50 minutes | Nov 13, 2015
Episode #17: Student-Run Venture Capital in Philadelphia with Nilesh Kavthekar
The venture capital and startup investing space has become much more crowded in recent years. As partners try and raise money for their new funds and international investors pour money into startups, great deals are harder to come by. Unless one works at a world class, vaulted VC firm such as Sequoia, Accel or Andreessen Horowitz, the entrance of new players makes sourcing the best startups even more difficult than before. Early-stage seed VCs thus find themselves needing to creep earlier into the startup life cycle. One creative firm doing just that is Dorm Room Fund, a completely student run venture capital firm backed by First Round Capital. DRF seeks to form long-term relationships with student entrepreneurs in college; they aim to invest and have an influential role at the true genesis of their startup journeys. Today I had a conversation with Nilesh Kavthekar, a Penn student and a partner at Dorm Room Fund seeking the best student run companies to invest in. I discuss with Nilesh about topics such as: 1) The current startup landscape in Philadelphia 2) Common attributes of the most successful student entrepreneurs 3) How Dorm Room Fund determines which startups to invest in - *four big things they look for* 4) The impact of crowdfunding on the venture capital space 5) The important of forming a relationship with the founder as a venture capital firm ...Among many other things. This is definitely an episode that gives a lot of great advice to students looking into the tech landscape and So enjoy this interview, and contact me through the form under 'participate' if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions. Be sure to rate The Disrupter Podcast on the iTunes store as well. Thanks!
38 minutes | Nov 6, 2015
Episode #16: A Discussion on FoundersSpace and Runway with Nathan Schor
As entrepreneurship and startups become more mainstream, accelerators and incubators are becoming evermore prominent in the tech landscape. These accelerators help startups at all stages, from those that just built an MVP to ones that already have seed funding and momentum behind them. Two accelerators that have become increasingly prominent are Runway and FoundersSpace. While FoundersSpace caters to a shorter term program for companies earlier in their development, Runway is an actual workspace where companies plan to stay longer term. I had the opportunity to interview Nathan Schor, who is a mentor at both these accelerators. I discuss with Nathan about topics such as: 1) How FoundersSpace and Runway pick their applicants 2) The patterns of successful founders in the accelerator program 3) The different types of accelerators in the tech landscape 4) The common problems that startups face in his experience ...among many other things. Enjoy this interview, and please rate and subscribe to the Disrupter Podcast on iTunes after you listen. Contact me at through the contact form if you have any feedback as well. Thanks! Check out FoundersSpace here! Check out Runway here!
55 minutes | Oct 31, 2015
Episode #15: Startup Solutions for the Blind and Visually Impaired with College Entrepreneur Rajat Bhageria
Welcome to the fifteenth episode of the Disrupter Podcast. As I continue to interview new founders and entrepreneurs, I find myself being drawn in to what's happening on campus at Penn. Although we don't have as big a startup culture as other schools such as Stanford or Berkeley, I have met some really passionate and dedicated people at Penn who are founding truly interesting companies that tackle big challenges. One of those people is Rajat Bhageria, a Penn sophomore who is the CEO and co-founder of ThirdEye, a startup that uses app technology to help recognize objects for the blind and visually impaired. Since coming up with the prototype at a PennApps Hackathon, Rajat has built a whole company with a refined product that is ready for market. Along the way he's picked up a lot of press coverage and Penn awards. Check out Thirdeye at http://thirdeyeglass.com/. I discuss with Rajat about topics such as: 1) What you need to know before being a college entrepreneur 2) The pros and cons of dropping out, being a college entrepreneur, and starting after graduation 3) His experience with the Thiel Fellowship 4) How he repeatedly tested his product at hospitals and clinics to improve the user experience 5) The biggest ups and downs of his startup journey ...And much, much more. I hope you enjoy this interview, and definitely feel free to email me through the contact form under ‘Participate’ for whatever reason. Thanks!
51 minutes | Sep 30, 2015
Episode #14: A *Must Hear* Discussion on Angel Investing with Ariel Poler
Welcome to the fourteenth episode of the Disrupter Podcast. Due to the success of many startups in Silicon Valley over the last decade or so, many people from all around the world are highly interested in becoming angels, establishing new funds, and forming syndicates. However, there was a time before Silicon Valley exploded when circles were tighter and everyone knew each other. Today my guest on the podcast is Ariel Poler, who is a very successful angel investor and serial entrepreneur. Ariel is definitely an insider in Silicon Valley, having been involved in the scene since his days at Stanford in the 90s. Throughout his career, he interacted with many key players and took an active role in many companies; he was also present at the genesis of some the most legendary companies in Silicon Valley today. This is a can't miss episode. I discuss with Ariel about topics such as: 1) His interactions with many different entrepreneurs before they became famous 2) How to successfully utilize AngelList as an investor or entrepreneur 3) How he figures out if a startup is the right fit 4) How he recruited Jerry Yang and David Filo to work for his company before they founded Yahoo! 5) His early involvement in StumbleUpon, LinkExchange, and Odeo (which became Twitter) ...among many topics. So enjoy the discussion, and email me through the contact form under 'participate' if you have any questions or comments. Rate The Disrupter Podcast in the iTunes store as well. Thanks!
