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This Week in Startups
Angel investor Jason Calacanis (Uber, Calm, Robinhood) interviews the world’s greatest founders, operators, investors and innovators. Get an insider’s look into venture capital, learn how to start and scale your own startup, and ride the cutting edge of technology in today’s headlines and beyond.
June 15, 2021
Tether: Crypto’s Black Swan? Plus Alternative Asset Roundtable featuring the founders of Masterworks, Fundrise & Rally Rd | E1232
Jason kicks off the episode with research into the claims against Tether Limited, the company behind USDT, the world's largest "stablecoin" and 3rd largest cryptocurrency (1:30). Then Jason is joined by 3 founders of Alternative Asset investing platforms (25:49), Chris Bruno of Rally, Scott Lynn of Masterworks, and Ben Miller of Fundrise. They discuss inflation, supply & demand, expanding company roadmaps (59:56) and more!
June 11, 2021
Zymergen CEO Josh Hoffman on Biofacturing PLUS Founder U Startup Math | E1231
Jason opens with a Founder University segment on "Startup Math" (1:48), then interviews Zymergen CEO Josh Hoffman on Biofacturing (16:45), how DNA sequencing & machine learning are enabling materials science advancements (26:35), what human capital is needed for the industry (42:53) & more.
June 11, 2021
News! The cult of Bitcoin maximalists, Bezos is going to space, & Facebook’s smartwatch | E1230
First up, Jason covers "Bitcoin Toxicity." Are Bitcoin maximalists exhibiting cult-like behavior? (1:19) Then, he assesses the risks of Bezos going to space: is the potential upside worth the risk of ruin? (36:16) Finally, he wraps with news of Facebook's rumored smartwatch. Have Apple's recent privacy measure forced their hand into wearables? (40:59)
June 9, 2021
Customer Success | Scaling Your Startup S2E9 with Statusphere’s Kristen Wiley & Techmate’s Nicole Beals | E1229
Customer success is key to startup success. First, Statusphere CEO Kristen Wiley shares strategies from managing two customer success teams in B2B and B2C. (1:00) Then, find out why customers churn from Techmate COO Nicole Beals, who also shares how Techmate increased their customer retention rate from 70% to 98%. (27:07) To wrap, Jason leads a Q&A covering compensation, productizing customer moments, and more. (40:41)
June 8, 2021
Aurora CEO Chris Urmson on building the roadmap to fully autonomous vehicles | E1228
Chris Urmson the CEO of Aurora, a leading self-driving company, joins Jason to recount the history of autonomous vehicles (1:06), the roadmap for removing human drivers (16:47), what technology problems are left to solve (38:25) and more!
June 8, 2021
Apple’s WFH blowback, navigating current startup valuations PLUS Sugar’s Fatima Dicko | 1227
Angel investor Jason Calacanis (Uber, Calm, Robinhood) interviews the world’s greatest founders, operators, investors and innovators. Get an insider’s look into venture capital, learn how to start and scale your own startup, and ride the cutting edge of technology in today's headlines and beyond.
June 4, 2021
Katerra’s collapse, Bill Ackman’s SPAC merger plus Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi | E1226
Jason covers the bankruptcy of the Softbank-backed construction startup Katerra, Bill Ackman's Universal Music SPAC, then interviews Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi about portable benefits for independent contractors, the expanding UberEats business, local commerce and more!
June 3, 2021
Launching Twitter Blue with Twitter’s Head of Product Kayvon Beykpour | E1225
Kayvon Beykpour, Twitter's Head of Product shares the strategy behind Twitter's recent feature releases, what structural changes enabled Twitter to increase product velocity, how they segment composers & consumers, the Twitter blue launch & more!
June 3, 2021
Low-Burn | Scaling Your Startup S2 E8 with Neyborly’s Ben Seidl & Xendoo’s Lil Roberts | E1224
A low-burn rate gives startups the agility they need to succeed and weather unforeseen challenges. Two CEOs join Jason to discuss how founders can make the most of their limited capital. Ben Seidl of Neyborly covers managing burn rate (2:58), Lil Roberts of Xendoo shares the steps needed to maintain financial health, then Jason joins for a Q&A on how to create a slingshot business(48:48), the appropriate level of runway (55:02) & more.
