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The Iterative Podcast

The Iterative Podcast

By Iterative

The Iterative podcast talks to founders, investors and operators from the startup community in Southeast Asia and occasionally Silicon Valley.

Iterative is a YC style accelerator focused exclusively on Southeast Asia. Iterative invests US$150K into startups, twice a year. After investing they work intensely with the founders to help their startups grow before culminating in a Demo Day.
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Top Fundraising Mistakes Founders Often Make (With Kuo-Yi Lim from Monk's Hill Ventures and Hsu Ken Ooi from Iterative)

The Iterative Podcast

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Recording of Livestream Event: "Tell Me Your Startup Idea, I'll Tell You How to Validate It" (With Hsu Ken Ooi)
Recording of Livestream Event: "Tell Me Your Startup Idea, I'll Tell You How to Validate It" (With Hsu Ken Ooi)
We hosted a livestream event where founders (and future founders!) told Hsu Ken their startup ideas, and he told them how to validate it.  To everyone that participated, thank you! We'll be running more events (physical or virtual) in the future, follow us at iterative.substack.com to make sure you don't miss out.
01:02:08
November 17, 2022
#FutureisFemale: Yolanda Lee on Finding Confidence When You're The Only Woman in the Room
#FutureisFemale: Yolanda Lee on Finding Confidence When You're The Only Woman in the Room
“I want every little girl who's told she's bossy to be told instead she has leadership skills.” - Sheryl Sandberg Confidence is something everyone struggles with, but more so if you're the only woman in the room and everyone doesn't look or think like you. In this episode, we invited Yolanda Lee back to the Iterative Podcast to discuss exactly this: how to find confidence as a female leader. From sharing personal stories on losing (and gaining) confidence, to breaking down the way the workforce was designed specifically for men, it's an episode made for women leaders, by woman leaders. About Yolanda Lee Yolanda Lee is the founder and CEO of Uncommon, Asia's first private leadership network for the next generation of female leaders. Prior to this, she led the international consumer partnerships team across Asia Pacific and the Middle East at Deliveroo, building its corporate solutions offering as the Head for Business. She also worked in Africa as the Regional Partnerships Manager for Uber, as well as the Regional Managing Director at HelloFood under Rocket Internet. About Uncommon Uncommon is a community learning and development platform for female leaders. Uncommon uses behavioural science, coaching and a supportive community to bridge the gap between knowledge and action and ensure lasting, effective change where it matters most. For show notes, visit the website here. 
34:47
November 04, 2022
Top Fundraising Mistakes Founders Often Make (With Kuo-Yi Lim from Monk's Hill Ventures and Hsu Ken Ooi from Iterative)
Top Fundraising Mistakes Founders Often Make (With Kuo-Yi Lim from Monk's Hill Ventures and Hsu Ken Ooi from Iterative)
In this episode, we've got Hsu Ken back in the roster - and we've also invited Kuo Yi from Monk's Hill Ventures to talk about the top mistakes founders often make when fundraising. But instead of the usual Q&A format, we're shaking things up a bit. I got both Hsu Ken and Kuo Yi to stack rank the top three mistakes they often see founders make, so you'll get to hear what are the different priorities that are important for an investor. They also talk about how founders can fix those mistakes - and how the current economic downturn will impact fundraising. For show notes, go here.
