NextGen Venture Partners | Podcast

John Duncan, Principal at Meridian Research Group and Capital Point

In this episode of Taking Notes, Dan Mindus (co-founder and managing partner of NGVP) speaks with Venture Partner John Duncan (Principal at Meridian Research Group and Capital Point). Capital Point provides analysis to institutional investors and corporate executives with a heavy focus on the technology industry. The two discuss the potential impact of new policies out of Washington, D.C. on big technology companies, with John drawing from his expertise in both worlds at Microsoft, the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Commerce and elsewhere.

Carter McJunkin, Founder of Autarki Ventures

In this episode of Taking Notes, NextGen Managing Partner Dan Mindus speaks with Carter McJunkin. Carter is a Venture Partner with NextGen and was the COO at Grindr for nearly 8 years, from employee # 1 to exit. Grindr describes itself as the largest social networking app for gay, bi, trans and queer people. Dan and Carter discuss growth at Grindr to millions of daily active users, and the company's recent news on the global stage.

Jason Yeh, Tape: Mobile Video for Enterprise

In this episode, Dan Mindus (managing partner at Nextgen) chats with Jason Yeh (co-founder at Tape - video tool for sales/NextGen portfolio company) about pursuing the opportunity to productize innovations in mobile video for the enterprise. "Mobile video has given the consumer world a lot in terms of a natural way to communicate, a way to present human contact between friends and family, and we started thinking about the ways that could be applied to the business world...we stumbled across a huge pain point in the area of B2B leads."

Ajay Kori, co-founder and chairman of UrbanStems: Disrupting Flower Delivery

In this episode of Taking notes, Dan Mindus (managing partner at NextGen) and Ajay Kori (co-founder and chairman at UrbanStems) discuss the broken flower industry and Ajay's motivations for entering the space, why Amazon is unlikely to compete here and why he handed off his position as UrbanStems' chief executive officer.

Andrew Yang, Founder of Venture for America & U.S. Candidate for President in 2020

In this episode of Taking Notes, NextGen Managing Partner Dan Mindus speaks with Andrew Yang. Andrew founded Venture for America (VFA), a fellowship program for recent college graduates who want to become entrepreneurs. VFA trains its fellows then sends them to work at early-stage growth companies and startups in Detroit, Baltimore, Cleveland and other cities with the goal of generating job growth in cities across the country. After seeing the impact of increasingly automated jobs on cities, Andrew realized that startup job growth was akin to tossing water into a leaky bucket. He stepped down as VFA's CEO and launched his 2020 presidential campaign with Universal Basic Income (UBI) as a central pillar.

Ben Foster, Chief Product Officer at GoCanvas: The Role of Product Management

In this episode, product guru Ben Foster shares the (sometimes counterintuitive) lessons he has learned. Ben was the vice president of marketing at Opower, now a publicly traded company. He has also advised over 50 startups on product over the years, including four currently. Today, Ben is the chief product officer of GoCanvas, a startup with a team of over 200.

Cherian Thomas: co-founder and CEO of Play Octopus

Cherian Thomas is the co-founder and CEO of NextGen portfolio company Play Octopus, the premiere rideshare entertainment platform. Cherian discusses the company's value proposition to its three key stakeholders, fostering team buy-in after a major pivot, and its traction to date.

Ben Sardella, Scaling Your Sales Team

Ben Sardella is the co-founder & Chief Revenue Officer of OutboundWorks, which is an automated sales development platform that deliver customers ~1.5x the average output of the best performing sales development reps at ~65% of the cost. Ben shares how his experience as a sales leader as VP of Sales at Kissmetrics and co-founder of Datanyze helped him build OutboundWorks, a NextGen portfolio company.

Investing in Customer Success with Angela Han + Jamey Jeff

In this week's episode of Taking Notes with NextGen, Managing Partner Dan Mindus speaks with Venture Partners Angela Han and Jamey Jeff in a conversation surrounding Customer Success. Both Angela and Jamey have deep customer success experience. Angela held customer success roles in a number of different technology companies prior to her most recent position as the Vice President of Customer Success and Professional Services with SendGrid. Jamey has led customer success at two different startups and is now Managing Director - Customer Success with Coastal Cloud, a consulting firm that helps their clients build world class customer success organizations.

Christy Wyskiel, Head of all Things Entrepreneurship at Johns Hopkins University

Christy Wyskiel discusses her efforts to drive the startup ecosystem at Johns Hopkins, from encouraging student education about entrepreneurship to getting funding for tech companies founded by academics.

