Tej Singh and Daniel Bessenov interview Atish Davda, the Co-founder and CEO of EquityZen, a marketplace that connects shareholders of private companies (e.g. investors, employees, etc.) with accredited investors seeking to invest in those pre-IPO companies, like Airbnb, Postmates, Reddit, Airtable, Barstool Sports, Grab, Nextdoor, UiPath, Instacart, Flexport, and others.
Tej Singh and Adele Li interview Sarah Thompson, the CEO of Droga5. Droga5, one of the most renowned ad agencies, was founded in 2006 and has been recognized as Agency of the Year more than twenty times since 2007 by different publications. Its clients include Amazon, BMW MINI, Chase, COVERGIRL, Essentia, Harley Davidson, Heineken, The Hershey Company, IHOP, Johnsonville, Kraft-Heinz, LVMH, Mattress Firm, Pernod Ricard, Prudential, Sprint, The New York Times, Thorne, Under Armour and United Rentals.
Tej Singh and Cindy Zhang Lucy Deland, a Partner at Inspired Capital, which was founded in 2019 with an inaugural $200M fund. It is one of the biggest debut funds out of New York and an especially significant raise for a female-founded firm. Prior to this, Lucy was the COO at Paperless Post, a site that allows users to design digital invitations, announcements, and correspondence that are as beautiful as custom printed stationery, with the efficiency of web-based communication.
Tej Singh interviews Jen Batchelor, the Co-Founder & CEO of Kin Euphorics, the first of a newly invented category of functional beverages called euphorics.
More about Kin: “Kin believes in a night where social isn’t sinful, and self-care doesn’t stop at sunset. It didn’t exist at the bar, so we turned to ancient remedy and modern alchemy to create euphorics: an adult beverage made from nourishing nootropics, balancing adaptogens, and replenishing botanics that opens the mind, calms the body, and connects the spirit.”
Tej Singh and Adele Li interview Melissa Mash, the Founder of Dagne Dover, a fashion brand that makes innovative backpacks, duffel bags, wallets, and other accessories. Dagne Dover happens to be a Dorm Room Fund portfolio company :)
Tej Singh interviews Rachel Jo Silver, the Founder & CEO of Love Stories TV, a video platform for wedding planning and inspiration, bringing engaged couples and event professionals together in a uniquely visual community.
Tej Singh interviews Leslie Voorhees Means, the Co-founder & CEO of Anomalie, a direct-to-consumer startup that makes custom wedding gowns. It has raised over $18 million from top VCs like Lerer Hippeau and Maveron.
Tej Singh interviews Anna Harman & Lisa Bubbers, the co-founders of Studs, a startup that wants to reinvent the ear-piercing experience for the modern world. The company raised its seed round last year from top VC firms, like First Round and Lerer Hippeau.
Tej Singh and Adele Li interview Eliot Horowitz, the Co-Founder & CTO of MongoDB, the most popular database for modern apps. The company IPO'd in October 2017. Before that, it raised over $300M in funding from top VC firms, like Union Square Ventures and Sequoia. Eliot talks about his early years, college life, and the founding story of MongoDB. He also answers fun questions like, "What's the scariest thing you've done for fun?" and "If you had your own talk show, who'd your first three guests be?"
Tej Singh interviews Brian Bushell, the Co-founder and CEO of by Humankind, a clean-ingredient personal care brand on a mission to combat the global issue of single-use plastic waste. by Humankind has raised $4 million from top VC firms, like BoxGroup, SV Angel, and Lerer Hippeau. Previously, Brian was the Co-founder and CEO of Baked by Melissa, a New York City bakery famous for its bite-size stuffed cupcake.
Tej Singh interviews Ilir Sela, the Founder and CEO of Slice, which provides tools to independent and small chain pizzerias, like the ability to receive online orders, enabling them to better compete with the Domino’s and Pizza Huts of the world. Its tools are used by tens of thousands of restaurants across the country. A typical restaurant sees its order size rise from $18 over the phone to $30 with the platform. In the interview, Ilir also discusses topics like the economics of NYC’s famous dollar-slice pizza and his favorite movies & shows.
