Paul Veradittakit on Crypto VC, Non-Linear Pathing & Startup vs. VC Leadership - E49

· VC and Angels,Podcast Episodes English

I advise a lot of people early on in their career to take the risk, because they're still without a family or they still don't have to support anybody. They can eat ramen for a little bit. They can hustle and if things don't go well, then it's still very easy for them to hop back on something that is a bit more stable, but the later you go on in life, the harder it is to take that risk because you just have more and more responsibilities. So that's why starting a company, joining a startup early on, I think is preferable. Even folks that want to get into VC, I say, "Hey, if you know that you want to get into VC, just do it."​ - Paul Veradittakit

Paul Veradittakit is a Partner at Pantera Capital and focuses on the firm’s venture capital and hedge fund investments. Pantera Capital is the earliest and largest institutional investor in digital currencies and blockchain technologies, formerly managing over $1B. Since joining in 2014, Paul has helped to launch the firm’s second venture fund and currency funds, executing over 100 investments.

Paul also sits on the board of Staked, Blockfolio, and Alchemy, is a mentor at The House Fund, Boost VC, and Alchemist, and is an advisor to Orchid, Origin, and AI Foundation. Prior to joining Pantera, Paul worked at Strive Capital as an Associate focusing on investments in the mobile space, including an early stage investment in App Annie.

Previously, Paul was at Hatch Consulting and LECG and performed partnerships and growth for Urban Spoils, an early stage startup in the daily deal space. Paul graduated from the University of California, Berkeley.

Jeremy Au: [00:01:37] Hey, Paul. Good to have you on the show.

Paul Veradittakit: [00:01:39] Thank you very much, Jeremy. Really excited to be here.

Jeremy Au: [00:01:42] It's such a small world because when we got introduced via Bob, we turned out to have almost 200 mutual connections.

Paul Veradittakit: [00:01:51] Oh. Wow.

Jeremy Au: [00:01:53] UC Berkeley, through the Bay area, through tech and VC, and recently a new teammate of mine. I was just catching up with her and she was nuts, was like, "oh, Paul was my mentor and I really love him." And I was like, "wow."

Paul Veradittakit: [00:02:07] It's such a small world. Technology, Asia and VC, part of my job is basically just to make connections. People call me the connector, and so I know you're back on too, not surprising that we just have so many connections.

Jeremy Au: [00:02:24] Well, 'Go bears', as we always...

Paul Veradittakit: [00:02:24] Go bears. Yes.

Jeremy Au: [00:02:28] All those who don't know, UC Berkeley alum love to call and shout out to each other, and it's a fun tradition.

Paul Veradittakit: [00:02:34] It really is. It's the first bond that we have to get in addition to other things. We're just going through the same university and that's always... A big part of the journey is really just learning a lot from university.

Jeremy Au: [00:02:47] Yeah. It's nice to have that school pride. And it's interesting how it also translates to where we are professionally and these connections has happened over again. So, what has been your leadership journey so far?

Paul Veradittakit: [00:03:00] Maybe I can start off by giving you my background and I'll go straight since university. I originally grew up in Los Angeles and I went to a private school. So going to UC Berkeley as you know, public school, very liberal, very eye-opening for me. I would say that almost like going into a room and just seeing a whole bunch of bright lights. For me, it was... To be able to... Number one, I came from a school that was 95% Caucasian and there are only 10 Asian people in my whole grade. And so to come to UC Berkeley, so many Asian Americans, so many people, open-minded to different cultures and different interests and things like that. To me, I tried to enjoy the college experience as much as possible. So that's really where I opened up as someone that would... I was always a quiet person, but when I got to university, I joined a fraternity and I really just started to build those social skills, which I think...

Some people would say, "Oh, you're a frat guy." That's not really important. But to me, it actually built up some of the leadership experience that I needed to, because I took leadership positions as part of the fraternity, and that means recruitment chair. That means social chairs. So I think for me... Because I didn't do any of that in high school. To me, that's where I really started to build up my interpersonal skills, not being awkward, being able to manage people, things like that. On the flip side though, while I was in college, I probably spent a little bit too much time around the interpersonal stuff and my schoolwork didn't fare as well. And so, I was supposed to be in the Haas School of Business, but I didn't even apply because my GPA was so low. So what I did was, if I don't go to business school, what do I do? Like a lost college person.

