Startup Success: A Podcast for Founders & Investors

"Startup Success" podcast: Scaling insights, compelling stories, and expert advice for founders and investors.

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AJ Yawn

Latest Episodes

Behind the Scenes at an Impact-First VC Fund

Behind the Scenes at an Impact-First VC Fund

Our guest today is Stasia Obremskey, Co-Founder and Managing Director at RH Capital, an impact-first venture capital fund that invests in the future of women's health.

Stasia provides an in-depth look at the types of innovations RH Capital is passionate about and shares examples of how their portfolio companies are dramatically improving health outcomes, affordability and health equity. Listeners will learn about the potential for outsized returns in this is a large, underserved, rapidly growing market.

We also discuss:
  • The critical importance of managing every penny of your available cash, especially in this market
  • Stasia’s advice for founders on securing funding
  • The pivotal role of a CFO at a startup

Join us for this fascinating conversation and discover how RH Capital is a driving a paradigm shift in women’s healthcare.

Visit RH Capital at rhcapital.vc to learn more about their mission and investment criteria. Startups pioneering change in women’s health are encouraged to submit a pitch via the Pitch Us form on their website. 

----Stay connected with our host, Kate Adams, here on LinkedIn
Innovating for Impact: AlleyCorp's Approach to Venture Capital and Social Change

Innovating for Impact: AlleyCorp's Approach to Venture Capital and Social Change

We’re thrilled to have Tanya Beja, General Partner at AlleyCorp, in studio for the latest episode of Startup Success. Join us for a fascinating conversation about their unique approach to investing and incubating that will strike a chord with startup founders looking to make a positive impact on society.

Tanya introduces us to AlleyCorp Impact, a fund dedicated to backing founders who are intentionally building for middle or low income Americans - the 80% of families who power our economy. Impact specifically looks for compelling ideas that use tech to solve big social challenges, accelerate upward mobility, and generate strong returns.

We also discuss:


  • How AlleyCorp combines incubation and early-stage investment to build category-defining companies
  • Real-world examples of how their portfolio companies are impacting a wide range of human needs, such as health equity and economic security
  • Their new philanthropically funded ENG(INE) program that pairs nonprofits with a team of engineers to build tech that advances social & economic opportunity
  • Tanya’s advice for founders on the importance of having a North Star, hiring amazing people, and how to pick the right investors

Don't miss this episode packed with insights and inspiration for anyone interested in the world of venture capital and impact-driven investing.

For more information on AlleyCorp and to stay updated with their latest ventures, visit allycorp.com and follow them on LinkedIn. Nonprofits interested in applying for ENG(INE) can learn more at nonprofitengine.org/

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Stay connected with our host, Kate Adams, here on LinkedIn
An Inside Look at How a Venture Capital Firm Operates

An Inside Look at How a Venture Capital Firm Operates

In this episode of Startup Success, we sit down with Josh Gilbert, CFO of the VC firm Freestyle, who unravels the intricacies of venture capital investing. Josh offers an insider's perspective on the role of VC firms in the startup ecosystem and sheds light on the inner workings of how they operate.

His insights on the current state of the startup/VC landscape, along with why the renewed focused on due diligence is a good thing for startup founders (despite the potential headaches), make this a not-to-be-missed episode!

Highlights:

  • Why due diligence is more stringent now and how founders should approach it
  • His advice on what founders need to be transparent about, including past failures
  • Josh details the rigorous process VCs go through in evaluating startups
  • How to build strong relationships with your investors and why it’s important

Josh's dedication to supporting founders shines through, making this episode a must-listen for anyone navigating the world of startups and venture capital. Tune in to learn more about Freestyle and the secrets to startup success.

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Stay connected with our host, Kate Adams, here on LinkedIn
Unveiling the Future of Digital Health with Vivante Health

Unveiling the Future of Digital Health with Vivante Health

Join us in this enlightening episode as we sit down with Bill Snyder, the CEO and Founder of Vivante Health. Propelled by a recent $31M Series B round, his company is on a mission to revolutionize digital health, starting with chronic GI conditions. 

Bill shares the founding story of Vivante Health and how their innovative platform transforms the way patients suffering from digestive health issues receive care. He also gives us a peek into the challenges of entrepreneurship, including the highs and lows of fundraising and the importance of building a strong company culture. 

We discuss: 

  • The 3 things Vivante Health is doing right that sparked investors’ interest 
  • The power of transparency, accountability, and collaboration in building a mission-driven organization
  • How his startup is using pattern recognition to improve patient outcomes
  • Bill’s hard-won advice for dealing with obstacles that arise along the startup journey

Tune in for valuable insights from an inspiring founder who built a successful startup from the ground up.

----Stay connected with our host, Kate Adams, here on LinkedIn
Legal 101 for Startups

Legal 101 for Startups

Today we dive  into the world of legal strategy for startups with Charu Satia, startup attorney and Partner at Silicon Legal Strategy. With more than a decade of experience under her belt, Charu provides invaluable insights into the array of key legal issues startup founders need to be aware of from inception to exit.

Charu explains why it makes sense to bet on your startup's success by investing in a solid legal foundation early on. From entity formation to IP protection, equity structuring to commercial agreements, Charu highlights the critical areas where legal counsel plays a pivotal role in minimizing risks and maximizing opportunities for startups.

We discuss:
  • The importance of working with legal counsel from an early stage to avoid costly cleanup and delays during fundraising or M&A due diligence
  • Common pitfalls of opting for shortcuts like free online legal templates (hint: it may cost you more in the long run!)
  • Actionable advice for startup founders around building a network of supportive partners 

Tune in to gain valuable insights from Charu Satia and learn how to lay the groundwork for your startup's success with strategic legal counsel.

