Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

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Synopsis

Each week, experienced entrepreneurs and innovators come to Stanford University to candidly share lessons theyve learned while developing, launching and scaling disruptive ideas. The Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Series is produced by Stanford eCorner during fall, winter and spring quarters. ETL is supported by the venture capital firm DFJ.

Episodes

  • Joseph Tsai (Alibaba Group) - From Alibaba to the NBA

    Joseph Tsai (Alibaba Group) - From Alibaba to the NBA

    06/05/2020 Duration: 46min

    Joseph Tsai is a co-founder and the executive vice chairman of Alibaba Group, a global Internet technology company based in China. He is also the owner of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and the WNBA’s New York Liberty, along with several other sports and sports media companies. In this conversation with Stanford professor Tom Byers, Tsai tells stories and shares strategies from a career that has built many important bridges between China and North America.

  • Amy Francetic (Buoyant Ventures) - The Evolution of Clean Tech Investing

    Amy Francetic (Buoyant Ventures) - The Evolution of Clean Tech Investing

    29/04/2020 Duration: 49min

    Amy Francetic is the founder and managing partner of Buoyant Ventures, a venture fund that invests in digital climate solutions. In this talk, delivered on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Francetic sheds light on the evolution of the clean tech market and shares why now, more than ever, is an opportune time to invest in clean energy and energy efficiency.

  • Heidi Roizen (Threshold Ventures) - Leadership in a Crisis

    Heidi Roizen (Threshold Ventures) - Leadership in a Crisis

    22/04/2020 Duration: 45min

    Heidi Roizen, now a partner at Threshold Ventures, spent time as the CEO and co-founder of T/Maker and the VP of Worldwide Developer Relations at Apple before pursuing a career in venture capital. Along the way, she’s experienced several significant disruptions, including the dot-com crash of the early 2000s and the subsequent Great Recession. In this talk, delivered amid the COVID-19 pandemic, she shares ten concepts that can guide leaders in times of crisis.

  • Annie Kadavy (Redpoint Ventures) - Venture Capital Decisionmaking

    Annie Kadavy (Redpoint Ventures) - Venture Capital Decisionmaking

    15/04/2020 Duration: 44min

    What does a venture capitalist actually do day-to-day, and how do they make decisions? Annie Kadavy is a managing director at Redpoint Ventures, and in this conversation with Stanford professor of the practice Tina Seelig, she shares what her job looks like, then presents five mini-case studies looking at how VCs scope investments and manage companies.

  • ETL returns April 15!

    ETL returns April 15!

    08/04/2020 Duration: 51s

    A new season of the Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders series starts on April 15! While ETL won’t be a live, in-person event during this time of social distancing, we’ll be connecting with speakers digitally and sharing the conversations on our podcast as usual. And we have some great speakers lined up! We’ll kick off with Redpoint Ventures managing partner Annie Kadavy, then hear from innovators like Beyond Meat founder Ethan Brown, Alibaba executive vice chairman Joe Tsai, and clean energy thought leader Andy Karsner. And we’ll end the season with Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast to get new episodes delivered straight to you every Wednesday

  • Ravi Belani (Stanford University) - Building Billion Dollar Businesses

    Ravi Belani (Stanford University) - Building Billion Dollar Businesses

    11/03/2020 Duration: 43min

    As a lecturer in Stanford’s Department of Management Science and Engineering, Ravi Belani regularly teaches MS&E 472, the Stanford course associated with the Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders series. He is also the managing director of Alchemist Accelerator, an accelerator program that focuses on enterprise businesses and has funded startups like LaunchDarkly, Rigetti Computing and Zipongo. Before Alchemist, he spent four years as an associate at the VC firm DFJ. There, he was instrumental in backing the company that later became Twitch, which was acquired by Amazon for $970 million in 2014. In this talk, he draws on his keen observations of the Silicon Valley ecosystem to identify the factors that align to create the most transformational venture-scale businesses.

  • Mark Gainey (Strava) - How Strava Found its Niche

    Mark Gainey (Strava) - How Strava Found its Niche

    04/03/2020 Duration: 49min

    Mark Gainey is the co-founder and executive chairman of Strava, a platform where more than 50 million athletes around the world track their workouts and compare their stats. In this talk, he explains the “inch wide, mile deep” strategy that informed both Strava and his previous startup, Kana Communications. He explores how, by first focusing intently on the niche category of passionate road cyclists, Strava earned a credibility that ultimately allowed the company to scale into many other sports.

