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Fund/Build/Scale

Technology Podcasts

“Fund/Build/Scale” explains how to create a startup when all you have is an idea — and Season 1 is all about AI. My guests are sharing strategies and frameworks that listeners can adapt and use inside their own companies. We’re discussing the ins and outs of fundraising, product development, regulation, going to market, and other essential topics. Listeners will gain an insider’s perspective on what it takes to build an ethically responsible company in one of tech’s most competitive and rapidly evolving sectors. Entrepreneurs, VCs, academics, policy experts, enterprise leaders and others will share their thoughts on addressing technical challenges, building teams, breaking into corporate sales and other core issues AI startups grapple with. I hope you’ll join this ongoing conversation about the intersection of AI innovation and investment. Subscribe now — the podcast will be available on all major platforms, with the first episode launching in February 2024.

Location:

United States

Description:

“Fund/Build/Scale” explains how to create a startup when all you have is an idea — and Season 1 is all about AI. My guests are sharing strategies and frameworks that listeners can adapt and use inside their own companies. We’re discussing the ins and outs of fundraising, product development, regulation, going to market, and other essential topics. Listeners will gain an insider’s perspective on what it takes to build an ethically responsible company in one of tech’s most competitive and rapidly evolving sectors. Entrepreneurs, VCs, academics, policy experts, enterprise leaders and others will share their thoughts on addressing technical challenges, building teams, breaking into corporate sales and other core issues AI startups grapple with. I hope you’ll join this ongoing conversation about the intersection of AI innovation and investment. Subscribe now — the podcast will be available on all major platforms, with the first episode launching in February 2024.

Language:

English

Contact:

4157424945


Episodes
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Episode 9 | Taking an AI startup from research to reality with Dipanwita Das of Sorcero

6/6/2024
For this episode of Fund/Build/Scale, I interviewed Dipanwita Das, CEO and co-founder of Sorcero, about the journey of taking an AI startup from research to reality. She shared her experience of interviewing more than 300 people to shape Sorcero's product and technical requirements, as well as strategies for aligning customer needs with product development. We also discussed the challenges of building a capable team, fundraising, and the process she and her co-founders used to transform their thesis into a marketable product. Links SorceroDipanwita DasWalter BenderRichard GravesWhat is a minimum loveable product?Funding alert: AI startup Sorcero raised a (mid-pandemic) $3.5M bridge roundAI startup Sorcero secures $10M for language intelligence platformHow Sorcero is improving the accessibility of scientific literature Thanks for listening! Fund/Build/Scale is sponsored by Mayfield and Securiti.

Duration:00:47:41

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Episode 8 | Securiti CEO Rehan Jalil on scaling to $1M ARR (and beyond)

5/14/2024
Going from zero to $1M in annual recurring revenue is worth celebrating, but it’s no guarantee that your startup is on a path to success. How long did it take to reach this milestone? How much did you spend to acquire each customer, and how many have renewed or extended their contracts? When it comes to sales, repeatability equals success. To learn more about the tactics startups use to reach $1 million ARR (and beyond) I interviewed Rehan Jalil, CEO of Securiti. Drawing from his experience as a three-time founder, we talked about setting up an initial sales motion, understanding and validating the problem you're solving, focusing on a specific audience to hone your value proposition, and building trust with early customers. Episode breakdown: Thanks for listening! Follow Fund/Build/Scale on LinkedIn and Substack.

Duration:00:35:26

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Episode 7 | Communicating your vision with May Habib (CEO, Writer) and Gaurav Misra (CEO, Captions)

5/1/2024
Successful entrepreneurs must translate their personal visions into something tangible enough to attract employees, investors, and eventually, customers. There are best practices for product management and software pricing, but how do you make yourself persuasive (and authentic) enough to convince someone else to risk their time and money on your idea? I interviewed May Habib (CEO and co-founder, Writer) and Gaurav Misra (CEO and co-founder, Captions) to learn how they use a mix of hard and soft skills to maintain a clear and strategic vision that informs everything from recruiting to GTM strategy. We also discussed methods for finding investors who understand your space, building a team, and why “rarely is the first idea the right idea.” Here’s a full episode breakdown: Part 1: May Habib, CEO and co-founder, Writer Part 2: Gaurav Misra, CEO and co-founder, Captions

Duration:01:00:01

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Fund/Build/Scale mini-episode | From seed stage to Series A with Coalesce CEO Armon Petrossian [Part 2]

4/22/2024
In part two, Armon explained why he initially resisted investor advice to raise a Series A and spoke frankly about the challenges involved with stepping up into a leadership role, which led to some interesting talk about overcoming impostor syndrome, something a lot of us can relate to. Part 2:

