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Inc. Founders Project with Alexa von Tobel
29 minutes | 4 days ago
How to Solve Hard Problems with Stephany Kirkpatrick of Orum
As Certified Financial Planner, Stephany has long had a passion for helping families manage their money. And as a seasoned tech executive, Stephany realized that the most effective way to help hundreds of millions of families was to build new fintech infrastructure from the ground up. In 2019, she started Orum to make money movement smart and real-time—working to improve upon the 50-year-old system of ACH. Stephany shares why the self-driving wallet is coming sooner than we think, how Orum will lower the $11B consumers currently pay in overdraft fees each year, and why her secrets to success as a founder include Whoop and ice cream.
31 minutes | 12 days ago
Why Data is the New Code with Alexandr Wang of Scale AI
As a freshman at MIT, Alexandr was struck by his classmates' interest in AI. But he realized that despite all that AI technology could solve, there was no solution for managing AI-related data. So, at 19, he dropped out of college and started Scale AI. Scale now helps customers like Pinterest and Toyota accelerate the progress of AI and has grown to a valuation of $3.5B. Alexandr shares how AI is changing software development, why he believes in surrounding yourself with optimistic people, and how he learned to get comfortable with not being able to do everything at once.
38 minutes | 19 days ago
How to Identify Your Customer with Armon Dadgar of HashiCorp
Armon was on the PhD path, poised to become an academic. But he and his college friend Mitchell Hashimoto realized they had an opportunity ahead of them: building technology to support cloud infrastructure. They founded HashiCorp in 2012 and have grown to more than 80 million open source downloads per year, with a company valuation over $5 billion. Armon shares how a stint at a San Francisco startup led to his aha moment, how HashiCorp decided on an open-source model and enterprise customer, and why the company was remote-first long before Covid.
38 minutes | 25 days ago
How to Stay True to Your Principles with Ken Lin of Credit Karma
In 2007, a year before the Recession hit, Ken Lin set out to offer free credit scores and bring transparency to the credit industry. His startup, Credit Karma, now serves more than 100 million members around the globe and has continued to roll out free, consumer-first tools to help members manage the entirety of their financial lives. The industry took note of Credit Karma's exponential growth, and in 2020, the company was acquired by Intuit for $8.1 billion dollars. Ken shares why doing right by consumers is his guiding principle, how he beat imposter syndrome in the CEO seat, and why an IPO was never his end goal.
33 minutes | a month ago
How to Build Your Executive Team with Ali Ghodsi of Databricks
In 2013, a team of academics at UC Berkeley was working to solve massive data challenges that were impacting the tech companies in their backyard. Fast-forward and that team now represents the co-founders of Databricks, a data and AI company used by more than 5,000 organizations worldwide. In 2016, Ali Ghodsi stepped into the CEO seat and the company is now valued at $28 billion. Ali shares why he prioritizes building leaders over making decisions, how he sees the future of AI, and how he navigates the unique experience of having six co-founders.
35 minutes | a month ago
How to Work Smarter with Andrew Frame of Citizen
What if technology could make us safer in the real world? That's the problem Andrew Frame, founder of Citizen, set out to solve. The Citizen app, which combines location information with 911 intelligence, is now used by over seven million people across 25 cities. Andrew is a serial entrepreneur and tech whiz who is creating a fundamentally new category: safety. Andrew shares why he considers Citizen a mission instead of a product, how he approaches the burden of responsibility for building tech that impacts our psychology, and why he opts for poetry and philosophy over business books.
33 minutes | 2 months ago
How to Create Cultural Change with Alyssa Ravasio of Hipcamp
Alyssa had booked the perfect camping trip, but when she arrived, she realized the campsite was the ideal surfing spot—if only she’d known to bring her board. She decided to leverage the power of technology to make getting outdoors more accessible. In 2013, she founded Hipcamp, which has grown into the most comprehensive resource for unique outdoor stays. Since launching, Hipcamp has raised nearly $100M in venture capital and partnered with private landowners to unlock new outdoor experiences. Alyssa shares why “nights outside” is Hipcamp’s north star metric, why she’s been organizing people to create change since 2nd grade, and how she creates space to listen to her intuition.
