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ACQ2 by Acquired

Ben Gilbert and David Rosenthal

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ACQ2 is Ben and David's conversations with expert founders and investors. Acquired the stories of great companies — and ACQ2 dives deeper into the lessons we can learn from them, often with the protagonists themselves.
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The space industry is one of the most fascinating areas of technology in 2024. The reduction in launch costs and proliferation of satellites make all kinds of new businesses possible. Today we are joined by Austin Link, the co-founder and CEO of Starfish Space (where Ben and PSL Ventures are investors!). Austin lays out the state of the space indus…
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If you’ve been waiting for us to venture back to the land of semiconductors, you’re in luck! On our NVIDIA and TSMC episodes, we explored two components of the silicon value chain: the fabless chip companies that design chips and the foundries that manufacture them. Today, we dive into the software that powers it all, the field electronic design au…
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On our Novo Nordisk episode, we covered the business of Ozempic, the GLP-1 taking the world by storm. On this episode, we dive into the science of the molecule semaglutide (and its predecessor liraglutide) with the world expert on the topic, Lotte Bjerre Knudsen. Lotte is Novo Nordisk’s Chief Scientific Advisor, and led the research group back in t…
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We’re joined by Imprint cofounder and Thrive General Partner Gaurav Ahuja to dive deeper into the modern payments ecosystem and Visa’s current place within it. Gaurav was one of our research sources for the Visa episode, and we wanted to bring his insights to you all too. We discuss whether Visa really should be worried about eroding interchange fe…
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We sit down with Morgan Housel, who is one of our very favorite authors and has also become a good friend of the show over the past few years. Morgan’s last book The Psychology of Money had a huge impact on both of our personal financial philosophies (and by extension Acquired’s!), and Morgan was kind enough to give us an advance copy of his new bo…
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While preparing for our Porsche episode with Doug DeMuro, we had a lot more than Porsche to discuss… but the episode was already over 3 hours! We decided to save the rest for its own episode, released here on ACQ2. Doug helped us understand what’s going on with the car industry supply chain in 2023, the transition to electric vehicles, the car deal…
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We sit down with RunwayML’s CEO Cristobal Valenzuela to discuss the incredible tools they’re bringing to film and video creators (including last year’s Best Picture “Everything Everywhere All at Once” from A24), and the history + current state of the “visual” branch of generative AI. We cover how they’ve gone to market with both creators and enterp…
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We sit down with Crusoe Energy CEO Chase Lochmiller to talk about the two “hard to imagine” tasks they’ve undertaken: 1) building a new AI cloud infrastructure provider from scratch, and 2) colocating and powering it with stranded energy from some of the harshest and most remote locations on earth. Crusoe’s cloud of course has to compete with (and …
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Every now and then, we come across super interesting and under-the-radar (at least to us!) public markets folks like NZS Capital who make us think differently about the art of investing. TDM is another one of those groups — founded 18 years ago in Australia, they’ve compounded a single, private pool of capital at 26% per annum over nearly two decad…
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How do you build defensible business value in an era when, as AngelList CEO Avlok Kohli said on our last ACQ2 episode, the “cost of intelligence is going to zero”? Longtime friend of the show Jake Saper and his partners at Emergence Capital have been refining their thesis for this brave new world of Generative AI in B2B, and we sit down with him to…
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Since joining AngelList as CEO in 2019, Avlok Kohli has presided over perhaps the most unexpected and astounding transformation in the venture ecosystem: taking AngelList from an SPV provider to a company that is quickly becoming the software platform for the entire industry. Today, AngelList provides investors and founders with the infrastructure …
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David Hsu has one of the most interesting founders journeys in tech today. After growing up in Silicon Valley, he left to study both philosophy and computer science at Oxford in the UK, then returned immediately afterward to found an internal enterprise tools company. Fast forward to today, and Retool is a multi-billion dollar valuation juggernaut …
