Ezra Galston (Starting Line) – Benefits of Chicago, Managed vs. Lightly Managed Marketplaces, and Consumer for the 99%

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Our guest today is Ezra Galston, Founding partner of Starting Line, a seed stage consumer tech focused fund based in Chicago. Previously he was a Principal at Chicago Ventures. Some of his investments include Cameo, Flyhomes, and Spothero.

One book that inspired Ezra personally is The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-ExupΓ©ry. One book that inspired him professionally is Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown.

I highly recommend following Ezra on Twitter @EzraMoGee. You can also follow your host @mikegelb.

Some of the questions I ask Ezra –

  1. What initially attracted you to venture capital and how did Starting Line come about?
  2. What makes Chicago special as a startup ecosystem?
  3. I’ve had on investors that say if you start a company outside the coasts or the main venture ecosystems, that’s ok, but there needs to be a plan to move to the main venture ecosystem because of recruiting and hiring. I’ve other investors that love investing in secondary markets (it’s weird to consider Chicago a secondary market) or not obvious markets. How do you think about this?
  4. Talk to me a little bit about your due diligence process and your stage?
  5. What are some of the differences between managed and lightly managed marketplaces?
  6. For entrepreneurs that are thinking about starting marketplace, what are some things they should consider when approaching marketplace design that would influence whether they should have a managed vs. un-managed marketplace?
  7. Now, decision making on the internet in some ways is hard because there is so much choice. How do you think about curation?
  8. I’d love to learn a little bit about consumer technology that you are focused on that are for the 99%
  9. What opportunities in consumer tech are you focused on and gets you excited?
  10. What is one thing that you would change when it came to venture capital?
  11. What’s one book that inspired you personally and one book that inspired you professionally?
  12. What’s your most recent investment and what makes you excited about it?
  13. What’s one company on your anti-portfolio and did you learn anything from passing?
  14. What’s one piece advice that you have for consumer tech founders?

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