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68 minutes | Jun 17, 2021
(EP6): Greg Smith Founder Of Canadian Tech Unicorn And TSX Listed Thinkific, How To Build SAAS Using MVPs
I am resurfacing my interview with Greg Smith, founder of Thinkific.com, a Vancouver based SAAS servicing course creators, because this year (2021) Thinkific did an IPO on the TSX (Toronto Stock Exchange) raising $160 Million. As I type this, Thinkific has a market cap of $1.36 billion dollars, making it one of the rare Canadian tech unicorns. Greg and his brother launched the company initially with a much more hands-on approach (it was more like an agency service to begin with), and then slowly built out a software service. Today they offer a free and premium version of their platform, earning millions in recurring subscription revenue, employing over 70 full-time employees in Vancouver, all working to help people from around the world to deliver courses online. It All Started With Marbles… Greg and I traveled back in time to his first business venture as an 11-year old. He built a marble ‘theme park’ and invited the neighborhood kids to come over and play, and then sold them candy he bulk purchased. This was the first business project in a long line of entrepreneurial ventures Greg undertook as a young man, right up to the point where he graduated from university and became a lawyer. While Greg was studying law, he created a blog to share lessons on how to pass the LSAT — the big test students need to pass in order to get into Law school. He then created his first online course, also on the LSAT. It was very early days for selling courses back then, so Greg couldn’t find any good platforms to help, so he hired a programmer to whip up something basic within a month. That was 13 years ago, and his LSAT course is still selling online today! Needless to say, the germ of the Thinkific business came from this first experience selling his own online course, but Greg would not begin his tech startup for many years yet. First, he had a career as a lawyer. Although Greg loved working as a lawyer, he couldn’t fight the urge to build something of his own, and eventually left his job to start a business. Greg explains how he made the decision to move back in with his parents to save money, and with his computer engineer brother as his partner, started the first version of what would become Thinkific. Growing A Tech Startup I was particularly interested to learn how Thinkific grew into the company it is today, so we spent much of the second half of the interview diving deep into the journey of a software startup. Greg talks about how they initially sold a much more hands-on service, how they decided who to hire first as they grew their team eventually to 70+ people (and still growing!), and why it eventually became clear they needed to build a platform to service their ideal customer. If you’re interested in starting your own SAAS or subscription-based tech startup, I think you will find a lot of what Greg did with Thinkific during the early days very insightful. Enjoy the interview, Yaro Podcast: https://www.yaro.blog/pod/Blog: https://www.yaro.blog/
53 minutes | Jun 15, 2021
(EP5): Chris Bakke Founder Of Interviewed Acquired By Indeed For $40-$50Mil, Early Zillow, RentJuice, Currently Laskie.com
Chris Bakke is currently founder of Laskie.com, a startup focused on becoming the Upwork for enterprise hiring. Previously he was co-founder of Interviewed, which was acquired by Indeed for 'mid 8 figures' after just two and a half years. Prior to this he worked as COO for 42Floors (acquired by Knotel) and RentJuice, which was acquired by Zillow, where Chris also worked for several years.Chris in this interview explains his part in all these companies, first starting as an early employee in the real estate tech space, which led to his first exit, gaining shares in Zillow (he explains what he did with the shares during the episode).After a couple of years at Zillow, Chris left to work for another real estate tech firm 42Floors, rising to become COO, and again enjoying an exit when Knotel bought the company.Chris was then 'pushed' to become a founder himself, after his co-founders won a hackathon and several angel investors where throwing startup capital at them to back their recruitment testing tech idea.This led to an amazing two and a half years where thanks to a lot of a hustle and a 'beachhead' client acquisition strategy, Chris and his co-founders grew Interviewed to $2.5Mil in annual run rate, and then the incredible sale to Indeed for almost $50 Million.One of the mains reasons I wanted to speak to Chris was to hear how several of the companies he worked for or co-founded were able to sell for such high multiples. He calls these 'strategic buys' and explains why this was possible in the interview.Enjoy the discussion.Yaro Podcast: https://www.yaro.blog/pod/Blog: https://www.yaro.blog/
