Hans Tung and the 16 unicorns: How a global venture capitalist funds billion dollar startups

Hans Tung has funded some of the most iconic billion dollar startups: Bytedance, Airbnb, Wish and Affirm just to name a few. He's been on the Forbes Midas List for 7 years straight now, this year at #10. He has seen it all, and we discuss war stories (don't miss the discussion of Alibaba in a global financial crisis and pandemic!), founders, and the future of food tech, software, and robotics.

00:00 Intro 
00:50 Hans's journey to venture capital 
03:18 Hans met iconic founders very early 
05:00 The Alibaba story in 2003: Pandemic and global financial crisis with 5 months of runway (MUST WATCH) 
08:18 The perseverance of Brian Chesky and Airbnb 
09:23 The perseverance of Peloton 
10:36 Global consumer trends now first emerge outside of the US 
13:06 Software eats the world is a one-time shift 
13:45 Foodtech in China: Darkstores and clean data 
16:14 Global food tech trends: Automation 
17:06 All food distribution will be automated and tech enabled: better, faster, cheaper 
18:20 What Uber did to consolidate taxis (a fragmented, no-tech business) will happen everywhere 
20:19 Software in business: first back-office, then front-office, now whole-office 
21:10 Each successive wave of software is more powerful than the last. We're on the 5th or 6th wave now. 
21:59 On founder-market fit 
23:36 Max Levchin and founder-distribution fit at Slide 
24:16 Platform shifts create distribution opps that open, then close quickly 
25:02 5G and the future of distributed computing 
25:33 Timing your startup idea 
26:22 WeChat as a growth channel for Pinduoduo 
27:55 Autonomy and our robotic future 
28:53 Characteristics of great founders 
31:24 What Hans wishes he knew at 18 or 22

How Hans got into VC

Garry Tan: Hans, thank you so much for showing up here. I'd love to start off just by hearing about your story as a top Midas List VC, and not only that, doing it very early and globally. How did you start? I'm curious, when did you know you wanted to work as a venture capitalist and what was your path to it?

Hans Tung: First of all, thank you for having me on your show. The pleasure's all mine. I was at Stanford in a very interesting time between ‘89 and ‘93. When I got there is when your mentor, Peter Thiel, just left. By the end of my time at Stanford, this little thing called Netscape was becoming more of a thing.

Garry: Dawn of the Internet, it's amazing.

Hans: And so sometimes you just got to be in the right place at the right time. If I was at any other university, maybe I wouldn't hear about it as much. Jerry Yang, I think, graduated from Stanford in ‘94. Even though I didn't know him at the time, I knew of him. This other little thing called Yahoo! happened after I left Stanford. So, just by being there you see that it is very tech driven. And it's very innovation driven. Even though those were very far away terms for someone who was just there for college at the time. 

And I was born in Taiwan, grew up in L.A. So, I still follow all the L.A. sports teams, and getting through Stanford, I had to go through the SoCal versus NorCal rivalry thing. After I left Stanford, I went to New York and worked in investment banking. And that's when I realized that I am not as driven by deal making. I'm much more driven by what's happening with the shift in industries, whether it's tech, or whether it's supply chain shifting from U.S. to Asia. Those are the things that intrigued me. And I knew that early on, even though I did my undergrad in industrial engineering, now management science engineering, I'm much more of a historian – someone who loves how things work and thinks about how societies shift, and what trends rise and fall. 

So, those are things that intrigued me, and from investment banking I ended up doing growth capital, tech investing and [getting] into startups. That's when I realized that being a VC and doing it early is much more interesting than anything else I could be doing with my life.

Funding billion dollar startups early

Garry: Such an interesting way to look at it because going from growth, it is very financially driven, and you have a spreadsheet, and quarters and quarters of data, and then to be able to go from that to seeing the types of very early stage things you've done that have gone on to be incredibly successful – things like Musical.ly or ByteDance very early. So early in the life of these companies that are now touching a billion plus people, right?

