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Recruit Rockstars Podcast

Recruit Rockstars is the only podcast on the people part of PE & VC portfolio companies.
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Now displaying: July, 2020
Jul 29, 2020

If you’re not outsourcing your company’s IT, you soon may be.

Ryan Denehy, CEO & Founder of Electric AI, is on a mission to make that possible.

He’s successfully scaled 3 technology businesses. After starting & selling one to Gannett, he did it again & sold Swarm to Groupon.

He’s now leading NY-based Electric, which created the world’s first automated IT platform. It’s backed by top investors like GGV Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, Bowery Capital, and Primary Venture Partners.

Electric ensures that the Wifi works, computers are setup on time for new hires, security is rock solid, and the right apps are in place for the right employees.

All thru one dashboard.

In just 3 years, Ryan has scaled the company to approx 200 full-time employees. And in this 20-minute conversation, he reveals how.

Jul 26, 2020

Half of us have a cat and/or dog (including my Winnie, an adorable Morkiepoo.)

And even if you’re not a pet parent, you know that we spend a fortune on our besties. That spells opportunity for Private Equity investors.

So I wanted to speak with an expert on our four-legged friends.

I tracked down Steve Bell, CEO of Zesty Paws. Based in Orlando & backed by PE firm Maxim Partners, Zesty Paws markets premium-quality supplements to keep our besties feeling zesty.

And business is booming.

Steve was uniquely-qualified, having been CEO of “I and love and you” pet care. Prior, he nailed the fundamentals at Nestle, General Mills, and Informatica.

In this 20-minute conversation, he reveals how he’s scaling Zesty Paws & building a Rockstar team.

Jul 22, 2020

Emma Stubbs is a Rockstar.

After graduating from Harvard in Neurobiology, she decided to take a hike.

Literally.

Covering 2,600 miles from Mexico to Canada.

Then, she joined a little-known startup called CircleUp. And after 4 promotions in 5 years, she’s now Chief Operating Officer.

Since then, CircleUp has become the leading investment platform providing capital to innovative, early-stage CPG brands with a modern, scalable approach to private markets.

In short, she helps CPG entrepreneurs thrive.

CircleUp’s investment platform finds & evaluates potential investment deals all algorithmically. It then invests equity and/or debt.

CircleUp has raised venture funding from the best: Union Square Ventures, Collaborative Fund, GV, Canaan Partners, QED Investors, Rose Park, and Maveron.

I wanted to find out how she’s scaled the CircleUp team to 70 people (and what possessed her to take that 2,600-mile hike.)

Jul 20, 2020

You may not be familiar with the venture capital firm M13.

But you sure know their success stories… M13’s portfolio includes Pinterest, SpaceX, Lyft, and FanDuel.

In fact, M13 has invested in 80 startups and already had 16 exits.

Currently investing from its second fund of $175 million, M13’s secret isn’t just the $4M to $7M checks it writes.

It’s in the expertise it lends to portfolio companies… And that includes Talent.

Matt Hoffman is Partner & Head of Talent at M13. He works across the fund’s portfolio companies to ensure that they find, land, and keep the best-possible talent.

And he knows how.

Because prior, he served as VP People of DigitalOcean and Sr Director People of Return Path. Two super success stories.

I just had a chance to spend 20 minutes with him. We covered a ton of things, and he really opened the kimono on hiring in Venture Capital companies.

Jul 20, 2020

When it comes to talent at Venture Capital firms, they don’t come more seasoned than Tylee Holden.

She leads the people part of the business at BOND.

Spun out from Kleiner Perkins (where she was Talent Partner,) San Francisco-based BOND invests in Consumer & Enterprise growth companies. With over $1 billion in capital, BOND has made investments in companies like Hippo Insurance, Canva, and Nextdoor.

Prior, she was Head of Executive Search at Uber. So she knows a thing or two about scaling a business.

In this 20-minute conversation, Tylee shares how to find the best people, based on the stage of your company. How to land them. And how to keep them, even when the headhunter calls.

