Foundr Magazine Podcast with Nathan Chan (general)

Running a travel company in the middle of a global pandemic is not something Brian Kidwell would suggest for aspiring entrepreneurs. But Brian and his team were able to endure by trusting their product market fit and member base.

 

Scott’s Cheap Flights started in 2015 when Brian teamed up with his cofounder, Scott Keyes, to build a flight-tracking travel website. What started as a side hustle now has become a technology platform with over 2 million subscribers. 

 

In this interview, Nathan Chan talks with Brian about:

  • How a backpacking trip in Europe inspired him to start a travel company
  • Why he didn’t meet Scott in-person for over a year
  • "Duct taping" the early platform together using WordPress, Zapier, and ActiveCampaign
  • Why hunting down a reporter’s email changed their business
  • How they were able to survive the pandemic without making staffing cuts 
  • The craziest airline deal he’s ever had 
  • And much more...



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Direct download: FP379_Brian_Kidwell.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

After growing up around a failed family business, Verne Harnish was determined to use his experience to help young entrepreneurs succeed. 40 years later, he’s helped startups across the world scale to become multi-million dollar businesses and worked with some of the most famous entrepreneurs of our time. 

 

Verne, known as the "Growth Guy,” founded the world-renowned Entrepreneurs' Organization, co-founded the Growth Institute, and has written 2 books including Scaling Up, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits.

 

Listen to Foundr CEO Nathan Chan discuss with Verne about: 

  • Hosting Steve Jobs’ first public speech after being fired from Apple
  • Why sales is still the best proven way to get to $1 million in revenue
  • The traits of success he’s learned from entrepreneurs like Mark Cuban, Brad Feld, and Nate Blecharczyk 
  • Remembering “the look” of Mark Zuckerberg, Michael Dell, and Steve Jobs
  • Why cofounders scale further faster than single founders 
  • Why every entrepreneur needs to be a little crazy
  • And much more...



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Direct download: FP378_Verne_Harnish.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

Tim Draper, one of the most successful venture capital investors on the planet, thinks all entrepreneurs should read science fiction. He believes anticipating what the world needs in 15 years is critical to creating an innovative business idea. 

 

As the founder of Draper Associates, DFJ, and Draper University, Draper has been an early investor in Tesla, Skype, SpaceX, Twitter, Coinbase, and Twitch—just to name a few. The billionaire has also mentored well over 1,000 early-stage investors.

 

Foundr CEO Nathan Chan sat down with Draper to talk about: 

  • The future-focused framework that will help you identify profitable opportunities 
  • How traditional schools fail to prepare entrepreneurs for success 
  • Why entrepreneurs must embrace mistakes
  • Why the early stages of business should be like throwing a party 
  • The value of focusing “a million miles deep and an inch wide” 
  • The future of blockchain, Bitcoin, and entrepreneurship 
  • And much more...

 

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Direct download: FP377_Tim_Draper.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

Gabby started Catch of the Day in a garage with his brother in 2011. Within 4 years they were Australia’s most viewed online shopping site. Since then, Gabby and his brother have invested in 20 startups and are hungry for more opportunities. 

 

In this interview, Foundr CEO Nathan Chan sits down with Gabby to discuss: 

 

  • Starting his entrepreneurship journey at age 32
  • The explosive popularity of Catch of the Day
  • The formula for creating “luck”
  • How he identifies intrapreneurs within his team
  • Replicating his business toolbox with other brands
  • The 1+1=3 concept 
  • And much more...



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Direct download: FP376_Gabby_Leibovich.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

After going bankrupt and losing his business, Aaron Marino launched a men’s lifestyle YouTube channel in 2008. Now he has over 6 million subscribers and is building his channel through sponsorships and ecommerce. 

 

​​Aaron is obsessed with optimizing his videos for YouTube and continues to test and tune to grow his audience. Now he’s ready to share what he’s learned.  

 

​​Aaron joined Foundr CEO Nathan Chan to talk about:

  • Why thumbnails are the most important part of a YouTube video
  • Why giving value up front keeps people watching 
  • Why click-through-rate and watch time are the most important metrics for creators
  • Why being a YouTube creator is like playing golf
  • The worst mistake a creator can make 
  • How Aaron became a more authentic version of himself on camera
  • And much more...

 

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Direct download: FP375_Aaron_Marino.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

Ann McFerran met Kevin Gould at a photoshoot in LA and immediately connected on his shared passion to start a brand. Together they launched Glamnetic in 2019, which sells magnetic and fake eyelash extensions. In their second year, they went from $1 million to $50 million in annual revenue.

 

In this episode of the Foundr podcast, learn how a seemingly “overnight” success was developed through years of commitment to creating an innovative product and a personal brand. Foundr’s CEO Nathan Chan interviews cofounders Ann and Kevin about:

 

  • How Ann used her artist background to create a unique product in the market
  • Why it took a year of product development to create a quality magnetic eyelash 
  • ​​How their magnetized liner “blew people’s minds” in the competitive beauty industry
  • Being scrappy with product shots and finding free models on Bumble
  • How Ann used Instagram Stories to share her brand journey and build a loyal customer base
  • How they turned DMs into a sales prospecting channel
  • Creating an ecosystem of marketing channels by testing and scaling 
  • And much more…



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Direct download: FP374_Kevin_Gould_Ann_McFerran.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

Want to create successful YouTube ad campaigns? Of course you do! 

YouTube boasts an audience of two billion (yes, billion) monthly users. The right ads can help you reach a big audience, build relationships with prospects, and enjoy a stellar return on ad spend (ROAS). 

If you need help getting started, this episode of the Foundr podcast will empower you to reap the benefits of YouTube advertising. Foundr’s Nathan Chan sat down with Tom Breeze, founder and CEO of the YouTube ads agency Viewability. Breeze has made a career out of crafting thousands of successful ad campaigns for high-profile clients. And he generously agreed to share his strategies with the Foundr community. 

Breeze joined Nathan to talk about: 

  • The “Four A’s” that you need to consider while crafting your YouTube ad strategy 
  • The three key elements that make up a solid YouTube ad campaign 
  • Why YouTube is more stable than other social media channels 
  • Whether or not your video ads need to be big-budget productions 
  • The key factors that will position your brand for lasting success on YouTube 
  • Why he’s so excited about the future of YouTube ads

 

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Direct download: FP373_Tom_Breeze.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

You’ve heard data has the power to make or break a business. Nobody knows this more than Anne Wojcicki, co-founder of biotech giant 23andMe. After 15 years of leveraging data to build a game-changing company, Wojcicki made headlines this summer when she became the latest self-made billionaire in the United States. 

 

In this episode of the Foundr podcast, learn how the newly minted billionaire built 23andMe from the ground upplus what the company plans to do next with all that genomic data. Foundr’s Nathan Chan sat down to chat with Wojcicki about: 

 

  • The moment that inspired her to pursue “the solution to life” 
  • How she became the first woman to achieve billionaire status via a SPAC merger
  • What it took to provide consumers with never-before-seen access to their genomic data 
  • The marketing plan that inspired customers to buy a product they didn’t know they needed 
  • How she grew her company from a tiny crew in a roof-less “office” to a team of more than 600 
  • What 23andMe plans to do with the genomic data from 11.6 million people and counting 
  • And much more…
  • fdsa


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Direct download: FP372_Anne_Wojcicki.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

It’s time to get the facts straight on how you can make money selling on Amazon. Scott Needham, founder of SmartScout and co-founder of BuyBoxer, shares how he built a top 25 worldwide Amazon seller and what practical steps you can take to grow your business on the platform. 

 

In this episode of the Foundr podcast, Nathan Chan chats with Scott to discuss:

  • Why Scott says selling on Amazon is the “Easiest, hardest thing to do” 
  • How he’s sold $250 million worth of products on Amazon
  • How Scott selects a product or category to sell on Amazon
  • A step-by-step case study on selling kids yoga mats
  • Why customers are already searching for your brand on Amazon.
  • The limitations of Amazon when it comes to customer data, upselling, and retargeting
  • And much more...



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Direct download: FP371_Scott_Needham.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am AEDT

Prerna Gupta is a serial entrepreneur who entered the tech spotlight when her Songify app hit #1 in the app store. She’s gone on to co-found several startups focused on music, dating, and short stories, and in 2011 Fast Company named her one of the most influential women in technology. She hasn’t slowed down since.  

 

Gupta is currently the CEO of Telepathic Inc., which developed the Hooked app. Hooked boasts a list of star-studded investors including Lebron James, Steph Curry, Ashton Kutcher, Jamie Fox, and more. They’re betting on Gupta to disrupt the entire story industry. 

 

We chatted with Gupta about some of her biggest entrepreneurial lessons to date, including: 

 

  • How capitalizing on your success may not look like the typical path
  • Why taking an unexpected path could lead to your next innovation 
  • How putting yourself out there can create life-changing opportunities
  • Why you should use an inner barometer to measure the merit of your own ideas
  • Why resilience is key to finding success in the founder life



Who do you want to see next on the podcast?
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Direct download: FP370_Prerna_Gupta.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

Ashik Ahmed doesn’t like the term “tech unicorn.” As the CEO and cofounder of Deputy, a homegrown workforce management solution, Ashik’s priority is creating impact for their customers. To date, the company has partnered with 250,000 workplaces across 100 countries. Ashik is aiming for more. 

 

In this episode of the Foundr podcast, Nathan Chan chats with Ashik to discuss:

  • Why Deputy’s goal is to have 1 million on their platform by 2023
  • How to get investors to chase you
  • Why founders are like LeBron James
  • The biggest marketing expense in their first seven years 
  • How Deputy bounced back from the pandemic and aims to grow their staff by 40-50% 
  • And much more...



Who do you want to see next on the podcast?
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Direct download: FP369_Ashik_Ahmed.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

Labeled the “Steve Jobs of Investing”, Ray Dalio is easily one of the most successful investors of our time. The Principles: Work & Life author is the larger-than-life mentor we all need in our day-to-day life. 

 

It’s incredible to learn that the founder of Bridgewater Associates, the world's biggest hedge fund firm which manages roughly $150 billion, began his investment journey at the age of 12 using his pocket money to buy stocks.

 

Listen as we delve deep with the living legend himself to hear first-hand accounts of Wall Street in the 70s and 80s, the cycle of Empires and Cryptocurrency, and Dalio’s Ocean X explorer traversing the ocean floor. 

 

Listen to learn:

  • What happens if you punch your boss in the face (Dalio has first-hand experience in this!) 
  • Doing business in the 1980s and what it’s taught Dalio about today’s entrepreneur space
  • Why losing everything and hitting rock bottom is one of the best experiences a person can have
  • The inspiration behind Dalio’s book Principles: Life & Work 
  • The secret formula to the ideal composition of a founding team 
  • Decision-making frameworks that built a billionaire
  • What transcendental meditation is and why Dalio meditates daily
  • Reddit, Robinhood, Cryptocurrency, and the changing face of entrepreneurs 
  • What Dalio is searching for on the ocean floor with Ocean X 




Ray Dalio is the founder of the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, and is the author of the new book Principles: Life and Work.



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Direct download: FP368_Ray_Dalio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

Full of wonderful ideas but don’t know how to make them a reality?

Our next guest had the same problem…until he managed to turn them into MULTIPLE startups, most of which he’s sold.

Paul English bought and sold his first business Boston Light Software for $33.5 million, within just 7 months of its founding. Paul went on to co-found the popular travel site Kayak, which he sold to Priceline for a whopping $1.8 billion.


So what has Paul learned through all this? Well, we asked him. In this episode of the Foundr podcast, Nathan Chan sits down with Paul to discuss: 

 

  • How you can recruit constantly to curate a team of only the most talented, energetic people
  • How to get employees to bring their best absolute best
  • How to validate your next winning business idea
  • How to solve the biggest problems with your tech company
  • The importance of vulnerability 
  • How to maintain a balance of skills at your company to ensure the business stays on track

    And so much more…

If you’re an idealistic entrepreneur who wants to build a business of true worth, this interview is for you. Don't miss it.

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Direct download: FP367_Paul_English.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

What do you get when you mix Daymond John, cozy toes, and a charitable mission? 

 

Bombas. 

 

That's right, you get the world's best sock company. 

 

Foundr CEO Nathan Chan recently sat down with Randy Goldberg and David Heath to learn how Bombas went from a growing ecommerce business to a Shark Tank sensation.

 

Randy and David talk about growing Bombas from heel to toe, including:

 

  • Why they bootstrapped as long as possible
  • How preparing for Shark Tank helped them boost their business—even before they got a little TV fame
  • The best advice Daymond John has given them
  • How an authentic, compelling mission inspires loyal customers and employees
  • The biggest mistake ecommerce entrepreneurs make
  • Why they're excited about the future of Bombas

 

If you're an ecommerce entrepreneur or just a sock-loving fan, this interview is a must. 


Who do you want to see next on the podcast? Comment and let us know! And don't forget to leave us a 5-star review if you loved this episode.

 

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Direct download: FP366_Bombas_Socks.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

What does a savvy entrepreneur do when she sells her startup for $125 million? She starts another business, of course.

 

Radha Agrawal, cofounder of Thinx, has launched another passion project: Daybreaker. 

 

Daybreaker is a wellness community that offers sober dance parties in 100 countries around the world. With events at the top of the World Trade Center, Sydney Opera House, and even the White House, Daybreaker is quite literally on top. 

 

And now Daybreaker is offering virtual and hybrid options to increase accessibility to their events while the world navigates through the pandemic.

 

So how has Radha launched another wildly successful brand? Find out in the latest episode of the Foundr podcast.


Who do you want to see next on the podcast? Comment and let us know! And don't forget to leave us a 5-star review if you loved this episode.

 

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Direct download: FP365_Radha_Agrawal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

How do you raise capital for your startup?

Well, if you ask the co-founder of Airbnb Joe Gebbia, he’ll tell you what worked for him: 

 

Cereal. 

 

That’s right, the company that started with a single air mattress and grew to a $100 billion empire was kept afloat by selling custom cereal boxes. 

 

It was bizarre but it worked. Gebbia muses in this episode of the Foundr podcast:

 

“We made $20,000 in breakfast cereal, and we're able to basically pay off our credit card debt...The cereal, funnily enough, was how we were able to help keep the options open for us until eventually, the invitation came for Y Combinator.”

 

In undoubtedly one of our most riveting episodes, Gebbia recounts his incredible journey from struggling to pay rent, to Airbnb’s first angel investor, to one of the biggest brands in the world and Gebbia’s incredible charity work.

 

Gebbia is candid about how he overcame countless rejections and problems. Listen in as he shares specific advice for entrepreneurs looking to create the next industry disrupter: 

 

“You can see what’s hot. You can go after an emerging industry... Or you can solve a problem. Your own problem. Airbnb was our own problem. We had a rent check that we couldn’t pay. And it forced us to come up with a new way of making ends meet.”



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https://www.foundr.com/freetraining

And… If you are enjoying the Foundr Podcast,, please leave us a 5-star review and let us know who you want to see next.

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Direct download: FP364_Joe_Gebbia.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

Tommie Powers is a legend in digital paid advertising. He's consulted on $100+ million in ad spend, including $30 million on YouTube ads alone. 

 

So when Tommie talks about paid YouTube ad strategies, we listen. 

 

In a recent interview on the Foundr podcast, Tommie talked with us about everything from diversifying ad spend to crafting a powerful message to calculating ROAS (spoiler: most people are calculating ROAS all wrong). 

 

Check out the latest episode of the Foundr podcast as Tommie tells us how he taps into YouTube's 2 billion monthly active users to bring in his downright mind-blowing ROAS.


Get FREE, actionable advice from legitimate founders on starting and growing ANY Business… https://www.foundr.com/freetraining

And… If you are enjoying the Foundr Podcast’, please leave us a 5-star review and let us know who you want to see next.

Website: http://www.foundr.com
Success Stories: https://foundr.com/success-stories

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Direct download: FP363_Tommie_Powers.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

Inc. Magazine called her the most important entrepreneur on the planet. Fast Company called her the "brand whisperer." Emily Heyward of Red Antler is a master at helping a brand stand out from the crowd.

Heyward has elevated some of the biggest brands on the planet, including Casper, Yumi, Four Square, BirchBox, and All Birds. In this episode of the Foundr Podcast, she reveals her creative process  and tells us how she got started  in the industry. 

If you want a new perspective on building a brand your customers will be obsessed with, listen in on our interview with Heyward.


Get FREE, actionable advice from legitimate founders on starting and growing ANY Business… https://www.foundr.com/freetraining

And… If you are enjoying the Foundr Podcast’, please leave us a 5-star review and let us know who you want to see next.

Website: http://www.foundr.com
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Direct download: FP362_Emily_Heyward.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

In this episode of the Foundr podcast, we speak with Omaze’s Matt Pohlson to discuss how a near-death experience taught him a powerful lesson about optimism—and how it changed his perspective on business forever.

 

Pohlson is cofounder and CEO of Omaze, an online fundraising platform that supports causes by offering once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Some of the experiences they offer include top-tier influential figures like Michelle Obama or George Clooney, or million-dollar prizes like cars and properties. 

 

In this refreshingly candid interview, Pohlson discusses his unique business model, gate-crashing charity events to pitch to Bryan Cranston, and how he found himself at the Vatican with the Pope.


Get FREE, actionable advice from legitimate founders on starting and growing ANY Business… https://www.foundr.com/freetraining

And… If you ARE enjoying the Foundr Podcast’, please leave us a 5-star review and let us know who you want to see next.

Website: http://www.foundr.com
Success Stories: https://foundr.com/success-stories

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/foundr/

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Magazine: http://www.foundr.com/magazine

Direct download: FP361_Matt_Pohlson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

As the CEO and founder of TrendHunter, Jeremy Gutsche is at the forefront of trendspotting, innovation, and creating the future. In this ground-breaking interview, the New York Times Bestselling author reveals everything he knows about entrepreneurship and ideas. 

 

Gutsche’s TrendHunter is the world's largest, most popular trend spotting firm with billions of views, and over 10,000 projects for almost every major brand on the market, from Samsung and Disney, to RedBull and even NASA. 

 

The ultimate TKTK interview for entrepreneurs looking for an idea, his 3 methods to identifying a product idea (assessing the market) and the 6 patterns that TrendHunter look for when creating and validating a product idea.


Get FREE, actionable advice from legitimate founders on starting and growing ANY Business… https://www.foundr.com/freetraining

And… If you ARE enjoying the Foundr Podcast’, please make sure to leave us a 5-star review, and let us know who you want to see next.


Website: http://www.foundr.com
Success Stories: https://foundr.com/success-stories

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/foundr/

YouTube:  http://bit.ly/2uyvzdt 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/foundr

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Podcast: http://www.foundr.com/podcast

Magazine: http://www.foundr.com/magazine

Direct download: FP360_Jeremy_Gutsche.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

In this episode of the Foundr podcast, Nathan Chan speaks with Jeff Raider and Andy Katz-Mayfield to find out how they scaled Harry’s into a $20 million brand, and how they created other multiple million-dollar brands. 

 

The idea for Harry’s came about after Katz-Mayfield had a disappointing late-night shopping experience at the chemists, and noticed that all the men’s razors were overpriced and overdesigned. Almost 8 years later, Raider and Katz-Mayfield have multiple channels, over 1000 employees, and several multi-million dollar brands. 

 

Listen in as they discuss exactly how they successfully scaled their brands, how they identified potential gaps in the market, the dangers of launching something just to make money, and why they decided to pull the plug on their Harry’s brand of lip balm.


Get FREE, actionable advice from legitimate founders on starting and growing ANY Business… https://www.foundr.com/freetraining

And… If you ARE enjoying the Foundr Podcast’, please make sure to leave us a 5-star review, and let us know who you want to see next.

Website: http://www.foundr.com
Success Stories: https://foundr.com/success-stories

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/foundr/

YouTube:  http://bit.ly/2uyvzdt 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/foundr

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LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/foundr/

Podcast: http://www.foundr.com/podcast

Magazine: http://www.foundr.com/magazine

Direct download: FP359_Jeff_Raider_Andy_Katz-Mayfield.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:55pm AEDT

Quitting her promising job at Google, Heidi Zak decided to take the plunge and launch ThirdLove, an ecommerce brand for women’s underwear. Today, thanks to Zak’s masterful approach to scaling, ThirdLove is the third biggest ecommerce lingerie brand in America with no signs of slowing down. 

 

Zak’s journey into the entrepreneurial space began after she moved to the West coast and got swept up in the startup world. Launching as a small bootstrapped brand, she never thought that she one day be competing with titans like Victoria’s Secret. 


Listen in as Zak discusses the ins and outs of the ecommerce world, navigating scaling, product vs. marketing, and why she believes successful entrepreneurialism is based on perspective. 


Get FREE, actionable advice from legitimate founders on starting and growing ANY Business… https://www.foundr.com/freetraining

And… If you ARE enjoying the Foundr Podcast’, please make sure to leave us a 5-star review, and let us know who you want to see next.

Website: http://www.foundr.com
Success Stories: https://foundr.com/success-stories

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/foundr/

YouTube:  http://bit.ly/2uyvzdt 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/foundr

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/foundr

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/foundr/

Podcast: http://www.foundr.com/podcast

Magazine: http://www.foundr.com/magazine

Direct download: FP358_Heidi_Zak.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

This week’s podcast is a deep dive with Schmidt Natural’s co-founder, author, and investor Jaime Schmidt. Building her brand from a side hobby to a 7-figure annual income didn’t happen overnight, but Schmidt refused to let fear hold her back. 

 

Although Schmidt says she has had 22 previous jobs, Schmidt Naturals was her very first business. Living off $35k joint-income with a new baby, Schmidt first started creating her all-natural products at home, selling them at farmer’s markets. After years of dedication and very little capital, Schmidt reflects on her 9-figure exit, her journey into investing, and writing her first book Supermaker: Crafting Business on Your Own Terms. 

 

The perfect podcast for anyone who has a vision and a dream, Schmidt is an inspirational entrepreneur who continues to lift up others with her infectious positivity.


Get FREE, actionable advice from legitimate founders on starting and growing ANY Business… https://www.foundr.com/freetraining

And… If you ARE enjoying the Foundr Podcast’, please make sure to leave us a 5-star review, and let us know who you want to see next.

Website: http://www.foundr.com
Success Stories: https://foundr.com/success-stories

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/foundr/

YouTube:  http://bit.ly/2uyvzdt 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/foundr

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/foundr

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/foundr/

Podcast: http://www.foundr.com/podcast

Magazine: http://www.foundr.com/magazine

Direct download: FP357_Jamie_Schmidt.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

Joseph Einhorn is no stranger to entrepreneurialism. With almost 25 years of startup experience under his belt, Einhorn knows the ins and the outs of the game. 

 

In this interview with Nathan Chan, Einhorn discusses his incredible journey from becoming a self-taught engineer for Capital IQ, launching and selling the global ecommerce phenomenon Fancy.com, and how his life-long love for comic books evolved into founding Loot. 

 

With a penchant for satiating curiosity and deep respect for creators the world over, Einhorn will leave you inspired to chase your dream and to never give up.



Get FREE, actionable advice from legitimate founders on starting and growing ANY Business… https://www.foundr.com/freetraining

And… If you ARE enjoying the Foundr Podcast’, please make sure to leave us a 5-star review, and let us know who you want to see next.


Website: http://www.foundr.com

Success Stories: https://foundr.com/success-stories

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/foundr/

YouTube:  http://bit.ly/2uyvzdt 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/foundr

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/foundr

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/foundr/

Podcast: http://www.foundr.com/podcast

Magazine: http://www.foundr.com/magazine

 

Direct download: FP356_Joseph_Einhorn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

As someone who always knew they had a passion for fashion, Tamara Mellon has come a long way from working in a PR firm. As founder of luxury shoe brand Jimmy Choo, founder of a new direct-to-consumer brand bearing her own name, and author of In My Shoes, Mellon is a game-changer in the fashion industry. 

 

In this interview, Nathan Chan sits down to speak with one of the most influential figures in the fashion industry to discuss every step of her journey in the fashion industry. Not only has Mellon displayed an uncanny knack for marketing and branding, but she’s also redefined the way we think about shopping. 

 

A must-listen for anyone with a love for fashion, shoes, and disrupting the industry, Mellon gives a refreshingly wholesome insight into the world of entrepreneurialism.

 

Get FREE, actionable advice from legitimate founders on starting and growing ANY Business… https://www.foundr.com/freetraining

And… If you ARE enjoying the Foundr Podcast’, please make sure to leave us a 5-star review, and let us know who you want to see next.


Website: http://www.foundr.com

Success Stories: https://foundr.com/success-stories

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/foundr/

YouTube:  http://bit.ly/2uyvzdt 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/foundr

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/foundr

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/foundr/

Podcast: http://www.foundr.com/podcast

Magazine: http://www.foundr.com/magazine

Direct download: FP355_Tamara_Mellon.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

In this episode of the Foundr podcast, CEO and founder of eToro Yoni Assia sits down to discuss how he built his empire, getting dinner with Warren Buffett, and how he scaled the world's largest social media investment network.

 

As someone who has always been passionate about connecting finance and technology, Assia says that he was always someone who loved the intersection between technology and finance. As his second startup, eToro was created to simplify the user experience to make trading and investing something that is accessible for more people.

 

With a global company spanning 12 offices, over 1000 employees, and now reaching 20 million registered users, Assia’s ability to scale a business successfully is nothing short of incredible.

Direct download: FP354_Yoni_Assia.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

After launching 9 companies, Jon Oringer didn’t really think that his 10th company Shutterstock would be the one to stand out from the crowd. Started as a side-hustle, Oringer launched the stock photography business with $10k. Today, his estimated net worth is sitting at $1.5B. Safe to say that Oringer’s journey has been pretty impressive. 

 

Based out of New York, Shutterstock is a global provider of stock photography, stock footage, stock music, and editing tools used by the world over. 

 

In this Foundr podcast episode, Nathan Chan sits down to speak with Oringer to discuss how he launched Shutterstock, creating the first pop-up blocker, and what he believes will be the future of Fintech and entrepreneurialism.

Direct download: FP353_Jon_Oringer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

In this digital age, music streaming and subscriptions have quickly become the norm. This week at Foundr, we were lucky enough to speak to an entrepreneur who was there for the rise of streaming and the music-tech space: Ola Sars.  

 

Before he was founder and CEO of the fastest growing B2B music streaming service, Soundtrack Your Brand, Ola was co-founder and COO of Beats Music, acquired by Apple and transformed into Apple Music, as well as the co-founder of Pacemaker, the world's first DJ driven music platform.

 

Foundr’s Nathan Chan sits down with Ola Sars to map out his incredible journey through one of the most complex industries in the modern world: the music industry.

Direct download: FP352_Ola_Sars.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

In this delicious interview, Nathan Chan sits down with CAULIPOWER founder Gail Becker to find out how she took her ecommerce company from $0 to $100M in just 3 years. 

 

Becker takes us on her tasty food brand journey, from her experience in corporate life as a marketer, to branching into the unknown to create something she wanted to see on the market: more food options for celiacs. 

 

Listen in as she discusses the process of getting her product into 25,000 stores on her first try and the future of Amazon.

 

This interview is perfect for anyone interested in entering the food industry, as Becker lays out everything she has learned along the way. And why in life, you should do something  that you love.

Direct download: FP351_Gail_Becker.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

Coming from a long line of shoemakers, it seemed only natural that Joe Foster follow in his family’s footsteps, but instead Foster decided to push his horizons even further and create a brand that would become a legacy. Listen in as Foster shares his incredible journey through generations of shoemakers to bring us the global brand we know today: Reebok. 

 

Foster’s entrepreneurial journey is nothing short of inspiring, as he took the company through ups and downs, broke into competitive markets, and created a niche in the market for his brand. Acquired by Adidas in 2005 for a whopping $3.8 billion, Foster has since retired and authored a book: “Shoemaker: The Untold Story of the British Family Firm that Became a Global Brand”.

 

In this astounding interview, Nathan Chan and Foster discuss the entrepreneurial journey, and everything Foster has learned along the way when it comes to business and brand.

Direct download: FP350_Joe_Foster.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

When his 10 year old daughter was upset by negative comments posted about her artwork, Hovhannes Avoyan decided to do something about it. Almost a decade later, over 1 billion app downloads and 150 million active monthly, PicsArt has become a global movement. 

 

Before founding PicsArt, Hovhannes Avoyan was already a successful entrepreneur with five startups that he sold to Lycos, Bertelsmann, GFI, TeamViewer, and HelpSystems. With a strong understanding of the market, scaling, and what it takes to build a viable business, it’s no wonder that PicsArt raised over $45m capital and now boasts partnerships with the world’s biggest influencers like Kim Kardashian.

 

In this inspiring interview hosted by Nathan Chan, Avoyan discusses the importance of creating a safe space for creative expression, why community matters for a business, the future of AI and its place in design and art, and why he believes failure is part of success.

Direct download: FP349_Hovhannes_Avoyan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

Power up, level up, and get ready to take your business to the extreme, with this incredible interview with Single Grain’s Eric Siu. 

 

A former pro-gamer, Siu has been on the quintessential entrepreneur’s journey. He’s faced scaling issues, failure, and trying to do too much at once, and now he is ready to reveal why he believes gamers make the best entrepreneurs.

 

In this electrified interview with Foundr, Siu discusses why every founder needs to have a good understanding of marketing, essential long-term skills you need to have, and why he predicts Clubhouse will be the ultimate training ground for entrepreneurs.

Direct download: FP348_Eric_Siu.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

How does someone launch a $200 million beverage company with zero experience and four children under the age of six? Just ask super-mom, author, and Hint Water empire CEO and Founder, Kara Goldin. 

 

Goldin was first inspired to launch her beverage company as an alternative to other unhealthy drinks on the market. Not only did Goldin manage to build a company that is now the largest privately owned non-alcoholic beverage company in America, but she placed Hint on the shelves of her local Whole Foods on the same day she went into the delivery room.


Revealing all of the ups and downs of her journey in her new book, Undaunted: Overcoming Doubt And Doubters, Goldin speaks to Foundr’s Nathan Chan about relentless pursuit of your dreams, and overcoming fears and self-doubt along the way.

Key Takeaways

  • How Kara Goldin first began her mission of creating a healthier option for drinking water
  • Facing challenges everyday, and Goldin’s commitment to learning all she could about an entirely new industry
  • Why Goldin believes the best thing anyone can do for themselves is continue to learn and grow
  • Dealing with naysayers and doubters, and how Goldin decided to instead use their feedback to hone her business vision
Direct download: FP347_Kara_Goldin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

Direct download: FP346_Marc_Randolph.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

In 2011, Hiroki Takeuchi launched his first business GoCardless with his co-founders. Just under one decade later, they are processing over $15b in payments every year!

 

Takeuchi’s first business began as a service to help streamline the messy process of collecting payments informally. Over the next several years, funding, scaling, and pivoting led him to create a simple service that helped collect recurring and one-off payments from customers. 

 

Takeuchi’s approach to business is inspiring. Not only was he a first-time entrepreneur scaling a global business without experience, but he also knows the pains of imposter syndrome and anxiety over hiring overqualified experts. This interview with Nathan Chan serves to remind us all that greatness isn’t just past experience, it’s the willingness to learn that makes someone a great entrepreneur.


Key Takeaways

  • How Takeuchi launched GoCardless in 2011 as his first business, and how he developed the idea
  • Evolving the initial business idea from something that sought to solve the problem of collecting payments informally, to a global fintech empire
  • The importance of having a complimentary co-founder, and how Takeuchi first began planning with his co-founders
  • Why Takeuchi decided to leverage existing services in order to streamline launch
  • Demo day, and overcoming getting 64 “no’s” before they got a “yes”
  • The importance of focus on a singular product, especially in a global powerhouse like finances and payment
  • How Takeuchi approached scaling, planning, and proactive growth in a high-demand industry
  • The challenges faced by an international business and scaling
  • How Takeuchi tackles imposter syndrome, and how he continues to focus on learnings
  • The importance he places on his team and the people Takeuchi surrounds himself with
  • What you need to ignore if you want to hire the best of the best for your business
  • Why you should never underestimate the length of the journey ahead of you, and why you need to be ready for the challenge of being an entrepreneur
Direct download: FP345_Hiroki_Takeuchi.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

Building partnerships and mailing lists as an entrepreneur can be one of the trickiest and most elusive parts of the game. Targetting the right people, understanding brand identity - it’s all a delicate ecosystem to navigate. 

The good news is, when it comes to mailing lists and partnerships, we have all the answers you need from the mastermind and guru himself: Colin Darretta. 

Co-founder of a number of successful companies including WellPath, a health and wellness plan) and DojoMojo, a software company that helps you build partnerships, Darretta has all the answers. 

Not only has Darretta got decades of experience under his belt, but he also has the distinct honor of managing to build a 1million person email list in 1 year, and is the master of monetizing mailing lists.

Direct download: FP344_Colin_Darretta.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

For Sarah Leary, entrepreneurship has always been in her blood. Growing up in a household of small-business owners including her grandmother who was also an entrepreneur, she knew she would eventually be one, too. She remembers that even when she was working for Microsoft as part of the founding team for Microsoft Office, she knew that being a business owner was her future.

From her development, launch, and successful scaling of Nextdoor into the world’s largest private social network for neighborhoods, Leary has experience in every aspect of entrepreneurialism. Her advice for budding entrepreneurs comes from years of experience in both scaling a business, building a community, and growing brands. 

In this interview with Nathan Chan, Leary reveals the absolute essentials every new entrepreneur needs to tick off when they want to start something new. As a venture partner at Unusual Ventures, Leary has advice straight from the frontline of what she wants to see in a pitch. 

Key Takeaways

  • How Leary grew up in a household of business owners and entrepreneurs and why that means she always knew she would be one too
  • Finding herself in the early start-up culture of Silicon Valley in the 90s
  • Her first business and how she faced failure, the decision to pivot, and a whole new frontier
  • The beginning of Nextdoor, and it’s growth internationally over the past decade
  • Joining Unusual Ventures, and why she wants to dedicate her time to helping others build companies from the ground up
  • Why founders need to be comfortable validating their ideas and assumptions
  • The two essential questions entrepreneurs need to ask themselves before starting
  • How Leary developed Nextdoor through a combination of brainstorming, customer research, and why you need to consider customer painkillers
  • Why every entrepreneur needs to learn to do extraordinary work for a narrow band of people, and then expand
  • How Leary fuelled the Nextdoor community, and why networks need leaders
  • Why Leary believes authenticity is the most important part of community strategy, and why you need to start with it
  • Why Leary stepped down from Nextdoor, and how the team of Unusual Ventures is rolling up their sleeves to help new entrepreneurs 
  • Leary’s reveals the secret to pitching ideas correctly, and what Unusual Ventures looks for in a new business idea

 

Direct download: FP343_Sarah_Leary.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

When Alli Webb founded Drybar in 2010, it started as one small salon in Brentwood, California that was designed to do one thing and do it well: blowouts. 

Today, her brand has grown to over150 stores in 33 states, a hair care product line that she sold for over $250 million, her own podcast Raising The Bar, and a NY Times best-selling book Good Hair For All

Best of all, Webb is Foundr magazine’s cover girl for issue 95 (check it out, it’s a good one!)

Guess you could say that Alli Webb is an entrepreneurial genius. 

This week’s interview gives you an insight into Webb’s journey from working as a receptionist in a hair salon during high school to the decision to chase her passion for hairstyling. 

That decision to pursue her passion is what has led Webb to a $100m empire. Find out how she took the leap, and what advice she has for those looking to pursue their passion, too.

Key Takeaways

  • Growing up in a family of entrepreneurs, and how that shaped Alli Webb’s idea of business
  • Realised she had a passion for hair and styling, and worked as a receptionist in a hair salon where she became mesmorised by the craft
  • Her journey through “a hot-minute” in college, to working in fashion in New York
  • Starting her own business styling client’s hair at home, and growing her business
  • How she started “Drybar” and what makes her brand unique
  • Franchising Drybar, and learning to operate her business on a global scale
  • How Webb developed her own product line, and how she sold it for $250m to beauty powerhouse, Helen of Troy.
  • How Webb continues to raise the bar, launching her own podcast: Raising The Bar, and authoring NY Times Best Seller Good Hair For All
  • Webb’s advice for all budding entrepreneurs, especially women in business, and why they need to follow their passion and what they love doing.
Direct download: FP342_Alli_Webb.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

If you want to start a business, you sure as hell better be made of the right stuff. Because Joe De Sena is here to tell you that in business, “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”, and you need to be mentally tough enough to handle it. 

In this Foundr interview like no other, Nathan Chan speaks with Spartan Race creator, best-selling author, and badass CEO Joe De Sena on why you need manufactured adversity. 

De Sena has faced mountains of failure in business and continues to rise, everything from losing someone during the first ever race and finding them marooned on a desert island a week later, to not turning a profit for 15 years. Nevertheless, this machine of a man bounces back and continues to rise.

This interview is just a snapshot of what you can expect in Foundr’s newest course, Mental Toughness. Touted as the ultimate entrepreneurs field guide to building mental toughness, this is not one to be missed. 

Find out why the Olympic wrestling teams are sent to De Sena shape up, why billionaires send their children to him to learn discipline, and why active military personnel flock to him to learn grit.

Direct download: FP341_Joe_De_Sena.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

Gabi Lewis, Co-Founder, The Magic Spoon

In this yummy episode, Gabi Lewis, Co-Founder of The Magic Spoon, sits down with Nathan Chan to discuss his journey from founding the revolutionary EXO protein snack made from crickets, to dominating the $40billion a year cereal industry. 

Listen in as Lewis reveals how he managed to get Tim Ferris and Nas as angel-investors onboard for EXO snacks, his journey into the competitive world of cereal, and how Magic Spoon continues to stay ahead of the competition.

In this deep-dive interview, you’ll find out why Lewis swears by agencies, the opportunities in influencer marketing, and why product-fit is an absolute essential for any founder. 

Lewis’ incredible journey from crickets to cereal is a not-to-be-missed lesson in entrepreneurship and the importance of saying “no”.

Key Takeaways

  • How Lewis started Exo Protein, selling cricket protein bars
  • Recognizing the paleo food trend and targeting that market
  • How Lewis got angel investors such as Tim Ferris and Nas
  • His decision to sell the company and launch Magic Spoon cereal
  • Why Magic Spoon is a direct-to-consumer product and the advantages of ecommerce
  • The successful launch of Magic Spoon and the power of influencers
  • Why product-market fit is the most important aspect of launching a business
  •  How Magic Spoon was affected by Covid and the evolution of hiring and scaling
  • The decision to not sell Magic Spoon on Amazon, and the power of customer-brand loyalty 
  • Why Lewis believes that a high-quality product is the most important aspect of any business
  • Lewis’ advice to others that as a founder, you should never be distracted, and why your job is to say “no”
Direct download: FP340_Gabi_Lewis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

In this interview, Nathan Chan sits down with GT Dave, Founder and CEO of GT's Living Foods. GT discusses how he built a $1B empire from his bedroom and his journey of being the first seller of Kombucha in the United States.

In this interview, GT Dave discusses how he first began selling Kombucha, entering the market with a completely new category of product, and the challenges he faced in educating the market on what his product was. 

GT Dave is a firm believer in passion before profit, and his integrity and commitment to health shine through as he discusses his childhood and nutrition, how Kombucha helped his mother through medical issues, and the proven benefits of Kombucha.

With a personal net worth estimated at $1Billion, GT Dave’s journey will inspire you to follow your passion and begin building your future, today.

Key Takeaways

  • How GT Dave found an interest in Kombucha and how he began marketing it
  • Launching his company from his bedroom, and selling his product using his Dad’s Amex card
  • The challenge of entering the market with a new product and how he went about educating others on an unfamiliar health beverage
  • How GT Dave helped Kombucha to become the global trend it is today
  • GT Dave’s commitment to passion over profit, and what health means to him
  • The importance of validating your product and communicating with consumers
  • His key advice to those who are just getting started, and the questions you need to ask yourself
Direct download: FP339_GT_Dave.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

In this epic roundup episode, we took our favorite moments from every interview this year and combined them to create our most jam-packed episode yet: Foundr Best of 2020!

That’s right, in this very special episode, you’ll hear valuable insights from: 

  • Drew Houston, CEO and founder of DropBox: On problem-solving, his formula for success in business, and how he— as a billion-dollar CEO — still learns every single day. 
  • Dylan Mullen, Founder, and Director of Happy Skin Co. Mullen reveals how he built a $20 million dollar company in 24 months, and how they’re acquiring their customers. 

  • Alexa Von Tobel, Founder of Learnvest, & Inspire Capital: Why you shouldn’t spend a dollar on marketing, and what it takes to be a ‘good entrepreneur’. 

  • Gretta Van Riel, 4x Multi-Milion Dollar Founder. Van Riel discusses why she would spend $500k on a post from Kylie Jenner, and her $1.3m manufacturing horror story. 

  • Henrik Werderlin, founder and CEO of Barkbox, and the strategy that Apple and Amazon have used to build global, beloved brands. 

  • You’re about to learn the mistake that every new entrepreneur makes, as discussed by Alex Osterwalder, the Swiss business theorist who developed the “business model canvas”. 

  • Author Kamal Ravikant reveals why you don’t need a mentor (from someone who’s been down the road a few times).

  • Christina Stembel, founder of Farmgirl Flowers on how she managed to turn $49,000 into almost a million dollars in 3 years— all thanks to the success of her company.

  • Here’s Skillshare founder Malcolm Ong… who’s about to reveal the one word that will make you a better entrepreneur. 

  • Thor Ernstsson, Founder of Strata. The 2 tips that every single entrepreneur needs to hear.

  • One of the internet’s greatest pioneers, cofounder of WordPress Matt Mullenweg on what motivates him. 

  • GT’s living foods founder, GT Dave. He reveals to us the key to staying on your path, and not losing your identity. 

  • Andy Frisella, founder of 1st Phorm with one of the most fired up conversations of the year. Enjoy this snippet where he’s going to tell you why building a brand is important, and the issue with comparing yourself to Steve Jobs.
Direct download: FP338_Best_of_2020.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

Ever wondered what traits and characteristics Google looks for in a founder?

Wonder no more, because in this interview, Nathan Chan sits down with CapitalG Founder, David Lawee, to discuss the journey of finding the next $1B Unicorn Business. David is Google's Lead Investor, and has over 13 years of experience under his belt working for one of the largest companies on the planet. 

Prior to joining Google, Lawee has been a serial entrepreneur. His biggest takeaway from the experience was how to successfully scale companies, and during the interview he finally reveals exactly how to do it. 

Lawee shares what he believes it takes to create a billion-dollar company. Lawee reveals all the traits and characteristics he looks for in founders when it comes to investing billions of dollars, and exactly what the company needs to look like.

Key Takeaways

  • How David Lawee found himself working for Google, CapitalG, and what he learned during his time as a serial entrepreneur
  • The characteristics and traits that he looks for when it comes to investing
  • The difference between an ordinary company, and the billion dollar unicorn
  • Lawee’s advice for those looking to open more doors 
  • The change in the market, and an insider's view into Google investment world
  • Lawee discusses how to align your company with investors’ needs
Direct download: FP337_David_Lawee.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

Meet Thor Ernstsson.

The founder of global giants such as Alpha, Strata, and lead architect for Zygna responsible for Farmville, Ernstsson knows business and products. 

In this interview, Nathan sits down with Ernstsson to discuss his journey from Zynga game developer, to creating a company that serves half of the Fortune 500. Honest and candid, Ernstsson reveals his decision-making processes behind some of the company's largest pivots, changes, and challenges.  

While most people would shy away from the idea of launching a business during a global crisis, Ernstsson is perhaps living proof that not only is it a good decision, it’s the best business decision one can make.

Key Takeaways

  • Thor Ernstsson discusses how he first began working at Zygna, and how he felt about the global success of Farmville
  • His next business ventures, including Alpha and Strata
  • Why he decided to pivot the company
  • The importance of “now”, and why starting a business during a crisis is a good idea
  • The decision to launch a business that aimed to connect people, while it was the start of the pandemic 
  • How to change the world, and why you should always aim to solve a problem that won’t change
  • The importance of customers and why they need to be invested in your business’ success
Direct download: FP336_Thor_Ernstsson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

Faced with 104 rejections, zero-funding, and the prospect of launching a new business during an economic downturn, Christina Stembel has not only grown her company Farmgirl Flowers to a $65m empire, she has also done it completely bootstrapped. 

Stembel’s journey from bootstrap to business mogul is nothing short of inspiring. What began as $46k savings and a 2-year window to achieve her goal, her ecommerce flower business saw 5x growth in the first 2 years. As Stembel says,  “the fact that I was able to bootstrap without running out of money is the biggest accomplishment of my life”

In this interview, listen in to discover how Stembel marketed and advertised her brand on a shoestring budget, the importance of word-of-mouth and how that helped her achieve her first million, and why she views FarmGirl Flowers as the workhorse among unicorns.

Key Takeaways

  • How Stembel started FarmGirl Flowers, and why she gave herself 2 years
  • Marketing on a shoestring budget
  • Complications she faced selling perishable products
  • Why she views FarmGirl Flowers as a workhorse among unicorns
  • The importance of product-quality, and why she believes that a good quality product will outsell any level of marketing
  • The future of FarmGirl Flowers and reaching her first billion
Direct download: FP335_Christina_Stembel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

As someone who has pioneered the tech industry with his open-source software, and boasts 38% of the internet using his product, Matt Mullenweg is still one of the most humble and inspiring entrepreneurs we’ve ever met. 

In this insightful interview, Mullenweg discusses the biggest challenges faced by companies today, and the importance of looking after your team and people. As a company that has operated remotely since it’s beginnings, Mullenweg stresses the importance of team-building, and why he took his entire company to Disneyland. 

Mullenweg touches on some key issues faced by entrepreneurs the worldover - chronic dissatisfaction in progress, and that whatever you do is never enough. He says instead of saying to yourself that it’s not enough, entrepreneurs need to say “it is enough, and there’s more to do!” 

From the acquisition of powerhouses such as Tumblr, WooCommerce, and his dedication to supporting others, Mullenweg discusses his life’s plan to create as much open-source software as possible and encourage creativity across the globe. 

This interview will leave a smile on your face and give you the motivation and drive to work towards a better future for all. 

Key Takeaways

  • How Mullenweg founded WordPress, and operating as a remote-working business in the early 2000s
  • Mullenweg’s beliefs on company culture and the importance of in-person team-building activities especially for remote workers
  • The future of the office and why he believes it will be obsolete post-Covid
  • Mullenweg reveals that as an angel investor, the key things he looks for in a business or founder
  • The future of web development and WordPress
  • The biggest challenges faced by companies today and the importance of looking after your team and people
  • Chronic dissatisfaction as a founder and why needs to become a more positive drive

 

Direct download: FP334_Matt_Mullenweg.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

In this week’s Foundr podcast interview, Nathan Chan sits down with Lisa Spiden, CEO of Workforce Analytics and Foundr of Fibre HR to discuss everything a team leader needs to embody in order to help their team do their best work. 

Spiden discusses key tactics and methods that team leaders can adopt to help lead their teams through any crisis. Not only does this mean offering support for them during the work-from-home culture shift, but also taking the time to understand and adapt for each individual's needs and workflow. 

With something for every team leader, this interview will help you to understand how to build a culture within your team, hiring strategies, and top-talent selection.

Key Takeaways

  • How Spiden found herself working in HR, and the origins of Fibre HR and Workforce Analytics
  • Spiden discusses tactics to keep team morale high during forced WFH
  • Why staff motivation is the key to staff retention
  • Team standups, retros, and other remote team bonding exercises
  • Addressing top-talent selection, and whether pro-culture or pro-skills is best for your business
  • Building a great culture inside and office, and how to build on it strategically
  • Understanding what your team wants, what drives them, what motivates them
Direct download: FP333_Lisa_Spiden.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

Ever wondered how the elite pros do Facebook ads? This week’s interview with course instructor Nick Shackelford is just that: a no-holding back, all inclusive, step-by-step discussion on running successful Facebook ads. 

Returning again to Foundr’s exclusive podcast, Shackelford discusses his learnings on media buying, running facebook ads that convert, and exactly what he learned from spending a ridiculous amount of money on fb ads. 

This interview dives deep into the nitty-gritty of all the lessons Shackelford learned doing media buying for Apple, including the budgets he worked on for the launch of the iPhone 7, iPad Pro, and the Apple Watch (and we are talking huge budgets). 

Shackelford also discusses how he single-handedly popularized the Fidget Spinner by using Facebook Ads, and how he started his own agency, Structured Social. 

In this interview, not only will you discover why Shackelford’s Structured spends close to $20million per month on Facebook ads, you’ll also hear first-hand tips and strategies to success in FB ads within the hardest markets, across all GEOS, for every product or service. 

This is an episode you cannot miss! 

Key Takeaways

  • How Shackelford first found his way into the industry
  • Working for Apple and what he learned from running $100 million Facebook ads
  • The rise of the fidget spinner, $1m run rate in the first month, and the importance of opportunity
  • How Shackelford has built Structure Social, and now spends close to $20million a month and has over 50 employees
  • The biggest lessons he has learned over the years, including the intricacies of media buying, copywriting, positioning, and creative 
  • Why you only have 3-seconds to make an impression with your ad
  • Shackelford’s key advice for those looking to grow their business through Facebook ads
Direct download: FP332_Nick_Shackelford.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

Mental toughness isn’t something you’re born with, it’s something you learn and practice and develop over time. And Andy Frisella is living proof of that. 

The Founder of 1st Phorm, the “Real AF podcast host”, 75Hard program creator, and all around badass Andy Frisella knows discipline and mindset, and isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. 

It’s no secret that Foundr is a huge fan of Frisella’s work with developing mental toughness and discipline (in fact, most of our team has completed his 75Hard challenge!) and after listening to this interview, you’ll be a fan too. 

Frisella is raw, real, and straight to the point with everything he believes in with mental health, building a brand, company values, and aspiring to become the best version of yourself possible. 

Key Takeaways

  • Frisella discusses how he has always been an entrepreneur at heart
  • Frisella reflects on how he began his first business, the struggles, the journey, and how he stayed focussed
  • Company values and how Frisella recognises greatness and celebrates it within his team
  • The importance of being a good leader and why you need to communicate values with your team
  • Why Frisella still compares himself to others above him, and why this is a driving force in success
  • The struggle of finding the right support at high-levels of success
  • How to push through discipline blocks and shake off burnout
  • The evolution of 75Hard and what Frisella is most excited for as a legacy
Direct download: FP331__Andy_Frisella.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

Yancey Strickler, Author and Kickstarter Co-Founder

In this inspiring podcast interview, Nathan Chan sits down with Kickstarter co-founder and author Yancey Strickler to discuss his 'Bento Box' method for making better decisions, how his company Kickstarter found it’s feet, and our unhealthy obsession with “financial maximization”. 

Strickler was working as a music journalist in New York when a chance encounter with future co-founder Perry Chen in a restaurant led to the creation of Kickstarter, and crowdfunding as a category-defining player in a new field. 

A writer at heart, Stickler used his time post-Kickstarter to write the groundbreaking This Could Be Our Future. An in-depth look at our current obsession with financial gain, and how society has conditioned us to always choose whatever will make the most money.

Making the right choices in life is a mission close to Strickler’s heart. As such, he created the revolutionary “Bento Box” framework, an inspiring and humbling process for individuals and businesses alike to frame and structure their decisions.

This podcast is one of our most inspiring insights into human nature and the importance of caring for our future selves and our future business.  Learn from Strickler as he gives you the secret Bento Box method to help you make the right decisions in life. This is a conversation you won’t want to miss!

Key Takeaways

  • Strickler discusses how the idea for Kickstarter came about in 2005 while working in the music industry
  • Why it took Strickler close to 4 years for the idea to be executed
  • The conscious decision to frame Kickstarter as a funding method for passion projects and new ideas rather than a charity platform
  • Why Kickstarter was originally called “Kickstartr”
  • Pitching the idea of Kickstarter and the initial investors, and getting Andy Baio onboard with the project
  • How they went from unpaid developers to profitability in 14 months
  • The effect of being a category-defining player in a new field 
  • Stepping down from his position at Kickstarter
  • Strickler’s new book “This Could Be Our Future” and our current obsession with Financial Maximisation: whatever makes the most money is the right decision
  • Strickler’s Bento Framework
    • Now Me: profitability 
    • Future Me: as a business, your values
    • Now Us: stakeholders, employees, suppliers, etc.
    • Future Us: the bigger idea of what you want to be

Key Resources From Our Interview 

https://www.ystrickler.com/book

Direct download: FP330_Yancey_Strickler.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

Kamal Ravikant, Author and Founder, Venture Capitalist

In this special podcast interview, Nathan Chan sits down with renowned author and founder Kamal Ravikant to discuss his thoughts on mentorship, entrepreneurs, and everything in between. 

Ravikant traces his journey back to a point in time most entrepreneurs face: he was doing too much and he was burnt out. In fact, it took losing everything for him to realize what he needed to change: his mindset. Throughout his journey, the ups and downs, the lows and highs, Ravikant is a master of maintaining a balance between persistence and open-mindedness in everything he does. 

Listen in as Ravikant discloses the powerful reason he chose to write his bestselling book: 'Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It', and how the book developed from a self-published book to a global success spreading joy and love published in 16 languages. 

This podcast is raw, honest, and a deep insight into personal growth. Learn from Ravikant as he discloses the universal importance of loving yourself, being humble, and caring deeply. This is a conversation you won’t want to miss!

Key Takeaways

  • Ravikant holds the honor of being the fourth ever podcast interview by Foundr back in 2014
  • His beginnings riding the wave of the internet boom 
  • Why it took losing everything to realize he needed to change his mindset
  • His ideology that you should build a business by identifying a problem and creating a solution first
  • The power investors hold over entrepreneurs, and what drove him to become a doer
  • Why he believes in having a strong entrepreneur mindset
  • His re-launch of the global bestseller Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It published in 16 languages worldwide
  • Ravikant discusses his upcoming projects and behind-the-scenes of funds
  • Ravikant addresses the changes in Silicon Valley, and what advice he would give to upcoming entrepreneurs
  • Why you need to be humble and care deeply, always.
Direct download: FP329_Kamal_Ravikant.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

Joanna Griffiths CEO Knixwear

CEO of global intimates brand Knixwear Joanna Griffiths sits down with Nathan Chan to reveal how she took $20k to and made $50m in revenue last year. 

In this wonderfully inspiring episode, Griffiths’ discusses how she became an “accidental entrepreneur” with Knixwear. Initially begun as a passion project to create high-quality leak-proof intimates, Griffiths’ put aside her initial goal to run her own media company and instead decided to take the plunge into entrepreneurship. 

 

In school, her business plan won a competition, and she used the $20k prize to begin chasing her dream of solving a universal problem. After years of trials and errors, including a first-time sample order of 40,000 pairs of underwear, Knixwear quickly found it’s feet and is now a $50m a year company. Knixwear has 85 employees globally, and Griffiths’ still reels at the idea that her company sells an item every 6 seconds. 

Listen in as Griffiths’ discusses the lows and the highs of being a first-time business owner, TV advertising, and why she always chooses the path of risk so she doesn’t look back and wonder “what if”. 

Key Takeaways

  • How Griffiths’ original plan to run her own media company led her to pursue her MBA
  • How her intimates brand Knixwear began as high-quality leak-proof underwear
  • Why Griffiths dedicated her time to solving this universal problem, and why she feels she is an accidental entrepreneur as a result
  • Why she chose to take a chance rather than risk looking back with regret
  • Griffiths’ discusses her initial business funding: she won a business plan competition at school and received $20k 
  • How she used the $20k for product development, launching, and crowd-funding
  • Griffiths’ reveals that the first order was the biggest mistake, but she values progress over perfection
  • Knixwear has passed $50m annual revenue, and that they sell an item every 6 seconds
  • Griffiths’ discusses the early days of wholesale business, and the struggles first-time entrepreneurs face
  • How she identified her target market and shaped her product accordingly
Direct download: FP328_Joanna_Griffiths.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

Ulrich Boser, CEO, The Learning Agency

Founder and CEO of The Learning Agency, best-selling author, and Foundr course Instructor Ulrich Boser sits down for an in-depth discussion on becoming a better learner, the misinformation surrounding information, and the big secret to mastering any skill (and we mean any skill).  

The ability to absorb and retain information effectively is often thought of as some sort of elusive skill that you’re born with, but Boser seeks to dispel this once and for all. The ability to learn effectively isn’t something assigned at birth, no one has a “set learning” style, and your ability to absorb information ultimately comes down to how you decide to approach everything.

Author of the best-selling Learn Better, Boser reveals to Foundr’s Nathan Chan why he started his company, why feedback is crucial, and why he believes everyone should throw away their highlighters if they want to learn better. 

In this conversation, Boser takes everything you thought you knew about learning and spins it on its head. If you have any questions about Boser’s upcoming course, please don’t hesitate to reach out at support@foundr.com. 

Key Takeaways

  • Boser discusses how his childhood sparked his passion to hone and master the ability to pick up skills effectively
  • Why Boser began The Learning Agency
  • Boser discusses the prevalence of learning myths
  • Common learning myths and why they impact learning
  • Why active learning will always overshadow passive learning
  • How to engage with the material; quiz yourself, and identify gaps in your knowledge 
  • Why previous knowledge on a topic will boost your learning
  • The importance of feedback on your learning
Direct download: FP327_Ulrich_Boser.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

Malcolm Ong has never shied away from change. In fact, his ability to adapt is what has given him a front-row seat to multiple business transformations—first as the co-founder of education platform Skillshare to now as the Head of Product at South China Morning Post.

After launching Skillshare in 2010, Ong led the business through a significant pivot—from being a completely offline, in-person model to one that’s now membership-based and 100% online. In the process, he also witnessed the massive growth of the online education industry, which has only been sped up by the Covid-19 pandemic.

After leaving Skillshare, Ong joined South China Morning Post, a global, English-language news media company owned by Alibaba. His job has been to transform this company from a traditional, local newspaper into a more modern, global media empire. A task that he has exceeded, as he’s grown their number of monthly active users from 4 million to over 50 million and significantly expanded the outlet’s readership beyond Asia.

In this conversation, Ong gives us a deeper dive into these milestones throughout his fascinating career and shares his best recommendations on how to transform a business. If there’s any other type of content you’d like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out at support@foundr.com. 

Key Takeaways

  • Why Ong decided to tackle the education industry
  • How Skillshare launched as a 100% offline education platform 
  • What contributed to Skillshare’s success
  • The scalability issues that Skillshare faced, and how this led to the company transitioning online
  • Ong’s advice when it comes to pivoting your business
  • Why Ong eventually left Skillshare in 2016
  • What intrigued Ong about the job offer from South China Morning Post (SCMP)
  • Ong’s experience living in Hong Kong, and how it has given him the front seat to many historical events
  • How Ong has helped SCMP transform from being a traditional media company to a cutting-edge product and customer-focused business
  • Ong’s advice to entrepreneurs about trying on different hats

Key Resources From Our Interview With Malcom Ong

Direct download: FP326_Malcom_Ong.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

John Mackey, Co-Founder and CEO, Whole Foods Market

Right now, every company needs strong leadership to guide them through these challenging times. Thankfully, Whole Foods Market co-founder and CEO John Mackey is well versed on the principles of leadership and is launching his latest book, Conscious Leadership, this month to help other founders put those ideas into practice. 

 

In addition to the book, people can see Mackey’s approach to leadership in action with Whole Foods. While Mackey is grateful that his stores are still in full operation during Covid-19, he doesn’t try to hide the fact that circumstances have been extremely challenging—from rapidly scaling its supply chain to accommodate the sudden demands of customers to generating almost no revenue as a result of all the sanitation products the business has had to invest in.

 

But these obstacles don't bother Mackey. As a conscious leader, his priority is making sure that every single one of their 100,000 team members has access to the resources they need to stay safe at work. He has also raised every in-store worker’s pay by $2 per hour, provided two extra weeks of sick pay for those who have to quarantine, and is giving unlimited callouts during this time. 

 

In this conversation, Mackey shares more about what it means to lead with love, how founders can attract and retain great talent in this challenging environment, and so much more. If there’s any other type of content you’d like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out at support@foundr.com. 

Key Takeaways

  • An overview of Mackey’s best-selling book, Conscious Capitalism
  • A sneak peek into Mackey’s latest book, Conscious Leadership, and what inspired him to write it
  • The two most important pillars of leadership
  • Why Mackey believes in leading with love 
  • How Mackey is putting conscious leadership into action during the pandemic
  • The challenges Whole Foods has been dealing with from a supply chain and revenue perspective 
  • Why being an Amazon subsidiary adds a layer of complexity to the Whole Foods business
  • How to attract and retain great people during these challenging times 
  • What Mackey has done to support Whole Foods employees during Covid-19
  • Why Mackey believes in the win-win-win mindset, and how this attitude can guide your business decisions 
  • The importance of leading by example 

Key Resources From Our Interview With John Mackey

  • Get your copy of Conscious Leadership here
Direct download: FP325_John_Mackey.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

Kurt Seidensticker, Former NASA Engineer & Founder and CEO, Vital Proteins

How did Kurt Seidensticker go from being a NASA engineer to the founder of one of the biggest protein brands in the world? Believe it or not, his career path has been a perfect culmination of experiences—one that has led him to his current position as the CEO of Vital Proteins, a brand that was recently acquired by Nestlé and is expected to generate a quarter of a billion dollars in revenue this year. 

 

Even when Seidensticker was working at NASA as an aerospace engineer, he was constantly running his entrepreneurial brain and thinking up new projects to undertake. After several years of working in a diverse array of industries—from cellular phone systems to high-speed internet—he decided to strike out on his own and started his own data center company and ecommerce platform. 

 

Despite appearing to be completely unrelated businesses, these two companies served as the launching pad that allowed Seidensticker to start Vital Proteins in 2013. His ingestible collagen product took the protein market by the storm and saw over 300% YOY growth in its early days.

 

In this podcast episode, Seidensticker discusses what led to the incredible growth of Vital Proteins—from having first-mover advantage to finding negotiating power when dealing with retailers. He also shares his best recommendations when it comes to influencer marketing, moving fast, and so much more. 

 

If there’s any other type of content you’d like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out at support@foundr.com. 

Key Takeaways

  • Why Seidensticker decided to become an aerospace engineer 
  • The business ideas Seidensticker had while working at NASA and worked on space programs, underneath was entrepreneurial drive
  • How Seidensticker came to work on pivotal projects in the cellular phone systems and high-speed internet space
  • Why Seidensticker decided to strike out on his own
  • How the data center company and ecommerce platform he built became a launching pad for Vital Proteins
  • The experience that led Seidensticker to explore the world of protein, and how he created a whole new category around ingestible collagen
  • How Seidenstricker and his team approach influencer marketing differently 
  • Seidensticker’s school of thought when it comes to the power of product vs. marketing
  • The benefits of operating under the radar and having first-mover advantage
  • How Vital Proteins educated consumers and drove the market for collagen 
  • Why Seidensticker recommends going online before retail, and how he gained negotiating leverage with retailers
  • Details about Vital Proteins’ partial acquisition by Nestlé
  • Why Seidensticker believes in progress over perfection

Key Resources From Our Interview With Kurt Seidensticker

Direct download: FP324_Kurt_Seidensticker.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

Mike Michalowicz, Author & Co-Founder, Profit First Professionals

Right now, every entrepreneur has the same question on their mind: how do I recover or maintain my company’s profit levels during Covid-19?

 

That’s why we were so eager to sit down with Mike Michalowicz, who is a serial entrepreneur, author, and creator of the Profit First system. Our own CEO and founder, Nathan, used Michalowicz’s teachings to completely change the way he manages Foundr’s finances. And now we want to bring you the same level of knowledge to help you through these challenging times.

 

In this conversation, Michalowicz shares his best recommendations on how to manage your cash flow, financial priorities, and more during a pandemic. If you have any questions on how to take a profit-first mindset right now, this episode is for you.  

 

If there’s any other type of content you’d like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out at support@foundr.com.

Key Takeaways

  • What Michalowicz learned from building and selling his first two businesses
  • How going into bankruptcy changed the way that Michalowicz views entrepreneurship
  • Michalowicz’s path to becoming a small business author, and how running two of his own companies contributes to his books
  • What’s happening during “The Great Big Shift”
  • How to manage cash flow during the pandemic
  • The difference between sales issues vs. profit issues
  • Michalowicz’s tips to organize your financial priorities during Covid-19
  • Why Michalowicz recommends pulling off the bandaid instead of chipping away when it comes to tough decisions
  • An overview of the Profit First methodology and framework
  • Parkinson’s Law, and how it applies to toothpaste
  • Why Michalowicz recommends trusting wallets over words

Key Resources From Our Interview With Mike Michalowicz

Direct download: FP323_Mike_Michalowicz.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

Mikael Yan, Co-Founder and CEO, ManyChat

When Mikael Yan launched ManyChat in 2015, other messaging apps were trying to impress investors with their fancy AI and NLP technologies. But not him. Instead, he made it clear to investors that his app was solely meant to solve a business problem: helping companies better communicate with and market to their customers. 

 

Investors who were initially interested in ManyChat immediately lost interest. But not for long. Even though Yan and his founding team initially had to bootstrap their product, investors eventually recognized the potential behind their vision and got on board. 

 

Today, ManyChat has over one million Facebook pages connected to its platform in over 190 countries. The company also recently raised its Series A from Bessemer Venture Partners. Given that 2020 is the first time in history that the number of messaging app users will surpass the number of social media users, it’s clear that ManyChat is just getting started.

 

Listen to this interview to learn more about Yan’s thoughts on the future of messenger marketing, the global mobile industry, and the importance of mindset as an entrepreneur. 

 

If there’s any other type of content you’d like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out at support@foundr.com. 

Key Takeaways

  • Why Yan, after years of dabbling in the consumer space, turned his eyes to B2B 
  • How ManyChat made timely use of Telegram Messenger’s API in 2015 and introduced the world of messenger marketing
  • The rise of private vs. public channels 
  • Yan’s analysis on why China is so ahead when it comes to mobile and messaging apps
  • Why Yan believes in being product obsessed and understanding the customer experience above everything else 
  • How Yan avoided the trap of building a product for the “cool” factor (and initially lost investor interest as a result) 
  • The power of self belief in entrepreneurship, and how to cultivate this mindset 
  • Yan’s personal glass ceiling 
  • A look into the future of ManyChat and what Yan is most excited about when it comes to the messenger app industry 

Key Resources From Our Interview With Mikael Yan 

Direct download: FP322_Mikael_Yang.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:51am AEDT

In 2010, only 2% of beauty products were being sold on the internet. When Katia Beauchamp and her Harvard Business School classmate, Hayley Barna, came across this statistic, they were floored. This seemed like a huge missed opportunity—so they decided to dig deeper.

What they discovered was that people were overwhelmed by the prospect of shopping for beauty products. With this problem in mind, Birchbox was created as the simple solution. The monthly subscription box contained a wide variety of beauty samples, and customers could buy the full size of whichever product they liked. In short, Birchbox made the beauty shopping experience easy for the casual consumer.

Since the brand’s launch in 2010, Birchbox has grown to a nine-figure business that now has access to thousands of products, offers over 100 types of boxes for consumers, and has expanded globally. Listen to this podcast episode to learn more about Beauchamp’s thoughts on scaling relationships, building a trustworthy brand, and appealing to your target customer.

If there’s any other type of content you’d like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out at support@foundr.com.


Key Takeaways

  • Why people weren’t shopping for beauty products online in the mid-2000s
  • How this problem inspired Beauchamp and co-founder Hayley Barna to launch their beauty subscription box, Birchbox
  • The idea of the “casual consumer” and how this demographic became Birchbox’s target customer
  • Why Beauchamp doesn’t view beauty stores like Sephora or department stores as competitors
  • How Birchbox launched its beta test in 2010, and what it took to grow its customer base
  • Beauchamp’s thoughts on scaling relationships and building a trustworthy brand
  • What Beauchamp is most excited about when it comes to the future of Birchbox
Direct download: FP321_Katia_Beauchamp.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

It’s not easy to rebuild an entire company—especially when things are going well. But that’s exactly what Justin McLeod did with his dating app, Hinge.

After Hinge first launched in 2012, it saw exponential growth. Despite this, McLeod made the risky decision to rebuild his app from scratch in 2016. Why? He felt that the company had strayed too from its original vision or helping people find and build meaningful connections. So instead of remaining the brand that connects “friends with friends,” it rebranded to become “the dating app designed to be deleted.”

McLeod’s decision paid off. Today, Hinge is a subsidiary under Match.com, has seen huge growth on a global scale, and is setting up a date every three seconds globally. In this podcast episode, McLeod shares exactly what it took to get through this challenging transition and what’s in store for this beloved dating app in the near future. 

If there’s any other type of content you’d like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out at support@foundr.com. 

Key Takeaways

  • McLeod’s own love story, and how it inspired the idea behind Hinge 
  • Why, after years of success, McLeod decided to rebuild his dating app from scratch
  • The reaction of Hinge’s board of directors and team in response to this change 
  • How Hinge fulfills its mission of getting more people out on great dates
  • The type of data that Hinge collects to set itself apart from competitors
  • The power of word-of-mouth when it came to Hinge’s growth 
  • What McLeod thinks are the mistakes he made while building Hinge for the first time (and how he fixed them the second time around) 
  • Why McLeod decided to join forces with Match.com, and how this decision has helped the business scale globally 
  • The type of research that’s happening at Hinge Labs 
  • McLeod’s approach to user testing and product development with Hinge 
  • Why McLeod recommends being firm about your vision but flexible about your tactics
Direct download: FP320_Justin_McLeod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

Email marketing is one of the most powerful tools that brands can leverage during the pandemic. With face-to-face interactions still being limited and people spending most of their time at home, there has never been a better time to hit ‘send’ on those email campaigns and flows.

To help guide you in the right direction, we sat down with Chase Dimond to get his best recommendations on how to crisis-proof your email marketing strategy. Why Dimond? Not only is he the co-founder of Boundless Labs, an email marketing agency that was recently acquired by Structured Social, but he has also helped his clients make over $40 million in email attributable revenue during his career. 

In our conversation, Dimond shares specific examples of the most successful email messaging, campaigns, and flows that his clients have used during Covid-19. He also reveals fascinating data on the email marketing trends he’s noticed since the start of the pandemic. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just getting started on your email marketing journey, you’re sure to learn something valuable in this interview. 

If there’s any other type of content you’d like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out at support@foundr.com. 

Key Takeaways

  • Dimond’s agency merge with Structured Social 
  • How Dimond is thinking about Covid-19 from a business perspective
  • Examples of email messaging to use during the pandemic 
  • Why Dimond is staying away from fear mongering and focusing on adding value
  • The difference between email campaigns and email flows
  • Which categories of email campaigns are working well for Dimond’s clients
  • The importance of creating an email marketing calendar 
  • Why Dimond recommends splitting your time between campaigns and flows
  • Examples of successful email campaigns Dimond’s clients have run in the past
  • Dimond’s thoughts on giveaways
  • What Structured Social’s data is showing when it comes to open rates, mobile traffic, and the impact of stimulus checks on email marketing
  • Dimond’s recommendations on getting emails prepared for the summer 
Direct download: FP319_Chase_Diamond.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

Founder and CEO of ActiveCampaign Jason Vandeboom sits down with Foundr’s Nathan Chan to discuss his journey from launching a small part-time business to running a global SaaS empire.

An email marketing, marketing-automation, and sales CRM platform, Jason owes the company’s success to its “customer first” approach and mindful framework.

By throwing out the “product-first SaaS playbook” to a more customer-centric model, ActiveCampaign has evolved from an old-school on-premise contact management company to over 90,000 customers in 161 countries.

Jason doesn’t believe in a time-box window for creation, and he discusses his belief that you can create innovation over time. He says that when it comes to building a business that is sustainable and long-term, you have to start with the right framework.

With many small businesses facing uncertainty due to Covid-19, ActiveCampaign has made it their mission to provide support and security for their customers. Jason discusses how “there’s a former digital transformation that […] has become a necessity.” Above all, business is about trusting your instincts and trying to find a path that is a different shape to others.

If there’s any other type of content you’d like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us via email.

Key Takeaways

  • Jason discusses his belief in the importance of staying true to being a small business
  • How ActiveCampaign found its footing as an on-premise contact management businesses
  • Why Jason believes the key to a successful business is customer-first over product-first, and how this can shape creative innovation
  • How ActiveCampaign slowly built its foundations in order to secure 100k paying-active companies and over $100 million in annual recurring revenue
  • Why you should ignore the typical SaaS playbook that insists that in order to obtain growth you will need to upmarket
  • Jason advises that you should always trust your instincts, and allow time for your company to grow. You only need passion, joy, and the strength to find our way through it all.
Direct download: FP318_Jason_Vandeboom.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:03pm AEDT

From working as a server at Longhorn Steakhouse, to multiple successful startups, making millions in his 20s, to publishing a best selling book, Daniel DiPiazza knows the entrepreneur's journey like the back of his hand. Here to discuss his upcoming "Start Your Side Hustle" course with Foundr, Daniel is all too familiar with the challenges and doubts faced by today's hustlers, and is here to teach you ways to overcome them.

If you want to start a business but don't know where to begin, a low-risk side hustle by freelancing with your existing skills really is the gateway to entrepreneurship. It's extremely affordable with almost literally zero startup cost. In return, you can expect to make great profits with little to no overheads.

Daniel has done this multiple times and has a unique method for helping you identify your skills, find clients, and getting them to pay you for your service.

If there's any other type of content you'd like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don't hesitate to reach out to us via email.

Key Takeaways

  • Daniel discusses his first viral article: Hacking E-Lance, the infamous "butterball story," and how he dominated a job board website
  • Taking the first step towards starting your own business with "sweat equity"
  • Why service-based businesses are the gateway drug to entrepreneurship
  • Why freelancing teaches you all the business essentials
  • Taking the first step; how not to be afraid, what to focus on, and what the competition means for you
  • The importance of building a skill inventory, defining your skill, and seeing where they align
  • Gaining confidence in becoming an entrepreneur and why you don't have to be the best in the world at what you do
  • The fastest way for you to get paid for your big idea
Direct download: FP317_Daniel_DiPiazza.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

Ben Horowitz is one of the most widely recognized names in the world of entrepreneurship. Not only is he the co-founder of the famous venture capital fund, Andreessen Horowitz, but he's also a respected author and thinker with some of the most innovative ideas when it comes to the way companies are run.

In our conversation with Horowitz, we dive deep into the topic of culture—how to create it, move it, and adhere to it. Horowitz also gives us a glimpse into his book, What You Do Is Who You Are, and shares fascinating stories and case studies from it (such as his learnings from prison gang leader, Shaka Senghor).

This isn't a podcast episode you want to miss! Whether you're a fan of Horowitz himself or simply want to learn more about the art of crafting a company culture, you're sure to gain tons of insights in this interview.

If there's any other type of content you'd like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don't hesitate to reach out to us via email.

Key Takeaways

  • The problem that Andreessen Horowitz set out to solve for technical founders 
  • What compelled Horowitz to publish his book, What You Do Is Who You Are
  • What it takes to move a culture 
  • The importance of cohesion between culture and strategy
  • Why you don’t need to establish your company culture on Day 1
  • What a prison gang leader taught Horowitz about culture and leadership
  • The creative way that Andreessen Horowitz enforces their value to be respectful to entrepreneurs at the firm
  • Horowitz’s thoughts on the culture of Netflix versus McDonald’s  
  • The elements that go into creating a high-performance culture 
  • Differentiating between high performance versus long hours 
  • Why Horowitz looks for courage in founders 
  • Bonus: Horowitz shares his favorite rap album from 2019
Direct download: FP316_Ben_Horowitz.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am AEDT

In 2008, Jeff Rosenthal and his co-founders Elliott Bisnow and Brett Leve convinced 19 people they admired to go on a ski trip with them to Park City, Utah. They wanted to spend one-on-one time with this small group of thought leaders to learn from them and glean some knowledge.

Little did they know that this was only the beginning of their long and successful entrepreneurial journey. What started off as a small event production company has morphed into a global behemoth that includes everything from nonprofits to funds to a major ski resort that all fall under the Summit brand.

While the company is still primarily known for its famous invitation-only events, its biggest impact is its tight-knit community of innovative, creative individuals from around the world.

In this podcast episode, Rosenthal talks about Summit’s explosive growth, what it takes to host a truly extraordinary event, and more entrepreneurial gold.

If there’s any other type of content you’d like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out at support@foundr.com.


Key Takeaways

  • What inspired Rosenthal and his co-founders to start their event production company Summit in 2008
  • How Summit expanded into a family of companies, nonprofits, and funds over the last 12 years
  • What makes a spectacular event, according to Rosenthal
  • Why Rosenthal believes “keep it real” is terrible advice when it comes to events, and what he recommends instead
  • The importance of leadership when it comes to event planning
  • The correlation between creativity and capital
  • How Rosenthal manages to lead the multiple entities under Summit
  • The best advice on delegation Rosenthal received from his mentor
  • Why profitability isn’t the only measure of an event’s success
  • What it takes to attract top-notch speakers (and how to set them up for success)
  • The way Rosenthal approaches balancing quality of experience and scaling
Direct download: FP315_Jeff_Rosenthal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:12am AEDT

When Tiffany Masterson was a stay-at-home mom, she was always looking for ways to make a little extra money. So when the opportunity came around to start selling a brand of bar cleanser as a side hustle, she didn’t think much of it.

Little did she know that she would soon develop a passion for skincare, cultivate her own philosophy around what skincare should look like, and launch Drunk Elephant—a brand that was eventually sold to Shiseido in 2019 for a whopping $845 million.

In this podcast episode, Masterson takes us through her unexpected journey as an entrepreneur—from having her brother-in-law as her first investor to snagging a partnership with Sephora, to building an incredible company culture.

If there’s any other type of content you’d like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out at support@foundr.com.


Key Takeaways

  • How Masterson, a stay-at-home mom of four children, started selling bar cleanser as a side hustle
  • Why she developed a fascination with the world of skincare
  • Masterson’s skincare philosophy, and how she started to create her dream product on paper
  • What it was like to have her brother-in-law as her first investor
  • Why Masterson kept the launch of Drunk Elephant in 2013 as minimal as possible
  • How Drunk Elephant caught the eye of Sephora
  • The cost of formulating, producing, and packaging 5,000 units of six products
  • The tough financial conversations Masterson had to have
  • Why Masterson chose to take things day-by-day instead of looking too far into the future
  • The biggest trap Masterson believes most founders fall into
  • How Masterson has kept her turnover rate at less than 2% since 2013
  • The reason why people get excited about the Drunk Elephant brand
  • Why Masterson doesn’t believe in trying to “outcompete” other brands
Direct download: FP314_Tiffany_Masterson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:18am AEDT

Parker Conrad is no stranger to hard times.

His first startup, Wikinvest, failed to take off during the seven years he was with the company. He then had a falling out with his co-founder, which caused him to leave and start over. Conrad’s next venture, Zenefits, faced scrutiny while he served as the CEO. And now, his current company Rippling is feeling the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

But Conrad’s strength has always been approaching problems with a realistic and humble attitude. Despite the fact that Rippling’s existing customer base has shrunk since the pandemic hit, the company's top-of-funnel performance hasn’t been impacted. They’re setting up record numbers of demos and doubling down on product investment. Most importantly, Conrad is being strategic about finances and still has three years of runway left.

In this podcast episode, Conrad shares his most honest thoughts on the challenges of Covid-19, what he’s been doing to get through this transition, and what he thinks other struggling founders should do.

If there’s any other type of content you’d like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out at support@foundr.com.


Key Takeaways

  • Conrad’s most challenging chapter as an entrepreneur of a failing startup, and why he chose to stay for seven years
  • The pain point that inspired the idea for Zenefits
  • How Rippling provides an employee system that goes beyond HR
  • How the pandemic impacted Rippling’s existing customer base
  • Why Conrad is focused on burn, and what he’s doing to maintain runway
  • The importance of acknowledging what’s not working while also looking toward a more promising future
  • Why Conrad hates working from home, and how he got through the difficult transition
  • Conrad’s unpopular advice for struggling founders
Direct download: FP313_Parker_Conrad.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:56am AEDT

It’s not every day that an entrepreneur creates an entirely new industry category and a nine-figure company at the same time. But that’s exactly what Dharmesh Shah did when he started HubSpot.

Before the company launched in 2006, marketing relied solely on outbound tactics such as cold calling, purchasing billboards, and buying email lists. Shah and his co-founder Brian Halligan saw an opportunity to completely change the game. Together, they founded the concept of inbound marketing, which is all about creating value for your audience to draw them into your company.

Since then, HubSpot has quickly become the most respected and recognized brand within the marketing world—known not only for being the inventor and category king of inbound marketing, but also for adopting an incredible company culture. In this interview, Shah touches on all these topics and shares his biggest takeaways from serving as the co-founder and CTO of HubSpot.

If there’s any other type of content you’d like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out at support@foundr.com.


Key Takeaways

  • How Shah and his co-founder Brian Halligan simultaneously came up with the idea for HubSpot and an entirely new category of marketing
  • The biggest challenges of inbound marketing in the early days
  • Why Shah decided not to trademark the term “inbound,” and how this decision helped the inbound marketing movement flourish
  • The history behind HubSpot’s famous 128-slide Culture Code deck
  • Shah’s tips for keeping culture consistent across a decentralized team
  • Why Shah recommends approaching your company culture as a product
  • What Shah and his team do to make sure their customers and employees stay happy
  • How a maniacal obsession with your craft will help you find success
Direct download: FP312_Dharmesh_Shah.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:40am AEDT

Peter Yared has a wealth of experience as an entrepreneur. Not only has he built and sold six different B2B enterprise companies (making more than $500 million in exits), but he’s also lived through three different recessions and managed to stay afloat through them all.

In this conversation with our CEO Nathan Chan, Yared dives deep into the world of software businesses and takes us through his process of coming up with an idea, turning it into a company, and successfully selling it. He also explains the most important lessons from the three previous recessions he’s lived through, as well as what he’s learned during the current pandemic.

Whether you’re an engineer who wants to step into the world of entrepreneurship or a business owner who is struggling with the impact of Covid-19, this episode is jam-packed with helpful knowledge!

If there’s any other type of content you’d like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out at support@foundr.com.


Key Takeaways

  • How Yared initially fell in love with programming
  • Yared’s journey to building and selling six B2B enterprise companies
  • Why software businesses usually end up being bought out
  • An overview of Yared’s most successful exits
  • How Yared decides when to turn an idea into an actual company (and why he prefers to call them “projects”)
  • The importance of being part of trends
  • Why Yared’s last five projects started off self-funded
  • Yared’s best advice for engineers
  • The idea of push vs. pull selling
  • Why Yared doesn’t believe the superior product always wins
  • How to use an engineering perspective to successfully go to market
  • How Yared managed the impact of Covid-19 for his global company
  • Yared’s best advice based on his experience with multiple recessions, and how the current pandemic compares
Direct download: FP311_Peter_Yared.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:16am AEDT

What does it take to create, market, and sell a profitable online course?

This question is likely on the minds of many people⁠, especially now that the pandemic is pushing people to turn to online courses as a way to level up their skill sets. Ankur Nagpal has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to this topic, from running his startup Teachable for the past six years to growing his online course platform to host 50,000 creators and reaching over 30 million people since its launch.

Nagpal shares insights on everything from how to create a full-time income from an online course to best practices to follow as a beginner course creator. He also predicts what the future of the online course industry looks like.

If there’s any other type of content you’d like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out at support@foundr.com.


Key Takeaways

  • How Nagpal got started with Teachable, the startup that converts passions into online courses
  • The three factors that are contributing to the growth of the online course market
  • How the pandemic has impacted Teachable
  • What it takes to create a full-time income from an online course business
  • The importance of an NPS, and how it distinguishes the top 1% of courses
  • Nagpal’s best practices for online course creation, especially for first-timers
  • Strategies to drive more sales
  • How to overcome limiting self beliefs
  • Nagpal’s best advice when it comes to niches, tools, and list building
  • A look into the future of the online course industry
  • What Teachable’s recent acquisition means for the future of the business
Direct download: FP310_Ankur_Nagpal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:53am AEDT

Gina Bianchini has always loved working with creators. That’s why she co-founded Ning, an online platform for people and organizations to create custom social networks, with Marc Andreessen in 2005. Even after leaving Ning, she couldn’t stay away from the world of creators for long so she launched Mighty Networks in 2017.

Since then, the team at Mighty Networks has been obsessed with serving “creators with a purpose.” The platform powers brands and businesses that bring people together via online courses, paid memberships, events, content, and community.

In this podcast episode, Bianchini explains why she’s so passionate about providing more opportunities for creators. She also shares her best recommendations when it comes to creating successful online courses and communities, and how her team at Mighty Networks approaches these goals within their own platform.

If there’s any other type of content you’d like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out at support@foundr.com.


Key Takeaways

  • Why Bianchini has always loved working with creators
  • A brief history of Bianchini’s first company, Ning, and why she left in 2010
  • The three pillars that inspired the idea for Mighty Networks
  • Why Bianchini believes in the power of small communities
  • The reason why creators want to get away from Facebook Groups, and why it’s beneficial to encourage this migration
  • The story of why Bianchini launched her own online course, and why it’s the best thing she’s ever done
  • What makes a successful course
  • The most important things to know about community building in 2020
Direct download: FP309_Gina_Bianchini.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:30am AEDT

Henrik Werdelin has never been about chasing money, power, or fame. Instead, his focus has always been on creating cool things with people he enjoys being around. That’s exactly how BarkBox, now one of many subsidiaries under BARK, came to be.

Despite Werdelin’s non-material approach to BARK, the dog subscription box company has exploded in popularity since its launch in 2012. Today, it boasts hundreds of thousands of subscribers and it is a nine-figure business.

In our conversation, Werdelin shares the most important learnings he’s collected as an entrepreneur—from finding the right funding option for your business to maintaining the right headspace during challenging times. Werdelin also gives us a glimpse into BARK’s incredible company culture and how he managed to build a quirky, kind, and smart team of people to pave the path for the organization. As a bonus, we also get a sneak peek into Werdelin’s book, “The Acorn Method” to understand how companies can grow in an ever-changing environment.

If there’s any other type of content you’d like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out at support@foundr.com.


Key Takeaways

  • Why Werdelin and his co-founders decided to start creating cool stuff for dogs in 2012
  • The funny story of how Werdelin met one of his co-founders in a heart-shaped bed on a cruise ship
  • What the pet industry was like when BarkBox first entered the market
  • Werdelin’s advice on finding the right funding option for your business
  • How BARK has dealt with the pandemic, and why the pet industry is recession proof
  • The importance of staying in a good headspace during tough times
  • How Werdelin and his co-founders approach leadership and decision-making
  • Why BARK is an inside-out brand, and what that means
  • A sneak peek into Werdelin’s new book, “The Acorn Method” and the advice it shares on how companies can continue growing during uncertain times
  • Werdelin’s best advice for entrepreneurs who are struggling during the pandemic
Direct download: FP308_Henrik_Werdelin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:02am AEDT

As we start thinking about re-opening our businesses and offices after Covid-19, many people are wondering what the new “normal” will look like.

While co-founder of Basecamp David Heinemeier Hansson doesn’t know for sure what the outcome will be, he certainly has an idea of what the new world of work should look like. As one of the biggest advocates of remote work, Hansson is hopeful that more and more companies will see the benefits of allowing employees to choose how and where they want to work.

But his vision for work doesn’t stop there. Hansson is also passionate about creating an environment where employees can protect at least a few hours of their day to accomplish deep work. This means no daily stand ups, no open calendars, and no unnecessary distractions that take away from your ability to get s*** done—an approach that’s imbued in Basecamp’s own culture.

If you’re fascinated by the topics of remote work and productivity, you don’t want to miss out on this conversation with Hansson.

If there’s any other content you’d like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out at support@foundr.com.


Key Takeaways

  • The email from Hansson to Jason Fried that eventually led to the birth of Basecamp
  • Why it’s difficult to tell what the new “normal” for work will be after Covid-19
  • A look at the most common misconceptions about remote work, and how the pandemic has proven them to be false
  • Why Hansson believes we need to focus less on the number of hours we work and more on the quality of those hours
  • The reason why Basecamp isn’t renewing the lease for its Chicago office
  • Why Hansson doesn’t believe in daily stand ups and open calendars
  • How to maximize deep work
  • Why Basecamp’s approach to work is less about productivity, and more about human health and happiness
  • A sneak peek into Hansson’s upcoming project, HEY
  • Why the phrase ASAP is overused
  • What Hansson’s schedule looks like on most days
Direct download: FP307_David_Heinemeier_Hansson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:02am AEDT

Chris DeWolfe excels at creating massive user bases—a skill he has demonstrated with two companies you’ll likely recognize: Myspace and Jam City.

After DeWolfe launched the biggest social network of its time in 2003, it was only a matter of months before Myspace completely took off and attracted millions of users around the world. Only two years after the start of his company, DeWolfe sold the platform for $580 million. But he wasn’t done yet.

When DeWolfe asked himself ‘what’s next?’ he found himself drawn to the world of gaming. Not only was it easy to scale, but he also believed the current trends pointed toward an explosion in gaming. He wasn’t wrong. Today, Jam City is known for famous mobile games like Cookie Jam and Pop! and Panda, and it’s still going strong to keep up with the growing demand of casual gamers.

In this interview, DeWolfe discusses the hyper growth of his companies, how to stay focused when running such a behemoth of a company, and what it takes to build massive user bases.

If there’s any other content you’d like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out at support@foundr.com.


Key Takeaways

  • How DeWolfe built the largest website in the world and the biggest social network of its time, Myspace
  • The trends in pop culture and technology that led to the launch of Myspace in 2003
  • A look into the rapid growth and eventual sale of Myspace in 2005 for $580 million
  • How Myspace created a roadmap for companies like Spotify and YouTube
  • The top three lessons DeWolfe learned from his journey with Myspace
  • How DeWolfe figured out his next step into the world of mobile gaming
  • Why Jam City targets an underserved audience for gamers
  • The acquisition of Mindjolt
  • How to be a great storyteller and create amazing games
  • What’s exciting for DeWolfe in the future of the mobile gaming business
  • What it takes to build large user bases
  • Why DeWolfe recommends taking measured risks in the pursuit of innovation
  • A sneak peek into Jam City’s latest upcoming mobile game
Direct download: FP306_Chris_DeWolfe.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:20am AEDT

By now, the story is legend. When Drew Houston boarded a bus from Boston to New York and discovered that he had—yet again—forgotten to bring his thumb drive, he was frustrated. So frustrated that he sat down and began writing the first lines of code of what would eventually become Dropbox.

After over a decade of changing the way files are stored, synced, and shared, Houston is changing the way people work, once again. This time, to solve a problem that likely plagues every single knowledge worker today: our fragmented, overcomplicated workspaces.

In this episode, you’ll learn more about Houston’s journey—from ideation to launch—with Dropbox Spaces, as well as the most important lessons he’s collected while building a multibillion-dollar company with over 500 million users.


Key Takeaways

  • The relatable experience that inspired Houston to come up with the idea for Dropbox
  • Why Houston doesn’t believe there’s any “magic” involved in building a multibillion-dollar company
  • The importance of decision making and learning continuously on the job
  • How a conversation with a SpaceX engineer sparked the vision behind Dropbox Spaces
  • Houston’s advice on “harvesting” versus “planting” when it comes to your business
  • Why Houston is such a huge believer in intentionally designing your environment—at work and with your personal relationships
Direct download: FP305_Drew_Houston.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:54am AEDT

Alex Osterwalder is primarily known for developing the Business Model Canvas, a template that helps startups develop and document new or existing business models.

In this interview, Osterwalder shares his best insights into the world of business models—ideas that are especially applicable now as entrepreneurs try to launch businesses during Covid-19. He explains why products, technology, and price alone aren’t enough to keep your company competitive. Osterwalder also breaks down the innovative models that Apple, Netflix, and Nintendo have used to become industry leaders (and why even these behemoths aren’t safe from disruption).

We also get a sneak peek into Osterwalder’s latest book called “The Invincible Company.” Not only does it contain an entire library of business models for companies of all sizes, but it also provides guidance on how startups can continuously reinvent themselves to stay ahead of the curve.

If there’s any other content you’d like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out at support@foundr.com.


Key Takeaways

  • How Osterwalder came to study business models in graduate school
  • Insight into Osterwalder’s latest book, “The Invincible Company”
  • Why companies can’t compete on products, technology, and price alone (and why your business model can provide the ultimate competitive edge)
  • The scalability of business models
  • Why companies need to transcend industry boundaries
  • The reason why Osterwalder urges entrepreneurs to test before they build
  • How Apple, Netflix, and Nintendo are prime case studies of innovative business models in action—but why even they’re not safe from disruption
  • Osterwalder’s stance on the “magic bullet” when it comes to business models (hint: there isn’t one)

 

Direct download: FP304_Alex_Osterwalder.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:06am AEDT

Adam Hendle’s company, Ballsy, is eye-catching and humorous, which are some of the most defining characteristics of the brand.

But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t take his business seriously. On the contrary, Hendle is obsessed with producing the highest quality products and finding creative ways to take his company to the next level. This is exactly how he brought in over $10 million in sales in just two years. And now, during the Covid-19 pandemic, he is still finding opportunities to grow.

In this podcast episode, Hendle discusses his unique approach to everything from community engagement to customer acquisition. He also opens up about his most challenging moments in business and explains how he finds opportunities in unexpected times and places (such as during a pandemic). This is a conversation you don’t want to miss!

If there’s any other type of content you’d like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out at support@foundr.com.

Want some training on ecommerce? Check out our free masterclasses:

FREE Masterclass: Start a Profitable Online Store (In 12 Weeks or Less)

FREE Masterclass: Discover the “5 Core Drivers” Behind Today’s Fastest-Growing 7-Figure Stores


Key Takeaways

  • What’s changed with Ballsy since the last time we talked to Hendle
  • An overview of Ballsy’s growth from a sales, marketing, and team perspective
  • How Covid-19 gave Hendle’s brand an opportunity for growth
  • The approach Hendle took to lean into customer demand for subscriptions and stocking up on products
  • How Ballsy stays engaged with its community in fun and creative ways
  • A deep dive into one of Ballsy’s most unique customer acquisition channels: podcast advertisements
  • Why it’s important to test your assumptions
  • Insight into some of the biggest business obstacles Hendle has had to face
  • Why Hendle has Ballsy’s influencers on a monthly retainer
  • The reason why product quality is paramount to the Ballsy brand
Direct download: FP303_Adam_Hendle.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:24am AEDT

All three of Rory Boyle’s ecommerce businesses were negatively impacted by Covid-19.

But thanks to his strategic—and insanely fast—pivot, two of his companies are now making double the revenue they were before and one (which historically made most of its money through conferences) is still pulling in around 50% of what it used to make.

How did Boyle recover so quickly from the pandemic? In this interview, we were lucky enough to get a detailed analysis around his thought process and strategic decisions. Boyle takes us through how he shifted his sales and marketing tactics (which still includes getting on the phone) and explains how he’s using this time as an opportunity to give back to his community and customers. He also shares tons of tips around scaling sales efforts, the art of cadence emails, and other tactics you can use to grow your revenue.

If there’s any other type of content you’d like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out at support@foundr.com to let us know.

If you need want some training on ecommerce, check out our Free Masterclasses:

Learn How You Can Start a Profitable Online Store (In 12 Weeks or Less)
Discover the “5 Core Drivers” Behind Today’s Fastest-Growing 7-Figure Stores


Key Takeaways

  • The origin stories of Hampers With Bite, Promotions Warehouse, and Snacks With Bite
  • What Boyle means when he says to “control the controllables”
  • How COVID-19 impacted all 3 of Boyle’s businesses—and how he pivoted all of them at breakneck speed
  • The approach Boyle is taking to sales and marketing during the pandemic (and why his team is still hopping on the phone to talk to customers)
  • Why Boyle believes every ecommerce entrepreneur needs to be thinking about the next step instead of focusing on current performance
  • How Boyle is giving back to his community and customers
  • How he’s planning around stocking challenges, especially for the upcoming holidays
  • A super deep dive into Boyle’s best sales tactics and strategies
  • Why Boyle would encourage entrepreneurs to launch their business in today’s climate
Direct download: FP302_Rory_Boyle.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:54am AEDT

Today, we’re excited to share another valuable interview to help you overcome business challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic.

We had the opportunity to pick the brain of Ashwin Sokke, the founder of WOW Skin Science. His global 8-figure skincare and haircare business is extremely popular in India and across the U.S., and it has been a top-selling brand on Amazon for the last four years in those countries.

In this interview, Sokke shares how his company dealt with the impact of Covid-19 which shut down half of his business for several weeks. For businesses who are going through similar pains, he provides incredible insights across many topics—from how to communicate with customers (he believes we should be sending them more emails and texts during this time) to getting creative with your marketing tactics (remember giveaways?). Sokke even digs down into the nitty gritty and breaks down his thoughts on subscription models, ad investments, and SKUs.

We believe this conversation will be valuable for any entrepreneur to listen to, especially those with ecommerce businesses. If there’s any other type of content you’d like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out at support@foundr.com to let us know.

If you need want some training on ecommerce, check out our Free Masterclasses:

Learn How You Can Start a Profitable Online Store (In 12 Weeks or Less)
Discover the “5 Core Drivers” Behind Today’s Fastest-Growing 7-Figure Stores


Key Takeaways

  • How Sokke got into the health and beauty space
  • The path to growing WOW Skin Science in India and the U.S. and becoming a top-selling brand on Amazon
  • Why Sokke develops all of his products from scratch
  • A glimpse into the company’s incredible numbers: 8-figure revenue and 370% growth in the U.S. last year
  • The impact that Covid-19 had on Sokke’s global company
  • Why Sokke believes companies should be sending more emails during this time (and how to be strategic about it)
  • Why giveaways have been a successful tactic during Covid-19
  • An overview on a winning stock keeping unit (SKU)
  • Sokke’s thoughts on how to win with subscription models
  • The best advice Sokke can offer to the community during Covid-19
Direct download: FP301_Ashwin_Sokke.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:47am AEDT

The latest installment of the Foundr podcast is a landmark—our 300th episode! So to mark the occasion, we’ve got something a little different for you today.

Daniel DiPiazza, the founder of Rich20Something, was on the cover of Foundr Magazine last year, and today, he returns to Foundr to “reverse interview” our own CEO, Nathan Chan, ahead of the relaunch of Foundr’s beloved Instagram Domination course.

Together, Nathan and Daniel share the details of how they each found success on Instagram for their respective brands. They also explore Instagram’s algorithms, how it compares to other social media platforms, and the right way to use this powerful tool during the Covid-19 pandemic. Plus, they swap stories about their friendly competition, their time in the “Motivation Mafia,” and more!

If you want to learn more about our remastered Instagram Domination course when it launches, sign up for the Free VIP waitlist here (Get a FREE Lesson!).


Key Takeaways

  • The reason for this special “reverse interview”
  • How Nathan and Daniel got started on Instagram and are still finding success with the platform today
  • Why Instagram is the most powerful tool for both personal branding and ecommerce
  • A glimpse into Instagram’s algorithms and metrics
  • Why Instagram needs to be about more than just follower numbers
  • How Instagram can be a powerful tool through the current pandemic
  • A throwback story about the “Motivation Mafia”
  • Why Nathan would still pick Instagram as his platform of choice if he were to start a new company today
  • A comparison of Instagram vs. YouTube
  • How Daniel’s Instagram account helped him seal a six-figure book deal
  • The question that stumped Nathan (and why he prefers to focus on the present)
  • Why Daniel owes Nathan a trip to San Sebastián
Direct download: FP300_Daniel_DiPiazza.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:07am AEDT

Dylan Mullan took an extremely unconventional path to entrepreneurship.

While he was in school, Mullan was convinced he wanted to be a lawyer, until he started taking classes at university and realized that he hated them. After that, he spontaneously took an acting course and spent almost five years as an actor. It was eventually a desire to have more control over his life that led him and his business partner to launch Happy Skin Co together.

Through a mixture of hard work, strategic decisions, and a deep investment in understanding their target customer, Mullan managed to grow his at-home hair removal business from $0 to $20 million in just two years.

In this interview, Mullan maps out exactly what this path to explosive growth looked like. He breaks down his approach to everything from market research to Facebook ads and explains why mindset is ultimately an entrepreneur’s most valuable tool.

If there’s any other type of content you’d like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out at support@foundr.com to let us know.


Key Takeaways

  • The path from aspiring lawyer to aspiring actor, and how Mullan eventually wound up in the world of entrepreneurship
  • A look into Happy Skin Co’s early days, from long nights of planning to packaging products in Mullan’s living room with friends and family
  • The turning points that catapulted the company from $0 to $20 million in 2 years
  • How Mullan approached market research and influencer marketing in the early days
  • What the impact of Covid-19 has looked like for Mullan and his team, and the new opportunities it has opened up
  • Mullan’s best advice when it comes to creating profitable Facebook ads
  • An overview of the Happy Skin Co product development process and a sneak peek into what’s next
  • How to deal with industry copycats
  • Why Mullan is a huge advocate for visualization and believing in yourself
Direct download: FP299_Dylan_Mullan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:01am AEDT

Josh Snow always finds ways to thrive in difficult situations.

Growing up, his family didn’t have a lot of money, and he wanted to help them cover basic expenses. So Snow taught himself how to create websites at his local library, which is how he stumbled into entrepreneurship. He eventually took that knowledge and built a software company from the ground up, which he sold by the age of 21.

Now Snow runs multiple successful businesses—with the most prominent one being his nine-figure teeth whitening business, Snow.

And he’s still finding ways to overcome adversity. Just as most businesses have been impacted by COVID-19, Snow also took a huge hit in terms of sales, with its conversion rates cut in half when the pandemic first emerged. However, by making fast, strategic changes, Snow got his company through the temporary setback and is today seeing higher-than-average sales on its site.

In this interview, Snow shares exactly how he made the necessary changes to his business. He also provides advice to other online businesses on how to get through this time by adjusting everything from your subscription model to your approach to influencer relations strategy.

If there’s any other type of content you’d like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out at support@foundr.com to let us know.


Key Takeaways

  • How Snow stumbled into entrepreneurship through necessity
  • The journey to selling his first software company at the age of 21
  • Why Snow believes adversity gives you the opportunity to pause and reprioritize
  • The inspiration behind Snow, and how it grew to be a nine-figure business
  • How the company has been affected by COVID-19, and the changes Snow made to help his business bounce back and make more sales than before the pandemic
  • Snow’s recommendations on how to adjust your subscription products, influencer relations, and paid ads strategy during this time
  • The importance of evolving and meeting your customer where they’re at
  • Why Snow believes you have to be an “everything” person if you want a successful business
  • Advice on using Shopify vs. funnels
  • The choice between hunting rabbits vs. elephants (metaphorically)
Direct download: FP298_Josh_Snow.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:53pm AEDT

Steve Blank is a legend in Silicon Valley. In addition to launching eight startups in 21 years, he’s also a well-known author and educator at Stanford University, Columbia University, and the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business.

Having worked in the realm of entrepreneurship for so long, Blank has survived some of the worst recessions in U.S. history and has first-hand experience of what it’s like to keep your business afloat under high-pressure circumstances—knowledge that’s directly applicable to the COVID-19 global health crisis.

In this interview, Blank shares his three-step process for what every business needs to do right now to survive the pandemic. He breaks down everything from calculating your burn rate to reassessing the way you work with your team. Blank also shares his own personal experiences with the 2008 recession and dot-com bubble.

If there’s any other type of content you’d like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out at support@foundr.com to let us know.


Key Takeaways

  • Why Blank believes today’s entrepreneurs should listen to the advice of seasoned founders
  • The three-step process Blank recommends to understand where your business is headed, from calculating finances to reassessing business models
  • The biggest lessons Blank learned during the 2008 recession and dot-com bubble
  • Why Blank believes in planning for the morning after
  • The importance of high-level execution during times like today
  • How to think about recalibrating in terms of retaining staff and hiring
  • The importance of setting expectations—whether in your marketing or management
  • Why this pandemic could be an opportunity to re-evaluate how you want to spend your life
Direct download: FP297_Steve_Blank.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:50am AEDT

CEO Dallas Tanner on the breakneck creation and growth of multibillion-dollar home rental company Invitation Homes.

Like a lot of successful businesses, Invitation Homes was a seemingly overnight hit that had been in the making for many years.

“We bought the first 30,000 homes in the first 18 months,” says CEO Dallas Tanner, of the single-family home rental company.

Based on that burst of early success, it might seem as though Tanner did the impossible—come up with a brilliant idea, instantly get buy-in from an investor, and reap immediate rewards.

But long before Invitation Homes launched in 2012, Tanner had already cut his teeth in the home rental business. During college, he bought a couple of houses with his dad and managed them while going to class. He later founded the Treehouse Group Companies, which focused on workforce housing in the Southwest.

So, when Tanner set out to start Invitation Homes, he did so with a large body of experience, knowledge, and accomplishments in his chosen field. That could have had something to do with the quick traction he got at Blackstone, his early capital partner and provider of funds for those 30,000 homes.

“High speed, low drag,” Tanner says of their initial goal. There was an intense focus on getting out there, scaling up, and achieving meaningful gain in as short a time as possible. Were they worried, though, that the swift pace might blind them to any turbulence ahead?

“If you’re building an airplane while flying it, there’s always a risk that you may miss a step. We were lucky to have no major issues and that’s because we were comfortable in the area we were building. We knew it and understood it.”

That early work and knowledge of the industry paid off. In 2017, Invitation Homes went public with an initial share price of $20. Two years later, it hovers between $29-30 per share, a 48% increase. Blackstone sold its remaining shares (11%) of the company in November 2019 for $1.7 billion, bringing Blackstone’s total profit from IH to $7 billion.

Systemize to Scale

Tanner attributes much of the company’s success to its fast, effective scaling. “Economies of scale give us a really strategic advantage in terms of the services we can provide residents, and establishing predictability of the experience.”

Cases in point: Each of the 80,000 homes in the company’s portfolio is visited by one of its 300 technicians every six months, whether there’s a known issue in the home or not. Customer care is offered 24 hours a day. Day-to-day management and communication are provided by local teams of 10-15 people or, as they’re called at Invitation Homes, “pods.” Each pod has 3-5 maintenance technicians to service its portfolio of properties.

And the system seems to work. On average, Invitation Homes residents stay for about three years. More than 80% of them take advantage of another system innovation—online auto-pay.

Tanner is constantly reviewing data, though, to ensure they’re being as efficient as possible.

“As we think about our business, we’ve gotten more and more efficient here in year seven,” he says. “We’re focused on the kinds of things that deliver a really good customer experience but make us as optimized as possible.”

For example, the inaugural days of the business found technicians switching out locks each time a home got a new resident. New tech eventually provided the option of electronic entry, which Invitation incorporated into its homes. Now, when a resident moves out and a new one moves in, only the code needs to be changed. This made the move-in experience that much smoother for new residents and saved time for the team.

Knowing What to Hold Onto

Crunching data is also how Tanner reviews the performance of each property and whether it’s time to sell. Their typical home is a three bedroom, two bath with 1,800 square feet, which will rent out for about $1,800/month, depending on the market.

Invitation Homes sometimes sells off certain properties that either aren’t performing or have experienced such increases in value that a sale presents a better gain for the company.

“Just like any good asset manager,” Tanner says,” you look at the data and make these decisions in real time.”

And, true to form, he’s even created a system that kicks in when the decision is to sell. The “Resident First Look Program” allows the home’s current resident to consider purchasing before the home goes on the open market.

Dallas Tanner’s Advice for System Creation

Tanner is firm in his belief that fine-tuned systems allow for the best customer experience and most efficient performance within the company. So what’s his advice for others who are looking to create systems that allow for scale?

  1. Align yourself with good people who are willing to carry the flag.
  2. Be willing to understand that you do not always have the answer yourself.
  3. Do your research and challenge yourself as you develop systems and processes.
  4. Do not be afraid of being wrong. You’ll learn through trial and error. Use regression analysis to reveal if your decisions were right.
  5. Early on, figure out how to capture your data.

That last point is crucial. “If you’re not capturing data from an early stage, then you’re kind of playing with one arm behind your back,” Tanner says. That early information provides keen insight and helps you make sound decisions about best practices in years two and three.

