The pod continues its U.K. road trip, meeting up with three startup founders to discuss the entrepreneurial ecosystem in London and more broadly the U.K. and Europe. Let’s be clear upfront: London is not the center of the universe when it comes to technology. But the diversity of industries and thinking in the British capital brings with it advantages when starting a tech company, say our guests on this segment of the podcast, which includes Michelle You, co-founder of Songkick; co-founder of Lifecake, and former Skype engineer Nick Babaian; and Matt Clifford, co-founder of London-based accelerator Entrepreneur First.
If the U.K. is to continue its economic march onward and upward, technology needs to play an increasing role, argues Martha Lane Fox (that’s Baroness of Soho Lane-Fox in more public settings) in this segment of the podcast. But it can’t just be the same apps and software solutions that are coming out of Silicon Valley. The U.K. needs to do things differently to create and maintain an edge against all the tech powers around the globe, starting with more women in the tech industry. MORE
The best cooks know cooking a meal is all about having a plan (and a back-up plan if things go south); get the cooking out of the way, and then you can enjoy your family and friends — the most important part. But now try doing it for thousands.
How can one company be the de facto sous chef for so many? Turns out there’s a lot of data science behind it, in everything from procurement to forecasts to logistics: what to cook, what people will like, what ingredients are required, what to produce at scale. In this segment of the a16z Podcast, Gobble’s Ooshma Garg suggests that every modern food company is really a tech company (or should be). Is there a science to taste? MORE
Farmers are among the best hackers in the business. They can fix anything, and are endlessly tweaking their approach to a business that is up against the strongest force on the planet: nature. As adopters of technology, the agriculture industry is both forward-thinking and, at the same time, hard to convince to make a change. For good reason — you can’t A/B-test an almond orchard. You get one shot a year to grow a crop and make a profit. So whatever technology makes its way into the fields had better work. MORE
What stood out to Rhinehart was the contrast between all the things in his life that technology had made more convenient and cheaper — basically everything powered by smartphones — and what he felt was a process still trapped in our agrarian past: sitting down for a meal. Out of that observation came Soylent — nutrition in powder or ready-to-drink form, that substituted for Rhinehart the lousy ramen or frozen corn-dog meals he was subsisting on.
Better, faster, cheaper — Soylent has all the trademarks of good tech — but are we really going to start drinking our meals? MORE
It’s hip to be Square right now. Or is it? How do we assess whether it — and other recent IPOs — went well, not just for investors but overall? In this episode of the a16z Podcast, we share an internal “hallway conversation” of sorts around how to make sense of market reactions to recent IPOs, and more broadly, how to compare private vs. public valuations (and investors). Is there a method to the madness, a formula to compare these from beginning to end? Does it make a difference if you’re creating a new category? And is public really the new private? MORE