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#AskAMogulAnything:Hi,I'mBillTai.I'maventurecapitalistwhohasfundedover100companies.Askmeanythingyou'dlike!YourquestionswillbeansweredLIVE11/22@2pmET.

Bill Tai
Bill Tai Venture Capitalist and Co-Founder of MaiTai Global
almost 3 years Conversation

Your questions will be answered on Tuesday, November 22nd at 2pm ET. To ask a question, click here to create a Mogul profile, then post a question in the comment section below!

Hi, I'm Bill Tai. 

As a kid I was a hardware hacker and ended up formalizing my education around computer chip design.  That led me to Silicon Valley, where I've been able to ride multiple overlapping waves of technology as an investor, board member, founder or co-founder.

I'd always had a passion for extreme sports and somehow also ended up as an athlete in kiteboarding.  I have funded companies all over the world and have managed to combine those interests into a wonderful community of entrepreneurs, athletes and innovators that is called MaiTai Global.  I have founded interesting communities around tech and entrepreneurship including the Extreme Tech Challenge and The BlockChain Summit.

 Now's your chance to ask me anything! Please write your questions in the comments section below and I'll answer the questions live on Tuesday, November 22nd at 2pm ET.

61 replies

As a guest user, you can still reply to conversations. Just press the "Reply" button below, which will prompt you to sign in or sign up on Mogul before your Reply posts.

  • rolocedoc
    almost 3 years ago

    I wanted to go in real estate investing, not in-depth kind o'thing! houses in my neighborhood are selling like ' hotcakes' - I just want to supplement my income while working as a sales associate with the country's top furniture manufacturer - if I only have a extra $400,000.00 I would buy and rent, not literally buy and sell, maybe go into selling after a couple of years - just to supplement - is to - buy and rent. can you help - ? question is - how much would be my monthly if you lend me $400,000.00? rolocedoc@mail.com

    I wanted to go in real estate investing, not in-depth kind o'thing! houses in my neighborhood are selling like ' hotcakes' - I just want to supplement my income while working as a sales associate with the country's top furniture manufacturer - if I only have a extra $400,000.00 I would buy and rent, not literally buy and sell, maybe go into selling after a couple of years - just to supplement - is to - buy and rent. can you help - ? question is - how much would be my monthly if you lend me $400,000.00? rolocedoc@mail.com

  • Jennifer Harwell
    almost 3 years ago

    I co-run a company and have managed to get the company at profitability month-to-month. I was aiming to use the profits to drive the growth of the company (aka use the profits to make the additional hires on the team), but an advisor yesterday recommended that I go ahead and pursue a round of VC funding since we would grow even faster this way. I had been hoping to go the previous route because I actually think we can still get to triple digits in user growth and multi-million dollars in revenue by next year (we're already nearly there), without sinking so much VC money in, and continue our profitability. It's not important to me to retain control of the company; but I really want to make sure that pursuing additional VC investment would be worthwhile. How would you go about weighing the pro's and con's of the 2 scenarios?

    I co-run a company and have managed to get the company at profitability month-to-month. I was aiming to use the profits to drive the growth of the company (aka use the profits to make the additional hires on the team), but an advisor yesterday recommended that I go ahead and pursue a round of VC funding since we would grow even faster this way. I had been hoping to go the previous route because I actually think we can still get to triple digits in user growth and multi-million dollars in revenue by next year (we're already nearly there), without sinking so much VC money in, and continue our profitability. It's not important to me to retain control of the company; but I really want to make sure that pursuing additional VC investment would be worthwhile. How would you go about weighing the pro's and con's of the 2 scenarios?

    • Bill Tai
      Bill Tai Venture Capitalist and Co-Founder of MaiTai Global
      almost 3 years ago

      It's all about 'the people'. Not just employees but 'who are your investors'. Adding investors with large stakes is very similar to getting married - but it is harder to separate if things go sour. So I'd look for people that you think can uniquely add value and help you grow, that have a similar vision. If they don't you will end up having even more to 'manage' that will slow you down and be problematic for years. Send me something on your business - website link or other BTai@crv.com

      It's all about 'the people'. Not just employees but 'who are your investors'. Adding investors with large stakes is very similar to getting married - but it is harder to separate if things go sour. So I'd look for people that you think can uniquely add value and help you grow, that have a similar vision. If they don't you will end up having even more to 'manage' that will slow you down and be problematic for years. Send me something on your business - website link or other BTai@crv.com

    • Bill Tai
      [deleted]
      almost 3 years ago

      [deleted]

      [deleted]

    • Bill Tai
      [deleted]
      almost 3 years ago

      [deleted]

      [deleted]

  • Kathy May
    Kathy May Associate at Deutsche Bank
    almost 3 years ago New York, NY, USA

    How can I get into kiteboarding? Is there a school you recommend, a book, a teacher? Would love to get started tomorrow! I've always heard about how amazing/legendary you are at kiteboarding, so I'd love to follow in your footsteps.

