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Traction: How Startups Start | NextView Ventures

In this story-driven show from tech 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: Category: general
Jun 20, 2017

Wayne Chang and Jeff Seibert are the cofounders of Crashlytics, which Twitter acquired in 2013. Today, as angel investors, they see dozens of entrepreneurs every quarter, and they've joined the show today to help us answer some tough questions: How should you structure communication with your cofounder? How do you work through difficult decisions, especially if nobody on the founding team is a domain expert? What would the pair do differently next time around? And what are they exploring as their next venture?

Follow Wayne and Jeff on Twitter: https://twitter.com/wayne and https://twitter.com/jeffseibert 

Follow Rob and Jay on Twitter: https://twitter.com/robgo and https://twitter.com/jayacunzo 

Subscribe to the NextView blog for future episodes and more resources for seed-stage startups: http://nextviewvc.com/blog 

Thanks for listening!

Jun 6, 2017

Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown are entrepreneurs, growth experts, and co-authors of the book Hacking Growth. Today, we talk about this notion of growth hacking and debunk some myths, then walk through a smart process you can use to start running a growth engine strategically, instead of seeking false silver bullets.

Their book, Hacking Growth, on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hacking-Growth-Fastest-Growing-Companies-Breakout/dp/045149721X

Follow Sean and Morgan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SeanEllis and https://twitter.com/morganb 

Subscribe to the NextView blog for future episodes and more resources for seed-stage startups: nextviewvc.com/blog

Thanks for listening!

May 23, 2017

Christina Sass is co-founder and COO of Andela, a company that locates, trains, and staffs world-class engineers in Africa for hire by tech companies in the US and elsewhere. They've sparked a movement, cracked the code on finding great coders, and have attracted investors like Mark Zuckerberg.

Visit andela.com to learn more, or follow Christina at twitter.com/sasschristina

Subscribe to the NextView blog for future episodes and more resources for seed-stage startups: nextviewvc.com/blog

Thanks for listening!

May 9, 2017

Will Ahmed is the CEO and co-founder of WHOOP, a fitness tech startup working with high-performance athletes. Their users include LeBron James, Michael Phelps, pro teams like the Boston Red Sox, and thanks to a deal with the NFL Players' Association, every pro football player across the nation.

Visit whoop.com to learn more, or follow Will twitter.com/wahmmys

Subscribe to the NextView blog for future episodes and more resources for seed-stage startups: nextviewvc.com/blog

Thanks for listening!

 

Apr 19, 2017

Ellen Chisa is VP of product at Lola, a travel company combining the human element of travel agents with smart technology. While some entrepreneurs build their products in markets that feel wide open for the taking, travel is one of those industries with tons of noise and competition. So how does one gain a foothold? How do you break through, build something BIG and DIFFERENTIATED? All that, and much more, in this episode.

Gotham Voices (NYC) newsletter: http://nextviewventures.com/blog/gotham-voices/

Subscribe to the NextView blog for future episodes and more resources for seed-stage startups: http://nextviewvc.com/blog

Visit http://lolatravel.com to learn more about the company and their product

Follow Ellen on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ellenchisa

Thanks for listening!

 

Mar 28, 2017

Adam Marchick, CEO of VoiceLabs, sees the disruptive force on the horizon that is voice technology. Whether it's voice-based apps or voice inputs and outputs, all of us in tech should be watching this trend, and Adam is at the forefront of it. 

Adam has led a remarkable career, spanning six different startups and seven-plus years as an investor. Today, NextView business school intern Jenny Jao from HBS discusses the major lessons he's learned and why his trajectory was, in his words, "like catching a tiger by the tail."

Subscribe to the NextView blog for future episodes and more resources for seed-stage startups: nextviewvc.com/blog

Visit voicelabs.co to learn more about the company and their product

Follow Adam on Twitter: https://twitter.com/adammStanford

Thanks for listening!

 

 

Feb 23, 2017

Chad Laurans is the CEO of SimpliSafe, a large and growing tech company located in the Boston area. Years ago, in the span of 30 days, three of Chad's friends were robbed. The companies that should serve them well in those moments were anything but helpful, comforting, and simple to work with. That led to Chad's thriving business today.

Today, we discuss how Chad built an Internet of Things-like product before that phrase existed, before the hype helps your marketing or fundraising, and before anyone was thinking about the connected home.

Subscribe to the NextView blog for future episodes and more resources for seed-stage startups: http://nextviewvc.com/blog

Visit http://simplisafe.com to learn more about the company and their product

Follow Jay on Twitter: http://twitter.com/jayacunzo

Listen to Jay's show about creativity in business: http://unthinkable.fm

Thanks for listening!

Feb 14, 2017

Dan Reich is the CEO and co-founder of Troops, a company bringing artificial intelligence to your sales team's workflow, right in Slack. (Disclosure: NextView is an investor in Troops.)

Today, we discuss Dan's smart process hiring his early technical talent -- both leadership and front-line developers.

Subscribe to the NextView blog for future episodes and more resources for seed-stage startups: http://nextviewvc.com/blog

Follow Dan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DanReich

Follow Troops on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Troops

Visit http://troops.ai to learn more about the company and their product

Follow Jay on Twitter: http://twitter.com/jayacunzo

Listen to Jay's show about creativity in business: http://unthinkable.fm

 

Jan 22, 2017

Kristen Craft is VP of business development and marketing at Ovia Health. For this episode, Jay sat down with Kristen while she was head of biz dev at video platform company Wistia. They talk about what business development roles actually do for their companies, and when and why a founder would hire someone to lead up the function.

This is a deep, nuanced exploration of a job role that doesn't often fit as neatly into departmental categories as engineering, product, sales, or marketing. And Kristen is one of the best in the biz to discuss it.

Follow Kristen: http://twitter.com/thecrafty

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

Subscribe to the NextView Ventures blog: http://nextviewvc.com/blog

 

Jan 6, 2017

Mike Russell is the CEO and co-founder of Paintzen, a NextView-backed company based in New York. Over the last couple years, they've experienced strong growth for their marketplace business, and today, we dive deep into the weeds of how Mike and team grew the business. More specifically, we learn about the approach and tactics used to grow the supply side of the Paintzen marketplace.

Mike is a candid guy who was willing to share a ton of truth behind his business, as well as some very personal stories about a diagnosis that affected his life, an early customer and partner with a famous name, and more.

Visit http://paintzen.com to learn more

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

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

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