So I felt like social wise and leadership wise, I was building, but career wise, I was lost. And so I thought, like similar people, maybe being a lawyer would be a good starting point to... If I have a law degree, it can expand to other things. So I graduated and actually started working in a law firm for a year, thinking, "Okay. Well, I'll just go down this path. I'll learn about how it is to be a lawyer, see what the work is like and get a law degree and then be a lawyer." And then that's it, like every Asian parent. But I was working in a law firm for a year and then I realized that I did not want to be a lawyer.

I did not want to... Number one, I just didn't want to be in that type of service, right. Where I'm doing something that, for me, didn't really use a lot of my interpersonal skills and felt like I wouldn't really use a lot of the leadership things that I enjoy doing, which was managing people, managing teams. So I quickly left the legal field and I felt like something business related would really fit my background. And I didn't know what that was going to look like. So I joined a consulting firm and became economic consultant. And that was a great way to really just bring back all the things that I learned from my economics classes and my math classes, and really just get into research, financial modeling and analysis for different sorts of projects in consulting.

This was revolving around litigation cases. So it still had that mix of law, but also business. And I was doing that for a couple of years, but after a while there, I started wanting to work for a smaller firm, because going through the hierarchy and being at the bottom of the totem pole, I definitely didn't get using any of my leadership skills. And so I decided to join my friend who had a small consulting firm called Hatch Consulting. And it was great because we were actually working with some startups and helping them with their financial analysis and business models, and filing their S-1 and things like that. And so that was a foray into just seeing what the startup culture was like. And I was like, "Wow, this is great. People are working so hard. People are focused on a singular goal." And I started feeling a little bit more purpose in what I was doing, and this is so funny.

So I was continuing to look at other jobs because I knew that I wanted to possibly get into startups, and I found a job posting on Craigslist. And Craigslist was starting to get more popular at the time. And it was like, "Do you want to be a Business Development Manager for an early stage startup? Equity only. No salary." And I was like, "Okay, fine. So I already have this thing that I'm doing, might as well just do something else and just hustle and just learn about startups." And this company was an early stage startup, focusing on daily deals. But it wasn't like Groupon or Living Social. It was like a KAYAK for daily deals. Starting with the mobile first product, just helping people filter through the noise and get the deals that mattered to them.

I thought it was a cool idea. I get a ton of emails all the time and why don't I have a better place to manage all of my deals. And so I joined on, and did this all on the side for equity, coming up with different marketing strategies and coming up with different ways to acquire users. Whether it was through digital marketing, whether it was through different forums, finding places where their target demographic was aggregating and just going out there and trying to methodically get and convert users, while trying to also get partnerships with other daily deal sites. So I was doing all of this on top of the 40, 50, 60 hours that I was doing a Hatch Consulting. And I think the really big turning point for me was, they said, "Hey, we actually just got into TechCrunch Disrupt, and we're going to be at the alley for TechCrunch Disrupt. So we want you to be out there on the front lines, trying to get VCs to come to our table and start pitching them, things like that."

So this is great. Coming up with all the marketing materials, and being at that front line and just seeing... Because you start reading TechCrunch and you start reading about VCs and you start knowing these names, you're like, "Oh my God, that's Dave McClure, that's Ashton Kutcher." There's all of these names. And you're just like, "Okay, this is really cool to be able to talk to some of these investors and understand what they're looking for, and seeing if what we're doing is a match. And really just got into that whole atmosphere of looking at all of these different startups and talking to other people, and hearing about their journey. I think just really sparked a fire in me, where I had to do whatever I can to get into this industry in a larger way. And hopefully that's either on the startup side or something else.