Hans: Yeah, I remember the first day I met the Wish founder, Piotr. I remember the first day I had a video call with Alex Zhu at Musical.ly. I remember the first day I had a, well actually a night, having tea with the founder of Xiaomi, Lei Jun. And when they told me what they're trying to do… all those three things happen quite early in the development cycle of the companies. 

And back then, even the founder was not completely sure if this is going to be the next big thing. They would like it to be. They had a passion about it, but it was very very very early. And I think the benefit of being a VC for a while, and survived, is that you still recognize patterns. You start to see that, hey, this reminds me of something else. Even though they're not number one right now. Or they're growing fast, but is this sustainable? You're willing to suspend disbelief and believe that those one or two things could be magical if it happens, and so you squint really hard and are willing to say, hey, I know chance is not high, but you know, it's just, there's something about this founder, or something about this vision that makes so much sense, that we should be betting on them.

Alibaba in 2003: Surviving a pandemic and global financial crisis with 5 months of runway. Today? A $500B company.

Garry: There's some pretty amazing stories from, honestly, other pandemic times that you've seen. You know GGV was an early investor in Alibaba. It's astonishing to hear about how hard they were hit by, in early 2001, probably the financial crisis then, actually.

Hans: I had a webinar and I hosted Savio Kwan who was the president of Alibaba.com at the time, back in 2003, when SARS broke out. He had joined Alibaba in late 2000, and back then, you'll remember Jo Tsai, vice chairman of Alibaba today telling him, hey, we have $10 million on the bank account and Savio asked what is our burn a month? Well, it was $2M. So, only five months to go.

Garry: Oh my God.

Hans: That's right. So they, even with SoftBank backing them, they had to figure out “what is our new biz model 'cause this is not going to be sustainable”. So they quickly cut down the burn, and then Jack worked with the rest of the team to come up with an idea... we're not going to do anything that requires bribery to anyone, whether it's advertisers, government officials, what have you – that's just not sustainable business. So, they were willing to do something that's going to be export driven, helping Chinese exporters to find international buyers and orders. And that's a much tougher job. But it requires meritocracy, and competing as market forces that were beneficial, but still hard to convince everyone that was not on the Internet to do that. And that was the model that made money. And without that, they wouldn't have been able to have the profit to try to launch Taobao in 2003 during the epidemic. And that was critical. Having the right biz model, generating a profit, and the right culture to be able to make a decision on your own to do what's best for the company, in terms of mission, in terms of vision. And to be able to make those kind decisions allowed them to use a decentralized decision making process to launch Taobao, while everybody was working from home. And, obviously, Alibaba is worth half a trillion dollars today, a lot of it's driven by a successful launch during the pandemic in 2003 with Taobao.

Garry: I think that that's an incredible story because it's very easy to be in the moment. Founders are always in that moment of, I have five months of cash. What I'm doing is not working. Also, there's a global pandemic happening, or there's a global financial crisis, or in our current case, they're going to be people who are literally watching this right now, who are like what do I do? I think that that story is incredible and exactly what people need to hear right now, because even when it's very, very bleak, there's always a path. And I think that that's credit to you to be able to work with some of the best teams that make the right call in the time of maximum stress. 

Hans: And you and I both enjoy being early stage VC's and try to, as much as we can, be a counsel to the founders, it's not easy to make these tough decisions, especially when data points are incomplete. The good ones rise to the top and make those tough choices and then creatively figure out what's the right path forward. And a lot of our companies that may not show growth during this time, and it's critical to them, for sure.

Hans is a global VC and can see the universality of great founders

Garry: Do you think there are things about that story that are peculiar to China? Or was it really universal? You are one of the few VC's who has excelled and done incredible work both in the U.S. and China, and internationally now. I only focus on the United States, so I'm always curious about how much of this stuff is actually transferable? Open question. How do you do it? What's the secret? Is there one?

