248 episodes

Welcome to the Tech Entrepreneur on a Mission podcast.

My name is Ton Dobbe. I am the founder of Value Inspiration and the author of ‘The Remarkable Effect’.
I envision a world where every B2B SaaS business succeeds because they're creating software their customers would miss if were gone

𝗛𝗲𝗿𝗲'𝘀 𝘄𝗵𝘆: 
Research consistently shows 90% of all startups fail. That's bad. 
What's worse however is that +75% of SaaS Scaleups fail - companies that are supposed to have product-market-fit.

Far too few Scaleups create the traction they aspire for and fail for the wrong reasons

I believe this should stop - and hence I started my business and this podcast

The goal I have with this podcast is two-fold:

to inspire new forms of value creation by sharing compelling ideas and stories about the potential we can unlock when technology and people blend in the right way.

Share experiences from tech entrepreneurs like you about what it requires to create a remarkable software business and how to overcome the roadblocks to do so.

Tech Entrepreneur on a Mission Podcast Evergreen Podcasts

    • Technology
    • 5.0 • 8 Ratings

Welcome to the Tech Entrepreneur on a Mission podcast.

My name is Ton Dobbe. I am the founder of Value Inspiration and the author of ‘The Remarkable Effect’.
I envision a world where every B2B SaaS business succeeds because they're creating software their customers would miss if were gone

𝗛𝗲𝗿𝗲'𝘀 𝘄𝗵𝘆: 
Research consistently shows 90% of all startups fail. That's bad. 
What's worse however is that +75% of SaaS Scaleups fail - companies that are supposed to have product-market-fit.

Far too few Scaleups create the traction they aspire for and fail for the wrong reasons

I believe this should stop - and hence I started my business and this podcast

The goal I have with this podcast is two-fold:

to inspire new forms of value creation by sharing compelling ideas and stories about the potential we can unlock when technology and people blend in the right way.

Share experiences from tech entrepreneurs like you about what it requires to create a remarkable software business and how to overcome the roadblocks to do so.

    Matt Ostanik, CEO Grateful - on creating a sustainable network effect

    Matt Ostanik, CEO Grateful - on creating a sustainable network effect

    This podcast interview focuses on product innovation that connects nonprofits, businesses, and individual givers with an opportunity to support important causes in the world. My guest is Matt Ostanik, CEO of Grateful.
    Leave a comment or a question for Matt or Ton.
    Matt is an architect, creator, builder, and tech entrepreneur on a mission. He has founded four companies. First, in 2003, Submittal Exchange - a construction technology platform. He sold this company to Textura in 2011. He continued to grow the Submittal Exchange business unit by an average of 50% per year and served on the Textura executive team as the company completed a successful IPO on the New York Stock Exchange in June 2013. In 2014 he founded CVG, a consulting company, and FunnelWise, a marketing and sales technology startup.
    Matt knows the ins and outs of building successful and mission-driven businesses. He believes businesses can use social good to connect with their customers and employees on a deeper and stronger level.
    Today he's the founder and CEO of Grateful, a platform that helps socially good businesses participate in “Grateful Giving” by donating to their customers’ and employees’ favorite nonprofits. 
    Its mission is to transform charitable giving for nonprofits, businesses, and individual givers.
    And this inspired me, and hence I invited Matt to my podcast. We explore what's missing in the way we build SaaS businesses. Matt shares his vision of how creating social and business impact amplifies each other when done well. He shares his lessons learned in creating successful SaaS businesses that leverage the power of the network effect. Last but not least, he provides his views on raising the bar for impact in SaaS companies. 
    Here's a quote from him
    I can tell you there are about 160 million people in the US that donate to charities every year. Those are people that care. When you ask them, 91% say they're more likely to do business with companies willing to support security that they personally care about. So there's a marketing and customer attraction value proposition with this. But we've seen with some of the companies we're working with already for the customers that participate in this type of customer giving program those customers spend 17% more with those businesses. So, it literally pays for itself.
    During this interview, you will learn four things:

    What value we can create for our customers if we'd understand what their customers desire from them 

    You'll understand what to look for in customers to accelerate traction

    How to engineer your solution, so it automatically brings you valuable leads

    How to go about building a business that creates a remarkable network effect 


    For more information about the guest from this week:

    Matt Ostanik

    Website: Grateful 


    Leave a comment or a question for Matt or Ton.

