MiB: VC asks: “What is this solution worth to a customer?”

Greg Sands, founder of Costanoa Ventures, has a deep background in technology. Sands was the first product manager at Netscape Communications, where he worked with Marc Andreesen and Jim Clark. Sands created the business plan for the company, and 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 actually means). He is also the President of the Stanford DAPER (Athletics Department) Investment Fund, and was the prior Chairman of the Stanford Business School Trust Venture Capital Committee.

Sands explains that all early stage investing is not only a “hits” business, but a “luck” business. All good venture capitalists must think like product managers, he notes, asking the questions that all 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 perhaps most importantly, What is this solution worth to a customer?

Some of his favorite books are referenced here.

You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras, on BloombergiTunesOvercast, and Soundcloud. Our earlier podcasts can all be found on iTunesSoundcloudOvercast 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 the past 30 years.



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