentimes, founders would say something, or sometimes they would say, Hey, we’re not raising right now. My my response back is like, I’m not investing right now. I’m just trying to meet you, dude, like, or, or lady like, I just want to get to know you. I think venture is trust is really important in in the consideration for what and who you should invest in. And so I do try to get to know founders. I think the same thing applies to founders too, I try to advise people that the top three considerations for the series in series, A investor should be trust. And it’s really hard to do that in the midst of a fundraising process, which is to say, I tend to tell people don’t waste your time talking to a bunch of VCs. But at the same time, if you’re meeting a VC during your fundraising process, you’re doing it wrong. Right. So there is this middle ground where it’s important to get to know people. So I try to get to know them learn about their company, where they’re going. Rarely is that like, right at the time, they’re thinking about fundraising, or that I would be ready to invest in and so it becomes part of a, you know, workflow part of a conversation and getting to know each other queer, first meeting with a founder, happens, I get to know the company, there may be another conversation in one to three months to kind of see their progress, see what they’re doing. And at some point, either I would suggest, like, Hey, I think you have made enough progress, where you should consider raising capital now. Or the founder may say, like, Hey, I think I’m ready to raise capital, either way, that will be the right time for me to engage, I usually try to bring in another one of my colleagues or partners to the next meeting, to get some feedback and get another point of view. And, you know, and then from that point, it’s, it’s a matter of days for us to complete our work and make a decision. Obviously, you need to come and kind of present to the whole firm on on Monday or Thursday, whatever it may be. But my philosophy is that great firms make decisions very quickly. And they do that not by cutting corners, but rather, by coming together. And doing a lot of work in a very short period of time together as a team, and when their decision. And so my philosophy again, as you can, the initial process may be months, if not years, in some cases, just tracking people. But the minute you kind of decide to engage, you have a week, maybe two, to get your work done and make a decision. I find that to be manageable and sufficient.
Nick Moran 24:16
We don’t always have the benefit of time when getting to know founders, you know, sometimes you’ll meet a founder, they’re in the midst of a round or maybe they weren’t in the midst of a round, but they’ve received the term sheet things are coming together, you got to make a quick decision. And so, you know, you pull the trigger. What I’m curious from you Villy is you know how long after investing in or working with a company? Do you tend to know whether it’s going to work or not?
Speaker 2 24:45
I mean, the joke in the business is weighed into your first board meeting then you know if you really are got it right or not. The reality is you kind of never know you know, things harm from the dead and become spectacular successes, and things that are spectacular successes turned into, into failed startups. So you just never know, you know, our goal is to support founders through the good times and the bad, don’t get too high, when things are going well don’t get too low, when things are going bad, I view my role as to be the counterbalance to founder to pick them up when they are down and, you know, bring some humility and reality when they’re running too hard. And so, but you never know, until, you know, the company goes through a liquidity event, ultimately, how it’s going to turn out. So you know, which, who is executing well, and who is not. So that, you know, but you have great teams that struggle for a long time before they figure it out. And so, I think I think patience, and in just being solid and stable and supportive is really important, because you just never know. And also speak to speaks to the fact that in venture, the ones that work way more than compensate for the ones where you, you were too patient, but ended up losing money on which is to say, external factors in our business may force us to seek liquidity so we can raise more capital or whatever it may be show success. But in reality, the best business model for Vc is to never sell and just be there forever. Because for those that actually work, it way more than compensates on the upside, the ones that you held on too long. So I think being supportive and there is the right mindset Ville
Nick Moran 27:05
yet, at the point of investment, do you attempt to assess or handicap execution risks versus technical risks versus commercial risk?
Speaker 2 27:14
I do I think about that trade off. It varies by stage a lot. It varies by type of startup, by the market, etc. I even wrote a blog post about it. But yeah, there is a trade off between what type of risk and how much of it you’re willing to take. The more traditional the startup, the more competitive the market, the more startups in the space, the more incumbents in the space, the more well understood the market is, the more established the market is, the more the more execution matters. It’s not about like, innovation in that market. It’s about execution. There’s plenty of competition. And so, you know, the bar there on the execution time is extremely high for me. Think about like an HR recruiting now. Like, you’d better be amazing. Investing on the HR recruiting app, it better be amazing execution. But there’s some things that are very innovative, very different, disruptive, orthogonal, like there’s no competitor than on metrics. And for those things are maybe willing to take on a lot, a lot more risk to matters, of course. And so with every deal, there’s this mix of risk you’re taken, and you’re trying to get comfortable with that mix, the team risk, the market risk, the execution risk, the technology risk, the lots of risk that it’s present in all startups. The question is, what combination is the right mix for particular investment?
Nick Moran 28:57
You know, Villy capital is, is a commodity and largely speaking, there doesn’t appear at least to be a ton of differentiation and venture. There are certainly some firms that are doing things differently, but on the surface not not a ton of different. How do you combat sort of the commoditization of venture?
