Sunday Conversation #10: Keith Rabois, Khosla Ventures (Round 3)

Welcome to the 10th Sunday Conversation. For this year, Rabois and I sit down once every 2-3 months and talk about a variety of topics. In this installment, there are five separate videos below where we discuss Bitcoin (a second time, now that things have cooled off), the many drivers behind valuations we see today, new types of strategic and late stage investors, additional details on his company, Homerun, and more. Note that full audio of the conversation is at the bottom, via SoundCloud. ♦

Part I, Revisiting Bitcoin (6:56). Late last year, when Rabois and I discussed Bitcoin’s potential, he made some strong statements about the currency’s viability in the United States, but also mentioned two important caveats — that Bitcoin could very well grow first in regions of the world where the rule of law is weak, and that the underlying protocol warrants deeper examination. We discuss this and more about the regulations around currency, the idea of stored value, and what investors look for in products that leverage the block chain.


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Part II, From Disbelief To Belief In Stripe (7:43). Years ago, Rabois infamously tweeted his opinion of Stripe. “It turned out to be an expensive mistake.” In this words, Rabois offers the back story of how he came to eventually invest in Stripe, a breakout company, and from here, we talk about how investors maintain relationships and even invest after saying “no” initially. We also discuss the payments landscape in general, and in particular, what Facebook may have up its sleeves — this conversation was recorded before PayPal’s David Marcus left to join Facebook.


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Part III, Dissecting Valuations (10:03). This segment is more of a quick survey about how valuations come together, how non-VC investors think about valuations (strategics, hedge funds, mutual funds, etc.), and the challenges and opportunities facing entrepreneurs who may have a choice of different sources of capital.


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Part IV, OpenDoor, Part 1: The Product And Market (5:24). Rabois discusses his new company, OpenDoor. We explore the market, the product, and how these types of solutions could help the overall economy.


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Part V, OpenDoor, Part 2: Incubating Companies As A VC (4:51). Here, we discuss how VCs can potentially incubate companies while also being full-time investors, sharing precedent with a few other well known investors who have gone on to fund companies such as Palantir and Workday. VCs who can incubate companies theoretically have a better shot of controlling and preserving equity stakes and can leverage their networks more efficiently.


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A special thanks to the team at Scaffold Labs for sponsoring the Sunday Conversation series on Haywire. Scaffold Labs is a boutique technology advisory firm based in Silicon Valley which designs and builds scientific and predictable talent acquisition programs that helps technology startups hire great people. Scaffold Labs has previously partnered with companies such as Cloudera, Appirio, and Nimble Storage, among others. For more information, please visit www.scaffoldlabs.com

Haystack is written by Semil Shah, and is published under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license. Copyright © 2017 Semil Shah.

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