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In today's episode we talk to Colin Zarzou, co-founder at Koii, about his experience as a founder in the web3 space. We discuss his previous experience in the legal space, entering web3 as a non-technical cofounder, and legal pitfalls and considerations when building a token-based product. We also discuss briefly the Canadian startup landscape
In today’s episode of Minimally Viable, we talk with Smriti Tomar, Founder of Stack, India’s first automated investing app. She shares how her work at Citibank and investing and trading her own money influenced her journey with Stack. Smriti shares how Stack not only focuses on helping people save for their life goals and invest even the smallest amount of money but also focuses on education. Stack creates webinars and other content to educate the community and this has ultimately been how they increased engagement and new users. We talk about the lack of financial literacy and accessibility in India, especially in rural India. Smriti discusses her goals for Stack to become the Vanguard of India and to educate and help all the people in India manage and invest their money. Smriti discusses Stack’s growth by creating more diversified portfolios, incorporating crypto in portfolios, and providing services to manage all personal finances. We also reflect on our individual founding journeys, the challenges we experienced, and how we continue to grow. Smriti shares about her journey as a 25-year-old female founder and the challenges associated with that. She shares her goals of one day creating a female-focused fund and helping other women entrepreneurs in India.
In today’s episode of Minimally Viable, we talk to Thomas Mueller, CEO of Evan GmbH. Thomas shares his 20-year tech journey and passion for bringing tech into the real world. He reflects on the start of his tech journey when the internet first came out to where we are now with the emergence of web 3.0. Thomas shares how his experience led him to found the start-up, Evan GmhH with the idea of bringing blockchain and web 3.0 technology into the traditional real economy. We talk extensively about the future intersection of web 3.0 and enterprise and use cases in solving non-digital problems digitally. Thomas shares how the biggest challenge for traditional enterprises to enter the web 3.0 space is collaboration with competitors. We also discuss the challenges and resistance during the transition to DAOs and more decentralized governance. Thomas shares his thoughts on NFTs and the metaverse, where they will be in the future, and how they will influence the growth of web 3.0 and the digital economy. (
In today’s episode of Minimally Viable, we talk to Madeleine Nguyen and Janelle Tiulentino, Co-founders of Talentdrop. Madeleine and Janelle talk about their backgrounds and journeys in tech, meeting at Snapchat, and creating Talentdrop. They share how they were able to combine Madeleine’s recruiting experience with Janelle's technical capabilities into creating a unique approach to recruiting. Talentdrop is a decentralized form of recruiting in which anyone can refer a candidate and receive a reward if they get hired. They share how they were able to take the ideas of bounties and democratization and apply them to recruiting. We talk about the importance of the hiring process in the founding process of start-ups, how building the right team can impact the success of your company. Madeleine and Janelle share their thoughts on the current hiring landscape and their process in developing a unique approach. We talk about their YC experience and how that accelerated their growth and how they are approaching their continued growth and refining their product’s foundations. We talk about the best growth strategies and the benefits of focusing on the user experience and the importance of talking to users to understand the “why” that can’t be captured in data analytics. They share the importance of maintaining a work-life balance while creating a start-up and building that philosophy into their company’s culture and product. We talk about the market shift and how candidates are focusing more on the culture and work-life balance associated with companies and how they are incorporating this aspect in Talentdrop. (
In today’s episode of Minimally Viable, we talk to Chase Bonhag, founder of FirstIgnite. He shares about his start at Illinois Ventures, the venture capital arm of the University of Illinois, and how that shaped his path in creating FirstIgnite. He saw the intellectual capability available at universities that needed to be connected with the right companies. Chase shares about the evolution of FirstIgnite. How it began with helping universities market their research to companies and evolved to the creation of an academic expert network. This network focuses on connecting academic experts with companies who need their expertise to solve a problem. He shares how their unique technology has streamlined the process of connecting academia and industry. FirstIgnite is at the forefront of connecting companies with a problem to academics with the answer. We also discuss the process of growing an early-stage startup and when to leverage external technology to produce better products faster. Chase shares the benefits of joining YC and how that experience forced them to make decisions faster and helped them grow and generate their academic expert network. We talk about the future of FirstIgnite and how the company will continue to grow and make an impact. (FirstIgnite – Providing the linkage between people, ideas, and growth.)