Speaker 2 29:17
That’s a really good question. And this is largely why I joined two sigma ventures, I had an opportunity to join more traditional boutique like firms. And the insight I had was the same you articulated which is venture is commoditizing. And so the way to win in venture therefore becomes a systems workflow and data problem, just like any other business, and I wanted to go to a place that has that mindset of how do you build systems workflow Oh, network to allow you to win. I do think having said that experience, track record stars, if you will matter in venture, especially at the early stage, the person is at least if not more important than the firm you end up working with. And so there are firms that have taken this to the extreme where the individual is irrelevant. Right, they view the brand of the firm they pass as, as the key, you know, go to market, you know, focus. And I think that that’s taking it too far. So I do think, my personal experience, how I treat and engage with founders, how I support them, how it worked with them, you know, all of that matters, the traditional boutique, partner mindset matters. But my deal was, that’s not enough. And so I think, in this new world, you’re gonna need to be exceptional at managing a funnel at sourcing, and have excellent people to support these companies, because that is ultimately how you win. So there’s the sourcing the scenic part. And there’s there’s this the winning part, and the winning part is a function of many things. But in, including included in in those criteria are your brand, your reputation, your experience, your track record, the things you’ve done,
Nick Moran 31:42
are the folks at two sigma, like yourself that are making investments, also the folks that sit on the boards and work with the companies, are they different people?
Speaker 2 31:52
No, they’re the same people. So in this in this way, we’re fairly traditional, where the investing partners are the ones sitting on boards. I’ve never quite appreciated the wisdom of board partners. I’ve had some really good experience working with a few of those people in other firms. Thinking for example, somebody like Bruce Armstrong at costar who is fantastic. But I think that makes sense more for growth funds than he does for early stage funds. Again, the product at the early stage is really the experience inside personality and credibility of the the investing partner you’re going to work with.
Nick Moran 32:39
Billy, I want to talk a bit about exit environment, and some changes going on there. Of course, we’ve got Spax and direct listings and been lots of news, lots of new Spax formed lots of big names, you know, trying to do some try to make some moves in the late stage environment and the exit environment. You know, just to kick off, I’m curious, aside from the bankers, who do you think stands to lose the most from the increase in the specs and direct listings? Part
Speaker 2 33:08
away? I do not think the bankers are losing in any way. In fact, the double tapping from the gate, they are making the fee on the listing. And I don’t know if you’ve looked at those SPAC deals, everyone is a 50 $60 million fee for advisors are doing very little. So the SPAC thing is not taking anything away from the bankers to the country. I bet they’re just giddy as giddy as they can be interesting. And by the way, while we’re on the topic, IPOs were never a good business for the banks. So everybody’s talking about how the banks are making so much money IPOs it narrates the least profitable product, if you will, at the investment banks. It’s their loss leader so that you can do the relationship and then make money on follow on some converts and m&a afterwards, but set that aside. I mean, the spark thing is very interesting. And we’ll see how it plays out. I think it’s great. It’s a great innovation. I think the IPO markets, to some extent are strange, they inefficient. In some ways. I’m not the type that really believes in these IPO windows. I don’t believe in IPO windows, I think you can take your company public and anytime. I do think the appetite for risk changes, and therefore the valuations change, which is what I think people really mean when they talk about IPO Windows is sometimes you just can’t get the valuation you’re looking for. And today in this environment with Spax it seems like that is a good hack for you at least initially. To get a much better value. Mediation for an asset that is either too early or too weird for the public markets to take to absorb through the traditional IPO path. And so if you’ve notice about these back deals, every single one of them is not a traditional IPO story, like you can tell it, it’s too early sometimes or too weird, something is off. The question is in a year or two or three, how these perform and like, therefore, whether investors are willing to continue to back these types of deals. I mean, today, one of the reasons I believe the Spax are an interesting proposition for investors is with cost of capital being zero. You know, you may as well pocket in a SPAC and that gives you the option to make a decision at some point in the future or whether you want to participate in the deal. No bad deal. Seems like a reasonable arrangement for hedge fund. Because as you know, like you can choose not to participate in the deal, even though you’ve invested in this back and you get your money back, basically. Also, your shares. I’m not sure how it works. But either way, I think I think the current, you know, growth in Spax has many drivers behind it. One of them is just the interest rate environment, I think, but we’ll see where they’re not new. Right? They’ve been around for a long time. You know, the question is what’s driving the current growth in the number of Spax. And we’ll see I am, I’m scratching my head, just like everybody else a little bit. But to some extent, it also makes sense it just so much more efficient, to take some of these companies public there was back then try to go through the IPO process, which takes six months spent a ton of money and time and tell a tough story. Usually, these things tend to be tough stories. And the reason this back is much better is it’s this back sponsor and existing shareholders who are then on the other side, your shareholders, you don’t need to sell a whole lot of people, these back investors are the people that need to be sold, but much, much easier to do than traditional IPO process.
