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(un)sexy

Author: Elaine Zelby

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From scrap metal to timber, estate planning to freight pooling, this show is a meandering exploration of just how sexy unsexy industries can be. Host Elaine Zelby, investor at SignalFire and eternally curious human being uncovers the stories of niche and esoteric markets understanding the history and looking at the future through the eyes of the pioneering entrepreneurs willing to bring technology and exponential improvements to these often overlooked spaces.

18 Episodes
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In this episode I speak with Jesse Solomon ( https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesse-solomon-3a157b5a ) , the Co-founder of Mickey, ( https://mickeyforest.com/ ) a B2B commodities marketplace that manages supply, freight bookings, and payments, making it fast and easy for customers to purchase, track, and acquire the commodities they need. We discuss how Jesse went from the music industry on the creative artist agency side and fell into an opportunity to disrupt the global trade industry. Jesse also shares about the changing nature of global supply and demand for raw materials and how Mickey is looking to become the inverse Alibaba bringing the world's commodities online.
In this episode, I speak with Lejjy Gafour ( https://www.linkedin.com/in/lejjygafour?originalSubdomain=ca ) , Co-founder and CEO of Future Fields ( https://www.futurefields.io/ ) , a company creating the future of food by developing custom custom growth media solutions for the cellular agriculture industry in a cost effective and scalable way. We discuss what cellular agriculture is, how it's done today, what can be done to make the unit economics cost effective, and what the future holds for lab-grown meat and non-animal based materials.
In this episode I speak with Tyler Ellison ( https://www.linkedin.com/in/tyler-ellison-090bba3/ ) , the Founder and CEO of ChemDirect ( https://www.chemdirect.com/ ) , a digital marketplace for the chemical industry connecting hundreds of thousands of products from vetted and reputable manufacturers with buyers who can transparently shop, compare and purchase. We discuss Tyler's decades-long experience in the global logistics and chemicals industries, how the $5T chemicals market operates today, and how the changing nature of manufacturers and buyers is forcing the industry to modernize.
In this episode we go down the rabbit hole of dirt! I speak with Cliff Fetner ( https://www.linkedin.com/in/cliff-fetner-01559b32/ ) , the Founder and CEO of Soil Connect ( https://www.soilconnect.com/ ) , a digital marketplace that provides a better, faster and cheaper way for construction professionals to transport and acquire soil, aggregates and other building materials, saving customers tens of thousands of dollars while substantially reducing the construction industry’s CO2 emissions. We discuss Cliff's decades in the construction space, how different types of dirt are classified, graded, and moved between sites, and how Soil Connect is applying technology to this old school industry.
In this episode, I speak with Alex Naoumidis ( https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexnaoumidis/?originalSubdomain=au ) , Co-founder and CEO of Mindset Health ( https://www.mindsethealth.com/ ) , a company building mobile hypnotherapy programs to help people with chronic conditions manage and improve their health, without drugs or diets. We discuss the power of the mind-body connection, the difference between hypnosis and meditation, and what it's like building a company with his brother.
In this episode, I speak with Tim Henry ( https://www.linkedin.com/in/timothyjameshenry ) , Co-founder and CEO of Haul ( https://haulwith.us/drivers ) , a platform that allows truck drivers to find flexible CDL jobs without owning their own truck. They are rethinking the employment model for the 3.5 million commercial truck drivers in the United States. We discuss all of nuances of the players that make up the trucking industry and how autonomy will or won't change the game in trucking.
In this episode, I speak with Jordan Taylor ( https://www.linkedin.com/in/jordanstarrtaylor/ ) , Co-founder and Head of Product at SESO ( https://www.sesolabor.com/ ) , a company building a better labor marketplace for agriculture. SESO provides agriculture employers with an end-to-end labor solution which encompasses recruiting, visa automation, and workforce/compliance management software. We discuss Jordan's journey into the AgTech space through his time at Farmer's Business Network, what an H2-A visa is, and the entire process around farm labor.
I speak with Kevin Gibbon ( https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevingibbon/ ) , Co-founder and CEO of Airhouse ( https://www.airhouse.io/ ) , a modern, all-in-one e-commere operations platform that helps direct-to-consumer companies get orders from their factory to your front door. Kevin is no newbie when it comes to the e-commerce logistics space having founded Shyp in 2013 and shutting it down in 2018. In this episode we discuss his learnings along the way, some of the current challenges that still need to be solved in this industry, and where he things e-commerce goes in the next 10 years.
In this episode I discuss all things future of remote work with Chris Herd ( https://www.linkedin.com/in/chrisherd ) , the Founder and CEO of Firstbase ( https://www.firstbasehq.com/ ). We discuss why remote work is here to stay and what benefits employees and companies get from enabling their employees to live where they want and engage in the communities that most align with their interests and values. We get a masterclass on using Twitter to build a brand and awareness and what it's like to build a remote first company from scratch.
