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VZV: Verizon Ventures Podcast

In this series, we bring together Verizon industry experts, investors and startups to discuss today’s most innovative technologies and their industry predictions. Over the course of several episodes, listeners will be treated to unique perspectives from our guests on the state of various industries, new and exciting developments, as well as insights on trends we can expect to see in the long term. We’ll cover off on topics like AI and chatbots, enterprise IoT, video and content, and consumer IoT and the Smart Home.
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Feb 26, 2018

“We all have FitBits and Apple Watches. Imagine if you can start connecting your numbers, your analytics, your sports performance with your favorite players.”

(click to tweet)

Welcome back to Verizon Ventures.

This is Part 2 of our conversation around sporting technologies. Last week we discussed how technology can enhance fan experience, and today we focus on how it can improve player development. Joining us are the talented:

  • LJ Rader, Product Manager at Verizon
  • Jeff Angus, Head of Marketing at Playsight

“We’ve been working with everyone from the Golden State Warriors to sports academies with 10-12 year-olds. It’s a tool for athletes to help them get better. Everybody can use it.”

(click to tweet)

Highlights

  • Products like Nike’s Fuelband aren’t innovation in terms of disrupting a learning process
  • Look at Verizon Ventures’ portfolio company PlaySight’s SmartCourt to see how an innovative product empowers a coach to more effectively cut through the noise in his/her students
  • Simulating in-game conditions helps mentally train players
  • Imagine being a soccer goalkeeper who can virtually look at all previous kickers tendencies/habits
  • Most experts favor augmented reality or virtual reality
  • A new jumbotron prototype empowers spectators to use the technology when dormant
  • Utilization technologies repurposes assets that aren’t being used (ex: Lyft, jumbotron)
  • Stadium AR could pipe venue analytics to the user to improve gameday experience (ex: concessions prices, bathroom lines, etc.
  • Opening analytics to the public could mean knowing Lebron’s heart rate at the free throw line or distance run all season

“For athletes, the mental aspect is arguably more important than the physical talent.”

(click to tweet)

Resources

PlaySight SmartCourt https://www.playsight.com/

Full Show Notes at: VerizonVentures.com/podcast

Feb 26, 2018

“We’re not going to change the purity of the game. We’re just going to enhance the experience in a way bigger than we ever imagined.”

(click to tweet)

Welcome back to Verizon Ventures.

On today’s episode, we are discussing the rise of sporting technologies that enrich the fan experience. From VR headsets to live-streaming in multiple languages, there are many different ways in which tech can be integrated into our sports-viewing paradigm. Joining us are the talented:

  • LJ Rader, Product Manager at Verizon
  • Jeff Angus, Head of Marketing at Verizon Ventures portfolio company, Playsight

If you have a Head of Innovation, you’re doing it wrong. Innovation is a department.”

(click to tweet)

Highlights

  • Some innovation comes off as gimmick-y
  • Innovation is a department, not a single person effort
  • Look at PlaySight’s SmartCourt as an example of how innovation intended for one purpose (player development) can be reappropriated for another purpose (live-streaming)
  • There’s a trend in sports broadcasting where spectators harness live-streaming platforms like Facebook Live to commentate
  • Real Madrid is the most valuable sports team in the world; not because of their fans in Madrid, but because of their fans all over the world
  • It’s getting increasingly more expensive to attend live sporting events
  • There is still a long way to go with VR before you feel completely in the venue
  • The social component of VR will make you able to sit amongst your friends’ avatars
  • Look to the chat logs of sporting event live-streams to see the power of social in fan experience
  • Broadcast technologies will empower viewers to choose commentator of genre choice (ex: funny vs. tactical/strategic)

When the technology catches up to the in-person venue experience, that’s when it gets exciting.

(click to tweet)

Resources

PlaySight SmartCourt https://www.playsight.com/

Full Show Notes at: VerizonVentures.com/podcast

Feb 26, 2018

“Investments create an opportunity to learn more about emerging technologies” - Meredith Finn

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If you’re the founder of a company it can be a challenge to know when it’s the right time to reach out to an investor. If you’re in the seed stage of your company, it may be tougher for you. It might be best to spend  your time developing your company, your technology, and acquiring clients to reach a sustainable point in your company.

Because of this, many Corporate Venture Capitalists shy away from a company that’s in too early of a stage. They may find it better to wait until a company is in Stage A, when they can take the time to branch out and really communicate and build a relationship with a CVC.