Remember, though, that the quest for good systems shouldn’t overwhelm everything. “You’ve got to spend your time being as efficient as possible, but driving growth at the same time,” Tanner says. “It’s always a balancing act.”

For Invitation Homes, the priority is to find long-term residents and put them into homes in markets and submarkets that are the most appealing and as efficient to manage as possible. This priority steers decisions and interpretation of data at the company. It defines how the company and its people best use their time.

Finally, Tanner offered two key activities that he believes lead to success for startup entrepreneurs:

  1. Gather people who share the vision and will work.
  2. Work hard.

He acknowledges that it also takes some luck and good timing. “But, the only way those things go your way is if you’re head down and going hard.”

Interview by Nathan Chan, feature article reprinted from Foundr Magazine, by Rebeca Seitz


Key Takeaways

  • Tanner’s early experiences in the home rental business
  • Why “high speed, low drag” was Tanner’s initial goal when he launched his single-family home rental company, Invitation Homes
  • A look into Invitation Homes’ quick and efficient scaling process, which resulted in the purchase of 30,000 homes in the first 18 months
  • Why crunching numbers is a critical part of Tanner’s role and his company’s success
  • The road to going public and growing a multibillion-dollar company
  • Tanner’s advice for other entrepreneurs who are looking to create systems that allow for scale
Direct download: FP296_Dallas_Tanner.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:46am AEDT

Believe it or not, there are many parallels between the world of boxing and the world of entrepreneurship. Tim West is familiar with both.

As the founder of the fastest-growing global boxing franchise, 12RND Fitness, West has had his feet squarely planted in both realms for many years.

He started his journey working in brick-and-mortar fitness centers before jumping into tech entrepreneurship, and eventually launched 12RND Fitness in 2014, which quickly exploded across Australia and is now expanding globally. In fact, West is in the process of opening up their first locations in New Zealand, Singapore, London, and Los Angeles this year.

In this interview, West dives deep into his thoughts on the franchising model, his biggest lessons from working in tech, and his approach to overcoming obstacles. Check out the full conversation below!


Key Takeaways

  • How West worked his way up the rungs of the fitness ladder—from aspiring professional athlete to strength and conditioning coach
  • Why he jumped at the opportunity to open up one of the first franchises for Jetts Fitness, the first 24-hour gym in Australia
  • West’s first foray into tech, and the most important lessons he picked up along the way
  • Why West decided to return to brick-and-mortar fitness, and how he came up with the MVP for 12RND Fitness
  • How West pressure-tested his business model across Australia
  • The reason West tested his business for two whole years before opening up to franchisees
  • A sneak peek into West’s data-driven approach to working with franchisees
  • Why West is grateful for his struggles
Direct download: FP295_Tim_West.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:46pm AEDT

As a founder, you’re likely feeling a lot of stress and anxiety around the current situation with COVID-19. While we hope your business isn’t being too heavily impacted, we want to let you know that we’re always here for you and want to help in any way we can.

We’ve been mulling over how we could be the most useful to the Foundr community and decided it would be incredibly valuable to sit down and talk to Steve McLeod. McLeod is uniquely equipped to share advice about the current circumstances for many reasons: he’s a business coach that has guided thousands of organizations through challenging situations (including Foundr); he founded his own company called Fire And Safety, which is now a $20 million business; and he’s a former firefighter who dealt with many disasters during his eight-year tenure.

In this interview, we touch on many topics—from managing cash flow reserves to communicating with customers to adjusting your mindset—that we hope you’ll find helpful as we navigate this unfamiliar territory together. Whether you’re getting ready to launch a new business or are already running a seven-figure company, the contents of this interview should be applicable for entrepreneurs at every stage.

If there’s any other type content you’d like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out at support@foundr.com to let us know.


Key Takeaways

  • How McLeod’s background as a firefighter, founder, and mentor is allowing him to guide businesses today through the COVID-19 pandemic
  • The importance of understanding where your business is today: positioned for growth or in survival mode?
  • Why you need to be transparent with your teams, regardless of your current situation
  • McLeod’s advice: cut costs but don’t stop your sales and marketing efforts
  • Why you need to focus on your existing customers and how you can help them
  • How to keep your mindset clear during this stressful time
  • Why connection, discipline, and alignment are more critical than ever before
  • An overview of cash flow reserves, and how much you should have in the bank now
  • The reason why McLeod doesn’t believe it’s the right time for work-life balance
  • How to be a good leader in unprecedented circumstances
  • Why leaders need to be asking themselves the tough questions today more than ever
  • McLeod’s advice for businesses that are thinking about launching soon
Direct download: FP294_Steve_McLeod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:49am AEDT

Jim McKelvey needs to solve problems. “It’s not about money. It’s not about recognition. It’s not about anything you can measure. It’s just this burning need to fix something.”

That burning need is what sparked the ideas for all of his startups, including the massive small business payments company Square, and now his current project, Invisibly.

“I look for a problem that I care about,” McKelvey says. “I look for something that bothers me, something that angers me, something I will get up and bend my life into a pretzel to solve.”

In fact, the problem that became the catalyst for Square—which, by the way, has grown to a $34 billion market cap—evolved from McKelvey’s first profession as a humble glassblower.

That same unstoppable drive is something he’s seen in so many successful startups around the world, and it’s now the subject of his new book, The Innovation Stack. Someone sees a problem and, without experience or previous knowledge, they set out to solve it. For McKelvey, this is what true innovation is all about.

Mira Publishing: Turning Failure Into Opportunity

McKelvey’s first company, Mira Digital Publishing, solved two problems, actually. First, McKelvey wanted to create image storage and recognition software, something that was still in its infancy when he founded the company in 1990.

Second, he needed a way to break out of his own rut. He had graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 1987 with degrees in computer science and economics. At 19, he’d published a textbook called The Debugger’s Handbook: UCSD and Apple Pascal. 

But after he graduated, he was running at what he calls a “high level of mediocrity,” freelancing for IBM, blowing glass, and running a company that built storage cabinets for CDs.

In 1989, his mother died suddenly, and it made McKelvely reevaluate his priorities. “I just asked myself, do I want to be mediocre at everything? And so I decided that one of the things I had not done in my life was focus.”

So he gave up IBM and the CD cabinets (but not his glassblowing) and focused on starting Mira. Unfortunately, Adobe released Acrobat in 1993. “We got our heads handed to us by Adobe. … It was a giant mess.”

But while their imaging software failed, some good still came out of it all. That’s when McKelvey met Jack Dorsey, the future co-founder of Twitter.

The Entrepreneur and the Artist

McKelvey is a trained glassblower, who has even written a textbook on the subject. In the past, he’s used his studio to support himself while working on his startups.

“The cool thing about making a physical product is that you can do it whenever you want. So I could work on my technical companies during the day and head into the studio at night, make a bunch of work and stick it in galleries and make enough money to survive.”

For him, art and entrepreneurship go hand in hand, not just because one can fund the other, but because they are parallel endeavors that achieve the same outcome. McKelvey says he uses an archaic definition of the word entrepreneur, which broadens its scope beyond merely starting a company.

“The original meaning for the word entrepreneur was this crazy person who did stuff that hadn’t been done before.”

Square: Starting With a Problem

Dorsey started as an intern at Mira, and the two developed a bond that held fast over the years. After Dorsey was forced out of his position as CEO of Twitter in 2008, he reconnected with McKelvey and they decided to start a business together. They just had no idea what that business would be.

They brainstormed together and came up with a few ideas. They knew they wanted it to be something mobile. They started looking into a journaling app, until another idea came to McKelvey while in his glassblowing studio.

He tried to sell one of his glass pieces to a customer who wanted to charge it to her American Express card. But Dorsey couldn’t process her credit card.

He lost the sale.

“And so I called up Jack with the iPhone that I had in my hand and I said, ‘Jack, you know, it’s really stupid that this iPhone that does everything that I want it to do—it becomes a television, it becomes a book, it becomes a radio, a compass—but it couldn’t become a credit card machine. And this is stupid. We need to fix this.’”

And so, they came up with Square. They originally wanted to serve artists who couldn’t take credit cards or receive electronic payments.

“The tough thing about being an artist is, I make stuff nobody needs. Like, nobody has ever needed anything that I’ve made in the glass studio. So, you better be ready when they’re ready to buy and not make it too difficult for them.”

The challenge Square faced was serving a community that didn’t have the typical business setup.

“These little guys who didn’t have credit reports. Some of them didn’t have bank accounts. Some of them didn’t have credit scores. Some of them didn’t have mailing addresses. I mean they were weird outliers to the financial system.”

Even some of their bigger customers were still too small by the standards of the industry to process credit cards. So, they were forced to reinvent the entire process, from signup to hardware to pricing schemes.

And for McKelvey, that’s where real innovation comes from, when you are forced to improvise.

“Invention is something that has to almost be forced upon us. And people get inventive when they have no other choice.”

The Innovation Stack

A few years after Square launched, McKelvey and Dorsey learned that Amazon had launched a small business payments service that was nearly identical to theirs. For the second time, McKelvey thought he was done.

But then, an amazing thing happened. About a year later, Amazon shut down their service and sent all of their former customers a Square reader. For a long time, McKelvey couldn’t figure out how they had survived a direct attack from a giant like Amazon.

“I was like, well what’s special about us? What did we do to be still standing after Amazon comes after us? And I couldn’t answer the question.”

He talked to former executives at a number of companies Amazon had directly targeted. Some of them sold to Amazon, while others went out of business. None had survived.

“I was happy we won, but I couldn’t answer the question, why did we win? I knew we’d won, but I’d like to think it’s more than just luck, but I just couldn’t explain it. So I went on this two-year quest to figure it out.”

McKelvey found that Square wasn’t actually alone. Many companies had survived direct attacks from large competitors, and they all had one thing in common, what he calls the “innovation stack.”

He describes the innovation stack as a series of interlocking inventions that create something you can’t attack. Instead of one big innovation, the companies that survive are innovative in several ways that all contribute to the overall success of the company.

And that series of innovations is almost impossible to copy in their entirety. For Square, it was easy to copy the hardware, but that was just one of 14 different innovations that made the company different in the online payments field.

“So I talk about 14 things that we did differently. Every one of those was necessary for the system to work. So, if we’d done 12 and we hadn’t done the 13th and 14th, Square wouldn’t have worked.”

One of the 14 was their system for handling fraud.

Since Square is a company that handles online payments, McKelvey says, it got hit from day one. Three years later, when Amazon came out with its product, Square had already developed unique processes for dealing with fraud, something Amazon couldn’t replicate.

But, McKelvey says, even if every aspect of a company’s innovation stack is visible, it’s hard for large companies to copy it all successfully. Why?

“Organizational culture,” he says. When a startup comes along with a new way of solving a problem, it’s difficult for a well-established brand to pivot, to change its ingrained processes to compete.

His example is Southwest Airlines. They revolutionized the boarding process, turning a 45-minute process into a 10-minute one. And they did it by rethinking the whole process, right down to cleaning the plane.

With Southwest, even the pilots helped clean the cabins before boarding new passengers, something McKelvey says United or Delta Airline pilots would not be willing to do because they were already used to a certain organizational culture.

Because Southwest was new, they could set their own culture. “Let me tell you that the Southwest pilots, you didn’t become a Southwest pilot unless you were willing to play their game.”

McKelvey writes about Southwest and several other companies who shook up their industries in his new book, The Innovation Stack.

No Experience Needed

As he researched his book, McKelvey noticed something else about these innovative companies. Companies from Southwest Airlines to the Bank of Italy all began the same way he did—by solving a problem for a previously ignored segment of the market and having no idea how to do it at first.

He came to the realization that starting a business isn’t about the market needs, but rather the needs of a small, even fringe group of people. “I don’t think you should choose a big market. I think you should choose a big problem,” he says.

From Southwest, which figured out how to make flying affordable, to the Bank of Italy, which started out giving loans to farmers and immigrants when other banks wouldn’t, they were all sailing in uncharted waters.

And because of that, none of their founders had any kind of expertise in their field.

“I looked throughout history and I saw all these people who had basically no qualifications for what they did.”

That included himself and Jack Dorsey. While McKelvey holds two degrees, he finds neither relevant to what he does today. As for Dorsey?

“So, like, Jack’s professional credential, he has one professional credential. He is a massage therapist. I mean, you’ve got a glassblower and a massage therapist and they start a payments company. We knew nothing about payments. We didn’t know a thing.”

The Innovation Continues

McKelvey still sits on the board of directors for Square, but his focus is now on his new startup.

With Invisibly, he wants to change the way publishers monetize their online content. The current model, where ads pop up in the right rail, across the top of the page, and even on top of the content you’re trying to read is infuriating to McKelvey.

“Our attention is being bought and sold without our permission or knowledge. So when you watch something or read something, you’re essentially trading your attention to advertisers in a system that is largely biased against you, and in many ways subverts your interests.”

And, he says, ad blockers are not the solution, which is essentially saying to journalists, “Starve to death, guys, because I’m not paying anything.”

So he and his team at Invisibly are working on a way to allow users to control the ad experience.

McKelvey has also founded a nonprofit called LaunchCode, which trains programmers for free and helps place them in jobs. Oh, and he’s also a deputy chairman for the Federal Reserve in his hometown of St. Louis.

McKelvey has built his success by solving problems. “If you have a problem that has never been solved, man you probably want me around.”

And he’s seen other people create world-changing companies by doing the same, and by building innovation stacks that all but guarantee their success.

He looks at entrepreneurship, not as the process of starting a business, but as an art form, a means to bend and mold an industry to create something no one’s seen before, something that makes life a little better for everyone.

Interview by Nathan Chan, feature article reprinted from Foundr Magazine, by Laurie Mega


Key Takeaways

  • Why McKelvey believes he was running at a “high level of mediocrity” early in his career, and how a family tragedy shifted his priorities
  • The launch of his first company, and why it ultimately failed
  • McKelvey’s unique background as a glassblower, and why he believes art and entrepreneurship go hand in hand
  • How McKelvey and Jack Dorsey came up with the idea for Square
  • How Square survived a direct attack from Amazon
  • How the answer became the inspiration behind McKelvey’s latest book, The Innovation Stack: Building an Unbeatable Business One Crazy Idea at a Time
  • How McKelvey plans to continue solving problems with his newest startup, Invisibly, and his nonprofit, LaunchCode
Direct download: FP293_Jim_McKelvey.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:42am AEDT

We’ve all heard the motivational mantra that if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. But Alexa von Tobel sees things a little differently. 

“If you love what you do, you’ll work every day of your life,” she says, “and it’s because I’m so passionate about what I’m doing.” 

The mission that gets von Tobel jumping out of bed every morning is one that impacts every one of us—finding financial stability. Without it, whether you’re a working family or a creative new startup, it’s near impossible to plan for the long term and ultimately thrive.

Von Tobel came to this understanding after graduating from Harvard and beginning a career on Wall Street, when she realized that, while she was great at managing the business finances of others, she was woefully unprepared to manage her own. And she quickly discovered that she was not alone. 

That lit a fire underneath her to improve financial education, inspiring her in 2008 to launch LearnVest, a digital financial planning business that teaches investment and finances. The award-winning company became wildly popular, especially among women. 

She ended up selling that business, but in 2019, van Tobel decided to take her passion for financial advising in a new direction. Today, she manages Inspired Capital, a $200 million investment firm that’s supporting early stage startups. 

This massive new undertaking is all rooted in van Tobel’s desire to support ambitious entrepreneurs and help people achieve financial stability. That, and a deep love of math.

Freedom to Think Bigger 

Von Tobel says she was an entrepreneur from day one. She’s always been drawn to the toughest problems, outside-the-box thinking, and bringing joy to others. And when she recognized her own problem with managing her personal finances, she suspected that this could be a cause worth taking on. 

Von Tobel says that 78% of all Americans live paycheck to paycheck and that the average person doesn’t even have $400 in a savings account. And the crippling anxiety that comes from mountains of debt and living one medical crisis away from going broke? She firmly believes it holds people back from concentrating on something bigger.

“If you’re living for tomorrow, you can’t think long term,” she says. 

Despite her lifelong love of math and her driven personality, she’d never been taught how to manage her personal accounts, invest her money, or plan for retirement. It became clear that many of her peers had not either. 

“I think it’s insane that it’s not taught in every high school, college, and graduate program in America,” von Tobel says. “I mean, it’s not that dissimilar to basic hygiene.” 

From von Tobel’s perspective, money is a basic lifeline that enables people to care for themselves. Therefore, she believes everyone should learn how to intelligently manage it. 

That’s what drove her during her years as founder and CEO of LearnVest—the unwavering belief that financial education was a key to happiness. 

“If you can create real financial stability for a family,” she says, “you can help a family thrive.”

Among the strategies she taught through LearnVest were how to grow a successful savings account by setting aside 20% of each paycheck, no matter what, and the benefit of establishing firm ground rules for financial health. She taught when to begin investing (yesterday), preparing for retirement (the day before yesterday), and how to plan effectively for the ebbs and flows of life. 

But what about the people (like, oh, I don’t know, the writer of this article, for instance) who are deeply terrified of math? Von Tobel says that’s not a problem. 

“Personal finance is basic math,” she assures. “It’s not complicated math. It’s really straightforward math—what comes in, what goes out, is there something left, and are we saving it properly? Really, it’s more organization than math.” 

After more than a decade spent as a financial educator and the sale of her business to Northwestern Mutual in 2015, von Tobel decided it was time to give something new a try. 

And when her husband pointed out how many hours she had spent financially advising entrepreneurs for free, she realized she may have inadvertently stumbled upon her next big project. 

Shooting for the Moon 

Inspired Capital was born from von Tobel’s passion for financial education, combined with her desire to help entrepreneurs reach their goals. The result is an early stage and seed investment firm, driven by women (also led by former Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker) and funding startups nationally.

Von Tobel now meets with at least 75 founders each week in pursuit of new investments of all shapes and sizes. From tech to product-based business, von Tobel is interested in all of it, provided they have a good idea and a plan. 

She says that the best founders who have pitched her get to know her firm before reaching out. They also don’t get discouraged by rejection. Von Tobel says that just because it’s a no today, doesn’t mean it’ll be a no tomorrow. 

And while founders are waiting for their yes, von Tobel says there are many things they can invest time in learning. She says that the biggest mistake she sees founders make is running away from the aspects of the business that make them feel inadequate, passing it off to others before even giving it a try. 

“I think it’s the typical kind of head-in-the-sand ostrich move,” she says. “You’ve got to lean into the things that make you nervous.” 

She believes this is what enables businesses to address issues before they reach critical mass, while also making founders feel capable and bold. 

“If you want to build a really good business—if you want to get really good at being an entrepreneur—you’ve got to get good at everything,” she says. “And I don’t mean you literally have to hold every job, but you have to take the job, get pretty darn good at it to the point where then you know how to hire for it, and then you can pass it off to somebody better at it.” 

Once the machine of a new business really starts whirring, von Tobel says that it’s essential to have an eye on building up the reserves. 

“You want to make sure you are never within nine months of running out of cash,” she says. “Because if you need to go fix that, putting a plan together to go fix that can sometimes take three to six months, and you don’t want to be in a position where literally you can run out of money.” 

While she acknowledges that smaller businesses can get away with slightly less in the bank, she wouldn’t recommend leaving the stability of a company to chance or dependent on a tight timeline. 

And ultimately, von Tobel believes these healthy savings accounts are what embolden business leaders to take new and exciting risks. 

“I’m not risk-averse,” she says. “I shoot for the moon, but I have a plan B that has enough cash...that gives me enough confidence to shoot for the moon. Having a good solid financial plan gives you the comfort to take more risks.”

And the best part of all is that von Tobel believes there’s never been a better time to launch a business than right now. 

“Every year it gets less expensive to stand up a company,” she says. “Every year there are better online resources to make it easier to do.” 

From free online resources to highly affordable software for startups, she says founders need only do a light Google to find a flood of resources at their disposal. 

As an investor passionate about the startups and founders of tomorrow, she can’t wait to see what thrilling new business plans come across her desk next. And that’s why she encourages struggling founders to keep pushing, keep growing, and keep pursuing their dreams. 

“You’re building something new. You’re building something special that serves a purpose,” she says. “And that’s pretty powerful.” 

Alexa von Tobel’s Tips for Building a Successful Business 

  1. Get the product right first

Von Tobel says that entrepreneurs can be distracted so easily by the task of building a business and marketing a product that they forget to perfect the product. Talk to the customers. Find out what works and what doesn’t, and make adjustments. Before diving headfirst into marketing a product, she reminds entrepreneurs to really nail product-market fit. 

  1. Begin by stoking word-of-mouth marketing

Rather than sinking tons of cash into a paid marketing strategy up front, von Tobel recommends that founders begin by delighting their customers and encouraging them to share their experiences with the brand. She reminds entrepreneurs that word-of-mouth marketing is free and often more effective than traditional marketing for startups. 

  1. Wait to focus on paid marketing until revenue is up

Once revenue is climbing and there is a little more wiggle room, von Tobel says the time has come to give paid marketing a go. 

  1. Embrace a constant learning process

Above all, von Tobel reminds entrepreneurs that the constant pursuit of growth without fear of negative feedback is essential to success. 

“I think the best founders are learners,” she says. “They are comfortable with negative feedback. They want to make it better, and they are constantly just listening and learning obsessively.”


Key Takeaways

  • Why von Tobel, a Harvard graduate and Wall Street career woman, found herself struggling with her personal finances
  • How this experience drove her to launch LearnVest, a digital financial planning business that teaches investment and finances
  • Why von Tobel doesn’t believe a fear of math should stop anyone from pursuing financial education
  • The sale of LearnVest to Northwestern Mutual in 2015
  • The mission behind Inspired Capital, an early stage and seed investment firm
  • Why von Tobel wants to work with founders who embrace aspects of business they’re not good at
  • The reason behind von Tobel’s optimism for the future of business
Direct download: FP292_Alexa_Von_Tobel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:52pm AEDT

When Peter Diamandis was a kid, there were two life-changing moments that shaped him into the person he is today: the launch of the Apollo space program and the release of Star Trek.

These two events inspired Diamandis’ love of space and taught him to always keep his eyes on the future. It’s no surprise then that Diamandis went on launch over 20 companies in the areas of space, longevity, venture capital, and education.

Diamandis has also dedicated himself to supporting others who make an impact on the world, which is why he founded the venture fund BOLD Capital Partners, the X Prize Foundation, and Singularity University—all organizations focused on promoting technologies that have the potential to improve society.

In this interview, he shares his thoughts on what it takes to build a sustainable business, his predictions for industries like education and healthcare, and what he’s most excited about in terms of future innovations. This is a conversation you won’t want to miss!


Key Takeaways

  • Why Diamandis ended up going to medical school, despite his love of space
  • How Diamandis carved out his own life path, which led to him starting 20+ companies in the areas of space, longevity, venture capital, and education
  • His predictions on which industries will transition from a scarcity to an abundance mindset
  • The golden rule Diamandis always follows whenever he prioritizes what to work on next
  • Why Diamandis believes a person’s mindset is the most valuable asset they own
  • The inspiration behind Diamandis’ latest book, The Future Is Faster Than You Think: How Converging Technologies Are Transforming Business, Industries, and Our Lives
  • What excites Diamandis most about the future, and why he feels optimistic about what’s to come
Direct download: FP291_Peter_Diamandis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:05am AEDT

Craig Walker’s on a mission to overhaul the way businesses communicate, with cloud-based phone service Dialpad.

As a securities attorney in Silicon Valley, Craig Walker met regularly with a who’s who of Palo Alto venture capitalists, startup founders, and investment bankers. He thrilled at their stories of big ideas and bold risks.

Then one day in 1998, he decided it was time to live one of those startup stories of his own. When life offered him an opportunity to sit on the other side of the table, he said yes without hesitation. That decision shaped the rest of Walker’s life, first as a VC and soon after, as head of his own companies.

Today, he’s the founder and CEO of Dialpad, a cloud-based business communications company that is rapidly approaching the coveted $100 million revenue benchmark. The San Francisco-based startup is changing the way businesses communicate, by shifting them from traditional desk phones to cloud-based service, and all the powerful features that come with it.

In fact, much of Walker’s career after that fateful day has been all about improving business communications. He’s been disrupting the stodgy old office desk phone in some way or another for around 20 years, having laid the groundwork for Google Voice and Yahoo! Voice, and ultimately taking them on as a formidable competitor.

From Attorney to Founder

Walker was quite successful as a lawyer, but it was in that role that he became drawn to the prospect of starting his own business, and learned what it takes to make it happen.

“Once I was a lawyer and I met a bunch of CEOs and founders, I realized there wasn’t any real magic to it,” Walker says. “It was just taking a risk or taking a chance and having a good idea and a good team to go along with you.”

When a client asked him to leave his job behind and join a venture fund, he took the opportunity. But his time with TeleSoft Partners and Sterling Payot Capital, both of which invested in early-stage telecom startups, was only a combined four years.

In November 2001, when an internet telephony service asked him to step in as CEO, again, he took the leap. And he’s been in the game ever since.

That company was the first iteration of Dialpad, where Walker served as CEO and built relationships with his coworkers and others in the tech space, who would stick by his side through future ventures.

When Dialpad 1.0 was acquired in 2005 by Yahoo! as the base for Yahoo! Voice, he took on his first role as a founder and launched a similar company, GrandCentral Communications. This was yet another foray into the world of online phone communication, but in less than two years, it was also acquired, this time by Google.

For nearly four years, Walker continued on with GrandCentral, now called Google Voice, but before long it was time for him to move on once again.

Having now laid the groundwork for both Yahoo! Voice and Google Voice, Walker was ready to challenge them for supremacy.

Desk Phone Disruption

A good name is hard to find. So when Walker and crew decided to found a new online communication company, they knew they needed to have a little chat with Yahoo! first.

The owner of the first version of Dialpad agreed to sell the name back to Walker—including the all-important URL—and in 2011, Dialpad 2.0 was off to the races.

His goal remained very much the same—the master the art of using the the internet as your business phone. As Walker boasts, Dialpad offers “all the power of a business phone system, but from anywhere in the world.”

“The world has changed,” Walker says. "You’re working from anywhere at any time, and not having the ability to do that from your business phone system is crazy.”

Using the latest iteration of Dialpad, businesses can toss their hardware to the curb and use the cloud to connect team members and clients.

By importing existing numbers, companies can use a single system to manage all phone communications. There’s even an app that instantly transforms a cell phone into a work phone, allowing employees to port their number and merge into existing CRMs, productivity suites, and social networks. And with an AI integration that alerts supervisors of red flags like an irate customer, prompting them to step into the situation, sales teams could grow and improve with ease.

Convenience was key, and customers of Dialpad rapidly embraced the new technology. After winning TechCrunch Disrupt and being featured several blog posts and articles, Dialpad saw a flood of new inquiries.

But even with all the buzz around the new business, Dialpad wasn’t above the need to make cold calls. As you might expect, however, Walker’s approach to cold calling is a little different than just picking up a phone and hoping for the best.

He explains that they first built a list of “modern-thinking companies.” Then, they investigated what tools those businesses were already using to accomplish basic day-to-day tasks. If they found a list of antiquated, on-premise technologies, they crossed the business off their list. If, however, they found that a company used other cloud-based technologies, they knew they’d found a lead and would reach out.

“Ultimately you want to get up to the CIO, but building champions below the CIO is great,” Walker says. “The folks who are going to be actually responsible for managing the day-to-day of the product are great ones to start with.”

As momentum built, so did Dialpad’s sales team and advertising budget, along with a loyal customer base.

“I don’t see any other competitors on the horizon coming out of the startup world,” Walker says, “so now you’re just competing against the legacy guys that you know you’re ahead of and can out-innovate because you’re more modern.”

Despite their edge as an innovator, Walker acknowledges that no business grows without facing its share of challenges.

“On the road to success, there’s plenty of roadblocks and challenges on a daily basis, and I think every startup goes through those.”

Staying Nimble

The first major hurdle Dialpad had to clear was convincing major corporations to trust all of their critical calls to the cloud. This was back in 2011, when the concept was still fairly new.

But even if they could achieve that goal, Walker had to struggle through the complex process of raising money, gaining traction, finding early customers, building a healthy organization, remaining innovative while serving existing customers, and so much more.

Most importantly, Walker had to become excellent at making decisions. He insists, however, that this doesn’t necessarily mean being right all the time.

“There have been many times I’ve been wrong,” Walker says. “You just need to adjust and move on, because you’re never going to always be right, and if you wait until everything is so clear that you’re always right, you’re going to be moving way too slow.”

The key is to remain attentive and flexible.

“One of the beauties of a startup is if you do realize you missed something or you moved too quickly one way or you moved too slowly one way, you can pretty quickly adjust it as long as you stay nimble,” he says.

And, above all, Walker advises founders to trust their instincts. Even though he has spent the last two decades gathering a collection of trusted friends and advisors, he still occasionally throws caution to the wind and goes his own way.

“The decisions all come down to you, and, because of that, I do think you’ve got to trust your gut,” he says. “You’re the one that’s going to live with the outcome. Don’t let people talk you into things that don’t make sense to you.”

Walker explains that, because everyone has a different perspective, two equally intelligent and well-informed people can come to diametrically opposed viewpoints on a situation and what is best to do next.

So his best piece of advice to new founders is simply this: “Stick to the North Star of what your idea was, and see it through.”

Interview by Nathan Chan, feature article reprinted from Foundr Magazine, by Erica Comitalo


Key Takeaways

  • Why Walker, a Silicon Valley securities attorney, decided to transition into the world of entrepreneurship
  • How the first iteration of internet telephony service Dialpad came to be
  • How Walker became involved in companies that were eventually acquired by Yahoo! and Google
  • The reason Walker decided to buy back the name Dialpad in 2011
  • Why introducing the cloud became a game changer for Dialpad and its customers
  • Walker’s unconventional approach to cold calling
  • Why it’s OK to make the wrong decision sometimes
  • The best advice Walker can offer about staying nimble and trusting your instincts
Direct download: FP290_Craig_Walker.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:38am AEDT

Zvi Band describes himself as an introvert—someone who tends to be inward-looking, generally preferring to spend time alone. At the same time, he’s a successful entrepreneur, writer, and speaker who preaches the importance of relationships.

“I actually found that all of my business, and more importantly, all of the amazing opportunities in my life came from, of all things, knowing the right people,” Band says.

That may not sound like something an introvert would say, but for Band, human connection is about quality over quantity. He isn’t focused on collecting new friends on social media or passing out stacks of business cards at mixers all over town.

Instead, he is focused on maintaining and nurturing the relationships he already has. That, he says, is the key to success. Yes, it’s all about relationships, but in a world of constant connectivity, it’s about focusing on the meaningful ones.

“I was in a room of a hundred real estate agents this morning and everyone raised their hand when I asked, ‘Who here thinks their relationships are their most important assets for business?’”

The power of relationships is more than a philosophy for Band; it’s his business. His enterprise SaaS platform, Contactually, helps professionals, particularly real estate professionals, build and maintain relationships by automating personal communication.

A resident of Washington, DC, he’s been named one of Washingtonian Magazine’s Tech Titans six years running, and has been featured in publications like TechCrunch, Washington Post and USA Today. He’s even written a book on the topic, Success Is in Your Sphere: Leverage the Power of Relationships to Achieve Your Business Goals.

Why Are Relationships So Important?

Band understands that humans are naturally social creatures, and the biological need for connection translates directly to the business world. He sees that as an opportunity to build success through the support of a professional network.

“We rely on social connections and relationships to help keep us safe and therefore help us identify who we should work with,” he says.

To Band, relationships are directly connected to reputation, something that has become either an asset or a hindrance, depending on how people view you as a professional. Because the world is so connected, professionals are now competing with other professionals with the same skills on a global scale. The only way to differentiate, he believes, is through reputation.

“Because no one can fully copy you. So that reputation and your ability to maintain that reputation ended up becoming us.”

How does a good reputation resonate in the business world? Through the relationships professionals build.

Band points to a study of banking customers in Germany and the relationship they have with their bank. “They found that when a customer is referred by another customer, there’s a 25% higher contribution rate, so referred customers become better.”

Relationships Paved His Own Career Path

Band started out as a software developer, eventually leading a team at an intelligence agency. In 2009, he struck out on his own, creating a software design and development firm called skeevisArts.

It was there that he started thinking more about relationships and how they can make or break a career—or a company. But he also found that maintenance and development of those relationships was tough.

“I would meet people for coffee and two weeks later completely forget who they were. So, a lesson learned for me was, ‘Okay, well, what’s the right thing to do, here? Well, how can I solve this with software? How can software help us build and maintain better relationships?’”

And that’s how Contactually started. With the help of fellow co-founder Jeff Carbonella, he developed a platform to organize and automate personal contacts in order to maintain and build relationships that he knew were so critical.

They brought on Tony Cappaert as the third co-founder to lead business development. Both Cappaert and Carbonella were connections Band already had. Carbonella was a lead engineer at Band’s consulting firm, and he had gotten to know Cappaert through the local community.

He started small, not really thinking about building a company but more fleshing out an idea. They initially decided to focus on real estate agents, who rely heavily on relationships to sell homes and build their business.

In 2011, they were chosen to participate in the 500 Startups accelerator program, where they raised their first venture capital.

“We quite literally had an apartment with three mattresses on the floor,” Band says, laughing.

Over the course of eight years, however, the company has raised $12 million in venture capital. It now has, according to Band’s personal site, “tens of thousands of customers, including eight of the top 20 real estate brokerages in the country.”

And Band practices what he preaches. To this day, he uses his own tool to maintain his professional relationships, keep up with current and potential investors, recruit new talent, and stay connected to the media and important influencers.

He even used it to develop a relationship with Compass, the national real estate company that acquired Contactually in 2019.

“Robert , the CEO, knew me well enough that he had absolutely no problem reaching out to me to say, ‘Hey would you be interested in a potential partnership?’ And that’s an  important thing, right? It’s not like companies just get sold overnight.”

Band now using all he’s learned about relationship building to mentor a new generation of entrepreneurs.

In 2010, he founded MadeInDC, which markets startups in the DC area and helps entrepreneurs get started. He is a co-founder and co-organizer of DC Tech Meetup, one of the largest tech meetups in the country. And he created DC Tech Summer, where over 550 interns apply to work at tech startups in the area.

That’s a lot of new, powerful relationships that Band is out there, helping to form. Not bad for an introvert.

Key Lessons in Nurturing Relationships

Throughout his career, Band has learned some valuable lessons about harnessing the power of relationships. He shared some of them with us.

On Starting a Business

Band tried to start a few companies before his success with Contactually, while he was still running his consulting firm. None of them really took off, and he realized it was because he was working on his own and only on the side. He wasn’t committing to their success.

This was true of nStructo, a backend-as-a-service tool he tried to get off the ground.

“With nStructo, we had no customers, we had no users, we had no team. It was just me. So it almost could exist in my head or it could shut down in my head and no one would know and no one would care. And so I knew that I needed to have a team around me.”

He realized how much he needed that team to keep him accountable and give him the discipline to invest time in his next startup venture.

On Identifying the Right Relationships

While cultivating relationships is the name of the game, Band stressed the importance of identifying the right relationships first.

To do that, he says, you first have to identify your goals, which will lead you to the right people to reach out to. He learned that the hard way when networking for his consulting firm.

“So, for example,” Band says, “I used to think that going to a lot of tech meetups and developer meetups was a great way of doing business.” But Band had to find companies in need of software services, not other developers.

“I was looking to work with a lot of design agencies, so I would go to design meetups and pitch myself as a software consultant. I would go to marketing meetups.”

By clarifying his goals, he found the right people to reach out to.

On Cold Outreach

While Band stresses the importance of cultivating current relationships, he does see merit in cold outreach to expand a network. But, he cautions, a generic or overly produced message will fall flat on your audience.

“Everyone is used to getting slammed with cold emails,” he says. “Therefore, if you write a cold email that actually stands out, or if you do it via LinkedIn or you do a handwritten card, or something that says okay...this person genuinely wants to talk to me or be of value to me, then I’ve actually found that people are pretty receptive.”

Also, he says, make the contact short and sweet. An email, for example should be no more than a few sentences that engage your contact directly. Asking a simple question of your prospect rather than talking solely about yourself can draw them in and send the message that you’re interested in a conversation.

Interview by Nathan Chan, feature article reprinted from Foundr Magazine, by Laurie Mega 


Key Takeaways

  • How Band’s background in software development and challenges with building new relationships inspired the idea for Contactually
  • Why Band, despite being an introvert, believes in the power of relationships above everything else
  • The connection between relationships and reputation
  • Why Band and his co-founders decided to focus on real estate agents for their SaaS platform
  • From accelerator program to $12 million in venture capital
  • How Band practices what he preaches
  • The relationship with national real estate company, Compass, that eventually led to Contactually’s acquisition in 2019
  • How Band is using his relationship-building knowledge to mentor a new generation of entrepreneurs
  • A sneak peek into his book about relationship marketing, Success Is In Your Sphere
Direct download: FP289_Zvi_Band.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:34am AEDT

Erik Bergman’s entrepreneurial journey started with trading hockey cards on the playground.

When Bergman realized that owning coveted sports memorabilia made him feel valued and won him friends, he became obsessed. As he got older, his focus eventually shifted from trading cards to making cash.

After a brief stint as a professional gambler, Bergman co-founded a website consultancy firm called Catena Media in 2012. The affiliate-based marketing company focused on the online gambling industry and eventually IPOd at €160 million.

Despite achieving the wealth Bergman had relentlessly chased since his youth, he was still unhappy. So he set out to learn the true path to fulfillment and eventually found deeper meaning in his life through charity work with his latest project, Great.com.

Check out this interview to learn more about Bergman’s journey to finding happiness and the most important lessons he learned along the way.


Key Takeaways

  • How trading hockey cards instilled a sense of entrepreneurship in Bergman from a young age
  • Bergman’s brief stint as a professional poker player
  • Why Bergman and his best friend Emil Thidell launched a gambling-focused website consultancy agency
  • From making side-hustle money to officially launching Catena Media
  • How strategic website acquisitions helped Catena Media skyrocket
  • The long and difficult road to IPO
  • Why Bergman found himself in a dark place, despite his newfound wealth
  • How Bergman became involved in charity work and discovered his “splash of color”
  • The inspiration behind Great.com
Direct download: FP288_Erik_Bergman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:58am AEDT

Richard Li puts customer service above all when it comes to his luggage company, July.

This unfaltering commitment is why he personally makes house calls to address complaints and why he recently hand-delivered packages after realizing that some customers wouldn’t receive the luggage they ordered in time for the holidays. But this high level of service is only a small piece of Li’s success story with July.

Li, who has previous entrepreneurial experience from his furniture company Brosa, has also figured out a “magic” formula for manufacturing, marketing, and selling physical products. He used this knowledge to grow July from $0 to $5 million in revenue in just a year. And now he’s looking forward to opening up additional retail stores, introducing more products, allowing for more luggage personalization, and expanding into international markets in 2020.

If you want to learn more about what it takes to launch and scale a business that revolves around a physical product, be sure to give our interview a listen!

Also be sure to check out our latest online course, Ecommerce Masters, where Richard Li is one of the five instructors teaching advanced ecommerce skills.

ATTENTION: We're excited to announce that Richard Li has partnered with Foundr to teach one of the modules in our course, Ecommerce Masters. Get on the Free VIP Waitlist to be notified when we open enrollment!

Get a FREE Lesson from Our Course: Ecommerce Masters! Learn the FASTEST Path to a Million-Dollar Store


Key Takeaways

  • The opportunity Li saw in Australia’s furniture market that led him to launch Brosa
  • Why he stepped back from Brosa after five years to focus completely on his new direct-to-consumer luggage company, July
  • An overview of July’s funding journey, go-to-market strategy, and first sale
  • The journey from $0 to $5 million in one year
  • How to find a manufacturer that can grow with your company
  • Why Li offers July customers a 100-day trial and lifetime warranty
  • The rules of product development that Li follows
  • Why Li decided to follow the direct-to-consumer trend of opening up a physical store
  • July’s four growth pillars for 2020
  • Li’s best advice for entrepreneurs building a business around a physical product
Direct download: FP287_Richard_Li.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:28am AEDT

Rob Ward always seems to be one step ahead.

Before Kickstarter took off, Ward and his co-founder Chris Peters launched two successful campaigns on the platform, funding Opena and Quad Lock—the two products that led to the founding of Annex Products. Then Ward was early to the Shopify game, which he successfully used to sell his products for several years. Ward was also quick to see the potential of Facebook Ads and has used them to scale Annex to a multimillion-dollar business.

This ability to spot trends, paired with his finely-tuned approach to product development, has helped Ward find tremendous success as an entrepreneur. While Opena is no longer active, Quad Lock has become a leading device mount and accessory company, serving a wide variety of users—car commuters, motorcyclists, kayakers, even hang gliders. As a result, Quad Lock sells hundreds of thousands of units each year in over 100 countries.

We’re now thrilled to have Rob Ward as one of the five instructors of our latest online course, Ecommerce Masters, teaching advanced ecommerce strategies.

If you’re curious to learn more about Ward’s approach to trendspotting, product development, and more, we highly recommend you check out this episode!

ATTENTION: We’re excited to announce that Rob Ward has partnered with Foundr to teach one of the modules in our course, Ecommerce Masters. Get on the Free VIP Waitlist to be notified when we open enrollment!

Get a FREE Lesson from Our Course: Ecommerce Masters! Learn the FASTEST Path to a Million-Dollar Store


Key Takeaways

  • An overview of Ward’s prior entrepreneurial experiences with everything from laser machines to 3D printers, and how they helped him get to where he is today
  • How he and his co-founder, Chris Peters, founded Annex Products in 2012, building on two successful Kickstarter campaigns
  • Why the duo decided to eventually focus their resources on Quad Lock
  • How Ward stays on the cutting edge and predicts trends
  • Insight into Ward’s approach to the product development process—when to start thinking about the next product, the iterative process, and more
  • Why Ward isn’t too worried about Quad Lock copycats
  • Why Ward doesn’t believe in following other people’s blueprints for success
  • A sneak peek into the module Ward will be teaching for Ecommerce Masters
Direct download: FP286_Rob_Ward.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:54am AEDT

At 27, Chase Dimond is already considered a marketing veteran. In addition to overseeing the marketing teams of various companies, Dimond has also founded many of his own ventures, such as Soundjuice and ZenPup.

His most recent company is Boundless Labs, an agency that focuses on email marketing for ecommerce—with a special focus on CBD companies. Thanks to its modern and human-centered approach to emails, Boundless Labs acquired 30 clients with six- to eight-figure revenues in a little over a year.

Dimond has also secured mind-blowing results for those clients, such as sending emails with 40% to 70% open rates (compared to the industry average of 20% to 25%) and helping companies generate 20% to 30% of their total revenue with emails.

If you’re looking to master the art of email marketing, this podcast episode with Dimond is a great place to start! He gives us a sneak peek into the best practices he uses with his own clients at Boundless Labs, along with other helpful insights.


Key Takeaways

  • How Dimond got his start in marketing, growth, and acquisitions
  • An overview of Dimond’s ventures, from CBD pet products to a social media platform for musicians
  • Why Dimond decided to launch his email marketing agency, Boundless Labs, and how he scaled from zero to 30 clients in a year
  • How design sets Boundless Labs apart from the rest
  • Dimond’s perspective on email marketing as a source of revenue for his clients
  • The importance of the human touch when it comes to customer retention and acquisition
  • How Dimond achieves a 40-70% open rate on customer thank-you emails
Direct download: FP285_Chase_Diamond.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:04am AEDT

Nick Shackelford used to be a goalie for the American pro soccer team, LA Galaxy II. So how did he end up being an expert in the online ad space?

