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StitchCrew Change Makers Podcast
55 minutes | 3 months ago
#35 "Chingona" a Badass Investor
Almost 60 million Latinos account for $2.3 trillion in economic activity and are projected to make up 30% of the U.S. population by the end of this year. In addition, the number of Latinx businesses grew 34% over the past 10 years, making them the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the country. Despite these numbers, when it comes to Venture Capital, less than 2% of venture led companies and venture capitalists are Latinx. Fortunately there are several new fund managers emerging and challenging the status quo.To wrap up Hispanic Heritage Month, we invited one of the most badass investors in venture, Samara Hernandez, Founding Partner of Chingona Ventures. As an immigrant struggling with english as a second language, Samara fell in love with numbers, the universal language as she describes it, and became an engineer. Prior to launching her fund, Samara was a partner at MATH Venture Partner and before that she worked at Goldman Sachs where she continually ranked top 5 in her field. As one of less than one percent of Latinas in Venture, Samara actively recruits more women and people of color into STEM fields, venture capital and entrepreneurship. She also co-founded the Latinx Founders Collective, an organization bringing together Latinx founders, investors, and community leaders. Join us as we talk to her about her fund, the story behind the name and her passion for early stage investing. You can find Samara at:www.Chingona.VenturesTwitter: @SamaraMHernandzLinkedin: @samaramejia
55 minutes | 4 months ago
#34 Investing in Diverse Teams, Marcos Gonzalez, Vamos Ventures
Last year, a report to Congress based on data from 2017, found that almost 60 million Latinos already account for $2.3 trillion in economic activity and are projected to make up 30% of the U.S. population by the end of this year.Another study from Stanford University found that over the past 10 years, the number of Latino business owners grew 34%, compared to 1% for all business owners, making them the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the United States. Despite these numbers, when it comes to Venture Capital, Latinos represent less than 2% of venture led companies and venture capitalists. How do we change that?In this episode we talk to Marcos Gonzalez, Managing Partner at Vamos Ventures. A son of Mexican immigrant parents, Marcos was the first in his family to graduate from college and is now a Brown University and Harvard Business School alumni. Marcos began his career at IBM pre-business school, and the Boston Consulting Group. He then joined the private equity industry as an Investment Officer. Somewhere in between, Marcos also co-founded a venture backed e-commerce company, grew it, and sold it before founding Vamos Ventures, a $25mm fund seeking to invest in companies led by diverse founders. Join us as we talk to Marcos and learn more about what led him to invest in early stage startups. You can find Marcos at:https://www.vamosventures.com/https://twitter.com/MarcosCGonzalezhttps://www.linkedin.com/in/marcos-gonzalez-b567042/
57 minutes | 6 months ago
#33 A $50 Million Dollar Bet in the Middle of the Country
In this episode we talk to Brian and Candice Brackeen, Partners at Lightship Capital. Prior to becoming investors and co-founding their venture firm, Brian and Candice were entrepreneurs with first hand experience building, financing and raising funds for their respective companies. Join us as we talk to them about their latest $50 million dollar fund, which is considered to be the largest-ever VC fund to invest in Midwest in underrepresented founders including BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color), LGBTQ+, and people with disabilities working on artificial intelligence (AI), consumer packaged goods (CPG), sustainability, e-commerce, and healthcare. You can learn more about the fund and pitch Brian and Candice at www.Lightship.Capital and and by following them on twitter @brianbrackeen and @candicebrackeen. Show Notes and Links:The Grit by Angela Duckworth, Candice book reference. Undock, instantly schedule, host and document meetings with your network.FreshFry, Lightship Capital first investment under new fund. If you enjoy the show please leave us a review on iTunes and let us know which was your favorite part of the show.
64 minutes | 6 months ago
#32 Demystifying the Cannabis Industry
Cannabis sales in the U.S. alone are estimated to reach more than $30 billion dollars by 2023. This growth is only going to accelerate as more and more governments legalize the industry’s medicinal and recreational use, prompting entrepreneurs and investors to jump into the opportunity. In addition to recreational and medicinal use, there is a broad range of cannabis-related consumer products including edibles, topical creams, soft drinks, coffees, sleep-inducing teas, and even infused non-alcoholic beers and wines. Yet, challenges continue. Similar to our democracy, the legalization of marijuana is an ongoing social experiment, imperfect and undone, as we’ve failed to discuss the practice of disproportionately imprisoning people for buying, selling, and cultivating the product. In this episode we talk to Farhaj Mayan, the Founder of Kanna, a startup providing the Cannabis industry a platform to hire, train and manage their workforce. Join us as we talk about the stigma and systemic racism behind what is now a lucrative, not yet fully bankable industry, and the mental and physical toll of building a startup.
66 minutes | 6 months ago
#31 Marie Rocha, Managing Partner Realist Ventures
Venture Capital is still very much a closed network. By design, the sector is exclusive. Legally, to be an LP or a Fund Manager, investors have to be able to carve out their own capital, or benefit from having an established elite network with enough personal wealth to tolerate the risk. The vast majority of VCs, come from very similar and privileged educational backgrounds from institutions like Harvard or Stanford. In fact, most LPs still look for that stamp of approval as a way to de-risk their fund investments. Although there has been progress in recent years, with more women and people of color joining venture firms or starting their own VC funds, the lack of representation is still staggering with males still representing 85% of all senior investors. In this episode we talk to Marie Rocha, General Partner at Realist Ventures, a VC Firm in Connecticut investing in startups at the development, seed, and early stage. Marie knew there was a gap in funding years ago, and without a background in Venture or an established network of ready to invest LPs, she set out to raise her first fund to invest in promising startups. Join us as we talk to Marie about her investment strategy, what led her to launch a VC Fund and her experience as one of only 1% of Black Women in Venture.
49 minutes | 7 months ago
#30 More than a VC Fund
Eighty percent of all venture capital is spent on three coastal states. Unfortunately, this statistic often leads founders to think they have to move to places like California or New York to build a high growth company. There are many reasons why fund managers and venture capitalists have concentrated in certain regions, luckily new fund managers are emerging in the middle of the country to close the funding gap and help support early stage entrepreneurs. Today we talked to one of those fund managers. Michael Basch is the Managing Partner at Atento Capital, a new Venture Capital Fund in Tulsa, Oklahoma backed by the George Kaiser Family. Prior to moving to Tulsa from NY, Michael founded and invested in startups, ran for Mayor of NYC and even helped in the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016. Join us as we talk to him about what led him to move from NY to Oklahoma, his views on today’s environment and vision for growing the innovation economy in Tulsa.
48 minutes | 8 months ago
#29 Launching a VC Fund in Oklahoma
Eighty percent of all venture capital is spent on three coastal states. Unfortunately, this statistic often leads founders to think they have to move to places like California or New York to build a high growth company. There are many reasons why fund managers and venture capitalists have concentrated in certain regions, luckily new fund managers are emerging in the middle of the country to close the funding gap and help support early stage entrepreneurs.Today we talked to one of those fund managers. Nathaniel Harding is the Managing Partner at Cortado Ventures, a new Venture Capital Fund in Oklahoma looking to invest in the most promising companies in the state and region. Join us as we talk to him about the dire need to invest in local startups, and the struggles of establishing an early stage fund in Oklahoma.
40 minutes | 8 months ago
#28 Managing through COVID-19, Brian Sampson
People all over the world are experiencing abrupt life changes as we attempt to return to work safe and responsibly. As founders, we must figure out ways to keep not just our loved-ones but our employees and customers safe, our companies afloat, and investors onboard. And on top of that we also need to take care of our mental state because if we are not well, we can’t help others. In this episode we talk to Brian Sampson, the owner of multiple ServiceMaster franchises in Louisville and Nashville specializing in disaster restoration and commercial cleaning services. Before venturing on his own, Brian managed multiple multimillion-dollar business units in the oil and gas industry. Join us as we talk to him about what it’s like to manage an essential business, how his employees are reacting to the situation and how he transitioned from a 6 figure salary with perks and benefits in the oil and gas industry, to a business owner.
