E750: LAUNCH Angel Summit: Sequoia Partner Alfred Lin on backing mission-driven founders, seed stage strategies, the rise of A.I., & the future of tech startups

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about this episode

Filmed live on stage at the 2017 LAUNCH Angel Summit in Napa Valley, Jason interviews industry veteran Alfred Lin. In this intimate fireside chat, Alfred shares insights into the stepping stones of his journey from Venture Frogs, to Zappos, to Sequoia Capital, where he is currently writing checks to some of the most influential startups in Silicon Valley. Alfred spends a large portion of the talk explaining why he focuses on founders who are on a “mission”. He backs his argument with examples of the types of founders and CEOs who make millions, if not billions, of dollars and still choose to continue working because they are on a mission, and that mission goes beyond just making lots and lots of money. Investment strategies from Seed to Series D, the future of venture capital, and the importance of unanimity among partners are all topics covered in detail in this special episode of TWiST.

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Timestamps:

01:01: Alfred shares the formulation of his first fund: Venture Frogs

05:30: The $1.2B deal made between Zappos and Amazon

12:52: Approach to a secondary offering, such as a Series B or C

14:45: Jason asks Alfred what his approach would be if he were an angel investor instead of a VC

19:53: How does Sequoia look at the seed-level space at this point?

26:53: Thoughts on the “Scouts” program

29:16: Some of the companies that he passed on, and the reasons venture capital is such a humbling business

33:00: Question 1: Will the scout program expand beyond Palo Alto?

34:34: Question 2: What do you see happening to VC firms over the next 10 years?

41:10: Jason asks Alfred why Jeff Bezos is such a fierce competitor

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