After leaving the soccer league at the end of 2015, Shackelford felt limited by his career options—either training people or playing in a low soccer division—and decided to take the road less traveled instead. He gained experience in paid social media through an internship at PepsiCo. and a stint at a digital marketing agency.

Shackelford used the knowledge he gained to start his own fidget spinner business called Fidgetly. This was where he further cemented his paid marketing know-how and also mastered the art of scaling quickly without breaking the bank. Even after the close of Fidgetly, Shackelford continues to put his knowledge to good use by helping brands through his online marketing, branding and consulting company, Structured Social.

Whether you’re looking to learn more about scaling, media buying, or paid advertisements, Shackelford is your guy. Make sure to check out his interview to take a deeper dive into these fascinating topics!

Key Takeaways

  • How Shackelford went from pro soccer player to intern at PepsiCo.
  • His experience working on paid social media campaigns for the iPhone 7, iPad Pro, and the Apple Watch
  • The rise of fidget spinners, and how this trend helped launch his own business Fidgetly
  • The discovery of Shackelford’s superpower: scaling via paid marketing
  • An overview of Shackelford’s work with various brands after closing Fidgetly
  • How he helped one company clear $10.7 million in sales in 35 days using online ads
  • Shackelford’s best advice for 6-figure businesses that want to accelerate growth
  • The traits of a good media buyer
  • A sneak peek from Shackelford into the new Foundr course he’s teaching
Direct download: FP284_Nick_Shackelford.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:45am AEDT

Gideon Shalwick believes there’s one trait every entrepreneur needs, and it’s not persistence, a strong work ethic, or creativity. It’s self awareness. His own desire to better understand himself has led him down a winding road of serial entrepreneurship and self-exploration.

It’s what first inspired Shalwick to drop out of the 9-to-5 club early in his career, move to another country with his wife, and start fresh. The pursuit of his true calling led him to publish a successful ebook in 2006, and two years later, develop a blogging training product that boasts over 40,000 subscribers. Meanwhile, Shalwick was also building up a personal brand as an expert in video marketing.

But his journey didn’t stop there. In 2012, Shalwick founded video captioning service Splasheo, which has become a major source of passive income. He followed that success in 2014 with Veeroll, a SaaS company that automates the production of video ads for YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook, and now dominates the video advertisement space.

While Shalwick saw great success with these companies, he found that tug of self-discovery pulling at him again. He realized he had become so caught up in the startup world that, in the process, had forgotten who he was.

So he decided to walk away from the projects he spent over a decade building. Now, he’s in a period of self-rediscovery and is sharing his entrepreneurial wisdom with others while plotting his next move.

Starting Over

Five years into his career, Shalwick decided to start over, for the first time. He had graduated with an electrical engineering degree from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand and immediately recognized that he didn’t enjoy working for someone else.

In an attempt to try another path, Shalwick got his master’s degree in engineering management, which focused more on the people side of business. Still, he felt frustrated by his job.

“I don’t think there was any job in the world that would allow me to live out my potential the way that I wanted to, so I felt really stuck,” Shalwick says.

He turned to his wife and suggested that they quit their jobs, move to Australia, and start from scratch.

At first, the plan was for Shalwick to find a job in Brisbane as their ticket in. But three months later, he still hadn’t found employment. He asked his wife to try applying for jobs as well and,  within a week, she had three offers. While this allowed them to successfully relocate, Shalwick still had no idea what to do with his own career.

Millionaire Secrets

Shalwick began reading books on entrepreneurship, with the hope that they would point him in the right direction. It was Rich Dad, Poor Dad, which talks about the importance of building up an asset, that eventually struck a chord. Shalwick wondered how he could build up his own asset and started to explore a variety of options.

He considered everything from franchises to a dog-washing business, but ultimately ended up attending a book-writing course that gave him his first taste of entrepreneurship. In 2006, Shalwick wrote and sold a personal development ebook for $47. The title? Millionaire Dropout Secrets.

“I blush when I think about the title, but I have an excuse,” Shalwick says. “The course taught us that titles with the words ‘secrets’ and ‘millionaire’ in it do really well. So I came up with the title Millionaire Dropout Secrets...I wrote it as a reporter, looking at everyone who dropped out of the system and became successful.”

The ebook was a huge success. The instructor who taught the course offered to help promote the product to his database of 10,000 people. An email was sent out on a Friday night and, by Saturday morning, Shalwick’s ebook was selling like hotcakes. In fact, he sold enough copies to where he felt extremely optimistic about the idea of selling digital products from the comfort of his home for the rest of his career. Shalwick was on cloud nine.

Until one day, his ebook ran out of steam.

Video Ventures

After the initial rush of sales, Shalwick’s ebook experienced virtually no traffic for two years. Because he had little experience with business building, traffic generation, or customer relationship management, he had no idea how to bring his sales back to life.

But Shalwick knew he could learn by tapping into the expertise of others, so he purchased a camcorder and decided to start interviewing people on video to better understand how to set up successful online businesses.

Shalwick snagged his first interview at an industry event, where one of the speakers agreed to talk to him. Over time, this was the formula Shalwick used to eventually collect five gigabytes worth of video interviews. He planned to upload them all to a membership site, but before he could launch, the sheer size of the files ended up killing his PC and the project never got off the ground.

But all the effort wasn’t for nothing. Shalwick became close friends with one of his video interviewees, and together, they launched a product called Become A Blogger (a course for those who are just starting out with blogging or looking to take their blogging to the next level) in 2008. Within the first two weeks of launching, the business had over 10,000 subscribers and an income of over $20,000 per month. This was life changing for Shalwick, who had been making no money for the previous two years.

That business gave Shalwick the exposure he needed to start building up his own personal brand, as he took to YouTube to teach people about building successful video products and online businesses. His channel grew to 36 million views and 360,000 subscribers, and the name Gideon Shalwick became widely associated with the video marketing space.

Changing Priorities

When Shalwick and his wife welcomed their first daughter in 2010, everything changed.

“I realized...what if something happens to me? Then what’s going to happen to the business and income for the family? So I decided I’d better change tactics.”

This dawning realization is common for entrepreneurs who build personal brands. Shalwick believes the most important thing is to know yourself and understand the benefits and drawbacks of each type of business.

For instance, personal brands are simple to start up, have low overhead costs, and make it easy to build a connection with your audience. But as Shalwick realized, the trouble is that a personal brand can’t survive without its creator.

If you have a personal brand, Shalwick recommends looking at other ways to build assets that can run independently of you. This could mean investing your income in other wealth vehicles or creating a separate product or service.

That’s the reason Shalwick decided to launch his human-powered video captioning service, Splasheo, in 2012. To this day, it still functions without Shalwick and serves as a passive source of income for his family.

A few years later, Shalwick decided to venture into the SaaS space. He initially wanted to set everything up through Splasheo, but decided it would be cleaner to create an entirely new entity based in Singapore. And that’s how Veeroll was born in 2014. This SaaS company was created to automate production of video ads for YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. The idea came from the nine years Shalwick had spent in the video marketing industry, where he constantly heard about the biggest pain point in the market: the production and editing process.

Because this software so directly addressed a source of frustration for video marketers, Veeroll quickly became a leader, and today is a million-dollar company.

The Hunt Continues

Despite the success of Veeroll, Shalwick decided to sell his shares and walk away from the company earlier this year. Working in the world of SaaS was intensely challenging, he explains, even for someone with a technical background.

He recounted the time he reached out to Clay Collins at Leadpages for advice when he first started Veeroll. Collins told him, “There are a million things, and you have to get them all right.” While Shalwick didn’t understand what he meant at the time, he grew to appreciate the truth behind this statement.

But it wasn’t just the technical aspects of the SaaS business that were overwhelming. As Shalwick describes, he was also burned out by a high-stress environment, brought on from pursuing extremely aggressive goals. That’s when he recognized how easy it was to get caught up in the wrong things and lose sight of what’s important.

So he decided to step back once again, and focus on rediscovering himself.

Shalwick has spent a lot of time contemplating his life’s vision. He believes that for each of us, this vision is guided by an “unconscious drive,” what some people refer to as their “why.”

He discovered after much reflection that his unconscious drive is for significance. All of his actions had been driven by a desire to prove himself. He was embarrassed by this realization at first, because it felt superficial, but he came to embrace it over time.

Now that he understands this reality, he has made an intentional effort to channel his drive from achieving significance for himself into helping others feel significant. For Shalwick, this has been a huge game changer and has made the vision for his life much clearer.

“As entrepreneurs, you really have to get to know yourself,” Shalwick says. “Each of us has a unique capability and gift or talent we can give to the world. But it’s conditioned away by society...and it’s a real challenge to rediscover that again. When you can rediscover that and find your true why, then everything becomes a lot easier.”

The Formula for Successful Video Ads, From Gideon Shalwick

Shalwick uses the AIDCA formula to ensure successful video ads that consistently convert customers. Below is a breakdown of each component of the formula:

A = Attention. The first part of the formula is all about grabbing people’s interest with a hook. According to Shalwick, one of the most effective ways to do this is to identify your audience’s biggest pain point then turn it into a question. For instance, if your intended audience is video marketers, you may ask: “Are you struggling with video editing?”

I = Intrigue. You can build intrigue with a story of open loops that draws people in and makes them want to keep watching. In other words, create a sense of mystery. This part of the formula relies on the Zeigarnik Effect, which states that people remember uncompleted or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks.

D = Desire. Now it’s time to create desire around the solution. Shalwick recommends listing the benefits, features, and differentiators of your product or service to make it more appealing to your viewers.

C = Conviction. According to Shalwick, it’s important to provide as much proof as you can so the audience is convinced that the solution you’re offering actually works. This can come in the form of testimonials, social proof, or a stamp of approval from an authority figure.

A = Action. Finally, you have to ask people to do what you want them to do. This is where you insert a call to action and guide your audience in the direction you want them to go.

Interview by Nathan Chan, feature article reprinted from Foundr Magazine, by Sophia Lee


Key Takeaways

  • Why Shalwick and his wife decided to quit their jobs and start over
  • How he got his first taste of entrepreneurship with an ebook (and why the title makes him blush to this day)
  • Why his ebook sales skyrocketed, then saw virtually no sales for two years
  • Shalwick’s journey to better understanding online businesses
  • How he built his personal brand in the video marketing space
  • Why the birth of Shalwick’s daughter made him reconsider the way he approaches business
  • The birth of Splasheo, and how it became a source of passive income for Shalwick
  • Shalwick’s successful venture into SaaS with Veeroll
  • Why Shalwick sold his shares and walked away from Veeroll
  • The importance of discovering your true “why” as an entrepreneur
Direct download: FP283_Gideon_Shalwick.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:10am AEDT

How Clark Valberg and InVision are bringing founders’ creative ideas to life, and leading the way for remote workplaces.

Clark Valberg can tell you the exact date that his digital product design platform, InVision, launched. It was also his wedding day.

In hindsight, it’s telling that Valberg was able to successfully overlap these professional and personal milestones—InVision is known for its culture of work-life integration, with a 100% remote workforce nearing 900 employees. Eight years later, both InVision and Valberg’s marriage are still going strong.

When Valberg first launched the platform in 2011, it was meant to be a simple prototyping tool for his creative agency. Today, the company offers a full collaboration suite, InVision Cloud, that has redefined how companies design their products.

In addition to collecting over $350 million in funding and a being valued close to $2 billion—officially making it a unicorn—the startup now boasts over 5 million users and is the platform of choice for 97% of Fortune 100 companies, including major names like Amazon, Starbucks, and Uber.

Along the way, the company also redesigned the way its employees relate to the workplace, demonstrating early on just what’s possible in a remote company culture done right.

A Graceful Stumble

Before Valberg was known as the CEO of one of Silicon Valley’s most beloved tech companies, he ran a New York-based creative agency called Epicenter Consulting, from 2003 to 2011. It was a design and development shop that created websites for software companies. However, there was one issue their team consistently ran into when working with clients—incorporating feedback.

Valberg found it challenging to bring his clients along on the design journey, which meant that the first time they saw their website or app was after it had already been coded. That made the feedback process difficult and inefficient. This got him wondering: How could his team show designs to their clients earlier and more often?

That’s how the idea for InVision came to life. It was created to put all their designs into a platform where clients could see and comment on them — similar to how a Google Document allows multiple people to collaborate within the same project. This was a huge step forward compared to the standard method of sending out designs in PDFs or as screen shots.

Valberg had zero intention of turning this product into a standalone business. It wasn’t until someone inside his agency suggested sharing InVision with other companies that the thought even crossed his mind.

At first, Valberg resisted the idea. He figured people wouldn’t be open to drastically changing the way they worked with their clients. However, he was eventually swayed and put out feelers to see if people would bite.

As it turns out, people were interested. While Valberg was pleased with the response, it still hadn’t occurred to him to turn InVision into a full-time business. After all, his agency was doing extraordinarily well and bringing in $1 million in revenue each year. Again, fate stepped in and a designer Valberg worked with suggested raising venture money. And again, Valberg brushed off the idea.

However, the designer persisted and made an introduction to angel investor Daniel Wolfson.  Immediately, Wolfson saw the potential of InVision and connected Valberg to investors at FirstMark Capital. From there, a deal unfolded rapidly.

All of these events were, as Valberg puts it, a graceful stumble onto the path that he’s on today.

By the time Valberg secured his seed round of $1.1 million, users were signing up by the hundreds every day. This was when he realized that he needed to go all in on InVision. His wife took over his agency and successfully ran the business until 2018, while Valberg went through the next eight rounds of funding and elevated InVision to its esteemed status.

Ahead of the Curve

One of the characteristics that differentiates InVision from other companies is its 100% remote workforce. While the concept is more common now, it was considered bizarre back when the company first launched.

The idea originally came about as a talent hack. When the startup was in its early stages, Valberg and his co-founder, Ben Nadel, spent entire days taking engineers out to lunch to woo them into being their first developers. They quickly discovered how competitive the New York talent market was—especially with a behemoth like Google opening up their new office next door.

They sat down and asked themselves—what do we have to do over the next six months to be successful? They came to the conclusion that their focus needed to be completely dedicated to finding product-market fit and product development. However, they didn’t have the resources to address either of those priorities with the amount of time they were spending on recruiting. So they decided to hack it.

Valberg recalled working with many contractors at his agency. They were extremely talented but lived in far-off places, like Phoenix, Arizona. What if they hired those folks and let them stay where they were? Valberg reached out to the freelancers he worked with in the past and, instead of pitching a job, he pitched a lifestyle.

According to Valberg, it wasn’t the remote work that was appealing; it was the shift to life-work integration that his company offered. Valberg recognized that work-life separation wasn’t realistic in today’s society. Instead, he decided to focus on offering a flexible lifestyle that would allow employees to better integrate their work and home lives. The idea resonated. The co-founders hired 10 people remotely in less time than it would have taken to hire two people in New York.

“At the time, this was a big, scary idea. It’s a question about trading complexities. We can handle the complexity of this extremely challenging market and end up overpaying for talent that wasn’t necessarily the quality we needed. That feels like a war you can’t win. Or we could figure out this remote thing, which felt like a design challenge,” Valberg says.

Clearly, this strategy has been a huge success for InVision. The company is anticipated to reach 900 employees by the end of 2019 and doesn’t have plans to slow down. Valberg recognizes this as an inflection point in their growth, and he remains extremely conscious of the problems that may pop up from scaling, HR, and culture perspectives. However, he believes the advantages profoundly outweigh the challenges—and his team is ready to lean into any they run into.

Solving Problems With Bad Ideas

At a design-forward company like InVision, creativity is paramount. But even the brightest minds experience slumps and roadblocks. That’s why Valberg and his team have a secret weapon in their back pockets for any time they get stuck in a rut. It’s called “bad version.”

This phrase, which has become a cultural mantra at InVision, is a permission slip that says, “What I’m about to say might not be a great idea, but that’s OK.” Valberg says his team uses it whenever they hit a wall during brainstorms. Most of the time, the wall is a result of people holding back their ideas out of a fear of judgment. “Bad version” serves as a catalyst for the creative process and empowers people to share less-than-perfect ideas without fear of judgment.

Valberg recalls one time he was in a room with five other marketers, designers, and engineers. They were trying to figure out what to call the new plugin they created for Sketch and Photoshop, and they were stuck. To break the rut, someone said “bad version” and suggested the name Craft. The person who suggested the idea didn’t think it would end up being the name of the feature. But, as Craft users know today, it did. More importantly, it sparked the conversation and allowed the team to consider other options.

Valberg uses “bad version” at home with his wife too. He says it gives each other permission to not be right and asks the other person to help expose the best part of their idea. In other words, it’s a way of encouraging healthy conflict. This is a mindset Valberg hopes more people will adopt for work, life, and beyond.

“You probably have decent ideas that you’re just unwilling to share at that time for fear of judgment. That doesn’t make you an insecure person, that makes you a human person. … We become so fixated on arriving at the right answer, that we forget it’s a winding road.”

Clark Valberg’s 3 Tips for Scaling a Remote Workforce

  1. Take advantage of in-person time.

When the InVision team gets together in person, it’s not about getting work done—for them, the real work happens in the cloud. Instead, in-person time is used to get to know each better.

Valberg believes that sharing this experience positively translates to the online environment, which is why in-person gatherings are an important part of every remote workforce. That’s why InVision has an in-person all-hands once a year and encourages employees in the same cities to get together regularly.

  1. Consider time zones, but don’t be limited by them.

InVision is a truly global company. Its presence extends across the United States, South America, Europe, and beyond. Which means they have to take time zones into consideration. However, they don’t let those differences limit their teams.

For instance, InVision is mindful of not having geographically-bound teams work on projects together. So while they might not group an engineering team in Australia with one in San Francisco, that doesn’t stop them from hiring engineers all over the world.

  1. Use the right tools.

Of course, using the right project management software and communication tools is key to maintaining a remote culture. Valberg believes these tools can make remote cultures more efficient than working in physical places.

Consider the amount of time spent gathering people physically for meetings. People run late, dip in and out of the conference room, and have to quiet down before diving into the agenda. Whereas, tools like Zoom enable people to start meetings within seconds and allow everyone to take advantage of any dead time in between. “If I’m five minutes late to call you, you don’t have someone waiting and twiddling their thumbs doing nothing,” Valberg says.

Interview by Nathan Chan, feature article reprinted from Foundr Magazine, by Sophia Lee


Key Takeaways

  • The biggest challenge Valberg faced while running his creative agency in New York
  • How Valberg created an in-house product to make the feedback process easier for his clients
  • Why he didn’t want to sell his product to the public, and what eventually swayed him
  • Valberg’s graceful stumble into securing his first round of funding
  • Why the official launch for InVision was also the most important day of Valberg’s life
  • InVision’s journey to unicorn status
  • The reason Valberg decided to make the company 100% remote, and how he scaled it to 900 employees
  • How the InVision team ensures employees never get stuck in a creative rut
Direct download: FP282_Clark_Valberg.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:51am AEDT

Joe De Sena, like many of us, is a fitness fanatic. But his approach to fitness is a bit more...intense than most.

De Sena used to participate in countless obstacle course races, Ironman events, and marathons around the world. But even those weren’t challenging enough for this hardcore athlete. That’s why, after wrapping up a decade-long career on Wall Street, De Sena decided to start his own adventure racing company.

The first race De Sena hosted was on the British Virgin Islands, and it didn’t go very smoothly. That race cost De Sena half a million dollars and resulted in a participant getting lost at sea for several days.

Thankfully, the races have evolved a bit since then—although are no less challenging—and are known today as the Death Race and Spartan Race, which are collectively a $60 million business that has revolutionized the world of obstacle racing.

Check out this interview to learn more about De Sena’s financial, mental, and physical journey to popularizing this global franchise.


Key Takeaways

  • De Sena’s decade-long stint on Wall Street, and how it helped fund his next venture
  • Why De Sena decided to start his own adventure racing company
  • How the very first race De Sena hosted on the British Virgin Islands went terribly wrong for one participant
  • The birth of Death Race and Spartan Race
  • Why De Sena never gave up on his company, despite losing $8 million in the process over a span of 15 years
  • How the network effect eventually helped the obstacle course races gain traction
  • The expansion of Death Race and Spartan Race to 45 countries
  • De Sena’s honest thoughts on work-life balance and what it takes to be an entrepreneur
  • A sneak peek into his latest book, The Spartan Way
Direct download: FP281_Joe_De_Sena.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:09am AEDT

Jeff Epstein paid off his law school student loans in an unconventional way.

When he and a couple of friends noticed the booming online poker sites in the mid 2000s, they created an affiliate company to refer traffic to them and get paid in return. The business did well enough that Epstein was able to sell his stake to his partners for a nice profit that helped him pay off his debt.

Epstein ultimately decided not to pursue law, but his entrepreneurial experience stuck with him. In particular, he recognized the power of referrals to help businesses gain more customers. As a result, Epstein eventually founded Ambassador, a referral marketing software that enables brands to build and scale referral, affiliate, partner, and influencer programs.

While the journey to growing Ambassador was far from a smooth ride, Epstein picked up many valuable lessons along the way that helped him grow as both a person and an entrepreneur. Eventually, Ambassador became successful enough that it was acquired by a large corporation.

Check out this interview to learn more about Epstein’s journey and hear him open up about his biggest mistakes, regrets, and lessons learned.


Key Takeaways

  • How Epstein used his poker affiliate business to pay off law school debt
  • What he learned about the power of referrals in the process
  • Why Epstein regrets acquiring his first SEO company, and what ultimately led to its demise
  • How this failure informed the idea for referral marketing software, Ambassador
  • Why it took six months for Ambassador to get a repeat paying customer
  • What it was like to run a “fat” startup
  • How Ambassador’s acceptance into Techstars helped the company take off
  • The growth of Ambassador and its stressful acquisition by West Corporation
Direct download: FP280_Jeffrey_D_Epstein.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:33am AEDT