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Office Hours with Spencer Rascoff
40 minutes | Jan 14, 2022
This LA-based "Storyteaching" Company Wants to Put Culture at the Heart of Content Creation in the EdTech Space
Steven Wolfe Pereira, CEO of Encantos talks with Spencer about how the EdTech start-up uses "storyteaching" to help kids learn 21st-century skills. With diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI) baked-in to the Public Benefit Corporation's mission, Encantos seeks to unlock talent from creators around the world to help build inclusive Storyworlds around the characters that make up its Intellectual Property. The platform, co-founded with author/illustrator Susie Jaramillo, who serves as President and Chief Creative Officer helped create Canticos, an Emmy-nominated bilingual baby and toddler brand. Headquartered in Culver City, the start-up has raised a total of $8.5M in over three rounds of funding. Steven Wolfe Pereira began his career in finance at The Blackstone Group and has had roles as the CMO of Datalogix, Neustar and Quantcast. He earned a B.A. from Tufts University, was a Fulbright Scholar and earned his MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management. A Dominican-American born and raised in New York, Wolfe Pereira now lives in Los Angeles with his family.
38 minutes | Dec 30, 2021
Multiple Start-up Founder Russ Glass the CEO of Headspace Health on the Growth of Telehealth Industry During the Pandemic
Russ Glass, CEO of Headspace Health, a digital mental health and wellbeing platform, speaks with Spencer about his involvement overseeing the surge in the Telehealth market after the merger of Headspace and Ginger. Glass, a serial tech entrepreneur—who was also formerly Founder of Bizo, Inc., aqcuired by LinkedIn— speaks candidly about his successes and failures with previous start-ups and why he believes that there is such overwhelming demand for the healthcare services that Headspace offers.
30 minutes | Dec 17, 2021
Allison Ellsworth co-founder of Poppi on Creating a Healthy Soda Alternative While Building a Brand
Allison Ellsworth and her husband Stephen, formerly employed in the oil and gas industry, quit their jobs to bet on themselves and and started a health-based soda alternative. Their concept, a prebiotic drink called Poppi masks the strong taste of apple cider vinegar using less than 6 grams of sugar to help support gut health. The Texas based start-up was funded by Rohan Oza after the couple went on Shark Tank who helped them work on a rebrand. Allison, who was 9 months pregnant shares how the company has focused on its digital and retail sales strategy, and why they are moving their team from Dallas to Austin.
30 minutes | Dec 3, 2021
An In-Depth Conversation on Venture Investing & Startup Dynamics with Dana Settle, co-founder Greycroft
This conversation explores the L.A. tech scene and venture investing featuring two of the industry's leading voices. Spencer Rascoff and Dana Settle discuss Pacaso and Greycroft while sharing their thoughts on L.A.'s evolving ecosystem. Dana Settle is a founding partner of Greycroft, where she heads the firm’s West Coast office out of Los Angeles. Prior to joining Greycroft, Dana spent several years as a venture capitalist and advisor to startup companies in the Bay Area, including six years at Mayfield, where she focused on early stage companies in the mobile communications and consumer Internet markets. Dana currently manages Greycroft’s investments in Anine Bing, AppAnnie, Avaline, Bird, Bumble, Citizen, Clique, Comparably, Goop, HamsaPay, Happiest Baby, Merit Beauty, Seed, Thrive Market, Versed, and WideOrbit. She also managed the firm’s investments in The RealReal (IPO), Awesomeness TV (acquired by Dreamworks), Maker Studios (acquired by Disney), Pulse (acquired by LinkedIn), Trunk Club (acquired by Nordstrom), Sometrics (acquired by American Express), Viddy (acquired by Fullscreen), and Voicea (acquired by Cisco). Show notes and resources: Dana Settle bio on Greycroft Both sides of the table Diversity Ride for the Term Sheet
21 minutes | Nov 19, 2021
The Future of Mobile Gaming, A Conversation with Josh Yguado, co-founder of Jam City
In this fireside chat with dot.LA and Pacaso co-founder and chair Spencer Rascoff, Jam City President and co-founder Josh Yguado explores what the acquisition of Ludia means for the future of Jam City and mobile gaming. The discussion covers what it means to sit at the intersection of traditional entertainment and mobile gaming and why L.A. is the perfect place for this work. Jam City is reimagining the future of mobile gaming. Already an award-winning company behind the world’s most enduring mobile games, the company’s recent acquisition of Ludia bolsters its global portfolio of top studios that develop and publish top-grossing games.
27 minutes | Apr 1, 2021
Why Legendary Real Estate Coach Tom Ferry Says A Legacy is Better Built than Inherited
My friend, serial entrepreneur and legendary real estate coach, Tom Ferry, shares his career trajectory from sales to coaching phenom, the single biggest pitfall for work performance and his take on California’s business climate.
28 minutes | Mar 25, 2021
ChowNow’s Software Empowers Restaurants To Digitize Their Businesses
Chris Webb rejected attending college in favor of diving into a finance career at eighteen years old. Now, he’s the CEO and co-founder of ChowNow, an app and online ordering system for restaurants that doesn't charge the onerous fees required of other delivery services. Hear Chris share how his education steeped in Wall Street and his mother’s surprise restaurant investment came together to ultimately inspire ChowNow.
26 minutes | Mar 18, 2021
Immigrant Grit And Parents’ Experience Inspired Co-founders To Create Service Titan
Shoeboxes full of invoices and receipts ignited the idea of Service Titan for Ara Mahdessian, the company’s CEO and cofounder. An Armenian immigrant from Iran, Ara came to the U.S. with his family as a young boy. He watched his parents assimilate to their new country while toiling into late hours of the night in order to give their family a good life. Their hard work paid off. Ara attended Stanford where he studied software engineering. He and his cofounder, Vahe Kuzoyan, also a software engineer, applied their knowledge to create automated software for home and commercial service businesses like plumbing and electrical. This includes scheduling, dispatching, payroll, recording, payments, invoicing, etc. Hear why Ara feels having an engineering background makes him a better leader, what to look for in investment partners and the values he emphasizes at Service Titan to ensure a high-quality, supportive and productive company culture.
29 minutes | Mar 11, 2021
Visionary Keith Richman Of Boosted Commerce On Acquiring Ecommerce Companies
Before PayPal, there was Bill Point, a company cofounded in the late 90s by Keith Richman, now cofounder of Boosted Commerce, which buys top-rated companies on Amazon and other e-commerce ecosystems and helps take them to their next level. Hear how the arc of his serial entrepreneurship follows the trajectory of the internet, what Boosted looks for in their acquisitions and what Boosted offers their companies to help them grow.
37 minutes | Mar 4, 2021
Co-Founder Of Brex, FinTech Unicorn, On Second-Time Founder Status, Hypergrowth And Leaving SF for L.A.
As a self-taught teenage computer programmer in Brazil, Henrique Dubugras launched his first company, Pagar.me at age 16. After he sold it, Henrique was accepted and enrolled at Stanford, but dropped out early to follow his entrepreneurial instincts. This led him to co-found Brex with Pedro Franceschi, a business-to-business fintech unicorn disrupting the century old industry of banking small businesses.
27 minutes | Feb 25, 2021
Pacaso Aims To Make Second Home Ownership Possible For Millions
Birds were the first dwellers Austin Allison, CEO and co-founder of Pacaso, served with his boyhood bird-house business. Now, with Pacaso, the serial entrepreneur aims to democratize second home ownership by enabling people to co-own an amazing second home --- for 1/8 the cost. Hear his take on what it meant to have his first company acquired, his number one tip on how to keep his crew focused and how to best navigate what seems like weekly iterations of the start-up environment.
27 minutes | Feb 18, 2021
Health-Ade Kombucha Was Born Of A Surprise Pivot
If there’s one thing to be learned from CEO and co-founder of Health-Ade, Daina Trout, it’s to pay attention to the opportunity in front of you and be prepared to pivot. Hear how Health-Ade Kombucha evolved from a hair-loss remedy to a huge brand of healthy drinks, learn about Daina and Spencer’s philosophy around hiring and gain insightful learnings around fundraising.