And so that company ended up getting some financing, but because of certain reasons just didn't end up taking off. But for me, that's really where I decided to get into venture capital. And I actually, again, found a posting on, this time LinkedIn instead of Craigslist. And I applied to be a VC Analyst at a fund that was focused just on mobile. And from there, I really feel like once I got into VC, I applied, and apparently there were hundreds of people that applied, but I really utilize my experiences of being a hustler and being for [inaudible] my age, someone who was on the front lines of helping to grow a startup, even just on the side. And my knowledge of mobile, because this fund was just focused on mobile apps and mobile infrastructure. Those qualities got me the position. And from there, I really ran with it. And obviously, even the last 10 years of venture capital, a lot of different experiences that I can talk about in terms of how I've grown as a leader.

Jeremy Au: [00:10:39] That's amazing. And I love the fact that through it all, you've always kept that spirit of learning and engagement with the other side, being in Greek life, the other side, being startups, the other side, being VC. I love that fallen looking aspect of it. And one thing that I resonate with actually was, I remember as a university student, I did love tabling for my club, the Berkeley Group, social impact consulting group. And I did a ton of tabling. I would table every semester, which is this part where you put up a table and then [inaudible] them through a fair, and then you just pitch to students going by over and over again about why they should join your club, especially freshmen and sophomores.

And that turned out to be a repeatable skill that I use over and over again. I didn't realize that.

I probably pitched over 2000 people, I think at least. I have a record of all the people I logged, if that makes sense. And that turned out to be useful as startups, that turned out to be useful as a consultant. It's an interesting skill to have, to pitch someone to join your organization, right.

Paul Veradittakit: [00:11:44] Exactly. And you learn so much about pitching. At the end of the day, everything that you do involves some sort of sales, right? And so if you can build up the confidence to go out there and pitch, whether it's people that you do know or people that you don't know, and be able to read the room, see the reaction and continuing to improve and become better at that, then I think that's super important. And I am continuing… VC is really a sales job. So I think all of these experiences in interacting with people and reading people, and being sympathetic to people really go a long way.

And it's just funny, because when I got into VC and I'm sure we'll get into, but I actually didn't even know what venture capital was really all about. I saw a job that said, "Using your skills on finance to evaluate companies, and look at early stage companies and really help them grow." That was basically it. I really didn't know what that really entailed until I got into the job. And now I think it's one of the most interesting, unique and rewarding jobs that you can have.

Jeremy Au: [00:12:55] Yeah, let's get into that. Definitely VC, from the outside in, finance, it's capital, it's money bags, it's people wearing vests. [crosstalk] .

So that's the outside, but what's the inside feel like? How would you describe it to a friend that's trying to see what VC is all about from the inside, as a job or as a day to day routine?

Paul Veradittakit: [00:13:19] It really depends on what level you're at in venture. I mean, when I first started off, it was really just doing a lot of the analysis, and really trying to understand patterns on what to look for and what makes a good investment, or certain patterns based off of certain types of investments too, whether it's stage related, whether it's sector related, things like that. And so, it's trying to build patterns, but also be very open-minded. And then, I think it's also just... You're going to learn along the way too, but you're going to learn from people that have done it before. And sometimes there'll be right, sometimes there'll be wrong, but obviously those that have a good track record of being right, you want to understand why they made the investments that they made, why they pass on the investments that they passed, and some of the things that they've learned along the way.

So I think for me, when I got into the industry, I was working with the partners that I had, and I think it was helpful to be part of a small team too, because I was given the ability to take on projects and be able to run with it, and not be afraid of failing because I had partners that would back me up if I made a mistake. I think that was a great way for me to really just extend my leadership skills, because I had the reign to basically explore any space and explore any project. I explore any strategy in terms of the way that we source or the way that we do deals, things like that. And then when something went wrong, the partners would back me up. And that's continued all the way from Stripe Capital into Pantera Capital.

And so, I think that's really important for people. To give people the ability to fail, and give the ability to learn and to do better. So I think that was really important for my journey. Other things that I've learned along the way is just really being very sympathetic to the entrepreneur. I think that's the big thing. Knowing that I've been on the other side, but I haven't been a CEO before. I know the CEO has so much responsibility. And so whether it's being very responsive, being very transparent, being very helpful, being very efficient, all these different things, just to make sure that they're having a great and productive process and interaction with you while vice versa, you're getting what you need for analysis of the deal. And you're getting what you need to help them out.

