Peter Boyce

Principal at General Catalyst & Cofounder Rough Draft Ventures

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON July 27, 2017

Discussion

Peter Boyce@badboyboyce · Rough Draft Ventures
Hello! My name is Peter Boyce II and I am an investor at General Catalyst and co-founder of Rough Draft Ventures. I am a Harvard College graduate where I helped launch Harvard Ventures & HackHarvard to support the student founder ecosystem on campus. I've been fortunate to continue this work when supporting student-led ventures through our work at Rough Draft Ventures, General Catalyst's student program. At General Catalyst, I am also interested in investing in the design, travel, personal finance and e-commerce. I am an avid reader, podcast listener, and coffee drinker. Ask me anything about early stage venture and building a company as a student/recent-grad entrepreneur.
John Exley@johnexley · Sales, Yieldmo
Hey Peter, thanks for doing this! You are someone in the technology business who so many of us look up to as a truly gifted builder of longterm relationships, at a very high volume. If you could go back in time and sit down with 22-year old Peter Boyce, are there any particular pieces of wisdom you've learned since then around even better ways to network with budding entrepreneurs, fellow investors, mentors etc. that you might share with fresh-out-of-college-badboyboyce? Thanks again for everything you do for the NYC family and beyond!
Peter Boyce@badboyboyce · Rough Draft Ventures
@johnexley 1- always remember that people are the fundamental units of everything (companies / movements / opportunities) 2- think about the push / pull of creating & sharing value with others, and recognize that both are good (not just pushing value, though that is critical to starting relationships-- reach out for help, advice, collaboration opportunities, perspectives proactively because people do want to share them especially if you've invested in the relationship) 3- find diversity of perspectives in building community, so think about folks that are experts or connectors or collaborators or even just potential analogous roles / industries to learn from. i have received some of my best life advice and mentorship from executives of all ages / races / colors / genders, and i consider myself truly privileged and lucky for this-- i would ask myself to prioritize this even earlier... imagining life is all about the people written into the chapters of our books and the opportunities to write ourselves into the chapters of the books of others....
Peter Boyce@badboyboyce · Rough Draft Ventures
@johnexley so grateful to have friends like you Exley along this journey... all about the family
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
Peter! There's a lot of interesting bubbling in AI, voice, VR, and AR. What spaces are you most excited to invest in over the next few years?
Peter Boyce@badboyboyce · Rough Draft Ventures
@rrhoover these areas will take time to develop! i am excited about how these spaces will evolve, ex. AI driven by unique data sets for vertical applications. i am also thrilled for bunch of the tried & true industries that could see next-generation products emerge in 1- travel (ex. alternative accomodations like tiny homes, mobile itinerary products) 2- new ways for folks to find / create livelihood as creatives and freelances (ex. Etsy) 3- future of design and design tools (ex. Invision, Frame.io). Just a few! Bunch noodling...
Nick Abouzeid@nickabouzeid · Words at Product Hunt ✌️
Hi Peter! Where did the @BadBoyBoyce handle come from?
Peter Boyce@badboyboyce · Rough Draft Ventures
@nickabouzeid I was lucky to be working at Bad Boy Entertainment when I created my first Twitter account! Figured I'd incorporate my love for the brand into my newly minted handle... Didn't know I'd be a 🎶 'Bad Boy for life'🎶 .... on Twitter at least :)
Marius Chawa@mariuschawa · UX Designer @ Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Hi Peter, thanks for joining us. Couple of questions 1) What are the top 3 things a pre-revenue startup must accomplish before you invest in them or even approach you? 2) How can we pitch you?
Peter Boyce@badboyboyce · Rough Draft Ventures
@mariuschawa 1- pull together an awesome team! recruiting is essential skill for great early companies 2- validate idea through MVPs / experiments / crisp research 3- identify 1-2 key advisors that can help mentor and advise early on. 2) tweet at me, @badboyboyce!
Marius Chawa@mariuschawa · UX Designer @ Hewlett Packard Enterprise
@badboyboyce thank you
Charlie Kaplan@ciwk · CEO @ Cymbal
Hey Peter! 1. What do you find to be the most-fruitful channel for discovering pre-seed companies doing cool stuff (other than PH, of course). 2. What field do you think is too-often overlooked by entrepreneurs, that you would like to see the most innovation from? 3. What's the most common avoidable challenge you've seen seed companies encounter, and how would you advise them to avoid or resolve it? 4. What was the last song you fell in love with?
Peter Boyce@badboyboyce · Rough Draft Ventures
@ciwk 1- listening to friends, looking at homescreens, asking the Rough Draft Ventures team 2- financial services for the underserved 3- lack of communication with their team, investors and advisors-- some cadence for update email / calls / meetings key 4- https://soundcloud.com/masegomus...
