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What does it take to start a successful business? We are working the phone to find the answers by calling entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and their friends and foes. This podcast features our conversations.

What does it take to start a successful business? We are working the phone to find the answers by calling entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and their friends and foes. This podcast features our conversations.
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What does it take to start a successful business? We are working the phone to find the answers by calling entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and their friends and foes. This podcast features our conversations.




VV Show #60 - Larry Kramer of MarketWatch

Download the MP3. Today's media executives plotting to charge for their content would do well to hear how Larry Kramer beat Jim Cramer's by resisting pressure to put most content behind a pay wall while not relying entirely on advertising. To the average consumer, seemed to have come out of nowhere during the late 1990s to quickly establish itself as one of the leading sources of online financial information. For MarketWatch founder Larry Kramer, it...


VV Show #59 - Barry Silbert of SecondMarket

Download the MP3. Any shareholder in a startup can tell you there's a big difference between paper wealth and cash. Short of an IPO or outright acquisition, there are few options to cash out for the shareholders of even the most thriving private companies. Barry Silbert is determined to change that with his company SecondMarket -- an exchange like the NASDAQ for private stock and other illiquid assets. He founded the company in 2004 focused on restricted stock, and quickly reached...

VV Show #58 - Siamak Taghaddos and David Hauser of Grasshopper

Download the MP3. "Dial 1 for sales, dial 2 for support..." Ten years ago it cost over $10,000 to get a phone system with the advanced options we're used to hearing when we call big companies. Having a professional-sounding phone system was a surprisingly big challenge for small businesses short on cash. Enter Siamak Taghaddos and David Hauser who launched GotVMail to offer that service at rates starting at only $10 per month in 2003 as they were graduating college. They launched their...

VV Show #57 - Fabrice Grinda of OLX

Download the MP3. Craigslist seems unbeatable. It's often blamed (or celebrated) for destroying the classifieds business that helped keep American newspapers afloat. Now second-time Venture Voice guest Fabrice Grinda is seeking to dominate online classifieds with OLX, his latest venture. Unlike Craigslist, OLX is translated into many languages and has a global focus. OLX is completely ad supported so there are no fees for job or real estate listings as there are on Craigslist. Still, it...

VV Show #55 - Graham Hill of TreeHugger

Download the MP3. Graham Hill started the blog TreeHugger to cover green issues in 2003. After a steady climb in traffic and advertising, Graham sold the company to Discovery Communications in 2007 for $10 million. Since launch and even after the acquisition, Graham ran his business virtually. Graham lived in different cities from New York to Barcelona while working many hours to grow his company. His team of writers, ad sales people and developers chatted over Skype, got paid through...

VV Show #54 - Tim Westergren of Pandora

Download the MP3. It takes only a few seconds to customize a radio station on Pandora. Its founder Tim Westergren has been struggling for almost a decade to make it that way. Pandora was five years in the making before it streamed a single song to a user. For over two of those years the company was completely broke. While Tim convinced employees to defer over $1 million in salaries, Pandora underwent several changes in name, product and revenue models. Now Pandora is a leading online radio...

VV Show #52 - Sam Wyly of Maverick Capital, Green Mountain Energy, Michaels

Download the MP3. Not to be called a one trick pony, Sam Wyly's turned himself into a billionaire by starting and growing companies in technology, oil, retail and even in the restaurant industry. Coming from a modest upbringing, Sam worked in sales at IBM and Honeywell before founding University Computing in 1963 at age 29 with just "$1,000 and an idea" as he puts it in his book of that title. The company IPOed and grew to over 5,000 people. Sam hired CEOs and stayed an entrepreneur. He's...

VV Show #51 - Jeff Stewart of Mimeo, Monitor110 and Urgent Career

Download the MP3. Jeff Stewart needed that done yesterday. Jeff became an entrepreneur when he founded the web consultancy Square Earth in 1995. Only three years later he became a serial entrepreneur by starting Mimeo, a service that lets you send a file directly from your computer to be printed, bound and shipped overnight. Mimeo struggled in the dot com crash of 2000-2001 just as it was getting off the ground. Jeff was able to pull Mimeo though the downturn despite almost running out of...

VV Show #50 - Derek Sivers of CD Baby and Muckwork

Download the MP3. Last time Derek Sivers was on Venture Voice three years ago he told us he had to "whack 'em [investors] off with a stick". Now we know why. Derek announces on our show for the first time the amount he sold his company for this past summer: $22 million. Derek owned 100% of the equity. Though he might have made more money than most of his fellow music entrepreneurs, Derek's no Gordon Gekko. In this interview, Derek tells us how he put all of his money from the sale into a...

VV Show #49 - Rafat Ali of paidContent and contentNext

Download the MP3. Attention entrepreneurs dealing with the current economic downturn: This interview is for you. After working as a journalist for Jason Calacanis at Silicon Alley Reporter, Rafat Ali ended up broke in a market with a dearth of employment opportunities. To try to find a new job, Rafat created as an "interactive resume." Luckily, no one hired him. From these humble beginnings, Rafat bootstrapped his blog holding company, ContentNext Media, for four years...

VV Show #40 - Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn

Download the MP3. Real business networking takes place in the country club, at the chamber of commerce and on the golf course. After all, the Internet is just for friending strangers on MySpace and poking friends on Facebook. If you said all that to Reid Hoffman, he might think twice about adding you as a contact in LinkedIn, the business networking site he started that connects over seven million professionals. Although his Palo Alto-based company is now profitable and growing rapidly,...


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