M.G. Siegler

General Partner at GV. Investor, writer, hunter, gatherer.

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON January 14, 2016


M.G. Siegler@mgsiegler · General Partner, GV
I am M.G. Siegler, general partner at GV, where I invest in companies like Slack, Medium, Jaunt, Digit, Periscope, and yes, even this one, Product Hunt (team effort, really). Before GV, I was a founding partner of CrunchFund and a longtime writer for TechCrunch and VentureBeat. I still write from time to time, but try to keep it to roughly 500ish Words these days. Ask me anything!
Gabe Rivera@gaberivera · CEO, Techmeme
If I'm a CEO of a VC-backed startup which hasn't really made it yet, should I post selfies to Instagram as a marketing strategy? If so, how many per week? Five? Ten?
M.G. Siegler@mgsiegler · General Partner, GV
@gaberivera is this your way of disclosing that Techmeme has just taken a round of funding, Gabe?
Hunter Walk@hunterwalk · Partner, Homebrew
@mgsiegler can you remove "hunter" from your "Investor, writer, hunter, gatherer" bio? It's confusing for my personal brand.
Mike Belsito@belsito · Co-Founder, Product Collective
@hunterwalk You just better be glad he doesn't like to go on walks, too.
M.G. Siegler@mgsiegler · General Partner, GV
@hunterwalk "until I was about twelve years old and that no-talent ass clown became famous and started winning Grammys."
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
M.G.! Welcome. What's on your homescreen and which app do you regularly use that few people may have heard of?
Morten Jacobsen@mortjac · Serial entrepreneur, Pvblish as, Norway
M.G. Siegler@mgsiegler · General Partner, GV
@rrhoover hey Ryan -- my homescreen is pretty bland in terms of newness (which is interesting in and of itself -- speaks to relative dearth of new apps/services). Second screen though is full of interesting ones. Like your new favorite thing, Peach :) -- I think people have heard of it, but also Byword, a writing app, that I use a lot to write on the go.
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
@mgsiegler Bessemer Venture Partners' anti-portfolio lists companies that the firm didn't invest in, but in hindsight should have (e.g. Apple, Telsa, etc.). What are some notable companies you should have invested in, but didn't?
M.G. Siegler@mgsiegler · General Partner, GV
@tomstocklein Apple and Tesla are two good choices! But really, the nice thing about being at a larger fund is that hopefully there's an opportunity to get involved with the companies we love even if we "missed" them the first time around :) (Thank you for allowing me to duck that one with humor.)
Zach Cmiel@zach_cmiel · CEO, PoKoBros
Hello Mr. Siegler! What's your favorite news app and how do you receive the news??
M.G. Siegler@mgsiegler · General Partner, GV
@zach_cmiel Hi! My go to is still Techmeme for catching up (hope you're watching, Gabe!) -- beyond that, Twitter is still the way I mainly get news. But increasingly I am definitely on Medium more and more (we're investors, of course). Haven't checked the RSS feeds in a while :)
Marshall Kirkpatrick@marshallk · founder, Little Bird
@mgsiegler @zach_cmiel you should check feeds again, for old time's sake. It's really quite delightful.
Marshall Kirkpatrick@marshallk · founder, Little Bird
@mgsiegler hey M.G.! Hope you're well. If there was one thing that got you most excited about startups when you were at Venturebeat, when you were at TechCrunch, and now that you're at Google Ventures - what would those things be? Has it changed through each stage of your career or stayed consistent? Cheers!
M.G. Siegler@mgsiegler · General Partner, GV
@marshallk hey Marshall, long time, no see! It's a good way to frame what I think is a question I get a lot: the transition from covering startups to investing in startups. The common thread I've found across all the places I've been and careers I've had remains products that I actually not only use, but use almost obsessively use. Those were the most fun to cover because I felt like I could easily get a grasp on nuances of the products, and the same is true with investing.
VentureDeal@venturedeal · Don Jones, Founder, VentureDeal
Do you use AngelList or other similar sites for your work? Why or why not? Thanks.
Josh Erickson@joshberickson · @Square, SF
@mgsiegler Hey M.G., wondering about your experience with GV in London last year. How's the tech/startup scene there? Has GV backed any exciting companies there yet?
M.G. Siegler@mgsiegler · General Partner, GV
@joshberickson Hey Josh, London was amazing. I had actually never lived abroad before, so it was a great experience -- and really nice to get a perspective living outside the Bay Area after almost a decade here. The startup scene there is obviously more nascent than in Silicon Valley, but it feels like it's growing faster. It's just in a different part of the cycle. In my opinion, there needs to be more big successes there to continually populate the ecosystem with a diaspora of entrepreneurs who have had success before. It's happening -- it's just earlier. GV has backed just over a half-dozen companies so far (6 disclosed) all over the EU -- and we're really happy with all of them. With more to come!
