60 episodes

Listen in as your host Yaro interviews startup founders, entrepreneurs who've enjoyed big exits, angel investors, venture capitalists, crypto leaders, tech stock traders, real estate investors -- all sharing how they made money and put their capital to work.

Vested Capital Yaro

    • Business
    • 4.9 • 53 Ratings

Listen in as your host Yaro interviews startup founders, entrepreneurs who've enjoyed big exits, angel investors, venture capitalists, crypto leaders, tech stock traders, real estate investors -- all sharing how they made money and put their capital to work.

    (EP6): Greg Smith Founder Of Canadian Tech Unicorn And TSX Listed Thinkific, How To Build SAAS Using MVPs

    (EP6): Greg Smith Founder Of Canadian Tech Unicorn And TSX Listed Thinkific, How To Build SAAS Using MVPs

    I am resurfacing my interview with Greg Smith, founder of Thinkific.com, a Vancouver based SAAS servicing course creators, because this year (2021) Thinkific did an IPO on the TSX (Toronto Stock Exchange) raising $160 Million.
    As I type this, Thinkific has a market cap of $1.36 billion dollars, making it one of the rare Canadian tech unicorns.
    Greg and his brother launched the company initially with a much more hands-on approach (it was more like an agency service to begin with), and then slowly built out a software service.
    Today they offer a free and premium version of their platform, earning millions in recurring subscription revenue, employing over 70 full-time employees in Vancouver, all working to help people from around the world to deliver courses online.
    It All Started With Marbles…
    Greg and I traveled back in time to his first business venture as an 11-year old. He built a marble ‘theme park’ and invited the neighborhood kids to come over and play, and then sold them candy he bulk purchased.
    This was the first business project in a long line of entrepreneurial ventures Greg undertook as a young man, right up to the point where he graduated from university and became a lawyer.
    While Greg was studying law, he created a blog to share lessons on how to pass the LSAT — the big test students need to pass in order to get into Law school.
    He then created his first online course, also on the LSAT. It was very early days for selling courses back then, so Greg couldn’t find any good platforms to help, so he hired a programmer to whip up something basic within a month. That was 13 years ago, and his LSAT course is still selling online today!
    Needless to say, the germ of the Thinkific business came from this first experience selling his own online course, but Greg would not begin his tech startup for many years yet. First, he had a career as a lawyer.
    Although Greg loved working as a lawyer, he couldn’t fight the urge to build something of his own, and eventually left his job to start a business.
    Greg explains how he made the decision to move back in with his parents to save money, and with his computer engineer brother as his partner, started the first version of what would become Thinkific.
    Growing A Tech Startup
    I was particularly interested to learn how Thinkific grew into the company it is today, so we spent much of the second half of the interview diving deep into the journey of a software startup.
    Greg talks about how they initially sold a much more hands-on service, how they decided who to hire first as they grew their team eventually to 70+ people (and still growing!), and why it eventually became clear they needed to build a platform to service their ideal customer.
    If you’re interested in starting your own SAAS or subscription-based tech startup, I think you will find a lot of what Greg did with Thinkific during the early days very insightful.
    Enjoy the interview,
    Yaro
    Podcast: https://www.yaro.blog/pod/Blog: https://www.yaro.blog/

    • 1 hr 7 min
    (EP5): Chris Bakke Founder Of Interviewed Acquired By Indeed For $40-$50Mil, Early Zillow, RentJuice, Currently Laskie.com

    (EP5): Chris Bakke Founder Of Interviewed Acquired By Indeed For $40-$50Mil, Early Zillow, RentJuice, Currently Laskie.com