42:58
October 14, 2022
Things to Look Out For When Fundraising (With Nikhil Kapur from STRIVE and Brian Ma from Iterative)
Things to Look Out For When Fundraising (With Nikhil Kapur from STRIVE and Brian Ma from Iterative)
What should founders look out for when they're fundraising? If you do a quick google, you can find loads of things investors should think about before investing in a founder… but not so much for the other side of the table. Founders who are new to fundraising don't have a playbook on fundraising - like what term sheet is right for them, how to carry out DD, what good value add looks like - and because they're new to all of this, some of them don't even realise they signed the short end of the stick. To change this, we invited Nikhil Kapur from STRIVE and Brian Ma from Iterative, investors who were founders prior, to share more about the common things founders need to look out for when fundraising. In this episode, they talk about… What founders should be asking investors Horror stories on investors from Nikhil and Brian When should convertible notes come in? How founders can navigate through the current funding cycle The green flags from investors - what good investors look like Nikhil Kapur, Partner at STRIVE After a decade spent in development and product at Microsoft Office (10M+ SaaS deployments), TommyJams (founder), Pie (SMB SaaS acquired by Google), Nikhil knows how to build scalable SaaS businesses. He's now currently applying these as a VC at STRIVE ($200M+ AUM) as he invests in SaaS and DevInfra being built out of Asia by exceptional founders with a product-led mindset. Brian Ma, General Partner at Iterative Brian was previously the Co-Founder and CEO of Divvy Homes (a16z, GIC). In 2014, he and Elpizo Choi started Weave (YCS14). In 2009, he started Decide.com an early machine learning company that predicted the future price of consumer goods. It was acquired by eBay in 2013. In 2005, he was one of the first PMs at Zillow before they launched. Show Notes 5:47 - How have the conversations between founders and fund managers shifted 10:42 - What are some of the interesting questions investors get (11:21: Founders aren't asking the right questions - what founders should be asking) 15:31 - Brian's personal story on how he was shortchanged by investors 18:04 - Term sheets signed, and not honoured, is extremely common 18:26 - Nikhil's personal horror story with another investor that "caused a ruckus” - how Nikhil had to personally jump on calls to convince investors to go ahead at 20:44 22:33 - At what stage should startups start considering notes being included into the term sheet 22:57 - Nikhil's blog post 'How convertible notes are killing you’ that went viral four years ago 29:02 - How should founders navigate through the current funding cycle 30:45 - Why Nikhil advises founders to take more active investors in the early stages 34:31 - Why Brian suggest for founders to figure out what your investors are really good at 36:07 - Investors' green flags - what good investors look like 37:41 - Brian's personal story of how his investor value-added for his company in the early days 39:51 - A VC's job is to predict problems that will crop up 41:14 - Nikhil's rule: Try to contribute to every one of his portfolio/founders and be there for them in the tough times and have no judgement policy 43:38 - Should founders spray and pray, or pitch only to specific investors? 46:41 - LP fundraising is very different - Brian spoke to 600 people for Iterative's first fund 47:59 - How to tap into an angel investors' or an accelerator's resources
54:40
September 16, 2022
"Survival is a Prerequisite for Success" - How to Fundraise in an Economic Downturn (With Shiyan Koh from The Hustle Fund and Hsu Ken Ooi from Iterative)
"Survival is a Prerequisite for Success" - How to Fundraise in an Economic Downturn (With Shiyan Koh from The Hustle Fund and Hsu Ken Ooi from Iterative)
This episode is about 'How to Fundraise in an Economic Downturn' - a topic that everybody is talking about. But most of what's happening is heavily centred on the States, and we wanted to provide more nuance for what it means for founders specifically in Southeast Asia. In this podcast, we got Shiyan Koh from the Hustle Fund, and Hsu Ken from Iterative, to shed light on the investors' POV on two things (1) what's happening in the economic landscape (2) how should founders approach fundraising. 