Season 3

Season 3, Ep. 12; Princesses Who Smash Computers & Women in VC with Jesse Draper of Halogen Ventures

‘I wanted to play with Barbies, but I also loved smashing up a computer and learning about silicon chips.’

Despite growing up in a tech savvy, entrepreneurial family, Jesse Draper didn’t see herself as a venture capitalist for a long time because ‘that’s not what women do.’ So, how do we level the playing field and get girls to see themselves in roles as startup founders, investors and board members?

Jesse is the founding partner of Halogen Ventures, a VC firm focused on early-stage investing in female-founded consumer technology startups. Her portfolio includes Laurel & Wolf, Carbon38, the Skimm, HopSkipDrive and Sugarfina, among many others. Jesse is also the creator and host of 2015 Emmy-nominated series The Valley Girl Show, producing and distributing 500 interviews with some of the greatest minds in technology and entrepreneurship. She has been a contributor to Marie Claire, Mashable and Forbes, and Jesse serves on the board of Werk, SurfAir and nonprofit Bizworld.

Today, Jesse joins us at Boost to share her path to becoming a venture capitalist and offer insight around women in VC. She explains the impetus behind The Valley Girl Show, discussing the hustle required to launch and sustain a long-running tech talk show in the broken media industry. Listen in to understand how Jesse eventually came to see herself as a capable VC and learn how to raise girls who aren’t afraid to build jetpacks or take apart computers.

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Season 3, Ep. 11: Using AI to Redefine the Way We Experience Music with Ryan Groves of Melodrive

Imagine having a private band or orchestra talented enough to extemporaneously compose, orchestrate and perform the soundtrack to your life, adjusting to the environment or your emotions in real time? Better yet, what if YOU had the ability to create audio content that would adapt to any given situation in an immersive space?

Ryan Groves is an award-winning music researcher and veteran developer of intelligent music systems. He also serves as the President and CPO of Melodrive, an adaptive music generation mechanism that uses artificial intelligence to create and integrate original music on any digital platform, be it a video game, virtual world or augmented reality system.

Today, Ryan sits down with us at Boost VC to offer his insight on the future of music and explain how Melodrive is working to change the way we consume it. He also explains the concept of ‘uncanny valley’ and shares his take on how long we have before AI takes over the world. Listen in to understand how Melodrive allows users to create audio content that adapts to its interactive environment in real time and learn how this technology might redefine the way we experience music.

Connect with Ryan

  • Melodrive http://melodrive.com/
  • Melodrive on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Melodrive-1002985873155277/?view_public_for=1002985873155277
  • Melodrive on Twitter https://twitter.com/melodrivemusic
  • Ryan on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/ryan-groves-0540b08/

Resources

  • Roblox https://www.roblox.com/
  • ToeJam & Earl https://www.giantbomb.com/toejam-and-earl/3030-13306/
  • The Battle of Polytopia https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-battle-of-polytopia/id1006393168?ls=1&mt=8
  • Ryan in WhiteSnake LA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JD8SsNEHUI

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  • Boost VC Website https://www.boost.vc/
  • Boost VC on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/boostvc/
  • Boost VC on Twitter https://twitter.com/BoostVC

Season 3, Ep. 10: Launching a Successful Career by Way of the Third Door with Alex Banayan

How did the top icons in science, technology, entrepreneurship, entertainment, literature, and business launch their careers? What qualities do people like Maya Angelou, Warren Buffet and Pitbull have in common that helped them overcome immense challenges and rise to the top of their respective fields? The answer lies in gaining access through ‘the third door.’

As a freshman in college, Alex Banayan was searching for a book that would explain how high achievers got past rejection and obstacles to reach the upper echelons of success. When he couldn’t find one, Alex set out on a quest to interview several of his heroes and write the book himself. Though it took a little longer than expected, Alex did succeed in scoring interviews with a number of celebrated icons and publishing The Third Door: The Wild Quest to Uncover How the World’s Most Successful People Launched Their Careers. Along the way, Alex has been named to Forbes 30 Under 30 and contributed to major publications including Fast Company, The Washington Post, and TechCrunch. 

