334. A Decade at Costanoa, Where Large Multistage Funds Fail Founders, Denominator v. Numerator Effects, and Tips on Startup Selection (Greg Sands)

Greg Sands on TFR

Greg Sands of Costanoa Ventures joins Nick to discuss A Decade at Costanoa, Where Large Multistage Funds Fail Founders, Denominator v. Numerator Effects, and Tips on Startup Selection. In this episode we cover:

  • Lessons from 10 Years at Costanoa
  • The Denominator Effect in VC
  • Tips on Selecting Startups & More!

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Transcribed with AI:

Greg Sands joins us today from Palo Alto. Greg is founder and managing director at Costanoa Ventures, a leading seed and series a venture fund. Late last year Costanoa announced the close of $340 million across two funds. Prior to founding Costanoa, Greg was managing director at Sutter Hill ventures. Sir, welcome to the show.

Thank you. It’s great to be here, Nick. Yeah.

Likewise, give us the two to three minute background in the path to venture.

Yeah, absolutely. So Costanoa is a seed and series a fund. We focus on enterprise technology, which is really applied AI and the infrastructure that supports it, as well as fintech. Both of those, of course have their have their manifestation on web three, and we’re interested in exploring that environment as well. We typically enter it stage, you know, we basically think it’s important to have to run with high conviction. And so we aren’t Johnny Appleseed. We don’t do a ton of deals, but we try to throw in with founders as much as we can. That happens both with our investment team, and build our ops team of which Taylor is part. And we think we provide a set of capabilities to founders that we just don’t see other places, particularly in sales, marketing, and talent. And we are 10 years into the journey and lucky to work with some extraordinary founders and extraordinary companies.

Amazing. Greg, what would you say is the investment pace? You know, how many deals are you typically doing per year?

As a firm? So there are seven of us on the investment team, and we’re probably doing roughly 10 to 12 investments a year.

Okay. Very good. And you know, just to rewind back here a bit, I know that you were one of the first product managers at Netscape, can you give us a key lesson or two, you know, that you learned about startups working alongside Marc and Ben?

Yeah. So it was an extraordinary time, I was fortunate to be the first product manager there to write the first business plan and ultimately come up with a name for the company. It was an extraordinary period at the dawn of the internet. And we could do a whole episode just on that. But to cut it short, I’d say a couple of things. One, when you get a chance, where you’ve really got product market fit and the pieces are flying, you have to take advantage because it doesn’t happen that often in any one person’s career. And we were lucky to do that right out of the gate. Most teams often need to tweak and iterate a little bit until they get there. Yeah, that’s one. I think the second thing is that in order to build extraordinary organizations over time, you have to hire extraordinary people have an extraordinary culture have great VPs and mid level managers. And so in that case, Jim Barksdale came in as CEO, and was really able to make those things true. And the third, which is I think, interesting is be careful about the time when you poke the bear. And I think in Netscape case, it poked the bear Microsoft, in this case, a little earlier than we had to. And I think in retrospect, when look at that, and say, Boy, if we’d kept our head down for about another year, before declaring ourselves a platform, and therefore taking on the leading platform company of the era, we would have been slightly better off.

Oh, interesting. You know, it’s been a decade since you founded Costanoa. Now, what led you to spin out of Sutter Hill?

So the first thing to say is Sutter Hill is an extraordinary place. And they’ve continued to do truly extraordinary work. I think that some of the people who know recognize how extraordinary it is what they’ve done. And so it was a great learning environment and thrilled to have come from there. Ultimately, I felt like there are a couple of things that were important one was, it become way less expensive and easier to start a business. But the big firms had all gotten bigger. And that discontinuity was part of what I was trying to solve. The second is that I don’t think founders are particularly well served by either of two things. Early Stage founders are not very well served by the billion dollar multi stage firms. It’s not what they focus on. It’s not what they do. It’s not what they have the resources to support. It’s not where their bread is buttered. But I also am not convinced that they’re really well served by what are called the club rounds or party rounds, where a bunch of Johnny Appleseeds each throw in, you know, a few 100k. And nobody owns that much and nobody cares. I think founders benefit from having a cap table that’s concentrated with one or two firms and people that care that are paying attention that are partners in the business and that are working with them. And so that’s really the design principle of casino.

I imagine you take board seats at investment. Alright, what is the cadence? Is it a typical board meeting every quarter?

