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Author: Jay Clouse and Eric Hornung

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Named a top 27 business podcast by Fortune, upside examines startup investing outside of Silicon Valley.

Every Wednesday, we speak with an early stage founder. We interview them as if we are angel investors considering the company as an investment opportunity.

Each show has three segments:

1.) Intro: independent research of the company
2.) Interview: interview with the founder
3.) Debrief: breaking down the opportunity

On Mondays, we share Coffee Chats interviewing venture capitalists, community builders, and later-stage founders.
100 Episodes
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Interview begins: 6:05Debrief begins: 45:15Michael Markesbery is the co-founder and CEO of OROS apparel, an outdoor and sportswear company that has revolutionized the technology in outdoor clothing.Founded in Cincinnati and now based in Portland, Oregon, OROS makes outdoor apparel using their own NASA-inspired aerogel technology called SolarCore. An online, direct-to-consumer brand, OROS offers several products with the aim of making outwear less bulky and, perhaps one day, eliminating the need for outwear at all.Michael recounts his inspiration for the product and for the company, and how he and his partner started building the brand as pre-med students and continue to watch it grow.We discuss:- Inspiration for a less bulky yet warmer product (6:15)- The potential of aerogel and it's use in SolarCore (8:00)- The start of OROS and it's values (11:15)- Acquiring aerogel (15:54)- Kickstarter success (17:50)- Flourishing of the business (22:39)- How warm is SolarCore? (25:33)- Target consumers (30:25)- OROS's goals for today and market potential (32:05)- OROS's products and finances (33:45)- Move to Portland (42:04)- Marketability of eliminating outwear (43:29)OROS was founded in 2014 and based in Portland, Oregon.Learn more about OROS: https://www.orosapparel.com/Follow upside on Twitter: https://twitter.com/upsidefm
Interview begins: 5:30Debrief begins: 44:38Rose Maizner is a partner at RenewableTech Ventures and a co-founder of Womenpreneurs.RenewableTech Ventures is a Salt Lake City based venture capital fund focused in cleantech. An impact investment fund, Renewable Tech Ventures has helped a number of green energy startups find stamina in the venture market. Rose discusses her journey from nonprofiteer to becoming a partner in a venture capital fund and Renewable Tech Ventures's current outlook on funding.Rose is also a co-founder of Womenprenuers, an all-women network focused on empowering and educating women in entrepreneurship and venture capital. She talks about the need for these communities and how she came to lead one.We discuss:- Ad: Improved methods to sourcing talent and finding new possible colleagues (4:20)- Rose's background in nonprofits and coming to venture capital (5:40)- RTV's work in Utah (13:19)- RTV's funding (17:39)- Boom and bust of cleantech investment in the 2000s (19:55)- Current companies with RTV (22:55)- The start of Womenpreneurs and it's model (30:45)- How men can help women in venture capital (39:22)RenewableTech Ventures was founded 2010 and based in Salt Lake City, Utah.Learn more about RenewableTech Ventures: http://www.renewablevc.com/Learn more about Womenpreneurs: http://www.womenpreneursutah.com/Follow upside on Twitter: https://twitter.com/upsidefm--This episode is sponsored by Integrity Power Search, the #1 full stack high growth startup recruiting firm between the coasts. They partner with venture capitalists, private equity groups and CEOs to build amazing teams for the world’s most disrupting companies.Learn more about or get in touch with Integrity Power Search: https://upside.fm/integrity
Interview begins: 5:30Debrief begins: 48:09Chase Nobles is a co-founder and co-CEO of Kush.com.Seattle-based company Kush.com is a platform that allows entities within the hemp and cannabis industries to interact and buy and sell product. Kush.com has become one of the principal sites in the trading of cannabis and hemp goods and continues to strive to lead these markets.Chase tells us how Kush.com has progressed from a tourism and media business to the platform it is today. He walks us through how he and his team have built a thriving network based in quality relationships and legal product, as well as some of their focuses for the future.We discuss:- Chase's experience at the Air Force Academy and how this brought him to Seattle (5:40)- The start of Kush as Kush Tourism (10:13)- Kush's transition from tourism and media to marketplace (16:20)- The Kush.com domain (18:00)- The evolution of Kush.com as a marketplace (21:00)- Maintaining trust and quality relationships within the marketplace (22:45)- Transactions made on Kush.com (25:28)- Regulating products and onboarding new customers in different market locations (28:00)- Kush.com finances and fees, and finding marketplace balance (31:28)Kush.com was founded in 2016 and based in Seattle.Learn more about Kush.com: https://kush.comFollow upside on Twitter: https://twitter.com/upsidefm
Interview begins: 6:30Debrief begins: 47:37Molly Demarest is the General Manager of American Underground.The American Underground is based in the Durham-Raleigh area in North Carolina and focuses on connecting startups and founders in the region with the different resources needed to help their companies flourish. A Durham native herself, Molly discusses the development of the American Underground since its start six years ago and how the American Underground has in turn helped develop its community.The American Underground prides itself on their intention to help women and minority founders find their places in the startup landscape. Companies they work with include Bee Downtown, DaVinci Ed, LoanWell, and IdeaBlock.We discuss:- Ad: Improved methods to sourcing talent and finding new possible colleagues (5:07)- Molly's transition from accounting to community-based work (8:05)- Initial foundation of the American Underground (13:05)- Describing the American Underground today, including it's investment approach and model (15:50)- What is the Research Triangle? (21:15)- Types of companies a part of the American Underground (24:50)- What is means to be a Google for Startups Tech Hub (27:13)- Women and minority focus and the pipeline issue (29:22)- Companies of the AU to watch (39:30)American Underground was founded 2010 and based in the Triangle of North Carolina.Learn more about American Underground: https://www.americanunderground.com/Follow upside on Twitter: https://twitter.com/upsidefm --This episode is sponsored by Integrity Power Search, the #1 full stack high growth startup recruiting firm between the coasts. They partner with venture capitalists, private equity groups and CEOs to build amazing teams for the world’s most disrupting companies.Learn more about or get in touch with Integrity Power Search: https://upside.fm/integrity
We want to wish all of the listeners a happy Labor Day and thank you all for their continued support. Thanks to all of the support to date, the upside podcast will have some exciting updates in the coming months, so be sure to tune into the coming content, and if you like what you hear, a friendly review in the iTunes store is always appreciated!Follow upside on Twitter: https://twitter.com/upsidefm
Interview begins: 05:49Debrief begins: 41:15Joe Kirgues is a co-founder of gener8tor. One of the top companies in its field, gener8tor offers accelerator programs whose missions are to promote local investors and companies investing in their own communities’ startups and entrepreneurs. Operating in Milwaukee, Madison, and Minneapolis, gener8tor is known for its unique cohort of five model within its accelerator programs that, since its beginnings in 2012, have seen 75 graduates. To date, gener8tor has developed nearly a dozen different accelerator programs whose disciplines range from tech and med-device to music and art. The company continues to grow and has expanded to several different cities around the country. Graduates of gener8tor include EatStreat, Swannies, docalytics, Datica, Bright Cellars, and SpeechMED to name a few. We discuss:- Ad: Improved methods to sourcing talent and finding new possible colleagues (4:31)- Where the idea of gener8tor came from (6:10)- Logistics and benefits of running the cohort of five accelerator model (7:46)- gener8tor’s applicant growth (10:00)- Discerning company #5 from company #6 (11:29)- Run-through of the different programs offered by gener8tor (16:00)- Music and arts focused accelerator programs (25:41)- gener8tor’s expansion tactics (30:02)- gener8tor’s success and impact on community (36:42)Learn more about gener8tor: https://www.gener8tor.com/Follow Joe on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JKirguesFollow upside on Twitter: https://twitter.com/upsidefm--This episode is sponsored by Integrity Power Search, the #1 full stack high growth startup recruiting firm between the coasts. They partner with venture capitalists, private equity groups and CEOs to build amazing teams for the world’s most disrupting companies.Learn more about or get in touch with Integrity Power Search: https://upside.fm/integrity
On today's episode, we analyze four predominant themes we've encountered lately in the startup and investing arena. Our four on the fore includes:1.) hiring talent2.) the growing trend of remote work3.) frustrations with information inaccessibility4.) and our takes on specialized funding.We discuss:- Transitioning the podcast planning to Airtable (00:25)- Talent: the importance of hiring talent from the get-go and the challenge of hiring talent as companies grow (02:57)- Remote work: the mullet strategy and full distribution model of teams (05:54)- Information accessibility: the plethora yet inconstancy of available information and some of the available search engines (11:07)- Foreshadowing of our new project that compiles lists of venture capital firms (13:37)- Specialized funding: different types of specialized funding and potential interests and harms (16:48)Follow upside on Twitter: https://twitter.com/upsidefm
Interview begins: 07:16Debrief begins: 47:49Jada McLean is the co-founder and CEO of Hurry Home.Hurry Home finances houses through shared ownership, enabling renters to become homeowners and offering a streamlined investment opportunity. Despite there being 3 million houses for sale in the bottom tier real estate market at any given time, banks are unable to profitably originate mortgages for these properties. Hurry Home uses capital from investors to offer a new financial product that enables buyers to earn equity in their home while paying close to or less than what rent would be for the same property, and investors reap a competitive return. Hurry Home was founded in 2018 and based in South Bend, Indiana.Learn more about Hurry Home: https://www.hurryhome.io/Follow upside on Twitter: https://twitter.com/upsidefm Vote for upside for the 2020 SXSW Panel Picker: https://upside.fm/vote
Interview begins: 06:02Debrief begins: 39:50Barbara Bickham is the co-founder and Managing Director of WIF AX. WIF AX (Women’s Innovation Fund Accelerator) is a Qualified Opportunity Fund building women-balanced and environmentally-sustainable organizations within QOZ’s nationwide. They plan to use a mix of incubation, shared workspace, and business finance while requiring participants to have a C-suite made up of at least 50% women, and operational plans which contain environmental sustainability considerations.WIF AX was founded in 2019 and based in Los Angeles, CA.Learn more about WIF AX: https://wifaxvc.com/--Follow upside on Twitter: https://twitter.com/upsidefm Vote for upside for the 2020 SXSW Panel Picker: https://upside.fm/vote
Interview begins: 07:15Debrief begins: 55:46Michael Pedersen and Molly McFarland are the co-founders of AdAdapted.AdAdapted is a digital engagement and insights platform for CPG brands and agencies. The AdAdapted platform offers CPG brands the ability to directly target their primary consumers in the apps they use to plan and shop. The AdAdapted platform offers CPG brands the ability to reach an active audience focused exclusively on their product, activate that audience with proprietary add-to-list and keyword intercept tools, and discover unique and valuable insights as to who their consumers are and how they interact with your ads. AdAdapted was founded in 2012 and based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.Learn more about AdAdapted: https://adadapted.comFollow upside on Twitter: https://twitter.com/upsidefm Vote for upside for the 2020 SXSW Panel Picker: https://upside.fm/vote
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