11 podcasts that busy venture capitalists and founders say they trust right now
- Investors at JetBlue Ventures, Mighty Capital, and other VC firms shared their favorite podcasts.
- They include "All-In" with Chamath Palihapitiya and "The Future of Everything" by the WSJ.
Global venture-capital funding in 2022 may have dipped 35% from 2021, according to a report by analytics company CB Insights, but VCs are still eager to make deals.
It's a tough market right now, though, and investors need reliable insights, news, and information to spot opportunities and avoid making the wrong moves.
Podcasts can help. Here are 11 great options, recommended by VCs, founders, CEOs, and other industry insiders.
1. 'The Full Ratchet' with Nick Moran
Steve Taub, the managing director of investments at JetBlue Ventures, JetBlue Airways' VC firm that's invested in startups like Joby and Flyr Labs, said he likes "The Full Ratchet" because it "demystifies" the VC world. The podcast's host, Nick Moran — the founder and general partner of New Stack Ventures — has interviewed VCs and startup founders like Mark Suster, Eric Paley, and Joanne Wilson on how they build great companies.
"Moran often has interesting guest interviews, and I like the short 'investor stories' about lessons learned and unusual situations," Taub said. "I like that they're brief so I can listen to them when I don't have time for a full interview."
2. 'Catalyst' with Shayle Kann
Taub is also a fan of "Catalyst," which interviews investors, researchers, and executives knowledgeable about the world of climate tech.
While this isn't a strictly VC-focused podcast, the host, Shayle Kann, is a partner at Energy Impact Partners and leads EIP's investments at the frontier of climate tech, so the show covers timely topics in the climate-tech space.
Taub told Insider he listens to "Catalyst" because the threat of climate change — and humanity's response to it — is among the defining issues of the 21st century. "It will shape almost every aspect of our society and economy, so it's creating enormous opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurs," Taub said. "I think Kann does a great job of finding people with interesting ideas in the space, and he teases out the real challenges they need to overcome to be successful, so it's not just cheerleading."
3. 'The Twenty Minute VC' with Harry Stebbings
Andrew Gershfeld, a partner at the Boston-based investment fund Flint Capital — whose investments include the unicorns Socure (valued at $4.5 billion) and WalkMe (valued at $2.5 billion at IPO) — is a fan of "The Twenty Minute VC" podcast.
"Permanent lack of time in an investor's life makes you very picky when it comes to podcasts," he told Insider. "I find the '20VC' podcast very useful and insightful. Listening to how other VCs speak about themselves and how entrepreneurs describe the VCs they work with helped me understand how to differentiate our firm from the crowd."
Gershfeld said the host, Harry Stebbings, asks high fliers from successful VC firms — including Will Quist, a partner at Slow Ventures, and Kyle Harrison, a general partner at Contrary — how they forged investment scenarios to achieve big goals and what's impacted their leadership approach.
"The main thing about the VC world is building relationships, and Harry is an example of a great networker," Gershfeld said. "He's a self-made VC professional who turned from a VC fan in his teens into a full-fledged investor who manages over $140 million."
4. 'All-In' with Chamath Palihapitiya, Jason Calacanis, David Sacks, and David Friedberg
Gershfeld loves the podcast "All-In" because so few podcasts cover "all major things of the week" — from economics and technology to politics and social agendas. He said the four hosts possess "unmatched experience" and knowledge about technology and the VC market.
"Chamath Palihapitiya appears to be one of the few investors who has gone from VC into hedge-fund management," Gershfeld said. "Jason Calacanis has more than two decades in tech. David Sacks has over 20 unicorns in his portfolio, including Airbnb, Facebook, SpaceX, Twitter, and Uber. And David Friedberg of Climate Corporation, one of the first 1,000 employees at Google, helped run Google's AdWords and worked with Larry Page, Google's cofounder."
Gershfeld favorite segments include "Reflecting on the first 100 shows," and "Softbank's $21B+ Vision Fund loss."
5. 'The Future of Everything' by The Wall Street Journal
The WSJ's "The Future of Everything" podcast is the top pick of Ryan Nelson, a partner at the early-stage venture studio and VC fund Jobi and the cofounder of Jobi Brands, which has helped build celebrity brands like Courteney Cox's home-care brand Homecourt and Kate Hudson's wellness brand Inbloom.
"I love this podcast for being very far-forward-looking and covering potential changes in technology that could dramatically alter our world," Nelson said. "Personally, I'm interested in how our lives and societal trends will evolve and be shaped by new inventions — or new applications of older technologies.