28 minutes | Feb 11, 2021
How The E-Commerce Sneaker Company GOAT Achieved GOAT Status
Hear from GOAT cofounder and CEO Eddy Lu about big, public and most importantly, resolved founder fights, insight on when to know it’s time to pivot or quit, how GOAT differentiates itself from other sneaker e-commerce sites -- and one of GOAT’s early and clever growth hacks to convince consumers the company had more merch than they actually did.
17 minutes | Feb 4, 2021
dot.LA Celebrates First Anniversary Covering Los Angeles Tech And Start-Up Scene
The burgeoning Los Angeles start-up and tech scene led to the founding of dot.LA one year ago. Today, we hear from its CEO and Spencer’s cofounder, Sam Adams, on how its mission both celebrates and holds accountable the burgeoning Los Angeles tech and start-up scene, how it’s baked DEI into its mission -- and why LA is the place for entrepreneurs to dig roots.
25 minutes | Jan 21, 2021
Mattel CEO On Leveraging the Power of Brands -- Barbie and More
Ynon Kreiz served on the board of Mattel before stepping in as CEO in 2018. Hear about how Mattel is leverage its massive brand portfolio across multiple platforms, from toys to films, how Mattel is working towards environmental sustainability and the priority Mattel places on DEI. Also, hear the answer to a burning UNO game question hotly debated in Spencer’s family.
30 minutes | Jan 7, 2021
For Beauty Counter Founder, Gregg Renfrew, It’s Not Just Makeup, It’s A Movement
A free-flowing conversation packed with entrepreneurial lessons with serial entrepreneur, Beauty Counter founder, Gregg Renfrew. Hear what to look for in an investor, ideas about scaling, her passion for multi-channel business -- and why people should get rid of non-stick pans.
24 minutes | Dec 17, 2020
Cameo’s Custom-Crafted Celebrity Videos Is The New Autograph
Cameo’s highly-anticipated 2017 launch tanked. Its only talent was furious. But the startup persisted, and through grit has grown massively. Hear Steven Galanis, founder and CEO of Cameo, share the colorful story of the young company’s turnaround, how Galanis breaks down the best way to handle employee dysfunction and how he built up Cameo’s roster of tens of thousands of celebrities and influencers ready to send custom-crafted messages.
50 minutes | Dec 3, 2020
Bill Gurley Drops Knowledge: Startups, Venture Capital And Scaling
Bill Gurley, Legendary Silicon Valley venture capitalist, is a general partner at Benchmark and famously known for investing early in trailblazing companies including Uber, GrubHub, my company, Zillow and so many others. Hear a conversation he and I had at the recent dot.LA Summit where we discuss marketplace-based companies, how work-from-home will accelerate business opportunity and why startups, though they might be attached to their autonomy, should pick up the phone when a big company calls. Plus, hear his thoughtful take on big tech and antitrust.
34 minutes | Nov 12, 2020
The Chainsmokers Grow Into Venture Capitalists
Huge musical success is not enough for the electronic musical group, The Chainsmokers, made of Alex Pall and Drew Taggart. As part of their hunger to grow and learn, they've started their VC firm, Mantis, where they focus on investing in Seed and Series A startups. Hear about how they see the similarities between building startups and making music, the value add they give to companies beyond their fame and reach, how they write their songs and the why behind what might be considered a controversial move -- selling their music catalog.
30 minutes | Oct 29, 2020
Lessons Learned During Zulily’s Rocketship Rise
How tough is it to infuse a retail website with entirely new products every day? Very. Nonetheless, that’s what Zulily, an ecommerce site that sells unique retail brands primarily to women, did when it went live in 2010. Ultimately, Zulily sold for $2.4 billion in 2015. Hear Darrell Cavens, founder and former CEO of Zulily, Spencer and Harvard Professor Jeffrey Rayport discuss the why behind Zulily’s astonishing success and some granular lessons learned born of a company that grew incredibly big incredibly fast.
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