You know, it’s different for every firm, slightly different for every private company. I’d say in the early days. We often do monthly shorter meetings. So it’s just rapid fire cadence and keep keeping update, they often then spread out every six or eight weeks, as there’s just a little bit more infrastructure and things aren’t changing quite as quickly. And with the bigger companies, we do often end up on a quarterly cadence mainly because that’s really when you get your report card is at the end of the quarter, particularly for an enterprise focused business. So if it’s a if it’s a business that has a monthly cadence, like a product, lead growth business, or a bottoms up business, and we usually keep about a six week cadence, but if you really only know how you’re doing at the end of the quarter, then it only makes sense to have meetings after the close of a quarter. And we usually do an interim call in between.

Got it. You talked a bit about multistage funds and your positioning when you started the firm, but what would you say made carcinoid unique then at firm inception, and what makes Costanoa unique now?

I think at inception, I founded the firm as a as a sole GP, and I think was able to carry in a real sense of understanding people so that one could coach and mentor and help of understanding how to navigate to product market fit, which is basically the only thing that matters in the first year of a company. And the order in which to start laying down bricks brick by brick. Now I think what effectively we’ve done 10 years later, we’ve productize that we’ve productize that into what we call the builder ops or builder operations team, so that the investors still sitting on the board still play an absolutely critical role. But there are extra arms and legs with really specialized knowledge. For example, our partner, Martina Lauchengco, who just launched the book Loved, which is really about now the seminal work on product marketing in the tech industry.

Amazing. If you could, you know, help some of the investors in the audience understand your approach to portfolio construction. And has that changed over time? You know, with the two new funds.

Yeah, it has changed for sure. I came in with what might even be a little bit of a naive view that there’s a right way to do venture capital the right way, meaning you run concentrated portfolios, you own 15 to 20% of things, you sit on boards, you try to chip in until your fingernails bleed with individual companies. And in doing that one person can only do so many investments and sit on so many boards. So our first two funds really only had about a dozen companies. And these are seed stage investments. So you can all think about the risk profile associated with that what most people do at the seed stage is say, I want to end up with 30 or 40, or 50. And diversification will make up for the fact that I’m spread a little thin. And we’ve tried to really avoid that. So we’ve gone up to about 35 companies in a portfolio, but we’ve done it and how do we have seven people?

I say, got it. So 35 for each fund or across the two funds?

Sorry. So it’s roughly each fund will have so this is true with so fun for is the fund you’re referencing, it’s a $225 million early stage fund, it’ll have about 35 companies. When we enter it seed that’s usually, you know, at least 10% ownership ideally, you know, 15. Plus, with a fund that size, we’re able to double down and sometimes actually increased ownership in the EAA. So we’ll often end up over 15, which is certainly our aspiration. But we know that seed stage investments have to be syndicated. And you’ve got to be partnering friendly, and we certainly are working to do that. That’s the early stage fund. The Opportunity Fund, which is $115 million dollar fund is really, it’s focused entirely on our existing portfolio. It has a slightly different mix of LPs. So we need to think with a separate sort of fiduciary mindset and investment framework for it, you’ll probably end up with with about half that number 17 or 18 companies across so as companies get into late Series B early Series C is the time when that fun can can really kick in. And for companies that are really hitting numbers hitting milestones, and grown grown very quickly. And so that’s sort of the threshold for participating in that fund. And the combination has been fantastic. We just led for example, a series B and stack Hawk out of that fund to co lead that along with our friends and partners at Sapphire. So we can do that out of the later stage fund. And ultimately that extends our value proposition to founders.

Amazing. Yeah, as someone that’s probably run close to 50 SPVs. I can imagine there’s there’s a lot of benefits in heaven. An opportunity vehicle. Just quickly, I want to dig into the startup side and your selection a bit. But before we do that, any advice or you know, salient lessons on the fundraising side, you know, you’ve the best way to build momentum and fundraising is perform right killer track record. And I think, you know, at least CrunchBase suggests that you guys have done well. But give us another tip or suggestion around managing an LP base, getting people to increase their commitment, and also, you know, courting some new institutional partners.

Yeah, so I’ll do a couple rapid fire, one of which is, to the extent one can build momentum with high quality individuals and smaller institutions around you, founders, other venture capitalists, and like, I think that’s a tried and true lesson for demonstrating to the institutional investor base that you’re making progress, even before you really put numbers on the board. That’s one. Number two, is you have to be really clear about the firm’s strategy. And so differentiation, target sectors, targets, stage reserves, strategy, portfolio construction. And are you trying to hit a home run every time? Or are you batting for high average? Right? Those are the kinds of things that LPS want to understand. The third, as you think about getting people to re up and expand their commitments, is doing what you said you were going to do. And one of the things that I’ve tried to do is to always say, we’re in constant evolution, we are interacting with the market, and we’re learning, but we’re trying to bring people along so that they understand our thought process. They understand when things change, why they’ve changed. And it isn’t a jarring transition, because there’s been enough active communication along the way that we see how we’re working.