    Subscribe to the Daily Value Inspiration
    Get my free, 2 min daily reflection on shaping a B2B SaaS business no one can ignore. Subscribe here
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 43 min
    Alex Levin, CEO Regal - on growing high revenue and low dilution

    Alex Levin, CEO Regal - on growing high revenue and low dilution

    This podcast interview focuses on product innovation that has the power to talk more and sell more. My guest is Alex Levin, Co-Founder and CEO of Regal.
    Leave a comment or a question for Alex or Ton.
    Alex is a Tech Entrepreneur on a mission. He was a product manager at Personal and Thomson Reuters and then joined Handy (later acquired by ANGI) to lead growth and marketing. Alex grew up in New York and received his BA from Harvard.
    While at Angi, he successfully drove top-of-funnel growth. But even after rolling out website optimization and email/SMS remarketing, only ~4 of 100 customers would convert. Surprisingly, he found that if they'd called the 96% “abandoned” customers and got them on the phone, they loved the attention and converted at double the rate.
    In search of technology to scale this, he found only solutions around a basic, one-size-fits-all “call more” or “call faster” strategy, resulting in declining answer rates and a terrible customer experience.
    Solving this problem sparked the idea to co-found Regal in October 2020 with Rebecca Green (CTO). They believe in the power of a personal touch in an increasingly digital world. In the meantime, they've built an outbound phone and SMS sales solution that helps many fast-growing B2C brands achieve their growth goals way faster. 
    Their mission: We believe in the power of a personal touch in an increasingly digital world.
    And this inspired me, and hence I invited Alex to my podcast. We explore what's broken in the way we sell online to B2C customers. Alex explains how there is a new playbook that requires a B2C sales team and how Regal.io helps B2C sales teams 3.5x their answer rate and drive more revenue than their website does. He shares some big lessons learned on how they grew rapidly to a double-digit million ARR in 2 years and had no sales or marketing team for the first year. Last but not least, he talks about why we should prioritize creating wealth for everyone in your company rather than glorifying fundraising.
    Here's one of his quotes:
    At bigger companies, you're taught the wrong thing. You're taught that the more people work for you, the more important you are. I think that results in bad outcomes for companies. We try to teach people that the most valuable people in the company are those that can make themselves completely redundant.
    During this interview, you will learn four things:

    What you should be looking for in conversations about new products with customers

    That you don't have to have a huge engineering team to build products that drive revenue from the start

    How to successfully grow your SaaS business faster with fewer people

    How to create a SaaS business that becomes critical infrastructure for your customers


    For more information about the guest from this week:

    Alex Levin

    Website Regal



    Leave a comment or a question for Alex or Ton.

    Subscribe to the Daily Value Inspiration
    Get my free, 2 min daily reflection on shaping a B2B SaaS business no one can ignore. Subscribe here
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 44 min
    Jonathan Kazarian, CEO of Accelevents - on building a SaaS business with staying power

    Jonathan Kazarian, CEO of Accelevents - on building a SaaS business with staying power

    This podcast interview focuses on product innovation that has the power to manage events without stress. My guest is Jonathan Kazarian, CEO of Accelevents.
    Leave a comment or a question for Jonathan or Ton.
    Johnathan is a true tech-entrepreneur‍ on a mission. His journey started in 2014 when his cousin, at the age of 17, got diagnosed with cancer, and he wanted to do something for her. Then, in preparation for an 850-person charity event with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, he recognized the many limitations of existing event technology and fundraising platforms.
    And this sparked the idea to create a solution so fundraisers would never have to go through that experience again. 
    As such, he founded Accelevents in early 2015 and has been on a journey since to build a virtual & hybrid events platform. Its mission: help event organizers get some sleep the night before their event.
    And this inspired me, and hence I invited Jonathan to my podcast. We explore what's broken in the world of event automation and what can be if it's fixed. Jonathan shares what his business went through as their revenue 10Xed during the pandemic. He elaborates why he'd bootstrap his business again if he had to start again - and why he believes he should have taken bigger risks upfront on both product and positioning. Lastly, we talk about the critical choices he made during the Pandemic - and why without it, we wouldn't have had this conversation.
    Here's a quote from him: 
    I built it nights and weekends for five years before actually going full-time with it. And as 2020 approached, we were much more focused on b2b events and for-profit events, starting to get into the world of conferences and starting to realize that technology was going to play a bigger role going forward. So we were starting to build toward this hybrid future. But it wasn't until March of 2020, when events evaporated overnight, that we knew we had to go all in on virtual. And we took our revenue from 375k in 2019 to over 3.4 million in 2020.
    During this interview, you will learn four things:

    How you can create meaningful differentiation by deeply understanding the critical moments in your customers' business

    Why your customers often aren't buying the right features but the right feeling

    What traction can you spark if you figure out how to leverage the customers of your customers 

    Why he decided to stick to his core principles even though that meant growing at a slower rate


    For more information about the guest from this week:

    Jonathan Kazarian

    Website Accelevents



    Leave a comment or a question for Jonathan or Ton.