Don’t let that discourage you if you’re the kind of a founder that thinks you can do it all. There are certainly a number of CVC’s out there whose portfolio is filled with companies they invested in their infancy.

The biggest thing is that you really need to analyze your company from a realistic standpoint. Know if this is the time to reach out or not. If you feel it’s the time, really research the CVC you plan to reach out to. KNow their portfolio, what they invest in, and when they typically invest in a company. It may sound like a no brainer, but make sure you always make sure you do your due diligence.

There’s nothing worse than wasting your time and an investor's time just because you didn’t take a little extra time to really research a CVC’s portfolio.

On this episode of Verizon Ventures we continue our discussion with Meredith Finn and Marcelo Ballvé to dive deeper into what CVC’s are looking for.

Download this episode of Verizon Ventures to learn what investors are looking for and how you can increase your success rate when reaching out to them.

Our guests include:

  • Meredith Finn, Director of Sales Force Venture - the strategic investment arm SalesForce.com.
  • Marcelo Ballvé, Senior Director of Research at CB Insights - a software and data platform that helps companies predict technology trends.

“Corporate Venture Capital is increasingly having a larger and larger footprint in the venture ecosystem as a whole.” - Marcelo Ballvé

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Highlights

  • Sales Force tends to avoid investing at the seed stage.
    • Seed stage isn’t necessarily the right time to think about partnerships.
  • Series A stage is the right time to start considering a partnership.
  • Some CVC’s, like Google Ventures, do invest primarily at the seed stage.
  • When investing, Sales Force doesn’t take control of the partnership.
  • In 2016 alone there was around 100 CVCs that were created.
    • We are seeing a boom from a variety of industries.
    • Not just tech, but even automotive and food industry CVCs.
  • CB Insights has a newsletter with all the newest trends and developments in CVC.
  • Sales Force actively reviews and encourages people to send over ideas to their company.

“There’s some variance in Corporate Venture Capital in terms of how closely and how strategically aligned investments are.”

(click to tweet)

Resources

CB Insights

Sales Force Venture


Feb 26, 2018

“Today there’s a much more mature ecosystem around technology.” - Marcelo Ballvé

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Venture investment is a very tricky game. It can be very difficult to find the balances between financial and strategic investing when looking at a new company. This makes it tough for some Venture Capitalists to decide what route to take when looking over proposals.

On this episode of Verizon Ventures we are joined but Meredith Finn and Marcelo Ballvé, two Directors in charge of researching and finding new companies to partner with.

Download this episode today to hear what investors are looking for, how to pitch them, and if you’re the right fit for the venture capitalists you are reaching out to.

Our guests include:

  • Meredith Finn, Director of Sales Force Venture - the strategic investment arm SalesForce.com.
  • Marcelo Ballvé, Senior Director of Research at CB Insights - a software and data platform that helps companies predict technology trends.

“We define strategic as the ability to plug into our platform and partner with us closely.” - Meredith Finn

(click to tweet)

Highlights

  • Each success in corporate venture capital can be attributed to a major breakthrough in technology.
    • GM/Dupont wave.
    • Invention of the PC.
    • Internet boom.
    • .com bubble
    • Mobile computing/Social network revolution.
  • We’ve seen the rise and fall of many technology trends, which makes this business interesting.
  • AI and Machine learning is the new frontier for investments.
  • The largest tech companies in the world have been starting tech venture companies.
  • People believe it’s unlikely to be a big shake up like we saw in previous tech bubbles.
    • There seems to be a more sustained build up.
  • There’s always a tensions between strategic and financial ventures.
  • Founder need to consider if venture capitalists have invested in their type of business before reaching out.
  • There’s communication issues that need to be ironed out in the relationships between venture capitalist investors and founders.

“50% of our investment is split between a 3-5 and 5-10 year value ahead of where we are today.”

(click to tweet)


Resources

CB Insights

Sales Force Venture

Feb 26, 2018

“It’s not just about a return on investment… It’s really about a return on relationships” -Rei Wang

(click to tweet)

One of the benefits of being an on campus student is the infinite amount of resources available to you at your university. You have access to professors who have been through it all, are surrounded by students full of energy and eager to get things going, and now more and more companies funding innovations.

Companies like Dorm Room Fund and Verizon Ventures have been reaching out to campuses to find the newest up and coming talent. They are funding students, and letting them take the reigns on projects that would normally be just a dream.