Amazing. Yeah, bringing these LP’s along with the thought process and building trust by following through really goes a long way. Greg, want to get your thoughts on startups and selection a bit. When you guys are looking at startups? How do you weigh the factors of people product, market and price? And you know, what do you think you’re best at assessing?

Yeah, so first, I’ll note, those are literally the four factors that we do ranked voting on, because I think an overall ranking blends to many things. And that actually helps us the the way that we vote me determines the way we talk internally, when we try to tease apart these differences in our thought process. That’s when at the seed stage, people are the most important. I think it’s it’s actually really clear, it’s been pretty, I think, widely demonstrated. And there’s just so much that’s unknown, at best at seed stage, you’ve got a validated problem, a theoretical solution, and people. So the second thing I’d say is, at Series A, and I grew up as a product manager, partner, Mark is a two time founder, but there’s product thinking is very well wedged into the firm. And I think the thing that we’re exceptional, and therefore we rely on is this idea of assessing product market fit. Sometimes that’s a product that’s relatively newly in market, and you can talk to customers, sometimes it’s a product that is not yet on market. And the thing that we tried to do is go on sales calls with founders, he learned so much by going on sales calls. To do that we have to have an extended network, it has to be things that we set up because founders aren’t going to introduce us to their prospects before they’ve closed them. And I think we’re particularly good at that. Now, what that does is that initial product in the wedge product and its product market fit gets you to first base, the thing that’s much harder to do is to say, Oh, if you get the wedge product in, does it ultimately open up into a broader platform opportunity and let you build a really big business? Tam analysis for potential future products? And I find that super hard. So I tend to actually downgrade a little bit relative to people and product.

I see. I see. How do you think about this stack rank? So you evaluate each of the four independently? Is there a minimum bar that each needs to reach? Or, you know, is it more just kind of an exercise to help you have the right discussions before you make a decision?

It’s exactly the latter. It’s an exercise that informs our discussions and helps us helps us focus on the right things in our discussion. And it helps us actively disagree with one another. So we can, you know, put down on paper without having to make a you know, a personal or you know, interpersonal argument. And then we just talk calmly about those differences of opinion. We found that some of the extraordinary companies have big variance within some of the factors. We think it’s an extraordinary team, but we’re not quite sure about the market and sometimes times the really good ones also have big differences of points of view within the team. I’m sure and so we’ve tried to be more tolerant of the high variance ones.

Do you find that the person that’s sponsoring the deal or leading the deal or quarterbacking diligence has just more intimate insight on these factors? I mean, it’s one thing to go out and diligence, the market. But when it comes to the team, you know, I found personally, when somebody else at our firm is working on a deal, you know, I can do a call with the founder, and I can get kind of a sense for things, but I don’t have a full picture of like, how is this engagement gone? For the duration of diligence? And is momentum increasing? And is your signal on the founders capability increasing over that time?

This is something that we actually have been talking about in real time. And the answer is unequivocally yes. So the team doing the work always knows more. And so the, what the other folks add, is forest for the trees context? Are they missing something? Are you weighing factors correctly? Is there something that somebody picked up by looking at back at 30,000 feet that you didn’t quite focus on. But especially when it comes to evaluating the team, it really relies upon the sponsors who have spent five or 10 times more time with them, who’ve actually done the references, and ultimately, are the ones who are going to have to sit with them, and write in the boardroom for five or seven or 10 years?

That’s right, you’re gonna be living life with that founder for a long time. This is good. When you’re dealing with a team that has an imbalance of skill sets, you know, let’s say it’s a single founder team, and maybe they’re a highly, highly technical but maybe lacking on good market or commercial plan, you know, what skills do you think can be supplemented versus those that cannot be filled with key hires?