Hans: I think that a lot of principles are universal. What I saw with Alibaba in 2003, I saw something with Airbnb just literally a month, two months ago, what Brian Chesky went through. You know the Airbnb story extremely well, Airbnb was in YC. And so, Brian, just intuitively, and having had 10 years experience, knew the principles that he should follow to help him, to guide him to make decisions. Whether it is giving the refund back to the consumers, and whether it is having to make tough choices to slim down, but finding ways to help a lot of employees to find the next home and be willing to publicize all this great talent that other people may want to recruit instead. Just a lot of the decisions he makes, you can just tell he is principled, has integrity, has to make tough choices, but it doesn't mean we cannot be humane and be helpful. And those are things that build brands. Those things that make values that people can resonate with. As people come out and want to do staycations and go somewhere nearby, Airbnb becomes a very natural and obvious choice. People will trust it and are willing to do it. 

And those are things I saw with Peloton when John was trying to raise money on this expensive hardware thing that maybe has a subscription biz model, how big can it be, how many people are going to be willing to buy $2000 bikes? And those are things that start to become less of an issue overtime. And we saw the same thing in Latin America, we saw the same thing in Southeast Asia, we say the same thing in India. So, the beautiful part of being a VC is it's almost a privilege to be able to see all these founders in different places, all acting based on principles that are quite universal.

Garry: That's really helpful and heartening to me. We started doing more investing anywhere in the world, particularly for crypto. The realization recently was that actually, why just crypto? Because there are lots of software native things all around the world that, it doesn't matter where they are in the world. Like, classic SaaS is definitely true, but it's just as true for that as for Peloton.

Hans: Totally agree. Everybody's working from home these days, so home could be almost anywhere in the world now. So, time zone differences are some issues, but it also means that the good teams can work 24 hours a day because someone in the company is always up doing something. Whoever can adapt to this environment well is going to emerge out of it being extremely effective.

Where are trends first occurring in the world now?

Garry: It sounds like they're a bunch of different trends that you're seeing right now that are also happening on the global scale. You and I are investors in Shelf Engine together, and then I was early Instacart. You've been seeing incredible things on that side. Where are you seeing the first emergence of the trends? My perception is that a lot of it is actually happening in China first.

Hans: Yeah, and it's interesting you say that. 20 years ago when we first started looking at tech banking, more tech growth investing, everybody's learning from the U.S. And after a while, as different regions started to become more developed, you have different kinds of innovation emerging in places that's different from the U.S. And in China, especially when it comes to consumer Internet, there's a lot of innovation that's happening in a highly dense and fast urbanizing environment that it's harder to replicate that kind of condition in the U.S. So when it comes to food delivery, it started in the U.S. first, but Meituan really took it to a level that's unbelievable.

Garry: The density there is incredible.

Hans: And so, they are actually profitable. There's no food delivery company that I know of outside of China that's profitable. And that had nothing to do with government subsidy. So, just a lot of things going on that's quite interesting. And source information can come from anywhere now, so it makes it being a global investor exciting.

Garry: My view from being a partner at Y Combinator was spending time with the Chinese companies that came over. The capital markets are incredibly well developed in China. The talent is on par with any other tech hub in the world, almost certainly deeper for sure. By the number of people, it's incredible. And then the markets themselves are so much larger, so it's no surprise to me that things have come full circle. I've been encouraging my tech friends in the United States to spend a lot more time actually looking at tech ideas in China.

Hans: I'm based here in the Bay Area like you, so, before COVID-19 I was traveling extremely frequently to New York, to Sao Paulo, to Bangalore, to Singapore, as well as Beijing and Shanghai. These days, a lot of it's done via Zoom now. And it's just fascinating to see how tech companies, as you can see, have done well in the capital markets in the U.S., as well as in Hong Kong. And so, software is eating the world.