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Ben and David joined Sam and Shaan of "My First Million" to talk about scaling to a large podcast, the company they would like to own, the CEO's you don't want to compete against, and the 100+ year history of Nintendo. If you liked this and want more of Sam and Shawn, subscribe to the MFM YouTube channel here. Sponsors: Quartr Links: * Hampton * Wa…
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On our AWS episode, we talked briefly about the next chapter of cloud: data warehouses. But what makes them so powerful? Why do enterprises rely on them? And how will cloud customers collaborate on data stored in multiple clouds? We sit down with Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan, the co-founder and CEO of Samooha, a new company backed by Altimeter and Sno…
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Statsig CEO and former Facebook VP Vijaye Raji joins us to discuss democratizing the tools of big tech. Before starting Statsig, Vijaye spent 10 years at Facebook where he led the development of their mobile ad product (yes — THAT mobile ad product that’s the core of FB today). We talk all about about Facebook’s early days in mobile, and the intern…
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We sit down with Altimeter Capital’s head of Capital Formation Meghan Reynolds (who previously was TPG’s global co-head of Capital Formation for 10 years) to talk about everything that goes into the LP - GP relationship at venture funds. We cover how (and why) to think strategically about Capital Formation, why it should be about so much more the j…
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The Acquired community's own Austin Federa joins us for a 101 primer on how to self-custody your crypto assets, and why it’s the only truly safe way to hold them. Given all the current turmoil (and fraud) in crypto-land, we were thinking “how could we do something to help the Acquired community right now”, and Austin gave us the perfect idea. In ad…
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We had the rare opportunity to interview Jay Hoag, cofounder of the first tech crossover investing firm, TCV, at TCV’s Engage Summit in Half Moon Bay earlier this fall. Jay and Rick Kimball started TCV back in 1995 and have been part of the private-to-public journeys of storied companies like Netflix (which Jay shares some great war stories about o…
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We sit down with Brian O’Malley of Forerunner Ventures to talk about where in the cycle we are right now for consumer investing. We touch on the macro environment (obviously!), but also how to navigate between and around the current generation of platform incumbents, and where the next breakthrough consumer technology companies might come from. And…
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The CEO of Mutiny, Jaleh Rezaei, joins us to talk about the playbook to profitably grow a B2B company — something particularly useful for founders in 2022! Jaleh was Gusto’s first head of marketing (and before that worked at VMware and Sequoia), and has since gone on to build Mutiny, which helps B2B companies dynamically optimize their websites for…
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Kindergarten Ventures LP (and fellow podcast host over at Unlimited Partners) Thomas McGannon interviews David about Kindergarten’s investment thesis for their recent large investment in Vanta. Along the way they discuss KV’s overall strategy, how it fits into Acquired, and why it’s “accidentally” become the best answer David has ever had to “why s…
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We sit down with Kettle cofounder — and David’s Kindergarten Ventures partner — Nat Manning to discuss the fascinating world of reinsurance, risk and climate. We couldn’t think of a better and more appropriate conversation to have on the LP Show, and this was an absolute blast. Tune in and enjoy! Links: Kettle Kindergarten Ventures on AngelList Spo…
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We sit down with long (long!) time-acquired community member Austin Federa to discuss the current state of crypto and Web3. By day Austin is the head of marketing & communications at the Solana Foundation, where he was one of the earliest employees. But many of you also know Austin from his "night job" as the founder and lead of the #digital-assets…
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What does a $200 million+ acquisition look like up close? How much time, focus, and communication happens between the first conversation and closing the deal? And when do the CEOs of each company just need to use the "red phone" and have a direct conversation without the 86(!) lawyers in the room? We sit down with ProfitWell founder and CEO Patrick…
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David is the first guest on a new podcast, Unlimited Partners! This is a wide-ranging interview where upon listening, even Ben learned some new things about David :) Unlimited Partners is hosted by long-time friend of the Acquired community, Thomas McGannon. UP is his journey to learn - what makes great partnerships? They explore stories of people …
