Named a top 27 business podcast by Fortune, upside examines startup investing outside of Silicon Valley.
Every Wednesday, we speak with an early stage founder. We interview them as if we are angel investors considering the company as an investment opportunity.
Each show has three segments:
1.) Intro: independent research of the company
2.) Interview: interview with the founder
3.) Debrief: breaking down the opportunity
Sometimes, we share Coffee Chats interviewing venture capitalists, community builders, and later-stage founders.
Subscribe and see why Business Insider called our podcast "Almost as Good as Getting an MBA."
Revisiting "Test City, USA" // now streaming online for free! [JE022]
When we filmed Test City, USA in the summer of 2019 about the startup ecosystem in Columbus, Ohio, we knew the timing was special. Little did we know how good that timing was!
Columbus has continued to gain momentum over the last two years. Here's a sample of the changes for companies and individuals featured in this film:
• Beam Dental - Raised $55M (2019) + $80M (March 2021)
• Mobikit - Acquired by Azuga (March 2021)
• Root - IPO raising $724.4M at $27/share (Oct. 2020) - valued at $6B
• Rapchat - Raised $2.3M (May 2020)
• PopCom - $1.3M from crowdfunding (June 2020)
• ScriptDrop - $15M Series A (Oct. 2020)
• CoverMyMeds - McKesson combined five business units under the CoverMyMeds brand
• Drive Capital - Announced $350M and $300M (Overdrive) Funds... $1.2B total Assets Under Management
• Rev1 Ventures - Launched $10M Pre-Seed Fund (March 2021)
• Rev1 Ventures - Launched $20M Fund (June 2021)
Test City, USA is now available to stream for free online. Visit testcityusa.com.
Director: Kyle Skinner
Producer: Jay Clouse
Exec. Producer: Eric Hornung
2019 Best Ohio Feature by the Film Festival of Columbus
2019 Film Festival of Columbus
2020 Columbus International Film Festival
2020 Culver City Film Festival
A film by The Up Company
Ginger Rothrock of HG Ventures // corporate venture capital investing in heavy construction and materials, environmental services, and specialty chemicals [CC076]
Interview begins: 7:16
Ginger Rothrock is a Senior Director at HG Ventures.
HG Ventures supports innovation and growth across The Heritage Group by investing and partnering with private companies developing new technologies and approaches in both our core and adjacent markets. We leverage the world class expertise of The Heritage Group operating companies and research center to offer a unique value proposition to our portfolio company partners.
Founded in 1930, The Heritage Group is a fourth-generation family-owned business managing a diverse portfolio of more than 30 companies specializing in heavy construction and materials, environmental services, and specialty chemicals.
- Doing Science and Business together 12:04
- The Heritage Group and HG Ventures 15:48
- HG Ventures and TechStars Timeline 19:32
- Measuring ROI 22:21
- HG Ventures Funding Model 24:22
- Hard Tech startup cost 30:39
- Founder Vs Product Market Fit 33:53
- What it takes to partner with TechStars 37:2
HG Ventures was founded in 2018 and based in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Learn more about HG Ventures
Learn more about the Heritage Group
Learn more about the HG Accelerator powered by Techstars
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This episode of upside is sponsored by Ethos Wealth Management.
Managing wealth with an eye toward the future demands vigilance and skill in today’s global economy. Over the years, Ethos Wealth Management has worked with clients and their other professional advisors – including attorneys and accountants – to create comprehensive wealth management plans designed to make the best use of their wealth today and help ensure its endurance for future generations.
They can do the same for you.
Visit upside.fm/ethos to learn more.
This episode is sponsored by SavvyCal.
SavvyCal is the most intuitive and powerful scheduling tool on the market. In fact, we just started SavvyCal to book interviews with our guests!
You can create personalized links in seconds and even allow recipients to overlay their calendar on top of yours.
You really gotta see how this works, and you’ll wonder why it wasn’t always this easy.
Sign up to create a free account at savvycal.com/upside and when you're ready to test out a paid plan, use the code UPSIDE to get your first month free.
This episode is sponsored by Fundboard.
FundBoard makes free tools and content for founders. FundBoard's beta helps you quickly uncover investors that write checks for startups like yours.
Building a FundBoard is really easy… but getting one built for you is even easier! And for a limited time, they're offering to make a FundBoard FOR YOU, pre-built with five investors that are a good fit for your startup so you can hit the ground running.
This is an incredible offer for listeners of this show, so make sure you take them up on it! You have absolutely nothing to lose.
Just visit upside.fm/fundboard.
