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Ep. 23 - Embr Labs: Warm Up. Cool Down. On-Demand.

I'm super excited to publish today's founder interview. A group of curious material science students at MIT, while working on a project to help commercial buildings save on energy costs by heating people directly, developed a very low-powered thermal heating and cooling device for the wrist called the Embr Wave. Their startup journey took a winding course through Greentown Labs to the MIT Skills Accelerator and later the MassChallenge accelerator. Along the way, they picked up an NSF grant,...

Duration: 00:36:35

Ep. 22 - Zemcar: Your Family's Trusted Driver

It's 3am Monday morning, and I'm hard at work in the editing room, otherwise known as my couch. Tweaking each episode can take four to five hours, but sometimes the content is so good you finish wondering where the time went. Today's conversation with Juliette Kayyem, CEO of Zemcar, is one such episode. With safety and security the central themes of her career, Juliette spent time post Harvard Law School as advisor to Attorney General Janet Reno, a Homeland Security leader for Massachusetts...

Duration: 00:32:49

Ep. 21 - Spotted: Data Science Meets Celebrity Style

How many times have your clients or prospects, when sharing their biggest challenges or deepest desires, given you a brilliant idea for your next big venture? How often do those great ideas go unpursued? When today's guest Janet Comenos, Co-Founder & CEO of Spotted, kept hearing from major fashion brands how it was impossible to have a comprehensive, real-time view into the brand preferences of celebrities and influencers, she jumped at the opportunity to solve the problem. Insights gained...

Duration: 00:35:09

Ep. 20 - Analytical Space: New Solutions for NewSpace

Here we are in 2018, and the startup world has never been more intriguing. Early stage startups raised more money in 2017 in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) than venture funding, and seed investment rounds have fallen for the third straight year off 2014's highs. While business formation is down, fast-growing startups are in high gear. Businesses specializing in fields like cybersecurity, big data, artificial intelligence, and frontier tech are filling up the funding news wire -- and for good...

Duration: 00:53:05

Ep. 19 - Sh*t That I Knit: Knitting a Fashion Empire

Today's guest is Christina Fagan, Founder and CEO of Sh*t That I Knit, a Boston-based knitwear startup. A serial knitter starting in her youth, she put up a simple e-commerce website at the beckoning of her friends, enlisted knitters from around Boston to help fill inventory for her breakout Kickstarter campaign, and networked her way having celebrities like Kirsten Cavallari and Olympic Snowboarder Hannah Teter fall in love with her beanies and showcase them on their Instagram feeds. All...

Duration: 00:40:04

Ep. 18 - Neurala: Building Brains for Bots

The holidays are upon us, and with that comes family gatherings, delicious food, and a ton of presents. From my vantage point, this also seems like the year artificial intelligence invades the home. Amazon Dot and Google Home are invading countertops, Jibo, the world's first social robot, is dancing up a storm, and kids are building and interacting with toys like the Meccano M.A.X. Interactive Robot. And this seems like just the beginning. To better understand the technology behind these...

Duration: 00:41:05

Ep 16 - Tranquilo Mat: Shark Tank Winner Quiets Crying Babies

This episode finds us in a unique space, retail for babies. Joining me is Melissa Gersin, Founder & CEO of Boston-based startup Tranquilo Mat. Like so may of us, Melissa kicked around her idea with colleagues and friends for years before stepping up and bringing the Tranquilo Mat, a revolutionary vibrating mat for soothing crying and colicky babies, to market. This interview dives into the scariness and nuances of her first production run -- from having your first manufacturing partner...

Duration: 01:05:20

Ep. 15 - Vesper - Tiny Microphones That Listen Forever

Hello and welcome back to the Early Stage podcast, where we listen to some of the most dynamic Founders in the startup scene talk about the origins of their companies, what makes them special, and the unique challenges ahead. I'm John Valentine, resident startup nerd, and I host this humble pod. I'm glad I was able to sneak in a few hours of editing, because I'm really excited to introduce my conversation with Vesper CEO, Matt Crowley. A technology founded in a University of Michigan lab...

Duration: 00:57:42

Ep. 13 - TellusLabs: Spaceborne Insights That Matter

Hello and welcome back to the early stage podcast, the show that takes a deep dive into rising young startups and their founders. For today's conversation, I brought onboard David Potere, Co-Founder and CEO of Boston-based startup TellusLabs. His startup is in the business of using satellite imaging and machine learning to, at least in the present, project corn and soy crop yields. Commodities is the oldest marketplace in the world, and a lot of the technology around forecasting is world...

