356 episodes

On The Just Go Grind Podcast, host Justin Gordon, an entrepreneur, USC MBA alum and Director of Marketing and Community at Vitalize Venture Group, interviews entrepreneurs, CEOs, investors, and other go-getters to pull out the tips, tactics, strategies, and insights to help you build your company.

Just Go Grind with Justin Gordon Justin Gordon

    • Business
    • 4.9 • 161 Ratings

On The Just Go Grind Podcast, host Justin Gordon, an entrepreneur, USC MBA alum and Director of Marketing and Community at Vitalize Venture Group, interviews entrepreneurs, CEOs, investors, and other go-getters to pull out the tips, tactics, strategies, and insights to help you build your company.

    #352: Julien Smith of Practice, on Optimizing for Long Value, Driving Emotion When Raising Venture Capital, and Inside Tips for Building a Better Business

    #352: Julien Smith of Practice, on Optimizing for Long Value, Driving Emotion When Raising Venture Capital, and Inside Tips for Building a Better Business

    Julien Smith is currently the Co-founder and CEO of Practice, a world class tool to help coaches build their businesses entirely on their own. He has started many companies, including Breather, for which he raised $150M and got to Series D before handing it to a hired CEO.
    As a coach, he takes on a few select first time CEOs who he coaches on finding customers, building a team, running a business, and raising venture financing. He has coached founders who have been funded by the world's best venture firms, including A16Z, General Catalyst, Craft Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Y Combinator, and more.
    Julien is also a New York Times bestselling author of business and marketing books. He and his co-author were among the first to write books about social media and how to use it for business purposes, and many of the best practices you see in the field were put on paper by them first.
    The first book, Trust Agents, was written with Chris Brogan, and became instant New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller, winning awards including Amazon and 800 CEO-READ's best books of the year. They also collaborated on another book, The Impact Equation, published in 2012. His second book, The Flinch, edited by Seth Godin, has remained one of the top downloaded and highlighted books on Kindle since the day it was published.
    Website: Practice
    LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/juliensmith/
    Twitter: @julien
    Second Time Founders podcast
    Topics Covered by Julien Smith in this Episode The background behind Julien’s company Practice Why Julien decided to start Practice after his success starting Breather How Julien runs and structures his practice coaching founders How founders can build better businesses Julien’s tips for fundraising Driving emotion in fundraising pitches Identifying true value when building your cap table Julien’s big vision for growing Practice and what he’s doing differently from his first company How the Second Time Founders podcast was born Listen to all episodes of the Just Go Grind Podcast: https://www.justgogrind.com
    Follow Justin Gordon on Twitter: https://twitter.com/justingordon212

    • 48 min
    #351: Candace Nelson of Sprinkles, on Disrupting the Bakery Industry to Build an Empire, Expansion into New Markets, and Strategic Brand Building

    #351: Candace Nelson of Sprinkles, on Disrupting the Bakery Industry to Build an Empire, Expansion into New Markets, and Strategic Brand Building