Such a good and a hard question? I think, you know, so we do a lot of work in the infrastructure category. And therefore, you’re dealing with deeply technical founders, they’ve invented the product, they interact with customers, their ability to understand what needs to be done next, their ability to hire extraordinary people to build product is irreplaceable and can’t really be outsourced. I think the I do think in those categories, the go to market functions are the ones that are more easily brought in to complement. But, you know, comes back to what we talked about, about the firm and how we built the firm and why we built it this particular way, which is that thinking, so first, the evaluation of do people, are they learning machines? Do they have a growth mindset? How much will they be able to start to understand the marketing and sales process, which sometimes they’ve never thought about, and never interacted with. So that’s a big part of the evaluation, then it’s too if you think about what our builder ops team does, some of which is to help them understand sales or marketing well enough to do a little bit of it themselves. So Jim Wilson, and sales will actually work with the founders on founder selling, help them understand how to do some of that themselves. And then the next thing they have to be able to do is to hire and manage, usually a couple of sales reps. And they don’t, you know, it’s sometimes one of our founders referred to going to an event of ours with a that’s sort of a sales training thing. And he looked at, he’s like, this is for me, this is like going to the zoo. I’ve never seen zebras and giraffes and, you know, monkeys, people where I wouldn’t know how to hire any of these people. Right? So being able to be the thought partner to say no, this is the kind of person you’re likely looking for. And let’s try it. Let’s help you manage it. Let’s give you some of the tools to do that. How do you compensate a salesperson? How do you motivate the salesperson, then they usually have seen enough you can think about that, like a prototype that they at some point then can go hire a VP are going to be better informed by the time they hire that person about the sales motion about the kind of person they’re looking for. And that tends to lead to much greater success of it.

You do some consumer investing as well, Greg?

We really don’t I would say the one place where we do consumer investing is in our FinTech practice. And so a lot of that is b2b oriented, its payments, its health care savings accounts sold to employers, but we do have some really interesting consumer focus FinTech products. And interestingly, those are not just in the US, but also in both Latin America and in Africa.

Does that change the evaluation process? When there’s a b2b b2c, or maybe even direct b2c?

Yes, the b2c part so we’ve got a couple of things that you can think of as you know, neobank including a really exciting neobank in in Africa Umba, where I think there are a couple of things that are important to note there. One, you definitely want to be able to see some of the early metrics and customer acquisition and how they work. seed stage or formation stage at the consumer side is really hard, because you just can’t interview enough customers, you don’t have enough sense. So that’s probably the single biggest difference. The other is, I think, in consumer businesses, because of that necessary uncertainty, there’s, you know, we think a little bit about sizing and reserving differently. So you might not want to pour your whole position in in the beginning, you might want to do that get a foothold, see how it goes. And when those businesses are working, they turn into extraordinary businesses, so you can invest further along the way. Interesting,

Lots of nuance to staging capital and reserves. Greg, if you were to show a pie chart of the referral sources for all your deals, versus your most successful deals, you know, what would the breakdown show?

I would say, the biggest piece is that the referrals from what I’ll call close network, people that we’ve worked with before, sometimes it’s people who’ve worked in portfolio companies, sometimes it’s people that we worked with in prior jobs long ago, but who know us well and think, Boy, it would be great for this founder, if they got to work with Costanoa. That generally has tended to be the biggest source of things that we actually do. There is clearly a founder referral is the single best source that comes through all know that we’ve been fortunate even in 10 years to have a handful of repeat founders who’ve worked with us. And that certainly is testament to the fact that they had a good experience the first time. The interesting observation is that we look at an awful lot of things that are referred by other investors, and the proportion of those that we do are probably smaller than the proportion of those that are referred from people in our broader extended network.

Interesting. Greg, how do you think about your role in leadership at Costanoa, in the balance between player coach or even GM to use, you know, a sports analogy classically, in financial services, or any service business? You know, you gotta, you have to do all of it right to a certain degree? Do you participate in all these different contexts? And has that balance, you know, shifted over time?

So the broad answer is yes, I have participated to some extent at all those levels. And the tension is that I’m in this business because I love being a player. Right? I mean, in the sense that I just, I love the work. I love meeting founders, I love doing diligence. Right? I love working on portfolio companies. So actually, those are my favorite things to do. And yet, the job requires me to do a bunch of other things. Right. So I think big picture, I would say, to me, one of the important tensions is that we’re trying to build a decision making process and a culture where the best idea wins. And the best idea can come from anywhere. So I think that part of when we’re making investment decisions, I really operate like a player. I’m not trying to be the final decision maker on anything, I’m not trying to have disproportionate voice. I’m trying to create an environment where the best idea wins. And I think we’re going to be better that way for it. And I think that makes it an incredibly attractive place for extraordinary young investors to come to take on and work. And I think it is incumbent upon me to be the person who is thinking, two or three years down the road about the firm and their and the firm strategy, and therefore what expertise we bring and how people are developing in their career and where we have gaps and expertise that we need to fill and the like. And so that, you know, does take time, it has to be branched to, you know, back to the people who are rightly thinking about the next quarter, what’s their next investment going to be? And there’s a natural tension inherent in it. If I had 120 hours a week to work, I’m sure I’d be better at my job.