Jeremy Au: [00:16:10] That's really interesting, because we're starting to compare and contrast leadership between founders and VCs. How would you look at that? I mean, I think for founders, they're looking at it from getting the business up and so forth, but how would you describe the attributes of strong leadership for VC being different from founders and CEOs?

Paul Veradittakit: [00:16:27] I think for founders, for the most part, I think it depends on what type of business you have too, right? I mean, if you're going to be leading a consumer facing company and you're going to have to be doing a lot of marketing and public speaking and business development, then you want a founder that can really motivate people, can really tell a story. Can run a room and is very charismatic, things like that versus maybe the company is a B2B company or is very technology driven and the technology speaks for itself, and you can hire people to sort of do the sales for you. And you just need to make sure that it's in line in terms of having strong technology, it's in line in terms of the vision, it's in line in terms of the strategy, but everything else can be handed off to other folks.

So I think it's really for the founder, to be aligned with what type of business and what type of sector that they're in, and really just play that role very well, versus on the venture capital side, at least depends on what type of venture capitalists you are. Some venture capitalists are very vocal, and they tend to voice their opinions. And I think for me, what I've learned along the way is, I definitely have built up a lot of knowledge, especially since I'm focused on one industry. I see a lot of things in this industry and when I'm helping companies specifically in this industry, I can be very opinionated, but at the end of the day, I'm not day-to-day with the business. So for me, a lot of times it's really just listening. It's really just being compassionate.

You can look at the numbers, you can say, "Oh my gosh, why are numbers flat? You're doing a horrible job. You need a new salesperson. The technology's not working." You can come to so many different inclusions from the outside, but if you're not actually building the company and seeing what's going on, you may not actually get the full picture. And so for me, especially as I'm a board member, I want to learn, I want to get the full picture. I want to ask the right questions before I give an opinion. And so I think that's really important, at least for the way that I like to do things. So, versus maybe a personality or leadership of a CEO that really has to, where everybody's looking up to and they are being very vocal and very strong. For me sometimes, I'm just a sounding board. I am a sounding board, I'm just processing and I'd rather be very methodical and say something of substance than just to say a lot of words, which may be what a CEO of a company may do.

That's amazing. And I think that's something that most first-time founders aren't fully aware of, right. Which is that, it's not just about the results and you bring on a capital to accelerate those results. It's also the working relationship, because effectively it's someone that you're inviting to join the team, right. And every quarter at a minimum, in a very formal setting, at a bottom [inaudible] , and honestly monthly, even weekly in terms of communications, like emails or messages. So, how should founders think about choosing the right investor? Should they be thinking about the money? Should they be thinking about the right bod-fit? How should, what would be your advice?

Obviously it depends on what situation you are in. There's definitely firms that provide more than just money. And if you're in a situation where you don't have a lot of choices, then at the end of the day, you have to do whatever you have to do, just to sustain your business in terms of getting capital. But if you do have choices, then I think it's a combination of looking at which investors will provide a lot of value for your company. And so, a lot of value means potentially access to talent, potentially help with product, especially help on the business development side and thinking about strategy, things like that. So I think those are all things that can be very additive. And especially if they've invested into companies that have done something similarly, whether it's super high level, like these guys focused on enterprise, you're doing an enterprise or maybe even something more specific like these guys are crypto focused, you're a crypto company, obviously they're going to have a lot of connections and expertise and network and things like that.

And then, you should also think about how the next round will look like too. Is this a good brand signal? Are they going to follow one? Are they going to be a good signal for the next investor and that thing. So I think those are all things to think about, but that's one side of it. The other side is really like you mentioned, it's the fit. And the other fit is around potentially vision. Just how founders have conflicts on the vision of the company and they break up. The team, the CEO and the investors can also have a difference of opinion in terms of the vision. And that can be very disruptive to the building of a business.