May 28, 2021
Citizen App’s bounty blunder, “digital bodyguard” service + Coinbase launches “Fact Check” | E1223
Jason breaks down the Citizen App's recent mistake of putting a $30,000 bounty on an incorrect arson suspect, assesses the merits of an "Uber for private security", and covers Coinbase's launch of their self-titled "Fact Check" media arm.
May 26, 2021
Acquired.FM’s Ben Gilbert & David Rosenthal on Berkshire vs. Bitcoin, Amazon acquires James Bond IP, and more! | E1122
Ben Gilbert & David Rosenthal of Acquired join Jason to talk about Bitcoin's recent price action (5:55), the cognitive dissonance of liking both Bitcoin and Berkshire (14:27), Amazon's acquisition of MGM (39:34), and more!
May 25, 2021
Culture | Scaling Your Startup S2 E7: 15five’s David Hassell & Balloon’s Amanda Greenberg | E1221
Two CEOs join to talk about intentionally creating and maintaining a workplace culture that delivers high performance. First, 15five's David Hassel shares how to build culture at scale (1:49), then Balloon's Amanda Greenberg shares a process to help leaders navigate hybrid work (26:00). To wrap, Jason joins for a Q&A session covering workplace political speech, compensation, remote work, and negotiations (42:00).
May 21, 2021
US initiates crypto regulation, Robinhood IPO access, Slack as a Trojan Horse PLUS Magic Spoon CEO Gabi Lewis | E1220
Jason hits the recent restrictions on crypto from the U.S. and China, Robinhood allowing users to get in at IPO prices, and Antonio García Martínez's chat with Kara Swisher (1:15). Then in the main segment, Magic Soon Cereal Co-Founder Gabi Lewis discusses the difference between a good product and product-market fit (25:47), how Magic Spoon does influencer marketing (45:25), classic cereal flavors & more!
May 20, 2021
Emergency Pod! Huge Bitcoin correction, Robinhood IPO rumors, Squarespace direct listing | E1219
Emergency pod! Bitcoin sees a major correction due to China's crack down (1:46). What are the chances it could it go to zero, and could China banning crypto be a blessing in disguise? Robinhood is rumored to be going public next month (14:14), what will their market cap be at IPO? Plus Squarespace goes public via direct listing (26:10)!
May 19, 2021
Marketing SEO & Conversion Funnels | Scaling Your Startup S2 E6: Gravitr’s Doriane Mouret & Outlaw’s Danielle Vincent | E1218
This episode is full of tactical advice for improving your marketing operations. Gravitr's Doriane Mouret explains how to improve your conversion funnels (3:28), Outlaw's Danielle Vincent shares how to improve your SEO (33:45), then Jason joins for a Q&A covering the right cadence, location, and quality of content to publish (47:21).
May 18, 2021
Amazon in talks to acquire MGM, AT&T offloading Warner Media, Dapper Labs lawsuit plus NYT’s Taylor Lorenz on creator economy, Clubhouse & Jake Paul’s venture fund | E1217
Jason covers Amazon's talks to acquire MGM, AT&T's spin-off of WarnerMedia to Discovery, and Dapper Labs lawsuit about the nature of NFTs (1:00). Then, NYT journalist Taylor Lorenz joins to discuss the implications of social media & its more reckless influencers (15:21), why she prefers to write for the New York Times instead of a lucrative Substack offer (48:50), and more!
May 15, 2021
Product | Scaling Your Startup S2 E5 with Superhuman’s Rahul Vohra & Fitbod’s Jesse Venticique | E1214
This episode reveals the product strategies of two of Jason's high-performing portfolio companies, Superhuman & Fitbod. First, Superhuman's Founder & CEO Rahul Vohra shares his 7 principles for improving products with game design (01:40), then Fitbod's CO-founder and Product Head Jesse Venticique describes how to optimize your product hook (20:08), and to wrap up, Jason brings the two together for a Q&A session (36:44).
May 13, 2021
Oura CEO Harpreet Rai on improving sleep, NBA partnerships, hardware & more PLUS the Instagram Kids debacle | E1213
Jason gives his take on Facebook's Instagram Kids initiative (0:53), then, Ōura's CEO Harpreet Rai discusses how sleep & recovery scores are calculated (25:09), how Oura works with the NBA & enterprise to keep organizations healthy (50:49), and more!