Post Image
Hack To Start
Episode 166

Kevin Thau

👨🏻‍💻VC @sparkcapital: @mylolatweet, @havenmx, @aura_frames, @medium

Listen to this episode on iTunes, Stitcher, & Google Music

Kevin Thau, a General Partner at Spark Capital, focusing on early-stage investments in companies like Lola, Medium, Haven, and Aura. Kevin has spent over 20 years building startups that defined new markets in graphical computing, messaging, mobile technology and social media. Before Spark, Kevin spent two decades building startups like Twitter, where he was the Director of Mobile Products, as well as VP of Business and Corporate Development. He was also then the COO of Jelly Industries, a search-engine Q+A platform created by Biz Stone. Kevin joins us to share his story, how he got into startups by cold calling his first job, what it was like building Twitter from 2008 through its IPO, what it was like building Jelly, how he transitioned to being a VC, and much more.

Main Objectives For This Episode

  • Learn more about how Kevin got into startups
  • Learn more about what it was like growing Twitter
  • Learn more about how Kevin transitioned into Venture Capital
  • And more!

Episode Overview

Kevin Thau, a General Partner at Spark Capital, focusing on early-stage investments in companies like Lola, Medium, Haven, and Aura.

Kevin has spent over 20 years building startups that defined new markets in graphical computing, messaging, mobile technology and social media.
Before Spark, Kevin spent two decades building startups like Twitter, where he was the Director of Mobile Products, as well as VP of Business and Corporate Development. He was also then the COO of Jelly Industries, a search-engine Q+A platform created by Biz Stone.

Kevin joins us to share his story, how he got into startups by cold calling his first job, what it was like building Twitter from 2008 through its IPO, what it was like building Jelly, how he transitioned to being a VC, and much more.


Some Of The Questions We Ask

2:30
Can you tell us a bit more about where you’re from and what you studied?

3:56
So a how did you start your career? What was it like joining Silicon Graphics and rising though the ranks there?

5:41
So fast forward from there, in 2008 you joined Twitter as Director of Mobile Products when there were less than 20 employees. Can you tell us about what it was like joining the team there at that time?

7:11
Within a few years, you became the VP of Business and Corporate Development. So can you tell us what it was like growing the company during those years and then taking on that bigger role?

8:31
What were some of the biggest challenges that Twitter had to face during that time? As you mentioned, people were still trying to get used to data plans, the first iPhone was only a year old, people were just starting to really access content online through those devices - so what was that environment like and what impact did it have on Twitter?

10:42
So coming back to the partnerships and growth side of the business, what were some of the biggest projects or partnerships that you were involved in and how did you approach making those happen?

14:07
So after your time with Twitter, you were the COO at Jelly. Can you tell us more about Jelly and what it was like going back to a startup mindset after having been part of a much larger company?

16:12
So after Jelly, you ended up transitioning over to the VC side and you joined Spark Capital as a General Partner. So how did you create the opportunity to join the team there?

18:24
What’s the transition from running companies and building new products (in the case of Jelly) to then investing in startups? Are there any things you’ve learnt over the past few years that you weren’t expecting would be part of the process of investing?

23:36
On the note of growing companies with big missions what have been some of the most impactful tools that you’ve either recently come across or keep coming back to?
Posted 5 days ago5 days
Reply

24:48
So do you have any final thoughts or personal mottos to share with other entrepreneurs out there?


Here are some of the most important links and resources mentioned throughout the show.

Twitter Handles & Websites

Kevin Thau on Twitter
Spark Capital on Twitter
Spark Capital on the web
Tyler Copeland on Twitter
Franco Varriano on Twitter

Devices, Apps, and Books

Haven
Lola
Aura
Medium
Airpods
How I Built This

We make Hack To Start for you!

Subscribe to our email newsletter to know when we launch new episodes, behind-the-scenes content and more goodies to help you launch, build, and grow your thing.