    How can I get into kiteboarding? Is there a school you recommend, a book, a teacher? Would love to get started tomorrow! I've always heard about how amazing/legendary you are at kiteboarding, so I'd love to follow in your footsteps.

    • Bill Tai
      Bill Tai Venture Capitalist and Co-Founder of MaiTai Global
      almost 3 years ago

      It really depends on where you live. DEFINITELY go to a qualified school that has trained instructors that will walk you through 'safety first'. Also you will want to understand the wind in your local area, and try it at the beginning of your windy season so you can build your skill level with some repeatability and consistency without huge gaps in time.

      It really depends on where you live. DEFINITELY go to a qualified school that has trained instructors that will walk you through 'safety first'. Also you will want to understand the wind in your local area, and try it at the beginning of your windy season so you can build your skill level with some repeatability and consistency without huge gaps in time.

  • Rachel Borowicz
    Rachel Borowicz Software Engineer & Arts Philanthropist
    almost 3 years ago San Francisco, CA, United States

    I'd love to learn more about the Extreme Tech Challenge. How did you get involved, and what is the vision behind it?

    I'd love to learn more about the Extreme Tech Challenge. How did you get involved, and what is the vision behind it?

    • Bill Tai
      Bill Tai Venture Capitalist and Co-Founder of MaiTai Global
      almost 3 years ago

      It came out of a kite trip. There were two things that blended together. The origin wrt 'model' came from a kite trip I took to Perth, Australia that coincided with a speaking engagement at Curtin University (a 55,000 student Uni) in Perth. While I was speaking it occurred to me that there would be students there building cool products that I might want to know and fund. So I organized a contest there that is known as the www.Ozapp.com.au (it's now the largest tech festival in the region annually). This is the contest where I met Canva (https://pando.com/2013/04/22/how-an-australian-startup-raised-3m-in-seed-funding-from-silicon-valley/ ). Over time that contest grew and we were also throwing kite outings on Necker Island a couple times per year, and I ended up talking to Sir Richard about one of the contests and he said 'we should do one here'. So I teamed up with the CEO of the Consumer Electronics Show and pulled it all together into a single contest. The vision is essentially to have a heck of a lot of fun, building something that is like 'X-Factor" but to help great entrepreneurs with resources that money can't buy (visibility, new customers, free infrastructure so they can scale up at little cost, and to surround next gen entrepreneurs with people that can help them build their businesses.) We are finding FANTASTIC companies and entrepreneurs in the process and in a sense - 'making the venture capital process fun and efficient'.

      It came out of a kite trip. There were two things that blended together. The origin wrt 'model' came from a kite trip I took to Perth, Australia that coincided with a speaking engagement at Curtin University (a 55,000 student Uni) in Perth. While I was speaking it occurred to me that there would be students there building cool products that I might want to know and fund. So I organized a contest there that is known as the www.Ozapp.com.au (it's now the largest tech festival in the region annually). This is the contest where I met Canva (https://pando.com/2013/04/22/how-an-australian-startup-raised-3m-in-seed-funding-from-silicon-valley/ ). Over time that contest grew and we were also throwing kite outings on Necker Island a couple times per year, and I ended up talking to Sir Richard about one of the contests and he said 'we should do one here'. So I teamed up with the CEO of the Consumer Electronics Show and pulled it all together into a single contest. The vision is essentially to have a heck of a lot of fun, building something that is like 'X-Factor" but to help great entrepreneurs with resources that money can't buy (visibility, new customers, free infrastructure so they can scale up at little cost, and to surround next gen entrepreneurs with people that can help them build their businesses.) We are finding FANTASTIC companies and entrepreneurs in the process and in a sense - 'making the venture capital process fun and efficient'.

    • Rachel Borowicz
      Rachel Borowicz Software Engineer & Arts Philanthropist
      almost 3 years ago San Francisco, CA, United States

      PS. You are one of my heroes in real life!