Nick Moran 37:28
In indirect, direct listings. I know,
Speaker 2 37:32
I think the direct listings thing makes too much sense. I’m surprised it’s taken this long, especially now that the New York Stock Exchange has made it possible to raise primary capital with or direct listing the idea of price discovery in the traditional IPO way versus like a market where it doesn’t make sense. Like, just like, at 830 in the morning on an IPO day, the underwriters, you know, and the New York Stock Exchange takes a bunch of orders, buy and sell in determines the opening price. There’s no reason why that same process could not and should not be used for the actual pricing of the IPO the night before. So I think in my view, that’s, we’ve seen that coming for a long time, but I have to believe we’re finally here. And that’s just the future.
Nick Moran 38:37
I’m not sure exactly. You know, when you emigrated to the States, but I don’t think you’re born here. You’re an immigrant. What’s your take on sort of the state of tech here in the States? And do you think, do you think a decade from now the US is still the best country to start a tech company?
Speaker 2 38:57
I think the US has a lot going for it. on the technology front. We have incredible network of universities. You have an we can talk about politics too. But at least historically, the United States has been this aspirational, extraordinary place where a bunch of random people from any place in the world can come to and succeed and build a career which has attracted incredible, incredibly talented people. We have the the design and create creative culture in the United States has, which has spawned many consumer businesses. We have the capital financing infrastructure to build these types of companies. And so I’m still very bullish. In the United States in the long run as the epicenter of technology in the world, having said that, just like we talked about venture capital commoditizing, so is technology and so is talent. And, and, you know, and the rest of the world is, you know, catching up. And so I do think he’s what I would say, I do think that it’s not to say that the US declines in their prominence as a tech leader, I do think that the rest of the world rises faster, simply catching up to the US, I think Europe continues to have challenges culturally. And it also, at least on the enterprise side, it’s a much more fragmented market. China is obviously an incredible force to be reckoned with. So I don’t think it’s a winner take all I don’t think they’re losers here, I think everybody will benefit by growth in technology globally. And I think the US will be, will continue to be the leader, short of some of shooting ourselves in the foot politically here. You know, just a few days ago, I noticed the administration is really trying to make it very difficult for h1 B visas to be obtained, I came to the United States as a student, but stayed because of an h1 B visa, I would have never, I probably wouldn’t be able to be here. If I was graduating today, from the United States, which means I would have probably gone to Canada or somewhere in Europe, or the UK or Australia to build my career. And I think what would make what will continue to ensure that we are the leader in innovation in the world, is being able to attract the most talented people in the world. And so, to the extent we fail to do so it will be self imposed, it will be politics and stupidity, not something that not not anything due to a competitive disadvantage that we may have.
Nick Moran 42:07
Billy, what do you know, you need to get better at
Speaker 2 42:10
quite a few things. I need to get better at tracking companies and founders, I’d like to be more organized. I’d like to get better at sleep. About half of the time, I find, especially in the Zoom world, now I find myself too tired to, to engage in the best and most productive way. And when you’re too tired, your memory suffers and you are less productive. So I just need to do a better job with that. I do a pretty good job staying healthy and fit. I don’t do a good job getting best. So I need to get better with that.
Nick Moran 42:55
I’ll get you a wall. Billy. I have a word. Oh, you’re an investor?
Speaker 2 42:59
Yeah, we’re an investor. So we’re very excited about whoop, and whoop has helped me. But I still feel like there’s a long way for me to go. I mean, I can get better and just about every dimension leadership and, you know, follow through my reputation. But yeah, it’s a never ending journey on getting better. And I don’t think I am. I’ve achieved you know, any sort of, I’m not great in any dimension. So lots of room for improvement,
Nick Moran 43:39
all of us. And then finally, what’s the best way for listeners to connect with you?
Speaker 2 43:43
Just send me an email. Look me up on Twitter. It’s very easy. My email is Veolia, two sigma ventures. You can reach me daily at two sigma as well. Twitter is easy. Do not send your LinkedIn in mail. I can’t keep track of those. They’re so noisy. I just send me an email. If it’s in my inbox, I’ll get back to you send me an InMail. I may see it. I may not.
Nick Moran 44:08
Well, really, this was a real pleasure. I learned a lot in you know, the short time we’ve known each other and, and certainly today as well. So thanks for making the time. Thank
Unknown Speaker 44:17
you for having me. It was fun. I appreciate it.
Speaker 3 44:25
All right, that’ll wrap up today’s interview. If you enjoyed the episode or a previous one, let the guests know about it. Share your thoughts on social or shoot them an email, let them know what particularly resonated with you. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that some of the smartest folks in venture are willing to take the time and share their insights with us. If you feel the same accomplishment goes a long way. Okay, that’s a wrap for today. Until next time, remember to over prepare, choose carefully and invest confidently thanks so much for listening Hello