28 minutes | 2 months ago
How to Be Patient with Tristan Handy of Fishtown Analytics
Tristan Handy did not set out to build a venture-scale startup, backed by the likes of Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia. But that's precisely the journey he's on after founding Fishtown Analytics back in 2016. The company started as a consulting firm, but Tristan soon realized that their core technology—dbt—was a powerful tool in the budding field of modern analytics engineering. Today, dbt is used by over 3,000 companies to organize, catalog, and distill knowledge from their data warehouses. Tristan shares how he built dbt's community and grew through an organic flywheel, why the next generation of knowledge workers will increasingly work in code, and why working within time constraints makes him a more mature founder.
33 minutes | 2 months ago
How to Build a Competitive Moat with Kiran Bhatraju of Arcadia
After growing up in Eastern Kentucky coal country, Kiran Bhatraju is no stranger to the energy industry. But as the founder of Arcadia, Kiran is on a mission to make renewable energy accessible for everyone. To combat climate change, he's starting with most people's largest carbon footprint: the home energy bill. With a new model, Arcadia is working to transform an industry by going direct-to-consumer and is able to support customers in all 50 states. Kiran shares why he believes climate work is the biggest wealth creation opportunity for our generation, why he invested in strong technology and data out of the gate, and why he schedules his days in fifteen-minute increments
27 minutes | 2 months ago
How to Ignore the Noise with Isabelle Kenyon of Calibrate
75% of American adults are overweight or obese—and that number is only growing. Enter Calibrate, the modern, medical metabolic health business that is changing the way the world treats weight. Isabelle Kenyon founded Calibrate when her mom came to her for advice. Isabelle realized that the science around weight loss was clear, but the industry was lacking a consumer-first approach to helping people address the totality of their metabolic health. Since launching the company in 2020, she has raised over $27 million in funding and seen user growth grow 54% month over month. Isabelle shares why she's striving to change the conversation around weight loss, how she enlisted a best-in-class group of industry experts to help along her startup journey, and what the shift toward consumers paying for their healthcare means across the industry.
34 minutes | 3 months ago
How to Accelerate to Meet Demand with Johnny Boufarhat of Hopin
In 2020, the idea of attending an event virtually became commonplace. But Johnny Boufarhat came up with the idea for Hopin, the online platform that's redefining virtual events, years prior. After becoming immunocompromised in 2015, Johnny was searching for a way to enable networking digitally. He started Hopin in 2019, and in less than a year, scaled the company to over 3.5 million users and 50,000+ organizations hosting events. Johnny shares the moment he realized he'd created a viral product, why he wants to build something as impactful as Google, and how he manages his time to fit in an extra day of work each week.
34 minutes | 3 months ago
How Process Helps You Build Faster with Vlad Tenev of Robinhood
What if every American were an investor? At Robinhood, Vlad Tenev is on a mission to make the financial system work for everyone. He co-founded the company in 2013, and the fast-growing brokerage has become an investing giant. With over 13 million users and $1 billion in funding, it's no surprise incumbents have been influenced by Robinhood's model, which drove an industry-wide shift toward commission-free trades. Vlad shares why he decided to build Robinhood as a mobile-first platform, how Covid helped to accelerate user growth, and why waking up to an analog alarm clock is a critical part of his routine.
41 minutes | 4 months ago
How to Ask the Big Questions with Mateo Jaramillo of Form Energy
Most startups set out to tackle massive problems, but working to develop a low-cost, long-duration energy storage solution that will enable the electric system to be 100% renewably powered? That's a big one by any standard. At Form Energy, Mateo Jaramillo and his co-founders are working to bring that very vision to life, leveraging the smartest minds in the energy storage space. Mateo shares why he bet his career on the climate tech industry after attending Yale Divinity School, how his time at Tesla taught him the importance of top-quality talent, and what it was like to step into the shoes of a founder at age 40.