58 minutes | 8 months ago
#27 Steven Hughes, Founder of Know Money
Why is it so hard to talk about money? With our parents, spouse, kids, friends, employees and yes, investors? Is it a taboo or social norm?In this episode we talk to Steven Hughes the founder of Know Money, a nonprofit teaching college students how to think, talk, and interact with money. Having made nearly every financial mistake imaginable during his own college experience, Steven now dedicates his efforts to helping other young adults avoid the same pitfalls. Selected for his contributions as one of the Global Shapers at the World Economic Forum Steven is now a nationally recognized Financial Education Instructor providing workshops and conferences in universities across the country. Join us as we talk about money, the financial psychology behind it and how we can use it to get us through this uncertain time.
60 minutes | 9 months ago
#26 Max Tuchman, CEO and Co-Founder of Caribu
In this episode, we talk to Max Tuchman, the Co-Founder and CEO of Caribu, an interactive video-calling platform that helps grandparents and parents, have virtual playdates, read and draw with children when they’re not in the same location. What a concept right? Especially as we shelter at home with our kids in an attempt to flatten the Covid-19 curve. But Max and her Co-Founder came up with this idea way before Covid-19. Max's passion for educational equity began way before Caribu. Prior to launching her startup, Max served as the Executive Director of Teach For America in Miami-Dade. Her policy background also helped inform her views on financial equity. Appointed by President Obama, Max served as a White House Fellow in the U.S. Department of Treasury where she worked on issues of financial inclusion and she also worked in Mayor Bloomberg’s administration. Join us as we talk to Max about the origins of her startup, how she became the first Latinx Founder to raise more than $1 million dollars via Reg CF, and her experience running an edtech startup ahead of its time.
39 minutes | 9 months ago
#25 Larissa Rocha, Employee No. 1 at BREX
Co-founded by Henrique Dubugras and Pedro Franceschi, two engineers who previously founded one of the largest payment processors in Brazil, Brex, is now valued at well over $2 billion dollars and is backed by high profile investors, including Paypal co-founders Max Levchin and Peter Thiel, Y Combinator, Ribbit Capital, Yuri Milner, and Carl Pascarella, former CEO of Visa. In this episode, we talk to Larissa Rocha, Employee No. 1 at BREX, the ultimate corporate credit card for Startups which doesn’t require a personal guarantee and has the ability to issue cards instantly while providing higher limits than traditional options on the market. The card also provides points and rewards more suitable and relevant for startups.Join us as we discuss how as a fintech, BREX is adapting and helping other startups with cash flow and cash management. Links discussed on the episode:- Brex's Response to COVID-19 includes new WFH rewards, learn more at brex.com/remotecollaboration- Webinars and other resources for Startups, go to brex.com/blog
48 minutes | 9 months ago
#24 Harold Hughes, Angel Investor and Founder of Bandwagon
People all over the world are experiencing abrupt life changes as we attempt to flatten the COVID-19 curve. As founders, we must figure out ways to keep not just our loved-ones but our employees and customers safe, our companies afloat, and investors onboard. And on top of that we also need to take care of our own mental state because if we are not well, we can’t help others. This new podcast series we’ll be sharing tips, tools, and tactics from entrepreneurs on how they are adapting to the new norm and how they are finding opportunities in this uncertain time. In this episode we talk to Harold Hughes, the Founder of Bandwagon, a blockchain-based analytics company helping sports teams better understand fans behavior and increase game-day revenue. Join us as we discuss how he is adapting and communicating with his team and investors. Bandwagon is backed by high profile investors including Blue Vista Ventures, Backstage Capital, and the Black Angel Tech Fund.
40 minutes | 10 months ago
#23 Dale and Carrie Spoonmore, From Seed to Spoon
Imagine walking out to your backyard and picking bright red tomatoes, bell peppers and fresh-picked cilantro. Or any other fresh produce that is often expensive and difficult to find in stores. Sounds great no? Particularly in times of uncertainty like we are experiencing now as we combat coronavirus fears and isolation.During World War II, people experienced food shortages, fear and anxiety, so Dr. George Washington Carver, a prominent scientist and inventor, promoted the idea of Victory Gardens, urging people to grow their own food, mostly as a way of supplementing their rations, but also as a way to boost morale. There are so many good reasons to begin growing your own food and really no reason not to. Growing food doesn’t just increase your access to nutritious food, it can save you money all while providing a creative and active outlet. It can also help reduce our carbon footprint, since long-distance transportation of produce relies heavily on fossil fuels and packaging. The problem is, not a lot of people know how or where to start. Luckily there are social entrepreneurs like Dale and Carrie Spoonmore, the Founders of From Seed to Spoon, who created an app to teach people how to grow their own food. The app even lets you sort out plants by health benefits.In this episode, we talk to them about the origins of the idea and how they plan to help others build their own Victory Garden.