      PS. You are one of my heroes in real life!

      • Bill Tai
        Bill Tai Venture Capitalist and Co-Founder of MaiTai Global
        almost 3 years ago

        :-)

        :-)

  • Default
    Guest
    almost 3 years ago

    Hi hi, what are your restaurant recommendations for San Francisco? New York?

    Hi hi, what are your restaurant recommendations for San Francisco? New York?

    • Bill Tai
      Bill Tai Venture Capitalist and Co-Founder of MaiTai Global
      almost 3 years ago

      Wow - there are so many. I will come back to this question later..

      Wow - there are so many. I will come back to this question later..

  • Kelly Hudson
    almost 3 years ago

    If you could meet 3 people, who would they be? What would you talk to them about?

    If you could meet 3 people, who would they be? What would you talk to them about?

    • Bill Tai
      Bill Tai Venture Capitalist and Co-Founder of MaiTai Global
      almost 3 years ago

      I'd love to meet President Obama and talk to him about his interest in startups and venture capital. I think we'd really resonate. I'd like to meet Captain Paul Watson of Sea Shepard and understand him as a person. If you'd include people that have passed away, that I could not really meet, I'd like to meet both DaVinci and Einstein when they were kids and play with them and know what they were like as children.

      I'd love to meet President Obama and talk to him about his interest in startups and venture capital. I think we'd really resonate. I'd like to meet Captain Paul Watson of Sea Shepard and understand him as a person. If you'd include people that have passed away, that I could not really meet, I'd like to meet both DaVinci and Einstein when they were kids and play with them and know what they were like as children.

  • Shelley
    almost 3 years ago

    Are there any books that you would recommend to college students? and any advice in general?

    Are there any books that you would recommend to college students? and any advice in general?

    • Bill Tai
      Bill Tai Venture Capitalist and Co-Founder of MaiTai Global
      almost 3 years ago

      depends on 'for what objective'..

      depends on 'for what objective'..

  • EthanSingh
    almost 3 years ago

    What's the one (or key) things you look for in an entrepreneur or a company before you invest?

    What's the one (or key) things you look for in an entrepreneur or a company before you invest?

    • Bill Tai
      Bill Tai Venture Capitalist and Co-Founder of MaiTai Global
      almost 3 years ago

      Answered above in more detail. Great 'judgement' .

      Answered above in more detail. Great 'judgement' .

  • Default
    Guest
    almost 3 years ago

    Do you all have internships at your company? What's your advice on getting an internship and becoming employed right after college?

    Do you all have internships at your company? What's your advice on getting an internship and becoming employed right after college?

    • Bill Tai
      Bill Tai Venture Capitalist and Co-Founder of MaiTai Global
      almost 3 years ago

      Yes - many of my companies have internships. My best advice is to look for companies that have extremely high growth and have raised recent funding. Those companies will have 'people shortages' and more likely to hire at all levels.

      Yes - many of my companies have internships. My best advice is to look for companies that have extremely high growth and have raised recent funding. Those companies will have 'people shortages' and more likely to hire at all levels.

  • Bill Tai
    Bill Tai Venture Capitalist and Co-Founder of MaiTai Global
    almost 3 years ago

    Hi EVERYONE, I am now live on this AMA!

    Hi EVERYONE, I am now live on this AMA!

    • Rachel Borowicz
      Rachel Borowicz Software Engineer & Arts Philanthropist
      almost 3 years ago San Francisco, CA, United States

      It's such an honor to have you here Bill!

      It's such an honor to have you here Bill!

  • girl
    girl not yet a woman
    almost 3 years ago

    hi bill! i am addicted to watching shark tank and had a question you might be able to answer. when startups pitch their product as "like [company] but for [new use]", is this a good or bad sign for you? ex: "like craigslist but for concert tickets". does it depend case by case? i'm in an advertising class right now and we're working on a semester long project to create and market a product. what are characteristics of strong brand positioning? also, what's the entrepreneur scene like in china? my family is chinese but i have never visited. it seems like china is really innovating, i saw the new xiaomi phone is doing really well in the market and i'd love to know more about your experiences working with chinese companies.

    hi bill! i am addicted to watching shark tank and had a question you might be able to answer. when startups pitch their product as "like [company] but for [new use]", is this a good or bad sign for you? ex: "like craigslist but for concert tickets". does it depend case by case? i'm in an advertising class right now and we're working on a semester long project to create and market a product. what are characteristics of strong brand positioning? also, what's the entrepreneur scene like in china? my family is chinese but i have never visited. it seems like china is really innovating, i saw the new xiaomi phone is doing really well in the market and i'd love to know more about your experiences working with chinese companies.