3:22 - Shiyan's fundraising experience at Nerdwallet, which was bootstrapped to $50m 8:00- Hsu Ken's fundraising experience for Decide.com - how they didn't need to think about macroeconomics 9:51 - Current perspective on what's happening in the fundraising market - and why it's important to talk about the stages because different stages are impacted differently 10:54 - There's a slow down in the early stages - fewer preemptive deals 12:44 - Why flight to quality matters now 13:57 - Why the Hustle Fund has not changed their approach to investing (despite the current downturn) - and why they're not slowing down at 16:45 16:22 - Why Iterative isn't slowing down either (FOMO in reverse) 17:52 - The name of the game is 'don't die' - if you have to take a flat round, that's better than dying six months from now. Don't tie valuations to your ego 19:08 - Getting first term sheet is significantly harder now - fundraising process will take longer (at least six months) 19:51 - "Survival is the prerequisite to success" - Shiyan Keep things moving, sign a wire, send the docs. 21:20 - The key to being successful in fundraising is to be organised 23:03 - Pitches have to be different now - show clear signs of revenue. Protect your runway because even investors don't know what's going to happen in the future 24:56 - How The Hustle Fund is helping their portfolio companies navigating fundraising 26:03 - There's only two ways to survive longer: get more money or spend less money 27:14 - Why Shiyan believes (philosophically) that companies should be run 10% away from full capacity 28:05 - What founders can learn from Shopify when they made an expensive bet on hiring more to capitalise on growing (Covid-19) demand 29:10 - What can founders do if they, for some reason, just can't fundraise? 29:32 - Why the founder mentality makes or breaks a company 31:15 - How to go cockroach mode to survive long enough 33:07 - Unhelpful conventions that Shiyan thinks Southeast Asian founders should take note of 34:15 - We're seeing more predatory deal terms 35:06 - Why overly structured deals at early stages are a no go for Shiyan 36:52 - Should founders take lower deals? 38:36 - How should founders keep their mentality and health in check? 39:45 - Reality: You're more than your startup 41.20 - “We've been through this before - and we're all still here” Shiyan Koh, The Hustle Fund Shiyan Koh is the Managing Partner of The Hustle Fund, a venture capital fund that invests in pre-seed startups in the US, Canada and Southeast Asia. She joined Nerdwallet as employee #10, and ran business operations and corporate development, helping the company grow from US$1M to US$150M in revenue. Hsu Ken Ooi, Iterative Hsu Ken is the Managing Partner at Iterative. He was previously the Chief Product Officer of Workmate, an on-demand blue collar staffing platform in Southeast Asia. In 2014, he was VP of Product at Weave (YCS14). In 2009, he started Decide.com, an early machine learning company that predicted the future price of consumer goods. It was acquired by eBay in 2013.
43:42
September 07, 2022
Startup 101: Finding the Right Co-Founder
Startup 101: Finding the Right Co-Founder
The right co-founder can help your startup thrive, but it can be a complicated process. Hsu Ken Ooi and Brian Ma come together to simplify this process in today's podcast episode 'Startup 101: Finding the Right Co-Founder'. The following topics are discussed: 00:00 Introductions 00:24 Is a co-founder necessary? 07:46 Considerations when choosing a co-founder 16:22 How Brian and Hsu Ken met 19:10 Avenues to find co-founders 29:13 Maintaining co-founder relations 39:00 Dealing with co-founders not "pulling their weight" 44:45 Long-distance relationships 47:44 Concluding thoughts Let us know what you think! We would really appreciate your feedback. https://airtable.com/shrO0s884vjdI1emD About Iterative Iterative is a YC style accelerator focused exclusively on Southeast Asia by the founders of Divvy (a16z, GIC), Weave (YCS14), Decide (acquired by eBay) who have collectively raised $100M+ in VC. Iterative invests US $150K into early stage startups twice a year then works with them intensely for 3 months culminating in a Demo Day. Find out more about Iterative: https://iterative.vc About the Speakers Brian Ma | Founder and General Partner at Iterative | https://www.linkedin.com/in/zealoustiger Brian is a partner at Iterative Capital and three time founder turned investor. Brian was previously founder and CEO of Divvy Homes ($150M+ raised, backed by a16z, GIC, Tiger), Weave (YC S14, acquired), and Decide (Series C company, acquired by Ebay). Hsu Ken Ooi | Founder and General Partner at Iterative | https://www.linkedin.com/in/hsukenooi Hsu Ken was previously the Chief Product Officer of Workmate, an on-demand blue collar staffing platform in Southeast Asia. In 2014, he was VP of Product at Weave (YCS14). In 2009, he started Decide, an early machine learning company that predicted the future price of consumer goods. It was acquired by eBay in 2013. Hsu Ken has a BS in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Washington.