Max Wessel, GM of SAP.iO & Managing Director of SAP Silicon Valley: The Rise of the Startup Studio

Max Wessel, former VC at Sapphire Ventures, leads the effort to create new startups from within the ranks of SAP employees. Max discusses how SAP creates startups from scratch, and compares and contrasts the startup studio model to traditional venture capital.

Fran Hauser, Investor and Author: Kindness in Startups

Fran Hauser, angel investor in 20 companies, and recent author of the book, The Myth of the Nice Girl, discusses what she sees as the false tradeoff between kindness and strength in the workplace, and how she incorporates her background from book keeper for her immigrant parents' businesses at age six to President of Time Digital into her startup investing.

Ray Pawlikowski, CEO of OPTii Solutions: Solutions for the Hotel Industry

Ray Pawlikowski is the CEO of OPTii Solutions. In this podcast, Ray shares how OPTii Solutions is revolutionizing housekeeping functions across global hotels and resort, delivering greater profitability and enhanced guest experience. Ray explains how his experience founding and leading HotSchedules led him to see a big opportunity for OPTii, and discusses how he transitioned to the role of CEO for an existing company.

Matt Alexander, Founder and CEO of Neighborhood Goods

Matt Alexander is the founder and CEO of Neighborhood Goods. In this podcast, Matt shares his vision for Neighborhood Goods, what he describes the "App Store for retail," which is creating a compelling offline shopping experience. Matt explains why digitally native brands are investing in offline channels and shares why, despite the headlines, he believes there's a future for physical retail in the age of Amazon.

Randy Altschuler, Founder and CEO of Xometry: Founding and Growing Successful Companies

Randy Altschuler is a serial entrepreneur who has co-founded three successful companies, including Office Tiger in 1999, CloudBlue in 2001, and mostly recently Xometry in 2013. Randy is currently CEO of Xometry, an advanced manufacturing company with investors including Highland Capital Partners. In this episode, Randy discusses how he transitioned from a traditional finance background to entrepreneurship. He also discusses his insights into the most important parts of building a company.

Christian Seale, Founder and GP of Startupbootcamp Miami: Improving Healthcare Through Technology

Christian Seale is the Founder and GP of Startupbootcamp Miami. In this episode, Christian discusses the opportunities presented by the US healthcare industry for startups leveraging emerging technology from other industries to shift the paradigm in how we deal with care. He also explores how Startupbootcamp positions itself to provide value to its companies.

Ken Nguyen, Co-Founder and CEO of Republic: Startup Crowdfunding

Ken Nguyen is the co-Founder and CEO of Republic. In this podcast, Ken discusses how Republic is at the center of emerging trends around inclusive innovation and startup funding, and the company's vision for a more mission-driven and people-driven economy. Ken explains the benefits for an early stage company to leverage the crowdfunding model. He also shares his view on how blockchain is moving crowdfunding forward at a faster pace.

Michael B. Horn, CSO at Entangled Ventures & Distinguished Fellow - Clayton Christensen Institute

Michael B. Horn, a thought leader in education, discusses the future of the edtech space and how emerging trends and existing realities are shaping the potential impact that companies can have.

Marc MacLeod, Founder and CEO of Stoplight: Transitioning from consulting project to startup

Marc MacLeod is the founder and CEO of Stoplight, which provides a suite of products that cover the entire pre-production API lifecycle and is a NextGen portfolio company. Marc discusses how he initially developed Stoplight to serve his consulting clients, and why he decided to build Stoplight full-time.

Sergio Villasenor, founder and CEO of Elliot: Simplifying Ecommerce for Global Brands

Sergio Villasenor, founder and CEO of Elliot, discusses how his years of helping retail companies expand globally led him to building Elliot. Sergio shares why he's so excited about the ecommerce growth in emerging markets and how Elliot is positioned to support brands as they capture this opportunity.

Ivan Zhou, CEO of Mayhem (now Visor): Professionalization of eSports and What's Next for Gaming

Ivan Zhou is the Co-Founder and CEO of Mayhem (, the world's first platform for synced real-time gameplay reviews. Ivan discusses where the idea for Mayhem originated and how they knew they were onto something. Ivan also explains how Mayhem supports a global user base, how the eSports industry has evolved, and what's next for the gaming industry.

Kara Weber & Lizzie Francis, Brilliant Ventures: Investing as Operators & Backing Diverse Teams

Kara Weber and Lizzie Francis, Founding Partners of Brilliant Ventures and Venture Partners with NextGen, discuss how years of experience working as marketing leaders at growth stage companies informed their firm's investment thesis. They also share why they believe that their efforts to invest in founders with diverse backgrounds will lead to better returns.