Tom Cottingham of Flyover Future // building a news organization covering innovation in 20+ cities across the midwest. [CC075]
Interview begins: 7:00
Tom Cottingham is the founder and CEO of Flyover Future.
Flyover Future is a digital newsletter covering innovation and start-ups in the heartland. They cover the investors, the innovators and the ecosystems that help innovation thrive. We help our readers discover the amazing companies and initiatives throughout the midwest that make Flyover Country a vibrant center of 21st century innovation.
- Print Media 10:58
- Launching a Media Company 12:16
- Louisville's Business Model 13:59
- Curating Readers 17:07
- City Based vs Topic Based 22:21
- Generational Opportunity 29:39
- Who's Important? 32:41
Mucker Capital was founded in 2019 and based in Louisville, Kentucky.
Learn more about Flyover Future:
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William Hsu of Mucker Capital // an accelerator committed to getting to you to your next round of funding [CC073]
Interview begins: 7:07
William Hsu is a founding partner at Mucker Capital. He started his career as a founder, creating BuildPoint, a provider of workflow management solutions for the commercial construction industry not long after graduating from Stanford.
Based in Los Angeles, Mucker invests in Seed and Series A rounds in Southern California and other underfunded ecosystems outside Silicon Valley.
MuckerLab works with only 10-20 companies per year in annual cohorts. No three month bootcamps. No demo days. Just heads-down business building for one year -- or however long it takes to reach the next set of critical business milestones.
- Relying on one's experience 13:13
- Working on a Comeback 15:08
- Who's the Customer on VC? 18:38
- MuckerLab 21:33
- Scaling Vertically 25:49
- Mucker Environment 30:31
- Mucker being expensive 32:36
- Vision for Mucker 34:34
Mucker Capital was founded in 2011 and based in Santa Monica, California.
Rally // buying & selling equity shares in ultra-rare, collectible assets [UP088]
Interview begins: 5:59
Rob Petrozzo is the co-founder and Chief Product Officer for Rally.
Rally is a liquid financial marketplace for buying & selling equity shares in ultra-rare assets the same way you buy & sell stocks. Together, we Rally to make investing behind ideas, emotions, and communities safe, easy, and accessible.
They were the first to turn tangible assets into fractionalized public securities offerings. They were the first to establish a liquid secondary market for those securities. And they were they first to do this with SEC qualification.
200+ IPOs later, hundreds of thousands of shares of trading cards, classic cars, watches, memorabilia, the world's rarest literature, and modern collectibles are all actively trading on Rally.
- Reg A+ 7:03
- Rally's Platform 8:09
- Fractionalization of Assets 15:11
- Rally Rd is more than about cars 16:52
- Rally's User Base Proportion 19:35
- Passion Lead Investing 21:40
- 60-40 Portfolio 25:59
- Bull Market 28:55
- Rob's view on NFTs 31:19
- What's New With Rally 34:06
- Rally's Showroom 36:44
- Investing in Securing the Assets 40:45
Rally was founded in 2016 and based in New York City.
[REWIND] Peter Livingston of Unpopular Ventures // early stage investing through a syndicate [CC058]
Interview begins: 5:16
This week we’re revisiting CC058, a coffee chat with Peter Livingston of Unpopular Ventures. In this episode, we explored syndicate investing.
Unpopular Ventures is led by Peter Livingston, whose experience is almost entirely in startups – as both an operator and investor. He was the first engineer at iRhythm (IPO 2016) and was the founder/CEO at Lifesquare (backed by Kleiner Perkins).
He has been angel investing since 2013, made >150 investments to date, and has produced investment returns well within the top decile of VC industry performance.
Peter founded Unpopular Ventures to keep investing in startups – but with a bigger family, bigger checks, and bigger impact.
- Disagreeing about corporate VCs (9:11)
- Syndicate Model (13:37)
- Investors and the syndicate (16:13)
- Not following the traditional fund (26:35)
- Building trust (31:25)
- Edification (39:23)
Learn more about Unpopular Ventures: http://unpopular.vc/
Follow Peter on Twitter: https://twitter.com/unpopularvc
Follow Peter’s Syndicate: https://angel.co/unpopularvc/syndicate
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Loved the episode with Jackie! I hope you circle back with her once the world normalizes a bit. Informative and interesting!
Jay and Eric are natural conversationalists and they shed light on the leaders in tech ecosystems outside Silicon Valley!
This show is great for thinking about both sides of the equation of investment, whether your an investor looking to learn about startups outside the valley or you’re a startup looking to learn about being investible. No downside to listening to this show.