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Traction: How Startups Start | NextView Ventures

In this story-driven show from seed-stage VC NextView, tech startup founders, executives, journalists, and investors share how they gained initial traction against the odds. Every startup hears that they should do things that don't scale -- scrappy, atypical, whatever-it-takes things. Traction asks a simple question: What ARE those things? With a unique sound that avoids the boring, typical talking head format, Traction features some of the most interesting early-stage stories, tactics, and theories from some of the best entrepreneurs today. For all episodes plus exclusive resources for early-stage startups, subscribe at nextviewvc.com/blog.
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Now displaying: 2016
Dec 14, 2016

This episode features two concerned and proactive members of New York's tech-startup community laying bare the facts and solutions to the problem of diversity in the local tech workforce. On the show today, Tim talks to Alex Qin, Skillshare engineer and founder of Code Cooperative. 

Follow Alex - http://twitter.com/alexqin

Follow Tim - http://twitter.com/jayacunzo

Follow NextView - http://twitter.com/nextviewvc

Be sure to rate and review Traction on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks for listening!

Dec 5, 2016

This episode features two veteran marketers going deep into the ins and outs of building an initial marketing team from scratch. On the show today, Jay talks to Mike Volpe, CMO of Cybereason and former CMO of HubSpot.

Follow Mike - http://twitter.com/mvolpe

Follow Jay - http://twitter.com/jayacunzo

Follow NextView - http://twitter.com/nextviewvc

Check out Jay's other marketing show - http://unthinkable.fm

Be sure to rate and review Traction on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks for listening!

Nov 28, 2016

When you hear "brand marketing," what do you think about? Maybe big brands, big budgets, or even big wastes of money and time as a startup, right? But what if brand marketing could help you get actual results, whether that's user acquisition or raising a Series A?

In this episode, we talk to the VP of Brand Marketing at ecommerce company Wayfair, Nancy Go. She shares how brand marketing is really sales at scale, and helps us understand how to think about this approach to distribution and communication for young companies.

Visit wayfair.com to shop their store.

Follow Jay at twitter.com/jayacunzo or go behind-the-scenes of his creative process every day at snapchat.com/add/jayacunzo

Subscribe to all NextView content at nextviewvc.com/blog

Nov 8, 2016

In this episode, we mix things up. Jenny Jao of Harvard Business School digs into the making of Traction with host Jay Acunzo. How does it fit into the overall strategy behind NextView Ventures? How should other entrepreneurs produce winning podcasts or content in general? What caused Traction to find early, well, traction...appearing high on the lists of Forbes, TechStars, and elsewhere, all after just a few episodes?

All that and much more in this meta-episode about making these very episodes.

Nov 1, 2016

What does the evolution from founder to CEO look like? And how does an entrepreneur balance working IN the business early to tinkering ON the business as it grows? How early does that mentality need to start?

Today, we talk to the co-founder and CEO of thredUP, one of the largest and fastest-growing companies in the NextView portfolio (and in general). The company's co-founder and CEO, James Reinhart, talks about the biggest decisions he had to make in starting the company, moving from an insight pulled from his life to a larger, highly scalable business.

Follow James at http://twitter.com/jamesreinhart

Visit http://thredup.com to shop their second-hand clothing store.

Follow Jay at http://twitter.com/jayacunzo or go behind-the-scenes of his creative process every day at http://snapchat.com/add/jayacunzo

Subscribe to all NextView content at http://nextviewvc.com/blog

 

 

Oct 26, 2016

Today, we talk to startup legend and self-made millionaire, Matt Ruby, founder of Vooza -- thought leader, disruptor, and the next Steve Jobs.

Alright, alright, so none of that is true -- but we DO talk to a guy named Matt Ruby who parodies the startup world through his video production company, Vooza. Not only are they hilarious, but they partner with some REAL startups to create hilarious videos too.

Follow Matt on Twitter: https://twitter.com/voozahq

Watch Vooza's videos at http://vooza.com

Say hi to Jay on Twitter: http://twitter.com/jayacunzo

Go behind-the-scenes on Snapchat: http://snapchat.com/add/jayacunzo

 

 

Oct 20, 2016

In this episode, Danielle Morrill, the CEO and co-founder of Mattermark, shares her company's origin story, including how they created an addicting, ubiquitous newsletter read by VCs and entrepreneurs everywhere. You'll also hear...

1) Why a TV show inspired Danielle to launch a media company, not software startup, and why she was disillusioned with Silicon Valley.

2) The domino effect of thinking and operating with that desire in mind, and how this led to the SaaS startup success that is Mattermark today.

3) Why Danielle would outright argue with almost every VC she called to sell early on in the company's history.

Follow Danielle - @DanielleMorrill and subscribe to the Mattermark Daily newsletter - mattermark.com/app/newsletter

Follow Jay - @jayacunzo - and let him know what you think of the show.

ORIGINAL BROADCAST DATE: September 2015

Oct 19, 2016

NextView's NYC podcast rolls on with NYC-based principal and host Tim Devane. Today, Shai Goldman, one of the most active community builders in NYC Tech, on his background, the evolution of the local startup scene ... and who he'd draft to an all-startup pickup basketball game.

 

Follow Tim and Shai @tdevane and @shaig

Sep 29, 2016

Rob's recent Shape of Traction blog post explores a big problem in gaining initial traction. You can find the post below, as well as David Beisel's Part 2. In this episode, Jay Acunzo talks with Rob about how to make heads or tails of this "traction" stuff.

 

SHAPE OF TRACTION, Part 1:
robgo.org/2016/09/07/the-shape-of-traction/

 

Part 2: HOW MUCH TRACTION DO I NEED TO RAISE VC?
genuinevc.com/2016/09/26/shape-t…e-round-financing/

 

Follow Rob and Jay - twitter.com/robgo and twitter.com/jayacunzo

Sep 13, 2016

In this episode of Gotham Alpha, AngelList's Eli Bronner joins NextView principal Tim Devane to discuss NYC Tech's growth and energy, why he chose to start a company in New York, how TechStars started in town, and what founders should know about building early teams through AngelList.

 

Gotham Alpha is the NYC-focused podcast from NextView. You can find it within the same feed as the firm's flagship pod, Traction.

 

Follow Eli at twitter.com/elikbronner

 

Follow Tim at twitter.com/tdevane

 

Follow NextView at twitter.com/nextviewvc

Aug 11, 2016

In Part 2 of our series of episodes with Reboot, Jay plays skeptic to Dan Putt's insistence that you should actively work on communication and the "softer stuff" at your startup. Don't miss Dan's response.

Then, the guys talk about the biggest reason startups fail (based on a study of 10,000 founders) and how you can avoid that same fate.

Once again, Dan Putt, Chief Product Officer of Reboot, joins NextView's VP of platform Jay Acunzo for this series.

Check out the Reboot podcast: reboot.io/podcast

Subscribe to the NextView blog: nextviewvc.com/blog

Follow the guys on Twitter:
twitter.com/danputt
twitter.com/jayacunzo

Aug 2, 2016

What happens when you and your co-founder experience conflict or strife but don't address it up front? When something festers and is ready to boil over, how do you bring it back down to a good place?

 

This is Part 1 in a series of Traction episodes about the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur. Specifically, we'll tackle issues of communication, leadership, and mental well-being.

 

Dan Putt of Reboot joins NextView's VP of platform Jay Acunzo for this series.

 

Check out the Reboot podcast: reboot.io/podcast

 

Subscribe to the NextView blog: nextviewvc.com/blog

 

Follow the guys on Twitter @danputt or @jayacunzo

Jun 29, 2016

NextView's Rob Go talks with Yoav Shapira, a longtime tech leader in the Boston startup community. Yoav was first employee at CarGurus, a founding executive of HubSpot, CTO at Happier, CTO at Jana, and more. Today, he shares the evolution of what it means to lead a startup from the technical side.

Jun 8, 2016

In the second episode of our NYC Tech-focused series, NextView principal Tim Devane and VP of platform Jay Acunzo talk about the tech companies most likely to ascend to the status of "pillar" tech company. They also explore why many we consider pillars may not be, and what makes such a company in the first place.

 

At the end, the name of our NYC tech podcast is revealed.

 

Say hi on Twitter: @tdevane and @jayacunzo.

 

Subscribe at nextviewvc.com/blog

Jun 2, 2016

Startups are exciting for any number of reasons, not least of which are all the fresh new ideas for products and various approaches to doing the work. But we forget that building successful startups is not actually about coming up with ideas. Instead, it's about finding problems, figuring out whether they truly matter (and to how many people), and working hard to solve them.

 

So what happens when you're obsessed with solving a problem? What does that do to your work, your team, your product, your success? Nadia Boujarwah, co-founder of Dia&Co, shares her story to answer those questions and more.

