43 episodes

“Scaling Up” is a new podcast series that tells the scaling stories of great growth companies from around the world, as experienced by their founders and CEOs.

With the aim of inspiring and educating the next generation of entrepreneurs, as well as helping current business leaders, this podcast series hopes to give insight into what it takes to scale a business to hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.

Hosted by Ed Cowan and supported by TDM Growth Partners.

Scaling up: Lessons from the world's best CEOs and Founders TDM Growth Partners

    • Business
    • 4.9 • 82 Ratings

“Scaling Up” is a new podcast series that tells the scaling stories of great growth companies from around the world, as experienced by their founders and CEOs.

With the aim of inspiring and educating the next generation of entrepreneurs, as well as helping current business leaders, this podcast series hopes to give insight into what it takes to scale a business to hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.

Hosted by Ed Cowan and supported by TDM Growth Partners.

    "The 6-Star Entrepreneur" - Adam Schwab, the CEO and co-founder of Luxury Escapes [S6.E9]

    "The 6-Star Entrepreneur" - Adam Schwab, the CEO and co-founder of Luxury Escapes [S6.E9]

    Adam Schwab is our guest on Scaling Up, the CEO and co-founder of Luxury Escapes – a travel marketplace with almost $1b in bookings annually.

    Adam’s story is that of a quintessential and accomplished entrepreneur – one of trial and error, learning from mistakes and applying it to the next chapter as is always required. Luxury escapes and its coming to being is exactly this – the twist and turns of a variety of businesses, over almost a decade, that eventually spun out something that was scalable and incredibly capital efficient.

    While the scaling story is largely unknown but none the less incredible – it is a story born out of customer obsession, and providing consistent value to both sides of the market place
    What comes next for Luxury Escapes is been exciting enough to get Adam back from 18 month sabbatical, and we not only discuss the many iterations of the business and its future, but also how Adam has thought about his own journey as a leader.

    Buckle up, this is a fast paced and frenetic end to another great season of Scaling Up. We will be back in 2023 with another series, a new format and hopefully many more lessons for business builders, executives and investors alike.
    Show notes:

    Adam with a longer versioon of the start up years and founding story - https://open.spotify.com/episode/4cXyal7vsWQqskWSwfymov

    Adam on work from home - https://www.afr.com/work-and-careers/careers/love-working-from-home-maybe-you-re-a-task-filler-20220606-p5ardi

    Adam's podcast "From Zero"



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    • 47 min
    IPOs, Takeovers, SPACs and All Events In Between - Reggie Aggarwal, CEO and Founder of Cvent

    IPOs, Takeovers, SPACs and All Events In Between - Reggie Aggarwal, CEO and Founder of Cvent

    Reggie Aggarwal is the co-founder of Cvent, a $600m revenue Software company, that is listed on the Nasdaq (ticker CVT). Cvent is allows organizations to  more efficiently run, manage and host all formats of events from virtual to in-person and hybrid. If you have been to a large conference recently, chances are it hasa been powered by Cvent.

    Reggie is in a very unique position, having founded the company in 1999, he has seen 3 recessions, an IPO, A SPAC, a merger, competitors come and go and everything in between, and so it was a privilege to try and piece all the important moments in history together, and distill into lessons for current operators.

    To have been at the helm of a business that has scaled from 12 people to almost 5000 people has also required Reggie to be on his on scaling journey and to dig into the how he has thought about this, from someone who is consistently voted one of the best CEOS in the US, makes for a fascinating conversation.

    This is probably a great conversation to pair with a previous TDM blog, what makes a great CEO, as no doubt going through the conversation, you will be able to identify many of those traits shining through.

    As previously mentioned, all our podcasts now have transcripts available, and you can find them at our website tdmgrowthpartners.com.

    This is a great podcast to pair with our previous TDM blog  - What makes a great CEO

    Show notes:

    Cvent Founding Story (3:13)

    Cvent’s product evolution from a point solution to an integrated and highly scalable platform (8:40)

    How pivoting out of necessity created Cvent’s Triple Threat; in-person, virtual and hybrid

    virtual events (14:35)

    Cvent’s balanced and ‘frugally profitable’ approach enabling sustainable growth and longevity (18:10)

    Maintaining confidence and market share against rapidly scaling competitors (22:55)

    The differences and unique challenges of IPO and SPAC processes (25:50)

    Lessons and growth opportunities from being taken private by Vista (31:54)

    Managing an executive team with a long-term tenure (36:15)

    Continuous involvement and hiring tips to effectively scale across countries and cultures (40:03)

    Strategic and tactical advantage of the New Delhi office (43:13)

    What makes a great CEO and fostering an intrapreneurial culture (45:09)

    The three Proverbs Reggie lives by that enabled his and Cvent’s longevity (47:25)



    This podcast is created and published for informational and entertainment purposes only. It is not financial advice. Transcripts may contain occasional errors in fact.