55 minutes | Sep 26, 2015
Episode #13: Bridging Opportunities in China and Silicon Valley with David Dai
Welcome to the thirteenth episode of the Disrupter Podcast. Over the years, China has been increasingly recognized for innovation on many tech frontiers. The southeastern city of Shenzhen has become one of the premier hardware capitals in the world, and Beijing and other cities experienced wave of entrepreneurial fervor . To take advantage of this massive tech wave, many companies are now doing cross border business between Silicon Valley and China; however, many challenges in culture and business environments remain. My guest today is David Dai, who is the director of talent management at UNIsource, a joint public-private initiative between the Jiangsu Provincial government and leading Chinese tech corporations to facilitate transnational business development. UNIsource has many initiatives, including a investment fund that invests in Silicon Valley startups, product export consulting for both western and Chinese firms, and joint venture formations. I discuss with David about topics such as: 1) How UNIsource was founded 2) Differences between the Silicon Valley and Chinese tech business environments 3) Biggest opportunities for cross-border tech companies 4) Where the "tech-hub" cities in China are 5) Anecdotes of new business developments between Silicon Valley and China ...among many subjects. Please be sure to enjoy this interview. Email me through the contact form under 'participate' if you have anything to say, and be so kind to rate The Disrupter Podcast on the iTunes store as well. Thanks! Visit: UNISource
35 minutes | Sep 23, 2015
Episode #12: Girls in Tech with Adriana Gascoigne
Welcome to the twelfth episode of the Disrupter Podcast. Gender discrimination issues in the workplace are very relevant in Silicon Valley, as shown by the widely covered dispute between Ellen Pao and Kleiner Perkins and the case with Isis Wenger and OneLogins' controversy. Today I talk with Adriana Gascoigne, a very special guest who is the founder and CEO of Girls in Tech. Girls in Tech is an organization that advocates for the empowerment and engagement of women in technology, opening lines of discourse into the issues. Started in 2007, Girls in Tech now has many partners and chapters all over the world. I discuss with Adriana about topics such as: 1) The origins of Girls in Tech 2) Tech ecosystems all around the world and the challenges that each one faces 3) The biggest challenges facing female employ ...Among many other things. Enjoy this interview, email me through the contact form under 'participate' if you have anything to say, and be sure to rate The Disrupter Podcast on the iTunes store as well. Thanks! Check out Girls in Tech here!
37 minutes | Sep 19, 2015
Episode #11: A Novel Crowdfunding and Accelerator Platform in Southern California with Johanna Cronin
Welcome to the eleventh episode of the Disrupter Podcast. Today I talk with Johanna Cronin, who is the product manager at StartEngine, a Santa Monica based accelerator that helps early stage startups succeed. It is also a crowdfunding platform that allows non-accredited investors to fund such startups. We all know about crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, which deals with small-scale projects. Recently, crowdfunding has been widely discussed as a rich, new alternative source of funding for companies to tap into, as more people recognize its potential to democratize investing. Crowdfunding is revolutionary because it gives wider access to domains that used to only be available to the rich. In the Los Angeles Area, Startengine is helping to make this happen. I discuss with Johanna about topics such as: 1) What makes the Startengine program unique 2) Differences between the Silicon Valley and Southern California's tech ecosystems 3) The future of crowdfunding (and what happens if there's a tech bubble) ...Among many other things. I hope you enjoy this interview, and email me through the contact form under 'participate' if you have anything to say. It would be awesome if you can rate The Disrupter Podcast on the iTunes store as well. Thanks! Link: Start Engine
49 minutes | Sep 16, 2015
Episode #10: A Conversation about Wearable Tech and IoT with Kyle Ellicott