 

Plus, 3 special announcements about the future of the show.

 

SUBSCRIBE FOR MORE CONTENT FROM NEXTVIEW:

bit.ly/nvsubscribe

 

GO BEHIND-THE-SCENES:

Follow Jay on Snapchat: snapchat.com/add/jayacunzo

May 3, 2016

Go inside the thinking behind a $16B startup -- worth more than Twitter, Pinterest or Dropbox as of this recording. Today's guest, Jesse Middleton, is a co-founder of WeWork Labs, the company's global startup incubator, and currently the head of WeWork X, which includes Labs and also the new WeWork investing and M&A activities. Jesse was also among the first to join the co-founders of WeWork when it started. 

 

Jesse shares insights on everything from mission and hiring to community development to the scrappy and clever tactics they used early on at WeWork. We also peer ahead to the future of what WeWork could be doing globally.

 

Follow Jesse at twitter.com/srcasm and visit wework.com to learn more.

 

Follow Jay at twitter.com/jayacunzo and check out his new weekly show for creatives and makers, Unthinkable, at Unthinkable.fm, soundcloud.com/unthinkablepod, or on iTunes at bit.ly/unthinkablefm

 

Lastly, you can subscribe to the NextView weekly newsletter about startup traction at bit.ly/nvsubscribe

Apr 19, 2016

In the first episode of our NYC Tech-focused miniseries, NextView principal Tim Devane and VP of platform Jay Acunzo talk about the biggest problem and opportunity facing NYC Tech -- namely, successful and liquid entrepreneurs fleeing tech for other industries.

 

Follow @tdevane and @jayacunzo on Twitter and help us give this miniseries a name - tweet #NextViewNYC

 

Subscribe at nextviewvc.com/blog

Apr 13, 2016

Oli Gardner is the co-founder of Unbounce, a platform that helps you build, test, and optimize landing pages to convert customers. Today, he spends most of his time writing and speaking and is arguably the best source on the planet for learning about how startups can create landing pages that convert, whether you're drumming up pre-launch demand or trying to keep growing meaningful revenue.

 

Oli also shares FIVE specific elements that all well-optimized landing pages contain, and he shares some hilarious stories and examples from his life and career -- including why he almost legally changed his name to help build Unbounce.

 

Follow Oli at twitter.com/oligardner and visit unbounce.com to learn more.

 

Follow Jay at twitter.com/jayacunzo and check out his new weekly show for creatives and makers, Unthinkable, at Unthinkable.fm, soundcloud.com/unthinkablepod, or on iTunes at bit.ly/unthinkablefm

 

Lastly, you can subscribe to the NextView weekly newsletter about startup traction at bit.ly/nvsubscribe

Mar 23, 2016

Last time, we heard from a CEO about how startups can sell to big brands and enterprises. This time, Angus Davis, the founder and CEO of Upserve (fka Swipely) shares stories and tactics around selling to Main Street businesses. As a startup that sells to later adopters of technology or very small businesses, how do you think about product, marketing, and sales?

 

Angus also shares some lessons learned from an impressive entrepreneurial career that spans Netscape, TellMe (which he co-founded and sold to MSFT), and Swipely/Upserve.

 

We also go inside his management meetings, which are impressive and amazingly collaborative.

 

Follow Angus at twitter.com/angusdav and visit upserve.com to learn more.

 

Follow Jay at twitter.com/jayacunzo and check out his new weekly show for creatives and makers in business, Unthinkable, at Unthinkable.fm, soundcloud.com/unthinkablepod, or on iTunes at bit.ly/unthinkablefm

Mar 8, 2016

The prospect of selling a new product from an "unproven" business into a large corporation can seem daunting. But startups launch all the time as enterprise-focused entities. Still, that doesn't make the situation any easier, so in this episode, Joe Coleman, cofounder and CEO of Contently, gets way into the weeds of selling into the enterprise.

We also hear some valuable lessons around marketplace businesses and what it's like to be educating the market at the same time you're selling into it.

Follow Joe at twitter.com/joedcoleman and visit contently.com to learn more.

And let me know what you think of the show — tweet me (Jay Acunzo) @jayacunzo. You can also subscribe to receive every episode plus weekly insights and resources about gaining startup traction: bit.ly/nvsubscribe

Feb 17, 2016

Oh what's in a name? Your startup's name and branding become objects that represent your passion, pride, and determination. But startups change their names more often than their founders or teams might like, despite all the love for their current incarnation.