49:57
September 13, 2021
Startup Ideas We Want to Fund
Startup Ideas We Want to Fund
In 'Startup Ideas We Want to Fund', Hsu Ken talks about startup ideas and trends worth exploring in 2021. Hopefully, this will (1) encourage founders working on these ideas to apply to Iterative and (2) help people get started on ideas we think are interesting. Topics discussed in this episode: 00:00 Introductions 00:50 Inspiration behind Hsu Ken's "Request for Startups" 01:55 Anti-status quo as inspiration 02:55 1) Allow Anyone to Sell Anything 06:40 a) Easy logistics 10:09 b) AirBnB for food 15:08 2) The Financial System is Painfully Outdated 20:08 a) Crypto finance 28:35 3) Digitise Everything 30:10 a) Online pharmacies 34:24 4) Celebrity culture 41:23 Covid-19 as an accelerator 42:52 Covid-19 as a decelerator? 44:05 Irrelevant food section Let us know what you think! We would really appreciate your feedback. https://airtable.com/shrO0s884vjdI1emD About Iterative Iterative is a YC style accelerator focused exclusively on Southeast Asia by the founders of Divvy (a16z, GIC), Weave (YCS14), Decide (acquired by eBay) who have collectively raised $100M+ in VC. Iterative invests US $150K into early stage startups twice a year then works with them intensely for 3 months culminating in a Demo Day. Find out more about Iterative: https://iterative.vc About the Speaker Hsu Ken Ooi | Founder and General Partner at Iterative | https://www.linkedin.com/in/hsukenooi Hsu Ken was previously the Chief Product Officer of Workmate, an on-demand blue collar staffing platform in Southeast Asia. In 2014, he was VP of Product at Weave (YCS14). In 2009, he started Decide, an early machine learning company that predicted the future price of consumer goods. It was acquired by eBay in 2013. Hsu Ken has a BS in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Washington.
42:54
August 30, 2021
Confronting Imposter Syndrome as a Startup Founder
Confronting Imposter Syndrome as a Startup Founder
Dear founders, have you ever felt like a fraud? You may be experiencing imposter syndrome. But you're not alone. Research suggests that an astounding 70 percent of people will experience this at some point in their lives. In this week's Iterative Podcast episode, Charles and Hsu Ken open up about their own experiences with imposter syndrome and offer advice on dealing with it. Topics discussed in this episode: 00:00 Introductions 00:48 Hsu Ken's experience with imposter syndrome 004:50 Charles' experience with imposter syndrome 08:31 Different types of imposter syndrome 10:35 Cases of disillusionment 13:55 The impact of (not) having a co-founder 15:00 Who doesn't have imposter syndrome? (entering the fictional realm) 19:20 Dealing with imposter syndrome: Goal-setting 20:30 How your objectives affect imposter syndrome 22:35 Dealing with imposter syndrome: acknowledging and identifying the root cause(s) 24:00 Having agency 25:50 Labels 29:40 Dealing with imposter syndrome: collective solidarity and feelings 38:20 Just doing it 39:42 Should anyone feel more imposter syndrome than they do? 40:50 Is imposter syndrome inevitable without experience? 42:40 Reacting to imposter syndrome 45:15 Reframing emotions and feelings 49:18 Dealing with imposter syndrome: gain a broader perspective, get more data points 52:42 Identifying over-confidence and under-selling 56:24 Dealing with imposter syndrome: ground it in reality 57:30 Dealing with imposter syndrome: make a plan Let us know what you think! We would really appreciate your feedback. https://airtable.com/shrO0s884vjdI1emD About Iterative Iterative is a YC style accelerator focused exclusively on Southeast Asia by the founders of Divvy (a16z, GIC), Weave (YCS14), Decide (acquired by eBay) who have collectively raised $100M+ in VC. Iterative invests US $150K into early stage startups twice a year then works with them intensely for 3 months culminating in a Demo Day. Find out more about Iterative: https://iterative.vc About the Speakers Charles Lee | Co-Founder and CEO at CoderSchool | https://www.linkedin.com/in/charleslee5/ Charles is the co-founder and CEO of CoderSchool. Charles started CoderSchool in 2015 to bring opportunity to everyone, everywhere, by developing the highest quality technical training programs in the world. Prior to Vietnam, Charles had 10+ years of industry experience working as a software engineer in Silicon Valley. His experience spanned across various industries, including gaming, e-commerce, and digital health. He was an early engineer at Luvocracy, acquired by Walmart; A Bit Lucky, acquired by Zynga; and GemShare, acquired by NextDoor. Charles holds a B.A. in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley. In his free time, he raises a poodle named Chuon Chuon, trains for Ironman Triathalons, and repairs antique typewriters. Hsu Ken Ooi | Founder and General Partner at Iterative | https://www.linkedin.com/in/hsukenooi Hsu Ken was previously the Chief Product Officer of Workmate, an on-demand blue collar staffing platform in Southeast Asia. In 2014, he was VP of Product at Weave (YCS14). In 2009, he started Decide, an early machine learning company that predicted the future price of consumer goods. It was acquired by eBay in 2013. Hsu Ken has a BS in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Washington.