Garry: Yeah, my view is that this is actually one of the more astonishing one-time shifts, people think about things in terms of capital labor and management, and then this is a technology that breaks the wheel on a lot of that stuff. If you're in a fixed mindset then here's market power, here's market monopoly, often, in different marketplaces. Things are at equilibrium. And, when tech comes, at least for a generation sometimes, it is the only time when some sort of monopoly, or some sort of oligopoly gets broken by tech. But the funny thing is, not only does the old monopoly or oligopoly get broken, new ones get created.

Hans: Absolutely.

The future of food tech

Garry: Now, in terms of food tech, some of the things around food tech in China. The owners of these grocery stores are actually probably more tech forward than most other places in the world, in the West anyway. They don't have clean data, if an item comes in and there's no data on it, they just enter a random number and they just chalk it up as a loss.

Hans: Correct.

Garry: They're like, we didn't track something, we paid for it, we didn't track it, and then it just gets lost.

Hans: Right. And, actually often, retailers around the world are actually worse than the U.S. So, what happens is that it enabled a generation of new players to emerge. And recently, I had the COO of MissFresh, e-commerce player in China, on my podcast, hoping for the next billion, and what she told us, Cecilia Sun, what she said was that they knew that offline retailers are backward, so they want to figure out a way to deliver and this experience will be better than Alibaba and JD, the e-commerce players, and be differentiated from Meituan, which is the local service. So it's local retail, physical goods, and they do it by having mini warehouses instead of stores. 

So the network of mini warehouses are in all the big cities. And each warehouse has more space to store things, 'cause there's no need for retail space, it costs less for the shop because you're not trying to provide a good user experience to your customers, it's all for fulfillment. And so they can have more SKU's. They can increase the efficiency and cover a wider radius of coverage so that it becomes extremely efficient to do online ordering and get it within 30 minutes to an hour. And now, that is just so good, even if it's the low margin, they can be profitable. So, it is mind boggling that a team can figure that out, step-by-step and come up with a model that actually works for a massive country. And I think that that's not just going to be for China but for a lot of other emerging markets, it could be quite useful.

Garry: That makes a ton of sense. Yeah, I've been hearing about people experimenting with dark stores like that in Europe.

Hans: It's tech enabled. We do see a lot of founders from North America, from Southeast Asia and India not only come to Silicon Valley, but increasingly also go to Beijing and Shanghai. So, it is just fun to be able to exchange ideas across different continents.

Garry: Are there any particular trends in food tech that you're extra excited about?

Hans: Automation. We're investing in Bowery Farming, indoor vertical farming, in New York, New Jersey area. It's impressive to see them developing their own operating systems to be able to control and automate every aspect of growing vegetables and other items inside a vertically stacked warehouse. And, you can see how that could shift the balance to more cities being able to become more self-sufficient, which is obviously very relevant in today's time, during the pandemic. But at the same time, also be able to have faster iterations of grow and harvest so they can experiment more and develop higher yield plants overtime. As you know, the world's growing from 7 billion to 10 billion people in the next 30 years.

Garry: It's not just food, it's all of the different things.

Hans: In the U.S., more solutions will be tech enabled, lots of algorithms and applying the B2B setting. Whereas China, the algorithm's applying the B2C setting, like ByteDance with TikTok and so forth. Here, in Shelf Engine that both you and I are in, we're happy to follow you guys into the company. And they're solving food wastage with algorithms and machine learning. And that's very needed for older generation offline retailers and brands. We see that happen not only in food and grocery, we see that happen in the coffee industry, we see that happen in pizza. And so, there are a lot of SMB's out there that can't afford to have IT, and they end up working with a software driven company that can provide that kind of solution to more of them. Whether it's in the slice for a pizzeria, or decaf for coffee shops. So, you see food automation, you see food wastage management, you see food distribution, all going through changes. And, it's increasingly interesting that in the U.S. you can see software just impacting every segment of a traditional industry to make it more tech enabled and more efficient in sharing data across the supply chain.

