Category Archives: Sunday VC School

Investing in down rounds (VC School) + The Lightsmith Group Co-Founder Jay Koh (Climate) | E1431

Another Sunday edition of This Week in Startups! In VC Sunday School, Jason answers a question about investing in down rounds (1:54)from “Noti Gang” member Bob Gee. Then, Molly has a great interview with Jay Koh (12:16), an investor at The Lightsmith Group about how he invests in the climate landscape (20:41), cautionary tales from the first climate investing wave (32:13), and more.

Inbound vs. outbound deal flow (VC School) + Jason Jacobs of My Climate Journey | E1425

Sunday double-header! In the opening VC Sunday School segment, Jason discusses deal flow (1:43), you will learn:
1. Inbound vs. outbound deal flow
2. Tactics VCs use to streamline their deal flow
3. Jason’s philosophy on responding to founders – Your process is my opportunity

Then, Molly chats with Jason Jacobs of My Climate Journey about scaling climate tech investing, inspiring people to solve climate problems and the tangible value of community (21:27).

Understanding non-dilutive fundraising options + Continuum Ag Founder Mitchell Hora | E1419

Sunday Double-header! First, in VC Sunday School, Jason explains non-dilutive funding’s impact on startups (2:18). Then, Molly interviews Continuum Ag Founder Mitchell Hora. His company helps farmers analyze their soil and create a roadmap to improve it via a holistic approach known as regenerative agriculture (21:33).

How much money is too much? (VC Sunday School) + Climate: Andrew Beebe of Obvious Ventures | E1401

Another Sunday double-header edition! First Jason leads a VC Sunday School session on how to react when companies try and skip steps and raise larger rounds (2:51). Plus, how Pegasus (or Alicorn) companies can end up being much better investments than traditional Unicorns. Then, for This Week in Climate Startups, Molly chats with Andrew Beebe of Obvious Ventures (18:47). You will learn:

1. Andrew’s focus within climate tech (electric mobility, carbon and carbon markets)
2. How Andrew’s first startup exit set him up to join the solar industry
3. How contrarian bets make careers
4. The key criteria for climate investments to be good venture bets
5. How Obvious Ventures puts its “world positive” mission into practice
6. The way carbon disclosure requirements will reshape industry
7. Why Andrew recommends reading Kim Stanley Robinson’s “The Ministry for the Future”

What investors mean when they are “waiting for a lead” (VC Sunday School) + Seth Bannon of 50 Years | E1395

First up is a VC Sunday school where Jason discusses what investors mean when they say “we are interested in investing, but come back when you found a lead” (1:51). Then, we tease Molly’s EV review of the Audi e-tron Sportback (20:42). To wrap, Molly does a This Week in Climate Startups segment with Seth Bannon (recorded on 2/9/22), a founding Partner of Fifty Years, a Venture capital firm investing in climate solutions (34:12). You will learn:

1. The convictions that unpin Fifty Years’ investment thesis
2. Why Seth thinks VC has lost his way
3. Why increasing longevity could be a net-positive for climate
4. How Fifty Years measures impact of their investments
5. How Seth evaluates the potential negative externalities of his investments
6. How his PhD to VC program works

VC Sunday School: first-tier investor behavior + Climate: Dangerous Ventures’ Mike Lin | E1385

Jason and Molly begin this double-header Sunday show with a VC Sunday School segment on top-tier VC behavior (01:38). You will learn:

1. How first-tier VCs compare to second-tier VCs
2. When VCs should intervene in a portfolio company
3. The difference between micromanaging and good governance
4. Jason’s framework for ensuring alignment: Mission, Plan, Strategy, Tactics
5. Why good Board Members remain calm and positive

Then, Molly is joined by Mike Lin from Dangerous Ventures for a This Week in Climate Startups segment (22:00). You will learn:

1. What Mike learned from working at Makani Power (acquired by Google X)
2. The potential of “muscle-powered” energy and its limits
3. Lessons from the failed Potenco generator & One Laptop Per Child project
4. How Mike got himself fired from Apple for insubordination
5. Why Dangerous Ventures is backing “Dunkirk” climate solutions

John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins with Ryan Panchadsaram + VC Sunday School: cap table management | E1379

John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins joins to discuss his lessons from a career of investing and his new book “Speed & Scale: An Action Plan for Solving Our Climate Crisis Now,” alongside his co-author Ryan Panchadsaram.

But first, Jason gives a 10-minute crash course on how to navigate messy cap tables in our latest VC Sunday School segment (1:54).

Then John and Ryan join Molly and Jason for a conversation (15:11). In this episode, you will learn:
1. The six objectives and four accelerants to reach zero emissions by 2050
2. Why Nuclear power is an important part of the plan, but cannot be the only solution
3. The biggest blockers to rapid climate progress and why “the climate crisis is under-hyped”
4. Hard-won lessons from funding solar companies
5. How John assesses founders and develops conviction to invest
6. Indications John saw that Jeff Bezos was an exceptional entrepreneur
7. Where investors should focus to drive the biggest output

Sunday VC School: how investors work together + Prime Movers Lab’s Ramez Naam | E1367

First, Jason teaches Sunday VC School: how investors work together (01:54). In this segment you will learn.

1. How collaboration varies across investing stages.
2. How lead investors are determined and what their responsibilities are.
3. The strategies you can use to win deals (Jason explains the pitch he gives to founders with options).
4. The warning signs to watch for when working with other investors.
5. Tactics founders can use for lower-friction fundraising.

Then, Molly chats with Ramez Naam from Prime Movers Lab in a This Week in Climate Startups segment (35:10). They discuss the declining costs of renewable energy, making the choice between advancing existing technologies and inventing new ones, how science fiction can make you a better investor and more.