Avid Larizadeh Duggan

General Partner at GV

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON October 26, 2016


Avid LarizadehDuggan@avidl · General Partner at GV
Hey, I’m Avid Larizadeh Duggan, general partner at GV, and based in the London office. Prior to GV, I cofounded Boticca, an online marketplace for independent brands around the world. I started as an engineer, became a product manager, a founder and an investor. Oh and most recently I became a mother :) Ask me anything!
Paul Sondhi@paulsondhi · Student
Hi Avid! Thanks for doing this and congratulations 😄 What advice would you give if you were to give a commencement address to the Class of 2017?
Leon Franco@leon_franco
Hi Avid, what advice do you have for a current Google employee in sales who wants to ultimately join GV or GC? Being at Google seems like a good place to start but it seems like everyone in GV and GC has past experiences in the finance world.
Danny Denhard@dannydenhard · Founder & CEO of Denhard Media
Thanks for joining us Avid, With your vast experience in marketplaces, how do you (& others at GV) decide what makes the right investment? And what learnings did you take from the Boticca sale that helps you in your day to day role at GV? Thanks
Avid LarizadehDuggan@avidl · General Partner at GV
@dannydenhard Hi Danny! Each investing partner is unique in the way they look at investments but some common things we all look for include: the strength of the founding team, technical talent, product/market fit, large market where the team can make an exponential difference not just incremental change, sustainable unit economics and business model. In terms of my Boticca learnings, there are so many :-) But to name a few I would say that I learned hands on what it takes to build a business, the tactical and emotional challenges of it; I learned the importance of hiring the right talent and letting them go at the right time; I understood the value of a good board, of communication to stakeholders, of the importance of cash and building a sustainable business from the very first day. There are many more things which you can truly only learn by doing and which enable you to better analyze businesses as an investor and also help entrepreneurs once you have invested.
Jake Crump@jakecrump · Community Team with Product Hunt
How did you make the transition from founder to investor?
Avid LarizadehDuggan@avidl · General Partner at GV
@jakecrump Hi Jake! Thanks for the question. In an odd way, I transitioned twice and both were very much led by serendipity. Initially, when I first became an associate at Accel, it was almost reluctantly. I was looking to move to London after business school and 10 years in the US (I grew up in France) and wanted to work at a startup. So I contacted a number of VCs in London and my conversations with Accel turned from startup to VC. Initially I pushed back saying that I thought I needed more experience (I had 5 years of operational experience) and was afraid I would miss working on teams building product. But I really enjoyed the team there and got convinced that it would be an incredible experience, which it was. However my initial intuition was right and after two and a half years I decided to start my own company and go back to building a product and leading a team. When I left Boticca, the company I cofounded, I joined GV. Again it had a lot of serendipity to it, I met some of the team members at a tech dinner and really enjoyed our conversations. Ultimately the team and culture won me over. And this time I felt much more prepared with the right skills to become an investor.
Ayrton De Craene@ayrton · Code @ Product Hunt
How do you see the London tech scene growing in comparison to SF?
Avid LarizadehDuggan@avidl · General Partner at GV
@ayrton Hi Ayrton! I am very excited about the London tech scene. There is a lot of innovation happening here across sectors, in fintech, in AI, in VR to name just a few. There are many seasoned entrepreneurs building great teams as well as new entrepreneurs benefiting from the expertise of a mature ecosystem (angel investors, VCs, corporates etc).
Joey Davidson@jdubb619
@ayrton Should also add valuations aren't nearly as high and unit economics seem to matter more! https://twitter.com/clarabessiere (just scroll down a bit - it will show revenue multiples of US v. Europe)
Wendy Bravo@deleted-548234
Hello Avid, what role and value does design have in making any company successful?
Avid LarizadehDuggan@avidl · General Partner at GV