    • Bill Tai
      Bill Tai Venture Capitalist and Co-Founder of MaiTai Global
      almost 3 years ago

      It's very case by case. If the analogy is VERY clear and points both to 1) a BIG MARKET that is well timed and 2) a product or use case that is truly analogous - then it helps. It's important to be able to grab an investors attention with something 'tight'. China is of course a HUGE market that is still evolving so very full of opportunity. That said, the legal structure there is very different than what exists here in the USA so it is difficult to navigate without experience or a partner that has experience.

      It's very case by case. If the analogy is VERY clear and points both to 1) a BIG MARKET that is well timed and 2) a product or use case that is truly analogous - then it helps. It's important to be able to grab an investors attention with something 'tight'. China is of course a HUGE market that is still evolving so very full of opportunity. That said, the legal structure there is very different than what exists here in the USA so it is difficult to navigate without experience or a partner that has experience.

  • JTTFan4Evr
    almost 3 years ago

    What are your favorite shows on TV right now?

    What are your favorite shows on TV right now?

    • Bill Tai
      Bill Tai Venture Capitalist and Co-Founder of MaiTai Global
      almost 3 years ago

      I am working on so many projects (or trying to carve out time for things I love) that I rarely watch TV 'shows'. I trend toward real time news from CNBC or Bloomberg TV.

      I am working on so many projects (or trying to carve out time for things I love) that I rarely watch TV 'shows'. I trend toward real time news from CNBC or Bloomberg TV.

  • Default
    Guest
    almost 3 years ago

    You seem like a wonderful person. WHen you look back, did you ever imagine you'd be where you are today? Success can seem daunting sometimes and unattainable. Did you ever doubt yourself? What did you do to get through these times, if so?

    You seem like a wonderful person. WHen you look back, did you ever imagine you'd be where you are today? Success can seem daunting sometimes and unattainable. Did you ever doubt yourself? What did you do to get through these times, if so?

    • Bill Tai
      Bill Tai Venture Capitalist and Co-Founder of MaiTai Global
      almost 3 years ago

      Did I imagine my life as it is today? NO WAY. Did I ever doubt myself? In a general sense, not really - but not because I thought about it - only because I never think about things like that. When I was a little kid, my mom said I tired her out because I was 'always moving' and never stopped. I fail on a lot of things - but I almost always have multiple projects going on and if I fail on some, I redirect my energy to where it can be productive. As long as 'i'm moving' I don;t have time to doubt.

      Did I imagine my life as it is today? NO WAY. Did I ever doubt myself? In a general sense, not really - but not because I thought about it - only because I never think about things like that. When I was a little kid, my mom said I tired her out because I was 'always moving' and never stopped. I fail on a lot of things - but I almost always have multiple projects going on and if I fail on some, I redirect my energy to where it can be productive. As long as 'i'm moving' I don;t have time to doubt.

    • Default
      Guest
      almost 3 years ago

      Would you ever go into politics?

      Would you ever go into politics?

      • Bill Tai
        Bill Tai Venture Capitalist and Co-Founder of MaiTai Global
        almost 3 years ago

        If I can separate the words 'politics' and 'government' -- when I was younger they were synonymous to me and I HATE 'politics' and generally do not understand 'politics'. As i have gained experience across companies, communities and organizations, I have a MUCH better appreciation for 'government' and what it means and what it can do for people. I think because I was trained as a computer chip designer were efficiency is PARAMOUNT, I value that trait - and I have historically never seen either 'politics' or 'government' as core or efficient. THAT SAID - I now see the need for more authentic leadership in this country and world that TRULY wants to bring people together in a way - hopefully the MOST EFFICIENT ways - to improve and preserve a great way of life. If I felt that I could be important in catalyzing that, I would definitely try to help build a strong and purposeful government that is truly there to help our people.

        If I can separate the words 'politics' and 'government' -- when I was younger they were synonymous to me and I HATE 'politics' and generally do not understand 'politics'. As i have gained experience across companies, communities and organizations, I have a MUCH better appreciation for 'government' and what it means and what it can do for people. I think because I was trained as a computer chip designer were efficiency is PARAMOUNT, I value that trait - and I have historically never seen either 'politics' or 'government' as core or efficient. THAT SAID - I now see the need for more authentic leadership in this country and world that TRULY wants to bring people together in a way - hopefully the MOST EFFICIENT ways - to improve and preserve a great way of life. If I felt that I could be important in catalyzing that, I would definitely try to help build a strong and purposeful government that is truly there to help our people.