And then the third thing, which is around fit, which is really around personality and style. I think we've seen some bad experiences, where board members just don't respect the board meetings and don't come prepared, aren't responsive, are very dominating and aren't providing that much value, personalities just don't mix and all this kind of stuff. And so it is like a marriage. And you want to get along with your board members, hopefully up to a certain point where you guys can be friends. You know what I mean? So I think that is very important, but then again, maybe you're the opposite and it's one of those things too, where you're experience and you actually want a board member that doesn't have an opinion or isn't really around and that's your style. So again, it just really depends on who you are, what you need and what sort of personality you have.

From the inside out, what was it like for you to start practicing and exhibiting those attributes you talked about as the ideal partner for founders? So for example, one angle that I've seen is that you've doubled down on blockchain. So some of your index needs is coming in, but how have you nurtured, I think personally, the attributes to match those desired attributes that you want every founder to have in their board?

I think the first attribute that I have is, and I hope that folks can see this is really, I work really hard for my founders. And so, it starts with being very responsive. And I think, especially in the crypto space. People are... Seems like they're always working 24/7, maybe it's because trading is 24/7. And so whether it's responding to emails really quickly, or even, I don't know if you use telegram, but everybody in our industry uses Telegram. So exchanging phone numbers and just doing everything on WhatsApp or Telegram, or things like that and all of that. And so, I think the entrepreneurs can see that I am really responsive and I'll be there for them. I think the second thing is just really showing enthusiasm. If they can see that enthusiasm. I wear my enthusiasm on my sleeve.

You'll know if I'm really excited about something or if I'm not, right. I'm just that person. I have a lot of emotion, and if I'm excited about a project and I'm helping them, I think just the enthusiasm and the positivity, and the glass half full versus the glass half empty is the way that I look at things. And I think that personality works with a lot of founders. And I'm also really just open and transparent, and I'll tell you like it is, and I'm not afraid to give that feedback. And I think a lot of founders really respect that too. I think some feedback is better than no feedback. And so, I think along the way, as you know, if you're going to partner with the company, it's a long journey.

So along the way, I like to build up these relationships so they can see those traits. Even from the first email to how I interact, to the feedback that I give, to other things that I can do to be helpful. I have the mentality that you can't just ask people for things, you have to give first before you ask. So for me, I'm always thinking of ways that I can give to other people, whether it's specifically for a certain deal or whether it's just in general. For one of the things, is a side tangent, but I try to give back to UC Berkeley for all of the things that we've built up in terms of our experiences there.

So whether it's mentoring at The House fund, which is a VC fund, that's focused on UC Berkeley entrepreneurs, or even the blockchain at UC Berkeley is one of the most well positioned and well-developed blockchain organizations in any university. And I go out there and I give talks over there. And so, I think it's one of those things where if people see you paying it forward, they're more willing to see your personality in that aspect and try to give back to you. So I try to help out entrepreneurs, even when I'm not investing in their company. And I think that really just helps translate well, because people can just talk about how great you are.

Jeremy Au: [00:26:21] I'm curious, how do you improve on those skills in the future, right? And as you do day-to-day in the sales world, the sales reps all buddy up, right? So one's talking about the sales and someone else is in the room observing them and just taking notes to be like, 'Oh, this is something you could say a bit differently." "Oh, I might approach that from a different way. So that's how they improve that personal one-to-one aspects you talked about, like warmth or relationship building, that's obviously on the sales side, very repeatable, structured product centric, execution on self-improvement. How do you think about improving those skills? Because you've developed from zero to where you are today, and how do you see that daily improvement cycle or whatever it is work for the future?

Paul Veradittakit: [00:27:08] I think for me, it's really just continual learning. And how does that happen, right? So for me, I'm continuing to have interactions and every single time I have interactions, I try to see if it's working or if it doesn't work. And if it doesn't work, then I try to figure out why it didn't work, and try to do something in that same scenario again, that might work. So hopefully for me, I give myself some time to reflect on certain interactions and be able to decipher it. Also, I feel like as I've continued in my career, I've been able to have some good people work under me and work with me. And so whether it's not, or whether it's the employees at Pantera, as I am telling them about my experiences and some of my tactics, I get to see how they're doing with it, and seeing if it works for them or if it doesn't work for them. And I learned from that too.

