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Depth chart discussions: Broadening perspectives beyond your bench

Panel discussion at Next Play Capital's 6th Annual Bridge Summit

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Last Friday, June 10, I had the privilege to attend Next Play Capital’s 6th Annual Bridge Summit.

Presented by J.P. Morgan Chase and sponsored by Anduin Transactions (among others), this event brought together 100+ industry professionals in the alternative markets to hear from 39 accomplished speakers, including GV CEO David Krane and 9x NBA All-Star & Philanthropist Chris Paul.

Bridge Summit flyer with sponsors including Anduin Transactions
The Summit’s mission is to bridge the gap between Next Play Capital’s (NPC) unique community of elite athletes, entertainers, and executives with leaders in VC and tech. This blend of attendees fostered an energy unlike most other summits that enabled introductions and discussions with individuals that may not have occurred otherwise.

Event Highlights

Industry leaders spoke on the creation stories and ideologies of portfolio companies like Impossible Foods, and venture funds like Lux and Felicis Ventures. Presentation topics varied from quantum computing, crypto and blockchain, and reusable rocket concepts, to the new ventures of retired professional athletes and their lessons learned both on and off the court.

A few of the speakers’ highlights that particularly resonated with me were:

  • ​​Jagdeep Singh Bachher, CIO & VP of Investments at the UC System, echoed that where you are today is likely because of where you came from and the values your parents instilled. He stressed the importance of leading with your own values to make meaningful connections.
  • Omaze Founder, Matt Pohlson gave the advice that when you don’t know what to do, do nothing. This takes us back to our initial intuition as humans; we all have wisdom in our gut. Trusting yourself and practicing optimism as a skillset can positively affect your decision making.
  • Aydin Senkut, Founder of Felicis Ventures, encouraged us to seek engagement with people outside your usual circle. Our motivation to do such is that the more you can access perspectives that differ from your own, the greater the impact you can have.
  • NBA All-star, Chris Paul guided listeners to invest in people you want to be around and never delay gratitude. He shared that as a leader, not everyone will like you; excellence will come from your will power in making decisions for the greater good.

What to Watch For

Crunchbase CEO, Jager McConnell shared his thoughts that the SaaS startup philosophy of tripling revenue in the first two years, then doubling it over the next three years is a "grow at all costs mentality" and often diminishes the more thoughtful approach of growing in a way that makes sense. Jager cautions startup founders not to make this mistake and to prioritize a growth strategy that is a smart fit for their specific business model and market.

Venture Capital deal-making is expected to continue given the vast amounts of capital raised in 2020/21, although hard financials will be scrutinized more heavily. The knock-on effects of the current bear market will be felt further in the future given the length of fundraising cycles.

However, portfolio markups have been the key driver of elevated VC fund returns over the last few years, increasing the risk of muted fund returns from reevaluations.

Final Thoughts

Thanks again to Jenni, Margaret, Eric, and the whole team at Next Play Capital for this powerful event. Looking forward to the 7th Annual Bridge Summit in 2023!