58:40
August 25, 2021
Startup 101: How to Master Fundraising
Startup 101: How to Master Fundraising
In 'Startup 101: How to Master Fundraising', Brian Ma presents us with a Fundraising Bootcamp. As the founder of various successful startups, Brian is no stranger to the process of fundraising. In this session, he will cover the fundamentals of fundraising and common mistakes founders are making. Topics discussed in this episode: 00:35 The importance of funding 01:05 Different funding paths 02:45 What matters when it comes towards funding: external factors, internal factors, and creating FOMO. 09:15 The breakdown of fundraising 09:49 Preparation: how much to raise, what investors to target, how to create a compelling pitch deck, and generating leads. 14:55 Process: how to manage investor interest, run a good process and get the first term sheet. 27:38 Closing: How to leverage the first term sheet to get other term sheets, negotiating and closing your round. 31:52 Common mistakes Let us know what you think! We would really appreciate your feedback. https://airtable.com/shrO0s884vjdI1emD Subscribe to The Iterative Podcast on Apple Podcast • RSS • Google • Overcast • Spotify • YouTube About IterativeIterative is a YC style accelerator focused exclusively on Southeast Asia by the founders of Divvy (a16z, GIC), Weave (YCS14), Decide (acquired by eBay) who have collectively raised $100M+ in VC. Iterative invests US $150K into early stage startups twice a year then works with them intensely for 3 months culminating in a Demo Day. Find out more about Iterative: Podcast • Newsletter • Blog • Website • Twitter About the Speaker Brian Ma | Founder and General Partner at Iterative | https://www.linkedin.com/in/zealoustiger/ Brian is a partner at Iterative Capital and three time founder turned investor. Brian was previously founder and CEO of Divvy Homes ($150M+ raised, backed by a16z, GIC, Tiger), Weave (YC S14, acquired), and Decide (Series C company, acquired by Ebay)."
36:05
August 18, 2021
Startup 101: How to Get Into an Accelerator
Startup 101: How to Get Into an Accelerator
In 'Startup 101: How to Get Into an Accelerator'', Hsu Ken demystifies accelerators. Tune in to find out make makes accelerators unique, how they can help your startup grow, how to choose the "right" accelerator, what accelerators are looking for, and much more. Topics discussed in this episode:  0:00 Introductions 0:29 Overview of the startup ecosystem 3:38 What makes accelerators unique 6:46 Impact of Covid-19 9:51 How accelerators approach (a lack of) contextual-specificity 12:50 Finding the "right" accelerator and defining a "good" accelerator 22:05 Application approaches: Intentional vs Spray and Pray 23:13 When to apply 25:33 The application process and what accelerators look for 29:55 How startups can prepare 34:04 What happens in an accelerator and how to maximise the experience in one 40:40 Post-programme 43:20 Gaps in the accelerator ecosystem 46:21 Final thoughts Let us know what you think! We would really appreciate your feedback. https://airtable.com/shrO0s884vjdI1emD About Iterative Iterative is a YC style accelerator focused exclusively on Southeast Asia by the founders of Divvy (a16z, GIC), Weave (YCS14), Decide (acquired by eBay) who have collectively raised $100M+ in VC. Iterative invests US $150K into early stage startups twice a year then works with them intensely for 3 months culminating in a Demo Day. Find out more about Iterative: https://iterative.vc About the Speaker Hsu Ken Ooi | Founder and General Partner at Iterative | https://www.linkedin.com/in/hsukenooi Hsu Ken was previously the Chief Product Officer of Workmate, an on-demand blue collar staffing platform in Southeast Asia. In 2014, he was VP of Product at Weave (YCS14). In 2009, he started Decide, an early machine learning company that predicted the future price of consumer goods. It was acquired by eBay in 2013. Hsu Ken has a BS in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Washington.
