Road Untraveled: Sheel Tyle (Amplo) on building companies that matter, false rallies in the stock market, and the perseverance of “downturn founders”.


Sheel Tyle, Founder and CEO, Amplo

Key Takeaways:

1. Public market run up is a result of investors struggling to find good places to deploy capital. Low interest rates and an increase in trading volumes can create false rallies, and don’t necessarily suggest strong fundamentals.

2. Advice to Founders: Hope for the best and plan for the worst. 

3. Treat employees like partners, not commodities. Don’t be afraid to share the rationale with your employees, and allow them to be a part of the journey.

4. The perseverance required to build during a downturn often leads to the creation of some of the greatest companies.

Road Untraveled: Miriam Rivera (Ulu Ventures) on advice to startup founders, the importance of investing in diverse teams, and the innovation that often arises in times of adversity.


Miriam Rivera, Founder & Managing Partner, Ulu Ventures

Key Takeaways:

1. Role models and resources can change the trajectory of a student’s professional journey. Find ways to take a chance on students who may not look like you, and drive the diversity you want to see in the World.

2. Founders should evaluate the spectrum of capital available when deciding to raise money. 

3. A renewed emphasis on survival, profitability and retention will help many companies be better positioned to succeed in the long run.

4. The venture investing life cycle is 10+ years, so many funds will maintain their long-term perspectives and continue working to identify the companies that will be category winners long term. 

Road Untraveled: (Sports) DRIVE by DraftKings – Managing Director Kiki Mills Johnston on returning to sports after COVID19 and the future of fan engagement.


Kiki Mills Johnston, Managing Director, DRIVE by DraftKings

Key takeaways:

1. Companies are trying to identify ways to engage fans when they aren’t able to bring them into the stadium (VR, competitions, fantasy, etc)

2. A new light is being shed on e-sports, but we still need to ask “is this a means to an end or a new norm once all this settles”.

3. Switch up your information sources to avoid information overload or only getting one sided perspectives.

Road Untraveled: Marlon Nichols from MaC Venture Capital on companies that thrive in this environment, the importance of still setting goals, and how to support diverse founders right now.


Marlon Nichols, Founder & Managing Partner, MaC Venture Capital

Key Takeaways:

1. Companies that can thrive in this environment: health tech space, remote work, collaboration, government/reg tech.

2. Companies will have to make hard changes, but need to keep an eye on how the business is performing and whether you are still achieving the short term goals you set out to accomplish.

3.  Diverse founders are historically underfunded, but once funded, tend to outperform non-diverse teams by 30% on average. Investors should continue to find ways to source and support diverse teams much like the efforts of the ‘Launch with GS’ team.

Road Untraveled: M13’s Courtney Reum on interesting consumer sectors to watch, the “experiential” economy, and the importance of wellness and self care.


Courtney Reum, Founder, M13

1. Double down on transparency and communication with your investors and employees.

2. Consumer companies will have to bridge the frustrations in delivery lag by creating unique messaging and a sense of community to capture customers.

3. Founders should think hard about how to not self-isolate during these lonely times. Expand your ecosystem, bring on founders and others to bounce ideas and share best practices.

Road Untraveled: Lightspeed Venture Partners’ Amy Wu on the PPP program, cash flow management, and the industries she is watching.


Amy Wu, Partner, Lightspeed Venture Partners

Key Takeaways:

1. Teams should think about stress-testing for both “COVID impact” as well as “recession impact”.

2. Great companies are founded & funded in times like this. Funds will continue to search for high quality opportunities to add to their portfolio.

3. Industries with potential tailwinds: gaming, online grocery, productivity, tele-medecine. 

Road Untraveled: Prologis Ventures’ Breton Birkhofer on supply/demand shocks, real estate tech, and fundamental changes to the labor force as we knew it.


Breton Birkhofer, Principle, Prologis Ventures

Key Takeaways:

1. Companies should think critically about the total cost of layoffs, as they also should include the cost of hiring and retraining.

2. The depth and length of the demand shock is still unclear, and it is hard to know just how severe the knock on effects across the supply chain will be for some time.

3. The theory of nice to have vs need to have is being brought to the forefront, and many companies will find out whether or not they are considered critical by their employees as budgets get re-evaluated.

Road Untraveled: RSE Ventures’ Matt Higgins on the future of DTC companies, the role of content creation, and playing “offense” in times of uncertainty.


Matt Higgins, CEO @ RSE Ventures / Vice Chairman @ Miami Dolphins

Key Takeaways:

1. Every conversation should start “how can I help you”. Investors should think about ways they can relieve their teams of items that have long lead times.

2. The future belongs to the content creators. Build a community and build empathy to your end customer.

3. Teams should look for opportunities to play offense, not just defense.

4. Industries will become more efficient on the other side of this, with tele-medicine adopted much more widely.

Road Untraveled: Ann DeWitt, General Partner of MIT’s ‘The Engine’ on tough tech companies and how this pandemic will bring light to the many global crises we are facing.


Ann DeWitt, General Partner, The Engine

Key Takeaways:

1. This pandemic is highlighting the importance of “tough tech” companies and accelerating their ability to reach milestones and engage customers. 

2. Global issues have been localized as a result of COVID19, and the resulting collaboration of teams working to solve issues like climate change will have a positive long term impact on society.  

3. Founders should continue to think critically about how to operationalize the efforts of their team and ensure continued momentum through these times.

This episode is sponsored by

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Road Untravaled: Shasta Ventures’ Nikhil Basu Trivedi on the importance of employee health, industries to watch and the light at the end of COVID19.


Nikhil Basu Trivedi, Managing Director, Shasta Partners

Key Takeaways:

1. There are a number of behavioral changes that are happening through this environment that will shape the strategy of companies born in the near future.

2. The health of your employee base should be of paramount focus. That includes ensuring that founders monitor themselves.

3. New leaders will be accelerated into leadership positions as a result of this pandemic, and funds will look more diverse as a result.     

This episode is sponsored by

· Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast.