LA Venture Podcast: Touchdown Ventures' Scott Lenet Has Plans to Upend the 'Secretive' Venture Industry

On this week's episode of the L.A. Venture podcast, meet Scott Lenet, the co-founder and president of Touchdown Ventures — a firm that helps corporations run professional venture capital programs. Before creating Touchdown, Lenet was a managing partner at DFJ Frontier and has two decades of experience as a venture capitalist.


Touchdown Ventures helps corporate funds manage their venture outreach and streamline their investment program. Lenet says Touchdown is working with companies in health care, media, consumer products, agriculture, security enterprise software and has its foot in the door with two different banks.

Despite being a new company, Lenet says every time Touchdown adds an account, they expand their team. He describes the company as a "growing beast" that's "a corporate venture capital and innovation firm first" and a "recruiting and training firm" second. The firm is hiring right now, which is unusual in the venture world.

Education is a very important part of Lenet's work. He wants to upend the "secretive" venture industry by prioritizing training the next generation of venture capitalists and "demystify what this the industry is about." In addition to his work at Touchdown, Lenet teaches the "How to Be a Venture Capitalist" class at USC and "Corporate Innovation" at UCLA for their respective MBA programs.

Lenet is unique among venture capitalists in many ways, but notably in that he believes business needs more regulation. Within his own company, his view is that venture capitalists need to let entrepreneurs manage their businesses, and help their companies thrive from board positions.

"It's my job to keep you safe," He argues. "I think that that should apply to what our entrepreneurs do with their businesses, and our job to protect them as well as their junior people. And this is a business where we're professional fiduciaries for other people's money. Most of the money that VCs invest is not ours, right?"

Tune in to hear more from Scott Lenet on how he runs Touchdown Ventures, tips from his business classes, why he prioritizes training, and how he wants to use venture funds to create positive social impact.

"So I think that probably to me, one of the biggest myths that are still sitting out there is this idea that you have to choose between being strategic and being financial. And I would say it's like a false Sophie's choice. You should not pick one or the other. You should figure out how to maximize both." — Scott Lenet

Scott Lenet is the co-founder and president of Touchdown Ventures.

dot.LA Engagement Intern Colleen Tufts contributed to this post.

Want to hear more of L.A. Venture? Listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

A jet designer that aims to make supersonic flight available to the masses, a durable 3-D printer maker and a company trying to improve post-disaster and space communication are among SCALE Aerospace Ventures' 2021 accelerator cohort.

Read more Show less

George Mancheril has a habit of fidgeting with his wedding band while talking at warp speed about debt capital markets. The effect is more evocative of Wall Street uppers than Californian cannabis, but looks can be deceiving.

True, Mancheril cut his teeth back in New York, working in risk and financial analysis at Goldman Sachs and The Guggenheim. But he's been a Santa Monica resident for the last eight years, and now, as the 35-year-old CEO of Bespoke Financial, he's bringing his Wall Street expertise to the cannabis industry.

Read more Show less

The Honest Company, Jessica Alba's Santa Monica-based maker of consumer goods that promise to be safer and eco-friendly, made a strong debut in its first day of public trading Wednesday.

Its stock closed at $23 a share, a 43% gain from the $16 opening price.

Read more Show less
RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS

Trending