38 minutes | 10 months ago
#22 Allison Watkins-Conti, Founder of Watkins-Conti Products
Urinary incontinence, or urine leakage you can't control, is something that many Americans, men and women, suffer from. In fact, it is believed that one third of Americans in the U.S. suffer from urinary incontinence. That means millions of people, although experts don’t know the exact number since many people do not tell anyone about their symptoms often because they are embarrassed, or because they think nothing can be done. So they suffer in silence.Many people think urinary incontinence is just part of getting older. But it's not. It’s also not just a medical problem. It can affect individuals emotionally and psychologically. It can also effect one’s social life. Given that many people who experience it are often afraid to do normal daily activities that keeps them from enjoying life. Luckily there are entrepreneurs like Allison Watkins-Conti, Founder of Watkins-Conti Products, who is developing women’s health products, including solutions for urinary incontinence. Join us as we talk to Allison about Leaky Lady, her latest invention currently undergoing clinical trials that aims at helping women experiencing this problem, the stigma surrounding the condition, and the struggles she’s had to overcome to get the product to market.
42 minutes | a year ago
#21 Hugh Forrest, SXSW | Chief Programming Officer
Imagine spending 10 days with creatives, artists and thought leaders from across the world. Last year, the SXSW Conference & Festivals combined exceeded more than 400,000 attendees. The conference alone was comprised of more than 2,100 sessions, 73,000 attendees, almost 4800 speakers, and 4300 media representatives from around the globe. SXSW began in 1987 and every year it’s grown in size and scope, emerging as one of the world’s most influential conferences and festivals. The event celebrates the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries — and takes place every year in March in Austin, Texas. This year, SXSW conference will feature 22 diverse tracks of programming and will include featured speakers like:Award-winning host and comedian, Stephen Colbert, Former Microsoft CEO and founder of USAFacts, Steve Ballmer, New York Times bestselling author Dr. Brené Brown, Kim Kardashian and artist Janelle Monáe, Trent Reznor and mega film director Michael Moore, just to name a few.Programming will also include pitch competitions, activations and thought-provoking sessions ranging from politics and startups to sports and culture, some of the featured sessions include:the Future of Space Exploration? With former Oklahoma Representative and now NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine.Building the Consumer Bank of the Future From Scratch.How Women Win on Gun Safety – and Stop the NRA Leadership in Turbulent Times Sounds pretty cool right? But can you imagine having to organize an event of this magnitude?Join us as we talk to Hugh Forrest, Chief Programming Officer at SXSW about the early days of SXSW, its evolution over time and what to expect this year and in the future.
42 minutes | a year ago
#20 Anna Mason, Partner at Rise of the Rest
You’ve heard us talk about the daunting statistic that almost 80% of all venture capital is spent on three coastal states. And while there are plenty of investors arguing why this trend will continue, there are contrarian investors looking beyond the coasts for their next homerun.Steve Case, Co-founder of AOL, is one of those investors. Steve co-founded Revolution, an investment firm that houses multiple funds. One of those funds is the Rise of the Rest seed fund which made its debut in 2014 to invest in startups located outside traditional tech hubs. Since, Steve has raised a second fund backed by high profile individuals like Jeff Bezos, Sara Blakely, and Ray Dalio.As part of their efforts, the Rise of the Rest Team hosts other investors, and first-tier national media on a bus tour every year making one-day stops in five different cities. The goal of the tour is to highlight the innovation happening across the nation. The team also invests in at least one startup per stop. This year, as part of their tour, they will be making a stop in both Oklahoma City and Tulsa.Although it will be their first bus tour through Oklahoma, the Rise of the Rest Team is already familiar with the startup community in the state. Last year, the fund made their first investment in Oklahoma when they participated in Zero Card’s Series A round which closed at $7 million. Join us as we talk to Anna Mason, Partner of the Rise of the Rest and find out more about their investment thesis and get a behind the scenes breakdown of the tour and pitch competition.