  • Lucy Chen
    almost 3 years ago Chicago, IL, United States

    What is your hope for 2017 and for our world? I'm afraid for the economy following the election. Are you worried or do you think we will be okay?

    What is your hope for 2017 and for our world? I'm afraid for the economy following the election. Are you worried or do you think we will be okay?

    • Bill Tai
      Bill Tai Venture Capitalist and Co-Founder of MaiTai Global
      almost 3 years ago

      I have been worried about the economy sine 2007 - and we hit that gigantic pot hole in 2009 but came out of it 'on the surface'. We are at a very delicate point in my opinion where the forces of deflation and inflation will be at a tug of war and if it tips too much in either direction we could fall into a VERY dark period. I'd recommend you listed to this piece by Ray Dalio of Bridgewater. He explains the situation and what 'balance' needs to be maintained, very well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHe0bXAIuk0

      I have been worried about the economy sine 2007 - and we hit that gigantic pot hole in 2009 but came out of it 'on the surface'. We are at a very delicate point in my opinion where the forces of deflation and inflation will be at a tug of war and if it tips too much in either direction we could fall into a VERY dark period. I'd recommend you listed to this piece by Ray Dalio of Bridgewater. He explains the situation and what 'balance' needs to be maintained, very well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHe0bXAIuk0

  • Courtney Dercqu
    Courtney Dercqu Content Marketing Strategist & Writer
    almost 3 years ago

    Hi, What advice would you give to yourself as a teenager, now knowing what you do today?

    Hi, What advice would you give to yourself as a teenager, now knowing what you do today?

    • Bill Tai
      Bill Tai Venture Capitalist and Co-Founder of MaiTai Global
      almost 3 years ago

      ALWAYS surround yourself with the highest integrity, smartest , most accomplished people you can. Stay in areas (to the extent you can) that you are passionate about. Luck helps and you'd "rather be lucky than smart" -- but being smart is putting yourself in the path of luck by having a vision of what's ahead.

      ALWAYS surround yourself with the highest integrity, smartest , most accomplished people you can. Stay in areas (to the extent you can) that you are passionate about. Luck helps and you'd "rather be lucky than smart" -- but being smart is putting yourself in the path of luck by having a vision of what's ahead.

      • Courtney Dercqu
        Courtney Dercqu Content Marketing Strategist & Writer
        almost 3 years ago

        Great feedback! Thank you for participating on the platform! Being surrounded by those who share a similar interest is definitely a huge motivation in pursuing your dreams.

        Great feedback! Thank you for participating on the platform! Being surrounded by those who share a similar interest is definitely a huge motivation in pursuing your dreams.

  • Maddy Bernstein
    almost 3 years ago

    How do you balance building a life and career? Sometimes it feels impossible.

    How do you balance building a life and career? Sometimes it feels impossible.

    • Bill Tai
      Bill Tai Venture Capitalist and Co-Founder of MaiTai Global
      almost 3 years ago

      While I feel like I have achieved 'some' balance in recent years - it was defnitely 100% NOT that way when I started out. There were definitely long stretches of my career where I 'worked' long hours 6, sometimes 7 days a week. I found 'balance' by maintaining an intense workout or exercise schedule, and built what little social life I had in those periods around that. Those were multi year or decade long stretches. There would have been no possibility at the time to have a family life or complete balance. That said, I would not have done it differently as the 'work' was always in areas I loved at the time which enabled me to be so committed. It also provided me with a FANTASTIC network of people that form the basis of how I work today, and enough success that I have more 'choice' in terms of what I spend my time on. All that said, while I celarly carve out time to have 'fun' it's all woven together with my work - so it looks balanced, but it's completely imbalanced in that I now am 'working' pretty much all the time. But I have driven my work to include fun and sports so it's all integrated.