    Candace Nelson is a serial entrepreneur, NYT and WSJ bestselling author, WSJ contributor, angel investor, TV personality, executive producer, and mom. She started her career working in investment banking and the internet start-up scene before completely shifting gears to follow her passion and attend pastry school. In 2005, she opened the doors to Sprinkles, the world’s first cupcake bakery. Despite early naysayers, their 600-square-foot bakery in Beverly Hills disrupted the legacy bakery industry and ignited a worldwide cupcake phenomenon! In 2012 Sprinkles introduced its Cupcake ATM, a cutting-edge contactless cupcake delivery system. Later that year they sold Sprinkles to PE firm KarpReilly. Today, Sprinkles has sold over 200 million cupcakes, has over 20 stores, 30 Cupcake ATMs, and 1000 employees.
    In 2017, Candace co-founded Pizzana, a fast-growing chain of award-winning Neo-Neapolitan pizzerias, leading the “third wave” of pizza in the US. Pizzana cemented Los Angeles as a pizza destination and revolutionized pizza takeout with its innovative heat and slice at-home method. Pizzana also ships its frozen pizza nationwide. In 2021 she co-created and executive produced Best in Dough, a Hulu show starring Pizzana Executive Chef Daniele Uditi, which began streaming in the Fall of 2022.
    Today, through her company, CN2 Ventures, a family office, and venture studio, she has backed a diverse portfolio of startups in the specialty food, retail, health, wellness, and early childhood spaces with a focus on female and underrepresented founders.
    Candace is also the executive producer and star in Netflix’s Sugar Rush and Food Network’s Cupcake Wars. Her book, Sweet Success: A Simple Recipe For Turning Your Passion Into Profit was published by HarperCollins Leadership in November 2022.
    Website: Sprinkles
    LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/candacenelson9/
    Twitter: @candacenelson
    Instagram: @candacenelson/
    TikTok: @candacenelson
    YouTube: https://youtube.com/user/SprinklesCandace
    Her new book, Sweet Success: A Simple Recipe For Turning Your Passion Into Profit
    Her NYT bestselling cookbook, The Sprinkles Baking Book
    Topics Covered by Candace Nelson in this Episode Candace’s unconventional path to starting Sprinkles and elevating the cupcake Her decision to choose a new career path despite other people’s expectations Identifying the market opportunity for cupcakes Getting Sprinkles off the ground and early organic growth Early product development Bootstrapping and the challenge of finding a retail location Launching their first location with no retail experience and how scarcity drove demand How they leveraged celebrity marketing How they approached growth and expansion, and establishing themselves as market leaders Franchising vs owning distribution Avoiding founder’s syndrome and deciding to sell Sprinkles How Candace went on to co-found Pizzana Investing through CN2 Ventures and as an angel How Candace views brand building Brand strategy during expansion Candace’s most recent book, Sweet Success: A Simple Recipe For Turning Your Passion Into Profit Listen to all episodes of the Just Go Grind Podcast: https://www.justgogrind.com
    Follow Justin Gordon on Twitter: https://twitter.com/justingordon212

    • 42 min
    #350: Dan Schaefer of Native Pet, on Product & Brand Innovation, Finding the Right Manufacturing Partner, and First Principles Thinking to Forge Your Own Path

    #350: Dan Schaefer of Native Pet, on Product & Brand Innovation, Finding the Right Manufacturing Partner, and First Principles Thinking to Forge Your Own Path

    Dan Schaefer is the Co-Founder and CEO of Native Pet, a pet nutrition company that is redefining pet supplements by harnessing the nutritional power of whole food ingredients to deliver organic, highly effective, & limited ingredient treats, supplements and chews.
    Their products utilize whole-food and superfood ingredients to harness the healing powers found in nature to bolster the health and well-being of our pets. When Dan was looking for better nutrition for his Labrador retriever, Louie, he found that brands were really missing the mark. He quickly realized that kibble was base nutrition and if he wanted to customize Louie's diet for his own unique needs, he required a tailored regimen of kibble coupled with supplements. In an effort to make this realization a reality, Dan called on his childhood friend, Pat Barron, who had a similar passion for pets, food systems and entrepreneurship and together, they founded Native Pet in 2017. In March 2022, they closed their $6M Series A funding led by CAVU Venture Partners with participation from Mars' Companion Fund and Selva Ventures.
    Topics Covered by Dan Schaefer in this Episode  
    How becoming a pet parent led Dan to found Native Pet Dan and his co-founder Pat Barron's entrepreneurial experience and graveyard of startup ideas Why Native Pet became the right business idea for them to pursue Finding market opportunity through product differentiation R&D: market research, product testing, and when to leverage experts Finding the right co-manufacturing partner for quality, mission-alignment, and growth Brand-building while developing innovative product Launching on Amazon, how their distribution and marketing tactics have evolved, and going against the grain The strategy behind deciding to raise venture capital Use of funds through several stages of fundraising How they’ve seen the pet category evolve since their launch 5 years ago What’s next for Native Pet Listen to all episodes of the Just Go Grind Podcast: https://www.justgogrind.com
    Follow Justin Gordon on Twitter: https://twitter.com/justingordon212
     

