by Kate BarrettFeb 15, 2023
Today we launch Founder Forward, a new podcast from NEA.
I know what you’re thinking. Another podcast? Every venture capital firm has a podcast. Some have several, presumably because their investors have a lot of opinions to share and, well, why not?
That’s what we thought too. But we kept thinking about it… what if we could create something that’s not a commercial, but a conversation? A podcast that seeks to share wisdom, not spout it? What if we pulled together our most prolific investors and inspiring entrepreneurs to talk candidly about company building, in a way that could be accessible and valuable to any founder, no matter where they are on the journey? We thought that sounded pretty interesting, so we put our heads down and got to work on Founder Forward.
Each episode weaves together two separate interviews in a single narrative that illuminates key aspects of company building. One interview features an NEA investor and a founder they support, while the other features a new-to-NEA founder whose company is at an earlier stage of growth. We explore where their paths are similar, where they diverge, and the defining moments that have shaped each of their journeys. The result is a pretty deep dive into some fundamental aspects of company building, with actionable advice from renowned leaders across software, commerce, cleantech, marketplaces, infrastructure and health.
We’ve learned a lot from the founders and companies featured in our first season: the inspiring and often surprising reasons people decide to start a company; what carries entrepreneurs through the highs, lows and loneliest moments of building something from the ground up; the behind-the-scenes stories and career-shaping moments shared by founders like Ali Ghodsi of Databricks, David Rogier of MasterClass or Jack Conte of Patreon; and the humility, curiosity and humor that are defining traits of some of the most renowned entrepreneurs and investors in Silicon Valley and beyond.
Here's a sampling of sound advice shared by our guests during the season. (No spoilers here—the best parts are the stories behind these snippets!)
When starting a company, do something you’ll be proud of even if it fails.
Everybody loves your product when it’s free. Start charging for it and you’ll learn how they really feel.
When checking references on potential investors, don’t just talk to the entrepreneurs who had good outcomes. Talk to the ones where things didn’t go well—would they still take money from that investor?
Founders out there need to know that people are rooting for you. People want you to succeed. You just need to ask for help.
One of our guests perfectly captured our goal for this podcast as we wrapped up our interview, saying that he hopes it inspires others to take that leap—to believe that they can go on that journey, and that others will join and support them. We hope he’s right! Listeners can learn about this founder’s journey and much more on the first episode of Founder Forward, available today on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.
The information provided in this blog post is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be investment advice, or recommendation, or as an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy an interest in any fund or investment vehicle managed by NEA or any other NEA entity. New Enterprise Associates (NEA) is a registered investment adviser with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). However, nothing in this post should be interpreted to suggest that the SEC has endorsed or approved the contents of this post. NEA has no obligation to update, modify, or amend the contents of this post nor to notify readers in the event that any information, opinion, forecast or estimate changes or subsequently becomes inaccurate or outdated. In addition, certain information contained herein has been obtained from third-party sources and has not been independently verified by NEA. The companies featured in this post are for illustrative purposes only, have been selected in order to provide an example of the types of investments made by NEA that fit the theme of this post and are not representative of all NEA portfolio companies. The company founders or executives or any other individuals featured or quoted in this post are not compensated, directly or indirectly, by NEA but may be founders or executives of portfolio companies NEA has invested in through funds managed by NEA and its affiliates. Any statements made by founders, investors, portfolio companies, or others in the post or on other third-party websites referencing this post are their own, and are not intended to be an endorsement of the investment advisory services offered by NEA.
NEA makes no assurance that investment results obtained historically can be obtained in the future, or that any investments managed by NEA will be profitable. To the extent the content in this post discusses hypotheticals, projections, or forecasts to illustrate a view, such views may not have been verified or adopted by NEA, nor has NEA tested the validity of the assumptions that underlie such opinions. Readers of the information contained herein should consult their own legal, tax, and financial advisers because the contents are not intended by NEA to be used as part of the investment decision making process related to any investment managed by NEA.