Paul Holland: The Precursors of Success


When you hear about a new idea, how can you be sure it’s good or bad? 


As an investor, you have to be a calculated risk-taker. Of course, there’s the due diligence that can help you decide whether the business that’s presented to you is worth funding, but you still need a dose of courage to financially support an idea. 

Netflix is one of those successful businesses that weren’t short of ups and downs – and in this episode, you will hear the story of Netflix seen through the lens of one of the early investors: Paul Holland. Why did he choose to invest? What’s the background between Paul and Reed Hastings? And how did Netflix become one of the clear winners of the streaming wars? Tom and Paul also discuss the important role Paul’s new firm, Mach49 plays in helping global businesses drive meaningful growth to beat the startups at their own game. 

Paul Holland is Managing Director and VC-in-Residence at Mach49, where he leads the company’s Corporate Venture Investing Practice. Paul works with global businesses to design, launch, and manage corporate venture funds that leverage the experience, deal flow, global network, and success of his top-tier Silicon Valley VCs.

Prior to joining Mach49, he was a General Partner for 18 years at leading venture capital fund Foundation Capital, helping take startup companies from zero to $100M, to IPO, or acquisition. His amazing background also includes partnering with Reed Hastings at Pure Software and joining Mark Gainey at Kana Communications.

Paul enjoys being on the front lines, working side by side with entrepreneurs developing fast-growing, dynamic new ventures. His investing stories are diverse and interesting, so tune in and find out how he met Reed Hastings and invested in Netflix, how he supported Chegg, as well as what Mach49 is all about.

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Some questions asked:

  • How did the investing in Netflix come about? (02:47)
  • When did you realize Netflix is really something special? (14:17)
  • What do you look for in founders? (18:03) 

In this episode, you will learn:

  • Paul’s journey to where he is today. (00:54)
  • The landscape of venture capital in the late ‘90s. (06:02)
  • The challenges faced by Netflix in its early beginnings. (08:36)
  • How Chegg became a decacorn. (20:23)
  • Linda Yates’ journey to founding Mach49. (24:41)
  • The five preconditions for success. (27:04)
  • The reason more and more people are migrating away from Silicon Valley. (30:33)

Connect with Paul:



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