Jerry Brito, Executive Director of Coin Center: Cryptocurrency Innovation and Regulation

Jerry Brito is the Executive Director of Coin Center, a non-profit research and advocacy center focused on cryptocurrency technologies. Jerry discusses how he got involved in currencies as well as the functionality behind them. Additionally he describes the legal issues surrounding aspects such as taxation and potential pitfalls with the technology.

Tom Adams Co-Founder and CEO of Smartly: Online Education and Building a Better Business School

Tom Adams, Co-Founder and CEO of Smartly discusses how his experiences in the interactive education space helped lead him to create a free online MBA course for top candidates. Tom also explains how active engagement is key to increasing outcomes in online education and how other top business school programs compare.

Martin Babinec, TriNet: Founding TriNet, and Fostering Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

Martin Babinec is the Founder and longtime CEO of TriNet Group, a cloud-based professional employer organization for small and medium-sized businesses. He is also the founder and chairman of Upstate Venture Connect, a non-profit seeking to grow the startup ecosystem in Upstate New York. Martin discusses why he became an entrepreneur, how cross-country commuting for a decade led him to establish Upstate Venture Connect, and his advice to build or strengthen your local startup ecosystem.

Johnny Reinsch, Co-founder and CEO of Qwil: Providing Instant Pay for Independent Contractors

Over $1 trillion in independent contractor income annually in the U.S. is locked in a 30, 60 or 90 day invoicing cycle. Johnny Reinsch, co-founder and CEO of Qwil, founded the company to offer financial products to individual contractors, freelancers, and small businesses. Qwil participated in the 500 Startups Fintech Accelerator in 2016, as well as the Silicon Valley Bank and First Data Accelerator, Commerce.Innovated.

Jacob Hodes, Brown Advisory: LPs and VCs, Providing Value for Startups, and Portfolio Philosophy

Jacob Hodes is the Head of Private Equity at Brown Advisory, a 55 billion dollar asset management firm and investor in NextGen's fund. Jacob discusses what limited partners look for in their venture capital investments and discusses the challenges and opportunities of working over the lifespan of a fund.

Julia Cheek, CEO and Founder of EverlyWell: Health Testing, the Right VC, and Work-Life balance.

Julia Cheek is Founder and CEO of EverlyWell, a NextGen Venture Partners portfolio company. By increasing access to at home testing kits, EverlyWell is reducing costs and expediting results. In our conversation, Julia shared EverlyWell's mission, and how they are combating the effects of regulations, insurance, and consumer attitude in the current health testing system. Julia also discusses her process for engaging with investors and the idea of work-life balance.

Robin Heffernan, CEO of Circulation: How an Uber Promotion Drove a Team Towards a Bigger Opportunity

Robin Heffernan is Founder and CEO of Circulation, a NextGen portfolio company. By reducing barriers to care, Circulation is improving the patient experience and reducing costs for the entire healthcare system. In our conversation, Robin shared Circulation's founding story and how the team identified a bigger opportunity after working with Uber to deliver vaccines on-demand. Robin also elaborates on how Circulation will become the platform to coordinate all patient care logistics.

Adam Rogas, CEO of NS8: Advertising Fraud, Running a Distributed Start-up, and Embracing Failure

Adam Rogas is the founder and CEO of NS8, a NextGen portfolio company that helps e-commerce companies prevent fraud and abuse. In this episode, Adam touches on NS8’s anti-fraud platform, the unknown dangers of advertising fraud, smoothly onboarding customers, running a distributed team, the benefits of failure, and the iterative process of product design. “You can’t fall in love with something you’ve built - you have to continually take bad criticism, and fold it into your understanding of the landscape, fold it into your understanding of how you're going to revise what you’ve put out there.

Mike Baird, CEO of Avizia: Innovating in healthcare, telehealth, and Making This Your Dream Job

Avizia partners with healthcare providers to design, deploy and power system-wide telehealth programs. To do this, Avizia combines a collaborative approach with market-leading telehealth solutions that scale across the continuum of care.

Alexis Juneja, Vox Media: 'Aggressive' hobbies, Vox’s Acquisition, and a Diverse Culture

Alexis Juneja is VP of People and Culture at Vox, a NextGen Venture Partner, and the co-founder of media company Curbed Network, which was acquired by Vox Media in 2013. In this podcast, Alexis speaks to the origins of Curbed Networks as an “aggressive hobby,” Vox’s acquisition, transitioning into her role at Vox and scaling the media company, and building the framework for a diverse and inclusive culture. "Our CEO, our early founders, our early employees, managers across the board - I think all employees have an impact on culture.”