Charlie Kaplan@ciwk · CEO @ Cymbal
@badboyboyce this song is dope
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
If you had to swap lives with a tech CEO for a week, who would it be and why?
Peter Boyce@badboyboyce · Rough Draft Ventures
@bentossell super fun question... love noodling this. Would have to say Brian Chesky -- CEO of our portfolio company Airbnb. One of my favorite companies in the world, powerful international community reach and impact, dedication to design and customer experience.... So much to imagine for where the company can go and evolve next. Love their mission, co-founders and culture of creativity.
Shlomo Klahr@_sklahr_ · Intern @ Digital Currency Group
Hey Peter, thanks for the Q&A! To what extent do you think VCs are responsible for tech culture as a whole, and how can/should they balance maintaining that culture while also fulfilling their fiduciary duties to their LPs? Should a VC always sacrifice returns when there are adverse ethical implications, and if so, how can they stay competitive versus those who don't?
Peter Boyce@badboyboyce · Rough Draft Ventures
@_sklahr_ we are all in this together. part of the power of our industry is the pay-it-forward dynamic in angel investing, mentorship, collaboration across venture firms and startup CEOs. maintaining ethic standards and reputations are crucial priority. life too short to just think about returns...
Reggie James@reggie_startups · JUMP Bikes | RDV Partner | Wharton ‘17
Hey Peter. You've been able to work with some great startups in NYC. Shoutout to Cadre and Outdoor Voices. What do you think is missing from the NYC ecosystem and what are you most excited for?
Peter Boyce@badboyboyce · Rough Draft Ventures
@reggie_startups Reggie! Thx for the Q. In NYC we need a $10B+ modern software company to help pepper the ecosystem with another generation of founders & angel investors. The city has evolved in so many ways over the past few years and prior decade-- with super powers in combining tech with existing industries. We need the Paypal / Facebook / Google mafias.... but built from the ground up here in NYC.
Harry Raymond@harryraymond · Growth @HuggingFace, Product Hunt NYC
@badboyboyce follow-up: with all of the successful companies in NYC tech, why have we not seen a $10B+ software company? Luck? Frame of mind? Engineering talent?
Peter Boyce@badboyboyce · Rough Draft Ventures
@harryraymond some permutation of these indeed. think we have the engineering community today to make possible (felt like big throttle prior), and think we have companies in ecosystem today that can hopefully break into the stratosphere.
John Kaldor@jkaldor3 · Manager, BDO
2 Part question: What are a couple of the most intriguing personal finance start ups you have seen recently? What do you think will be the most impactful innovation in the personal finance space over the next 5 years?
Peter Boyce@badboyboyce · Rough Draft Ventures
@jkaldor3 great question, fun to jam on this. 1- love our portfolio company https://digit.co/-- frictionless way to save $ effortlessly in the background, powerful UX through simplicity in a domain most folks find painful & time consuming. also really interested in products like Even / ActiveHours that help with budgeting, smoothing of income for empowering large communities of people otherwise not being assisted through software. 2- money, whether we like it or not, plays a foundational role in the happiness and health of human beings. we need a convenient product that helps the majority of people with phones to better manage their spending against all that society has architected to make $ effortlessly flow out of their bank accounts, and imagine what re-routing towards savings / paying off debt & credit cards / saving for travel experiences to explore the world and other cultures, and future life moments... i'd like to see a financial co-pilot that automagically throttles certain type of spending and enables saving/investment that works for the majority of mobile phone users, not just the sophisticated and/or wealthy.
John Kaldor@jkaldor3 · Manager, BDO
@badboyboyce Thanks -- appreciate the response!
Josh Josue@joshfjosue · Co-founder, interactive objects startup
Hi Peter, thanks for the Q&A. What do you see currently that can be improved in the design side of tech?
Peter Boyce@badboyboyce · Rough Draft Ventures
@joshfjosue I'd be thrilled to see new sources of learning / skills for design... should be introduced to students in middle school and high school in the way CS is being taught today. Imagine getting access to Illustrator the same year in school you're first introduced to Microsoft Word! I am very excited for tools (we need more) like Figma / Abstract, and growing communities like dribbble / Behance / new offerings.
Josh Josue@joshfjosue · Co-founder, interactive objects startup
@badboyboyce That's great to hear, man. I remember first messing around Illustrator and go 'whoa, i can do that?!?!'. It was a great feeling and would love to see the same reaction among kids. I'd love to get in touch and share more. Thanks!
Ayrton De Craene@ayrton · Code @ Product Hunt
How important is a college education in becoming an entrepreneur?
