101 episodes

ACQ2 is Ben and David's conversations with expert founders and investors. Acquired the stories of great companies — and ACQ2 dives deeper into the lessons we can learn from them, often with the protagonists themselves.

ACQ2 by Acquired Ben Gilbert and David Rosenthal

    • Business

ACQ2 is Ben and David's conversations with expert founders and investors. Acquired the stories of great companies — and ACQ2 dives deeper into the lessons we can learn from them, often with the protagonists themselves.

    Building a Disruptive Payments Company (with Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski)

    Building a Disruptive Payments Company (with Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski)

    The tenacity required to build Klarna over the last 19 years is astonishing. Despite several headwinds and changes in the payments landscape since founding, Klarna is used today by 150 million consumers globally, processing two million payments a day. Founder and CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski joins us for one of the most honest and thoughtful discussions we’ve ever had on the show. If you’re a business strategy nerd, it’s a great case study in how to leverage the strengths you have as a startup vs. incumbents, and how to compete against other startups in your space. In Klarna's case: the rapid rise of buy-now-pay-later. Sebastian also takes us into the logic of his aggressive AI strategy for cost reduction, product experience, and payments innovation.
    Sponsors:
    Vanta

    • 1 hr 19 min
    The Space Industry in 2024, and How to Build a Satellite Company

    The Space Industry in 2024, and How to Build a Satellite Company

    The space industry is one of the most fascinating areas of technology in 2024. The reduction in launch costs and proliferation of satellites make all kinds of new businesses possible. Today we are joined by Austin Link, the co-founder and CEO of Starfish Space (where Ben and PSL Ventures are investors!). Austin lays out the state of the space industry today, particularly as it pertains to startups. He and Ben explore what it takes to build a space company, then gets into the specifics of what Starfish Space is building.
    Starfish Space has created a spacecraft to dock with and reposition satellites. This "space servicing" technology enables their customers to extend the usable lifetime of satellites (unlocking tens of millions of dollars in revenue), or safely dispose of aging satellites to avoid space debris. Starfish's product, the "Otter", uses autonomous navigation software and electric propulsion to move through space and dock with customers' satellites.
    If you're into physics, outer space, or any sort of "hard tech", tune in!
    Links:
    Starfish Space
    Sponsors:
    Vanta

    • 1 hr 18 min
    The Software Behind Silicon (with Synopsys Founder Aart de Geus and CEO Sassine Ghazi)

    The Software Behind Silicon (with Synopsys Founder Aart de Geus and CEO Sassine Ghazi)

    If you’ve been waiting for us to venture back to the land of semiconductors, you’re in luck! On our NVIDIA and TSMC episodes, we explored two components of the silicon value chain: the fabless chip companies that design chips and the foundries that manufacture them. Today, we dive into the software that powers it all, the field electronic design automation (EDA). This is essentially the software that enables chip designers to do their jobs, which has changed dramatically with the rise of AI.
    This interview is with two people who understand that world better than anyone: Aart de Geus, the co-founder and Executive Chair of Synopsys, and Sassine Ghazi, Synopsys’s CEO and President. Aart founded the company in 1986, and was CEO until January 2024 when he handed the reins to Sassine. Synopsys is now worth $80 billion, with virtually every chip company as a customer or partner for everything from AI to 5G to automotive. Aart and Sassine talked with us about the future Moore’s Law, where chip makers are finding efficiencies today, how we got here, plus a bonus section on simulation and their $35 billion acquisition of Ansys. Enjoy!
    Sponsors:
    Vanta

    • 1 hr 15 min
    The Scientific Journey Behind Ozempic (with Lotte Bjerre Knudsen, Novo Nordisk's Chief Scientific Advisor)

    The Scientific Journey Behind Ozempic (with Lotte Bjerre Knudsen, Novo Nordisk's Chief Scientific Advisor)

    On our Novo Nordisk episode, we covered the business of Ozempic, the GLP-1 taking the world by storm. On this episode, we dive into the science of the molecule semaglutide (and its predecessor liraglutide) with the world expert on the topic, Lotte Bjerre Knudsen. Lotte is Novo Nordisk’s Chief Scientific Advisor, and led the research group back in the early 1990s that first invented the molecule. A few topics from our conversation:
    The science behind what is happening in the body that causes weight loss while on OzempicWhat it was like in the 1990s and 2000s believing in a drug for a problem that the rest of the industry (including her own company) had written offHow weight loss was actually a goal from the very start — not just a side effect of diabetes medication like you often read today!
    Sponsors:
    Vanta

    • 1 hr
    Visa Follow-Up and Today’s Payments Ecosystem (with Gaurav Ahuja)

    Visa Follow-Up and Today’s Payments Ecosystem (with Gaurav Ahuja)

    We’re joined by Imprint cofounder and Thrive General Partner Gaurav Ahuja to dive deeper into the modern payments ecosystem and Visa’s current place within it. Gaurav was one of our research sources for the Visa episode, and we wanted to bring his insights to you all too. We discuss whether Visa really should be worried about eroding interchange fees, the impact of realtime payments systems, opportunities for startups and whether the Visa / Mastercard duopoly could really be overthrown. Tune in and enjoy!
    Links:
    https://www.federalreserve.gov/paymentsystems/files/Avg_IF_by_PCN.pdf
    Sponsors:
    Vanta

    • 1 hr 34 min
    Morgan Housel

    Morgan Housel

    We sit down with Morgan Housel, who is one of our very favorite authors and has also become a good friend of the show over the past few years. Morgan’s last book The Psychology of Money had a huge impact on both of our personal financial philosophies (and by extension Acquired’s!), and Morgan was kind enough to give us an advance copy of his new book launching tomorrow, Same as Ever. It’s equally as good, and maybe even more relevant in the current environment for thinking about what’s not going to change as we cycle through vastly different macro financial environments. Tune in and enjoy!
    Links:
    Morgan’s new book Same as EverThe Psychology of MoneyMorgan’s blog on Collaborative Fund and on TwitterMorgan’s new podcast!
    Sponsors:
    Vanta

    • 1 hr 37 min

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