Duration: 00:53:59

Ep. 12 - Tyme: Smart Clothing for Your Body and Mind

In this episode, I spend time with Arnar Larusson, Co-founder at Tyme, a Boston-based startup that integrates sensors into clothing to measure various biometrics signals, including breathing and movement. Our conversation starts with his upbringing in Iceland and early signs of entrepreneurs, later moving into how prosthetics stay on the body and discussing his efforts at Harvard to create a fabric that decreases the amount of energy you need to walk. Next, we discuss the benefits and...

Duration: 00:51:34

Ep. 11 - Tank Utility: Enabling Smart, Connected Fuel Deliveries

When evaluating all the potential founders to ask on the show, I came across one I hadn't heard of before, Tank Utility. Founded by a few guys from EnerNOC, a smart metering startup that went on to great success, this startup focuses on the propane industry -- a sector largely ignored by startups and innovators. From walking into a frigid ski home with frozen pipes to prototyping and launching their propane tank level monitoring device in market, CEO Amos Epstein and his co-founders think...

Duration: 00:42:55

Ep. 10 - 3Derm: Teledermatology Made Practical

Liz Asai, Co-Founder and CEO of Boston-based digital health startup 3Derm, joins me on the pod this week. From the dorm rooms of Yale to product launches with some of the top hospital systems and payers in the country, Liz teaches us the power of patience and perseverance. For a healthcare startup to succeed, it needs to pass a wide range of tests, regulations, and coverage approvals -- and finally prove it's mettle against a constantly improving status quo. 3Derm has done exactly that...

Duration: 00:45:02

Ep. 8 - ReferralMob: Matching Professionals with Purpose-Driven Companies

ReferralMob Co-Founders Joseph Schwendt and David Samuels aren't new to big business and the startup game. Before teaming up, they led startups like EnerNOC and Apperian and corporations like Verisign and Intel. Despite their past successes, the pull of building their own company emerged when they hatched a solution to the inefficiencies in the recruiting process. Their technology is powered by users, allowing them to draw from their own networks and refer their friends to great jobs at...

Duration: 00:38:24

Ep. 06 - Fortified Bicycle: Theft Proof Bikes Made for the City

Boston-based @FortifiedBike Co-Founder and CEO @TivanAmour is no stranger to big challenges. Launching "The Defender" on Kickstarter as a test netted thousands of orders for the theft proof bike light and gave him the confidence he needed to join Co-Founder @SlavaMenn. With a full bike now on the market, revenue ramping up hard, and positive cash flow in sight, Tivan and I dig into a number of juicy topics for early stage entrepreneurs. What is it like to have 40 investors on the cap...

Duration: 00:45:38

Ep. 5 - Looop: Finding the Right Place in Realtime

Imagine if you had x-ray vision, being able to see into spaces before you arrive. CJ Bertam, Founder and CEO of Looop, has a vision to help the masses decide where to go so they can spend more time enjoying themselves in a place that fits their mood. Making place-based data actionable is a challenge but potentially lucrative opportunity, and CJ is positioning the Looop app and his team to take advantage. Give this episode a listen for his advice on funding, building a strong team,...

Duration: 00:48:05

Ep. 2 - Joulez: Changing the Way Girls See the World

Joulez Founder Stephanie Rowe (@StephanieLRowe) is giving tween girl permission, and a medium, to learn STEM skills while expressing their creativity. To reverse the discouraging trend of fewer women receiving technical degrees and pursuing STEM fields for their careers, Joulez is preparing to launch an IoT lamp kit that introduces coding and elementary electronics alongside arts and crafts. In this episode, Stephanie shares her personal story driving this passion. An early stage founder,...

Duration: 01:03:50

Ep. 1 - RateGravity: Flipping the Home Mortgage Industry on its Head

When Patrick Boyaggi (@patrickboyaggi) and Mike Tassone (@mike_tassone) left Leader Bank to create RateGravity, their goal was to make the home mortgage process easier by providing transparency, cutting human processes out of the equation, and supporting local and regional lenders -- those who know the market and can service customers the best. This episode is a deep dive into the origin of their startup, when they decided to make the jump, how they built out the founding team, their...

Duration: 00:38:52