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Venture Unlocked Shorts: Looking back the era of Unicorns and what's ahead?

Venture Unlocked Shorts: Looking back the era of Unicorns and what's ahead?

Episode 124

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Follow me @samirkaji for my thoughts on the venture market, with a focus on the continued evolution of the VC landscape.

This is our second episode of Venture Unlocked Shorts where we highlight a specific point of view of our guest. These points of view may come through a tweet, an article, or an offline conversation, and our goal is to unpack these interesting views in a short conversation. 

In this week’s Venture Unlocked Shorts, we’re joined by Aileen Lee of Cowboy Ventures. Aileen wrote a now famous article in 2013 where she coined the term Unicorn to describe technology companies that reach a billion-dollar valuation within 10 years of founding.

Recently she and her team published a successor article looking at the last 10 years of these Unicorns, and what they believe will happen in the future.

It was fun to unpack the articles through this discussion, and I think you’ll enjoy hearing her findings and thoughts on what we may see in the future. 

About Aileen Lee:
Aileen is the Founder and Managing Partner of Cowboy Ventures, a firm that invests in early-stage enterprise and consumer startups. With over two decades of experience in venture capital, she has a history of involvement from seed stage to beyond, including her time at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Before her venture capital career, Aileen held roles at Gap Inc. and started at Morgan Stanley. She holds degrees from MIT and HBS. Additionally, she co-founded All Raise and sits on the board of Castilleja School.

Aileen is known for introducing the term “unicorn” in the context of business. She has been recognized in Time 100's most influential people and has appeared on the Forbes Midas List.

In this episode, we discuss:

(02:30) Marking a decade of the term Unicorn and how many Unicorns have been created in the last ten years

(05:46) The impact of macroeconomic factors like zero interest rate policies on the venture capital industry

(06:37) Aileen describes the situation as a 'perfect storm' of factors leading to a surge of capital in the industry

(08:18) The future of unicorns in the venture capital landscape

(15:46) What happened in 2021?

(17:13) The importance of founders understanding the business model of the funds they are engaging with

(19:00): Aileen predicts a mix of outcomes for startups and whats ahead

I’d love to know what you took away from this conversation with Aileen. Follow me @SamirKaji and give me your insights and questions with the hashtag #ventureunlocked. If you’d like to be considered as a guest or have someone you’d like to hear from (GP or LP), drop me a direct message on Twitter.

Podcast Production support provided by Agent Bee