    Chris Bakke is currently founder of Laskie.com, a startup focused on becoming the Upwork for enterprise hiring. Previously he was co-founder of Interviewed, which was acquired by Indeed for 'mid 8 figures' after just two and a half years. Prior to this he worked as COO for 42Floors (acquired by Knotel) and RentJuice, which was acquired by Zillow, where Chris also worked for several years.Chris in this interview explains his part in all these companies, first starting as an early employee in the real estate tech space, which led to his first exit, gaining shares in Zillow (he explains what he did with the shares during the episode).After a couple of years at Zillow, Chris left to work for another real estate tech firm 42Floors, rising to become COO, and again enjoying an exit when Knotel bought the company.Chris was then 'pushed' to become a founder himself, after his co-founders won a hackathon and several angel investors where throwing startup capital at them to back their recruitment testing tech idea.This led to an amazing two and a half years where thanks to a lot of a hustle and a 'beachhead' client acquisition strategy, Chris and his co-founders grew Interviewed to $2.5Mil in annual run rate, and then the incredible sale to Indeed for almost $50 Million.One of the mains reasons I wanted to speak to Chris was to hear how several of the companies he worked for or co-founded were able to sell for such high multiples. He calls these 'strategic buys' and explains why this was possible in the interview.Enjoy the discussion.Yaro
    Podcast: https://www.yaro.blog/pod/Blog: https://www.yaro.blog/

    • 52 min
    (EP4): Jeff Ponchick Founder Of Repost Network, Sold To SoundCloud, How The Music Rights Industry Works Online

    (EP4): Jeff Ponchick Founder Of Repost Network, Sold To SoundCloud, How The Music Rights Industry Works Online

    The world of music rights is a lot more confusing than I thought. 
    There are many stakeholders who are all supposed to get a share of the revenue from music used online - from labels, publishers, platforms, song writers and of course the artist who created the music.
    Jeff Ponchick worked in the world of digital music and knew well all the paper work required to make music rights work. 
    He decided to start a company that attempted to digitize the music rights process, and thus make it a lot easier for artists to make money from their work.
    Like many startup founders, Jeff first tested his idea with a not-so-scalable, very manual process -- working out all the details by hand, sending emails, making phone calls and filling out forms.
    He did this for some test artists, who loved the service because it made it so much easier to get paid for their music no matter where it was being used online.
    Jeff then brought on a technical partner, and they went to work to create the more scalable version of their service, to digitize the music rights process.
    Thus Repost Network was born.
    Word Of Mouth Takes Off
    Jeff's idea proved to be a good one. Artists loved the service and of course loved getting paid for their work.
    Musicians began to spread the word and Report Network became a popular choice to help deal with music rights and negotiate with all the different music distributers - from YouTube, to Spotify and SoundCloud.
    That last company, SoundCloud, ended up being the company that Jeff sold Repost Network to (the word 'repost' referring to the goal of SoundCloud users - to get your tracks reposted so you can reach more people).
    In this interview Jeff shares all the amazing steps that led to Repost Network growing to the point that SoundCloud was interested in an acquisition, and how the deal got done.
    Enjoy the podcast.
    Yaro
    Podcast: https://www.yaro.blog/pod/Blog: https://www.yaro.blog/

    • 50 min
    (EP3): Baird Hall Co-Founder Of ChurnKey, Wavve, ZubTitle, How The Wavve Acquisition Deal Got Done, Solving Internal Problems Leads To New Companies

    (EP3): Baird Hall Co-Founder Of ChurnKey, Wavve, ZubTitle, How The Wavve Acquisition Deal Got Done, Solving Internal Problems Leads To New Companies

    In the previous episode of Vested Capital (EP2), we talked with David Horne and Marty Balkema, founders of Calm Capital. They had recently acquired the company Wavve.
    On this episode, Baird Hall, one of the co-founders of Wavve, shares the other side of that acquisition, as the seller of Wavve.
    Baird takes us back in time to the origin story of Wavve, how it was a spinoff company from their first business when they needed to create audio snippets for sharing on social media.
    The spinoff companies continued when they needed to create captions for audio within Wavve, which led to the creation of ZubTitle, a company Baird co-founded with a different partner.
    Both Wavve and ZubTitle grew to earn over $100,000 a month each - 7-figure companies.
    ChurnKey, Baird's latest company that helps subscription businesses deal with churn, was created as a result of needing to solve the churn problems within Wavve and Zubtitle.
    Baird, as you can probably tell, is amazing at using a need in one company as the genesis to create a new company.
    Of course, it's very challenging to grow one company, so working on two or even three at the same time rarely works. This is one of the reasons Baird and his partners made the choice to sell Wavve, so they could move on to focus on ChurnKey.
    All of these companies are covered in this interview, which I know you will enjoy if you like SAAS startup stories leading all the way to exciting exits.
    Enjoy the show.
    Yaro
    Podcast: https://www.yaro.blog/pod/Blog: https://www.yaro.blog/