In today’s episode of Minimally Viable, we talk to Nawaz Ahmed, an investor, and advisor from New Zealand. We talk about our shared experience of gaining a science background before switching to business and tech. He shares how he earned his bachelor's degree in biomedical sciences and quickly realized he did not want to be more than just a scientist in his career. He moved towards the business side and earned his master's in that field. Nawaz shares about his early start-up experience of founding Kimera, a subscription box company, during college and what he learned throughout that process, including the challenges of growing and scaling a company. We talk about his introduction to crypto and joining a local crypto exchange to further his knowledge. He talks about his current experience and what he has learned working with various crypto companies on the investing and business side of crypto. We end the podcast talking in-depth about DAOs versus centralized spaces, NFT’s, and the future of crypto.
In today’s episode of Minimally Viable, we talk to Jannick Bendtsen, Co-Founder, and CEO of PipeBio. PipeBio is an innovative biotech cloud-based platform that enables faster development for antibody/peptide screening and drug development and allows scientists to analyze large sets of data. Jannick shares his journey from earning a master’s in molecular biology and a Ph.D. in bioinformatics, to leaving academia and working for bioinformatics companies, to meeting his co-founder Owen and founding PipeBio during the pandemic. We talk about his previous experience and how he worked at three companies that were acquired and how experiencing that process helped him when founding PipeBio. We discuss the importance of the relationship with your cofounder and finding people who complement your skills. We also talk about the importance of trust amongst first hires for an early-stage remote-only start-up. He shares his experience of going through YC and the value of it, especially for early-stage startups, and the network developed during that experience. We talk about the goals for PipeBio and new trends emerging in biotech. (
In today’s podcast, we talk to Scott Absher, CEO of ShiftPixy ( ShiftPixy is a revolutionary gig economy platform that serves as an all-in-one workforce management platform for operators and part-time workers. We talk about the emergence of the gig economy, ShiftPixy’s formation and how it is a culmination of Scott’s 30 plus years of experience in human capital and his work in M&A. Scott shares what SPACs are and his process in choosing to go with a SPAC when taking ShiftPixy public. We also talk about moving to Miami and the growth of the tech community there.
In today’s episode, we talk to Ali Jamal, product and growth expert and founder of First Check Ventures. Ali has invested in over 150 companies over the years. He holds a bachelor's and master's degree from Stanford University. We talk about Ali's journey from investment banking to working with product and growth in tech startups to running his own Angel Syndicate. He is currently working in emerging markets, including leading a couple of unicorns in LatAm. He shares his expertise in product and growth strategies, and the importance of focusing on the user experience as a tool to grow your product. He shares his approaches on first-time user experience, funnels, onboarding, communication, and the importance of experimentation. We talk about his journey into investing and how his approaches and strategies have evolved from investing in friends’ startups to being one of the first LPs on AngelList to investing in emerging markets and building his own Angel Syndicate. We talk about the opportunities available for startups in emerging markets and how to work in that space.
In today's episode of Minimally Viable, we talk to Russ Heddleston, Head of Commercial at DropBox for DocSend. Russ initially co-founded DocSend in 2013 focused on helping sales teams find and share documents that close deals. DocSend was acquired by DropBox in March 2021 for $165M and shares his perspective on the acquisition process. Russ started his journey as a PM Intern at Dropbox in 2010 and already sold his first startup to Facebook in 2011. We talk about his personal journey of becoming an entrepreneur, the story of DocSend, how to raise, investor relations, and the role of an entrepreneur in an early-stage startup
In today's episode of Minimally Viable, we talk to Samuel Bosch, PhD candidate at MIT and founder of Assist-O. Assist-O is a company for remote staffing. It offers remote support to individuals and companies in the development, marketing, design, executive assistance, IT, and more. Samuel started his career as an intern at the D.E. Shaw Group, turned to an academic career, and ended up co-founding Assist-O while pursuing his PhD in CS and Electrical Engineering. We talk about his personal journey of becoming an entrepreneur and the story of Assist-O, changing the business model, opportunities in a crisis, sales, hiring developers, and outsourcing.
In today's episode of Minimally Viable we talk to Mark Thomas, serial entrepreneur and founder of ZenSports. ZenSports is a mobile sports betting app, in which customers can choose to bet against the house or create their own bets with their own odds and terms (peer-to-peer) and much more. Mark previouslly co-founded Reesio, which was acquired in 2015. As a serial founder, he’s been able to build a holistic skillset around product, marketing & growth, business development, recruiting, and finance. We talk about his personal journey of becoming an entrepreneur and the story of ZenSport, the difficulties of finding PMF, NFTs, crypto, and growth.
