George Zachary has come to the stage. He never grew up wanting to be a Venture Capitalist. He’s going to start by talking about his background. Grew up in Greece, 1965. Dad came to the states in 1950 and he was an electrician.
Surrounded by MIT smarties and a lot were better at tech than him. But he wanted to use skills that he was better at. MIT was not fun. Learned to work very hard, and learned to pull all nighters. Technology is giving people power to live better. That’s why it’s disruptive – you’re able to provide simple solutions with huge impact.
Great leaders of startups can specify a vision with focus and clarity. If they do it then the team will follow.
December 95 got to Silicon Graphics and ran the group in charge of building the Nintendo 64. Had a great mentor there that taught him a lot.
Always been focused on beating systems that breed fear into people. That’s why Apple was so compelling.
Follow your heart, follow your intuition. Miyamoto of Nintendo fame taught him to create an environment and run around making games.
He then became an entrepreneur in residence and realized that he didn’t really want to build a multi-player videogame (terrible broadband connections at the time). The partners asked him if he considered becoming a VC. Greed is an incredibly powerful motivator in the Universe.
He finds that entrepreneurs with in their home growing up end up being great entrepreneurs. Founders interested in attention are probably not going to be successful.
His Venture Capitalist job is to:
1/ Return his investments. 2/ You get to back people that want to change the world.
There is no system. But following intuition is the best thing you can do.
He’s seen more than 20,000 business plans and companies. His portfolio: 35 companies, $150MM, $1Billion in investor gains.
Most of his interactions are met through friends.
David Sachs was from an interaction with Elon Musk. Elon said, “He was the smartest person at PayPal.”
125-150 Applicants to the Apprenticship.
3 major components to the Apprenticeship job. 1/Can you see and attract potential monopolies. 2/Social intelligence. 3/Emotional maturity, emotional intelligence.
George – Why leave that and do this?
Cameron – The potential of VC has a bigger opportunity to affect change on a broader change.
George – Which companies are you going to spend the most time on.
George – How are you going to beat A16Z?
Cameron – People skills, added value.
George – What’s one of the most difficult decisions you’ve ever made in your life?
Cameron – Deciding not to practice medicine anymore.
Now we have to vote on how we thought about how he did. 29% gave him a 3 out of 5. “Pretty Good” George says.
George – What makes a great product.
#2 – iPhone versus Android.
Jeopardy music playing, and….he scores mostly a 1.
George – what about your background?
Philip – Consulting
George – How do you figure out the right market.
Philip – surveys, focus groups, convince customers before they think they need it.
George – How do you stand out in front of all the founders?
Philip – Get to know them.
George – Are you comfortable giving the limelight to someone else?
Greg – I just want to be part of that change.
George – You’re young. How will founders look up to you?
Greg – Act as their peer. Give advice from that perspective.
George – What companies do you like?
Greg – I like YourMechanic – Disrupting a big industry. Making it cheaper, and bringing transparency.
Selman #5 – Stanford graduate, Genetec, now at a consulting company. Loves startups.
George – what’s the most exciting tech startup?
Selman – Venmo? Sending mobile payments. Disrupts Paypal.
George – can you support instead of being in the limelight?
Shawn – Yep. I did that. Happy to not.
George – How do you get the advantage of other investors?
Shawn – Get a beer with them.
He was the best so far by far.
George – Shawn’s personality helped him a lot.
Candidate #? Shavat – Grew up in poor family in India. Father had a jewelry store. Really good at math. Learned english in 3-4 years. Scored highest marks in English in India. Worked at Microsoft, worked at Swipe, Product Manager at clipboard.
George – Why leave Clipboard?
Shavat - I love that company. But VC might be my next step. Trying to change the world for good.
George – Favorite movie?
Shavat - Good Will Hunting.
George – What would you do with only 5 years, 1 year, 24 hours to live?
Shavat - Great answer. 60% at a 5-score. Best marks by far. Pretty impressive guy.
Tito – Build a fake website to get Press Passes. I like working on projects.
George – Great. Working on projects.
George – How do you differentiate between good and bad projects? What about the hair?
Tito – The hair is great for branding. I always look at the story. Like a Hollywood movie.
George – Why will people want to meet and work with you?
Tito – I’m always reading, learning.
George – Most interesting startup?
Tito – Dropbox. Saved time. Made my life easy?
George – How will you balance the US budget?
Tito – (silence)
George – My gut tells me three interesting candidates have real potential to become a partner in the long term: