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147 Sarah Leary: Nextdoor’s Co-founder Becomes a VC

Something Ventured -- Silicon Valley Podcast

Release Date: 09/29/2020

156:  Is “Working Backwards” the Most Important Business Book Ever?  Lessons from Amazon show art 156: Is “Working Backwards” the Most Important Business Book Ever? Lessons from Amazon

Something Ventured -- Silicon Valley Podcast

In their new book “WORKING BACKWARDS: Insights, Stories, and Secrets from Inside Amazon” (St. Martin’s Press, February 9, 2021.) Bill Carr and Colin Bryar share Amazon’s secrets.   They had a front row seat for most of Amazon's history, and they are sharing what they learned in their new book. Not only is Amazon one of the most valuable companies in the world, it has succeeded across a stunning array of categories from web services to movies.  So it’s hyperbolic, but possible to make the case that this is the most important business book….ever. “Like being in the...

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155 Amy Nauiokas: The CEO of Anthemis Group’s Journey from the Peace Corps to Managing Nearly $1 Billion show art 155 Amy Nauiokas: The CEO of Anthemis Group’s Journey from the Peace Corps to Managing Nearly $1 Billion

Something Ventured -- Silicon Valley Podcast

Amy Nauiokas is Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Anthemis, a leading digital financial services investment firm.  Anthemis manages nearly $1 billion.  Amy is also Founder and Chair of Archer Gray, a media production and content company. Straightforward for a venture capitalist, right?  Except maybe for the TV/Movie company she also runs.  But wait – she’s also a liberal arts major who joined the Peace Corps out of college.  In this episode we discuss how she made her way from the Peace Corps to leading one of the biggest fintech venture capital firms. We...

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154 Vern Howard:  Hallo's CEO is NOT Your Deliveryman show art 154 Vern Howard: Hallo's CEO is NOT Your Deliveryman

Something Ventured -- Silicon Valley Podcast

Vern Howard’s story is remarkable.  Vern was a math prodigy who left high school early, when he tested into Virginia Commonwealth University to study Computer Science and Math.  He paid his way through school by teaching math and serving as a janitor on campus. He went on to sell men’s suits, which taught him the art of selling.  After joining Capital One – whose signing bonus he used to rebuild an Alpha Romeo – he built Capital One’s first mobile banking application.  He also built out the Application Security Team at Capital One before, naturally, becoming a...

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153 -- 2020 Thank You-cast Extravaganza! show art 153 -- 2020 Thank You-cast Extravaganza!

Something Ventured -- Silicon Valley Podcast

An episode in which I thank each of the 2020 guests.  A podcast first (probably).  I briefly recall – fondly – a bit of each of the 2020 episodes. Is it interesting?  I think so.  Can I do it in one take?  Turns out, yes.  Enjoy, and thank you for listening. Marco Zappacosta, Thumbtack Founder Keller Fitzsimmons, “Lost in Startuplandia” Author Jeff Macpherson, Tiki Bar TV Creator Brianne Kimmel, worklife Founder Paul-Henri Ferrand, Brex COO Matt Hulett, Rosetta Stone CEO Mike Stutz, Television Producer Joe Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle Senior...

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152 Stacey Bishop of Scale Venture Partners On Ascending the Venture Ladder and the Rise of 152 Stacey Bishop of Scale Venture Partners On Ascending the Venture Ladder and the Rise of "All Raise"

Something Ventured -- Silicon Valley Podcast

Stacey Bishop is a partner at Scale Venture Partners where she invests in “business applications driving the Intelligent Connected World”. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of companies like Abstract, Airspace, Demandbase, Extole, Lever, and Textio. Stacey is a founding member of All Raise – an organization frequently mentioned on Something Ventured. She is also an advisor to The University Growth Fund Stacey got her MBA from Columbia Business School and a BA from The University of Michigan. In this episode we discuss her path to becoming a partner at a prominent Silicon...

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151 Fortune’s Jeff John Roberts on “Kings of Crypto” and the Rise of Coinbase show art 151 Fortune’s Jeff John Roberts on “Kings of Crypto” and the Rise of Coinbase

Something Ventured -- Silicon Valley Podcast

In 2013, Fortune’s Jeff Roberts visited "Satoshi Square" in New York.  It was the name of the location where a group of crypto anarchists and Wall Street traders bought and sold Bitcoin in the open air. Since that day, Jeff became fascinated with Bitcoin and new forms of money. That fascination led him to write the new book “Kings of Crypto:  One Startup's Quest to Take Cryptocurrency Out of Silicon Valley and Onto Wall Street”. Said Fortune Senior Writer Robert Hackett: "'Kings of Crypto' tells the story of a ragtag band of rebels who saw the future of finance before anyone...

