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Founder Rising

Running a startup is full of challenges, and Jenny Fielding — serial entrepreneur, investor, and Managing Director of Techstars New York — has seen them all. In each episode, Jenny talks with a founder to explore their e
Latest Episode12/9/2020

Building and Knowing When to Step Away – with Ken Nguyen

Republic cofounder Ken Nguyen made the unlikely journey from general counsel and a law career to entrepreneur. In creating an investment platform for individual small investors, he seeks to democratize wealth. His company partners with Techstars and other investment platforms to connect startups with capital, one investor at a time. It’s a mission that he and every member of his team is passionate about.“When it comes to hiring,” explains Ken, “it's about how much that person sitting across the table believes in what you do and whether she has a superpower that you think down the road, a company can leverage, whether it's content, whether it's engineering, whether it's community building.”Listen to Ken’s story about how he found his way back to New York to reimagine the investment industry and make it accessible to everyone. He tells his fellow entrepreneurs about the value of doing something you believe in, the importance of navigating human dynamics, and the most effective way to solicit and process advice.Follow Ken on Twitter: @kendrickesqFollow Republic on Twitter: @JoinRepublicFollow Jenny on Twitter: @jefieldingTechstars personnel and/or guests who speak in this podcast express their own opinions, and not the opinion of either Techstars or any company discussed in this podcast. This podcast is for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities are for illustrative and/or informational purposes only and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investor or prospective investor, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by Techstars.Certain of Techstars funds own (or may own in the future) securities in some of the companies discussed in this podcast.
12/9/2020

Building and Knowing When to Step Away – with Ken Nguyen

Republic cofounder Ken Nguyen made the unlikely journey from general counsel and a law career to entrepreneur. In creating an investment platform for individual small investors, he seeks to democratize wealth. His company partners with Techstars and other investment platforms to connect startups with capital, one investor at a time. It’s a mission that he and every member of his team is passionate about.“When it comes to hiring,” explains Ken, “it's about how much that person sitting across the table believes in what you do and whether she has a superpower that you think down the road, a company can leverage, whether it's content, whether it's engineering, whether it's community building.”Listen to Ken’s story about how he found his way back to New York to reimagine the investment industry and make it accessible to everyone. He tells his fellow entrepreneurs about the value of doing something you believe in, the importance of navigating human dynamics, and the most effective way to solicit and process advice.Follow Ken on Twitter: @kendrickesqFollow Republic on Twitter: @JoinRepublicFollow Jenny on Twitter: @jefieldingTechstars personnel and/or guests who speak in this podcast express their own opinions, and not the opinion of either Techstars or any company discussed in this podcast. This podcast is for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities are for illustrative and/or informational purposes only and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investor or prospective investor, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by Techstars.Certain of Techstars funds own (or may own in the future) securities in some of the companies discussed in this podcast.
11/18/2020

Succeeding in Your Startup with the Support of Your Crew – with Tiffany Dufu

The Cru founder Tiffany Dufu has dedicated her life to “advancing women and girls,” harnessing their ingenuity and talent for global benefit. The Cru matches circles of women who collaborate, both online and in person, to meet their life goals. Tiffany was lucky to have her own crew of supportive women around her and she wanted to create this kind of network for fellow women entrepreneurs.“At the end of the day,” says Tiffany, “the most important part of my journey was a crew. It was recognizing that I couldn't do this by myself.” She explains that although women have family, friends, and coworkers all around them, they often view their “personal and professional journeys as if it’s a solo endeavor, not a team sport.”Listen to Tiffany’s story about overcoming the odds of being a Woman of Color startup founder, the valuable lessons in her book, “Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less,” and how Cru members want a platform that fosters intentionality, accountability, and commitment.Follow Tiffany Dufu on Twitter: @tdufuFollow The Cru on Twitter: @findyourcruFollow Jenny Fielding on Twitter: @jefielding Techstars personnel and/or guests who speak in this podcast express their own opinions, and not the opinion of either Techstars or any company discussed in this podcast. This podcast is for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities are for illustrative and/or informational purposes only and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investor or prospective investor, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by Techstars.Certain of Techstars funds own (or may own in the future) securities in some of the companies discussed in this podcast.
10/28/2020

