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Invest Like the Best

Exploring the ideas, methods, and stories of people that will help you better invest your time and money. Learn more and stay-up-to-date at InvestorFieldGuide.com
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Now displaying: April, 2018
Apr 24, 2018

My guest today is Arianna Simpson, who has spent her career in an around the world of technology working at startups, Facebook, and now in venture capital as an investor focused on the world of cryptocurrencies.

I met Arianna when I hosted a panel at a big investing conference in New York City and she was one of the panelists. On the panel, I found her style to be very straightforward and compelling. It is clear that she loves to learn and that the best manifestation of her style of learning is investing in technology.

In our conversation we discuss broad trends in crypto that we haven’t spent much time on before: decentralized versus centralized exchanges, privacy coins, and evaluating a found or early team. We build a framework for learning about this new asset class, discuss the importance of travel, and the value of pushing oneself outside of comfort zones.

Hash Power is presented by Fidelity Investments

Please enjoy our conversation

For more episodes go to InvestorFieldGuide.com/podcast.

Sign up for the book club, where you’ll get a full investor curriculum and then 3-4 suggestions every month at InvestorFieldGuide.com/bookclub.

Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_oshag

 

Show Notes

2:12 – (First question) – How to teach someone else to build an investing philosophy around crypto

4:00 – The major risk factors to investing in crypto

6:28 – best practices for mitigating risk

7:39 – What factors to think about when it comes to whether a token will lose all value or not

8:39 -  Taking a pulse of the investment community on crypto

11:36 – How she heard about and became interested in crypto currencies

12:34 – Are people really using crypto currency as a hedge against rampant inflation

13:52 – Investing thesis in the space

14:07 – Arianna’s systems for learning about cryptocurrencies and staying up to date on them

15:19 – Arianna’s take on the issue of increasing transactional through put

16:49 – Layer 1 solutions and making it all scalable on a blockchain

17:56 – her take on the fat protocol thesis

20:32 – Defining utility vs security tokens

21:54 – evaluating different coins

21:02 – Why cross currency swaps are important and how they work

26:17 – What are the chances of a scenario where there’s just one token and everything is built off of that one

28:02 -  Comparing centralized and decentralized exchanges

29:47 – How the traditional investing world is going to regulate transaction involving cryptocurrencies and view security around those transactions

31:54– Impact this will have on capital formation

33:44 – Evaluating teams behind crypto companies

35:48 – The importance of gut when evaluating people

38:47 – How Arianna’s global upbringing impacts her thinking on the technology

39:51 – What countries or regions have had the largest impact on Arianna’s investing philosophy

42:41 – Doing things you’re not qualified for

43:59 – Gender imbalance in crypto and what can be done to shift that

45:28 – Most recent thing that has gotten Arianna excited in the crypto space

46:15 – Explaining Zero X

47:33 – How her views on reading have evolved

48:54 - Kindest thing anyone has done for Arianna

Learn More

For more episodes go to InvestorFieldGuide.com/podcast

Sign up for the book club, where you’ll get a full investor curriculum and then 3-4 suggestions every month at InvestorFieldGuide.com/bookclub

Follow Patrick on twitter at @patrick_oshag

Apr 17, 2018

We’ve always found that even in public equities, you learn more once you have a live portfolio. One of the best ways to learn is to put some capital at risk.

To learn about the venture capital world, for example, I made an investment in a startup called Ladder, a platform business which connects coaches (fitness trainers to begin with) with consumers who need or want a coach to help them improve their fitness and their health. The idea is by making the entire coaching system more efficient, Ladder can provide consumers with a real person as a coach, but at a fraction of the cost, and provide coaches with both new customers and a much better way of managing their existing businesses.  If you are interested in the businesses backstory, you can listen to episode #60 of the podcast to hear founder Brett Maloley’s story and his vision for Ladder.

We are now six months into the launch of the business, with thousands of users and coaches on the platform and run rate revenue past a million dollars. What I was most curious about at this stage, aside from building something useful, was the relationship between a startup and institutional venture capitalists, who are allocating capital from their funds into startups at various stages.

For this episode, I asked two VCs to sit down with me and Brett and treat the conversation as they would a normal pitch meeting, so that we, the audience, can get a peek into their world and the types of questions they ask. 

The venture capitalists in question are Thatcher Bell, of CoVenture, and Taylor Greene, of Collaborative Fund. Both have experience evaluating new companies, but also have specifically spent time on companies like ladder, which follow the platform or marketplace model. 

While we do cover a little bit of background on the company, I’ve edited most of that part out so we can talk about the business model itself. While I don’t spend much time talking in this episode, you will hear me asking Thatcher and Taylor some questions to better understand why they care or don’t care about certain aspects of a business.

Lastly, I love the data aspect of all this. The interaction between coaches and customers produces a wealth of data of different types, all of which is analyzed and used to improve each aspect of the process. To help gather more data—about onboarding, working with a coach, and tracking results—Brett and the Ladder team set up a little promo code for listeners, which can be accessed by going to joinladder.com and using the promo code ILTB2 as in Invest Like the Best 2.

The first voice that you’ll hear is Thatcher, and the next person asking questions is Taylor. I began by asking Thatcher to give us a bit of background on how he approaches young companies before diving in with questions of his own.

