Friday, September 17, 2021

Catching up with Twitter’s most recent head of corp dev — and new VC — Seksom Suriyapa – TechCrunch

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Seksom Suriyapa seems to have been destined to land in a venture company. After graduating from Stanford Law, he joined cybersecurity firm McAfee as a senior corporate development employee after working for two leading investment banks, then worked for talent software company SuccessFactors for six years, and in 2018 Twitter. Landed in. Until June, we increased our 12-person corporate development team.

A bigger surprise is Suriyapa, who has just joined a LA-based venture. Upfront venture — You didn’t make a leap fast. “Catalyst was finding the right company for me,” says Suryapa.

We lived in the Bay Area today and talked to Suryapa, who will remain, about his new role at the upfront. He, along with the company’s founder, Eve Cistron, will lead the practice of expanding growth stages. He also sheds light on how Twitter works. Buy up — I’m thinking about a recent acquisition.

Our chat has been lightly edited for length.

TC: How did you get involved in Upfront?

NS: [Longtime partner] Mark Suster and I were introduced by an acquaintance in the venture world and met him for a period of time and realized that he was a wonderful person. He is a solid, business-conscious and incredible brand builder.I think you can claim it [Upfront] Put LA on the venture map.

TC: It was also an early stage company for a long time, but now it has a “barbell” strategy. Is your new job to help your portfolio company maintain its stake as it grows? Can I shop outside that portfolio?

SS: My mission is to support the best of Upfront’s over 100 existing portfolio companies ready to scale and invest in non-currency companies on the platform. [the latter] It happens more and more over time.

TC: Twitter has been much more active at the forefront of corporate development for the years you were there. Why?

SS: Jack Dorsey was CEO for about three years when I joined in 2018. His focus was on his core mission of promoting open conversation. At that time, Twitter shrank from many businesses. [shrunk] People are also wise.

TC: I remember Dismissed people In 2016.

SS: And one of its derivatives was far less in terms of new products, so there were no new acquisitions in the three years before I joined. And if you don’t exercise it, that muscle will atrophy.Yes [ahead of me] Jack, relatively speaking, has transformed the management team, which was previously the revolving door of management, and I have had a specific mission to revive the corporate development practices that have been quiet for several years.I knew it [CFO] With Ned Segal, a Goldman Sachs banker [while] I was in SuccessFactors, so when I heard about its role through the vines, I got in touch.

TC: And Twitter started shopping and acquired newsreader service Scroll and newsletter platform Revue. Did these decisions go down from the top, or vice versa?

SS: The best way to explain that is that it was product needs driven. The company had several different purposes. One was to diversify Twitter from its reliance on ad-driven businesses. 80% of revenue comes from advertising.

Second, there is an incredible need for businesses to enhance machine learning and artificial intelligence. If you’re looking for toxicity in a conversation, hiring tens of thousands of people to do it isn’t scalable. Machine learning is needed to find it. A successful Twitter can also display the conversations that are most interesting to you. To do this, you need to get signals from what you’re following and spend time reading and interacting. MLAI. [Relatedly] Jack has the vision that anyone who tweets in their native language should be able to speak with others in their native language as part of a global conversation. To do that, you need you. [natural language processing] Abundant techniques.

TC: Consumer applications are also focused on this.

SS: That is the third purpose. What tools can followers and creators use to talk to each other?Yes [Twitter] Added audio [via its Clubhouse rival Spaces].. I bought Revue, a rival of Substack. As a result, there are many innovations in the types of content that someone should expect to see and create on Twitter.

TC: Do you describe these acquisitions as proactive or reactive?

SS: It looks like it’s reacting from the outside, but in reality, I was thinking a lot about things like space before the clubhouse took off.What makes me stand out [Spaces] It’s one of the first times I’ve seen a company like Twitter building a new product area with head-on facing capabilities with a company that focuses only on that area, and it’s competitive from the start. .. Twitter broke the clubhouse [offering an] I argue that the Android version is so resource-intensive that much of Twitter’s mechanics and the fact that creators use Twitter are great places to win this segment.

Twitter also only has a tremendous amount of expertise in finding toxic and vigilant when playing social media, and at least in the early days, Clubhouse-sized companies get there. I have a hard time.

TC: Twitter has a lot of interest in cryptocurrencies and decentralization.

SS: When it comes to Twitter priorities, much is obscured about the technology we expect. [will rise up over] Next 5 to 10 years, but [a lot of thought is being given to] The impact of cryptocurrencies and the underlying protocols around them, and how Twitter unreliable and unauthorized participation [world] There is a decentralized internet that can protect people’s privacy and not worry about where their content is stored. People think of Twitter as a consumer app, but there’s a surprising amount of variety inside.

TC: Do you think the current regulatory environment will help you work with companies and projects that may have been featured by Facebook and Google?

When it comes to the regulatory environment, even if you remove Facebook or Google from the equation, it’s a bit short-sighted to think about them alone, as there are competitive acquirers who step up and buy things. 2.But even when they were active we were winning [deals].. Many of the companies we self-chosen to join Twitter like the meaning, like the way Jack Dorsey leads the organization, and believe in his position and his and his leadership position. Supporter.

TC: You now represent a very different brand. How can your job on Twitter help you compete for deals on behalf of Upfront?

SS: I have this amazing network of entrepreneurs around the world, thanks to the companies that have supported, attempted to acquire, or run businesses throughout their careers.Me too [have relationships with] VCs at various stages to actively discover businesses around the world [and introduce them to corp dev teams].. Also, Twitter has a diversity and inclusive program that will diversify 25% of leadership over the next few years, so my team has the best way to find the diverse targets to buy. Often involved in finding. I also went to emerging funds such as LatinX-founded funds, women-founded funds, Black-founded funds, and funds that scout companies in diverse, remote locations from a geographical perspective. Led a series of LP investments. .. ..

TC: Is Twitter also a direct investment?

SS: I made a direct investment [backing fund managers] This is a more utilized approach. Most of them are seed funds, each investing in 30-60 companies. But yes, I scouted a company far away. [India’s] Share Chat, where I was a board member for two years. [Editor’s note: TechCrunch reported earlier this year that Twitter explored buying ShareChat at an earlier point; the company has since raised numerous rounds of funding and was most recently valued by its investors at nearly $3 billion.]

TC: You have a lot to do with it, but when many other outfits are currently investing in it, it still seems really difficult to compete for growing deals. How are you going to compete?

SS: I obviously use those networks to find deals. Invest in the sectors that Upfront has already invested in, but at first we did a lot on Twitter, so double-click on the sectors that I’m very interested in, including the creator economy ecosystem. And w3b 3.0, this unauthorized one, has appeared, with ML AI in edge computing and a shared date across many areas I’ve been working on. Make yourself a child. You compete by learning what your value proposition is. My strategy on Twitter is to win fast, get to know people faster, and [underscoring] Twitter Value Proposition [to close deals]..I can’t talk about myself [VC] Strategies not yet implemented. You need to understand what is most interesting to entrepreneurs not offered by megafunds.

Catching up with Twitter’s most recent head of corp dev — and new VC — Seksom Suriyapa – TechCrunch Source link Catching up with Twitter’s most recent head of corp dev — and new VC — Seksom Suriyapa – TechCrunch

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