Who doesn't love a water park? Now imagine you're going down the water slide but with a VR headset on! That is what Stephen Greenwood ( https://www.linkedin.com/in/greenwoodstephen ) , the CEO and Founder of Ballast VR ( https://www.ballastvr.com/ ) is creating with his first-of-its-kind virtual reality for water parks experiences. After trying to find a way for people with motion sickness to experience VR, Stephen discovered that if you're in water, the symptoms don't exist. After experimenting with VR for sensory deprivation chambers, the market began pulling him towards waterparks as a perfect use case for his waterproof and immersive experiences.
In this episode, Matteo Francheschetti ( https://www.linkedin.com/in/matteofranceschetti ) , Founder and CEO of Eight ( https://www.eightsleep.com/ ) goes deep into the world of sleep. We discuss how he got obsessed with fitness, wellness, and ultimately sleep, the growing trend of sleep tracking/sleep hygiene, and Matteo's personal routine. He goes under the hood to describe all of the technology built into Eight's flagship mattress that continuously tracks body movement and temperature to adjust throughout the night for optimal sleep. Perfect holiday present to treat yo self!
In this episode, Eran Ben-Shmuel ( https://www.linkedin.com/in/eran-ben-shmuel-9612761a/?originalSubdomain=il ) , Founder and CEO of Juganu ( https://juganu.com/ ) sheds some light on light! Juganu is revolutionizing the world through light and we discuss all of the impacts that light has on our health, happiness, and overall life. From improving mood, killing bacteria and pathogens, and controlling the chemical composition of plants for indoor horticulture, light has profound impacts on the way we live and eat. Eran explores how they've harnessed learnings from the sun and brought those learnings to artificial light.
In this episode, I speak with Rema Matevosyan ( https://www.linkedin.com/in/hripsime/ ) , Founder and CEO of Near Space Labs ( https://nearspacelabs.com/ ). Her company provides timely wide-scale imagery from the stratosphere at down-to-earth prices. Essentially they send high-tech balloons called Swifts, into the stratosphere between 60,000 and 85,000 feet capturing a whopping 400 – 700 km2 of imagery every flight. We discuss how Rema got became interested in space, the difference between satellite, stratospheric, and airplane/drone imagery, who cares about arial imagery and why, plus much more.
In this episode, Yi Chao ( https://www.linkedin.com/in/yi-chao-06023848 ) , founder and CEO of Seatrec ( https://seatrec.com/ ) and one of the most fascinating humans I've ever met discusses his journey from theoretical physics to deep sea exploration. A self-proclaimed armchair oceanographer, Yi and his team have developed a robot that can produce energy from the temperature differentials found naturally in the ocean. Exploring the depths of the oceans is challenging as it requires a lot of power but with the Seatrec robots, they can move up and down to generate their own electricity when they need a boost. We discuss how the atmosphere and oceans are tightly connected, how phase change materials work, and what the oceans can tell us about the health of the planet. Tune in for a truly fascinating conversation!
In this episode, I speak with Dr. Casey Means ( https://www.linkedin.com/in/casey-means-md/ ) , Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of Level's Health ( https://www.levelshealth.com/ ) and Stanford educated physician who spent 4 years as a Resident Physician in the Department of Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery at OHSU (Oregon Health and Science University). Levels Health is empowering individuals to radically optimize their health and wellbeing by providing realtime continuous glucose biofeedback coupled with personalized insights. We discuss nutrigenomics, CGMs, and how to optimize and measure health metrics.
In this episode, Cody Barbo, the Founder and CEO of Trust & Will walks through the history and nuances of estate planning. This often overlooked industry is incredibly important for wealth preservation, avoiding probate (we discuss what probate actually is), and ensuring your wishes are executed after death. We discuss when people should start thinking about creating a trust or a will and why it has been historically so challenging and cumbersome a process.
In this episode, Jenny He, the Founder and CEO of Ergeon explains all things outside-the-home construction. Having grown up in a family of civil engineers next to one of the largest construction site in the world, she's no stranger to the world of construction. After getting a PhD in Electrical Engineering and having a stint as a consultant at McKinsey, she jumped into the world of entrepreneurship and is now bringing technology to the world of single-trade home construction starting with fences. We discuss how trades work today, the many middle men in the timber space, and much more.
In this episode, Oren Zaslansky ( https://www.linkedin.com/in/oren-zaslansky-84a6225a ) , the Founder and CEO of Flock Freight ( https://www.flockfreight.com/ ) explains all things logistics. He discusses all of the steps involved in getting goods from China to your doorstep, each of the players involved, some of the major challenges in the industry, and how applying innovative technology and algorithms to an antiquated industry can change the game in terms of cost and efficiency of moving freight around the country.
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