Sessions @ The Leonardo with Ann Miura-Ko

On February 19th, from 6-8pm, we’ll be hosting our 5th installment of Sessions @ The Leonardo with Anne Miura-Ko, Co-Founding Partner at FLOODGATE.

From the first time I met Ann it was clear why Forbes dubbed her “The Most Powerful Woman in Startups.” She has a great sense for founders and markets with a wicked sense of humor to boot. It’s no wonder she’s so sought after by such a wide range of entrepreneurs. Since founding FLOODGATE in 2010 she has racked up hit after hit with investments in companies like Lyft, Modcloth, Refinery29 and Wanelo, just to name a few. 

In addition to her work at FLOODGATE, Ann was a student of, and early collaborator with, Steve Blank who’s work went on to help to shape the thinking behind what has become know as the Lean Startup methodology.

In addition to all of her academic and professional accolades, Ann is a mom to 3 kids and understands the challenges of trying to balance ambitions for her career with her ambitions for her home.

I couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome her to SLC and introduce her to all of you. I think you’ll find her insights on work, startups, life and family applicable to whatever it is you’re working on. I can’t wait for you all to meet her.

Be sure to RSVP for the event here.

Special thanks to our friends at USTAR and Utah Capital Investment for sponsoring this Session.

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Posted on February 12, 2014 .

Sessions @ The Leonardo with Mark Newman

Ever wonder what it takes to raise 10s of millions of dollars from a top-tier venture fund?

One of our own recently did and we've talked him into sharing every detail of the process.

On Tues, Dec 10th from 6-8 pm we’re turning off the cameras and closing the doors for an extremely candid and open conversation with Mark Newman, CEO of Hirevue

During this session we’ll get into the nitty-gritty details of their recent $25M funding from Sequoia Capital. We’ll walk through the pitch deck, look at the company’s financials and metrics, we’ll even get into the personalities and dynamics which led to multiple term sheets from top tier venture capital firms.

If you’ve ever wanted to be a fly on the wall on Sand Hill Road, here’s your chance. If you’ve ever wondered how much progress you need to show or how to tell your story to get VCs attention, here’s your chance. Also, if you’ve ever wanted to meet one of my favorite founders in SLC, here’s your chance.

I’ve had the good fortune of knowing Mark since the very earliest days of Hirevue. That front row seat has allowed me to watch him grow as a person as he’s grown his business. If you know him well, you’ll know why the recent $25M raise from Sequoia Capital comes as no surprise. He’s a treasure trove of insights and experiences every local founder can learn from. And someone all should have in their personal network.

So, join us December 10th from 6-8pm @ The Leonardo by RSVP’ing HERE.

Posted on December 5, 2013 and filed under Sessions, Startups.

Sessions @ The Leonardo with Charles Adler, Co-Founder and Head of Design at Kickstarter


On April 18th, from 6-8pm, we’ll be hosting our 3rd installment of Sessions @ The Leonardo with Charles Adler, Co-Founder and Head of Design at Kickstarter.

Charles has a background many in our fair city can relate to. He was introduced to the Web in the mid-nineties while studying Mechanical Engineering, and soon began work at a small studio in Chicago. Small studio was quickly gobbled up by a large Agency. All the while Charles continued pushing his own interests and skills through side projects.

Shortly after the Agency acquisition, he started his own interaction design studio dreaming of building products of his own. 

When Perry Chen came calling with the idea for Kickstarter, Charles engaged immediately. 

And thank goodness he did. The platform he and his co-founders created has gone on to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for thousands of creative projects. In the process, they’ve kicked off a global dialogue around creative expression, disintermediated gatekeepers and reshaped the relationship between artists and their fans. 

In this session we’ll cover Charles’ journey from salary-less startup squatter at his in-laws to running the design team at one of the most beloved properties on the web. Along the way we’ll contrast client vs. company work, the Kickstarter design process and balancing startup life with a little family in a big city.

If you’d like to join this Session, you can RSVP here.

You can submist questions for this Session here.

Posted on March 28, 2013 and filed under Sessions, Startups.

Sessions @ The Leonardo with Fred Wilson, Brad Burnham, Albert Wenger, John Buttrick and Andy Weissman

On Thursday February 14th we’ll be hosting a “fireside” chat with the entire Union Square Ventures partnership at The Leonardo (in downtown SLC) from 4pm to 6pm.