Morten Jacobsen@mortjac · Serial entrepreneur, Pvblish as, Norway
@mgsiegler @joshberickson Are you still located in London @mgsiegler?
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
@mgsiegler What are the most common pitch mistakes entrepreneurs make when trying to raise money from GV?
M.G. Siegler@mgsiegler · General Partner, GV
@tomstocklein in my experience, it's mostly people who try to describe how they're going to 'boil the ocean.' That is, they lay out a roadmap that is a little too grandiose. It's great and necessary to have a big vision, of course, but with almost all startups, the playbook you set out with will vary from the one you end up executing on in many ways. I also always worry about it from the angle of people trying to do too much before the product is ready for it...
Sara Mauskopf, CEO of Winnie.com@sm · CEO and Co-founder at Winnie.com
Why did you change your twitter handle from @parislemon to @mgsiegler?
M.G. Siegler@mgsiegler · General Partner, GV
@sm a great question, Sara :) It was a hard call since I had become known in certain circles by the 'parislemon' handle -- I just felt a little handcuffed by it honestly. Which may be fine in some cases, but it was a name I came up with when I was 13 years old! After getting kicked off of AOL -- the dial-up version -- for scrolling (taking actions too fast) in a chat room. Felt like it was time to grow up a bit :)
Gabe Rivera@gaberivera · CEO, Techmeme
Broadly speaking, for similar quality startups, where have seed valuations moved vs. a year ago? + or - what %?
M.G. Siegler@mgsiegler · General Partner, GV
@gaberivera are you also asking this to raise your seed round? I will actually answer this: I think things have cooled a bit from a year ago. I don't have the numbers here to give you a nice quotable number :)
Anna Savina@hashevatski · RUKI Editor-in-Chief
@mgsiegler thanks for joining this PH chat! I'm interested in your transition from a reporter to an investor. What skills did you need when you joined GV? How did you acquire them? Who/what helped you along the way? Which jobs in tech are also relevant for journalists who are willing to change what they are doing?
M.G. Siegler@mgsiegler · General Partner, GV
@hashevatski I was lucky to have a bit of a seamless transition by leaving TechCrunch to help start CrunchFund before GV. I personally found that the skill set transferred pretty well. I went from looking for interesting startups to write about, to looking for interesting startups to invest in. That's simplified, of course. But at a high level, having a (hopefully) good intuition for what will work (both product-wise and team-wise), was the key. LOTS of people helped along the way. But as with most things, the best learnings have come from experience... I'm still very much learning.
Kevin Yen@kevinyen · Founder, ChartUps.com, x-Goog/YouTube
@mgsiegler How do you decide which portcos to tweet about, and which not to? How often do they ask you to? Many (earlier stage) startups struggle to breakthru the noise, and top VCs (like you) operate above the noise. Thanks!
jack rometty@rometty_ · student
Hey! What is the best non-startup advice you've received? :)
M.G. Siegler@mgsiegler · General Partner, GV
@rometty_ "write every day." Even if you're not a writer, I find this to be clarifying for many things. Though ideally that form of writing is not email.
Chad Byers@chadbyers · General Partner, Susa Ventures
What was the highlight of your honeymoon and one place from the trip you would recommend to others?
M.G. Siegler@mgsiegler · General Partner, GV
@chadbyers Hobbiton! (But really, we loved Bay of Islands up north.)
Gabe Rivera@gaberivera · CEO, Techmeme
I notice you don't give many high fives on Twitter to fellow VCs and industry peers. Do you think this is a problem? Have you resolved to give more for 2016? BTW, high five!
Ashley Mayer@ashleymayer · Partner, Social Capital
Who are your top three twitter follows? (Aside from @msquinn.)
M.G. Siegler@mgsiegler · General Partner, GV
@ashleymayer enjoy @billsimmons for sports, @dailykerouac for daily Jack Kerouac passages (highly retweetable), @economist because I will read almost anything The Economist puts out there.
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · 👟 @wearAtoms // ex @Twitter @ProductHunt
@mgsiegler Do you enjoy @billsimmons enough to get him on here for a LIVE?
Leonardo Zakour@leozakour · Entrepreneur & Product Designer.
Hi @mgsiegler Whats really taking you out bed and saying I'm going to invest on "X" startup?
neeharika sinha@neeeharika · Google, Threadchannel
Hello @mgsiegler! thanks for this AMA. Which new verticals in tech do you see evolving in 2016? One advice for an entrepreneur to get noticed by investor?