    • 1 hr 10 min
    (EP2): Calm Capital Founders David Horne And Marty Balkema On How They Finance Acquisitions, Strategies For A Holding Company, Why This New Form Of Investing Is Just Getting Started

    (EP2): Calm Capital Founders David Horne And Marty Balkema On How They Finance Acquisitions, Strategies For A Holding Company, Why This New Form Of Investing Is Just Getting Started

    David Horne and Marty Balkema are founders of Calm Capital, a holding company with at the time of this recording, 10 companies under management with $8 Million in total annual revenue. 
    The holding company model, popularized by Warren Buffet and Charlie Monger with Berkshire Hathaway, is becoming more and more common in the world of online business.
    David and Marty help demystify what exactly a holding company investment strategy is and take us through an example acquisition, their first company purchase of Pttrns, in this podcast interview.
    We also learn how the guys met, how they transitioned from being founders to investors and acquirers of other companies, and what financial structures they have used to finance their acquisitions.
    I'm fascinated by this emerging trend of online holding companies for many reasons. It gives tech entrepreneurs an additional pathway for exiting their business, and it's an exciting way to compound your capital, increase cash flow and diversify your income as an owner of many companies. 
    As an entrepreneur who enjoys having multiple projects, what Marty and David are doing really appeals to me. You get to enjoy owning companies in many different niches, but you're not stuck in the day-to-day trenches of running the companies.
    Enjoy the interview, and please share it with anyone you think could benefit from hearing from these two trailblazing entrepreneurs.
    Yaro
    Podcast: https://www.yaro.blog/pod/Blog: https://www.yaro.blog/

    • 1 hr 3 min
    (EP1): Mark Asquith Captivate.fm Founder, The Podcast Industry For Startups, How To Focus On Multiple Projects

    (EP1): Mark Asquith Captivate.fm Founder, The Podcast Industry For Startups, How To Focus On Multiple Projects

    Mark Asquith, otherwise known as the 'British Podcast Guy' is the founder of several podcast related companies, including Captivate.fm, a web hosting, analytics and distribution SAAS for podcasters.
    Mark, like many entrepreneurs, got his start with an agency doing general web and media development services. Eventually this led to a spinoff podcast specific web design company, which Mark and his Co-Founder left the agency to focus on.
    After entering the world of podcasting Mark never looked back, launching his own shows, attending conferences and building more support services for podcasters. He also has plans for a team engagement tool, which he recently patented and will be launching soon.
    I wanted to speak to Mark because there is a difference between running an agency and building websites, to then diving into the world of SAAS and now also physical products. 
    It's not easy to make all these different types of business models work, but as you will hear in the interview, Mark had a method and a plan for moving from one focus to the next, allowing a business to grow, adding a team, then moving on to the next step.
    Enjoy the interview.
    Yaro
    Podcast: https://www.yaro.blog/pod/Blog: https://www.yaro.blog/

    • 1 hr 7 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
53 Ratings

53 Ratings

Travelingtiger ,

Inspirational and helped me become an entrepreneur!

This podcast and Yaro's teachings are amazing. The podcast is inspirational, and Yaro's courses helped me become a successful entrepreneur with digital courses. I'm now making a full-time income with online courses, which I'd never have been able to do without the information from the interviews and from his Blog Mastermind course.

Matthew Kimberley ,

Old School Cool

Yaro has been doing this for years and years and I’ve been a fan and follower for a long time. His thoughtfulness and thoroughness is what I appreciate the most. Plus, he asks all the right questions!

Podcas ,

A great Learning Experience

I'm picky about the interviews I say yes to. And I'm also very critical interviewers because I am one msyself. But if I learn somethnig, I always consider it a worthhile experience.

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