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Behind Company Lines

Author: Hosts Julian Torres and Mike Townsend, sponsored by Otter Labs

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Behind Company Lines is a podcast that explores the stories that go on behind the scenes at some of the most exciting tech startups. We explore origin stories of startups, how founders built their teams, and what's new in the hyper connected world of remote companies. If you're running or thinking of starting a startup, this is the podcast for you. We give you a feel for what it's really like so you can learn and someday be on the show! Contact us via team@hireotter.com.
172 Episodes
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Paul is the founder and CEO of OpStart, a full-stack accounting and finance solution for startups. Founded in 2020, OpStart currently serves over 60 venture-backed startups and recently raised a $2M seed round.Paul is also a co-founder and board member of Puente, a non-profit tech company that powers data-driven community development in nine countries. His prior experience includes stints as a VC at Adams Street Partners and investment banker at William Blair.Paul lives in his hometown of South Bend Indiana with his fiance, Morgan. He holds a finance degree from Notre Dame.
Jonathan B Fishbeck is the Founder and CEO of EstateSpace, a platform to simplify estate management. EstateSpace helps our clients simplify how they manage operations, communicate and share information. With families, family offices, a network of service providers on our platform, and a commitment to transparency and equality in estate management – we are breaking the mold on how estates operate.  Before devoting his work full-time to EstateSpace, Jonathan Fishbeck served as the Founder and CEO at a design-build firm whose focus was advising, developing, and operationalizing sizable estate properties for Ultra-High Net Worth families and family offices. It’s this experience and expertise, combined with a background in technology that was the genesis for EstateSpace.In addition, Jonathan serves a number of philanthropic organizations where his passion for helping veterans, children, and blood cancer research shines through. These positions and organizations include Chairman, Fisher House Foundation, Board Member, Children’s Voice International, and Board Member, There Goes My Hero, respectively.
Chao Cheng Shorland is the co-founder and CEO of ShelterZoom, a leading blockchain-based, smart-document SaaS provider. She was interviewed by The New York Times about ShelterZoom's blockchain technology that was used by a Vatican library to preserve manuscripts. Their latest product, Document GPS is an extension that enables users to track their email attachments and revoke access, even after a recipient has opened the email. Chao was named Female Innovator of the Year in 2019 by the Women World Awards. Under her leadership, ShelterZoom won a Top 50 Startup award at the WorldFestival 2021 Innovation Awards. Besides that, the company has been accepted into the world's largest corporate sustainability initiative, United Nations Global Compact.
Antoine Castel, Co-Founder of MetaEngine, a blockchain-based platform where developers can choose blockchain features to fit their games. Antoine is a seasoned entrepreneur with a strong background in finance & crypto as a tokenomics expert & portfolio manager. He has former investment banking experience and has created and sold several companies. He is a serial gamer who wants cooler games, better stories, and smarter game economies and has been part of the gaming industry for 12 years.
Dallas Griffin has a long track record of successfully advising upstream and natural resources clients on a wide array of assignments, including acquisitions & divestitures, mergers & acquisitions, public and private capital raise, and strategic alternatives reviews. Prior to co-founding Anode Labs (the team behind the React network) Griffin worked for Piper Sandler since 2009, where he held the position of managing director. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with bachelor’s degrees in business honors and finance, as well as an MBA degree. Griffin was ESPN The Magazine's First Team Academic All-American and a four-time First Team Academic All-Big 12 pick while he was a 4-year Academic All-American on the university's Division I football team. He is also a member of the Texas Friar Society.About React: The React Network is building the world’s biggest decentralized crypto network to unlock a new energy source, allowing participants to contribute their energy resources in exchange for value accrual in the network. The U.S. is struggling to modernize the electric grid, and needs the grid to become more flexible to prevent power outages from the effects of climate change. Anode is creating opportunities for everyday homeowners to earn compensation while supporting the energy grid and combating climate change at the same time.
Maika is the CEO of Webacy - the protection layer for self-custody. Webacy develops tools and services to make self-custody safer and easier. Webacy is strictly non-custodial and no-access (no seed phrases, private keys, or passwords). Webacy is hella venture-backed.Maika is also a former professional acrobat and performer for the Cirque Du Soleil brand of shows. She attended Stanford University and specialized in Artificial Intelligence. Maika was most recently a Cybersecurity Engineer for Microsoft. She is a Forbes 30 Under 30 lister.
Ashley is a Principal at VamosVentures. She started her career at Morgan Stanley in Capital Markets and moved into strategic roles at Shoptiques.com, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Estee Lauder, focused on the intersection of consumers and technology. She was previously an investor at Brand Foundry Ventures, Founders Factory, and Dorm Room Fund. Ashley holds a BA from Brown University and an MBA from MIT Sloan.VamosVentures invests in diverse founding teams and mission-oriented companies across FinTech, Sustainability, Future of Work, Commerce, and Health and Wellness. 100% of their portfolio is diverse led and over 87% of their portfolio companies are Latinx led. 100% of their investment team is also diverse.
As COO, Denise leads the HR, people, and operations and is the chair for the company's Black Professionals group. An experienced operator, Denise played a pivotal role in enabling Meraki’s growth, helping the team navigate its high-growth startup stage through a successful integration as part of Cisco Meraki. Prior to her eight years at Meraki, she held leadership roles at Uncommon Schools, Long Drugs Stores (CVS), TJX Companies, and Frito Lay.
Geng Wang is the CEO and Co-founder of Civic Champs, a volunteer and mentorship management platform that triples volunteer capacity and retention for nonprofits.   Prior to Civic Champs, Geng co-founded two companies, Rent Jungle (an apartment search engine) and Community Elf (a social media management firm).  Both companies were acquired in 2014 and 2017 respectively.  Geng is also a former McKinsey & Company consultant and holds a bachelors from Michigan State University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.  
Mark Lurie is the CEO & Co-Founder of Shipyard Software. He is a serial entrepreneur and investor who previously founded two venture-backed startups.  Codex is a blockchain-based title registry for art & collectibles used in the offline auction world with 500,000 NFT titles created (ICO 2018). Prior to Codex, Mark founded an online marketplace for art & collectibles, which was acquired in 2016.  Previously, Mark was an investor at Bessemer Venture Partners, where his investments included Twilio (TWLO). He is currently a Venture Partner at FJLabs and a board member of GMO Trust (issuer of GYEN, the first Yen-backed stablecoin) and the Foundation for Art & Blockchain (a 501c3 nonprofit). He has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA in Economics from Harvard College. 
Shawn Lipman is the CEO at Feedonomics, the leading full-service feed management solution provider for multichannel retail. Shawn is passionate about ecommerce and the role that technology can play in solving very challenging business problems for the world’s largest brands, retailers, and agencies.  An accomplished entrepreneur, Shawn employs his talents in leadership and problem solving to create an amazing culture that empowers people. He previously founded and sold a healthcare company that in 10 years grew to be the contracted provider for some of the largest healthcare chains in the United States. Shawn is enthusiastic about building strong and enduring culture-based organizations. This appreciation was formed over 40 years of playing and coaching his beloved sport of rugby at the highest level, including representing the USA in the 1991 Rugby World Cup and being inducted into the US Rugby Hall of Fame. His love for ensuring sustainable excellence and world-class performance drives Feedonomics’ commitment to the Feed On Principles, which are predicated on servant leadership, no egos, creating a learning environment, and going for the gap, among others.
Kenneth Landau is the CEO and co-founder of Mytaverse, a leading enterprise metaverse company. Born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, he attended Universidad Metropolitana, attaining a B.S. in Civil Engineering. He then attended the George Washington University for an MBA with a concentration in Finance. Landau then joined McKinsey & Co. in their New York offices as a Management Consultant for two years before acquiring and expanding the Mail Boxes Etc. franchise in the Latam region. Landau led the expansion of MBE in different countries in Latam for 30 years, building one of the most successful networks in the world. In 2020 Landau co-founded Comerxia inc, a technology company that enabled cross border commerce from the United States to any country in the world and the first back-end integrated technology with Amazon.com cart for international shipping and Customs calculations on the fly. He lives in Miami.
Miles Everson joined direct sourcing platform MBO Partners in 2019 as Chief Executive Officer.Most recently, Everson served as Global Advisory and Consulting CEO for Pricewaterhouse Coopers, LLP (PwC), leading the company's Asia Pacific Americas Advisory and Consulting businesses.Before joining MBO, Everson had a rich career with PwC, almost three decades in total. He began in the firm's Assurance practice, moving to leadership roles within Advisory/Consulting in both Canada and the U.S., including several Financial Services leadership roles, and eventually became the U.S. Advisory/Consulting Vice Chairman. In 2015, he stepped into the new role of Asia Pacific Americas Advisory and Consulting Leader to help globalize the Advisory/Consulting practice.Everson has worked with many of the world's largest and most prominent organizations, specializing in executive management. He helps companies balance growth, reduce risk, maximize return, and excel in strategic business priorities.He is a sought-after public speaker and contributor and has been a case study for success from Harvard Business School.