For more episodes go to InvestorFieldGuide.com/podcast.

Sign up for the book club, where you’ll get a full investor curriculum and then 3-4 suggestions every month at InvestorFieldGuide.com/bookclub.

Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_oshag

 

Show Notes

3:12 – (First Question) –  getting a flywheel business going

4:49 – Brett’s background and how that led to the formation of Ladder

7:58 – Breakdown of the product

9:29 – The sign-up process

10:29 – Key problem for each party of the ladder transaction

12:34 – Diving deeper into the problem of being a health coach

14:29 – How does Ladder differentiate itself from other apps that help people locate a trainer

17:01 – A deeper dive into the consumer using this product

20:28 – The accountability factor being the moat for Ladder

24:12 -  How successful is the product right now in terms of recruiting new customers and trainers

28:38 – Their pre-launch interview and research process

31:49 – Going from hypothesis to product development

35:25 – What should founders think about when doing customer discovery, even after they have a product in the market

39:22 – Optimizing in the early stage of a business

43:24 – The defensive moat of a startup

46:20 – Their take on their ability to corner the coaches in this market

49:57 – Is there a side of the producer/consumer side of the equation that is more important.

55:42 – Getting and giving value to your supply, in this case the coaches

58:22 – How to view different phases of a business

1:00:43 – Growing the supply and demand so that neither side gets aggravated

1:02:28 – Market opportunity for Ladder

1:10:55 – Top 2 or 3 goals that Ladder has over the next 12-18 months

1:13:00 –  Looking at Ladder, what are the strengths and weaknesses as a potential investment

1:20:40 – Pros and cons of a startup seeking institutional VC money

1:25:11 – Reviewing the pitch

Learn More

For more episodes go to InvestorFieldGuide.com/podcast

Sign up for the book club, where you’ll get a full investor curriculum and then 3-4 suggestions every month at InvestorFieldGuide.com/bookclub

Follow Patrick on twitter at @patrick_oshag

Apr 10, 2018

My guest this week helps me complete the first trilogy of guests on the podcast. His name is Nikhil Kalghatgi. Along with past guests Ali Hamed and Savneet Singh, Nikhil is a partner at the asset management firm CoVenture. If you liked those two conversations, you will love this one—it is somehow even more wide-ranging than the first two.

Nikhil is the CEO of CoVenture Crypto, but he ended up there because of an overarching investing style that he calls moonshot investing, which we explore right from the start and in great detail.

He is obsessed with productivity and happiness, and we spend a long time on those topics. One of the most interesting experiments I’ve heard about on the podcast is his Happiness project, for which he interviewed more than 100 of the wealthiest people in the world. The lessons he gleaned from those conversations are very helpful, and I won’t soon forget the lesson related to sacrifice.

We also discuss asteroid mining, networking, shared experience, and philosophy. Oh and crypto currencies. Nikhil’s take on crypto has always been refreshing to me. In fact the first time I met him he was throwing cold water on a room full of enthusiastic crypto investors. Within crypto we discuss business opportunities, mining, and how new retail and institutional capital will affect the asset class. 

Hash Power is presented by Fidelity Investments.

Please enjoy this sparkling conversation with Nikhil Kalghatgi.

 

For more episodes go to InvestorFieldGuide.com/podcast.

Sign up for the book club, where you’ll get a full investor curriculum and then 3-4 suggestions every month at InvestorFieldGuide.com/bookclub.

Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_oshag

 

Show Notes

2:42 – (First Question) –  What moonshot investing is

4:41 – Creating sustainable differential investment advantage

9:30 – Assessing the market for moonshots

12:15 – Types of people suited for moonshots 

13:42 – The Happiness Project

17:45 – Commonalities among successful people

25:15 – The importance of humor in life

17:16 – Recipe for a good joke

28:00 – The night Patrick and Nikhil met

29:17 – His perspective on the world of venture capital

33:26 – What did Nikhil learn from his time at SoftBank

34:52 – Craziest thing Nikhil has done

40:27 – What he took away from his time in military intelligence

46:10 – The idea of manufactured serendipity

47:13 – Nikhil’s approach to investing in cryptocurrency and what he finds interesting about it

53:23 – How Nikhil reconciles the excitement of crypto with the lack of tangible asset

58:10– The timeline of retail and institutional investors becoming more involved in crypto

1:02:43– Exploring their liquidity strategy

1:04:10 – What happens if regulators shut down the cryptomarkets

1:09:48– The role of miners in crypto and how that might change moving forward

1:10:43 – What is the frontier of crypto mining

1:12:31 – What’s the most compelling rabbit hole in crypto

1:16:23 – How would the original creators of crypto currency feel about the current state of the market

1:20:01 – What Nikhil sees as the value proposition for the whole ecosystem.

1:21:00 – Kindest thing anyone has done for Nikhil

 

Learn More

For more episodes go to InvestorFieldGuide.com/podcast

Sign up for the book club, where you’ll get a full investor curriculum and then 3-4 suggestions every month at InvestorFieldGuide.com/bookclub

Follow Patrick on twitter at @patrick_oshag

 

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