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We sit down with TrovaTrip co-founders Nick Poggi and Lauren Schneider to talk about travel for the creator economy. This one is very close to home since Ben is on their board! TrovaTrip is a marketplace that enables creators to easily plan trips to places around the world with their audiences. It's a whole new way for people to travel, with other …
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We dropped by Vanta's all-hands in SF a few weeks ago for Christina to interview us for a change! We decided to turn the mics on and record it as an ACQ2 episode. We discussed lessons learned from building Acquired, the shape of the show's growth trajectory, how we think about the business, and dive into our own origin story. Sponsors: Quartr…
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We sit down with Composer CEO Benjamin Rollert to talk about bringing serious financial firepower to the people, wallstreetbets-style. Composer opens up to anyone the same level (or better) of tools that top quantitative hedge funds hire armies of PhDs and computer scientists to build internally. We have a blast discussing how he came at this space…
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We sit down with Bain Capital Ventures' newest fintech Partner Christina Melas-Kyriazi to talk about everything happening right now in fintech, and the experience of helping build Affirm and the BNPL space from crazy idea to massive consumer finance category. Anyone interested in the history and future of fintech will love this one. Tune in! ‍ Spon…
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In late 2021, Ben and David were guests on Ted Seides' podcast, "Capital Allocators". The episode kicked off Ted's "Venture is Eating the Investment World" mini-series. From Ted: David Rosenthal and Ben Gilbert are venture capitalists and hosts of the Acquired podcast. Acquired is one of my favorite shows. In it, David and Ben tell stories of great…
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Get a cup of coffee. We sit down with the voice of one of our favorite Twitter accounts, 10-K Diver, to talk about his journey building one of the most widely followed (and respected!) fintwit accounts out there. We had a blast and — of course — learned a ton from one of the greats!! You can get this episode in your favorite podcast player here! Sp…
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Back by popular “Acquired demand” (plus we really wanted to have this conversation for our own edification!!), friends of the pod NZS Capital return to talk about what’s going with the current market gyrations, and for a much-needed refresher on how to invest when — surprise — knowing the future is still an impossible task. As always we left this c…
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It has been dubbed "one of the best venture investments of all time" by Packy McCormick, generating over a 4000X return in 3-and-a-half years. Today, we are talking with Chris McCann and Edith Yeung, the earliest investors in Solana, and partners at Race Capital. They also unbelievably were the earliest investors in FTX and started Race Capital in …
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We sit down with Jeremy Cai, the CEO of new retail pioneer Italic, for a fascinating discussion of how they're upending the traditional manufacturer-brand-retailer model by taking the opposite approach of earlier DTC startups. Rather than elevating brand and cutting out retail, Italic cuts out the brand and lets the actual manufacturers (who you've…
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Originally broadcast live on New Years Eve: we raise a glass (of coffee haha) and recap 2021 with our besties Mario Gabriele from the Generalist and Packy McCormick from Not Boring. Thank you for making 2021 an incredible year for all of us at ACQ, NB + TG, and may 2022 be filled with great things and grand adventures for us all! Sponsors: Quartr…
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Last month, Ben sat down with Wesley Chan at Web Summit for a quick, 18-minute interview. The conversation was supposed to be about global investing in 2021 as an early-stage VC, but the conversation turned mostly into the origin story of Wesley's (unbelievably good) seed investment in Canva. Wesley's firm Felicis Ventures invested pre-revenue, lea…
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Today we're excited to have a longtime friend of the Acquired family on ACQ2, Rob Meyerson. Rob was the President of Blue Origin for 15 years, and today is an investor and advisor to space industry startups. Ben recorded this interview live at the fantastic aerospace industry conference, ASCEND, where Rob is the Executive Producer. In this intervie…