Greg, I’ve read about this mentorship, it goes to an hour and I’m curious, I guess first, you know, do you think venture investment can be taught? And then how do you bring along and prepare you know, Junior folks and in their career to become investors?

I don’t think it can be taught out of a out of a textbook. I think it has to be experienced. There are clearly some preparatory things that one can do both, you know, prior to joining, winning. And in those first couple of years, I really think that the starting point for people in their venture career should be diligence. And I think lots of programs, including in the big multistage firms are all about sourcing, I want young people out on the street, sweeping the streets and finding things. And ultimately, I think that that’s the building block of what’s important in a company of how do I evaluate founders? How do I evaluate product market fit? And how do I do that in the context of the firm strategy and what sort of things we should be doing. So that’s one. The second is that, you know, bringing people in so they have a stronger and stronger voice, that ultimately, if you think about it, right, and second chair, on deals for a while, and then the time comes where ultimately they really are ready, and it’s my job to ride second chair, for Mark, selfless job to ride Secretary John Hancock his job to support that person in their career, where they get to be in the lead, they get to have the experience of that autonomy, and then after a bit, then just back off. And I think people need to be allowed to make mistakes, they need to live with their convictions, the only way you the only way you learn is by actually having a point of view, owning that point of view and then having to live with it. And that doesn’t mean that they’re good, but there have to be guardrails, right? If someone is working on something, and the most experienced investors in the room say, Boy, I really think that you’re missing this key piece. And as a result, I know you love it. But here are the reasons why I don’t think we should do it. And we have to wrestle that conversation to the ground.

Greg, PitchBook, recently published an analysis that indicates that US VC funds have closed on 90 billion year to date 2022. That’s about two thirds of 2020. One’s total dollars, which could mean we’re on track for another record year, you know, despite threat of looming recession here, that’s some time ago, we had Chris DuBose on the program, and he was discussing the denominator effect, effectively, you know, LPs allocation of VC goes up when public equities and other assets are, you know, that are marked in real time drop. This, you know, in theory causes one to be suddenly over allocated to venture. You’ve tweeted about how this, it’s a bit of a misnomer. And people are kind of using the denominator effect incorrectly. What do you think is happening? And what is your expectation for the behavior of institutional allocators going forward?

Yeah, so by the way, Chris Douvos was using the denominator effect correctly, and he described it correctly. And it is exactly what’s happening right now in 2022. Right, and it will be it will be a problem, I would say the number of new venture funds raised in the second half of 2022 is going to be pretty darn small. What my tweet reference, though, is that people were referring to denominator effect in 2021. And that wasn’t at all what was happening, what was happening is that endowments were going up. But they went up largely on the backs of venture. So last year was the best endowment performance in the history of endowments. And it was driven by venture, the Washington university endowment return 54% across the entire endowment, so the numerator spiked, right, so it’s the numerator effect, which is, hey, we plan to have 7% in venture, we’ve ended up with 14, because venture has just done better than everything else. So now you’re at 14, and then the denominator effect comes in, and people who are over allocated are now wildly over allocate.

Interesting, what advice would you have for those that are raising concerns, you know, in this environment?

One, be very conscious of fund size, over the last several years fund size, just bloated in ways that, frankly, aren’t even really healthy for investment activity, left alone, LP relationships, too, to make the existing capital lasts a little bit longer, if you can, right. So I might moderate investment pays are associated with doing that three, book your LP’s in the eye and ask them what they think their sizing is likely to be for the new fund. I’ve talked to LP’s who said, Look, we’re just gonna, we can’t support the current roster, we just can’t do it, we’re gonna have to cut some names. So ask them if they’re going to be there. And then, I would say with that work on building the relationships, and there is, I think a healthy balance between independence and foundations fund to funds family offices, where it’s actually good to have diversified LP base across those groups, as well as not having anyone who’s more than 15 or 20% of an injured individual fund. So it’s gonna be hard to get new LPs to to add names, but you gotta try.

We have over 100 LP’s across two funds and some other fund managers have been like, oh my gosh, that must be hard to manage, but there are there are benefits there. you get when you have, you know, a broad diversified capital base as well. Greg, walk us through your core thesis on web three, at Costanoa. And why now is the right time to be investing in the category?