Jul 14, 2020

Dennis Mortensen is Founder & CEO of x.ai, the company that does just one thing.

They help you schedule meetings (without the phone tag & without the email back-and-forth).

You may not even realize it, but you’ve likely used his company’s product. I sure have.

So, I was lucky enough to grab him for a 20-minute conversation.

x.ai is the super-sophisticated, automated way to schedule meetings. And it’s one of the first truly AI-focused companies built around a practical application.

Along the way, he’s raised over $40 million in venture capital from top VC’s:  Pegasus Tech Ventures, Pritzker Group, DCM Ventures, Lerer Hippeau, SoftBank Capital, Tuesday Capital, FirstMark Capital, Two Sigma Ventures.

Dennis has forgotten more about AI than most people will ever know. And he’s scaled a 25-person, virtual team of people who are fanatical about scheduling meetings.

I wanted to find out how he’s built the team. Here’s the candid no-BS interview.

 

Jul 2, 2020

Brad’s Deals is a huge tech success story in Chicago.

The site helps millions of shoppers save money by curating the best deals from 4,000 retailers & expert shopping tips.

This profitable business has scaled from 9 employees to 90, without raising a ton of VC money.

I wanted to find out how…

So I tracked down Jessica Adams. She heads HR & Recruiting for Brad’s Deals.

In 2020, she was named by Crain’s as a “Notable Leader in HR” for her innovative solutions to enhance employee wellness, work-life balance, and diversity & inclusion. Last year, she was selected as a “Benny Award” winner for creating innovative employee benefits.

In this 20-minute interview, Jessica reveals a ton of juicy stuff:

— her Alumni Program, that’s helped her hire some amazing talent
— the “Talent Anywhere” mentality, in which employees can live wherever they want
— the monetary value of having a best friend at work
— and a bunch more

If you want to scale your team successfully, you’d hard-pressed to find better advice.

 

Jul 2, 2020

Elizabeth Yin is General Partner of Hustle Fund. It’s a pre-seed VC fund that invests at the earliest stage - typically in a founding team with a beta version of the product but no revenues.

She writes the first check (after Mom is tapped out.)

As Elizabeth says, she loves to invest in “hilariously early startups.” The average check is $25K. More importantly, invests hours each week with each of her portfolio companies.

Previously, CEO of LaunchBit ad tech platform. Then became Partner of the 500 Startups well-known accelerator program.

In this 20-minute conversation, Elizabeth candidly shares the mistakes that she sees Entrepreneurs make when recruiting.

And how you can live to fight another day.

 

Jul 1, 2020

Steven Galanis is CEO & Co-Founder of Chicago-based Cameo. (It’s red-hot.)

He’s convinced that a winning startup founding team consists of a Hacker, a Hustler, and a Hipster. In this new interview, he explains.

In case you don’t know Cameo, it’s the next-generation celebrity autograph. No more signed autographs. No more selfies. Now, you can get your favorite celebrity (Cameo has 20,000 athletes, actors, musicians, you name it) to record a personalized 30-second video. They’ll say whatever you want to whomever you want.

I’m a customer.

And I’m not alone. Their talent has produced nearly 500,000 videos so far. With 30% outside the US. And Cameo keeps a 25% cut of the revenue.

Like me, you’ll be impressed with Steven’s combination of IQ and EQ. He’s made plenty of recruiting mistakes & owns up to every one of them. As he says, “The first 50 hire the next 500.”

Steven’s also lined up top-tier venture investors with $65M from Chernin Group, Spark Ventures, Bain Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins, Pritzker Group, Chicago Ventures, and Origin Ventures.

Cameo is filled with celebrities such as Caitlyn Jenner, Ice T, Lance Bass, and even ‘Donald Trump.’

But the one I most wanted to interview was its CEO Steven Galanis. I hope you get as much from the conversation as I did.

Here’s the interview.

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