@wendybravo Hi Wendy, thanks for your question! At GV we strongly believe that design has a fundamental impact on businesses. We have a 5 person team on the operations side focussed on helping our portfolio companies with design questions and challenges. As a former product manager myself, I couldn't agree more with the importance of design across product but also across processes. Design enables better experiences for end users whether these are external or internal customers.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
Hi Avid, what one piece of advice do you find yourself most often giving to founders?
Avid LarizadehDuggan@avidl · General Partner at GV
@ems_hodge Hi Emily, thanks so much for having me here. One piece of advice I find myself giving founders is to focus on product/market fit. You need to make sure you are building something that customers want to buy, which will make a meaningful difference in their lives not just an incremental one. It is key to understand your market and build the best solution for the problem you are solving. This will then allow you to not only attract customers but also investors and talent.
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
Hey! if you had to swap lives with a tech CEO for a week, who would it be and why?
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
What is the 'typical' day in the life for a GP?
Jacqueline von Tesmar@jacqvon · Community at Product Hunt ⚡️
How does having a background in engineering make you a better investor?
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · 👟 @wearAtoms // ex @Twitter @ProductHunt
What advice do you have for founders looking for their first investment round?
Avid LarizadehDuggan@avidl · General Partner at GV
@andrewett Hi Andrew, thanks for your question! I often tell founders looking for their first round to make sure there is a product/market fit from an investment perspective. What I mean by that is that they should look for investors who are likely to be a fit. Don't target investors because of their brand name or because your friend got funding from them. Make sure that the investor you are approaching invests in your sector and the early stage you are looking at. Also do your due diligence on that investor, is this someone that you are likely to want to work with for next few years? Do they have the expertise you need? You are going to be building one of the most important partnerships for your company with them. Also make sure you articulate why you are raising money. What will you be doing with that money? Is it to hire talent, is it for marketing?
Wendy Bravo@deleted-548234
Avid, how do you see the Google Design Sprints helping startups and companies build a better product?
Avid LarizadehDuggan@avidl · General Partner at GV
@wendybravo Hi Wendy, my colleagues, John and Jake who are on the GV design team, recently spoke about this exact topic. Check out the link here: https://www.producthunt.com/live...
Wendy Bravo@deleted-548234
@avidl Thank you so much for the link :)
Aravinth Kumar@aravinth_kumaar · Hustler, Life
Hello, Mam! What would you tell your 20 year old self if that 20 year old you wanted to become a VC?
Joey Davidson@jdubb619
Hi Avid, thanks for taking the time to chat with us. On the flip side of Leon, I work at a Private Equity firm. However, I've been trying to break into VC for the past year. The feedback I get is I don't have the product/technical experience. What do you suggest I do to build my technical skills to be more competitive? Would doing something in coursera be applicable?
Sagar@sagrd90 · Co-Founder, Dat Venture
How's the engineering talent in London (compared to US-SF, Bos, NY, etc.)? Would it be useful to hire developers there if it results in cost savings, and allows for easier access to the European market? Thanks in advance :)
Laf. Julius@laf_julius · co- founder @evolvesports
Good Day Avid, hope all is well...what sectors does GV currently invest/ manage? How do you keep momentum going when closing a client?
Matthieu Dederichs@mattdederichs
@avidl Hi Avid! What specific key strengths do you think European companies can leverage to compete with US competitors on global markets, particularly in the enterprise space? Thanks :)
Do you see yourself ever starting a company again and why or why not?
Avid LarizadehDuggan@avidl · General Partner at GV
@jbruck Hey Jon! I would actually love to experience again the incredible highs of building a team and a product that makes a difference in people's lives which I think only an entrepreneur truly does. But I would need to find something that I love passionately enough to commit 100% of myself to for a number of years. The bar is much higher now because of my experience with Boticca and being a VC who has the privilege to work with some amazing portfolio companies. But never say never :-)
Wendy Bravo@deleted-548234
Avid, what are some exciting developments in the area of healthcare technology?