51 minutes | Jun 4, 2021
(EP4): Jeff Ponchick Founder Of Repost Network, Sold To SoundCloud For $15 Million, How The Music Rights Industry Works Online
The world of music rights is a lot more confusing than I thought. There are many stakeholders who are all supposed to get a share of the revenue from music used online - from labels, publishers, platforms, song writers and of course the artist who created the music. Jeff Ponchick worked in the world of digital music and knew well all the paper work required to make music rights work. He decided to start a company that attempted to digitize the music rights process, and thus make it a lot easier for artists to make money from their work. Like many startup founders, Jeff first tested his idea with a not-so-scalable, very manual process -- working out all the details by hand, sending emails, making phone calls and filling out forms. He did this for some test artists, who loved the service because it made it so much easier to get paid for their music no matter where it was being used online. Jeff then brought on a technical partner, and they went to work to create the more scalable version of their service, to digitize the music rights process. Thus Repost Network was born. Word Of Mouth Takes Off Jeff's idea proved to be a good one. Artists loved the service and of course loved getting paid for their work. Musicians began to spread the word and Report Network became a popular choice to help deal with music rights and negotiate with all the different music distributers - from YouTube, to Spotify and SoundCloud. That last company, SoundCloud, ended up being the company that Jeff sold Repost Network to (the word 'repost' referring to the goal of SoundCloud users - to get your tracks reposted so you can reach more people). In this interview Jeff shares all the amazing steps that led to Repost Network growing to the point that SoundCloud was interested in an acquisition, and how the deal got done. Enjoy the podcast. Yaro
71 minutes | May 31, 2021
(EP3): Baird Hall Co-Founder Of ChurnKey, Wavve, ZubTitle, How The Wavve Acquisition Deal Got Done, Solving Internal Problems Leads To New Companies
In the previous episode of Vested Capital (EP2), we talked with David Horne and Marty Balkema, founders of Calm Capital. They had recently acquired the company Wavve. On this episode, Baird Hall, one of the co-founders of Wavve, shares the other side of that acquisition, as the seller of Wavve. Baird takes us back in time to the origin story of Wavve, how it was a spinoff company from their first business when they needed to create audio snippets for sharing on social media. The spinoff companies continued when they needed to create captions for audio within Wavve, which led to the creation of ZubTitle, a company Baird co-founded with a different partner. Both Wavve and ZubTitle grew to earn over $100,000 a month each - 7-figure companies. ChurnKey, Baird's latest company that helps subscription businesses deal with churn, was created as a result of needing to solve the churn problems within Wavve and Zubtitle. Baird, as you can probably tell, is amazing at using a need in one company as the genesis to create a new company. Of course, it's very challenging to grow one company, so working on two or even three at the same time rarely works. This is one of the reasons Baird and his partners made the choice to sell Wavve, so they could move on to focus on ChurnKey. All of these companies are covered in this interview, which I know you will enjoy if you like SAAS startup stories leading all the way to exciting exits. Enjoy the show. Yaro
64 minutes | May 26, 2021
(EP2): Calm Capital Founders David Horne And Marty Balkema On How They Finance Acquisitions, Strategies For A Holding Company, Why This New Form Of Investing Is Just Getting Started
David Horne and Marty Balkema are founders of Calm Capital, a holding company with at the time of this recording, 10 companies under management with $8 Million in total annual revenue. The holding company model, popularised by Warren Buffet and Charlie Monger with Berkshire Hathaway, is becoming more and more common in the world of online business. David and Marty help dymistify what exactly a holding company investment strategy is and take us through an example acquisition, their first company purchase of Pttrns, in this podcast interview. We also learn how the guys met, how they transitioned from being founders to investors and acquirers of other companies, and what financial structures they have used to finance their acquisitions. I'm fascinated by this emerging trend of online holding companies for many reasons. It gives tech entrepreneurs an additional pathway for exiting their business, and it's an exciting way to compound your capital, increase cash flow and diversify your income as an owner of many companies. As an entrepreneur who enjoys having multiple projects, what Marty and David are doing really appeals to me. You get to enjoy owning companies in many different niches, but you're not stuck in the day-to-day trenches of running the companies. Enjoy the interview, and please share it with anyone you think could benefit from hearing from these two trailblazing entrepreneurs. Yaro
68 minutes | May 22, 2021
(EP1): Mark Asquith Captivate.fm Founder, The Podcast Industry For Startups, How To Focus On Multiple Projects
Mark Asquith, otherwise known as the 'British Podcast Guy' is the founder of several podcast related companies, including Captivate.fm, a web hosting, analytics and distribution SAAS for podcasters. Mark, like many entrepreneurs, got his start with an agency doing general web and media development services. Eventually this led to a spinoff podcast specific web design company, which Mark and his Co-Founder left the agency to focus on. After entering the world of podcasting Mark never looked back, launching his own shows, attending conferences and building more support services for podcasters. He also has plans for a team engagement tool, which he recently patented and will be launching soon. I wanted to speak to Mark because there is a difference between running an agency and building websites, to then diving into the world of SAAS and now also physical products. It's not easy to make all these different types of business models work, but as you will hear in the interview, Mark had a method and a plan for moving from one focus to the next, allowing a business to grow, adding a team, then moving on to the next step. Enjoy the interview. Yaro
45 minutes | May 15, 2021
(EP0): Why The Rebrand To 'Vested Capital' And How Yaro Has Built Capital In The Last 20 Years
Welcome to episode zero of Vested Capital. Although the title may be new, the show is still hosted by me (Yaro) and will continue in a very similar style to what you are used to from The Yaro Podcast and before that, the Entrepreneurs Journey Podcast. Why Vested Capital? Vested Capital is about how to make money and then put that money to work to make more money -- in other words, how to vest your capital! I'll still be doing interviews with entrepreneurs, but I'm going to expand the scope of the show a little to include anyone who is making and growing capital in unique and effective methods. I'll be talking to startup founders, entrepreneurs who've enjoyed big exits, angel investors, venture capitalists, crypto leaders, tech stock traders, real estate investors -- all sharing how they made capital and put their capital to work. Capital (money), as I explain in this episode zero, is an incredibly powerful force for change. Having capital gives you options, you can invest, start new businesses, secure your future, buy property, and open doors to amazing opportunities. Of course to make capital you first need cash flow and profits from something, so I will be asking our guests how they got started and track their entire journey to wealth. How Yaro Has Made Money For this episode zero, I thought I should tell the story of my own process to build income streams, start businesses and invest to grow my capital. If you are familiar with my background story, much of this will not be new to you, but if you have never come across my content before, this episode will give you a solid overview. Talk soon, Yaro
52 minutes | Nov 4, 2020
Ryan Born: Founder Of CloudCampaign.io Explains How He Scaled His Social Media SAAS To $1 Million Annual Revenue
[ Download MP3 | iTunes | Soundcloud | Stitcher | Spotify | Raw RSS ] During some evenings I like to spend a little time on the IndieHackers.com website. I explore the companies there, see how much revenue they are generating and what they are building. One such company, CloudCampaign.io, stood out because it had […] The post Ryan Born: Founder Of CloudCampaign.io Explains How He Scaled His Social Media SAAS To $1 Million Annual Revenue appeared first on Yaro.Blog.