So I think it's really just trying to see what I'm learning and how it's being used, either through myself or through other people that I'm also imparting knowledge to. And I think third thing which I hope people can listen to this and at least learn one thing, is I do a lot of reading, but actually more than that, just because I'm always on the go now, it's hard for me to just sit with a book. I'm always just traveling, well, maybe not this year, but I'm usually moving around. I actually listened to a lot of podcasts. The podcasts are great because I don't have to have anything in front of my face. I don't have to see anything. I usually just do the audio, and I listened to people talk about their own experiences and how they interact in certain scenarios.

And some of the things that I'm trying to learn about more is about being on a board, and how you should interact and specifically, what you do in certain scenarios when certain problems they're having with companies and how you deal with it. So both from a human personal side, to actually a tactical side of what you do in certain scenarios. And it's learning from some of the top VCs out there, right? Like listening to podcasts, like Bill Gurley, Peter Fenton, Sequoia, Sarah, Tavel at Benchmark, just all of these guys talk about their own experiences. And obviously I may not take all of their insights because I may not run across every single scenario that they have, but I just try to learn as much as possible from the people that are around me and people that I and other people respect.

Jeremy Au: [00:29:48] That's really interesting, right. Which is, it's not as it's about learning the nuts and bolts, but also learning about experience of how they tackled it. I'm curious about why some common myths and misconceptions about the VC world from your perspective now that you've been inside and have been mastering that whole set of understanding and nuances of it.

Paul Veradittakit: [00:30:11] I think the biggest thing potentially for entrepreneurs, that venture capital is bad. Or it's just not a good thing. You're giving up control. They're going to take over your company. They're going to drive it in a direction that you don't want to drive it in. I mean, I know that this is very cliche, but every scenario, every firm, every partner is different. And so, I do think that there are some businesses that shouldn't take venture capital and can do very well without it. And then potentially there just aren't venture backable businesses too, and that's totally fine, but you do have something that can be very large. And you think it's the right time to dilute yourself a little bit, but get certain things that venture capital can provide, whether it's just a little bit more from brand, a little bit more visibility, some help in terms of governance and expertise, to potentially help around the business development side, then you should take it.

And with that misconception, I think it's just really... Some people have found bad experiences, they've had bad partners, but I think you should judge every person, every firm differently and see if it's a fit for you.

Jeremy Au: [00:31:24] You've also focused on the blockchain side, and what would you say are some of the misconceptions about blockchain as a sector?

Paul Veradittakit: [00:31:26] I can tell you some of the misconceptions and why I did decide to focus on it. So I think the misconception, when I first got into this space that probably still exists now, is that blockchain and cryptocurrencies, there's no value. And it's a scam. People are there to make a lot of money from people that just don't know a lot about finance or economics, or things like that. And a lot of these cases are around money laundering, and just a bunch of libertarians and things like that. And so I think they just don't see a purpose for it. And they just think it's just a hoax, right? And I think for me, I got into this space because Bitcoin. Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency on a large scale. And I thought to myself, there is a asset and a currency that isn't controlled by the government.

It seems like it could be a pretty good store of well. And there's a lot of places out there that would love to give the store their wealth in something that is decentralized. And it's basically what I would say, is it's like gold. What drives up the value of gold is just really supply and demand, right? I mean, and it's not controlled. The supply isn't controlled by the government, you mine it. But the really cool thing about Bitcoin is, it's gold, but it's digital. And with it being digital, it actually has value. You can move it around. And so you can actually use it as a currency if you want. So if we think of it as gold, but with a digital and with a utility. And so I was thinking about it as, well, if it solves a store of value use case, that's already what... Gold's market cap is, $7/9 trillion.

And at the time Bitcoin's market cap was very low. I think it was under a hundred million dollars. I was like, "That's a pretty large multiple that this can grow." And then if you start getting into payments and things like that, then it becomes even larger. And then now with the barium and... So I thought the market cap was the disruption and the market cap was tremendous, but it was still very early. Do I want to take that risk? Well, having already been in venture capital and startups for two or three years, I was like, "Well, I'm already used to taking risks. This may be a risk two years in my life. And if I waste two years, then that's fine. Hopefully I'll know within two years, if this is going anywhere. But if it does go somewhere, just like investing into an angel round of a company, the upside is so tremendous that it's worth that risk, especially early on in your career." So that's why I got into this space. I saw the risk reward. I was like, "Wow, it excites me."