47:39
August 04, 2021
Sustainable Fashion, By Businesses For Businesses
Sustainable Fashion, By Businesses For Businesses
Sustainable fashion matters. But instead of the everyday consumer, have you considered sustainable fashion for corporate clients? This episode features Keith, a rising senior at Yale-NUS College and the Chief Sustainability and Design Officer of Man's Best Friend (MBF), a Singapore-based startup producing sustainable and high-tech apparel for corporate clients by blending cutting edge nanotechnology with quality fabrics. We discuss sustainability in fashion, its shortcomings, what gap MBF is trying to fill, and more. Topics discussed in this episode: 00:00 Introduction 1:25 What is "sustainability" in fashion? 5:35 The Ecosystem of Sustainable/Fast Fashion 9:06 Problems afflicting sustainability in fashion 12:56 Man's Best Friend (MBF) and Sustainable fashion for businesses 13:36 Sustainable fashion for MBF and their three pillars 15:39 (1) Corporate sustainability 17:25 (2) Functional sustainability 21:35 (3) Progressive sustainability 23:04 Engaging with corporations and juggling a start-up with college 27:30 Demystifying the fashion industry's complex supply-chain 31:00 Impact calculations: How good is good enough? 34:30 Way of assessing sustainability: certifications and standards 37:17 Difficulties procuring certifications 39:28 Customisation and sustainability 44:12 Barriers to entry in being sustainable 47:52 MBF's goals 49:50 Future of sustainability in fashion Let us know what you think! We would really appreciate your feedback. https://airtable.com/shrO0s884vjdI1emD About the Speaker Keith Wo | Chief Sustainability and Design Officer of Man's Best Friend (MBF) | https://www.linkedin.com/in/keith-wo/ Keith is the Chief Sustainability and Design Officer at MBF and is a rising senior at Yale-NUS College. His passion for marrying aesthetics into functional and practical forms has allowed him to open up the conversation on sustainable apparels About Iterative Iterative is a YC style accelerator focused exclusively on Southeast Asia by the founders of Divvy (a16z, GIC), Weave (YCS14), Decide (acquired by eBay) who have collectively raised $100M+ in VC. Iterative invests US $150K into early stage startups twice a year then works with them intensely for 3 months culminating in a Demo Day. Find out more about Iterative: https://iterative.vc
52:59
August 03, 2021
Startup 101: How to Deal with Burnout
Startup 101: How to Deal with Burnout
In 'Startup 101: How to Deal with Burnout', Hsu Ken Ooi and Brian Ma discuss an often untold story about running a startup: burnout. Topics discussed in this episode: 0:20 Brian and Hsu Ken introducing themselves 1:20 What is burnout? Brian and Hsu Ken share their own experiences with burnout. 6:25 How burning out affected Brian and Hsu Ken's wider network, including their startups. 9:50 The glamorisation of work and productivity. 13:16 Solutions to prevent and tackle burnout (e.g. hiring, creating a feedback loop, check-ins, setting boundaries, etc.). 31:20 What Brian and Hsu Ken would have done differently as first-time founders. 35:08 Final thoughts. Let us know what you think! We would really appreciate your feedback. https://airtable.com/shrO0s884vjdI1emD About Iterative Iterative is a YC style accelerator focused exclusively on Southeast Asia by the founders of Divvy (a16z, GIC), Weave (YCS14), Decide (acquired by eBay) who have collectively raised $100M+ in VC. Iterative invests US $150K into early stage startups twice a year then works with them intensely for 3 months culminating in a Demo Day. Find out more about Iterative: https://iterative.vc About the Speakers Brian Ma | Founder and General Partner at Iterative | https://www.linkedin.com/in/zealoustiger Brian is a partner at Iterative Capital and three time founder turned investor. Brian was previously founder and ceo of Divvy Homes ($150M+ raised, backed by a16z, GIC, Tiger), Weave (YC S14, acquired), and Decide (Series C company, acquired by Ebay). Hsu Ken Ooi | Founder and General Partner at Iterative | https://www.linkedin.com/in/hsukenooi Hsu Ken was previously the Chief Product Officer of Workmate, an on-demand blue collar staffing platform in Southeast Asia. In 2014, he was VP of Product at Weave (YCS14). In 2009, he started Decide.com an early machine learning company that predicted the future price of consumer goods. It was acquired by eBay in 2013. Hsu Ken has a BS in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Washington.