Chris Kirsch is the CEO of runZero, a company he co-founded with Metasploit creator HD Moore to help companies solve their asset inventory challenges. Chris started his career at an InfoSec startup in Germany and has since worked for PGP, nCipher, Rapid7, and Veracode. He has a passion for OSINT and Social Engineering. In 2017, he earned the Black Badge for winning the Social Engineering Capture the Flag competition at DEF CON, the world’s largest hacker conference.
Annafi Wahed, CFA, has a broad array of experience spanning the federal government, non-profit, political and private sectors. In 2016, she left her role as a Senior Consultant at Ernst & Young to join the Democratic campaign. Walking door to door, she saw firsthand how next-door neighbors could be completely isolated from one another by the media they consume. Annafi launched The Flip Side as a passion project in 2017, and has since spearheaded each new stage of the venture. The Flip Side is a startup on a mission to help bridge the gap between liberals and conservatives. Through their free daily newsletter they offer a one-stop shop for smart, concise summaries of political analysis from both conservative and liberal media. They recently launched a forum which uses human-centered design principles and a custom ranking algorithm to reward thoughtfulness and bipartisanship, rather than trolling or clickbait.
Alex Yevlakhov, COO of Jumbo Exchange – After entering the Web3 space for the first time in 2016, he has worked on facilitating ecosystem growth in EOS and Solana. He holds a Master's degree in International Relations from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, and is fluent in English, German, and Russian.
Layne Nadeau is the Founder and CEO of Nval.com, a B2B company producing mark-to-model NFT price and market analytics data for regulated (or any) companies and platforms.Layne has led multi-million dollar initiatives in retail banking, investment banking, blockchain, and digital asset industries as well as US state governments, public sector, commercial and retail automotive services, public utilities, transportation, professional associations, and universities. Layne has a bachelor’s degree in Math and Computer Science and is genuinely excited about digital asset markets, and ecosystems and is building to enable this new technology space.Layne is a father to 3 girls, a husband, an avid cyclist, sailor, brewer, world traveler, and NFT/DeFi degen.
As a new dad, David had a stressful beach vacation and dreamt up the idea for his current venture, Beachy.  Growing up in hospitality and being a ‘beach boy’ from the ages of 14-22, provided David with the insight and experience to modernize the beach vacation experience. Starting from the simple idea, “Why can’t I book my beach chairs, the same way I book an airline seat, at the same time I make my hotel reservation?” The company has now evolved into a fully integrated ordering platform empowering recreation and food and beverage staff to deliver a better guest experience while increasing topline revenue by over 40% at hard to service outlets such as the beach and pool. Beachy patented technology has won numerous awards for their innovative platform and have been published in articles around the world, including:HiTech: Entrepreneur 20x winner 2021 Phocuswright: People’s Choice, Emerging Company Tech Innovation of the Year in 2019Phocuswright: Runner up Emerging Company Tech Innovation of the Year in 2019VRMA: People’s Choice Tech Innovation of the Year 2019VRMA: Tech Innovation of the Year 2019
Killian Fjellbakk is a Norwegian serial entrepreneur living in Zurich Switzerland. He was selected as Forbes 30 under 30 in Switzerland, and is now working on a digital wellbeing app called Zario. The app helps people reduce unwanted screen time by using psychology and gamification and has been selected as honorary app for good by the google play store.  He belongs to a 3500 year old shamanic ethnic minority group above the arctic circle called the Sámi.  In his personal time, he likes to complete challenges on his bucket list which can be found on his personal website: killianfjellbakk.com.  This year he completed an Ironman race, famous for being one of the toughest endurance races in the world.
Curtis Northcutt is an American computer scientist and entrepreneur focusing on machine learning and AI to empower people. He is the CEO and co-founder of Cleanlab, an AI software company that improves machine learning model performance by automatically fixing data and label issues in real-world, messy datasets. Curtis completed his PhD at MIT where he invented Cleanlab’s algorithms for automatically finding and fixing label issues in any dataset. He is the recipient of the MIT Morris Levin Thesis Award, the NSF Fellowship, and the Goldwater Scholarship and has worked at several leading AI research groups, including Google, Oculus, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, and NASA.
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