Tej Singh and Shreyas Parab interview Michael Kirban, the Co-founder & CEO of the leading coconut water brand Vita Coco. Michael has quite the inspiring story, from struggling with learning disabilities as a child to grouping up and selling 25% of Vita Cocoa in 2014 to Red Bull China at a $665 million valuation. Michael chats about how the idea for the beverage came about in a bar when he and his childhood friend struck up a conversation with two young women from Brazil. What started as a side hobby to earn some travel money has evolved into the dominant coconut water brand that now cracks 2.5 million coconuts a day and enjoys a 60% market share. The brand boasts celebrity investors like Madonna, Matt McConaughey, Spike Lee, and Demi Moore.
Tej Singh interviews Drew McElroy, the Co-founder & CEO of Transfix, an on-demand freight marketplace for shippers and carriers. It matches truck drivers with extra cargo space with shippers looking to send their goods to their destination. The trucking industry is massive, with long-haul trucking and logistics comprising almost 1% of the U.S. economy. The industry is also incredibly inefficient: nearly 20% of miles are driven with empty trailers, adding up to 65 billion annual empty miles. Transfix's marketplace eliminates waste in the supply chain through mobile technology, machine learning, and big data analytics, and has the numbers to back it up: the company has crossed the golden $100M+ revenue run-rate.
Tej Singh interviews Brian Chen, the Co-founder & CEO of Room, which makes soundproof and affordable in-office booths that resemble modern, sleek telephone booths. The company's soundproof booths provide a solution to the issues associated with the loud and distracting environment of open floor plans. In fact, 90% of employees working in offices with an open floor plan experience increased stress levels, conflict, blood pressure, and turnover rates. Room is a young startup that recently raised a $2 million seed round led by Slow Ventures, yet it already boasts over 3,000 customers, like Nike, JP Morgan, Google, and Salesforce.
Tej Singh interviews Michael DeVirgilio & Cory Baker, the President and COO of Marquee Brands, a brand acquisition, licensing, and development company they co-founded in 2014. Marquee Brands' first major purchase was the Italian luxury label Bruno Magli, back in 2015. The same year, it also purchased Ben Sherman, the London apparel brand. In 2019, Marquee Brands acquired the Martha Stewart brand. The duo evaluates acquisitions based on three pillars: heritage, global opportunity and growth potential, and whether the brand can benefit from Marquee management.
Tej Singh and Jessica Leão interview Matt Meeker, the founder & CEO of Bark, the parent company of BarkBox, which provides a customized box of themed toys and treats for your pup every month. The company has raised over $75 million in funding and surpassed $100 million in revenue back in 2016. BarkBox was inspired by Hugo, Matt's 200-pound Great Dane. Before Bark, Matt cofounded Meetup, a platform that allows users to organize online groups that host in-person events for people with similar interests. WeWork acquired Meetup in 2017 for a reported $200 million.
In this episode, Tej Singh and Abhinav Karale interview Josh Sapan, the CEO of AMC Networks, which has created some of this generation's most popular series, like The Walking Dead, Mad Men, and Breaking Bad. Sapan is one of the entertainment industry's most innovative and visionary executives and has played an integral role in ushering in this new "Golden Age" of television. He has a multitude of awards to show for it, like having been inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame and being lauded by Fast Company as one of the "100 Most Creative People in Business." Throughout his 25+ years at the company, Sapan led the company's acquisitions of Sundance Channel, a 49.9% stake in the BBC AMERICA cable channel, and other widely-watched media properties. In this interview, we discuss topics like his childhood in Brooklyn, dropping out the University of Wisconsin-Madison twice, and returning to NYC, where he looked unsuccessfully for a job in television for a couple of years. (The irony.) We wrap up by chatting about his favorite podcasts and the scariest thing he's ever done for fun, among other topics.
In this episode, Tej Singh and Abhinav Karale interview Henry Blodget, the Co-founder & CEO of Insider Inc., the parent company of Business Insider (66 million social media followers), Insider (137 million social media followers), and other online media juggernauts. Insider Inc.'s content reaches 375+ million people and helps shape the world's collective conscience. We dive into Henry's eclectic past, discussing everything from how he spent a year teaching English in Japan to why he then moved to San Francisco and supported himself by giving tennis lessons. We also discuss the founding of Business Insider and the goal Blodget had "to put the fun back in business" by making light of people in the news and of himself. Other topics include the modern media landscape, selling his company to the multi-billion dollar publishing house Axel Springer, and the scariest thing Henry has ever done for fun.