38:17
July 06, 2021
Startup 101: How to Build a Recruiting Machine, Part 1
Startup 101: How to Build a Recruiting Machine, Part 1
In Part 1 of How to Build a Recruiting Machine, Hsu Ken Ooi is joined by his Iterative Co-Founder, Brian Ma to talk about the following: 0:56 Why hiring is important 2:00 Why most founders underestimate the importance of hiring 5:07 How hiring changes as your startup grows 13:54 Accepting that you're going to hire for roles you're not familiar with 16:52 The types of qualities you want to look for in early hires 24:14 The types of roles you want to hire in early stage startups 29:24 Tips for writing effective job descriptions Let us know what you think! hsuken@iterative.vc Subscribe to The Iterative Podcast and find out more about Iterative Podcast Newsletter Blog Website Twitter Speakers Brian Ma, Founder and General Partner at Iterative Brian was previously the Co-Founder and CEO of Divvy Homes (a16z, GIC). In 2014, he and Elpizo Choi started Weave (YCS14). In 2009, he started Decide.com an early machine learning company that predicted the future price of consumer goods. It was acquired by eBay in 2013. In 2005, he was one of the first PMs at Zillow before they launched. Brian has a BS in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington. Hsu Ken Ooi, Founder and General Partner at Iterative Hsu Ken was previously the Chief Product Officer of Workmate, an on-demand blue collar staffing platform in Southeast Asia. In 2014, he was VP of Product at Weave (YCS14). In 2009, he started Decide.com an early machine learning company that predicted the future price of consumer goods. It was acquired by eBay in 2013. Hsu Ken has a BS in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Washington.
36:47
March 31, 2021
Founder Stories: Yolanda Lee on Finding Her Own Path and Building a Professional Community for Women
Founder Stories: Yolanda Lee on Finding Her Own Path and Building a Professional Community for Women
In this episode, we have Yolanda Lee, co-founder of Uncommon. Uncommon is a private leadership network for the next generation of female leaders in Southeast Asia. Uncommon provides a strong and uplifting network, a personalized development roadmap, tailored courses and workshops, and in reaching speaker series, all-in-one membership.  We talk about her early life in Canada (1:23). At 20, Yolanda rented an abandoned industrial warehouse in her home tenants, funk, and major Lazer to play there by messaging them on MySpace (24:15). She went on to intern at the European court for human rights, graduated top of her class at Oxford, and worked for Uber and Rocket Internet in Africa (32:53). We talk about what drove her to these different paths and how those experiences shape her. She opens up about her motivation for starting Uncommon, what her personal experience has been being in male-dominated industries, why Uncommon is so important, and what men can do to help (49:36).
01:15:18
March 17, 2021
Founder Stories: Tim Grassin, Co-Founder of TendoPay
Founder Stories: Tim Grassin, Co-Founder of TendoPay
Tim Grassin is a Co-Founder of TendoPay (Iterative S20), the largest online installment provider in the Philippine. On this episode, I talk to Tim about his earlier influences, switching from finance to entrepreneurship, how he built a multi-million dollar design agency, why he gave that up to start a startup in the Philippines and how they tested their initial idea by building a fake website that sold fake products to see if people would try their fake financing product. Watch it on YouTube Listen to the podcast Topics 1:37 – How our childhood may or may not have shaped our future as entrepreneurs 9:37 – Early professional influences and business school 14:37 – Getting into startups after the financial crisis 22:50 – Quitting his job to start a presentation design company 24:57 – Getting the first few customers 29:48 – Scaling up customer growth 33:37 – The importance of learning how to learn 38:16 – Going from a multi-million dollar agency to building a tech product 43:55 – Coming to Southeast Asia and starting TendoPay 53:26 – TendoPay’s first MVP 1:01:18 – We reminiscence about growing up playing video games About Iterative Iterative is a YC style accelerator focused exclusively on Southeast Asia by the founders of Divvy (a16z, GIC), Weave (YCS14), Decide (acquired by eBay) who have collectively raised $100M+ in VC. Iterative invests US $150K into early stage startups twice a year then works with them intensely for 3 months culminating in a Demo Day. Connect with Iterative Sign up for the Iterative NEWSLETTER: https://iterative.substack.com Visit the Iterative PODCAST: https://anchor.fm/iterativevc Visit the Iterative BLOG: https://iterative.vc/blog Visit the Iterative WEBSITE: https://iterative.vc Follow Iterative on TWITTER: https://twitter.com/iterativevc