Duration:00:21:10

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Fund/Build/Scale mini-episode | From seed stage to Series A with Coalesce CEO Armon Petrossian [Part 1]

4/22/2024
I interviewed Coalesce CEO and co-founder Armon Petrossian in February 2024 to talk about his company's journey from seed stage to Series A. I had no idea he was already working on his next round: just a few weeks after we recorded this interview, Coalesce announced a $50M Series B. To help me prepare, his team shared their slightly redacted Series A pitch deck, which was immensely helpful. I'd intended to make this a mini-episode, but there was so much here, I decided to break it up into two parts. Part 1:

Duration:00:20:45

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Episode 6 | AI compliance and regulation with Laura Bisesto of Nextdoor

4/16/2024
I interviewed Laura Bisesto (global head of policy and privacy at Nextdoor) in January 2024 to get her advice for AI startups that are just starting out. We talked about compliance, how to recognize when you need in-house help, and the overall importance of planning for worst case scenarios. She also had some thoughts for rolling out new AI-powered features, creating user advisory boards, and navigating a patchwork of state, federal and international laws. Here’s a breakdown of our conversation: Fund/Build/Scale is sponsored by Mayfield and Securiti.

Duration:00:29:21

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Episode 5 | Breaking into enterprise sales with Maria Latushkin (GVP of Technology and Engineering, Albertsons) and Jack Berkowitz (CDO, Securiti)

4/3/2024
For episode 5, I interviewed Maria Latushkin, GVP of Technology and Engineering at Albertsons, the second-largest grocery chain in America, and Jack Berkowitz, Chief Data Officer at Securiti (previously with ADP), to get their insider's perspective on how enterprise-level customers buy software and services from AI startups. The most surprising thing I learned came early in the chat: spinning up a pilot program or a partnership creates tangible risks for enterprise customers, which means they can only afford to work with a few startups at a time. Maria and Jack each have startup experience, but their time as C-level execs inside public companies gives them a unique perspective on breaking into enterprise sales. In this episode, we'll talk about sales strategies, navigating the procurement process, how to run a proof of concept or pilot program, and other essential topics. Here’s a full breakdown: For my next episode, I spoke to Laura Bisesto, global head of policy and privacy at Nextdoor. We talked about the regulatory landscape facing AI startups in 2024, and how small companies should start the work of developing their own ethical frameworks. We got into how to recognize when you need legal help, recapped some data governance best practices, and also talked about why it's so important to create a buttoned-down process for rolling out new AI features. Fund/Build/Scale is sponsored by Mayfield and Securiti.

Duration:00:38:41

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Episode 4 | Fundraising from both sides of the table with Jorge Torres (CEO/co-founder, MindsDB) and Vijay Reddy (AI Start investor, Mayfield)

3/19/2024
Jorge Torres (CEO, co-founder, MindsDB) and Vijay Reddy (AI Start investor, Mayfield) were the first two people I interviewed for Fund/Build/Scale. We met up at Jorge's office in San Francisco's Mission District on a rainy Friday afternoon in November 2023. We spent time discussing the ins and outs of pitch tactics and investor outreach, but we also talked about the criteria VCs use to evaluate zero-day investments, which red flags investors and founders both need to look out for, and how to find a VC to partner with for the next decade (not just the next funding round). Jorge has been through the fundraising process three times and Vijay is an experienced seed investor, so I was glad to talk to them both about fundraising from both sides of the table. Here's a breakdown of our conversation: Links: Jorge TorresMindsDBVijay ReddyMayfieldMindsDB AI CollectiveAI Start Seed Fundaistart@mayfield.com Fund/Build/Scale is sponsored by Mayfield and Securiti.

Duration:00:39:38

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Episode 3 | Tapping into the AI Developer Community with Ozzy Johnson (Director of Solutions Engineering, NVIDIA)

3/5/2024
I wanted to learn more about how inception-stage AI founders can tap into developer ecosystems, so I spoke to Ozzy Johnson, Director of Solutions Engineering for NVIDIA Developer Programs. In his role, he leads a global product team that accelerates its own work by interacting with outside developers who use the company’s technology. Johnson also works with NVIDIA’s Inception program, a virtual accelerator for AI and deep-learning startups. “It's kind of necessary to know the shape of the world to have a sense of where things are headed,” he said. “We ideally want to see around corners, we want to try to get there first, or at least, meet developers where they are.” Here’s what we talked about: Thanks for listening! Fund/Build/Scale on LinkedIn Fund/Build/Scale on Substack