    • 42 min
    #349: Brennan Spellacy of Patch, on Value-Driven Category Creation, Strategic Hiring at a High-Growth Startup, and Enabling Trust through Transparency

    #349: Brennan Spellacy of Patch, on Value-Driven Category Creation, Strategic Hiring at a High-Growth Startup, and Enabling Trust through Transparency

    Brennan is the Co-Founder and CEO of Patch, the platform for negative emissions and scaling unified climate action. Patch is building the infrastructure for a sustainable economy by enabling gigatonne scale carbon removal. With Patch, companies can embed climate action into their own products, neutralizing the carbon impact of everyday transactions like shipping, travel, and financial services. From an API-integration to direct purchase, Patch is the carbon removal platform for businesses and consumers to seamlessly contribute to trusted removal and reduction projects at any scale.
    Prior to founding Patch with co-founder Aaron Grunfeld, Brennan worked in a range of product & engineering roles at Sonder and Shopify. He received a degree in chemical engineering from McGill University.
    Topics Covered by Brennan Spellacy in this Episode What Patch is and how they’re helping companies achieve their environmental goals
    Patch’s origin story
    Deciding to found Patch with his co-founder Aaron Grunfeld after a collaborating on a challenging project at Sonder
    The early days of Patch and the benefits of starting right at the beginning of the pandemic
    How they tackled the challenge of fundraising
    Using their $1.2M pre-seed raise to build their founding team
    Patch’s original platform
    Category creation and their values-centric sales pitch
    Getting approached by Andreessen Horowitz for investment
    Patch’s product evolution and the three facets of the problem they’re solving
    Leveraging PR to fuel Patch’s growth and shifting their strategy
    The logic behind their slow-to-hire approach
    Vetting in the carbon credit marketplace and enabling trust through transparency
    Patch’s business model and how it has evolved
    Interesting climate solutions Brennan has seen
    The strategic timing of their rebrand
    What’s next for Patch and where to connect with Brennan and his company


    Listen to all episodes of the Just Go Grind Podcast: https://www.justgogrind.com
    Follow Justin Gordon on Twitter: https://twitter.com/justingordon212

    • 41 min
    #348: Tyler Denk of Beehiiv, on Building in Public, Growing 55% MoM, and Quick Adaptability to Compete with Big Tech

    #348: Tyler Denk of Beehiiv, on Building in Public, Growing 55% MoM, and Quick Adaptability to Compete with Big Tech

    Tyler Denk is the co-founder and CEO of beehiiv, a newsletter platform to fuel creators and publishers' ability to create, monetize, and grow their audience.
    While in undergrad at the University of Maryland, Tyler Denk became a self-taught software developer and launched his first startup, VentureStorm—a web application that connected entrepreneurs and startups to talented software developers.
    After exiting VentureStorm, Tyler continued to work with startups by building and integrating innovative technology solutions to stimulate growth and exceed various KPIs. He joined Morning Brew as the second employee in a role that spanned engineering, product, and growth—responsible for building the renowned referral program and bespoke tech ecosystem that facilitated the company to scale to a successful $75m exit in 2020.
    After a stint at Google as a Product Lead at YouTube Music, he left to co-found beehiiv, which is approaching $1M ARR and has averaged 55% MoM growth since launch in 2021. On the side, he enjoys building cool projects, most recently Big Desk Energy (popular Spotify playlist + web destination).
    Topics Covered by Tyler Denk in this Episode What beehiiv is and Tyler’s journey to founding it How Tyler approached growing Morning Brew’s newsletter Beehiiv’s initial vision and what’s next Beehiiv’s business model and how their ad network plays in Early customer acquisition and growth Leaning into their backstory to fundraise with big tech as their new competitors The process of onboarding strategic angel investors Tyler’s perspective on building in public Getting Morning Brew’s co-founders as an investor and advisor Tyler’s perspective shift to becoming a big advocate for remote work Achieving “feature parity” and competing for ad dollars with Google and Facebook Finding direction when developing features What differentiates beehiiv Tyler’s advice for people starting newsletters Listen to all episodes of the Just Go Grind Podcast: https://www.justgogrind.com
    Follow Justin Gordon on Twitter: https://twitter.com/justingordon212