Today, Alex joins us on the Boost VC podcast to share his journey to becoming a published author, discussing the highly unconventional way he funded the writing of his book. Alex offers insight around what he learned in the process of interviewing the highly successful, how the idea of ‘the third door’ plays into all their stories, and why his personal priorities have changed as a result of recent experience. Listen in for his epic story of chasing Larry King through Whole Foods and learn how Alex’s definition of success has evolved—with a little help from Steve Wozniak.

Connect with Alex

  • The Third Door http://thirddoorbook.com/
  • Alex on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AlexBanayan/
  • Alex on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/alexbanayan/
  • Alex on Twitter https://twitter.com/AlexBanayan
  • Alex on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/c/alexbanayan

Resources

  • The Third Door: The Wild Quest to Uncover How the World’s Most Successful People Launched Their Careers by Alex Banayan https://www.amazon.com/Third-Door-Successful-Launched-TheirCareers-ebook/dp/B076NS2JSW

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  • Boost VC Website https://www.boost.vc/
  • Boost VC on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/boostvc/
  • Boost VC on Twitter https://twitter.com/BoostVC
     

Season 3, Ep. 9: Pitching the Story of Your Startup to the Media with Teddy Schleifer of Recode

Sending a cold email to a reporter who has never heard of you is not the best way to get media coverage for your startup. But how do we figure out which publication is the best fit for the story we have to tell? How do we play the game of relationships that leads to positive press? How do we pinpoint and pitch a story worth telling—one that is bigger than ourselves?

Teddy Schleifer is a Senior Reporter for Recode, covering venture capital, finance and influence in Silicon Valley. Prior to joining the tech news team, he spent two years in Washington, DC, writing about money and politics for CNN during the presidential campaign. In short, Teddy covers how people of means shape the world in which we live.

Today, Teddy joins us to discuss his transition from DC to Silicon Valley, sharing the similarities and differences between politics and venture capital. He offers insight around how entrepreneurs should approach the media, describing how relationships and referrals drive the stories he tells. Listen in for Teddy’s approach to identifying the macro trends behind the ‘bread and butter’ stories and learn how to go about pitching your story to the right journalist.

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Season 3, Ep 8: Unlocking the Intimacy Between People Through VR with Peter Rubin of WIRED

While the internet has been ground-breaking in terms of connecting people to information, it has done a poor job of connecting us to each other. Stories of fake news and harassment are widespread, and the anonymity of the platform allows individuals to curate a persona very different from who they are in real life. By contrast, virtual reality translates our mannerisms and voices, providing a shared experience in which we sound and act like ourselves. The unique property of VR is in its ability to unlock—accelerate, even—the intimacy between people that we rarely experience in real life anymore.

Peter Rubin oversees WIRED’s cultural coverage and serves as editorial lead on its digital platforms. In 2014, his cover story on Oculus introduced readers to the rebirth of virtual reality, and he has since written extensively about the evolution of VR and its applications. Peter has ten-plus years of experience as a journalist, writing for GQ, Details, and Good, among many other publications. His book, Future Presence: How Virtual Reality is Changing Human Connection, Intimacy, and the Limits of Ordinary Life, was published in April of 2018.

Peter sits down with us to share his long-time interest in VR that began with watching films like The Lawnmower Man and reading Snow Crash as a teen. He discusses the theme of his book, Future Presence, describing VR’s unique ability to facilitate connection among people. We cover the differences between the internet and virtual reality, why people feel more accountable in the VR space, and how regulation might work in virtual communities. Listen in for Peter’s insight on the future of XR and learn how virtual experiences can change our lives in the world outside the headset.

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Season 3 Ep. 7: Leveraging VR to Get People in a Room Together with Philip Rosedale of High Fidelity

Philip Rosedale believes that virtual reality is a world-saving undertaking, but its current single-player use cases separate us from each other rather than bringing us together. And he is on a mission to develop the VR technology that will create shared spaces where people connect in real-time, to ‘get people in a room together.’

Philip is the Co-Founder and CEO of High Fidelity, a San Francisco-based software company designing social virtual reality technology with the goal of deploying an open source, flexible platform for a variety of VR applications. Philip is best known for creating a 3D virtual civilization called Second Life as part of Linden Lab. Second Life fulfilled his lifelong dream of an open-ended, Internet-connected virtual world where users create, connect and interact with others from around the world.

