Cota Capital
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Cota Capital

The Cota Capital podcast

You might have noticed that in the past several weeks I have been busy interviewing people for the newly born “Cota Capital Podcast”. I’d like to share the WHY a podcast first; limitations of podcasts; and the few episodes that I’ve published so far, with the not-too-hidden agenda of driving some nice, interested traffic (I call it “honest traffic”) to these episodes, certain that you will find these interesting.

My messy but very productive setup. The Docker shirt was a gift from Solomon. I was a fan of Docker back then.

Who’s Cota Capital?

I am an Operating Partner at Cota Capital Management, LLC.
Cota is an SEC-registered multi-stage investment firm focused on private and public modern enterprise technology companies. Based in San Francisco, Cota has invested in more than 100 private and public technology companies since inception. Cota’s overall mission is to deliver impactful outcomes through principle-guided investment in modern enterprise technologies.

Why a podcast?

It’s a videocast, or video podcast, but we can simply call it a podcast. There’s a ton of podcasts and newsletters these days (Albert’s Gradient Ascent is a recent addition), perhaps too many. In fact, I believe that a podcast is a sub-optimal way to convey, or absorb, information. I still prefer the written form above all else. However, there are situations where a videocast/podcast might be the only option, or where it might be the best available option.

But WHY we are doing a podcast? We want to talk about topics that are of great interest to us, because we believe that they represent the future of innovation and because they’ll have a huge impact in the technology world; and to do that, you need to pick the brain of the best people in these fields. Selfishly, we think that by producing this podcast, we will eventually attract a good “dealflow”, or entrepreneurs that are building companies in these fields, and that became interested in talking to us after listening to one of the podcast episodes. We also like to give voice to very interesting people that might not be as famous as they deserve to be.

The first few podcasts (September, October 2020)

Here’s a list of the first episodes recorded recently, with a brief description of why they could be interesting to you.

Episode 1

100x revenues in 6 years: Sam Heidari on Quantenna, 5G and Edge ComputingSam shares his past as CEO of Quantenna, a WiFi company that went public in 2016 and was acquired in 2019, diving on fundraising, go-to-market, technology and product-market fit. Quantenna went from $1M in revenues in 2010 to more than $100M in 2016, the year of its IPO. In the second part we discuss 5G and Edge Computing.

Episode 2

From Wireshark to Sysdig: leveraging open source to raise $200M — Loris recounts his early days as an engineer and PhD in Turin, and how he managed to move to the US and found a startup leveraging the huge open source community around a product he co-developed, Wireshark. Acquired by Riverbed in 2010, in 2012 he decided to start a new company, this time around observability and security in the (Linux) container space, Sysdig, which today employs more than 250 people and has raised $216M so far, with the latest E round in early 2020.

Me and Loris, at the end of the podcast (same Docker shirt!! I have three of them, and occasionally I wear something else :D)

Cota Access #1

5G and Cloud Computing: a panel with AWS, Verizon, Movandi, Quadric (not exactly a podcast; this is our quasi-monthly series of events, called Cota Access; this one was about 5G; the next one on November 19th is about Machine Learning Ops, or ML Ops, and it’s called “Rage Against The Machine Learning”).

Episode 3

Alex Laskey: How to build 1.5 Hoover Dams in 10 years; Rewiring America Before Rewiring America, Alex Laskey co-founded OPower, which in ten years managed to save an energy equivalent to 1.5 Hoover Dams (the largest dam ever built in America), before the company was acquired by Oracle for $532M in 2016.
Rewiring America is an ambitious non-profit, co-founded with inventor and entrepreneur Saul Griffith, to electrify everything in America (not just cars), with the goal of creating 25M jobs and reducing our energy consumption by 50%.

Episode 4

Tim O’Reilly: Don’t capture value, create it — Tim O’Reilly needs no introduction: he’s known for the most important publishing company in the software industry — O’Reilly Media, after his name — and for being an internet pioneer, thinker, philosopher, and one of the nicest human beings you can ever meet.
We had a lot of fun in this podcast and spoke about Frank Herbert, the author of Dune (Tim wrote two books about him); how the O’Reilly Media company came to be, and how it evolved; the 2000 crash; Tim’s “political” involvement in keeping the internet free and open; his venture investments in startups; his latest book, “What The Future”; and much else.

Episode 5

Hossein Moiin: the future is 5G — Hossein Moiin (PhD) is an accomplished entrepreneur, engineer and executive, with a rare experience in the telecom and communications industry that spans the last three decades.
Originally from Iran, he came to the US to study and complete his PhD and then, one job after another, raised the ranks through Sun Microsystems, T-Mobile and British Telecom to then become the CTO of Nokia-Siemens in 2010 and to continue in CTO roles at Nokia in the 2010s.
Hossein has also been deeply involved in defining the standards and the technologies behind 5G, the latest generation of mobile networks.

Episode 6

Amr Awadallah: founder of Cloudera, VP at Google: the future is Anthos — Amr Awadallah grew up in Cairo, Egypt, and then moved to the US to obtain a PhD and then pursue a career that eventually had him found Cloudera, a highly successful company that defined, well, the Cloud Era of the last decade, offering map-reduce services based on Hadoop, and later expanding into Spark and other technologies.
Cloudera was started in 2008 and went IPO in 2017 at a valuation of $1.9B. Amr recounts how the company started and evolved, what challenges they had to face, and finally why a strong disagreement with the board prompted him to leave the company in 2019.
Shortly thereafter he joined the Google Cloud team as VP of Developer Relations, and in the second part of the podcast he shares details on his daily activity, as well as his excitement for the latest innovation such as serverless/FaaS but more importantly Anthos, an “Android for Enterprise apps” as he aptly defines it.

Episode 7

John Jung: energy is going to be like software
John Jung, Operating Partner at Cota Capital, is an accomplished entrepreneur and energy expert. He took Greensmith from concept to industry leader, deploying over a third of total US energy systems in 2016 and awarded fastest growing energy storage company. It raised a total of $34MM in early stage funding and sold to Wärtsilä for $170MM in 2017.
John shares his experience at Greensmith and his learnings, and we discuss energy storage in details and how the energy sector is undergoing a revolution led by software.

Final words

I hope you will enjoy watching some of these episodes. I’d be delighted if you let me know what you like and what you don’t; and what you’d like to hear next!

Disclaimer

In addition to my affiliation with Cota as an Operating Partner, my podcast guests may also have similar or other affiliations with Cota. The views expressed are my own views and the views of my guests, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cota or any of its affiliates. Some of the information presented may have been provided by, or obtained from, third parties. While we strive to be accurate, neither we nor Cota guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information.

You should not construe any of this information as investment advice. Neither Cota, me nor my guests are acting as investment advisers or otherwise making any recommendation to invest in any security. The information may include forward-looking information or predictions about future events, such as technological trends. Such statements are not guarantees of future results and are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions that are difficult to predict.

The information presented will become stale over time. Neither Cota, me nor my guests are obligated to revise or update any information for any reason or to notify you of any such change, revision or update.

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