Welcome to another episode of the Disrupter Podcast. Today I talk with Kyle Ellicott, who is the co-founder and current COO/CTO of Wearable World. Wearables and IoT have experienced a tidal wave of interest for the past several years. It has been lauded as the next frontier in tech, as startups like Fibit experience great IPO entrances, and big companies like Amazon and Google launch long-range IoT strategies. In the midst of this gold rush is Kyle Ellicott, whose organization is at the center of this red-hot ecosystem. Wearable World hosts some of the most recognizable wearable/IoT events and is widely regarded as a key player in the space. Its "Labs" accelerator-incubator program has also achieved great success. I talk with Kyle about topics such as: 1) The hottest trends in wearable tech right now 2) The most memorable success and failure stories of wearable/IoT startups (many involving their manufacturers) 3) Important things to consider before launching a wearable/IoT tech startup 4) How Wearable World got to where it is today ...Among many other topics. Please enjoy, and email me through the contact form under ‘Participate’ if you have any feedback. Rate the Disrupter Podcast in the iTunes store as well. Thanks! Link: Wearable World
23 minutes | Sep 10, 2015
Episode #9: Spearheading Technological Education in Latin America with Ilana Milkes
Welcome to the ninth episode of the Disrupter Podcast. Today I interview Ilana Milkes, who is the founder and CEO of World Tech Makers, a technology education startup based in Bogotá, Columbia. Ilana is also another alum of Draper University, and since coming out of the accelerator she has put together an accomplished team, prominent partners, and detailed development bootcamps for web, iOS, and Android. World Tech Makers now has initiatives in Santiago and São Paulo as well. I discuss with Ilana about topics such as: 1) How she built World Tech Makers from Draper until now 2) The tech ecosystem in Latin America 3) Advice for college entrepreneurs ...Among other things. Enjoy, and be sure to give the the Disrupter Podcast a rating in the iTunes store. Thanks! Link: World Tech Makers
48 minutes | Sep 7, 2015
Episode #8: Launching a Fashion Tech Startup with Adi Shemesh
Welcome to the eighth episode of the Disrupter Podcast. Today I have Adi Shemesh on the show. Adi is a startup entrepreneur, founder, and the current CEO of Trench App, a fashion trading platform for women. This is one of my favorite interviews because Adi goes in depth on her entire startup process, from how she came up with the idea, to how she acquired her first users, to how she thinks about where to take Trench going forward. I discuss with Adi about topics such as: 1) How she came up with the idea for Trench 2) The entire process by which she built the company 3) The tech culture of Tel Aviv 4) What past work experiences she found useful for entrepreneurship 5) How to do startups successfully without a technical background ...Among many other subjects. Enjoy. Also I love feedback, so definitely email me through the contact form under ‘Participate’, and rate the Disrupter Podcast in the iTunes store. Thanks! Check out Trench as well!
51 minutes | Sep 2, 2015
Episode #7: Startup for Startups with Nathan Beckord
Welcome to the seventh episode of the Disrupter Podcast. Today I talk with Nathan Beckord, a startup entrepreneur and current CEO of Foundersuite, a startup that provides documents and tools that help streamline the startup process for new founders. Nathan is a Silicon Valley veteran, having analyzed tech from a financial services sector perspective, worked as a consultant and advisor to hundreds of tech startups, and founding his own company. I discuss with Nathan about topics such as: 1) His experiences in Silicon Valley 2) Whether an MBA is useful in the startup space 3) The most common traits of successful vs. failed startups 4) Emotional management techniques that founders use 5) What college students should consider before going down the startup path ...As well as other things. I hope you enjoy this interview, and email me your thoughts through the contact form under ‘Participate’ for whatever reason. Thanks! If you're interested in startups, take a look at Foundersuite as well!
59 minutes | Aug 29, 2015
Episode #6: Startup Opportunities in Big Data with Serafin Lion Engel
Welcome to the sixth episode of the Disrupter Podcast. Today we have Serafin Lion Engel on the show, who is a also Draper University alum. He is a startup entrepreneur and current CEO of DataWallet, which compensates users for sharing their online data with businesses. Serafin discussed his founder journey from Germany to where he is today. I discuss with Serafin about topics such as: 1) His impressions of Silicon Valley 2) How to first begin building connections once in the Valley 3) How he received angel funding and his experience with Draper U 4) His opinion of accelerator programs 5) What qualities all successful entrepreneurs share ...And much, much more. I hope you enjoy this interview, and definitely feel free to email me through the contact form under ‘Participate’ for whatever reason. Thanks! Check out DataWallet as well!
