What I Learned Pitching The Richest Man In The World

In August of 2011, I had the fortune to be invited to meet and pitch Carlos Slim, who was the richest man in the world at the time.

The meeting was a favor to Carlos’s friend Eduardo Verastegui, who is best known as a Mexican Telenovela star and is a true gentleman. Eduardo and I had struck up a relationship through our mutual friend, entrepreneur and venture capitalist Dan Peate. Eduardo suggested that one of my portfolio companies might be of interest to the Slim family, so Eduardo, Dan, and I flew to Mexico City to pitch the opportunity.

Dan and I are investors together in the company, but as the lead investor and executive chairman, I was responsible for making the pitch. As we walked into Carlos’s office around 7:30pm, he informed me through his translator that we had 15 minutes.

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“Everyone has competition, but why will you win? How will you maintain your leadership position?” with David Cremin of Frontier

I had the pleasure of interviewing David Cremin, who is the founder and Managing Partner of Frontier, where he leads fund operations, fundraising and portfolio management. David has raised over $200 million in venture capital partnerships and helped lead investments in over 100 companies, including DailyPay, Divx Networks (NASDAQ:DIVX), Big Frame (DreamWorks), MaxPreps (CBS), Clear Access (Cisco) and Prolacta Bioscience. He previously served as Founder and CEO of Vis-à-Vis Entertainment, a venture-backed startup focused on music media. He spent several years touring as a professional musician and recording artist for RCA Records, Atlantic Records, Elektra Records and EastWest Records. David has taught business feasibility as an adjunct professor at UC Santa Barbara and California Polytechnic San Luis Obispo. He holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University.

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Gender Pay Equity Analysis Is Here to Stay. Is Your Company Doing It Right?

Turning over the Partner PoV column to Zev Eigen, founder and chief data scientist of our portfolio company, Syndio.

Equal pay for equal work by people of different genders is top of mind for most companies in 2019, with a December World Economic Forum report noting the gender pay gap is on track to persist for the next twenty decades.

There is absolutely no reason for the pay gap to persist, and some actors have begun taking steps on what they have realized is a solvable problem. For example, many states are enacting laws that require organizations of all sizes to close the gender pay gap. Shareholder activists, third-party organizations, and activist fund managers are pressing companies for transparency on their pay equity to avoid facing a shareholder proposal. Within companies, employee networks are more frequently sharing their own pay information when pressing their employers on pay equity. 

But more than the legal requirements or external and internal pressure, gender-based pay equity is the right thing to do. When employees know a company takes pay practices seriously, they are more engaged, happier, more productive, and less likely to leave. Employers that are transparent about their commitment to pay equity earn trust, and a reputation for pay equity is also the number-one way to attract top talent.

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Drone Security

Here’s a “Portfolio PoV” from Luke Fox, CEO of drone security company WhiteFox Defense Technologies sharing his thoughts with us today……

As of February 23, 2019, drone owners must begin displaying their FAA ID numbers on the outside of their drones, a new requirement in response to fears of terrorism. Previously, the FAA allowed registration numbers to be placed on the inside of drones. While this is a step in the right direction, the industry still has a long way to go with drone identification. There are over a million unregistered drones in the US, and the current system is manual and easy to exploit. The solution for drone remote ID should be digital, automated, and cryptographically-secure. The importance of cybersecurity in remote ID Is two-sided. Smart cities should be confident that authenticated drones operating within it are well intentioned, while also honoring the privacy of drones operators. Why must drone remote ID be secure? Without necessary cybersecurity in place, forging a digital identifier is easy. Anyone can claim to be any identify, from any location. Tampering with another drone’s identity is easy, as well. As drones proliferate, the manual registration process will need to be phased out. It’s imperative a system is implemented that both sends and receives data we can trust.

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Portfolio Company Spotlight: Misty Robotics

Occasionally we turn over this page on our website to guests. Today we turn it over to Tim Enwall, the head of Misty Robotics……

Misty’s Jobs

Robots doing “everything humans can do” is still decades away— so which jobs can Misty fill?

The single most-asked question we at Misty Robotics get is: “what can Misty do?”

This question comes at us from consumers, developers, investors, and other robot companies. And there are as many answers as perspectives, but the shortest answer is “probably not as much as humanity expects a robot to do.” And that’s just fine.

If you think about all of the actions that humans perform on any given day, the human “Task Space” pie chart might look something like this:

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