This is Minimally Viable - the podcast for founders by founders. We interview other early-stage entrepreneurs, mentors, advisors, and investors on all topics relevant to early-stage startups from PMF to growth, fundraising, hiring, and all things related to early-stage startups
Minimally Viable Episode 32: Colin Zarzou, founder at Koii on legal aspects of building a token startup, and his experience as a non-technical founder
In today's episode we talk to Colin Zarzou, co-founder at Koii, about his experience as a founder in the web3 space. We discuss his previous experience in the legal space, entering web3 as a non-technical cofounder, and legal pitfalls and considerations when building a token-based product. We also discuss briefly the Canadian startup landscape
Minimally Viable Episode 31: Smriti Tomar, Founder at Stack on the Founding Journey and Creating India’s First Automated Investing App
In today’s episode of Minimally Viable, we talk with Smriti Tomar, Founder of Stack, India’s first automated investing app. She shares how her work at Citibank and investing and trading her own money influenced her journey with Stack. Smriti shares how Stack not only focuses on helping people save for their life goals and invest even the smallest amount of money but also focuses on education. Stack creates webinars and other content to educate the community and this has ultimately been how they increased engagement and new users. We talk about the lack of financial literacy and accessibility in India, especially in rural India. Smriti discusses her goals for Stack to become the Vanguard of India and to educate and help all the people in India manage and invest their money. Smriti discusses Stack’s growth by creating more diversified portfolios, incorporating crypto in portfolios, and providing services to manage all personal finances.
We also reflect on our individual founding journeys, the challenges we experienced, and how we continue to grow. Smriti shares about her journey as a 25-year-old female founder and the challenges associated with that. She shares her goals of one day creating a female-focused fund and helping other women entrepreneurs in India.
Minimally Viable Episode 30: Thomas Mueller, CEO of Evan GmbH, on the Intersection of the Digital World and Traditional Enterprise World with the Emergence of Web 3.0.
In today’s episode of Minimally Viable, we talk to Thomas Mueller, CEO of Evan GmbH. Thomas shares his 20-year tech journey and passion for bringing tech into the real world. He reflects on the start of his tech journey when the internet first came out to where we are now with the emergence of web 3.0. Thomas shares how his experience led him to found the start-up, Evan GmhH with the idea of bringing blockchain and web 3.0 technology into the traditional real economy. We talk extensively about the future intersection of web 3.0 and enterprise and use cases in solving non-digital problems digitally. Thomas shares how the biggest challenge for traditional enterprises to enter the web 3.0 space is collaboration with competitors. We also discuss the challenges and resistance during the transition to DAOs and more decentralized governance. Thomas shares his thoughts on NFTs and the metaverse, where they will be in the future, and how they will influence the growth of web 3.0 and the digital economy.
Minimally Viable Episode 29: Talentdrop Co-Founders Madeleine Nguyen and Janelle Tiulentino on Solving the Age-Old Problem of Recruiting with a Modern Twist.
In today’s episode of Minimally Viable, we talk to Madeleine Nguyen and Janelle Tiulentino, Co-founders of Talentdrop. Madeleine and Janelle talk about their backgrounds and journeys in tech, meeting at Snapchat, and creating Talentdrop. They share how they were able to combine Madeleine’s recruiting experience with Janelle's technical capabilities into creating a unique approach to recruiting. Talentdrop is a decentralized form of recruiting in which anyone can refer a candidate and receive a reward if they get hired. They share how they were able to take the ideas of bounties and democratization and apply them to recruiting. We talk about the importance of the hiring process in the founding process of start-ups, how building the right team can impact the success of your company. Madeleine and Janelle share their thoughts on the current hiring landscape and their process in developing a unique approach. We talk about their YC experience and how that accelerated their growth and how they are approaching their continued growth and refining their product’s foundations. We talk about the best growth strategies and the benefits of focusing on the user experience and the importance of talking to users to understand the “why” that can’t be captured in data analytics.
They share the importance of maintaining a work-life balance while creating a start-up and building that philosophy into their company’s culture and product. We talk about the market shift and how candidates are focusing more on the culture and work-life balance associated with companies and how they are incorporating this aspect in Talentdrop.
Minimally Viable Episode 28: Chase Bonhag, Founder of FirstIgnite on Bridging the Gap of Academia and Industry
In today’s episode of Minimally Viable, we talk to Chase Bonhag, founder of FirstIgnite. He shares about his start at Illinois Ventures, the venture capital arm of the University of Illinois, and how that shaped his path in creating FirstIgnite. He saw the intellectual capability available at universities that needed to be connected with the right companies. Chase shares about the evolution of FirstIgnite. How it began with helping universities market their research to companies and evolved to the creation of an academic expert network. This network focuses on connecting academic experts with companies who need their expertise to solve a problem. He shares how their unique technology has streamlined the process of connecting academia and industry. FirstIgnite is at the forefront of connecting companies with a problem to academics with the answer.
We also discuss the process of growing an early-stage startup and when to leverage external technology to produce better products faster. Chase shares the benefits of joining YC and how that experience forced them to make decisions faster and helped them grow and generate their academic expert network. We talk about the future of FirstIgnite and how the company will continue to grow and make an impact.
(FirstIgnite – Providing the linkage between people, ideas, and growth.)
Minimally Viable Episode 27: Nawaz Ahmed, New Zealand Investor and Advisor on His Journey into Tech and the Future of DAOs and Crypto
In today’s episode of Minimally Viable, we talk to Nawaz Ahmed, an investor, and advisor from New Zealand. We talk about our shared experience of gaining a science background before switching to business and tech. He shares how he earned his bachelor's degree in biomedical sciences and quickly realized he did not want to be more than just a scientist in his career. He moved towards the business side and earned his master's in that field. Nawaz shares about his early start-up experience of founding Kimera, a subscription box company, during college and what he learned throughout that process, including the challenges of growing and scaling a company. We talk about his introduction to crypto and joining a local crypto exchange to further his knowledge. He talks about his current experience and what he has learned working with various crypto companies on the investing and business side of crypto. We end the podcast talking in-depth about DAOs versus centralized spaces, NFT’s, and the future of crypto.
Jonathan and Kevin, hosts of the Minimally Viable podcast, highlights all aspects of early-stage entrepreneurs, mentors, advisors, and more in this can’t miss podcast! The hosts and expert guests offer insightful advice and information that is helpful to anyone that listens!