The support doesn’t end when students get their degrees. In fact, it’s the contrary. The students who join these programs become life-long members of a support group that will continue to help and nurture their ideas and companies. It’s a very exciting time to be a university student.

Download this episode today to hear more about on campus integration from the leaders of top companies like Dorm Room Fun, Verdigris, and of course - Verizon Ventures.

Our guests include:

  • Lemu Coker, who is the partnerships lead on the open invitation team at Verizon. He works with campuses to bring in talent, product, and insights into verizon.
  • Mark Chung, the CEO of Verdigris Technologies. Verdigris Technologies makes the world’s most intelligent energy monitoring systems for high end commercial building.
  • Rei Wang, the Director of Dorm Room Fund, which is dedicated to funding student entrepreneurs.

“You don’t give them (students) the guard rails, you let them create the guard rails and create the structure...” -Lemu Coker

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Highlights

  • Being a student on campus means you have access to infinite resources.
  • Stanford’s program is supportive well beyond graduation.
  • Every year Dorm Room Fund does a giant summit where alumni and founders stay connected.
  • Value is created through on campus integration by providing support.
  • Giving students the resources to create their own systems is a stronger tactic than forcing them into events and situations.
  • Your first five hires need to be complicated and skill specific.
  • On Campus Integration gives students access to real world problems a lot of university students never get the chance to deal with.
  • There can be a lot companies are missing by going to the administration and not directly to the students.

“What I’ve seen be very effective in providing a nurturing environment is creating frameworks for experiential learning” - Mark Chung

(click to tweet)

 

Resources

VerizonOpenInnovation.com

Verdigris.co

DRF.VC

Full Show Notes at: VerizonVentures.com/Episode

 

Feb 26, 2018

“I found it really inspiring to be around a lot of other young people that wanted to do something meaningful and impactful.” - Mark Chung

(click to tweet)

Many Universities around the country support innovation and technology development. There’s groups dedicated to seeing entrepreneurs on campus move forward with their projects, and major companies have taken notice to what students are doing. Everyone knows it’s practically impossible to start up your own company while being a full time student.

What’s exactly why major companies like Dorm Room Fund and Verizon Ventures has begun partnership programs where they find and fund the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Welcome to Verizon Ventures! Today, we discuss on campus innovation and the different approaches companies take to seek out new talent and products in development.

Download this episode today to hear from top experts and leaders who are searching for new talent, and hear from entrepreneurs who went through these types of programs.

Our guests include:

  • Lemu Coker, who is the partnerships lead on the open invitation team at Verizon. He works with campuses to bring in talent, product, and insights into verizon.
  • Mark Chung, the CEO of Verdigris Technologies. Verdigris Technologies makes the world’s most intelligent energy monitoring systems for high end commercial building.
  • Rei Wang, the Director of Dorm Room Fund, which is dedicated to funding student entrepreneurs.

“We believe there is a LOT of innovation happening on campuses today.”

(click to tweet)

Highlights

  • Rei explains that the Dorm Room Fund started in 2012 to help full time students be able to start their own business while staying in school.
    • They recruit and trains selected students in each region they are active and let the students make investment decisions.
    • Students meet with founders, and make the pitch.
    • They invest in all kinds of products, not just mobile or tech.
  • Mark discusses how working with startups at Stanford was very inspirings, surrounded by other young people who really wanted to do something meaningful and impactful.
    • Since the beginning, standing for climate change and something really impactful stood as a unifying piece for the company.
    • Evolving into a company means more grounded reality outside of the company’s mission
  • You have to learn to scale what you build when making a transition to a profitable company.
  • Verizon looks for students who have an entrepreneurial drive, but may not be ready to step out into the world and start their own business.
    • They look for students who can help build out current products and what products should come next.
  • Verizon has a concept studio, where they go bring in ten students with various skills. They give them a challenge to overcome and a six month deadline.
    • At the end of 6 months they may be offered a job, or the chance to continue on that project as a startup.
    • It’s basically a six month full time on boarding position.
  • Verizon is willing to spend money to invest in projects, which can spin out into their own companies with Verizon as an investor.
    • They want right to use the product, but don’t require exclusive rights to a product.
  • Verizon engages with over 50 schools all over.
  • Most of the investments Verizon Ventures makes are very young companies that already have a product ready to go.
  • Both teams and individuals are supported by Verizon Ventures.

“Most people who think of university founders think of consumer mobile apps, but that’s actually not the case.” -Rei Wang

(click to tweet)

Full Show Notes at:

VerizonVentures.com/Podcast

 

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