The Boost VC Podcast
Boost VC’s Founder & Managing Director, Adam Draper, hosts industry leaders from the Boost VC network. They chat about startups, venture capital, and emerging technology (not to mention, superheroes, Harry Potter and tech trends). Follow @AdamDraper on Twitter.
‘There’s definitely some teams that are using [ICOs] and are able to fund their ideas better and more easily than the traditional VC way of doing things, but there’s just too many bad actors that just want a get rich quick scheme.’
Charlie Lee created Litecoin in 2011 while he was working as software engineer for Google. Litecoin is ‘the silver to Bitcoin’s gold,’ functioning as a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency that complements Bitcoin. In the long-term, Charlie sees Litecoin becoming a payment currency used at both physical and online stores, and he is currently working to promote widespread merchant adoption.
Charlie also spent four years with Coinbase, serving as the Director of Engineering for the digital currency platform. Today Charlie explains why he is not a fan of the ICO, discussing why it’s ripe for bad actors. We cover the future of cryptocurrency and the major debates in the ecosystem, including hard forks and Bitcoin Gold. Charlie shares his inspiration for dedicating his career to cryptocurrency as well as his ambitions for Litecoin. Listen in for Charlie’s insight around sidechains, stable coins, and the value of CryptoKitties.
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Most people don’t realize just how transparent the blockchain is, but every transaction that happens on Bitcoin is public. None of us wants to have our net worth on display, leaving us vulnerable to fishing attacks and allowing others to see what we spend our money on. So how do we approach privacy in the cryptocurrency space? Where should we be storing our Bitcoin to keep it safe? And how can we be selectively transparent, choosing what information we want to reveal—and to whom?
Linda Xie was working as a portfolio risk manager for AIG when Coinbase onboarded Overstock in January of 2014. Inspired by the move, Linda sent a cold email to Coinbase offering to work for the company in any capacity. By June, she was employed as a regulatory compliance investigator for the digital currency platform, working with law enforcement to conduct blockchain investigations and track down cybercriminals. Eventually Linda was promoted to Product Manager, and she continued at Coinbase until September of this year when became an entrepreneur in the cryptocurrency space.
Linda currently serves as the co-founder and managing director of Scalar Capital, a cryptocurrency hedge fund. An expert in the areas of privacy and security, she is passionate about crypto as an ‘unseizable asset’ that governments cannot control. Today Linda shares her take on where we should be storing our Bitcoin and what is stopping cryptocurrency from mass adoption. We discuss the introduction of Coinbase Custody, exploring why the fees are so high and the potential for competition in the space. Linda offers her definition of crypto privacy, explaining the concept of ‘selective transparency.’ Listen in to understand what projects and tokens she is excited about and the impact of crypto as an asset that governments cannot seize or control.
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‘What’s crazy for me is that for the first time in history we can actually try out new governance mechanisms without people dying in the streets.’ The beauty of blockchain technology is in its ability to facilitate ‘bloodless wars’ in which opposing sides compete without bloodshed and ultimately build a borderless world that is fair and free.
Luis Cuende’s interest in the blockchain began in 2011 when he was only 16 years old. After reading the Bitcoin white paper, Luis connected with others drawn to the idealistic implications of cryptocurrency and started working on blockchain pioneer Stampery, a service providing secure and decentralized proof of existence and ownership. In October of 2016, Luis co-founded Aragon, a governance platform for decentralized organizations. The project allows users to manage organizations via the blockchain with the intent of creating a fair, efficient world.
It’s no surprise that Luis is on the Forbes 30 Under 30 as well as MIT Technology Review’s Spanish Innovators Under 35. Today Luis gets into the details of a decentralized organization, explaining its basic framework and how the governance mechanism works. We look at Aragon’s IPO and discuss what other token sales can learn about transparency from the company’s success. Luis offers his advice to future founders around cultivating community and his take on how a VR startup might use a decentralized organization to create a virtual world valued in tokens. We cover the valuation of crypto projects and the significance of sound technology over a curated marketing campaign. Listen in as Luis offers his profound insight on the growing popularity of cryptocurrency in Spain, fueled in part by the push for Catalonian independence.