Know the Problem That You’re Trying to Solve — with Jonathan Levin

As a startup in the frontier market of cryptocurrency, Chainalysis made a name for themselves as a government investigation service for cryptocurrency. Graduates of theNew York Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars, they now provide cryptocurrency analysis that helps organizations manage risk in cryptocurrency markets to expand its possibilities. Cofounder Jonathan Levin explains that the key to startup growth is to “double down on where you're finding that product market fit in the early days and understand why people are buying from you.”Jonathan talks about being excited by your vision, having a passion for solving a global problem, and the challenges of finding investors in a frontier market. He explains the importance ofbuilding upon your initial customers, knowing when to hire your first product and HR managers, and "building a great culture of people who are deeply mission-focused."Techstars personnel and/or guests who speak in this podcast express their own opinions, and not the opinion of either Techstars or any company discussed in this podcast. This podcast is for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities are for illustrative and/or informational purposes only and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investor or prospective investor, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by Techstars.Certain of Techstars funds own (or may own in the future) securities in some of the companies discussed in this podcast.
10/13/2020

Finding Motivation by Battling Yourself – with Shastri Mahadeo

When Unioncrate cofounder Shastri Mahadeo struggled with predicting demand for his specialty tea and matcha import business, he discovered that this was a common supply chain management problem among suppliers of consumer packaged goods (CPG). He met a developer at a Techstars Startup Weekend, and their solution led to the founding of Unioncrate. Their supply chain platform simplifies operations and demand planning for consumer goods companies.“What keeps me going,” says Shastri, “is that I'm in a constant battle with myself. I don't care about the money. I'm just curious if I can do it.” He explains the importance of believing in what you’re doing, especially when others don’t share your vision.Listen to Shastri’s story about how he brought his supply chain solution to the CPG marketplace, and how he overcame challenges along the way. He advises fellow entrepreneurs to home in on a specific problem to solve, get feedback from industry insiders, focus on investors that believe in you, and hire people who share your enthusiasm.Techstars personnel and/or guests who speak in this podcast express their own opinions, and not the opinion of either Techstars or any company discussed in this podcast. This podcast is for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities are for illustrative and/or informational purposes only and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investor or prospective investor, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by Techstars.Certain of Techstars funds own (or may own in the future) securities in some of the companies discussed in this podcast.
9/29/2020

Hacking Resilience by Celebrating Small Wins — with Laura Spiekerman

Season 1
In 2015, Alloy’s empath founders saw the need to speed up the payment rails to improve financial services onboarding. With funding assistance as a Techstars Barclays Accelerator grad, they developed an identity operating system that banks and FinTechs use to manage their AML/KYC operations and fraud detection.The key to founder resilience, as Laura explains, is to focus on “the little things that are going well and celebrate them” and to share those wins with your team.Listen for Laura’s story about starting with a robust solution to an industry-wide problem and, with the help of savvy advisors, an evolving product and a strong company culture, building it into a successful enterprise that investors want to be part of.Techstars personnel and/or guests who speak in this podcast express their own opinions, and not the opinion of either Techstars or any company discussed in this podcast. This podcast is for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities are for illustrative and/or informational purposes only and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investor or prospective investor, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by Techstars.Certain of Techstars funds own (or may own in the future) securities in some of the companies discussed in this podcast.
9/23/2020

Live Recording: Take All Advice With a Grain of Salt — with Christie Horvath

Season 1
Founders — especially first time founders — need to walk a careful line with advice. They need lots of it in order to make good decisions, but ultimately, every decision is theirs to make. Christie Horvath, founder of Wagmo, says her biggest tip to other founders is to “take everyone’s advice with a grain of salt — especially if you’re a female founder, you’re going to get a lot of advice and most of it’s going to be wrong.”Early on, she doubted herself and hired “some dude with a fancy resume” to make some big decisions for her, and the results were not good. But the experience taught her to be confident and to trust herself: “You know more about your company than anyone else does.” Keep learning, but have confidence in your own leadership. Techstars personnel and/or guests who speak in this podcast express their own opinions, and not the opinion of either Techstars or any company discussed in this podcast. This podcast is for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities are for illustrative and/or informational purposes only and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investor or prospective investor, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by Techstars.Certain of Techstars funds own (or may own in the future) securities in some of the companies discussed in this podcast.