Jeremy Au: [00:34:34] Amazing. And I think what's interesting is that you've always consistently taken that risk, right? The next level, a very measured approach to escalating the lever. And like you said, controlled risk is only for two years, the worst cases you go back, right. Is that how you approach risk? And I mean, a lot of people are always thinking to themselves like, "Oh, it's too risky to go to this emerging industry, because the industry may fail", right? Or, "It's too early for me to go to this new emerging's firm, VC or startup because it maybe too early, it may fail", right? "I don't want to go to this market because it may fail." So how would you, obviously it's not a black or white yes or no answer. I mean, how do you measure it or how do you think through that problem, and if you can see that will be useful for other people?

Paul Veradittakit: [00:35:29] I think it really depends upon yourself and where you are in terms of your financial standing and where you are in terms of your career. I advise a lot of people early on in their career to take the risk, because they're still without a family or they still don't have to support anybody. They can eat ramen for a little bit. They can hustle and if things don't go well, then it's still very easy for them to hop back on something that is a bit more stable, but the later you go on in life, the harder it is to take that risk because you just have more and more responsibilities. So that's why starting a company, joining a startup early on, I think is preferable. Even folks that want to get into VC, I say, "Hey, if you know that you want to get into VC, just do it."

Why delay the inevitable and why delay the gratification? But if you do think about wanting to potentially join a company or start a company, do that first, if you're torn between the two, because it's much harder to go back to that. And you can always try to get into venture capital. So I think it really just depends on where you are. And I think in terms of just risk in general, though, I would say that as you go further along in your career, I think you can actually potentially still take more risk on the investing side of things, in terms of like financial risks. Because again, this is different from starting a company because that's more than just financial risk. Your time risk is there too. But in terms of financial risk, and this gets into what people say about investing into crypto, for instance, right?

It's like, "Should I invest in something that's risky like that?" I would say people getting into the industry that have already accumulated some wealth, whether it's as joining a startup potentially, or even just investing into this space, it's actually a good time to invest in risky things. Because think for yourself, how we advise people to invest a single digit percentage of their net worth into cryptocurrency. And so I think if you can already have some stability and just put together a certain portion for really risky stuff, then you should be fine, because that risky stuff doesn't go anywhere. You still have the stability and vice versa, I think the same thing for startups. I mean, if you do have some experience already and you're building up some capital at Facebook and Google, you do have a little bit of an opportunity to then take risks, and you could just say similar to me, you could be like, "Well, I want to spend two years giving a shot in something that's really risky. And if it doesn't work in two years, just go back."

Jeremy Au: [00:38:34] Amazing. Well, last question here is, if you could go back in time all the way back to the time when you were, let's just say a junior, right. That's some time ago. What advice would you give yourself back then?

Paul Veradittakit: [00:38:48] I think the advice that is just super helpful for me right now, and I wish I was doing maybe a little bit earlier was, just knowing how powerful networking is. I realize it when I got into the VC world, and continuing to build up my network. But all the way since college, I wish I was just being a bit better at networking and cultivating relationships, all the way since then. Utilizing different tools to do so. Whether it's LinkedIn, Twitter, all of these different things, back then, I was just like, "Oh, I don't want to put myself out there. I'm a bit shy, things like that." But I think the earlier you can open up network, be confident and use those tools to do so, build up a following, a personal brand, things like that. It just makes things a little bit easier in life.

Whether it's getting into venture capital, which is a networking game. Getting into angel dealers, which is a networking game. Being able to come up with really a neat investment opportunities. Maybe even finding a good dentist for your network. The network is so powerful and I wish I knew how powerful it could be earlier on in life. And so that's my-

Be willing to put yourself out there and cultivate that hour.

Jeremy Au: [00:40:12] Awesome. Thank you so much for sharing, not just your journey, but also your experience and insights.

Paul Veradittakit: [00:40:15] Thank you so much. It was a lot of fun and I hope to do this again soon.

broken image