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Ben and David go on "This Week in Startups" with Jason Calacanis for a holiday special! Discussion includes: - Talking TWIST and All-In this year with everything from politics to weight loss to private jets - Acquired's year and some of Ben and David's biggest insights from episodes - VC, valuations, and crypto investing mechanics - Use cases for c…
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We are very excited to bring you a special ACQ2 interview with Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Aside from Joe's well-known work as a Golden Globe-nominated, Emmy-award-winning actor in films like 500 Days of Summer, Inception, and Looper, Joe is also the founder of HITRECORD, a startup which brings creative collaborators together across film, music, books, a…
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The title says it all. This feels weird to release by Acquired standards -- an hour of audio with zero research! -- but we wanted to check in with y'all and say hi from parental leave. Topics covered: - Update on Dad Life - Ben's new MacBook Pro - Discussion of Acquired's approach to doing video / YouTube Sponsors: Quartr…
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We sit down with Adam Jackson, the cofounder and CEO of Freelance Labs, which builds the incredible Web3 project Braintrust. (Disclosure David is an investor via Kindergarten Ventures.) We talk all about what a marketplace looks like in Web3, and why it's a completely different animal than traditional Web2 marketplaces like Uber, eBay, DoorDash, et…
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We sit down with Roneil Rumberg, the co-founder and CEO of Audius — the decentralized music platform which currently is likely the widest-adopted Web3 project in existence with over 6m active users. This conversation was AWESOME and covers everything from Silicon Valley history, to how the music industry works, to the technical aspects and challeng…
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Earlier this week David went on Levels' podcast, A Whole New Level, hosted by Acquired "Super LP" and Levels' head of growth, Ben Grynol. We had such a blast that we wanted to share here with the community as well! Full show notes from Levels below: When most companies start, they are single-threaded companies. More specifically, companies start wi…
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Confused about everything going on with The Fed, inflation and how it affects tech and startup valuations? Or why it seems like every Jerome Powell comment brings out an army of finance's equivalent of fortune tellers and tarot card readers? So were we, so we called up the best person we know to explain everything -- Matt McBrady. Matt may be the o…
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We sit down with Initialized Capital's Kim-Mai Cutler to talk about her opposite journey from us at Acquired, going from journalist to VC. We riff on how the landscape has evolved from Kim-Mai's parents' "Hewlett Packard generation" in the Valley through the TechCrunch era that se was a big part of, to today and how the nature of reporting, investi…
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How on earth do you professionally manage a crypto investment firm? That was the question we wanted to find out, so we dialed up one of the best in the business: Multicoin Capital co-founder and managing partner Kyle Samani. Appropriately fresh on the heels of our Solana special episode (Multicoin was one of Solana's earliest investors), we dive in…
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Ben interviewed Initialized Capital founder and friend of the show, Garry Tan at Collision Conf last month. Garry is of course also a YouTuber, Clubhouse'r, and master of content creation. The good people at Collision Conf gave us the thumbs up to share this interview on the value of owning your own media stream with all of you. Sponsors: Quartr…
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We're joined by Oliver Sharp of Highspot, Seattle's most recent unicorn company (at least at the time of recording!), to talk about how and why to architect everything a software company does around its customers — what today is often called "customer-led growth" — but really represents a company building philosophy that runs much deeper. Oliver ha…
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We got *awesome* feedback on the recent special episode we did with Levels founder Josh Clemente -- so we asked Josh if he'd join for a follow-up Q+A session on our next LP Call, and he graciously agreed! The conversation was so good we decided to release the audio recording in the ACQ2 feed. Thanks again to Josh and the Levels crew, and we hope yo…
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When the internet’s top China tech analyst Lillian Li posted a great Twitter take (linked below) on our Meituan episode, we knew we had to try to get her on ACQ2 to tell us all more. What’s really going on with these platforms on the ground in China, what is the government’s role in all this, and why is Meituan’s outlook “rosy, but maybe not quite …
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