53 minutes | Oct 14, 2020
Brendan Hill: How The Sale Of His Sports Memorabilia E-Commerce Business Led To A New Career Angel Investing In Australia
[ Download MP3 | iTunes | Soundcloud | Stitcher | Spotify | Raw RSS ] Brendan Hill got his start online using a simple formula. He traveled overseas to Europe, purchased signed football jerseys, then returned to Australia to sell them at a profit. With Australia being so far from Europe, it was difficult for Aussies […] The post Brendan Hill: How The Sale Of His Sports Memorabilia E-Commerce Business Led To A New Career Angel Investing In Australia appeared first on Yaro.Blog.
64 minutes | Oct 8, 2020
Aurelien Amacker: Founder of Systeme.io Explains How He Bootstrapped A Marketing SAAS In A Very Crowded Market To Over $200,000/month In Revenue
[ Download MP3 | iTunes | Soundcloud | Stitcher | Spotify | Raw RSS ] Aurelien Amacker is a French internet marketer, who prior to his current success with a software as a service (SAAS) company, Systeme.io, made a solid income as a launch-focused internet marketer. Aurelien began teaching internet marketing to a French audience […] The post Aurelien Amacker: Founder of Systeme.io Explains How He Bootstrapped A Marketing SAAS In A Very Crowded Market To Over $200,000/month In Revenue appeared first on Yaro.Blog.
53 minutes | May 14, 2020
Dr John Demartini: World Renowned Human Behavioral Specialist Reveals How Entrepreneurs Can Thrive During A Crisis
[ Download MP3 | iTunes | Soundcloud | Stitcher | Spotify | Raw RSS ] Dr. John Demartini is somewhat of a legend in the world of personal development. I first came across his wisdom during the mid-2000s when he was one of the featured experts in the viral-hit documentary, The Secret. However, Dr Demartini’s […] The post Dr John Demartini: World Renowned Human Behavioral Specialist Reveals How Entrepreneurs Can Thrive During A Crisis appeared first on Yaro.Blog.
43 minutes | Apr 28, 2020
Danielle Lewis: Founder Of Influencer Marketing Platform Scrunch.com Explains Why It Took Five Pivots To Find Product Market Fit
[ Download MP3 | Transcript | iTunes | Soundcloud | Stitcher | Spotify | Raw RSS] Danielle Lewis and I first connected back in Australia when we were both active bloggers. At the time, Danielle’s blog BrisbaneThreads.com was a side project where she featured and fostered the local fashion scene. The plan was to go national, […] The post Danielle Lewis: Founder Of Influencer Marketing Platform Scrunch.com Explains Why It Took Five Pivots To Find Product Market Fit appeared first on Yaro.Blog.
44 minutes | Feb 23, 2020
Fred Schebesta: Finder.com Co-Founder With $193 Million Fortune Reveals How A Niche Credit Card Review Site Turned Into One Of Australia’s Biggest Tech Success Stories
[ Download MP3 | iTunes | Soundcloud | Stitcher | Spotify | Raw RSS ] In late 2019 on my LinkedIn news feed, an article popped up with the following title – Finder co-founder Fred Schebesta has debuted on the Young Rich List with a $193 million fortune I immediately thought — I know this guy! […] The post Fred Schebesta: Finder.com Co-Founder With $193 Million Fortune Reveals How A Niche Credit Card Review Site Turned Into One Of Australia’s Biggest Tech Success Stories appeared first on Yaro.Blog.
68 minutes | Feb 2, 2020
Nat Eliason: How To Bring In Thousands Of Website Visitors Per Day From The SEO Expert Brands Like Patreon, Four Sigmatic And Intuit Turn To
[ Download MP3 | Transcript | iTunes | Soundcloud | Stitcher | Spotify | Raw RSS ] Nat Eliason knows content marketing. He first learned through an internship at Zapier writing for their blog, then a job working with Noah Kagan to ramp up content at AppSumo. While all of this was going on, Nat was […] The post Nat Eliason: How To Bring In Thousands Of Website Visitors Per Day From The SEO Expert Brands Like Patreon, Four Sigmatic And Intuit Turn To appeared first on Yaro.Blog.