Duration:00:34:54

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Episode 2 | Digging Your Moat: Customer Discovery + PLG for AI Startups with guest Rodrigo Liang (CEO/co-founder, SambaNova)

2/20/2024
Idea-stage investors are still excited about AI, but the savvier ones are looking for social proof and tangible takeaways from the customer discovery process. Before they commit, these investors are seeking evidence that the idea/team they’re considering won’t melt like snow in the rain the next time a major player improves their model. With that in mind, I interviewed Rodrigo Liang, co-founder and CEO of SambaNova Systems, for Episode 2. Launched in 2017, SambaNova raised more than a billion dollars in its first three years to create a full-stack LLM platform. Our conversation covered a lot of ground, including his thoughts on product-led growth strategy for AI startups and the importance of aligning the needs of customers with the technology you’re developing. Here’s a breakdown: Fund/Build/Scale is sponsored by Mayfield. If you have a fundable idea for an AI-first startup at the cognitive plumbing layer, email aistart@mayfield.com. The podcast is also sponsored by Securiti, pioneer of the Data Command Center. Follow Fund/Build/Scale on Substack and LinkedIn.

Duration:00:40:51

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Episode 1 | Building Trust with Your Inception Investor with guest Navin Chaddha (Managing Partner, Mayfield)

2/7/2024
In the first episode of Fund/Build/Scale, Mayfield Managing Partner Navin Chaddha spoke about the need for founders to identify investors they can trust, how to pitch Mayfield's AI Start seed fund, and why he’s specifically looking for inception-stage entrepreneurs who have “half-baked” ideas. Our conversation covered a lot of ground: Navin described the elements of a fundable idea, shared what excites (and unnerves) him about AI investing, and offered a framework for founder teams seeking solutions to orthogonal problems that create value for customers and align with market trends. Here’s an episode rundown: 1:07: AI investing and entrepreneurship 7:56: fundraising, enterprise opportunities and success metrics 17:27 the biggest challenges facing AI investors 19:11: what strong founder teams look like 22:10: leveraging inception-stage investors 26:47: why idea-stage founders shouldn't worry about revenue 31:36: pitfalls/opportunities at the enterprise level 34:25: the "impedance mismatch" between startups + enterprise customers 38:22: societal change + responsible innovation 42:48: how he educates himself about emerging tech Coming up in Episode 2: I spoke with Rodrigo Liang, CEO and co-founder of SambaNova, about digging a moat, customer discovery, and product-led growth. Please subscribe to Fund/Build/Scale on your favorite platform, and if you liked this episode, I hope you’ll give me a great rating. For now, you can find the Fund/Build/Scale newsletter on Substack. The podcast theme was written and performed by Michael Tritter and Carlos Chairez. Michael also edited the podcast and provided additional music, and I’m deeply grateful. Thanks for listening! Links: https://fundbuildscale.substack.comhttps://www.mayfield.comhttps://www.linkedin.com/in/navinchaddha/https://securiti.ai/https://www.mayfield.com/cognitive-plumbing/https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impedance_matchinghttps://www.linkedin.com/in/jenhsunhuang/https://www.linkedin.com/in/satyanadella/https://www.linkedin.com/in/thomas-kurian-469b6219/https://www.nvidia.comhttps://openai.com/https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gartner_hype_cyclehttps://sambanova.ai/https://laroda.bandcamp.com/track/artificio Fund/Build/Scale is sponsored by Mayfield Fund and Securiti.

Duration:00:46:46

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Welcome to Fund/Build/Scale

12/2/2023
Hi. I’m Walter Thompson. I worked in startups for years before becoming a journalist. Now, I’m launching “Fund/Build/Scale,” a podcast that explains how to create an AI startup when all you have is an idea. If you’re seeking general thought leadership or predictions about AI, this is not the podcast for you. Guests on “Fund/Build/Scale” are sharing strategies and frameworks that listeners can adapt and use inside their own companies. We’re discussing the ins and outs of fundraising, product development, regulation, going to market, and other essential topics. Across ten episodes, you’ll gain an insider’s perspective on what it takes to build an ethically responsible company in one of tech’s most competitive and rapidly evolving sectors. Entrepreneurs, VCs, academics, policy experts, enterprise software buyers and others will share their thoughts on addressing technical challenges, building teams, breaking into corporate sales and other core issues AI startups grapple with. I hope you’ll join this ongoing conversation about the intersection of AI innovation and investment. Subscribe now — the podcast will be available on all major platforms, with the first episode launching in February 2024.

Duration:00:01:39