      While I feel like I have achieved 'some' balance in recent years - it was defnitely 100% NOT that way when I started out. There were definitely long stretches of my career where I 'worked' long hours 6, sometimes 7 days a week. I found 'balance' by maintaining an intense workout or exercise schedule, and built what little social life I had in those periods around that. Those were multi year or decade long stretches. There would have been no possibility at the time to have a family life or complete balance. That said, I would not have done it differently as the 'work' was always in areas I loved at the time which enabled me to be so committed. It also provided me with a FANTASTIC network of people that form the basis of how I work today, and enough success that I have more 'choice' in terms of what I spend my time on. All that said, while I celarly carve out time to have 'fun' it's all woven together with my work - so it looks balanced, but it's completely imbalanced in that I now am 'working' pretty much all the time. But I have driven my work to include fun and sports so it's all integrated.

    • Maddy Bernstein
      almost 3 years ago

      What's it like to live in Silicon Valley? Is it as cool as I hear? Are people nice?

      What's it like to live in Silicon Valley? Is it as cool as I hear? Are people nice?

      • Bill Tai
        Bill Tai Venture Capitalist and Co-Founder of MaiTai Global
        almost 3 years ago

        While it's constantly changing, Silicon Valley attracts a certain kind of person - that is drawn to innovation and a way of life built around trying new things, attempting things that have not been done before. So the people are amazing here - very open to ideas. On a relative basis - I find that people in other parts of the country are 'wet blankets' or generally lower energy than folks that pick up and move to Silicon Valley. Of course those are generalizations and there are exceptions to all the statements above.

        While it's constantly changing, Silicon Valley attracts a certain kind of person - that is drawn to innovation and a way of life built around trying new things, attempting things that have not been done before. So the people are amazing here - very open to ideas. On a relative basis - I find that people in other parts of the country are 'wet blankets' or generally lower energy than folks that pick up and move to Silicon Valley. Of course those are generalizations and there are exceptions to all the statements above.

  • Default
    Guest
    almost 3 years ago

    What made you pick the name MaiTai Global?

    What made you pick the name MaiTai Global?

    • Bill Tai
      Bill Tai Venture Capitalist and Co-Founder of MaiTai Global
      almost 3 years ago

      I had been a water sports enthusiast for many years - primarily windsurfing first, then began kiteboarding in 2000. Along the way, I had become the center of an 'action sports' oriented network of tech entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. Around 2005 I was introduced to a professional kiteboarder named Susi Mai and of course, knowing there was a person with that name in a sport i loved, I asked her to join one of our gatherings -- and we renamed it "MaiTai". This article is not specific to the naming but gives some color: http://thenextweb.com/insider/2013/01/17/maitai-richard-branson-invites-silicon-valley-elite-to-kiteboard-on-necker/

      I had been a water sports enthusiast for many years - primarily windsurfing first, then began kiteboarding in 2000. Along the way, I had become the center of an 'action sports' oriented network of tech entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. Around 2005 I was introduced to a professional kiteboarder named Susi Mai and of course, knowing there was a person with that name in a sport i loved, I asked her to join one of our gatherings -- and we renamed it "MaiTai". This article is not specific to the naming but gives some color: http://thenextweb.com/insider/2013/01/17/maitai-richard-branson-invites-silicon-valley-elite-to-kiteboard-on-necker/

    • Default
      Guest
      almost 3 years ago

      When thinking about investing in a company, what do you look for?

      When thinking about investing in a company, what do you look for?

  • Lauren Klein
    almost 3 years ago

    How are you feeling after the election?

    How are you feeling after the election?

    • Bill Tai
      Bill Tai Venture Capitalist and Co-Founder of MaiTai Global
      almost 3 years ago

      I am definitely a believer that the world (and its economy) are in a far better place today than it was 50 years ago. It is subjective but I believe a lot of that has to do with 'globalization' and countries working together for the greater good. The trends in 'Brexit' and anti globalization inherent in the elected candidate's campaign theme, plus the forces building in the EU concern me greatly. I do not see it as a positive.

      I am definitely a believer that the world (and its economy) are in a far better place today than it was 50 years ago. It is subjective but I believe a lot of that has to do with 'globalization' and countries working together for the greater good. The trends in 'Brexit' and anti globalization inherent in the elected candidate's campaign theme, plus the forces building in the EU concern me greatly. I do not see it as a positive.

  • Eric
    almost 3 years ago

    Based on current trends, what is the best area to focus creating a business on? Are there any holes you see that need to be filled?

    Based on current trends, what is the best area to focus creating a business on? Are there any holes you see that need to be filled?