"I think it's worthwhile to understand what types of opportunities to be on the lookout for in the near to medium term that are in line with these longer-term movements. By the time things are very obvious and in the mainstream, it can be too late to capitalize fully on the opportunity provided."
6. 'Venture Unlocked' with Samir Kaji
Jenny He — the founder and general partner of Position Ventures, an early-stage venture fund backed by Bain Capital Ventures and Tiger Global that's invested in Fractal, Anrok, and WorkWhile — said the Allocate CEO and founder Samir Kaji's "Venture Unlocked" podcast is "a must-listen for any emerging manager or anyone looking to get into venture capital."
The podcast interviews fund managers from all walks of life to reveal their approach to venture, trends they're seeing in the market, and how they got started with their first fund, featuring interviews with established VCs as well as emerging managers on their first fund. One of He's favorite episodes is "Alex Ohanian on the new era of VC."
"'Venture Unlocked' gives listeners unique access into the world of starting and scaling a venture-capital firm — as well as a rare glimpse into the LP perspective, which few people know the ins and outs of," He said. "As a first-time fund manager, it was valuable to hear from other fund managers on how they got started, as starting a fund is also a founder journey."
7. 'Capital Allocators' with Ted Seides
Ted Seides, an allocator and asset-management expert, hosts "Capital Allocators — Inside the Institutional Investment Industry," which SC Moatti, the founding managing partner of the San Francisco-based VC firm Mighty Capital, a backer of Airbnb and Amplitude, said has "the most quality, in-depth discussions on how institutional investors select the VCs they invest in."
"My favorite series of the show is their manager interviews, where an endowment will invite one of the venture funds they invested in — great nuggets on what makes VCs get excited about deals," Moatti added.
8. 'Masters of Scale' with Reid Hoffman
Chenxi Wang, the founder and general partner of the Silicon Valley-based venture fund Rain Capital and a former executive at Intel and Forrester, is a fan of the "Masters of Scale" podcast, where the LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman proves unconventional theories about how businesses scale and interviews top CEOs.
"As a general partner of a venture fund, I don't have a lot of time, but I can always learn something valuable from Reid's conversations with leaders who have scaled a massively successful business," Wang said. "In my opinion, building a successful startup is 30% about the idea and 70% about the ability to scale up the operation. Scaling a business is about building repeatable motions, establishing meaningful business metrics, and responding to evolving market conditions. The 'Masters of Scale' podcast hits on those aspects really well, and I recommend all founders listen to this podcast and make it a regular resource."
9. 'What Is Money?' with Robert Breedlove
Nathan Montone, the cofounder and CEO of M31 Capital Management, a global investment firm focused exclusively on crypto assets and blockchain technology, and an early backer and advisor to Helium, lists "What Is Money?" with Robert Breedlove, a former hedge-fund manager and philosopher in the bitcoin space, as one of his favorite podcasts and the best starting point for anyone looking for a "first principles understanding" of monetary technologies.
"'What Is Money?' takes deep philosophical dives into the importance of bitcoin through historical, political, technical, and spiritual lenses," Montone said. "BTC is the single-most important asset in the world, and that podcast gets to the heart of why that is."
10. 'Origins' by Notation
Jenny Rooke, the managing director of Genoa Ventures, a VC investing in early-stage companies like Intabio and InterVenn in the biology and tech sectors, said "Origin," a podcast created by Alex Lines and Nick Chirls, partners at the VC firm Notation Capital, is "excellent" for providing the LP perspective.
"The Notation Capital hosts ask LPs the questions that are on general partners' minds, such as how LPs think about allocating to new and emerging managers, tips and guidance for communicating well with LPs, and the LP view on markets and trends that need to be reflected in a manager's evolving strategy in order to stay current and succeed," Rooke said.
11. 'Built to Sell Radio' with John Warrillow
"Built to Sell Radio" airs weekly and features an entrepreneur who's recently sold their business to share why they sold it, focusing on their mistakes and victories along the way.
"Host John Warrillow is a thought leader in his own right, focused on creating and maximizing business value on the customer side and on the exit side," SC Moatti said.
"A great show to hear stories about entrepreneurs who made it all the way, with stories of entrepreneurs selling their businesses," Moatti added. "So many lessons that can be applied to early-stage startups, because at the end of the day, it doesn't matter how much money you raise, it's all about the exit and being able to land that plane."
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