65 episodes

In the startup world, Give First means simply trying to help anyone—especially entrepreneurs—with no expectation of getting anything back. It's the pay-it-forward principle that builds strong startup networks. Hosts David Cohen and Brad Feld—Techstars cofounders, lifelong entrepreneurs, and startup investors—talk with mentors and founders about what giving first looks like in action, and how it makes great entrepreneurship possible.
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Give First Techstars

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 37 Ratings

In the startup world, Give First means simply trying to help anyone—especially entrepreneurs—with no expectation of getting anything back. It's the pay-it-forward principle that builds strong startup networks. Hosts David Cohen and Brad Feld—Techstars cofounders, lifelong entrepreneurs, and startup investors—talk with mentors and founders about what giving first looks like in action, and how it makes great entrepreneurship possible.
See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    Ep 63: HILOS Founder Elias Stahl on Creating A New Supply Chain

    Ep 63: HILOS Founder Elias Stahl on Creating A New Supply Chain

    Supply chains are a big nut to crack, and Elias Stahl ran straight for them. He was empowered to start a whole new supply chain and have his company HILOS be at the forefront of creating a different way to manufacture shoes, where it is ground zero for inefficiency and waste.
    “We saw that opportunity to leverage new technologies like 3D printing and gender design tools to rethink how we make things so that we're no longer building based on volume and cost, but on efficiency and a far more sustainable way for creators to take their ideas and turn them into products and then deliver them into hands of customers,” the CEO and founder of HILOS said.
    Listen to Elias describe fundraising as a comparison to dating with “meeting your match” and not changing yourself to find “love” or, in this case, your investors.
    Also, don’t miss David and Elias talk about the Stanley+Techstars Accelerator and the growth of HILOS because of the Give First mentality, including winning Best in Show at the SXSW Pitch competition and releasing a case study in partnership with Yale University.
    Follow Elias Stahl on Twitter @stahl_elias
    Follow David Cohen on Twitter @davidcohen
    Listen & subscribe to the Give First podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and more.


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    • 25 min
    Ep 62: Twelve Labs CEO Jae Lee on Video Search Innovation and Accelerating with Techstars

    Ep 62: Twelve Labs CEO Jae Lee on Video Search Innovation and Accelerating with Techstars

    Innovation is just innovation if no one uses it. This is a lesson Jae Lee, co-founder and CEO of Twelve Labs, learned while building multimodal neural networks and video search AI. Through the Techstars Seattle Accelerator, mentors, and community, the company began to grow its customer base, transforming from a video search prototype to raising $5 million in a seed funding round.
    Listen as Jae Lee describes how video search is a very intuitive concept but we haven’t seen much of this technology out in the wild, as well as credibility and experience in AI.
    “What we've realized was, hey, video is going to be everywhere. It's already everywhere. It's going to explode. Is there a new neural network architecture that we can use or create to have machines fully understand videos? And what this means to customers is better content moderation, better content recommendation, better summary generation, and better content discovery," said Jae Lee.
    Don’t miss Jae Lee describe his time in the South Korean cyber operations, where he met the co-founders who joined him to build Twelve Labs, as well as the startup scene in South Korea.
    Follow Jae Lee on Twitter @_jae_lee
    Follow Twelve Labs on Twitter @twelve_labs
    Follow David Cohen on Twitter @davidcohen
    Listen & subscribe to the Give First podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and more.

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    • 24 min
    Ep 61: Authors Mark Achler and Mert Iseri on Exit Strategy and Building Your Legacy

    Ep 61: Authors Mark Achler and Mert Iseri on Exit Strategy and Building Your Legacy

    There are many business books out there for current and future entrepreneurs: How to start, how to raise money, how to market, and more. However, after selling his business SwipeSense to SC Johnson, Mert Iseri, with his mentor Mark Achler, realized there aren’t as many books imparting wisdom about selling your business from all aspects of the process.
    “The exit hopefully is a joyous moment in time, but your relationships and your legacy lasts hopefully through the rest of your career,” said entrepreneur Mark Achler, who is the managing director at MATH Venture Partners.
    Listen as Mert and Mark describe the different approaches they took to this book by interviewing not only CEOs but also M&A attorneys and corporate development departments at acquiring companies. The two also discuss the prevailing thought of not worrying about the exit as it will take care of itself, and how the exit actually should be a planned, thoughtful activity. “There's this myth that one day you're sitting in your corner office looking outside the glass window and Jeff Bezos gives you a call and wants to buy her a company. That's not reality,” Mert Iseri said.
    Don’t miss the trio discussing picking the right buyer, transparency and when to tell the team, earnouts, and other tough areas during an exit process. 
    Follow Mert Iseri on Twitter @mhi
    Follow MATH Venture Partners on Twitter @MATH_V_P
    Follow David Cohen on Twitter @davidcohen
    Listen & subscribe to the Give First podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and more.