Yeah, I really continue to be fascinated by web three. And think the thing that’s that’s hard about it is that there’s real substance there. There’s almost this purity of computer science and economics and to some extent, even philosophy and sociology and trying to create these constructs. And there’s been so much promotional misbehavior in and around the category. And those two are both simultaneously true. The part that I’m most interested in are defy, because I do think that the current financial system, well, it’s it’s got lots of guardrails and regulations and constraints. And it’s been built over 100 years. And the combination is that it’s just painfully slow. So I think that promise of a parallel financial system that’s that built to take some of those profit pools that are captive inside bigger organizations and make them available to other participants in the system is really exciting. And then I think, look, it’s a technology platform, it’s a platform the way you know, what is now called Web one. But at the time, we knew it as the internet. It’s a, the idea of the world’s computer with smart contracts with known monetization models with cryptographically proven trusts, is very exciting, very innovative. And well, it has been a decade, the next decade is I think, gonna demonstrate important use cases and important problems that can be solved there and not very easily other places.

Is there a particular chain that you’re most excited about at the moment?

I’d say, right now I’m spending the most time thinking about avalanche, I think it is an up and comer, it solves a whole bunch of problems. They’ve done a nice job of building the ecosystem. But I think it’s also the case that we have to keep an open mind. And we have to keep watching. And we have to see where developers are going.

Very good. Greg, you’ve had a lot of experience in data science and machine learning investments, give us what you’re most excited about in that space.

Machine learning are two different parts of it that I think are really exciting. There’s the top part of it is the applications of AI and how we’re using it to solve problems. And, you know, we’ve got things like a casa which is helping is basically white collar applications, focused on revenue cycle management, this the hospital at large hospital systems, sending bills and managing that billing environment, to insurance companies. It is a mundane problem. But it’s a huge problem. And the technology is good, good enough to solve it at scale. Everything from there to Aqua bite, which is literally deploying underwater cameras in fish farms in the fjords of Norway. And it works and people are buying it. And who would have thought that you could get Norwegian fish farmers

Early detection on the Fish?

Exactly. Lice detection. Estimating biomass, evaluating fish health or welfare, as they call it there. So that part is, is in fact quite exciting. I think the infrastructure underneath it is every bit as exciting. So for example, Coyle is a company that’s commercializing the open source das project that allows developers and data scientists who are doing their work in Python, and they’re doing it, you know, which are relatively easy to use language, and they’re doing it on their laptop, and they need to scale up to large scale machine learning problems. And they can basically scale that up using the cloud using Dask. Rather than going into it saying, Hey, will you deploy spark, and I’ll go rewrite everything and our and in six months, we’ll be able to run a scaled experiment. And so those kinds of infrastructure innovations are really important. And we continue to be tremendously excited about them every time we think that a wave of problems have been solved, the next wave of problems arises.

Greg, if we can feature anyone here on the show, who do you think we should interview and what topic would you like to hear them speak about?

I think interviewing Satyen Sangani, from Alation about the combination of what is happening in the modern data stack that how every company needs to transform itself to a data driven environment. I mean, they’ve done a masterful job saying empowering a curious world as our is our vision and what we’re trying to do for customers. But I think also his growth and development as a CEO the way that he has learned and manage the company’s through the stages from a educating founders perspective about the people who’ve come before Him and how they’ve done it in a honest enough way that it’s not just You know, chest thumping, right? And looking back with, you know, rose colored glasses in 2020 hindsight, I think is an amazing interview. And and there’s a lot to be learned from that story.

If there was one resource, you know, a book or other resource that you would recommend to the audience, what would it be?

It would be Martina Lauchengco, her new book Loved, which is the definitive book on product marketing in the technology industry. And it’s the reason why we always preach that all marketing in startups starts with product marketing, because you can do great digital marketing and demand gen. But if you don’t know what you’re saying, or who you’re saying to, none of it matters. And that really hasn’t been codified. It hasn’t been explained. And Martina does an extraordinary job doing that in her new book.

Love it. Finally, here, Greg, what’s the best way for listeners to connect with you and follow along with personnel?

I will always respond to email Greg@Costanoavc.com. But you can hit me up on LinkedIn, you can DM me on Twitter, both are open, I monitor them, I will respond. And we’re thrilled to be talking to your audience and appreciative of the time together.

Very good. And he is Greg Sands, the firm is Costanoa Ventures. Greg, congrats on the close of the two funds late last year. And you know, look forward to doing this again sometime..
Thanks so much, really appreciate it.

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