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Bitcoin White Paper https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf
Aragon’s Transparency Model http://transparency.aragon.one/#/
Chris Burniske on Twitter https://twitter.com/cburniske?lang=en
Luis’ Utopian Blog Post https://blog.luisivan.net/not-earth-not-mars-no-planet-will-be-our-home-7f310de93c53
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“Venture capital, to me, is a way that we can raise money to help entrepreneurs who can go out there and do something for the world that just opens it up. I am always pushing for freedom, and I think it’s great to see venture capital be able to support entrepreneurs—wherever they are—to go out there and do something extraordinary for freedom.” -- Tim Draper
Tim Draper is the founding partner of Draper Associates as well as Draper Fischer Jurvetson (DFJ). His gift for assessing the fastest way to get a service to its users was instrumental in the success of viral communication networks like Hotmail and Skype. He has been an early investor in several wildly successful startups including Baidu, Tesla and Cruise Automation. Tim is recognized as a leading supporter of global entrepreneurship, and he was named #7 on the Forbes Midas List, #1 Most Networked Venture Capitalists by Always On, and World Entrepreneurship Forum’s 2015 ‘Entrepreneur for the World.’ In 2011, he created Draper University, a residential and online school that seeks to help talented young people meet their entrepreneurial goals.
Today Tim offers his definition of entrepreneurship and his journey from aspiring entrepreneur to venture capitalist. He shares his take on the ideal relationship between VC and founder and the sectors he is looking to invest in right now. We explore the world of cryptocurrency, discussing its potential to transform governance, how innovative VCs are trying new things with Bitcoin, and what the industry can learn from the P2P music and media revolution. Listen in to understand why Tim equates freedom with wealth and how to leverage the ripple effect of optimism.
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Draper Associates http://www.draper.vc/
Draper Associates on Twitter https://twitter.com/drapervc
Draper University http://www.draperuniversity.com/
Tim Draper on Medium https://medium.com/@TimDraper
Meet the Drapers https://republic.co/meet-the-drapers
The Startup Game: Inside the Partnership between Venture Capitalists and Entrepreneurs by William H. Draper III https://www.amazon.com/Startup-Game-Partnership-Capitalists-Entrepreneurs/dp/0230339948
Bionomics: Economy as Ecosystem by Michael Rothschild https://www.amazon.com/Bionomics-Economy-Ecosystem-Michael-Rothschild/dp/0805019790
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What happens when you marry a background in genetic engineering with extensive experience in design? A unique skill set that supports life scientists in becoming entrepreneurs, helping PhDs turn benchtop science into applied products with the potential to change lives.
Arvind Gupta is the co-founder of IndieBio, the world’s largest seed biotech accelerator. He has over a decade of experience helping startups and Fortune 50 companies launch new tech products, and his thought-leadership has been published in Time, Design Observer, and Rotman Management Magazine, among others. Arvind has received a number of international awards for design and innovation, and he is a frequent speaker at events like SFMOMA and TEDx New Silk Road.
Today Arvind shares his take on how the future of humanity rests in biology, explaining how advances in technology have facilitated better, faster results in scientific research. We discuss how the IndieBio approach takes capital expenditure out of the system and coverts it into operating expenses for biotech startups. We cover the current trends in biotechnology, where to go for information about the industry, and the types of companies Arvind is looking for right now. Listen and learn what the term CRISPR really means and how this powerful technology will eventually allow us to “design ourselves.”
Connect with Arvind
MIT Technology Review https://www.technologyreview.com/
Scientific American https://www.scientificamerican.com/
New Scientist https://www.newscientist.com/
The History of Money by Jack Weatherford https://www.amazon.com/History-Money-Jack-Weatherford/dp/0609801724
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Rebroadcasting the episode of The Boost VC Podcast with Billy Draper.
In this week's episode of The Boost VC Podcast, Adam asks his brother Billy Draper from Draper Associates about the nuances of venture capitalism. Adam and Billy explore the many problems of today's marketplaces, and how start-ups can disrupt the flow of big industries using new technology. They talk about the entrepreneurial mindset that VC's appreciate, and go over what attitudes they like to see in their founders. We also plan Billy’s bachelor party.
Billy Draper is on the investment team at Draper Associates. He works primarily at the early stage, investing in companies valued between 3m and 10m. Prior to joining DA, Billy worked in Operations at Facebook and in product design at ApartmentList. He was listed on the Forbes 30 Under 30 for venture capital in 2016.