In this episode, Tej Singh and Abhinav Karale interview Emmett Shine, the Co-founder of the legendary design agency Gin Lane, which has now transitioned into Pattern Brands, a multi-brand consumer goods company. Gin Lane was one of the most influential design agencies of our generation, helping launch one iconic D2C brand after another. Through Gin Lane, Emmett is an investor in some of the agency's clients, like Hims, Sweetgreen, Cadre, Quip, Haus, SmileDirectClub (IPO), Harry's, Stadium Goods (acq. by Farfetch), & more, giving him a track record that would rival any Silicon Valley VC worth their weight in gold. In this interview, we dive into Emmett's humble beginnings and discuss everything from how a Native American inspired him to (briefly) move to New Zealand, to why he dropped out of NYU Tisch his senior year. To wrap up, Emmett indulges us by answering fun questions like, "If you had to eat one meal every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?" and "What's the best gift anyone's given you?"
In this episode, Tej Singh interviews Ben Liue, the Co-founder & CEO of TrialSpark, which takes the guesswork and growing pains out of starting pharmaceutical clinical trials by overseeing all aspects of clinical research, from recruitment and set-up to maintenance and completion. They use technology to identify pockets of potential patients outside the typical test area of large cities and universities and help equip doctors with the infrastructure and oversight to efficiently run a clinical trial to help those patients.
Trialspark's investors include Sequoia, Thrive Capital, and KPCB's John Doerr. Ben is a Rhode's Scholar; he received his undergraduate degree from Yale, his Master's from Cambridge, and Doctorate degree from Oxford.
In this episode, Tej Singh interviews Jonathan Bensamoun, the Co-Founder & CEO of Fi, the most accurate, lightweight, modern smart dog collar. The company was founded in 2017 and has raised $10M from Lerer Hippeau and RRE Ventures. Fi has a battery life 20x longer than competitors, alerts you when your dog leaves a designated safe zone, and tracks your dog’s daily step count, allowing you to compare to other Fi users and compete on a leaderboard with pups of similar breeds. FI hopes to put an end to the problem of 10 million dogs going missing every year in the US.
Before founding Fi, Jonathan founded the location-based app Pins in 2013, which was acquired by Square the following year.
In this episode, Tej Singh and Adele Li interview Curtis Lee, a Venture Partner at Primary Venture Partners, and the Founder of Luxe, an app that provided on-demand parking and valet services. Before being acquired by Volvo, Luxe had raised over $75M from Hertz, Redpoint, Venrock, and GV (Google Ventures); Curtis had built a team of over 100 FTEs in engineering, product, and ops and over 1,000 valet agents. Interview topics include Curtis’ transition from investing to startups, his story about how Luxe was severely impacted after Carl Icahn entered the picture, and his successful angel investments, like Superhuman, Persona, Kapwing, Poshmark, Wag!, and Pared.
In this episode, Tej Singh interviews Rachel Blumenthal, the Founder and CEO of Rockets of Awesome, a vertically-integrated children’s clothing company. The startup has raised $49 million from investors like Serena Williams, Gwyneth Paltrow, Foot Locker, Forerunner Ventures, and General Catalyst. Before this, at the age of 23, Rachel founded Rachel Leigh, a fashion jewelry brand that was sold in ~500 retailers worldwide, and did private label for American Eagle, Target, and J.Crew.
In this episode, Tej Singh and Adele Li interview Jay Goldklang, the Founder and CEO of Great Jones, a modern, full-service operating platform that allows property investors to find quality renters, receive reliable income, and access local vendors for unit upkeep. Great Jones has raised over $20M from Crosslink Capital, Zigg Capital, Juxtapose, Seamless founder Jason Finger, and serial entrepreneurs Kevin Ryan and David Rosenblatt. Interview topics include Jay’s path from Yale and Stanford GSB to 1stdibs and Great Jones, his love of sports fueling his youngest entrepreneurial pursuits, and the value-add that Great Jones provides property owners, from leasing to maintenance.
In this episode, Tej Singh and Adele Li interview Alex Adelman, the Co-founder and CEO of Lolli, a rewards site that gives its users bitcoin for shopping at just under a thousand retail partners like Walmart, Hotels.com, and Macy's. Lolli has raised around $2.25M from Bain Capital Ventures, Forerunner Ventures, SV Angel, FJ Labs, and other top VCs. Interview topics include how Alex’s first company, Cosmic, prepared him to play the long-game with VCs, the mentality a young entrepreneur should have when it comes to raising capital, and how Lolli is democratizing bitcoin for the next generation.