    • Bill Tai
      Bill Tai Venture Capitalist and Co-Founder of MaiTai Global
      almost 3 years ago

      The general area of 'applied data science' is, and will be a GREAT place to be for quite a while. If you consider companies like Uber as an example - it's essentially a data science cloud with cars on the end. Hyper efficient relative to prior methods of organizing transport. In a prior world that example exists in Walmart vs older retailers like Sears or JC Penny. Walmart was essentially a data science cloud that knows where their products are and where demand is. Sears and JCPenny became seasonable piles of cash tied up in inventory as they did not have the knowledge. Data Science is now creeping from 'tech' to EVERY FACET of business. www.TreasureData.com is a great example of infrastructure one can apply to almost ANY business to change the game and make it efficient.

      The general area of 'applied data science' is, and will be a GREAT place to be for quite a while. If you consider companies like Uber as an example - it's essentially a data science cloud with cars on the end. Hyper efficient relative to prior methods of organizing transport. In a prior world that example exists in Walmart vs older retailers like Sears or JC Penny. Walmart was essentially a data science cloud that knows where their products are and where demand is. Sears and JCPenny became seasonable piles of cash tied up in inventory as they did not have the knowledge. Data Science is now creeping from 'tech' to EVERY FACET of business. www.TreasureData.com is a great example of infrastructure one can apply to almost ANY business to change the game and make it efficient.

  • Tiffany Pham
    Tiffany Pham Founder & CEO, Mogul
    3y ago New York, NY, USA

    So amazing to have you here, Bill. How do you weave your friendships into your ventures and investments? What were some of the hardest lessons you learned over the years, from your 100+ investments?

    So amazing to have you here, Bill. How do you weave your friendships into your ventures and investments? What were some of the hardest lessons you learned over the years, from your 100+ investments?

    • Bill Tai
      Bill Tai Venture Capitalist and Co-Founder of MaiTai Global
      almost 3 years ago

      If you have a 'true friend' there is implicit trust in the person and relationship - and that makes funding easy for good or for bad (wrt outcomes). So I actually like funding friends -- IF I am on the same page wrt market opportunity and capital need etc. The hard lessons have almost always revolved around not properly assessing risk around either 1) people issues 2) market risks (regulatory or other exogenous forces).

      If you have a 'true friend' there is implicit trust in the person and relationship - and that makes funding easy for good or for bad (wrt outcomes). So I actually like funding friends -- IF I am on the same page wrt market opportunity and capital need etc. The hard lessons have almost always revolved around not properly assessing risk around either 1) people issues 2) market risks (regulatory or other exogenous forces).

  • Ysabelle Sarayba

    As an aspiring entrepreneur like you, I always wanted to start my own company. I'm only 18 and I'm thinking of setting up a bakeshop or a restaurant. Do you have any tips for me so that I could be inspirational as you in the next few years? And, where do you think should I first invest my money on other than on my dream business? Should it be on insurance, stock market, or in anything else?

    As an aspiring entrepreneur like you, I always wanted to start my own company. I'm only 18 and I'm thinking of setting up a bakeshop or a restaurant. Do you have any tips for me so that I could be inspirational as you in the next few years? And, where do you think should I first invest my money on other than on my dream business? Should it be on insurance, stock market, or in anything else?

    • Bill Tai
      Bill Tai Venture Capitalist and Co-Founder of MaiTai Global
      almost 3 years ago

      On your second question(s) : some diversity is important for the long term. To the extent you can have 'longevity' in your startup because you have a little bit of a base - it's positive if you need more time.

      On your second question(s) : some diversity is important for the long term. To the extent you can have 'longevity' in your startup because you have a little bit of a base - it's positive if you need more time.

    • Bill Tai
      Bill Tai Venture Capitalist and Co-Founder of MaiTai Global
      almost 3 years ago

      Tips: pick something you LOVE to work on so that it does not feel like work. You will be more productive than your competitors as a result and it wont really be "work". Trend toward larger markets - it takes the same energy to build a business in a small market as a big one. Smaller ones may actually be more 'work' to get revenue. Timing is incredibly important - the right product or need at the right time matters.

      Tips: pick something you LOVE to work on so that it does not feel like work. You will be more productive than your competitors as a result and it wont really be "work". Trend toward larger markets - it takes the same energy to build a business in a small market as a big one. Smaller ones may actually be more 'work' to get revenue. Timing is incredibly important - the right product or need at the right time matters.

  • Natasha
    Natasha 💪🏻& 👊🏻 just like NYC
    3y ago New York, NY, United States

    What are your most important tips for pitching your company?

    What are your most important tips for pitching your company?

