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Float or Founder Podcast

Author: Float or Founder Recording, Inc.

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A podcast to inspire the next generation of founders, entrepreneurs, and business owners from the experiences of founders in Toronto, Canada.
28 Episodes
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People always tells you to create a business idea out of a personal pain point. Have you ever been running a company and been frustrated by an industry pain point and decided to solve that? That's exactly what Mark Graham of commonsku did. During his days running Rightsleeve, he faced challenges and needed a workflow management platform. That workflow management platform became what commonsku is today and it's made for the promotional products industry.Mark gives a bunch of tips on balancing two companies, going through a successful acquisition, and running the company with his wife and co-founder, Catherine. He shares how they balance and integrate work and family life and their love of bringing work home as well as sharing success and solving challenges together.Support the show
Quick: what happens when some bad news gets released about your company? Do you react or not? When you have good news - how do you spread the word? All these questions and more are answered by the amazing Jodi Echakowitz of Boulevard PR.Jodi has led her PR agency for the past 18 years. She has incredible insight into running a successful B2B PR firm, managing remote teams and events, and helping companies that aren't super-sexy consumer brands get their messages out to the public. If you're looking for PR advice to watch your startup soar, Jodi has the insights for you!Support the show
Carolyn Plater and Stephanie Kersta have years of experience in the healthcare and addiction field. They saw a trend of people only seeking help once their lives had crumbled and their stress was too much to manage. They wanted to provide a proactive solution. Out of that, Hoame was born.Hoame is a meditation studio downtown with a variety of rooms of wellness themes. Carolyn and Stephanie discuss finding a place that felt like home, transitioning from their work in nursing to running a company, and top tips for entrepreneurs to handle the stress in their lives. Carolyn and Stephanie are best friends with a well-balanced cofounder relationship who had great insights into finding a space downtown Toronto, building their team when their space wasn't complete, and partnering with McMaster University on wellness courses.Support the show
Derek Hopfner, Shane Murphy, and their CTO, Travis Houlette, met years ago while living in Calgary and playing punk rock music. Years later they would create their first business and shortly after, come up with the idea for Founded. Derek and Shane are subject matter experts in the legal profession who saw a gap for small business owners looking for inexpensive and digital legal solutions.Derek and Shane talk about the importance of being subject matter experts, the fortune of running a business with close friends, and how important it is to put your ideas into action. They learned a lot from running their first business which informed their creation of Founded. They share the process of getting investors and advisors, growing their team, and disrupting an old industry to make it accessible to business owners and entrepreneurs.Support the show
Jodi Kovitz started #movethedial with a mission: elevate all women-identified folks in technology. Change the stats for all women-identified individuals in executive and founder roles. Finally, and most important, see the day where her daughter's gender is not a determinant in her success.Jodi openly shares about women in tech, STEM in the education system, and how she created a diverse team at #movethedial. Jodi is quick to credit her team and her community and support system. She talks about the exact books she read, coaching she and her organization have gone through, and good tips and habits that any entrepreneur can use to build a thoughtful team.Support the show
How do you rebrand death into something a bit more sexy? Erin Bury and Kevin Oulds discuss the process of making wills and estate planning something that people want to partake in and invest in. From Kevin's early stage business, to rediscovering what customers needed, to becoming what Willful is today, Erin and Kevin share it all.This husband-and-wife duo have interesting insights into building a great company culture early on, how VCs receive them, and how their brand is their true differentiator and how that impacts them. See what it takes to run a company together and positively brand a complicated and somewhat taboo topic. Support the show
"Something I always suggest to founders is if you can solve one of your own problems then that's really interesting."Rebranding takes a lot of work. If you've ever pursued this difficult project at work, you know how much work and how many people are involved in the process. Juno College is the newly rebranded HackerYou and the rebrand has been widely accepted and loved!Heather shares how her entrepreneurial mindset changed after she had both of her children and how she stepped back and hired people to fill roles (and succeed in them!). She also discusses how she entered into Y Combinator, and in typical founder fashion, leapt on the last minute opportunity and changed vacation plans to attend. If you've ever considered entering into Y Com, Heather discusses the benefits of being part of it. Find out Heather's journey from Ladies Learning Code (now Canada Learning Code), to HackerYou, to officially accredited Juno College of Technology.Support the show
