Our first stop on the second day of our Entrepreneurship Team Project trip was a visit to the Google campus to meet with Brian Downing, who recently moved from the legal department to become a director of engineering at Google. Brian talked about the challenges a company faces after growing to the size of Google. One of the solutions he discussed with the group was expanding the talent pool from which Google recruits.
After a gourmet lunch at the Google Cafeteria, we headed to Andreessen Horowitz, one of the premiere venture capital firms in the country. Alex Rampell, a General Partner at the firm, was our host; he covered many interesting topics related to venture capital finding. One thing we learned was that it is important for early stage businesses to lock down their distribution networks before the big players in the industry catch up on the innovation side, because the big players already have distribution in place. Alex also discussed other challenges that startup businesses face, including the importance (and difficulty) of firing people when the need arises.
We finished the day with cocktails and dinner at Fenwick West, one of the top Venture Law firms in Silicon Valley. Michael Esquivel (Partner) and Patrick Grilli (Senior Associate) provided insight into various legal issues encountered by early stage businesses including choice of entity, fund raising, board of directors, the benefits of registering in Delaware, and other related issues.
We’ve got big day tomorrow, and will check back in with you at the end of it!