    • Bill Tai
      Bill Tai Venture Capitalist and Co-Founder of MaiTai Global
      almost 3 years ago

      Have a great team in place first if possible.

      Have a great team in place first if possible.

  • Natasha
    Natasha 💪🏻& 👊🏻 just like NYC
    3y ago New York, NY, United States

    What are the most important factors you consider before investing in a company?

    What are the most important factors you consider before investing in a company?

    • Bill Tai
      Bill Tai Venture Capitalist and Co-Founder of MaiTai Global
      almost 3 years ago

      There are only 3 things you have to get right. 1) Markets (timing, growth, size of market ultimately) 2) Team (execution on building both the product or service, and the company itself) and 3) Capitalization (valuation and aggregate capital need over time). If yuo get those right, you will make money every time. If you get the market wrong, even if 'correct' on the latter 2, you will likely lose money every time.

      There are only 3 things you have to get right. 1) Markets (timing, growth, size of market ultimately) 2) Team (execution on building both the product or service, and the company itself) and 3) Capitalization (valuation and aggregate capital need over time). If yuo get those right, you will make money every time. If you get the market wrong, even if 'correct' on the latter 2, you will likely lose money every time.

  • namisha
    namisha Inquisitive, Avid Reader, Food Lover, Amateur Chef, Digital Sensei
    3y ago New York, NY, United States

    What would be the most important attribute you look for in an entrepreneur?

    What would be the most important attribute you look for in an entrepreneur?

    • Bill Tai
      Bill Tai Venture Capitalist and Co-Founder of MaiTai Global
      almost 3 years ago

      Great 'judgement'. Successful people are generally successful at almost everything they do, or have done, if they have focused on it. I really focus on how someone navigated their work and life over time.

      Great 'judgement'. Successful people are generally successful at almost everything they do, or have done, if they have focused on it. I really focus on how someone navigated their work and life over time.

  • OG Mack Drama
    3y ago Scottsdale, AZ, United States

    How can I contact you directly to pitch a proposition? I have 2 tech companies that I would like to introduce to you. Please and thak you.

    How can I contact you directly to pitch a proposition? I have 2 tech companies that I would like to introduce to you. Please and thak you.

    • OG Mack Drama
      2y ago Scottsdale, AZ, United States

      Bill Thank you for responding. I am 10 months late! Haha I gave your contact info to the person who created the tech startup, that I am a brand ambassador of. #ReVohloo Its like YouTube on steroids! It offers interaction experience to the user. Appreciate your great insite. Chris Schroeder an acquaintance of mine speaks similar. he's also a VC. Salute your success!

      Bill Thank you for responding. I am 10 months late! Haha I gave your contact info to the person who created the tech startup, that I am a brand ambassador of. #ReVohloo Its like YouTube on steroids! It offers interaction experience to the user. Appreciate your great insite. Chris Schroeder an acquaintance of mine speaks similar. he's also a VC. Salute your success!

    • Bill Tai
      Bill Tai Venture Capitalist and Co-Founder of MaiTai Global
      almost 3 years ago

      Send a summary to me at BTai@CRV.com and that is a great first step so I have a sense of team, the sector and stage as those are the main things that drive my decisions on investing.

      Send a summary to me at BTai@CRV.com and that is a great first step so I have a sense of team, the sector and stage as those are the main things that drive my decisions on investing.

  • Bethany Heinrich
    Bethany Heinrich Mogul Influencer
    3y ago New York, NY, United States

    What's your favorite thing about being a venture capitalist?

    What's your favorite thing about being a venture capitalist?

    • Bill Tai
      Bill Tai Venture Capitalist and Co-Founder of MaiTai Global
      3y ago

      I get to meet an amazing variety of interesting people working on a super diverse set of products and initiatives. It's also extremely rewarding to be a small part in helping to empower others in turning some of their dreams into reality.

      I get to meet an amazing variety of interesting people working on a super diverse set of products and initiatives. It's also extremely rewarding to be a small part in helping to empower others in turning some of their dreams into reality.


Bill Tai
Venture Capitalist and Co-Founder of MaiTai Global

Bill Tai has funded over 100 companies as a venture capitalist for over 25 years. He is Chairman of Treasure Data, Inc.; Board Director of BitFury and Voxer Inc and a lead seed investor in companies including Canva, Color Genomics, Kickfurther, Shoes of Prey, Tango.me, Tweetdeck/Twitter, Wish and [...]

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