    • 43 min
    #347: Andrew Berman of Vowel, on Growing Organically via Twitter, Building Remote-First Company Culture, and Taking on Legacy Brands

    #347: Andrew Berman of Vowel, on Growing Organically via Twitter, Building Remote-First Company Culture, and Taking on Legacy Brands

    Andrew Berman is the Co-Founder and CEO of Vowel, the world's first complete meeting solution designed to make every meeting more inclusive and worthwhile – before, during, and after. Vowel is a collaboration platform that makes meetings searchable, shareable centers of knowledge for your business. By redefining what data capture is capable of, they are optimizing the potential of every team.
    They are a remote-first company whose 20+ employees span four continents. Their team is made up of engineers, designers, inventors, entrepreneurs and security experts – from leading organizations like Google, Bridgewater, Nanit, Airbnb, Casper, Recombine and others. They’re building both an inclusive product and an inclusive team that celebrates diverse cultures and backgrounds.
    Andrew’s inspiration is to apply new technology to build products that can touch millions of people in ways that were impossible before. He is also the founder of Nanit, the first camera to track human behavior (the leading baby monitor), an experienced investor from seed to LBO stages (Silicon Valley, NY and other markets), and an active and experienced angel investor (with investments in SaaS, Security, Healthcare, Consumer and CV/AI).
    Use coupon code: JUSTGOGRIND for 3 months free of unlimited seats on Vowel's Pro plan (monthly only)!
    Topics Covered by Andrew Berman in this Episode How vowel is creating instant searchable, shareable knowledge through a modern video conferencing tool Andy's journey to founding Vowel How the idea for Vowel stemmed from Nanit’s pain points as a distributed team Early distribution and organic growth through Twitter How Vowel’s original use-cases have expanded naturally and leaning into user-led product development Giving their users a 10x improved media experience through their next generation video platform The challenges of building Vowel Recruiting the original founding team Building remote-first company culture The fundraising process and Vowel’s powerful cap table of operator- angel investors How to vet investors Their B2B growth strategy Developing their freemium business model How they view competition and taking on legacy brands Learnings as a multi-time founder and former VC What motivates Andy to challenge the status quo and build innovative companies Andy's thoughts on the future of work and running remote teams Snagging the vowel.com domain name Listen to all episodes of the Just Go Grind Podcast: https://www.justgogrind.com
    Follow Justin Gordon on Twitter: https://twitter.com/justingordon212

    • 42 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
161 Ratings

161 Ratings

Harry Campbell ,

Great pod, great guests and actionable advice!!

Enjoyed the episode with Andrew Gazdecki of Microacquire! 3x founder, so was cool to learn from his experience and expertise - love the focus on marketing!

Excited to join JG as a guest on the show next week!

oliviabaker13 ,

What are you waiting for? Tune in now! 🔥

If you’re currently an entrepreneur or investor on your grind, then this podcast should definitely be part of your weekly content diet! No matter the guest, you’ll gain a golden nugget of advice or strategy. Not to mention, Justin is consistently giving us a masterclass on what it means to be a fantastic interviewer.

Arlie K ,

Let's go!!

Justin and his talented guests offer actionable advice around building a business and getting through the grind. Thanks so much for putting out such a spectacular show, Justin - keep up the great work!

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