01:09:42
February 24, 2021
Founder Stories: Vibhas Jain on Growing Up in India, Not Going to Stanford and Starting Outside Voice
Founder Stories: Vibhas Jain on Growing Up in India, Not Going to Stanford and Starting Outside Voice
Vibhas Jain is the co-founder and CEO of Outside Voice (Iterative S20), a no-code app builder for WhatsApp. On this episode, we talk about Vibhas (Vibes) childhood growing up in India, getting into and moving to Stanford but never actually attending Stanford, how he met his co-founder and came up with the idea of Outside Voice. Discussion (1:00) – Vibe's childhood growing up in India (6:30) – Vibe's first product idea and trying to convince people to build it (12:40) – What the feeling of being in SF was like (19:15) – Where did Vibe's entrepreneurship DNA come from? (22:00) – Vibe's tries to build the same music app again, years later (29:37) – Vibes's music app gets on Techcrunch and they meet Sequoia (38:34) – How Vibes met his co-founder and how Outside Voice was started (48:35) – When and why should you join an accelerator? (51:00) – Vibes favorite place to get Indian food in Singapore (54:00) – Vibes talked himself into a DJing gig by telling them he was a big DJ in India About Iterative Iterative is a YC style accelerator focused exclusively on Southeast Asia by the founders of Divvy (a16z, GIC), Weave (YCS14), Decide (acquired by eBay) who have collectively raised $100M+ in VC. Iterative invests US $150K into early stage startups twice a year then works with them intensely for 3 months culminating in a Demo Day. Connect with Iterative Sign up for the Iterative NEWSLETTER: https://iterative.substack.com Visit the Iterative PODCAST: https://anchor.fm/iterativevc Visit the Iterative BLOG: https://iterative.vc/blog Visit the Iterative WEBSITE: https://iterative.vc Follow Iterative on TWITTER: https://twitter.com/iterativevc
55:25
February 03, 2021
Founder Stories: Jeff Liu and Justin Louie from Jenfi on How They Got Started and Being 2nd Time Founders
Founder Stories: Jeff Liu and Justin Louie from Jenfi on How They Got Started and Being 2nd Time Founders
Jeff Liu and Justin Louie are the co-founders of Jenfi (YC W20). Jenfi lends to small businesses in Southeast Asia based on revenue. Jenfi has raised US$2.1M in funding. Before Jenfi, Jeff was the co-founder and CEO of GuavaPass, and Justin was the CTO of Guavapass. GuavaPass raised US$5M before being acquired by ClassPass in 2019. In this episode, we talk about where they are from, how they got into startups, how they met, where their ideas come from, what it's like to be a 2nd-time founder and advice for 1st-time founders, and much more.
54:22
November 26, 2020
Startup 101: How to Find a Good Problem For Your Startup to Work On
Startup 101: How to Find a Good Problem For Your Startup to Work On
In our first episode, Brian and Hsu Ken answering the following questions. Why is it important to focus on problems, not solutions? Why it's important to work on a good problem? How to tell if a problem is a good problem? Do you need to have the problem to solve it? How do you look for good problems? If you're thinking about starting a startup, this is where you should start. --- Brian Ma Brian is a General Partner at Iterative. Prior to Iterative, he was the Co-Founder and CEO of Divvy Homes (a16z, GIC). In 2014, he and Elpizo Choi started Weave (YCS14). In 2009, he started Decide.com an early machine learning company that predicted the future price of consumer goods. It was acquired by eBay in 2013. In 2005, he was one of the first PMs at Zillow before they launched. Brian has a BS in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington. Hsu Ken Ooi Hsu Ken is a General Partner at Iterative. Prior to Iterative, he was the Chief Product Officer of Workmate, an on-demand blue-collar staffing platform in Southeast Asia. In 2014, he was VP of Product at Weave (YCS14). In 2009, he started Decide.com was an early machine learning company that predicted the future price of consumer goods. It was acquired by eBay in 2013. Hsu Ken has a BS in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Washington. Iterative Iterative is a YC style accelerator focused exclusively on Southeast Asia by the founders of Divvy (a16z, GIC), Weave (YCS14), Decide (acquired by eBay) who have collectively raised $100M+ in VC. Iterative invests US $150K into early-stage startups twice a year then works with them intensely for 3 months culminating in a Demo Day.
46:40
October 25, 2020