Software is eating every fragmented industry

Garry: That's interesting that you bring up coffee and pizza, because one analogy you could have is, taxis were probably one of the most fragmented industries ever, and then software and brand and great user experience all come together in a way that you take a fragmented industry and turn it into a consolidated one. That's just one of many different things that people need. You can look at Maslow's hierarchy of needs and to a T, every single one of those that are highly fragmented, they're probably hundreds of pizza shops in the SF Bay Area, or even in any given city there's hundreds of pizza shops. But, those all probably need some vertical integration that would give you much more consistency.

Hans: Yes, and the beauty is that once you have someone who can do vertical integration well, whether it's Amazon e-commerce, or whether it's Domino Pizza in the pizza area category, then it forces everyone else to look for an open solution. For every Apple, there's going to be iOS, there's going to be Android, backed by Google. So, that's why you can see Shopify emerging, you can see, hopefully, Slice emerging, and you can see, hopefully, Aldecoa emerging. So, for every vertical threat, that's right. So, as we see, you can play in a trend if it was several iterations. And, it's uncanny how similar the competitive demand dynamics are across sectors.

Garry: Yeah, we're definitely seeing that in our portfolio. Some of our limited partners have called us at times the anti-Amazon fund. There's Instacart and then Amazon Prime, and then Standard Cognition and Amazon Go. And so, we're always checking out the Amazon news feed just to see what's going on, just to see what...

Hans:  So it is good to have a monopoly or quasi-monopoly 'cause you see someone emerging that's a threat, everyone has to figure out a way to react to it, and it provides great opportunities for startups to emerge.

Garry: Yeah, and then that's the classic problem for, especially, enterprise startups that are trying to sell to incumbents. I remember 30 years ago, probably, when I was even a kid, reading about Internet business. The number one thing I remember at my internships and working for different startups was that if they were selling to an incumbent, basically, you were competing, not interested, don't care.

Hans:  Very difficult, long cycle.

Garry: They're like oh, haha, you're on our computer, who cares? In the ‘90s it was desktop publishing, I guess we have a piece in the back for the finances that runs Excel, or just one, two, three, whatever. Computers aren't going to affect my life or business. And then, when the Internet came, it was oh, haha, I guess we have a website, like web 1.0. Now, software is coming to eat the businesses themselves, actually. It's like, you can't do business without it. And in fact, some monopoly that is driven by software will come and eat it unless you arm yourself. Software was a toy, and then it became an armament.

Hans: It's amazing, only 25 years, big difference in 25 years. Several cycles and iterations already. And that's what's interesting about tech. For a founder, we have seen lots of founders who maybe miss the first wave. Participate in the second wave, wasn't successful. But the smart ones, the ones who are tenacious, are willing to participate in the third and the fourth wave, and over the last 25 years you can argue there's been five, six waves already. So, you learn well from the previous iterations. It gives you a much higher chance of success in the next iterations. But you gotta be patient and keep on playing.

Founder-market fit and Founder-distribution fit

Garry: You've worked with so many kinds of founders, I'm wondering, especially in this pandemic or crisis, does one kind of founder succeed versus another? The founder market fit versus founder product fit.

Hans: Yup. The different kinds, as you pointed out, are really, founders need to figure out what type they are, and be able to act accordingly, and do that well.

Garry: How do you classify each...

Hans: What comes to me, comes to my mind would be, for example, somebody who has a founder market fit is Max at Affirm. Max Levchin, co-founder of PayPal, legendary, tried different things, at one point, 10 years ago, 12 years ago, was doing Slide, which is a web game product. And, he can make money with it, but it wasn't him. You can just tell that fintech is what drives him. And he just eats and breathes it. And when he started doing Affirm, you could tell that he understands the market and its evolution extremely well and can think several steps ahead. So, he's a good example of, you can do what's popular at the time, but what you should really do is attack a market, a problem, that you have the right fund or market fit. 