27 minutes | 4 months ago
How to Be a Constant Learner, with Deon Nicholas of Forethought
What if you could perform like a superhuman at work? That's the idea behind Forethought, the AI company on a mission to bring intelligence to every single workflow. Co-Founder Deon Nicholas is building technology to augment—not replace—workers, starting with an AI for customer support. Since launch, Forethought has resolved over 500,000 customer support claims automatically, won TechCrunch Disrupt's startup contest, and received funding from the likes of Ashton Kutcher and LL Cool J. Deon shares how he learned to be true to himself as a leader, how to identify your business's customer profile, and why technical founders need to spend more time on go-to-market.
41 minutes | 5 months ago
How to Build a Viral App, with Prerna Gupta of Hooked
Topping the app store charts is a once-in-a-lifetime experience—unless you're a mobile entrepreneurship genius, like Prerna Gupta. She and her husband created hit music apps, like AutoRap, that have been downloaded by 350 million people. Now, Prerna is at the helm of Hooked, building a new television network for Gen Z that has already reached an astronomical number of viewers around the world. Hooked uses data to upend the traditional model, rewriting how content is created and distributed. Prerna shares how her idea for Hooked was inspired by a year of travel, what three rules every mobile app creator should follow, and why TV will look fundamentally different in a decade.
36 minutes | 5 months ago
How to Lead, with David Rubenstein of Carlyle
Upon reading that most successful founders start their companies by age 37, David Rubenstein decided to join them. A lawyer who worked in the Carter administration, David set out to start a private equity firm based in Washington DC. He co-founded Carlyle in 1987, and the firm has grown to become an industry giant that manages over $221 billion. David is an avid reader-turned-author who interviewed icons like Jeff Bezos and Oprah for his new book, How to Lead. David shares how he built a strong brand through recruiting top talent, why the most elusive thing in life is the pursuit of happiness, and why the best leaders share humility and a desire to give back to society.
36 minutes | 6 months ago
How to Be a Multiplier, with Cal Henderson of Slack
The story behind Slack—the communication platform used by millions around the globe—is almost a happy accident. Cal Henderson and his co-founders had been toiling away on a gaming startup, Glitch, when they realized the product of most value within their organization were the tools they'd hacked together to collaborate across locations. That collaboration tool spun off into Slack, which IPOed in 2019 and now has a market cap of over $16 billion. Slack has become more vital than ever in 2020, standing in as our "digital office." Cal shares how to scale an engineering organization, why the role of the office is forever changed, and how to master personal time management.
32 minutes | 6 months ago
How to Maintain Extreme Focus, with Peter Colis of Ethos
What if you could get a life insurance policy in just 3 minutes, 24/7? That's now a reality, thanks to Peter Colis and his digital-forward life insurance startup, Ethos. Ethos is a next-gen InsureTech company that puts accessibility front and center, underwriting applicants in real-time via proprietary algorithms. To date, the company has raised $100M in venture capital and serves people ages 18-85 across 49 states. Peter shares how his experience as a boxer helps him stay calm in the face of adversity, how Covid accelerated the adoption of financial technology, and how he overcame imposter syndrome as a student at Stanford
34 minutes | 6 months ago
How to Make a Positive Impact, with Jason Gross of Petal
Parts of our financial system are so deeply ingrained that innovation seems impossible. But after realizing how archaic the credit score was, Jason Gross set out to fix it. He launched Petal to reinvent the credit card and leverage banking data to democratize credit scoring. He's long been committed to fairness in financial services, having served on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Consumer Advisory Board. Now, with tens of thousands of customers, Petal is rising to combat the financial inequity that Covid has exacerbated. Jason shares how being a lawyer has made him a stronger founder, how to hire a low-ego team, and the importance of prioritizing sleep.
30 minutes | 6 months ago
How to Love the Journey, with Josh Reeves of Gusto
Building a business is a team sport. No one understands that better than Josh Reeves and his co-founders at Gusto. Since 2012, they have been hard at work building the leading people platform that empowers small businesses to take care of their hard-working teams. With a valuation of nearly 4 billion, Gusto now helps over 100,000 companies with payroll, health insurance, HR, and more. Josh shares why he focused on the small business segment, why it's critical to put employees first, and why raising venture capital is just like hiring.
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