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    • 26 min
    Ep 60: Stream Founder Thierry Schellenbach on Listening to Customers and Following the Metrics

    Ep 60: Stream Founder Thierry Schellenbach on Listening to Customers and Following the Metrics

    Stream might be a small startup company, but by listening to its customers and their needs, the company decided to launch a second product that helped it scale. 
    “Focusing only on a single product, it was hard to go for larger channels that are not well-targeted, so we needed to have a broader product offering to really scale up,” said founder and CEO Thierry Schellenbach. “I think that’s the one thing in terms of advice for founders, I think you need to look at those metrics and we could have probably raised like an A and B rounds, like earlier on the activity feed business, but it would've been really hard to scale given the unit economics and where they were. So we ended up launching chat, doing well in that space, and then doubling down on like the A and to B. And I think that's been very successful for us.”
    Listen as Thierry describes the company’s coming-to-America moment through Techstars New York and moving its headquarters to Colorado, and all the support he received from business leaders throughout the process.
    Also, don’t miss Thierry and David discussing the difference between Europe and the U.S. when it comes to startup investing, how the pandemic changed how startups launch investment rounds, and how the role of CEO changes as a company scales.
    Follow Thierry Schellenbach on Twitter @tschellenbach
    Follow David Cohen on Twitter @davidcohen
    Listen & subscribe to the Give First podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and more.

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    • 22 min
    Ep 59: Articulate Persuasion Founder Monique Maley on Delivering Ideas with Conviction

    Ep 59: Articulate Persuasion Founder Monique Maley on Delivering Ideas with Conviction

    Monique Maley actually began her career in acting, which has shaped how she became an entrepreneur and mentor. When she transitioned out of the acting industry, she used her skills of communication and body language to help other leaders get out of their own way. 
    “For years I've been saying the thing that attracted me so much to the startup ecosystem and why I get so energized by it is because it's exactly like theater and film. There are so many things about it. There's the energy, the creativity, the collaboration, the building something from nothing. You want to get great reviews, you want it to be better, you want it to go on longer, but it's that comradery and that building something from nothing, it's intoxicating.”
    Listen as Monique describes how vitally important it is for founders to deliver their pitch with conviction (“The metaphor that I always use is you can know really funny joke, but if you don't know how to tell it, nobody's going to laugh.”). David and Monique also discuss tips specifically for female founders when delivering pitches and other ideas in Monique’s book “Turbulence: Leadership’s Unsexy Solution to Streamline Rapid Growth”.
    Monique is also the Vice-Chair of DivInc. To learn more about DivInc, listen to GiveFirst’s episode 53 with Preston James.
    Follow Monique Maley on Twitter @MoniqueMaley
    Follow David Cohen on Twitter @davidcohen
    Listen & subscribe to the Give First podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and more.

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    • 27 min
    Ep 58: Sketchfab Co-Founder on Building Relationships as the Key to Business Immortality

    Ep 58: Sketchfab Co-Founder on Building Relationships as the Key to Business Immortality

    Started in France, Alban Denoyel knew that the key to his product, Sketchfab, was its influence in the United States. Now a leading platform for 3D and AR models, Sketchfab got a boost while Alban was part of the Techstars Accelerator program. “I think having gone through Techstars really helped us get the credibility we needed to raise money with VCs as first-time entrepreneurs.”
    Years later, the key takeaways from Alban’s time in the program still bring success to Sketchfab. Investors won’t just throw money at an idea; it’s about having a rapport, as Alban met some investors two years before they even wrote their checks. “The real key lesson is to build a relationship ahead of when you need some money.”
    Listen as David and Alban delve deeper into having resilience and perseverance, switching focuses from building to monetizing a product, the struggles the company faced within the AR market and technology not being ready for their product, and how building relationships helped when Sketchfab was acquired by Epic Games.
    Follow Alban Denoyel on Twitter @albn
    Follow David Cohen on Twitter @davidcohen
    Listen & subscribe to the Give First podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and more.

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    • 21 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
37 Ratings

37 Ratings

naveedlalani2 ,

Love this podcast! Must listen if you’re a founder or work at a startup.

Love this podcast! Must listen if you’re a founder or work at a startup.

Ashi B ,

Great Pod

Drive a lot, and have this podcast on my regular rotation. David’s interviews are accessible and valuable to entrepreneurs at all levels.

Wonderful for both thinking through immediate up at night issues, and also future planning. Highly recommend!

KennethWajda ,

Yes!

Highly recommended! Great show!

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