And the other example I can think of for a founder product fit is John Foley at Peloton. And he knew that he wanted to build a product, Peloton, to solve his problem. Even if it's hardware and all the hardware companies were not doing well, he persisted with it. He eventually proved that the product makes sense for today's time. So, I think a founder needs to know whether they are better suited for a market, and therefore even if it's out of favor, they should stay with it. Or they're really good at figuring out a product that is a solution to a problem, and be able to persist in it even if the peers are not doing as well.

Garry: I imagine thinking about Slide for Max, was probably a matter of founder distribution fit. I was the beneficiary of that in my last startup with Posterous. The only reason why we could even grow it to top 200 was we stole the users through the APIs. Actually, there was this golden age of social networking when people didn't know what APIs were supposed to be, and you had to have one in order to be a social network. So, the reality of what was happening was people were releasing these open APIs, and then people like me who were outsiders could come in and pore over the API docs to try to steal users.

Hans: Every time a new platform emerges, there are going to be loopholes, and people say I can't give this up, if this happened as often. If I miss a cycle, I may have to wait another five years for the next platform to emerge.

Garry: I miss that time a lot actually...

Hans: It was wide open.

Garry: It was wide open. Anyone who was a really good product person, anyone who was really good at engineering, the users were there to be had for the taking. They were just there, and you could find these seams to build giant...

Hans: Emerging markets and WeChat in China. So, you see companies emerging that sits on top of WhatsApp, sits on top of WeChat. Pinduoduo from China listing in the U.S. is probably the best example. Leveraging the social networks on WeChat in order to grow their e-commerce business. And so, everybody's looking forward to what happens with 5G. When the new platform emerges, there'll be new growth opportunities on the consumer side as well.

Garry: My friend, Suhail Doshi, is working on a thing called Mighty. His long term view is that compute will come out of the devices. Things like 5G will basically shift the computing device completely. But we've seen that head fake many times. Sun bet the farm on network computing and that was too early.

Hans: The network way wasn't ready. The vision makes sense, yet the infrastructure just wasn't ready.

Startup timing and what will drive the next platform shift

Garry: When founders asked you about timing...

Hans: Great question.

Garry: How do you think about that? Basically, it's distribution and timing that are the toughest things. One of the funniest things, I'm sure when you started doing podcasts, you started getting a crazy number of direct messages or emails from people who just know you through the pod, right? Probably the number one thing that I talk about is there is a market seam or distribution hack? Like you need one lucky thing, one secret, to be able to break out. A startup as a little mouse on the ground, and like these giants, Facebook and Google. Basically the monopolies have total market power. How do you get the answers is the question, and where's the distribution?

Hans: I think before 5G it will be very difficult because a lot of platforms are in place already. Internationally we do see that WhatsApp is learning from WeChat, wants to provide the ecosystem for companies leveraging WhatsApp to grow. And WeChat has already played that out in the last five years. So companies that already have grown up as a result of that. It's amazing to see that Pinduoduo's been worth $100 billion dollars in market cap when it only started in 2012, 2013, and the most recent market only came out 2015. So, in five years, boom, this is unbelievable.

Garry: Pinduoduo's distribution tech I thought was interesting because they went after fourth or fifth tier cities. I didn't even know before hearing that...

Hans: So they go after lower tier cities, and they always leverage WeChat for growth. Basically, if you buy something on your own, as price is X, but if you get five of your friends to do this with you through contacts on your WeChat messaging platform, then you get X minus Y. So people are willing to get their friends involved to just have a good deal. So they become more gamified and more interesting. It's almost entertaining. Can you beat the system and get the stuff you want at a much cheaper price? That was a very interesting growth hack and they executed it better than anyone else who has tried to do something similar. So when 5G comes out, what you can do with AR and VR and more, things are going to be very different from what we see today. So, hopefully, that will give a new generation of startups a chance to growth hack and emerge.

Garry: Yeah, 5G, I assume it just will be new capabilities. Imagine broadband absolutely everywhere and anywhere.

Hans: The computer power will be amazing. And you will make maybe autonomous driving really happen on a more massive scale because you just need that kind of computing power everywhere you go, to process.