In today's episode of Minimally Viable we talk to Niklas Bretschneider. Niklas is a venture capitalist with a focus on early stage startups and growth equity. He currently works for Picus Capital and Global Founders Capital. He started his career as a consultant at McKinsey, where he worked on various projects, including digital transformations, revenue growth accelerations, consumer analytics, and digital marketing boosts. We talk about his story of moving to the United States from Germany, getting his MBA at Berkeley, going into VC, tech trends, and his own journey as an entrepreneur.In the podcast, Niklas brings up several newsletter recommendations, including: i) (, FutureParty (, Techmeme (, and Term Sheet ( He also discusses his podcast recommendations, some of which are How I built This (by NPR), Masters of Scale (, and Startups, Sparks, and Serendipity.Niklas can be reached at or
In today's episode of Minimally Viable we talk to James O'Brien, first hire at AltoIRA and currenlty VP of Business Development and Crypto there. AltoIRA offers an easy-to-use investing platform that empowers everyday investors to diversify their IRAs by investing in alternative assets such as private equity, venture capital, real estate, loans, and cryptocurrency. James focuses on strategic opportunities within the world of investment platforms, regulation crowdfunding, funds, venture, cryptocurrency, digital securities, and other digital asset classes. We talk about his story of becoming a part of Alto, Nashville and tech, cryptocurrency, the future of investments for retiring and how to gain tech knowledge with a non-technical background
In today's episode of Minimally Viable we talk to S2 and Zelko, founders of RoninDojo. RoninDojo is a full node bitcoin wallet focused on privacy and user friendliness. . We talk about their way into the startup world, privacy in the financial world without any formal engineering background, cryptocurrency and its community, and how blockchain can contribute to a fairer and more transparent future
In today's episode of Minimally Viable I talk to Chris Duffus, founder and CEO of Fonbnk. Fonbnk allows a frictionless, financial onramp for frontier and emerging markets. Christan started his career at Goldman Sachs, decided to go his own way and has founded multiple startups in the FinTech space. We talk about the story of Fonbnk, ethereum (along with it's promises and some it's failures to deliver on its promise 😐), success and failure as a startup founder, growth for startups, and hiring in emerging markets.
In today's episode of Minimally Viable we talk to Matthew Wilson, Angel Investor and Founder of Allied VC. Allied is a Canadian based investor group with hundreds of global members. Matt was always an entrepreneur by heart, he started his first business at age 11, founded and exited his CPG startup after being one of the top performers at both Nestlé and Coca-Cola . We talk about the story of Allied Partners, building a syndicate from scratch, connecting the Canadian startup ecosystem with Silicon Valley, and his thoughts on becoming a successful founder
In today's episode, we talk to Drew Elliott, founder and CEO at RoundlyX. RoundlyX allows you to invest your spare change from everyday transactions into crypto on your favorite exchange. We discuss his military background, finding a co-founder through your personal network, trying out various ideas before finding the right one and fully committing. Drew also extensively discusses his view of a crypto-first world, tokenizing any asset, and democratizing various industries through crypto and blockchain. We do NOT discuss price moves or provide investment advice in this post but look at where the crypto and blockchain industry is headed for the next 5-10 years
In today's episode of Minimally Viable we talk to Sarah Hum, founder and CEO at Canny. Canny helps SaaS companies build better products by being better at listening to and acting on user feedback. Sarah started her career as a Product Designer at Facebook and founded Canny 4 years ago. Today, Canny has over 900 customers. We discuss Canny's story, pricing strategies when building a SaaS tool, teamwork in a remote startup, and how to approach growth and sales from a designer's perspective Canny recently also started a podcast for product managers which you should definitely check out:
In today's episode of Minimally Viable we talk to Matt Lerner, previous 500 Startups Partner and founder and CEO of Startup Core Strengths. Matt started his startup career at the early stages of Paypal in 2004 and joined 500 Startups as a Partner in 2015 to advise startups on how to grow. Today, he helps founders grow and shape their startups with Startup Core Strengths. We discuss PMF, growth, ownership and common mistakes founders make in their founding journey
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