Your host, Adam Draper, thought it wise to discuss different the hot topics in the Crypto & VR ecosystems. He shares his opinions on the technologies and what it takes to get full adoption. Listen and learn.
Follow Adam on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AdamDraper
“I’m obsessive by nature … and when I meet someone that’s 100X of that in their own thing, but they’re also good at what they do, I feel very lucky.” Venture capitalist Semil Shah is looking for entrepreneurs with a combination of talent and drive, who out-class others in what they do and prioritize their obsession with building an enterprise.
Semil is an investor and writer based in Silicon Valley who created a small fund called Haystack. He has been an early investor in 70-plus companies such as Instacart, DoorDash, Hired, and OpenDoor. Semil is also Venture Partner with GGV Capital, and he was named to the 2017 Midas Brink List by Forbes. He fell into venture capital through his work as a writer and consultant to several firms on Sand Hill Road, including General Catalyst, Kleiner Perkins and GGV Capital.
Today we discuss the attributes of Semil’s writing that led VCs to utilize his work as a resource and current themes in the world of venture capital and entrepreneurship. Semil shares his early investing experience, what gets him pumped about financing a project, and how he applies the Saturday 2pm Test to potential investments. Listen in to understand Semil’s take on the role of seed capital versus series A money and his advice for up-and-coming VCs.
Semil's Blog: http://blog.semilshah.com/
SoftBank Vision Fund: https://softbank-ia.com/node/8
Fred Wilson's Blog: http://avc.com/
Sequoia Scouts: https://www.sequoiacap.com/article/scouts/
Andy Johns on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ibringtraffic
In the US, someone develops Alzheimer’s disease every 66 seconds. Of the estimated 5.5 million Americans suffering from the disease in 2017, approximately 5.3 million are over the age of 65, while 200,000 have developed early-onset Alzheimer’s. In fact, this insidious disease in the sixth leading cause of death in the US. Without intervention, the number of people living with Alzheimer’s is projected to grow to 16 million by the year 2050. But today’s guest is not about to let things progress without intervention.
Jacob Hamman graduated from USC with a degree in architecture, where he honed his aptitude for design thinking and creative problem-solving. After seven years with the prestigious Los Angeles firm, Gehry Partners, Jacob pursued a master’s in design studies and technology with a focus on virtual reality from Harvard.
Jacob’s mom was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s three years ago. Caught off guard by the diagnosis, he set out to find a way to use VR to reverse the disease. Jacob founded the health technology company Zenjoi a year and a half ago with an intention to create peace of mind and improve quality of life for Alzheimer’s patients through dementia-based assistive technologies and a therapeutic VR experience.
As part of Boost VC Tribe 10, Jacob is working to bring the virtual reality that is helping his mom to the world, with the goal of eradicating Alzheimer’s in the next decade. We discuss how his design background lends itself to his work around virtual reality and what he came to understand about Alzheimer’s as he developed Zenjoi. Listen in to and learn what Jacob considers the key metric of success and why VR is the ideal medium for people experiencing cognitive decline.
What if you could hit up Foot Locker for a pair of shoes that would allow you to dunk a basketball? Or stop by Walgreens to pick up a robot that would give your grandparents the mobility to continue living at home rather than moving to an assisted living facility? A startup called ROAM is working to create exoskeletons that would afford everyday people the ability to overcome their physical limitations, solving problems around mobility and capability. It may not be the Ironman suit you’ve been dreaming of, but the robotic exoskeletons in development at ROAM would put this groundbreaking human augmentation technology in the hands of everyday people.
ROAM Founder and CEO, Tim Swift, earned his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from UC Berkeley, where he developed the technical foundations for many of the commercial exoskeletons in use today. An early employee at Ekso Bionics, Tim spent six years building robots with medical applications like stroke rehabilitation and paraplegic mobility, writing the software that allowed people to walk again. Problem was, these exoskeletons are 50-pound, $100K machines that only impact a select few people. He grew weary of watching people use the exoskeleton, and then get back into their wheelchairs and ‘roll out the door like it had never happened.’
Tim set out to rethink the way robots are built, making them out of fabrics and plastics so that they are smaller, lighter, cheaper—and ultimately accessible to the general population. He founded ROAM with the intention of developing a new type of exoskeleton that can go with people into the world, allowing them to run farther and faster, rehabilitate from injury, or simply maintain the mobility to sit, stand and climb stairs.