82 minutes | Dec 2, 2019
Adnan Ebrahim: Founder Of CarThrottle.com Explains How He Took A Video Content Driven UK Car Blog To A Multi-Million Dollar Empire
[ Download MP3 | Transcript | iTunes | Soundcloud | Stitcher | Spotify | Raw RSS ] Back in 2008, I interviewed Alborz Fallah about his million-dollar car blog, CarAdvice.com.au. A teenaged Adnan Ebrahim listened to the episode and felt inspired. He wanted to start a car blog of his own. Despite his young age, Adnan […] The post Adnan Ebrahim: Founder Of CarThrottle.com Explains How He Took A Video Content Driven UK Car Blog To A Multi-Million Dollar Empire appeared first on Yaro.Blog.
113 minutes | Nov 18, 2019
Alborz Fallah: The Complete Story Behind The $62 Million Dollar Sale Of CarAdvice.com.au
What does it take to go from a car blog started in your parent's bedroom, to a $62 Million sale to the largest media company in Australia? -- The Alborz Fallah story. The post Alborz Fallah: The Complete Story Behind The $62 Million Dollar Sale Of CarAdvice.com.au appeared first on Yaro.Blog.
65 minutes | Oct 21, 2019
Shaan Patel: A Perfect SAT Score Led To A Super-Successful SAT Prep Business And A Life-Changing Deal With Mark Cuban On Shark Tank
[ Download MP3 | Transcript | iTunes | Soundcloud | Stitcher | Spotify | Raw RSS ] Shaan Patel grew up as a son of Indian immigrants, who worked hard to save enough money for a deposit on a property in their hometown of Las Vegas. However, rather than buy a house, the Patels bought a small […] The post Shaan Patel: A Perfect SAT Score Led To A Super-Successful SAT Prep Business And A Life-Changing Deal With Mark Cuban On Shark Tank appeared first on Yaro.Blog.
65 minutes | Aug 26, 2019
Christina Symes: Aussie Completes Elite Interior Design Course In Florence Then Launches ‘We Are Triibe’, One Of The Fastest Growing Design Firms In Australia
[ Download MP3 | Transcript | iTunes | Soundcloud | Stitcher | Spotify | Raw RSS ] About eight years ago I was out in my old neighborhood in West End, Brisbane, at a lounge-bar called ‘The End’. At the door to enter the lounge was a friendly lady named Christina, who was checking IDs and […] The post Christina Symes: Aussie Completes Elite Interior Design Course In Florence Then Launches ‘We Are Triibe’, One Of The Fastest Growing Design Firms In Australia appeared first on Yaro.Blog.
65 minutes | Apr 3, 2019
James Mel: Unknown Canadian Rises To Become Eben Pagan’s Business Partner While Also Building A Multi-Million Dollar Property Portfolio
[ Download MP3 | Transcript | iTunes | Soundcloud | Stitcher | Raw RSS ] Up until the last few years you probably would never have heard the name James Mel before. He was one of those guys working hard behind the scenes in a company that was led by a very well known marketer, in this case, […] The post James Mel: Unknown Canadian Rises To Become Eben Pagan’s Business Partner While Also Building A Multi-Million Dollar Property Portfolio appeared first on Yaro.Blog.
41 minutes | Jan 26, 2019
Claire Giovino: From Zero To Six Figures, Behind The Scenes Of The First Year Of InboxDone.com
[ Download MP3 | Transcript | iTunes | Soundcloud | Raw RSS ] Today’s podcast is a little bit different. My guest is Claire Giovino, who is my partner and co-founder in our startup company InboxDone.com. Claire is also the voice behind the intro to this podcast, so you might recognize her immediately :-). Claire and […] The post Claire Giovino: From Zero To Six Figures, Behind The Scenes Of The First Year Of InboxDone.com appeared first on Yaro.Blog.
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