E725: 500 Startups’ Dave McClure shares strategies as SV’s most prolific investor, common early-stage startup mistakes & advice to founders; Greylock’s Sarah Tavel on 10 lessons from scaling Pinterest

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about this episode

500 Startups is a global venture capital seed fund with a network of startup programs headquartered in Silicon Valley, with investments in more than 1,800 technology startups all over the world since its inception in 2010. Jason sits down with Founding Partner Dave McClure to talk about early mistakes, lessons and insights learned, his investment approach, and advice to founders in 2017. Then, Sarah Tavel of Greylock Partners reflects on her early days at Pinterest as she watched the company grow from 30,000 registered users to 100m monthly active users, and distills 10 lessons from her experience there.

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Timestamps:

1:25: 500 Startups umbrella has done 1,800 investments

2:30: Dave started 500 Startups with Christine Tsai and  in 2010

3:00: Lessons learned from that many investments

4:06: Company thesis: if you only find unicorns 1%-2% of time, portfolio size should be at least 100

5:35: When you look at entrepreneurs 8 years ago versus today, and the number of companies in ecosystem, how have things changed?

7:15: Common mistakes from early stage founders and early stage startups

9:36: Early investment mistakes, lessons, and insights

14:58: Dave’s investment approach

17:46: Gender in venture capital

22:39: Best advice to founders in 2017

24:49: Sarah Tavel saw Pinterest go from 30,000 registered users 100m monthly active users and distills lessons from that experience

26:19: What you measure matters

28:32: Org chart matters

30:36: Listen to your users, but know when to ignore them too

33:04: Not all employees are created equal

34:29: Growth team is something that you create

35:59: Think about user trust like a bank

37:44: Set diversity norms early on

39:18: It’s not always up and to the right, and that’s ok.

41:00: Every failed experiment is an opportunity to learn

42:16: Always be learning; 2 most important things for a founder is a growth mindset and grit

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