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150 Hooman Radfar:  The Rise of the ‘Business-of-One’ show art 150 Hooman Radfar: The Rise of the ‘Business-of-One’

Something Ventured -- Silicon Valley Podcast

Hooman Radfar is co-founder and CEO of Collective, an online back-office platform designed for freelancers, consultants and other ‘businesses-of-one’. He is also a Venture Partner at Expa, a San Francisco-based start-up venture firm and studio where he was a founding partner (along with Uber Co-Founder Garrett Camp). Previously, he was co-founder and CEO of AddThis.  AddThis was acquired by Oracle in 2016. Recently, Hooman took the somewhat rare step of leaving a perfectly good venture capital job to start a company. In this episode, he describes why the idea he is pursuing felt so...

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149 Fabrice Grinda:  4 Incredible Stories from the OLX and FJ Labs Co-Founder show art 149 Fabrice Grinda: 4 Incredible Stories from the OLX and FJ Labs Co-Founder

Something Ventured -- Silicon Valley Podcast

Fabrice Grinda is a wildly successful entrepreneur and investor.  In this episode he recounts in detail 4 stories that any entrepreneur – any person, really – will find fascinating. The first is the story of building one of Europe’s first marketplaces before eBay got there – and what happens when you turn down $100 million for your company. The second is the story of Zingy, and what it’s like to grind without capital and miss payroll 27 times, before ultimately succeeding. Third, Fabrice talks about building OLX, the global trading platform, after Craig Newmark refused his offer...

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148  Jaclyn Hester:  Foundry Group’s New Partner!  show art 148 Jaclyn Hester: Foundry Group’s New Partner!

Something Ventured -- Silicon Valley Podcast

Jaclyn Hester has just become a Partner at Foundry Group.  So first, “Congratulations, Jaclyn”. Jaclyn joined Foundry Group – the Boulder-based tech company and venture fund investor -- after a few years at big law firms.  As a lawyer, she worked on everything from startup formation and financing to large M&A processes. During graduate school at CU Boulder, she caught the entrepreneurship bug and immersed herself in the local startup community, serving as the Executive Director of Startup Colorado. She has also built a startup with her husband, Anders.   Their...

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147 Sarah Leary: Nextdoor’s Co-founder Becomes a VC show art 147 Sarah Leary: Nextdoor’s Co-founder Becomes a VC

Something Ventured -- Silicon Valley Podcast

There are only so many iconic social networks in the world – and Nextdoor is one of them.  While perhaps not as fast-growing as Facebook or even LinkedIn, Nextdoor has steadily become the hub for neighborhoods around the world. Sarah Leary founded Nextdoor, along with Nirav Tolia, Prakash Janakiraman, and David Wiesen. In this episode, Sarah tells the story of getting Nextdoor off the ground.  She talks about the painstaking work they did to figure out how to build a healthy community around a neighborhood, before they were ready to scale. We talk about the impact COVID-19 had on...

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More Episodes

There are only so many iconic social networks in the world – and Nextdoor is one of them.  While perhaps not as fast-growing as Facebook or even LinkedIn, Nextdoor has steadily become the hub for neighborhoods around the world.

Sarah Leary founded Nextdoor, along with Nirav Tolia, Prakash Janakiraman, and David Wiesen.

In this episode, Sarah tells the story of getting Nextdoor off the ground.  She talks about the painstaking work they did to figure out how to build a healthy community around a neighborhood, before they were ready to scale.

We talk about the impact COVID-19 had on Nextdoor communities, and how and why she decided to become a venture capitalist at Unusual Ventures.

Notable Episode Quotes

On Starting Her Career at Microsoft

“I joined Microsoft at really a golden time:  The early 90s.  I was on the product team that launched the first version of Microsoft Office, and that was an all-star team. It was a time when Microsoft was just taking off and went from being this software company that some people had heard of to a household name. I was fortunate enough to, for example, be on stage where we launched Office ninety five with Bill Gates and Jay Leno.  We were writing the script as we went along and that was an amazing learning curve.”

On the “Pivot” from Fanbase to Nextdoor

“If you don't get the seeds of a community right in the beginning, it becomes very difficult to fix it. And after about six months, we actually offered to give the money back to Bill Gurley, who was the lead investor in Fanbase. He said, ‘That's the easy way out. I'll give you three months to work on some new ideas. It doesn't have to be directly related to Fanbase. But why don't you guys take another crack at it?’ That was hard. It was very hard to step back and say.  ‘This isn't working and confess to each other that we didn't think it was going to be the next ESPN’, but I'm so glad that we did.”

 

On the Earliest Days of Nextdoor

“The idea of Nextdoor changed pretty dramatically in those early stages before we ever wrote a line of code. And thankfully, it's probably saved us from years of going down the wrong path and frankly, probably losing faith in what it was that we were trying to. The prototype was actually launched in the Bay Area and with one neighborhood in Menlo Park, and it worked. People wanted to talk to their neighbors, but we were very cautious and said, OK, that's not enough. Let's try some other ones. In Seattle, Washington, we had one in upstate rural New York. We had one outside of Washington, D.C., and one in Tennessee. And we just started to see how people were using the platform. And that gave us the confidence after we did about five of those to say, ‘OK, this is the winning idea and we're going to double down on it’.”

 

Unusual Ventures:  https://www.unusual.vc

Something Ventured:  www.somethingventured.us