Peter Boyce@badboyboyce · Rough Draft Ventures
@ayrton education perhaps less so, the community and connectivity and life experiences of college can be very valuable for an entrepreneur. professor as mentor, roommate as co-founder can be awesome recipe, lot of what we see with Rough Draft Ventures. special classes for startups can also be game-changing: our portfolio company mark43 got started out of a class! The Founder's Journey class at MIT has also been a hotbed of amazing founders (Stripe, ClassDojo -- GC portfolio companies), can be a big factor.
Jennifer Wei@jenlwei · Eng @ Lever
Hi Peter! Have any must-read books / podcast recommendations (both generally + for those thinking of building a company)?
Peter Boyce@badboyboyce · Rough Draft Ventures
@jenlwei so many Jen !! I need to compile a new list! Some favorites: Do More Faster // Snowcrash // How I Built This - podcast // Charlie Rose (Bezos / Branson / Schmidt / Ellison / interviews as a starter) // High Resolution - podcast // Breaker podcast app
devleena@devleenab · Co-Founder, Woocation
Hello Peter, I would like to know what you feel is missing from the travel providers/platforms offering now. And also, what you wish to see as the next big offering in travel ? Also, what is the best way to get in touch with you ?
Peter Boyce@badboyboyce · Rough Draft Ventures
@devleenab love to see products to help on the pre-trip experience: inspiration, planning, organization, booking of experiences.... imagine this info sourced from your network and in a format easy to utilize and share with others. thrilled to see a company create this 'modern itinerary' product. just one idea! love to hear more... tweet me @badboyboyce
devleena@devleenab · Co-Founder, Woocation
@badboyboyce Lovely to hear that , resonates so much with what I believe too ! I will get in touch with you and share more ! Thanks a TON Peter
Peter Boyce@badboyboyce · Rough Draft Ventures
@devleenab stellar!
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
Hi Peter thanks for joining us today. What's your top advice for students looking to launch a startup or side hustle whilst still in college?
Peter Boyce@badboyboyce · Rough Draft Ventures
@ems_hodge 1- find a friend / collaborator to work on project with or in parallel-- community & support helps so you know you're not alone! 2- find a professor or local startup CEO that can help provide advice, even if a quick coffee 3- set goals / milestones so you can stick to working on even when school / other activities compete for time 4- checkout entrepreneurship resources on campus 5- we've got a bunch of advice and resources with RDV: https://medium.com/rough-draft-v...
Chad Whitaker@chadwhitaker · Product Designer at Product Hunt 👋
How can students who might not have a VC network get backing for their startup?
Peter Boyce@badboyboyce · Rough Draft Ventures
@chadwhitaker Build a VC network! 1- email folks that went to your school / have invested in products that are similar to what you envision... leverage your .edu email address, it is magic! 2- start writing / sharing content on medium or twitter or product hunt to pull folks into your interests
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
What should every person looking to start a fund know and learn?
Peter Boyce@badboyboyce · Rough Draft Ventures
@bentossell 1- read Venture Deals: https://www.amazon.com/Venture-D... 2- find 3-4 fund managers that have spun-up fund to walk through best practices (lot of good shared learning to leverage re: process, strategies). 3- amazing resources like this from my buddy Nick Chirls: http://nickchirls.com/introducin...
Jake Crump@jakecrump · Community Team with Product Hunt
What are the biggest hurdles to overcome when launching a new venture?
Peter Boyce@badboyboyce · Rough Draft Ventures
@jakecrump ensuring the right people are around you (co-founders, lawyers, VCs, advisors). this can make all the difference... space will evolve, product will pivot... excellent people are critical to overcoming the hurdles of execution / competition / market dynamics.
Rushi Shah@lilrushishah
Peter! Hi! Hope you're doing well. When you were 21, what were your top 3 goals and if you could go back and change something at 21, what would it be?
Peter Boyce@badboyboyce · Rough Draft Ventures
@lilrushishah at 21 I was thinking about ways to do more to help my friends with their startups, and to rally together communities to help folks be more successful than they would be otherwise. my goals were 1- find mentors to help me navigate world of venture / startups 2- create platforms to invite friends in to boost their access to funding and expertise 3- have fun while doing all of this. wouldn't change it ;)
Jake Mustafa Miller@jake_mustafa_miller · Head of Operations at Woveon
Hey Peter, as an investor how do you cut through the common buzzwords in the industry that companies claim to implement? I.e. We apply ML to so and so or we are putting data analytics into so and so. What's your best strategy for figuring out the actual value add and practicality?
Peter Boyce@badboyboyce · Rough Draft Ventures
@jake_mustafa_miller Love this question, very real. 1- Listen to the tone / way these words are delivered, helps establish a bit the authenticity of the comment. 2- get perspectives from folks in the industry / customers for validation. 3- poke a bit to see if you can get below surface on these topics. 4- parse the marketing language from the underlying product / hood.