  • Mar Hershenson (Pear VC) - Strategies for Student Entrepreneurs

    Mar Hershenson (Pear VC) - Strategies for Student Entrepreneurs

    26/02/2020 Duration: 46min

    Mar Hershenson co-founded Pear VC in 2013, and under her watch the firm has made seed and pre-seed investments in category-defining companies like DropBox, Gusto, DoorDash and Branch Metrics. Along the way, she’s spent a significant amount of time mentoring student-entrepreneurs. In this talk, she focuses on some of the most common questions and concerns she hears from student entrepreneurs, offering insights she’s gained both as a serial startup founder and as a seed-stage VC investor.

  • Omar Tawakol (Voicea) - The Future of Voice

    Omar Tawakol (Voicea) - The Future of Voice

    19/02/2020 Duration: 48min

    Backed by corporate investors that included Cisco, Google, Microsoft and Salesforce, Omar Tawakol founded Voicea in 2017, and served as the company’s CEO until its acquisition by Cisco in September 2019. Voicea’s core offering was EVA, an  in-meeting AI assistant that transcribed meetings, generated highlights, and pushed relevant meeting content to productivity tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams. EVA is now being rolled into Cisco’s Webex Assistant, and Tawakol is currently the VP and GM of the Cisco Contact Center. In this talk, he explores the strategies he employed as he scaled Voicea and landed it at Cisco. He also draws on his experience building BlueKai, a data exchange and data management platform company he founded in 2007 and sold to Oracle in 2014, and draws contrasts between the two very different B2B business models.

  • Kate Rosenbluth (Cala Health) - A Needs-Based Innovation Framework

    Kate Rosenbluth (Cala Health) - A Needs-Based Innovation Framework

    12/02/2020 Duration: 49min

    As a Stanford Biodesign Innovation Fellow, Kate Rosenbluth was captivated by the unmet need to treat hand tremors. She discovered that the site of deep brain stimulation was accessible through the peripheral nerves in the wrist, and teamed up with Scott Delp, director of the Stanford Neuromuscular Biomechanics Lab, to found Cala Health, where she is now the chief scientific officer. The company’s wearable neuromodulation therapies merge neuroscience research with cutting-edge technology to deliver individualized peripheral nerve stimulation. Here, she presents a framework for “needs-based innovation,” and explores how she emphasized a needs-based approach in the context of Cala Health.

  • Kulveer Taggar (Zeus Living) - Scaling with Purpose

    Kulveer Taggar (Zeus Living) - Scaling with Purpose

    05/02/2020 Duration: 51min

    Kulveer Taggar is the co-founder and CEO of Zeus Living, a tech-driven property management company focused on disrupting the corporate housing market. The company raised a $55 million Series B round in December 2019, and has hosted more than 17,000 residents in its furnished units. In this talk, he explores how thinking on a scale of decades rather than just a few years has impacted his company’s culture and strategy.

  • Melinda Thomas (Octave Bioscience) - The Courage to Begin

    Melinda Thomas (Octave Bioscience) - The Courage to Begin

    29/01/2020 Duration: 42min

    Drawing on her experience launching and leading health companies like CardioDx and ParAllele, Melinda Thomas co-founded Octave Bioscience in 2014. Octave is developing a care management platform for neurodegenerative diseases, starting with multiple sclerosis, and aims to improve patient management decisions and create better outcomes while also lowering costs. In this talk, Thomas offers strategies for building deep, skills-driven entrepreneurial confidence.

  • Sam Yam (Patreon) - Surviving the Startup Grind

    Sam Yam (Patreon) - Surviving the Startup Grind

    22/01/2020 Duration: 45min

    In 2013, Sam Yam teamed up with his former Stanford roommate Jack Conte to create Patreon, a platform that connects content creators with members who provide recurring revenue. As co-founder and CTO, Yam built Patreon into a service that has funded more than one hundred thousand creatives, channelling more than one billion dollars to musicians, podcasters, and artists of all kinds. He describes the intense grind of scaling Patreon and looks at three central challenges that face most entrepreneurs, then focuses in on what makes the entrepreneurial path worth it.

  • ETL returns Jan. 22!

    ETL returns Jan. 22!

