Notes from Fireside Chat with Joanne and Fred Wilson

I had the pleasure of attending a fireside chat with Joanne and Fred Wilson moderated by R.A. Farrokhnia at Columbia on Tuesday. Below are some of the interesting points that were discussed.

Fred on Wealth Management:

  • One third of assets his are in cash, one third in physical goods (real estate) and one third in venture capital.
  • No stocks and no bonds at all.
  • In that way all assets are cash or something that he has control of to some extent.

Joanne on Her Investing Philosophy:

  • Seed, but not idea investing
  • Companies should have some traction and a product
  • Likes to invest in Woman Entrepreneurs

Fred On College

  • If you look at the companies USV has funded and divide them in three groups: those founded by non graduates, those founded by ivy league graduates, and those founded by graduates of other schools, the first cohort has definitely outperformed the other two.
  • Whether or not you went to college has no bearing on whether you are a successful entrepreneur

Fred on Business School for Entrepreneurship

  • If you want to start a company and need to take loans to go to business school, its probably not worth it.
  • If you can pay your way through business school, it might be worth it since business school is a great time to start a company – surrounded by smart peers, lots of resources.

Joanne on Entrepreneurship

  • People are entrepreneurs in the womb. Those few people might not need college, but the majority do and college is worth it for the people you meet and social skills you develop.
  • The best entrepreneurs are great salespeople.

Fred on Venture Capital

  • Believes that it takes 30 million to train a venture capitalist.
  • For that reason, USV hires analysts out of college on a two year term and these analysts do something else upon finishing their stint, and there isn’t really a career track within USV.
  • Its good to stay involved in the startups after funding them – be active on the board.
  • A good reputation is vital for getting into the deals you want.

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