Reading List: Venture Deals

I’m currently reading “Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist” by Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson including a foreword by Twitter CEO Dick Costolo.

It is a solid read (thus far) and provides some great insights into the world of venture capital.  I’m just about a third of the way through and am enjoying to easy reading style of the book.  If you are thinking of raising money or are curious as to how the process works, check out Venture Deals, its a great place to start.

Side Note: Brad Feld is working on another book, this one is all about startup communities and how to create a great one in your city.  You can see more details of the book here as well as submit your thoughts to potentially be included in the book.

50 Coffees: Anthony Lee, C100 & Altos Ventures

I had the opportunity to sit down with fellow Canadian Anthony Lee at one of his portfolio companies DemandBase in downtown San Francisco.  Rob Lewis of Techvibes connected me with Anthony so that we could meet up and chat about our startup as well as life in Silicon Valley as a Canadian.

Anthony is a partner at Altos Ventures as well as the co-founder of C100.  Anthony explained how he operates from Vancouver and San Francisco as well mentioned just how many Canadians are down in Silicon Valley.  He said there is a Canadian in a C level position in most of the top firms in the valley including Google and Apple.

It was great to hear about some of the success that Canadians are having down in the valley as well as how the C100 is help connect them all. (50 Coffees)

50 Coffees: Tony Conrad, True Ventures

Mike and I just got back from a meeting with Tony Conrad. Tony is a founder & CEO of (acquired by Aol in 2010), and a founding member & Venture Partner at True Ventures. Prior to, Tony co-founded Sphere (acquired by Aol in 2008) with Toni Schneider.

We sat for an hour or so with Tony at Ironside Cafe in downtown San Francisco and chatted about his amazing successes and the journey that we are on with Payroll Hero.  Tony had some great insight about what we are up to and some really solid feedback on business models, choosing venture capital partners and our product.

(L – R) Michael Stephenson, Tony Conrad, Stephen Jagger

(50 Coffees)

50 Coffees: Sunil Nagaraj of Bessemer Ventures

Sunil Nagaraj of Bessemer Ventures dropped by the Warm Gun Conference to meet up and chat about what we are doing with Payroll Hero.  It was a great meeting in a very Zen like location.  We sat outside on a couple of large rocks in the Hotel Kabuki‘s inner courtyard next to their koi pond.

Sunil had some great insights into the space Payroll Hero is pushing into and has some great experiences that lend well to where we are going.  We will be meeting up again to go through the product with him.

(50 Coffees)

50 Coffees: Indy Guha of Bain Capital Ventures

I just got back from a meeting with Indy Guha of Bain Capital Ventures.  (Bain is also a “newbie” to the Silicon Valley area with new offices in Palo Alto and downtown San Francisco.)  Indy and I had a great chat.  He explained how Bain has its fingers in many pies around the world and through its affiliated companies. Bain has lots of experience and connections in many large industries with ownership in many big name businesses.

We chatted about PayrollHero, the direction we were taking it and about our plans for the near future.  Sounds like Indy is going to swing by the PayrollHero house sometime soon to meet the rest of the team and see the product.

(50 Coffees)

50 Coffees: Rob Hayes, First Round Capital

I had the opportunity to meet up with Rob Hayes at First Round Capital the other day.  Rob has led investments in companies such as (acquired by Intuit), HomeRun (acquired by Rearden Commerce), Uber, TaskRabbit, AppFog, Get Satisfaction, and DNAnexus.

I actually had the opportunity to see Rob speak when he was in Vancouver, BC for GrowConf a few months ago.  Rob has a great style about him where he says exactly what he thinks, there is no guessing how he feels about something.

When we met, we chatted about PayrollHero and the direction we were going with it.  It was a fantastic meeting, although quite quick (his assistant has him doing back to back 30 minute meetings all day it sounded like), where Rob asked some solid questions about our business and had some great insight into the business to business marketplace.

(50 Coffees)

50 Coffees: Ben Jacobs of DCM Ventures

We met up with Ben Jacobs this morning of DCM.  Ben was introduced to us by the guys at Taskus as they all grew up in the same neighbourhood in Los Angeles.  Ben took us out to breakfast to chat further about what we are up to.  It was very interesting to chat with Ben as he has lots of experience in the payroll world and overseas ventures.  (Interesting note, Ben speaks Mandarin) Ben talked about how DCM works, where they like to invest (US / Asia) and what his thoughts were on PayrollHero and what we were doing.  After breakfast we walked back over to the house to show Ben the “window” into the Manila office. (what is 50 Coffees?)

(L – R) Michael Stephenson, Ben Jacobs, Stephen Jagger



Entrepreneurs Roundtable @ Pillsbury

Tonight there was an event held at Pillsbury Law Firm, where 4 VC-backed game startups presented their companies and how their experiences worked with their respective VCs.

The main event was Margaret Wallace, co-founder/CEO Playmatics and Shadow Government.  Previously she co-founded Skunk Studio and Rebel Monkey.  Prior to that, she worked at Shockwave, Mindscape and PF Magic as game producer of many game titles.  After Margaret, the other 3 companies each took a few moments to tell their stories.

It was a great event with a very international crowd.  Attendees from South Korea, Lithuania, Canada, Greece, Mexico, Australia to name a few.  Fantastic job by Shirley Lin for putting the whole event together.


View from the middle of the room

50 Coffees: Kartik Raghavan of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

We had the opportunity to meet up with Kartik Raghavan in Los Altos, CA today.  Kartik was introduced to us by our landlord and has quite the resume.  Kartik is currently the advisor to the CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and has tons of amazing experience.  He was an advisor to the Obama For America team and a VC at Trilogy Equity Partners & Shasta Ventures.  Before that, he was with Microsoft in quite a few roles. You can see more on Kartik here.

It was great to meet with Kartik, his experience and knowledge in the technology world is extensive and he had some great feedback for us.  It will be great to meet up with him again to show him the progress we are making with PayrollHero.

(L – R) Stephen Jagger, Kartik Raghavan, Michael Stephenson

(50 Coffees)