    08/01/2020 Duration: 01min

    New episodes of the Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders series return on January 22nd! Guests this season include Sam Yam, co-founder and CTO of Patreon; Mar Hershenson, managing partner of Pear VC; and Mark Gainey, co-founder and executive chairman of Strava. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast to get new episodes delivered straight to you every Wednesday!

  • Designing the Life You Really Want - From the ETL Archive

    Designing the Life You Really Want - From the ETL Archive

    01/01/2020 Duration: 01h35s

    Look back to one of our favorite talks from the ETL archives. Dave Evans, co-founder of the popular Life Design Lab at Stanford University, discusses the key concepts and exercises that guide students in their quest to figure out what they want to do in life. He underscores the importance of accepting who you are and connecting that to what you believe and do, while attacking dysfunctional notions like the one that dares you to be the “best version of yourself.” Can’t we have more than one?

  • Laura Gomez (Atipica) - The Need for Inclusive AI

    Laura Gomez (Atipica) - The Need for Inclusive AI

    04/12/2019 Duration: 42min

    Concerned with the ways that AI and machine learning often display biases against already marginalized groups, Laura Gomez created Atipica, a platform that uses those same tools to remove rather than exacerbate bias in the hiring process. Gomez is also a founding member of Project Include, a non-profit that aims to accelerate diversity and inclusion in the tech industry, and a member of the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, as well as Code.org’s Diversity Council. She describes the trends that have contributed to her company’s growth and encourages founders from diverse backgrounds to engage with tech, build confidence, and drive change.

  • Reversing Poverty By Giving People Work - From the ETL Archive

    Reversing Poverty By Giving People Work - From the ETL Archive

    26/11/2019 Duration: 55min

    Look back to one of our favorite talks from the ETL archives. Entrepreneur Leila Janah describes how her social enterprise Samasource allows people in Africa and elsewhere to lift themselves out of poverty through dignified, fair-wage digital work like photo tagging for companies in Silicon Valley. She celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit in those who survive on next to nothing and explains how giving work is more effective than charity.

  • Arlan Hamilton (Backstage Capital) - Underestimated

    Arlan Hamilton (Backstage Capital) - Underestimated

    20/11/2019 Duration: 47min

    Backstage Capital founder and managing partner Arlan Hamilton built a venture capital fund from the ground up, while homeless. Her fund is dedicated to minimizing funding disparities in tech by investing in high-potential founders who are people of color, women, and/or LGBT. Hamilton herself identifies as all three. Started in 2015, Backstage has invested nearly $7 million into 120 startups led by underestimated founders. In this talk, Hamilton describes how and why she created her unique fund, and why she views underrepresented, underestimated founders as a category with massive potential.

  • Aileen Lee (Cowboy Ventures) - Unicorn Lessons

    Aileen Lee (Cowboy Ventures) - Unicorn Lessons

    13/11/2019 Duration: 42min

    In 2013, Aileen Lee coined the term “unicorn” to refer to the growing field of startups with $1 billion valuations. At the time, she was a year into her role as a founder and managing partner of Cowboy Ventures, and her team was preparing a now-influential internal report examining how (and how often) companies with these massive valuations tend to emerge. Her summary of the report, published by TechCrunch, uncovered many insightful datapoints, but also revealed that only 2 of the 39 unicorns they studied had female co-founders, a finding that catalyzed her advocacy for increased diversity in technology startups. She more recently became a founding member of All Raise, a nonprofit organization devoted to increasing the representation of women in the venture-backed tech ecosystem. She describes her circuitous path to a job in venture capital, surfaces some of the central strategies of seed-stage investing, and encourages people from diverse backgrounds to help transform the venture capital business.

  • Srin Madipalli (Airbnb) - The Future is Accessible

    Srin Madipalli (Airbnb) - The Future is Accessible

    06/11/2019 Duration: 46min

    While earning his MBA at the University of Oxford’s Said Business School and teaching himself to code, Srin Madipalli found himself compelled by the power of technology to transform the lives of people with disabilities. He soon co-founded Accomable, a web app that grew to list accessible accomodations in 60 countries around the world. In November of 2017, Accomable was acquired by Airbnb, and Madipalli joined Airbnb as its accessibility product and program manager. There, he has overseen the addition of new consumer-facing accessibility filters and features, while also exploring how Airbnb can make its hiring and management practices more inclusive for job candidates and employees living with disabilities. He describes how Accomable grew from a side-project into a fast-growing company that landed at Airbnb, and points out how focusing on accessibility can provide companies with a massive opportunity to engage with the disability community.

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