Philip joins us to discuss opportunities in the VR ecosystem and share his vision for shared spaces. He discusses the intersection of cryptocurrency and virtual reality, explaining how High Fidelity is using the blockchain to hold currency, store asset certificates and secure digital identity. Listen in for Philip’s insight around the value of synchronous communication in VR to ‘get people in a room together’ and learn how the blockchain would allow people to meet in a virtual world—without surrendering their data to a centralized repository.

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Season 3, Ep 6: Pro-Blockchain Policy on Capitol Hill with Perianne Boring of the Chamber of Digital Commerce

Crypto is no longer a dirty word in DC, and we have the Chamber of Digital Commerce to thank for that shift in sentiment. Established in 2014, this nonprofit represents companies in the blockchain space, fighting on Capitol Hill for a better regulatory framework that will allow innovation to thrive in this country.

Perianne Boring is the Founder and President of the Chamber of Digital Commerce, the world’s largest trade association for the blockchain industry. The Chamber’s mission is to promote the acceptance and use of digital assets and blockchain-based technologies, working with policymakers, government agencies and industry players to educate and advocate for a pro-growth policy environment.

Perianne joins us to discuss the Chamber’s work in shifting the rhetoric around digital currency in Washington, explaining how sentiment has changed in DC over the last four years. She walks us through the conflicting views of cryptocurrency established by FinCEN versus the IRS and the challenge in complying with tax law as it is currently written. Listen in for insight on how the Chamber of Digital Commerce’s current policy proposal would treat digital currency as an alternative to the US dollar and how that would impact the way crypto is taxed.

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Season 3 Ep. 5: Solving for Crypto Security Through Hardware Wallets with Thomas France of Ledger

As the blockchain ecosystem shifted from a Bitcoin-centric world to one that welcomed multiple coins, the demand for a hardware wallet that allows users to secure and manage crypto assets grew exponentially. Ledger became the go-to solution, and the startup scaled to sell 1M units in the last year.

Thomas France is the co-founder of Ledger, the leading security and infrastructure solution for cryptocurrencies and blockchain applications. He is also the co-founder of La Maison du Bitcoin (The Bitcoin Center), the first physical space dedicated to Bitcoin in Europe. Prior to his work in the crypto space, Thomas served as co-founder and COO of Prixing, a mobile shopping app sold to HighCo in 2013. He holds a Master of Science from Ecole National des Ponts et Chaussées.

Thomas sits down with us to explain why he was drawn to solving for Bitcoin security via crypto hardware wallets and how his startup grew out of The Bitcoin Center in Paris. He shares the basics of Ledger, discussing how its tools secure crypto assets in an offline environment. Thomas speaks to his initial interest in Bitcoin’s resistance to censorship and offers an overview of the crypto environment in France, the US and hubs around the world. Listen in as Thomas describes how Ledger exceeded expectations in 2017 as part of the toolkit in the cryptocurrency gold rush.

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Season 3 Ep. 4: Open-Source Blockchain Technology, Private Ledgers and the Right to Fork with Brian Behlendorf of Hyperledger

The beauty of open-source software lies in its efficiency. If two companies, building different solutions, work together on the parts of the projects that overlap, they accomplish more in less time. The Hyperledger Project is an open-source collaboration working to build a set of blockchain technologies that can be used in a variety of industries and embedded in the emerging internet technology stack.

Brian Behlendorf is the Executive Director of the Hyperledger Project for The Linux Foundation. Brian has dedicated his career to connecting and empowering the free and open-source software community to solve difficult problems. Early in his career, Brian was a primary developer of the Apache Web server and a founding member of the Apache Software Foundation. He was also the founding CTO of CollabNet and CTO of the World Economic Forum. Today, Brian serves on the board of the Mozilla Foundation as well as the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Prior to joining Hyperledger, Brian was a managing director at Mithril Capital Management, a global technology investment firm.

Brian joins us to explain the relationship between the Linux Foundation and Hyperledger, describing the venture’s subscription-based business model and several of the projects being built with its open-source blockchain technology. He walks us through the benefits of Hyperledger over public blockchains, discussing the business community’s preference for anonymity and the right to fork if data is misused. Listen in for Brian’s insight around measuring the progress of community-building and learn how open-source software helps us go further, faster.