    Subscribe to the Daily Value Inspiration
    Get my free, 2 min daily reflection on shaping a B2B SaaS business no one can ignore. Subscribe here
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 29 min
    Sarah Hawley, CEO Growmotely - on running a remote-first business

    Sarah Hawley, CEO Growmotely - on running a remote-first business

    This podcast interview focuses on product innovation that has the power to redefine how we experience work. My guest is Sarah Hawley, CEO of Growmotely.
    Leave a comment or a question for Sarah or Ton.
    Sarah Hawley is a serial entrepreneur and investor in startups, having founded eight companies since 2009. She's personally fueled by a passion for challenging the status quo of how we work, conscious culture and leadership, community, diversity, and equality, and living life on one's own terms. 
    She's recognized as the IFA Thought Leader of the Year. Sarah was also named as one of Melbourne’s Top 100 most influential, inspiring, and creative citizens by The Age and listed in the Top 50 Female Entrepreneurs under 40 by Shoestring. She has completed the Entrepreneurial Master Program at MIT and holds a Bachelor of Business and several diplomas.
    In August 2020, in the middle of the Pandemic, she founded Growmotely, an All-in-one platform for growing your remote-first company. Its mission: Redefining how we experience work by bringing culture-first companies and professionals together across the world to do great things. 
    And this inspired me, and hence I invited Sarah to my podcast. We explore what's broken in getting remote work to work. Sarah share's her vision about what it's really like to create a remote-first business - and what needs to happen for it to come to fruition. She elaborates on the product strategy lessons she learned and what it took to bring her solution to the market in order to gain traction and start a movement. Last but not least, she explains why she dropped the idea of being venture-backed.
    Here's one quote from her
    I see it all the time people reach out to me. I see it on LinkedIn, where there's just a high level of frustration because companies are advertising remote jobs, and people are applying for them only to find out that it's remote, but you have to live in this country or this city. And so it's actually excluding most of the world from applying for that job. And people are frustrated because those of us who really are for remote work and really understand it in the context that I am talking about here today is: It's anywhere work. And it's equal opportunity for anyone in the world to access employment opportunities. And that's the world that I want to create.
    During this interview, you will learn four things:

    What's needed beyond a strong vision to start a movement? 

    Why she opted to focus on organic growth through word of mouth instead of outbound sales?

    What she did differently to achieve a 48% referral rate (and growing)

    Why she pulled her business back to the mission and away from too much focus on growth numbers


    For more information about the guest from this week:

    Sarah Hawley

    Website Growmotely



    Leave a comment or a question for Sarah or Ton.

    Subscribe to the Daily Value Inspiration
    Get my free, 2 min daily reflection on shaping a B2B SaaS business no one can ignore. Subscribe here
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 47 min
    Shaunak Roy, CEO of Yellowdig - How to enable rapid growth while mitigating critical risks

    Shaunak Roy, CEO of Yellowdig - How to enable rapid growth while mitigating critical risks

    This podcast interview focuses on product innovation that has the power to all of us to drive meaningful results with learning communities. My guest is Shaunak Roy, Founder of Yellowdig.
    Shaunak is a true tech entrepreneur on a mission. The first decade of his career he spent advising global companies on technology, strategy, and growth.

    Leave a comment or a question for Shaunak or Ton.

    In 2014 he knew he wanted to start a company that mattered. As he looked back on his own academic days as an undergrad at IIT Bombay, and postgrad at MIT, he realized that he learned as much from his peers as he did from his brilliant professors. Some of the bonds he created with his peers lasted well beyond those formative years, and morphed into lifelong friendships.
    As Facebook and other social media technologies took over the social connectivity scene, he saw an opportunity to leverage this idea of social sharing through technology, but specifically in the area of sharing academic ideas and knowledge. 
    That became the big idea behind Yellowdig. The platform was built on three main pedagogical principles: Agency, Mastery, and Connectedness. 
    Its mission: To make classroom learning more joyful, active, and engaging
    And this inspired me, and hence I invited Shaunak to my podcast. We explore what's broken in the way we deliver education. Shaunuk shares his vision about how education can be more fun and impactful. He elaborates on the big lessons learned from making his idea a reality and gaining predictable traction in a tough market. He shares his secrets on how to avoid failure and create a solution that users not only like, but love.
    Here's one of his quotes
    When we sit in a classroom and try to learn, it's not just the lecture from the professor, but it's also the interaction that we're having. That's where the real learning happens. And even if I listen to the best professor in the world doesn't mean I'm going to be smart, like him or her. It's only when I try to apply that knowledge by discussing with people like me or going back to work and trying to connect with something I learned before and those connectivities where learning truly happens. And I think that's where technology has a huge role to play.
    During this interview, you will learn four things:

    How to create predictable traction by leveraging existing technology investments and amplifying their value

    The framework Shaunak is using to grow fast but mitigate the critical risks 

    What he learned from having to rebuild his entire stack - and how it helped them to build a viable company

    What sales and pricing strategies work best if you aim to create momentum in traditionally conservative industries.


    For more information about the guest from this week:

    Shaunak Roy

    Website Yellowdig



    Leave a comment or a question for Shaunak or Ton.

    Subscribe to the Daily Value Inspiration
    Get my free, 2 min daily reflection on shaping a B2B SaaS business no one can ignore. Subscribe here
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 49 min
    Tina Zwolinski, CEO Skillsgapp - on game-changing workforce development

    Tina Zwolinski, CEO Skillsgapp - on game-changing workforce development

    Leave a comment or a question for Tina or Ton.
    This podcast interview focuses on product innovation that has the power to help manufacturing and cybersecurity businesses to attract and grow a sustainable workforce pipeline. My guest is Tina Zwolinski, CEO of Skillsgapp.
    Tina is a true tech entrepreneur on a mission. Her work as CEO and founder of ZWO, a national branding firm, provided her with decades of experience providing strategic counsel, marketing direction, and brand development to organizations that aspired to grow their businesses, reach emerging markets, and launch innovative projects and initiatives. 
    Her passion: developing the youth for middle-skills and STEM jobs, helping states meet their industry recruitment and economic development workforce needs, and helping manufacturers and other industries fill their talent gaps with skilled recruits. 
    She's focused her volunteer service efforts on young people -- helping them get the best start in life and grow into mature, valued young adults. And this work sparked the big idea behind Skillsgapp. Skillsgapp is on a mission to connect youth to life-changing careers through game-changing play. The platform is designed to attract and grow a sustainable workforce pipeline with the geo-specificity to meet a region’s and industry’s specific needs while providing the next workforce generation access to meaningful careers and pathways – even in underserved areas. 
    And this inspired me, and hence I invited Tina to my podcast. We explore what's broken in the way we fill our workforce pipeline. Tina shares how, through technology, we can solve this problem at a global scale - in a way that's fun and ultra-precise. She shares her big lessons learned in creating a flywheel for growth by removing industry barriers. And last but not least, she shares her advice on creating a software business that people keep talking about. 
    Here's a quote from her:
    In cyber, currently, there are 700,000 unfilled jobs. And in manufacturing, by 2025, there will be 3.4 million manufacturing jobs worldwide, and 2 million of those are going unfilled. But in Gen Z, there are 2 billion globally. So if you start to run the numbers, it's not a people problem. There is an awareness and access problem. Last but not least. she shares her advice on creating a software business that people keep talking about.
    During this interview, you will learn four things:

    How to find transformative innovation opportunities by zooming out to the global picture

    How to create a flywheel for growth when there's no real owner of the problem. 

    How you can solve a global challenge by approaching it locally.

    The power that unlocks when purpose and technology blend.


    For more information about the guest from this week:

    Tina Zwolinski 

    Website Skillsgapp



    Leave a comment or a question for Tina or Ton.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 47 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
8 Ratings

8 Ratings

ASobering ,

Such a wealth of knowledge! 🧠

This show is a masterclass on how to succeed as a B2B SaaS founder! Ton and his amazing guests share so much valuable insight, tons of actionable tips, and plenty of relevant advice, and there’s something to be gained from each and every episode. Truly valuable - I can’t recommend this show enough!

HillGamingCompany ,

This is going to be a top 25 for B2B/SaaS

I love that this podcast covers the gamut in terms of not just acquisition but CLTV and real long-term sustainable growth

amindwithwings ,

Tech insights with a human heart

Ton’s has a magical ability to find the humanity in any technology. We forget that the key word in Software as a Service is “Service”. We are not paying a service to other tech but to other human beings. Ton helps CEOs and podcast listeners dive deeper into the reason your company exists and in the process find ways to be more human with your product.

From one entrepreneur to the other, listen to these podcasts and let’s go beyond!

Top Podcasts In Technology

Lex Fridman
Jason Calacanis
The Cut & The Verge
The New York Times
NPR
The Wall Street Journal

You Might Also Like