Shannon and Kris share all about the rollercoaster of entrepreneurship and being startup founders. They know the importance of continuing to push through to where things are really starting to ramp up.Both of these amazing co-founders share how they are supporting diversity in sports and sport tech through highlighting female founders and rural startups. They also discuss being a couple and how that impacts running their company. Learn how they save money when on the road, pitching their Canadian company on a global stage, working with the sports companies they once dreamed of working for, and their rabbit, Jack, who brings joy to the office!Support the show
“There is so much doubt to overcome that can only be overcome by continuing to prove yourself.” How do you retain good employees, prevent burnout, take unused vacation days off the balance sheet? Adopt a wellness program that gets over 80% opt in that provides employer-matched vacation savings.Erica Pearson is the founder and CEO of Vacation Fund. She shares how she started off with a scrappy and manual MVP to prove the concept, strategies for how a new founder can take time off (as best as possible!), and pitching as a first-time founder. She shares about the importance of living as many experiences as possible for a fulfilling life and how that mission fuels her team and her company.Support the show
Justin Thouin is the co-founder and CEO of LowestRates.ca, a platform that allows you to compare insurance, mortgage, and other rates in Canada. Justin started off as the "Chief Everything Officer" and shares the process of letting go of tasks as the company grew. He knows how difficult entrepreneurship is and the time you need to dedicate to build a successful company. Justin talks about his unique perspective in funding the company slowly rather than through large raises. He also takes us inside how banks and insurance companies work and how his company is attempting to improve financial literacy, access, and convenience for all Canadians.In this podcast episode, we made an error in recording, which meant we lost the last little bit of ur rapid fire round. We wanted to record Justin's answers again, and he kindly obliged, offering great advice for any founder who makes a mistake.Support the show
Our first LIVE episode happened at Dovetail Basecamp on September 21st! For this special episode, we had the pleasure of interviewing the amazing Kelsey Ramsden. Kelsey has founded and led many eight-figure businesses and has over fifteen years of experience as an entrepreneur. Kelsey has Tallus Ridge Development, Belvedere Place Development, and SparkPlay under her belt. This multi-faceted founder shares her story and how and why she started these companies.Kelsey discusses running online versus offline companies, how to win business awards and get on the covers of magazines, and how important mentorship and community is to your success. Support the show
Please note that this episode pertains to the cannabis industry. It is intended to be educational."New industries rarely happen in our lifetime. There is a small window of opportunity to create and be part of creating an industry." Trang Trinh, the Founding Director and CEO of TREC Brands, talks about being part of the recently-legalized cannabis industry in Canada. If you've ever wondered what it takes to shape an industry, Trang has great advice for this exciting journey.Trang talks to us about her extensive corporate background shaping her as a CEO, balancing 90 investors, and shaping culture in a fast-growing company that has seen a lot in less than a year. She shares the differences between corporate and startup world and what it takes to be part of or run a startup.Support the show
Chanele McFarlane is the Editor-in-Chief and founder of Do Well Dress Well, a content platform that helps people create remarkable careers and personal brands. She shares with us the challenges and benefits of running a content platform. Chanele has advice for any young entrepreneur looking to launch their next big personal branding item. Chanele has explored monetization, different digital marketing tactics to gain traction, and talks about how she grew her audience in the early days. As a millennial who is all too familiar with how we are balancing a million and one things, Chanele shares how she's grown great initiatives in her spare time and surrounded herself with supportive people.Chanele also shares with us how she's impacting diversity in networking events through her other venture, Confidence Through Conferences. She wants to encourage diversity at conferences by making those (often pricy!) networking events accessible to all.Support the show