26 minutes | Aug 25, 2015
Episode #5: Inside a Billionaire’s Brainchild Accelerator with Allie Felix
Welcome to the fifth episode of the Disrupter Podcast. Today we have another unique episode - instead of featuring a startup, I interview (for the first time) an accelerator in Silicon Valley. You may have probably noticed that I've talked to many alumni from Draper University, a "people accelerator" founded by billionaire VC Tim Draper that teaches young, smart minds about entrepreneurship. All of them cite their time at Draper U as a formidable experience, and I talked with Allie Felix, a recruitment associate at Draper University, about what exactly makes the program so special. I discuss with Allie about topics such as: 1) What it takes to get accepted into Draper University 2) What it takes to be successful once in the program 3) Funny anecdotes about interactions with billionaires Tim Draper ...among many other things. This is definitely a great episode for those who want to learn about Draper U and what kind of things go on in such an accelerator. Hope you enjoy this interview, and please rate the Disrupter Podcast on iTunes after you listen. Contact me if you have any feedback as well. Thanks! Check out Draper University here! Check out Draper TV as well.
42 minutes | Aug 5, 2015
Episode #4: Helping Minority Entreprises Succeed in Silicon Valley with Carlos Solórzano Cuadra
Welcome to the fourth episode of the Disrupter Podcast. I first want to say that this episode is slightly different from the rest – not about startups or tech entrepreneurship specifically, but about social issues and the culture of Silicon Valley. Today I brought Carlos Solórzano Cuadra on the show. He is the founder and CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of San Francisco (HCCSF), whose main function is to promote and facilitate business in the San Francisco and Bay Area. He talks about minority issues in Silicon Valley, and recounts his journey as an entrepreneur and advocate for businesses in the area. I discuss with Carlos about topics such as: 1) Hiring practices of large tech firms in Silicon Valley 2) The biggest challenges facing minorities in the tech industry today 3) The current state of minority businesses in the Bay Area 4) His experiences in Silicon Valley since the late 80s ...And other related topics. Hope you enjoy this interview, and please rate the Disrupter Podcast on iTunes after you listen. I’d love to hear from you for any reason, so email me through the contact form under ‘Participate’. Thanks! Website: HCCSF.com
56 minutes | Jul 19, 2015
Episode #3: How To Receive $1M in Funding for Your Fintech Startup with Niles Lawrence
Welcome to the second interview of the Disrupter Podcast. Today we have Niles Lawrence on the show. I originally met Niles during a conference at Hero City in San Mateo, which is the coworking space of Draper U. Niles is a Draper University alum, startup entrepreneur, and current CEO of Vuru, a fintech startup providing stock analysis services. It was great talking to Niles as he recounted his founder journey from a young kid in Toronto, Canada to receiving $1M seed round funding in the Valley. I discuss with Niles about topics such as: 1) Why he moved from Toronto to Silicon Valley 2) His experience receiving funding from Tim Draper and Naveen Jain 3) The current state of the fintech industry 4) The startup process (from how he built the first prototype to how he address UXD) ...And much more. Hope you enjoy this interview, and please rate the Disrupter Podcast on iTunes after you listen. I’d love to hear from you for any reason, so email me through the contact form under ‘Participate’. Thanks! Be sure to check out Vuru.co as well!
42 minutes | Jul 14, 2015
Episode #2: Reflections on Entrepreneurship with Jonathan Tzou
Welcome to the first interview of the Disrupter Podcast. Today we have a great guest, one that I met while at one of our alumni networking events. Jonathan Tzou is from the University of Pennsylvania (like myself). He currently works on the team of Complete, a task completion App, as well as on his own startup regarding mental health. He’s also originally from the Bay Area, and he previously worked in management consulting. I discuss with Jon about topics such as: - His perspective on Silicon Valley - How his first startup idea originated from his friend punching a wall in Chile - How to build a minimum viable product (MVP) - Whether management consulting experience is valuable as related to startups - Different ways that you can meet angel investors … among other topics. Hope you enjoy this interview and please rate the Disrupter Podcast on iTunes after you listen. I'd love to hear from you, so shoot us a question or comment through the contact form under 'Participate'. Thanks!
8 minutes | Jul 8, 2015
Episode #1: Why I Started This Podcast
This is the first episode of Disrupter, in which I discuss my reasons for starting the podcast. This short monologue serves as the initial framework for what I aim to do, and will be a good referral point for anyone wondering about the values and mission of the podcast. The three main reasons I touched upon for starting this initiative are: 1) To provide an on-the-ground view into startups, particularly in Silicon Valley 2) To hear interesting stories and acquire more knowledge 3) To focus on disruptive innovation I hope you enjoy this inaugural episode and rate the Disrupter Podcast on iTunes after you listen. I’d also love to hear from you, so leave a message/question through the contact form under ‘Participate’. Thanks!