Silicon Legal Strategy specializes in corporate transactional work, serving as trusted advisors throughout the entire lifecycle of startups. To learn more about their laser focus on helping entrepreneurs succeed, visit: www.siliconlegal.com.

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Stay connected with our host, Kate Adams, here on LinkedIn
The Power of User Feedback, Agile Product Pivots & Organic Marketing

The Power of User Feedback, Agile Product Pivots & Organic Marketing

Our guest today, Aagya Mathur, has an inspiring story to tell. She transformed her personal health challenges into a startup that empowers people to improve their overall quality of life.

In this episode, Aagya, Co-Founder & CEO at Aavia, shares how she brought her idea to fruition with help from MIT and then recently was accepted into the Mayo Clinic and ASU MedTech Accelerator. After an incredible Q1, her startup plans to leverage the lessons they learned around pivoting, listening to customers, and the power of organic marketing to reach even great levels of success.

Our conversation covers:
  • The importance of user-centric design and staying agile enough to adapt quickly
  • Aavia’s innovative and hugely successful approach to growth marketing through organic, education-driven content on social
  • Why perseverance and grit are key to navigating the ups & downs of the founder’s journey
  • Her lightbulb moment of realizing that data-driven, science-backed insights could shine a light on an under-researched, under-funded area of health and potentially help half the world’s population


Tune in to hear how Aavia is revolutionizing health and empowering people with ovaries to take control of their well-being, one cycle at a time.

To learn more about Aavia and download the app, visit their website at aavia.io or find them on the App Store. Connect with Aavia on social media for educational content and updates on Instagram and TikTok (@aavia.io).

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Stay connected with our host, Kate Adams, here on LinkedIn
Positive Trends in the Startup Ecosystem

Positive Trends in the Startup Ecosystem

The tech ecosystem in Los Angeles may not grab headlines like Silicon Valley, but over the past decade, it has gained some serious momentum and a several major VC players have emerged. Our guest today is Jennifer Richard, Principal at Bonfire Ventures – one LA’s top B2B venture firms.

Jennifer discusses what she’s excited about in the tech sector right now, why she’s optimistic about 2024, and Bonfire Ventures’ investment approach, which prioritizes building long term relationships with founders. ​​

Our conversation also covers:  

  • Advice for founders, including how to make a positive first impression on investors 
  • Increased deal flow, more competitive rounds, and other positive trends Jennifer is currently seeing in the market
  • What Jennifer and her firm look for in startups
  • Jennifer’s extraordinary experience as a Kauffman Fellow
  • The latest on LA’s tech scene

Tune in for the latest on the evolving startup ecosystem and real-world advice for founders in the midst of their startup journey.

For more information about Bonfire Ventures and to connect with Jennifer, visit their website or reach out on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Stay connected with our host, Kate Adams, here on LinkedIn
A VC’s Optimistic Outlook on Today’s Startup Landscape

A VC’s Optimistic Outlook on Today’s Startup Landscape

Even though the success rates for startups today are sobering, there is reason to be optimistic. As our guest today, Venture Capitalist John Frankel sees it: "Cycles happen. We've gone through a downturn and I think we're now at an inflection point. We’re already starting to see some companies raise money at high valuations."

John founded ff Venture Capital in 2008 and has since funded over 150 seed and early-stage companies that in turn have created thousands of jobs and impacted the lives of millions. 

He joins us to share his motivation for founding a VC firm, his investment philosophy, and his perspective on today’s startup landscape.

Our conversation delves into:

  • John's advice for founders
  • What his firm looks for in early stage startups
  • The significance of resilience and adaptability for early-stage founders
  • His current fascination with applied AI, including drones, robotics, and financial services tech

This episode provides valuable insights and practical advice for early-stage founders navigating the challenging yet promising startup world.

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Stay connected with our host, Kate Adams, here on LinkedIn
How Venture Capital is Helping to Innovate Healthcare

How Venture Capital is Helping to Innovate Healthcare

In today's episode, we have two VCs in the studio, Dr. Tara Bishop and Eileen Tanghal, co-founders of Black Opal Ventures, who discuss their strategic focus of supporting startups that are driving innovation at the intersection of technology and healthcare.

We explore the genesis of Black Opal Ventures and how the duo, who met as freshman 30 years ago at MIT, took a leap of faith, ultimately raising $63 million for their fund.

Discussion highlights:

  • How their unique backgrounds converged in a shared vision for funding impactful innovation in healthcare
  • Their passion for building a future where automation/AI drives down costs, making healthcare more accessible
  • Why we are now on the cusp of a massive wave of evolution in the healthcare industry
  • Black Opal Ventures’ portfolio, ranging from next-gen wearables to novel solutions for diagnosing lung cancer
  • Where Founders in this space should be focused and their thoughts on how to achieve success

The episode gives listeners a captivating glimpse into the journey of two visionary leaders shaping the future of healthcare.

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Stay connected with our host, Kate Adams, here on LinkedIn!

Bio of Startup Success: A Podcast for Founders & Investors

The "Startup Success" podcast is a valuable resource for scaling founders and investors in the startup world. With a focus on what's currently working in the industry, the podcast features engaging interviews with successful founders, insightful investors, thought leaders, and experts. Listeners gain access to compelling stories, emerging trends, and practical advice from those who have experienced the challenges and triumphs of building and scaling businesses. Each episode explores a critical aspect of startup success, including finance, entrepreneurship, fundraising, hiring, marketing, sales, and operations. By sharing in-depth discussions and strategies, the podcast equips startups and portfolio companies with the knowledge and insights they need to navigate the complex startup landscape and effectively scale their ventures.

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