In this episode, Tej Singh interviews Charles Best, the Founder & CEO of DonorsChoose, a crowdfunding platform that allows individuals to donate directly to public school classroom projects, like field trips, and buying books. To date, over 4 million donors have collectively funded over 1.5 million projects, directly impacting nearly 40 million students. DonorsChoose is approaching $1 billion donated through its platform.
In this episode, Tej Singh interviews Matteo Franceschetti, the Co-Founder and CEO of Eight Sleep, the world's leading sleep enhancement company. Named one of the Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company, Eight Sleep is redesigning the traditional concept of a mattress, by developing cutting-edge AI and machine learning models to track bio-signals during sleep to optimize body recovery and rest. Eight has raised $70 million from leading Silicon Valley investors, including Founders Fund, Khosla Ventures, Y Combinator, and angel investors like Eventbrite co-founder Kevin Hartz and Flexport CEO Ryan Petersen.
In this episode, Tej Singh interviews Brad Hargreaves, the Founder and CEO of Common Living, a company that is dedicated to making housing better by providing convenient, community-minded shared homes. Since opening its first home in 2015, Common has grown to over 650 members in five cities. It has raised over $63M from investors like 8VC and Norwest. Before starting Common, Brad founded General Assembly, a global education institution, and was a Venture Partner at Maveron, General Assembly’s lead investor.
In this episode, Tej Singh interviews Greg Marsh, the Founder and CEO of KeyMe, a technology company that provides an app for copying keys and robotic kiosks for new key fabrication. KeyMe has raised over $190M from investors like Comcast Ventures and BlackRock. Interview topics include Greg’s impetus for starting KeyMe, his path from Columbia Business School to KeyMe, and how he has scaled his business since 2012.
In this episode, Tej Singh interviews Brian Long, the co-founder & CEO of Attentive, a platform that helps brands send and receive text messages from their customers. It’s used by 400+ companies, like Sephora, Urban Outfitters, Coach, CB2, and Jack in the Box, and its client list has grown 8x in just the past year. Recently, Its $40M Series B was led by Sequoia, with participation from existing investors, like Bain Capital Ventures. Before Attentive, Brian founded TapCommerce, a mobile ad startup that was acquired by Twitter for a reported price of $100 million. Brian received his undergrad degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
In this episode, Tej Singh and Adele Li interview Patrik Hellstrand, the CEO of By Chloe, a plant-based restaurant with locations in NYC, Boston, LA, London, and Toronto. It has raised $31 million Bain Capital and others. Interview topics include growing up in Stockholm, working at a small mountain hotel in Austria and an Arctic cruise ship, joining as the first employee on the world’s most expensive cruise ship, helping launch a $2 billion resort, running operations at Equinox, and now being the CEO of By Chloe.
In this episode, Tej Singh and Adele Li interview Jake Poses, the Co-founder & CEO at Jumprope, a place to discover, create, and share how-to videos, like craft projects, tutorials, recipes, fitness routines, and others. Jumprope raised a $4.5M seed led by Lightspeed, with participation by Adobe Chief Product Officer, Scott Belsky, and Thumbtack co-founders Marco Zappacosta and Jonathan Swanson. Interview topics include his experiences growing up in NYC, attending Duke and running the sports section of the university’s newspaper, working at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Bain Capital (PE), attending Stanford for his MBA, joining a then-8-person startup, Thumbtack, first as a summer intern and then full-time, eventually becoming the VP of Product, leading a 50-person team there and growing the company to a $1.25B valuation, and then finally moving to NYC to start Jumprope.
In this episode, Tej Singh and Adele Li interview Emmanuel Straschnov, the co-founder & CEO of Bubble, a no-code point-and-click programming tool to build web and mobile apps. The platform has over 270,000 users and raised a $6.25M seed round last year led by by SignalFire and Neo, with participation from the artist Nas and the founders of the unicorns Warby Parker, Harry’s, Allbirds, Okta, MuleSoft and Flatiron Health. Interview topics include growing up in France, selling at the age of 13 to help his classmates learning German vocabulary, moving to China to work as a management consultant, attending Harvard for business school, working as a summer intern for the CEO of Prada, and launching Bubble, which was bootstrapped for many years at first.