Garry: Yeah, I can see that mixing with NVIDIA GPU technology with computer vision. And then, what you get is basically a robotic future. But initially through tele-op, so tele-operations. Which you're starting to see with some of the startups, in at least in the Bay, we're seeing a lot of activity on delivery robots. So they can be partially autonomous. But the reality is, there's an operator someplace in the world who can manage three or four different robots at the same time. And starting to see these infrastructures of fleets of robots.

Hans: That's right. But there will be big changes to the truck industry, big changes to logistics, to even retail. It will be quite exciting. A lot of times, people have been talking about VR and AR for almost a decade now. But having 5G will make that truly possible.

Characteristics of the best founders

Garry: Hans, you've seen incredible numbers of, really, some of the best founders in the world. We've talked about Max Levchin, we've talked about Lei Jun, and so many people. You've seen all of that. What are some of the main characteristics that you can pick out that are maybe commonalities of your experience so far?

Whether it's Lei Jun, or Alex Zhu, and China, to here in the U.S. Brian Chesky, John Foley, Max Levchin, and many others... I will summarize as such, that the best founders tend to want to be quite deep or systematic in their thinking. So, they understand a problem, what does market or product extremely well? And can think about the implications, ramifications, better than anyone else in his category or her category. 

The second quality that I see is that they learn and they adjust very quickly. As you know, there's always going to be new data points and things evolve and never stay the same, so how do you process new data and make sense of it, and have a framework to be able to process that, and decide what's important and what's not, and be able to react accordingly. 

The third quality that I see is that almost all of them, without a fault, is a strong leader in some way. That they have their leadership skills to be able to recruit and retain a great team to work and build a culture of values that are personal and dear to them. People who have never been told what to do, they just know that this is what the company's mission and vision and values are, and are able to make decisions that fit that. 

Lastly, founders are obviously passionate but have an objective decision-making judgment skill, they can make decisions without being affected by emotion, they can look at things objectively, data points objectively, and can make the right decision. And they are passionate about what they do, and they don't give up. 

I will leave you with a quote from Brian Chesky that, because of who he is, he learned overtime that it's much better to build something that's absolutely loved by 100 people rather than being liked by a million people. And, you need evangelists, as you know, to be early adopters and grow for you, generate organic growth through word of mouth. In almost every single company that we have back on the consumer side, or even enterprise, that become successful, some combination of these attributes worked.

What advice does Hans have for someone starting out in their career?

Garry: This is awesome, man. Thank you. Final question, which I like to end on is, what advice do you have for yourself when you were 18 or 22, just starting out? What were some of the hardest lessons you learned?

Hans: I see this everyday still, that young people are so eager to make an impact, and to succeed, by default, you'll be extremely impatient. And, constantly measuring yourself against your peers. Am I ahead, am I behind? And, when I realized that, there are many different ways to reach Rome. If you keep on worrying about other people, you will lose sight of what is uniquely yours, and what is your superpower, what is your competitive advantage. And, not being afraid to take time to reflect, to think, to learn is extremely important. Smart people are good at learning from the mistakes. The really talented people learn from other people's mistakes. So, if you can figure out a way to learn from observing others and what they're doing, and learn from their lessons, then you're going to be much further, quote unquote, further ahead, at least finding out your own path that will make you successful overtime. Usually, you become successful by making a positive impact on other people. That's how you really make a difference. And that's how you win because no one wants to just do things, help someone who is selfish and self-centered. You want to do things that feed people, that feels important. Beginning of the movement if you will. And that's what great founders do, they don't start companies, they start movements.

Garry: I agree with that 100%. Hans, you've been incredible with just your support and wisdom. And, I'm really glad that you could share that with us today.

Hans: Thank you for having me. Always a joy to discuss things with you. You're smart, thoughtful, and always willing to share and help. So, your founders are very lucky to have you as their early stage supporter. Thank you.