35 minutes | a year ago
#19 Ally Myers, Founder of SUMA
43% of women with children leave the workforce at some point in their careers and unfortunately, many of them face an uphill battle when attempting to return to work. And while we’ve come a long way, many employers still discriminate (often covertly) against new moms or moms who for one reason or another have stayed out of the workforce for a period of time. In fact, a 2018 study in Harvard Business Review found that women who tried to transition from being stay-at-home mothers were only half as likely to get a job interview than those who had been laid off, even if the absence from the workforce lasted about the same amount of time. Parents who leave the workforce but later want to reenter it might be one of our greatest untapped resources. And with unemployment rates near historic lows and companies lamenting over labor shortages, it’s time to tap into this talent pool. Luckily, moms like Ally Myers are taking matters into their own hands. While leading a non-profit organization providing financial aid to moms with children persevering serious illness, trauma and special needs, Ally experienced the problem first hand. After hearing the stories from several of the moms she served, Ally launched SUMA, a company connecting mothers with flexible work hours. Join us, as we talk to Ally about this missed opportunity and the challenges of running a startup.
64 minutes | a year ago
#18 Behind the scenes with Karlis Kezbers and the Crew
Two years ago, we partnered with the Oklahoma City Thunder to launch an accelerator and to help us build a more inclusive startup community in our region. Since our launch, we’ve helped 39 startups and we’ve built a community of 78 founders and over 100 mentors as well as an impressive database of in and out of state investors. Although we’ve been operating for a while, we still get asked questions about what it is that we do. So we decided to start the year with a new episode talking about our partnership with the best NBA team in the nation, and we asked Karlis Kezbers, Director of Business Intelligence and Strategy for the Oklahoma City Thunder to help us go over some of the most frequently asked questions we typically get about the accelerator program.
51 minutes | a year ago
#17 Brett Kolomyjec - Founder of Happily
There are several companies transforming the way we interact with loved ones. Instagram for example, changed the way we capture and share moments about our daily lives. Venmo has altered how our friends can pay us back and Happily, a company located in the middle of the country, is making it easier for couples to have lasting relationships by making relationship health resources accessible to everyone.Founded by Brett Kolomyjec and his wife Devon, Happily, helps couples have a deeper connection through planned date nights and access to expert relationship counseling. Formerly known as DateBox, Happily launched offering personalized subscription pre-planned dates. But Brett and Devon’s vision for the company goes well beyond date nights. Happily now offers conflict resolution classes and is using technology to eliminate the time, cost and stigma associated with traditional relationship counseling.Join us as we talk to Brett about the origins of Happily, his journey moving from Seattle to the Midwest and his ultimate goal of helping couples achieve healthier relationships.
37 minutes | a year ago
#16 Kathy Taylor - Angel Investor, Entrepreneur and Policy Maker
When it comes to fundraising, Venture Capitalist tend to get most of the attention, but in reality, most first time checks for startups actually come from angel investors, not VCs. Angel investors are basically wealthy people who like to invest in early stage startups - in other words, they are people that can financially afford to lose their investment, without impacting their lifestyle. Most angel investors were once founders. They sold their company and now have capital to invest in other companies. Those often turn out to be great investors because they get it, they’ve been in the ring. Kathy Taylor is one of those angel investors. After earning her bachelors and juris doctorate Kathy began her career as an attorney. She then became Vice President and General Counsel of Thrifty Car Rental and later bought National Car Rental from General Motors using her family’s savings. Kathy eventually sold the company with her husband and started the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation - a philanthropic foundation focused on supporting local entrepreneurs. Kathy is also known for her public service, serving as Mayor of Tulsa, Oklahoma and later as State Secretary of Commerce, Tourism, and Workforce. Given her own experience in business, politics and government, Kahty is unapologetic about investing in and advocating for women through her personal and philanthropic investments. Join us as we learn more about her story and investment philosophy.
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