 

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Season 3 Ep. 3: Leveraging VR for Product Design and Marketing with Tony Parisi of Unity Technologies

VR is not just for gaming anymore. Other industries are starting to take advantage of immersive technologies for applications like product design and experiential marketing. Ford is using the technology to create virtual prototypes of new vehicles and Lionsgate is experimenting with VR experiences to promote movies. When Unity Technologies realized their platform was already being used by the auto and film industries—among many others—they brought in Tony Parisi to help the company expand its reach far beyond gaming.

Tony is a virtual reality pioneer, serial entrepreneur, author and angel investor. He currently serves as Head of VR and AR at Unity Technologies, where he is responsible for designing the company’s strategy for extended reality. Prior to joining Unity, Tony mentored VR and AR startups and worked as a consultant developing solutions for WebGL, virtual and augmented reality. He co-created the VRML and X3D ISO standards for networked 3D graphics and did the specification editing for the new 3D file format standard, glTF.

Tony joins us to discuss Unity’s storied background in extended reality and how the company is expanding beyond gaming to support product design, medical and data visualization and non-gaming entertainment applications. He shares his interest in AR and VR that touches the consumer, the factors that have made immersive marketing scalable, and how Unity is working with brands to explore possibilities in the space. Listen in as Tony speaks to Unity’s potential collaborations with developers as well as the company’s current work on a lightweight playback system and scriptable render pipeline.

 

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Season 3 Ep. 2: Building the Future with Venture Capital with Kira Noodleman of Bee Partners

What gets Kira Noodleman excited about her job as an investor with VC firm Bee Partners? The opportunity to paint a picture of what the future looks like—and then back it up with money and resources for startups in the early stages.

Kira is a fan of tackling problems in disruptive industries and across cultures. With a background in product and program management, Kira has an appreciation of the skillful risk-taking that fuels successful entrepreneurship. She was a part of Google’s Project Ara as well as LAUNCH, the University of California’s leading startup accelerator. Kira did an internship with Bee Partners while earning her MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, and she joined the team as an investor in August of 2017. With a special focus on space, cryptocurrency, and climate change innovation, Bee Partners’ portfolio includes companies like Tradesy, TubeMogul and StatMuse.

Kira sits down with us today to share her passion for building things that matter. She discusses the Big Hairy Audacious Goals that VC should support, from efficiency in the food value chain to clean meat. Kira walks us through the work Bee Partners is doing in the blockchain space, and we debate the impact of crypto mining on the environment. Listen in for Kira’s insight on what VCs look for in an entrepreneur and learn how to build a ‘board of mentors’ in venture capital.

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Season 3 Ep. 1: Returning the Power of the Internet to Its Users—Via Cryptocurrency with a16z VC Chris Dixon

‘Who has the power of the internet? Does the power lie in the hands of a few centralized companies? Or does it lie in the hands of users and communities?’

We all know the answer here. Though the web initially gave authority to its users, the pendulum has swung the other way. Now there are four companies with all the data and all the power, and many would argue that they are using it in questionable ways. Chris Dixon believes that there is still a chance we can shift the power dynamics back to users and communities, and the answer lies in cryptocurrency.

Chris is a general partner with VC firm Andreessen Horowitz. He has made several seed- and venture-stage investments for a16z, including BuzzFeed, Coinbase, Dispatch.ai, Oculus and Skydio. Chris is also an active angel investor, having made personal investments in tech companies like Foursquare, Kickstarter and Pinterest, among others. He has a background in programming and entrepreneurship, serving as the co-founder and CEO of SiteAdvisor, an internet security startup acquired by McAfee in 2006, as well as Hunch, a recommendation technology company acquired by eBay in 2011. Chris has an MBA from Harvard University.

Chris joins us today to discuss the megatrends in technology of the last 15 and next 15 years, explaining how the current controversy around cryptocurrency stems from a dramatic misunderstanding of the space. He shares his insight on how blockchain technology has evolved and the ongoing work involving data ownership. Listen in for Chris’ profound take on our transition from the physical to the digital world and learn why cryptocurrency is a political movement intent on shifting the power of the internet back to users and communities.

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