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    • 48 min
    "The Great Australian Hustle" - Ruslan Kogan, co-founder and CEO, Kogan.com

    "The Great Australian Hustle" - Ruslan Kogan, co-founder and CEO, Kogan.com

    Ruslan Kogan, the CEO and co-founder of Kogan.com (ASX:KGN) is the guest on this episode of 'Scaling Up'. Kogan.com is Australia’s largest pure play online retailer with over $1b in sales. Many listeners over the years would have no doubt been introduced to Kogan.com via their incredibly successful own brand electronics business that catapulted the business to a size and scale that has allowed them to enact a phenomenal e-commerce playbook. Aside from expanding their direct to consumer product offering, Kogan.com has also been able to drive greater efficiencies and value to customers across a range of service verticals.

    Ruslan’s story in many respects mirrors Kogan.com’s story – bootstrapped and always thinking entrepreneurially as to what is required to succeed in any given moment.

    This episode also dives into all the big ticket decisions that any e-tailer has to face - from how to acquire customers cheaply, as well as the importance of best in class logistics and what that looks like,  be it warehousing, fulfillment or freight.

    Ruslan is character, a true entrepreneur in every sense, and someone who has changed the retailing landscape in Australia for the better.

    We are also now releasing transcripts of each episode, to find them, you can click through the show notes, or find all episodes on our website. https://www.tdmgrowthpartners.com/insight/

    Show Notes:

    Ruslan’s upbringing in Belarus and the formative nature of immigration guiding his entrepreneurial spirit (3:10)

    Kogan founding story (7:08)

    The early years of Kogan with a bootstrapped and presale funded business model (8:43)

    Ruslan’s unique strategy to create customer attention by engaging with the enemy (12:32)

    Kogan’s diversification across new verticals through partnership with service adjacencies (18:11)

    Success of the Marketplace and Kogan First program, transforming Kogan into a platform business (22:10)

    Maintaining best in class in bound logistics in the e-commerce industry (26:51)

    Proliferation and efficiency of robotics and automation in warehousing (30:21)

    Launching a last mile logistic service in the pandemic and the transition back to external courier services (33:14)

    Understanding and optimising for your unique core position and competitive advantage (36:16)

    Initial hiring tactics e.g., only accepting CVs from Gmail accounts to filter for logical and analytical competencies (38:30)

    Expectation to ‘reply all’ in work email chains, building a culture of transparency and accountability (44:11)

    How Kogan’s cultural values have scaled from the company’s inception (45:48)



    This podcast is created and published for informational and entertainment purposes only. It is not financial advice. Transcripts may contain occasional errors in fact.


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    • 47 min
    Democratising Investing - Alex Vynokur, Co-founder and CEO, BetaShares

    Democratising Investing - Alex Vynokur, Co-founder and CEO, BetaShares

    After a mini hiatus, 'Scaling Up' is back, and we have some incredible guests lined up in the coming months, none more so than this episode.

    Alex Vynokur came to Australia as a 16 year old from Soviet Ukraine, not speaking a work of English, but with a steely determination to make something of himself. And that is an understatement as to what he has achieved since – in the midst of the GFC, he co-founded BetaShares, a passive Exchange Traded Fund (or ETF) fund manager, with roughly $23b under management, making them the second largest in Australia and New Zealand.

    An ETF mimics an index but allows it to be investible and bought and sold on an exchange. The industry has moved swiftly from fairly vanilla – think tracking the ASX 200 or S&P 500, to more thematic or exotic type indexes - be it ESG based,  or even more niche such as tracking a basket of companies involved in the creation of the metaverse.

    BetaShares has been at the forefront of this innovation – continually pushing the boundaries in its mission to democratise the ability for anyone to invest, given the ease, diversified and low cost nature of investing ETFs.

    BetaShares, despite having over 800k retail customer, will no doubt be an an under the radar success story to many listeners, but one I have been wanting to tell for a while now. You are about to hear why – it is a story of grit, and passion – and a little peek into what has driven the success of a massive business, with a huge opportunity still ahead of it.
    To learn more or donate to the United Ukraine Appeal visit theukraineappeal.org

    You can stay across all of TDM news and views via our socials, be it LinkedIn or Twitter, our handle is - @tdm_growth

    Show notes

    Alex’s background immigrating to Australia and lessons from growing up in the Soviet Union (3:14) 

    Influence of the Soviet Union on BetaShare’s mission to democratise investing and encourage equal access (6:42) 

    BetaShares Founding Story and the opportunity in the ETF industry (9:20) 

    Turning a great idea into a great business and disrupting incumbents in the ETF industry (12:13) 

    Nuances in the Australian retail ETF market that allowed for BetaShares growth (14:06) 

    The movement of the ETF industry to thematic and ESG investing (17:44) 

    Diversification and innovation in the index industry led by new index providers such as Solactive (21:41) 

    The future of BetaShares (Horizon Two) – leveraging technology to improve financial literacy in Australia (23:24) 

    People as BetaShare’s competitive advantage and secret sauce (26:06) 

    Fostering innovation by fostering a culture that breaks down the stigma around failure as detrimental to performance (28:56) 

    Lessons on empowering leaders, managers, and the team at large to see the benefit of failure and mistakes (30:39) 

    Hiring and testing for innovation and curiosity (31:36) 

    Diagnostic tools to measure innovation within BetaShares culture (32:45) 

    How to balance giving customers what they want and innovating to provide something they haven’t even thought of (34:03) 

    The United Ukraine Appeal –delivering non-military aid to the victims of war in Ukraine (37:30)



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    • 41 min
    "Michelin Star Software" with Joel Montaniel, CEO and Co-founder, SevenRooms

    "Michelin Star Software" with Joel Montaniel, CEO and Co-founder, SevenRooms

    Joel Montaniel is the Co-founder, and CEO of SevenRooms, a private software company devoted to improving the way hospitality operators leverage their data to enhance business operations, build better direct relationships with customers and deliver an unforgettable customer experience. In their own words, SevenRooms allows ‘the big to feel small and the small to feel big’ when it comes to customer relationships.

    The conversation traverses a wide range of topics; from scaling a global business from day one, leading with empathy and its power on customers and employees, and the great frameworks for how SevenRooms prioritises product innovation, given the breadth of their customer base.

    Named among the ‘Best Places to Work’ in New York, it’s clear that SevenRooms culture-first mentality is deeply embedded in the company’s DNA. With this in mind, Joel talks to how SevenRooms is investing in its employees and the programs they have put in place to enable them to do their best work.



    Show Notes;


    Founding story and inspiration behind SevenRooms (3:15) 

    Empathising with customers to better understand the problem and re-think the solution (5:27) 

    SevenRooms Value Proposition for restaurant operators (7:04) 

    Transitioning the hospitality industry from systems of record to systems of intelligence that drives outcomes for businesses (11:31) 

    SevenRooms competitive advantage to streamline operations, personalize service and maximise revenue profitability for customers (13:41) 

    Pain points when scaling a global business – how your greatest weakness can become your greatest strength (16:50) 

    Implementing a prioritization framework to inspire product innovation and identify where SevenRooms can uniquely serve their customers (18:57) 

    Fostering innovation to drive the hospitality industry forward as the company scales (23:00) 

    Supporting customers and managing interactions during the pandemic (27:27) 

    Inspiration to build a culture first company (30:00) 

    SevenRooms core values (33:54) 

    Career planning with employees to resolve cultural tensions and find an intersection between company and employee needs (37:46) 

    The importance of investing in employees and providing recharge periods – Fresh Start Program and 7 R&R (41:13) 

    How the leadership team catches cultural bugs and detractors in the company (45:35) 


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    • 48 min
    Special episode: Australia's Greatest Unknown Technologist w/ Hugh Williams

    Special episode: Australia's Greatest Unknown Technologist w/ Hugh Williams

    Hugh Williams probably isn't a name that pops to the front of mind when talking Australia's greatest technology exports - but it should. His career leading huge teams on cutting edge projects at global tech giants Google, Microsoft and eBay have fundamentally changed the way we live our lives. Globally, few possess the depth of domain expertise as Hugh. 

    This episode dives into 'what great looks like' when it comes to individual engineers, small product teams and larger organisations, and his insights into hiring and fostering high performance teams and innovation, and describing how the best tech companies are built and scaled, are articulated simply and actionable for leaders of all teams. 

    We also discuss Hugh’s most recent passion project as the co-founder of CS in Schools, which is empowering the next generation of DigiTech professionals. 

    Growing up at the frontier of technology and working alongside some of the greatest minds of the era, Hugh’s experiences transcend his industry and will provide key lessons for all listeners, of all interests.



    Show Notes; 

    Hugh’s upbringing and introduction to computer science (4:00) 

    Initial career steps manoeuvring through a technology boom and the rise of search technology (6:20) 

    Lessons from working in Silicon Valley (11:28) 

    Current labour climate shifting the power back to the employer (14:10) 

    What makes a great engineer? (18:05) 

    How to foster the best performance and innovation within teams of all sizes? (21:45) 

    The two-pizza team (the optimal structure of a technology team) (27:34) 

    How do the engineers integrate with the wider organisation? (31:09) 

    Minimizing the number of company goals to unify and improve business functionality (34:09) 

    Key lessons as a leader to build a sustainable and scalable company culture (38:40) 

    CS in Schools mission and the key steps for Australia to be a driving force of technology progression (41:20)


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    • 46 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
82 Ratings

82 Ratings

tpeto1975 ,

T Peterson

Truly interesting founders and well structured conversations. Some amazing guests and Ed does a great job traversing the content. Well done.

Jase Ken ,

Love Ed Cowen. Cricket God and extremely smart operater.

Love hearing Ed in these podcasts. Enjoyed the first season and now looking forward to the second season.

Tris B ,

Great variety of guests

Awesome podcasts. Keep it up.

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