Stanford GSB Sloan Study Notes, Week 7 (27), Winter quarter
After the public holiday last Monday (which I realized could not have been more eclectic between sick kid babysitting, running, building a unit economics model for a startup business plan assignment and babysteps in hacking social graph analysis in Mathematica) there was no breathing room throughout the rest of the week.
Eric Schmidt taught his legendary IPO class, we took a bunch of convertible note based seed financing setups apart and put them back together, the original mad-scientist-turned-CEO Art Levinson shared his thoughts on scaling innovation, we discussed how different can be the approaches to seemingly similar private equity investments, I finally made it over for a long-overdue visit to Stanford Technology Ventures Program and there was a fun reunion with ever-joyful Meg Whitman whom I hadn’t seen since the good old pre-politics and pre-HP days of her more regularly hanging out with us at Skype, in Tallinn and elsewhere.
When I was walking towards the study rooms on late Friday afternoon to get at least a bit of the two different finance group projects due Monday on the way, ahead of the expectedly busy Estonian Independence Day weekend, I got rerouted in a room where Craig Barrett, long-time Intel chairman & CEO was having a candid small class discussion about navigating global business structures despite of government interventions. Only in Stanford. Good news: what he figures competitive nations are supposed to do is pretty much aligned with where the 95-year-old birthday state of Estonia is heading.
Covered in this issue:
- How and why Google ended up running an unusual IPO process
- Changing landscape of seed & angel investing + rare data on performance
- Scaling innovation from startups to large public companies
- Inner workings and different flavours of Private Equity partnerships
- How defaulting and going bankrupt is different between US and various EU markets
- Practical guide to managing through international trade barriers
- Guests: Meg Whitman (eBay/HP), Art Levinson (Genentech/Google/Apple), Craig Barrett (Intel), Google Ventures, Snapchat, Private equity partners from General Atlantic, TA Associates, Francisco Partners
I was honored to speak last night at the Estonian Independence Day reception thrown by the local Estonian society, aka Eesti By The Bay.
The below are my speaking notes, not a full transcript. Happy 95th Birthday, Estonia!
Stanford GSB Sloan Study Notes, Week 6 (26), Winter quarter
The picture reflects the exact view I have from where I’m sitting posting this. When you live in Northern Europe, “good snowy ski weather” usually means you have to give in on other things (such as clear skies and light). Not in Tahoe – and that’s why a mission of Sloans have landed here again for a long Presidents’ Day weekend.
But no play without hard work, right. There were quite a bit of extra-curricular activities on campus (I made it to several BBLs even!), some long-planned and inspiring 1:1 coffees with MBA colleagues, a few guests I would bucket in “personal heroes” category. And a fun roleplay of 8am termsheet negotiations, with lawyers at each table and all.
Covered in this issue:
- Differences in financing with debt vs equity – and some irrationalities caused by taxation
- Seed financing – how to survive until Series A
- Intricacies of convertible note structuring
- European startups: plasma drilling in Slovakia and why you should move to Berlin
- When and why founder CEOs get fired
- Introduction to Private Equity
- BBLs on Crowdfunding and Big Data
- More guests from: Geothermal Anywhere, Soundcloud, Intellicap, Twitter, Benchmark Capital, Hellman & Friedman, PubVest, LinkedIn
Stanford GSB Sloan Study Notes, Week 5 (25), Winter quarter
This midterm week was quite light for classwork – as my elective set happened to have no actual midterm exams.
There was some time to think about an own group project (a business plan for a language teaching/feedback service that plugs into your daily communications flow in foreign language), help out a group of MS&E students writing a project on Skype and another group researching management approaches for their Paths to Power class, reminiscence of the good old days with Howard (the first investor in Skype), drop by the very maltheesque-looking Rdio offices, have calls with two new startups with impressively useful mobile apps in development, visit a stealth mode space startup about to launch some beautiful tech off this planet and then celebrate the Chinese New Year and Gustav’s birthday. And finally play a full round of golf at the Stanford Course.
Wow, actually sounds like a busy week now. The good busy.
Relative short study notes covered in this issue:
- Optimal portfolios and cost of capital
- More VC term nuances, especially around founder control
- Guests: founders on SunRun & Intuit, VCs from Accel & Foundation Capital. And Christy Turlington.
Stanford GSB Sloan Study Notes, Week 4 (24), Winter quarter
The relative (& temporary, I’m sure) breather on reading volume this week left some much awaited time to deal with things out of the classroom: we’ve gotten over the home stretch in our core marketing course with some brand audits and presentations, on Tesla Model S. And it was even more fun to work with my MBA-mixed study groups for venture financing and business planning.
My highlight of the week was doubling the Estonian population on campus when Steve came to join our Sloan class for an evening lecture and smaller breakfast to discuss the most inspiring trends he sees as an investor (no separate notes – but see notes from the Science panel at the Intersection Event for a hint on his direction).
And I even got out of campus for a bit: to a fun chat between Eric Ries and Marc Andreessen at A16Z office on the Lean Startup movement and diversity issues in the valley. Highland Capital Partners threw a GSB mixer at the legendary Old Pro. I was also lucky to have two different insightful conversations with a physicist (one turned VC, the other a space entrepreneur, as it is customary here) in one week, on maximising impact. I am grateful for weeks like this.
Covered in this issue:
- State of Space Tourism in 2013
- Risk & Return – was it sensible for Airbus to build the A380?
- Structuring financing deals and more terms sheets
- Building an eCommerce firm in Russia
- Writing a business plan and pitching to VC partner meeting
- Advanced body language tips to presenters
- More guests & speakers from Virgin Galactic, XCOR Aerospace, Mohr Davidov Ventures, Wikimart, DeRemate, Wealthfront, Exploramed, Bare Escentuals…