In 2005, I made my first trip to NYC as a newly minted co-founder of OATV. The second meeting I had on that trip was a lunch with Fred Wilson and Brad Burnham. 

At the time they were underdogs in an underserved market. Fred had just come off winding down his prior firm and Brad was spinning out of his role at AT&T Ventures. NYC was still reeling from a dot com hang over and Silicon Alley shellacking. 


Over lunch Brad and Fred were gracious in sharing their experience and connections with us from their recent forays into fundraising. We found a connection around investment themes and have had various opportunities to work together since.

At the time of our lunch Twitter, Tumblr, Zynga, Etsy, Indeed, Foursquare and so many of their current success were only glimmers in their collective eyes. Since that lunch, they’ve not only put up some of the most impressive financial returns of any fund in our industry, they’ve simultaneously built a firm that has transformed the venture business and played a key role in propelling NYC to the forefront of global startup communities. 

In this Session @ The Leonardo we have the truly unique opportunity to have each partner of the USV team on stage to share their experience as investors and their thinking on emergent startup communities and investment trends. Brad, Fred, Albert, John, and Andy are really special people that I’m fortunate to call friends. After this event I’m sure you’ll see why.

Space is limited for this event so please RSVP today.

As always, you can propose questions to be asked during the Session here.

Posted on January 30, 2013 and filed under Sessions.

Vinod Khosla On Startups @ The Sessions


Let me begin by saying I’m no Oprah. This was the first time I’ve interviewed someone.

But, over the holidays I was able to sit down with my friend Vinod Khosla and a small group of founders and entrepreneurs at The Leonardo in Salt Lake City.

Our chat covered a wide range of topics. And the good folks at The Leonardo were kind enough to record, edit and put it online.

In Part 1, embedded above, we set the stage for our conversation an dive into why he hasn’t invested in Utah bases companies as well as his perspective on what makes the Bay Area work in contrast to other regions. He also dissects a few specific examples based on what he’s seen from local companies.

In Part 2 we dive deeper into how he works as a VC and he shares stories behind how specific investment decisions were made and what actions some of his portfolio companies made on their path to success and failure.

In Part 3 we get a bit more into how he blends his work with family demands as well as some of his current investment themes. 

I’m deeply grateful for Vinod taking time out for this chat and hope some of you may find it interesting too.

Posted on January 19, 2013 and filed under Sessions.

Sessions @ The Leonardo with Vinod Khosla

On Thursday December 20th I’ll be hosting a “fireside” chat with legendary venture capitalist Vinod Khosla at The Leonardo (in downtown SLC) from 8pm to 10pm.

I first met Vinod a a few years ago. That first meeting began as a simple get-to-know-you which stretched into a multiple-hour conversation covering his history as a founder, as a VC and as a father raising a family of four children. As I left that meeting, I couldn’t help but think how valuable it would have been for younger me to have been a fly on that wall to hear how Vinod thinks and works.

My hope for the night is to capture some of what we discussed in that meeting and give you a glimpse into the mind of one of the great investors of our time.

If you’re not familiar with Vinod, a brief description of his background. Raised in India, educated at IIT in Dehli, Carnegie Melon and Stanford. He was an entrepreneur from his earliest days in India, and founded a failed soy milk company. Upon graduating from Stanford with his MBA, he co-founded Daisey Systems and Sun Microsystems. 

In 1986 he joined Kleiner Perkins as a Partner and went on to be one of the first investors in Nexgen, Juniper, Excite and Cerent. 

In 2004, on his own dime, he started Khosla Ventures to fund “science experiments” tackling some of the world’s largest problems in alternative energy, education, petroleum independence, and the environment. He’s also a prolific writer, often penning pieces that share his most current thinking on investment themes.

His provocative thinking set him apart from so many in his industry and I think his perspective as a silicon valley veteran who plays by his own rules will be extremely interesting and beneficial to Utah-based founders and entrepreneurs.

We’ve set up an RSVP system for the event and space is extremely limited. So please RSVP today and make plans to join Vinod and I for our inaugural Sessions @ The Leonardo.

PS- there will not be an open mic for Q&A at the event, but you can submit questions you’d like VK to answer HERE

We’ll try to cover as many of them as we can.

Posted on December 11, 2012 .