So ... why? What causes that? What influences should you listen to as a founder? And how the heck do you DO it?

That's what we'll explore today.

Follow twitter.com/LizWessel and visit wayup.com to learn more.

For WayUp's hilarious announcement video after their rebrand, check out this video:www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGK5-lVLwjU

And let me know what you think of the show -- tweet me (Jay Acunzo) twitter.com/jayacunzo.

You can also subscribe to receive every episode plus weekly insights and resources about gaining startup traction: goo.gl/4eP9Ch

Feb 9, 2016

NextView's Rob Go, Tim Devane, and Jay Acunzo break down the key findings, themes, and stories from the firm's new report, The State of NYC Seed.

Find the full report and SlideShare here: http://nextviewventures.com/blog/state-of-nyc-seed/

Twitter handles from the show: @RobGo, @TDevane, @JayAcunzo

Topics discussed:

  • The general climate in early-stage startups and VCs in New York City
  • The tech landscape across four key sectors: consumer goods and services, food logistics and on-demand, media and publishing, and fintech
  • The effects of legacy industries and companies to NYC tech, as well as those of recent fast-risers like Warby Parker, Buzzfeed, Vice, Vox, and more.
  • The talent surplus and where the next wave of top-tier founders will originate
  • And much more...

 

Feb 3, 2016

When looking back at the seed stage of their companies, lots of guests on Traction will cite the same regret: "I wish I started content marketing sooner."

Today, we talk to the man who coined the term, Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, an education and training organization serving thousands of customers and millions of readers a year.

Joe's latest book, Content Inc, details how smart entrepreneurs are starting to grow an audience through content first, then unpack a product second. In this episode, you'll also learn...

1. The 6 steps startups can use to grow an audience with content.

2. Why you should consider growing an audience (and, specifically, a subscriber list) before building any product -- even when thinking venture-backed and venture-scale

3. The history of CMI, one of INC's fastest-growing companies (including the pivot Joe had to make that was so obvious, he missed it at first)

4. The biggest mistakes marketers and founders make when doing content marketing.

Follow @JoePulizzi on Twitter and visit contentmarketinginstitute.com to learn more.

And let me know what you think of the show -- tweet me (Jay Acunzo) @jayacunzo.

You can also subscribe to receive every episode plus weekly insights and resources about gaining startup traction: goo.gl/4eP9Ch

Jan 21, 2016

There's no denying the sheer creative power of the internet, but too often, it turns into a race to the bottom -- more clicks (and therefore more clickbait), more pageviews, more impressions, more ads.

When Tony Haile first became CEO of Chartbeat, the analytics startup based in New York City, he faced this massive problem of an internet teeming with clickbait headlines and short-term thinking. He also faced challenges like competing directly with Google Analytics (and the annoyingly competitive price point of "free"). It was his first experience in analytics, too, and he wound up selling his product to a user base (writers and others in editorial) that historically strayed away from data.

Easy, right?

This episodes also includes…

  1. The tradeoffs Tony made to compete with a goliath like Google
  2. Tips for media and other content-driven platforms (including blogs) for rethinking its key metric from clicks and pageviews to something else -- and the tech breakthrough that helped Chartbeat create it
  3. What the future holds for an internet that's becoming increasingly divided between gaming systems and refreshing creativity

Follow Tony @arctictony and visit chartbeat.com to learn more.

And let me know what you think of the show — tweet me (Jay Acunzo) @jayacunzo. You can also subscribe to receive every episode plus weekly insights and resources about gaining startup traction: bit.ly/nvsubscribe

Jan 6, 2016

Justin Robinson, co-founder of mobile startup and liquor delivery app Drizly, talks about some of the ridiculously non-scalable things they had to do just to get their business off the ground in the right way. In addition, he'll share some tactics and stories around being a location-based startup and all the challenges that come with trying to gain traction anew in each market. This episodes includes...

1) The huge (if stereotypical) mistake Justin and his co-founder Nick made when they started, and how that ironically helped them

2) Why they spent six months working for a liquor retailer and the comical but powerful things that led to

3) How expanding from your home city to other locations differs

4) How to gain credibility in an industry populated by traditionally-minded partners

Follow Justin @glassrobinson and visit drizly.com to learn more.

And let me know what you think of the show -- tweet me (Jay Acunzo) @jayacunzo.

You can also subscribe to receive every episode plus weekly insights and resources about gaining startup traction: goo.gl/ybmG2V

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