Today, Tim is on a mission to make people move more, and ensure that the body is not a barrier. On this episode, we address Tim’s journey to becoming an entrepreneur, the reasons why he left Ekso to create his own startup, and his vision of success ten years into the future. We cover the small community that inhabits the human augmentation space and how ROAM is helping people run 10% farther and faster. Listen in to understand how ROAM’s potential customers have become an integral part of the development process, and what the company is doing to put robots in the hands of real people.
Hamza Siddiqui has built the #1 social app on the oculus store, it just so happens to be for Poker. On this episode of "The Boost VC Podcast" we Hamza discloses how important data will be to the growth of VR, and that his favorite quote ever is one that I said to him a long time ago. So listen to the latest. Little known fact... we had to record it twice because... why not?
Loic Ledoux is an awesome entrepreneur who has built a new story telling medium that puts you in the story. On this episode of "The Boost VC Podcast" we venture deep into the heart of an entrepreneur, with an amazing french founder. We also talk about Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, but the most important thing you can get out of this episode is the who, what, when, where, why of starting a company... also you learn that Loic cannot juggle.
Have you ever thought, "how do I start a venture capital fund?" Well, Amitt did just that. We talk about starting a fund and the state of VR. Amitt also created one of the most notorious social games ever created... Farmville. You want to hear what he has to say. Listen to the podcast.
Have you ever thought, "It would be super cool to have my own pet dragon?" Well now you can! Vivian Tan and the team at Beast Pets have built an incredible VR experience to give you a pet dragon. We talk about startup a company, distribution in VR, and where the world is headed. You should listen.
The next 3 podcasts are VR focused, and to kick them off, we thought it would be appropriate to have the man who is at the center of all VR/AR, Tipatat Chennavasin, join us to discuss the industry. He is an investor with The VR Fund, and when VR is in the air, he is there. You are going to enjoy what he has to say.
Do you know how a former lumberjack becomes the founder of and leader of the largest crypto hedge fund? Listen to this episode of The Boost VC podcast where Adam Draper talks to Olaf Carlson-Wee the founder of Polychain and one of Boost VC's portfolio companies, about starting the first ever crypto hedge fund, and how he now manages more than $250m in assets.
Nick Tomaino spills the secrets of ICOs and about thinking long term as an investor in the space. So now I know everything... and you can too. Listen to Nick, from his work at Coinbase, to his position at Runa Capital, he knows.
"It's becoming easier than ever for entrepreneurs to raise money" -Nick Tomaino, The Control
Find out more about one of the hottest upcoming ICOs. Will Warren talks about their vision for a decentralized exchange and also about what super power he would want.
New on the venture scene, Arielle covers preconceived notions of Venture Capital, her interests and her latest investment in an awesome company called The Wing and social club for women. Arielle is awesome!
Part cowboy, part tech geek.
AJ was a dinosaur wrestler in a past life. His enthusiasm and energy for changing things is intoxicating, and I believe that AJ is one of the best mentors/friends you can have in the startup eco-system.
Janus is building the MetaVerse.
James hails from Canada, where he has many academic achievements. We cover a wide range of questions to do with Virtual Reality, but also to do with finding product market fit and some of the battles raging in the VR industry.
We cover everything from rockets to software.
Have you ever met James Bond? That's basically who Marshall Culpepper is, except he has a cooler job and he's not British. KubOS is the future of software in the space industry.
Michael Dunworth explains the different stages of Snapcard now called Wyre.
Michael Dunworth is Australian, which means he is genetically superior to mortal human. He uses his charm and intellect to dazzle. His company has gone through many transitions, just as Bitcoin has. They have continued to build and thrive. He also points out that fundraising is difficult.
Talking about starting a company, the VR market as a whole and finding focus.
Nathan Rowe, CEO of Sculptr, the greatest world builder in VR, talks about everything VR that you could possibly cover on a podcast. He drops knowledge bombs left and right.
Zavain breaks down AI, basketball and just is an all around great dude.
Zavain Dar is a Principal with Lux Capital, he focuses on machine learning, crypto currency and everything that requires you to think 20 years out. He has been a mentor with Boost VC for years and is wise beyond his years.