Our conversation this weekend is with Greg Sands, founder of Costanoa Ventures. Sands was the first product manager at Netscape Communications, and created the business plan for the company. He also coined the name “Netscape.”
Prior to founding Costanoa, Sands was a Managing Director at legendary venture fund Sutter Hill, where he invested in early stage enterprise software startups, including Merced Systems, AllBusiness, Youku, Quinstreet, and Feedburner. He also served as a business development manager at Cisco, where he architected a channel management plan. Like you, I have no idea what that means. He is also the President of the Stanford DAPER (Athletics Department) Investment Fund, and was the Chairman of the Stanford Business School Trust Venture Capital Committee.
Sands explains that all early stage investors are not only a “hits” business, but a “luck” business as well.
Good venture capitalists think like product managers, asking questions that founders ask: What do customers care about, Is this a big enough problem, Does the available technology set solve this problem in a meaningful way, and what is that worth to a customer?
Some of his favorite books are referenced here.
You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras, on Bloomberg, iTunes, Overcast, and Soundcloud. Our earlier podcasts can all be found on iTunes, Soundcloud, Overcast and Bloomberg.
Next week, we speak Felix Zulauf of Zulauf Asset Management, Switzerland-based hedge fund, which he founded in 1990. Zulauf has been a regular member of the Barron’s Roundtable for almost 30 years.