Gary Saarenvirta is the founder and CEO of Daisy Intelligence. Gary is a technical CEO who built the original software behind Daisy. His math and science background allowed him to launch an AI-based company, way back before it was a well known part of the technology industry. Rather than chasing the revered exit, he discusses growing a big brand - a company that sits up top with the Googles of the world. In this episode, Gary discusses what AI actually is to him and to Daisy - he believes defining AI is important so that customers know exactly what to expect. Gary has funded Daisy with revenues until 2015, when he set out to raise capital from angel and investor networks. He shares the Canadian government programs available to founders, as well. Daisy creates raw, artificial intelligence software and he shares all this company has built over the past 15+ years in business.Support the show
Bobby Umar is the founder and CEO of DYPB, or Discover Your Personal Brand. Bobby is a 5x TEDx, Inc Magazine's Top 100 Leadership Speaker, and a personal branding, networking, digital & leadership expert, and speaking coach. His goal is to help you succeed and discover what really drives you. But to do this, he says, "you need to invest in yourself."Bobby talks to us about his best tips for getting on the speaker circuit, breaks down what a personal brand is and how to create a thought leadership brand around yourself, and how to network whether or not you're an extroverted person. If you're looking for tips on creating a standout brand as an entrepreneur, this is the podcast episode for you!Get in touch with Bobby:LinkedInTwitterAuthor of How to Network Anytime, Anywhere, with AnyoneSupport the show
How do two former marketers go about leading an app-based company? They take their marketing skills, bring in advisors, attend (and win!) pitch competitions, and test, test, test. Their idea for Wavy started from their personal experience navigating a city while traveling. They wondered if this could apply not only to travel, but to finding hidden gems in their own cities.Shawn and Peter started with a simple survey to prove their theory, a scrappy MVP, and great low-budget acquisition strategies to lead their first year into a success. They are currently in Beta.In this episode, Shawn and Peter share the exact tools they use to manage Wavy's product development cycles, a few ideas for how they plan to monetize their app, and the anti-advertising values of their company.Support the show
Special treat for Float or Founder listeners! Save on your ticket to Dovetail Basecamp with promo code FLOAT. Join other female identified entrepreneurs for a weekend in the wilderness packed with workshops, great conversation, and so much more. Register today - we can't wait to see you there!If you've ever experienced imposter syndrome, loneliness, or packed schedules as an entrepreneur, Alexis Dean understands completely. She believes in building a community and surrounding yourself with people who can help lift you up, while you can do the same for them. Alexis started Dovetail Basecamp to bring together her Dovetail Community - a group of women running everything from growth stage startups to seven-figure revenue companies. If you've ever wanted to start an event, check out how Alexis got her start and grew Dovetail Basecamp to what it is today.Support the show
Erik Lloyd is busy graduating from his Masters at University of Waterloo, but that didn't stop him and his co-founders from launching Brink Bionics. Within the past year, Brink Bionics has moved from a medical prosthesis technology company to a consumer-facing gaming hardware company - using the same machine learning backing to support it. Brink Bionics has big goals surrounding human and robotics/AI interfacing.Erik and his two co-founders are all technical researchers and he spoke to how they built out a business background and how learning that allowed them to pivot to create a better company. Erik discusses re-learning how to pitch a company that has faced a pivot, how to balance education and work, and why you take time for you and step away from work. Learn the intricacies of launching a hardware company (and how you can be an early adopter of the product)!Support the show
If you've ever considered getting into business with your best friends, this is the podcast for you. Sheba talks about her positive experience launching County Wine Tours, a Prince Edward County-based cycling wine tour company. Her and her two friends manage their team of more than 15 employees remote from Toronto while handling demanding day jobs of their own. Their background in communications and marketing, their honesty with one another, and their passion for the County and its burgeoning wine scene led them to create a business that was profitable near immediately.Learn from Sheba's experience on how to handle a busy and successful side hustle with two best friends.Support the show
Ever faced an issue in the real world and thought "I could solve this problem" - and then done it? Kerri-Lynn McAllister takes us on her journey of launching Pawzy, a pet health and wellness marketplace designed to make the pet health industry more transparent. Kerri-Lynn has an extensive marketing background in startups and marketplaces and she has applied those skills to discover the most necessary features to launch her MVP.On this episode of Float or Founder, Kerri-Lynn tells you how you can (easily and cheaply!) do proper market research, why it's important to give some of your company up to the right people, and how you don't need to be a morning person to succeed.Support the show
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