Hosted by Jason Yeh

They raised millions for their startups...but how?

How do entrepreneurs convince people to give them money? We profile founders who've gone through the fundraising gauntlet in order to get their venture off the ground.

Latest Episodes

Check out our latest chats with awesome founders.

All  Episodes
New
February 13, 2024
55
 MIN

In the last two decades, the startup industry has seen remarkable transformations, from the emergence of angel investors and venture capital firms to the rise of SaaS, cryptocurrencies, and the global diversification of the field. But what's even more exciting is the increasing presence of female founders, who, despite facing challenges, are making significant strides in entrepreneurship. Today, we're chatting with Joanna Strober, a founder who's witnessed this industry shift firsthand. From being one of the few women in venture capital to securing venture backing for her first company (which was later acquired by Weight Watchers), and raising a total of $39M for her latest venture, Midi Health, Joanna's journey is nothing short of inspiring. Curious about what it was like being apart of a changing industry? Listen to find out.

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New
January 30, 2024
66
 MIN

Just like with any skill, there are beginners, and there are experts. Through practice and experience, the experts become exceptional at what they do. In fundraising, there are also experts. You could call them the "seasoned vets" of venture capital. These are the founders that have raised all the way from small angel rounds to Series B and beyond. It's safe to say that any founder who's raised over 4 rounds of venture capital knows a thing or two about fundraising. Today, Jason got to share his conversation with one of those fundraising experts. Dylan Beynon is a 3x Founder who has raised hundreds of millions of capital throughout his career. His most recent venture is Mindbloom, a company that provides at-home psychedelic care that transforms mental health which he has raised over $50M across 3 rounds for. Dylan's success with Mindbloom is amazing, but his why is even better. Get your tissues, this one might pull on your heartstrings...

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New
January 16, 2024
66
 MIN

2023 was a tough year to fundraise. Almost all venture-backed founders felt the toll of being in a down market this past year. But when you're a female engineer, on top of that a female founder of a tech company - it almost always feels like a tough year to fundraise. For Heather Shoemaker, Founder and CEO of Language I/O, she never expected to fundraise. She ran a profitable company and was growing steadily each year from her headquarters in Cheyenne, Wyoming! But as we know - things change. Competitors come, and there's things you have to do in order to keep moving forward. In Heather's case that meant going out to raise her first venture round. It took awhile, and she met some very interesting VCs along the way, but eventually she ran into the right people and closed her seed round. In this episode, we get to dive into Heather's fundraising journey and how that ultimately led her to raise Language I/O's $8M Series A in July of 2023. Stick around towards the end and you'll also get to hear from some of Heather's investors from Wyoming VC!

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New
January 2, 2024
65
 MIN

Not every entrepreneur starts off knowing what business they want to create. For Bobby Pinero, Co-founder and CEO of Equals, it took him 8 years of building Intercoms Finance Organization to the success it is today until he found the product he wanted to create. Best part? He is building the product he always wished he had while working there. In today's episode we dive into Bobby's background, how he decided on Equals, and ultimately the trials and tribulations that went along with raising a $16M Series A from one of the top VC firms out there - Andreessen Horowitz.

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New
September 26, 2023
63
 MIN

Let me get something straight: fundraising is tough. You will be challenged. You will be knocked down. But if you have true grit and passion for your company, not even the hardest of blows can keep you down. For Tiffany Kelly, CEO and founder of Curastory - she knows all too well what it's like to take a hit. And less than two months ago, she experienced what I call a founder's worst nightmare. In today's episode, you get to hear an unfiltered version of what it's like being a founder raising multiple rounds of capital in a difficult market. Huge shoutout to Tiffany for keeping the conversation so real and authentic. This is why I love these conversations. I love creating opportunities for founders to see all that went into those million dollar round you see on social media. Granted not all are as difficult as Tiffany's was, but they're definitely no walk in the park either. Give this episode a listen to see how one tiny move by a VC firm almost destroyed Curastory.

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New
September 11, 2023
53
 MIN

It's becoming more and more common for people to get through college and realize they still have no idea what they want out of life. On top of that, majority of the time we're too scared to do anything about it. Next thing we know time has passed and we feel suffocated in a job we don't even like. We put our dreams on the back burner, sacrificing creativity for stability. For today's guest Lucas Martinez - Co-founder and CEO of Talent.com - he knew right away that the corporate world wasn't for him. Because of this, he knew he had to act on it - fast. This decision let him to start his company with two of his closest friends. It was a messy start, but once they got the ball rolling they were able to land around $1M CAD from angel investors alone. Because of that raise they were able to become pretty profitable. Great, right? But after some time the investors were ready to pull out, and it was time to run a process. In this episode, Lucas talks about what it was like trying to create a business of quality while at the same time scaling it. He talks about mindset, the benefits of working with VC's, the ups and downs of raising, learning to plan, and how passion was the key to Talent.com's success. If you're a founder looking to understand all that goes into scaling and raising for your company, give this episode a listen

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New
August 29, 2023
62
 MIN

Andrew Gazdecki might have had some successful raises (totaling over $11M for his most recent venture) but paradoxically, he believes 99% of founders shouldn't raise. As the founder of Acquire.com, the best online marketplace to buy and sell startups - Andrew fills us in on the dangers of placing too much importance on fundraising as a founder. Instead he believes in focusing on constant improvement, listening to your customers, and creating an amazing culture. From there, everything else will fall into place. Glorified by the media, fundraising lots of dollars seems to be equated to running a successful company - something Andrew thinks is far from the truth. Look out for our conversation with Andrew where he tells us about growing up with an itch to be an entrepreneur, building a business of value, and utilizing his resources (even when he started with none) to find the perfect investors. If you're a founder getting ready to raise or thinking of raising, you don't want to miss his insights.

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New
August 15, 2023
60
 MIN

A lot of people say that the hustle of an entrepreneur starts long before their first business. For Thomas McLeod, 5x serial entrepreneur, this couldn't be more true. Growing up, Tom never stayed in the same place for too long. Constantly bouncing around to different schools, it got him used to being uncomfortable and facing challenge. By the time he was in middle school, Tom was already calculating profit margins off of baseball cards that he was selling to his fellow classmates. As we get deeper into the episode, Tom speaks on some of the difficulties and achievements he faced along his path of building five different companies and the lessons that he learned along the way. One of those lessons being to drop the expectation of things always working out as a founder. Instead, he speaks on learning from his mistakes and using them as opportunities to better not only his company but also his character. Now, Thomas is building his 5th company Arkive, a decentralized museum of culture curated by its own members, which was able to raise a $9.7 M seed round back in July of 2022. Whatever Tom's doing, it's working. Regardless if you are a founder or not, this episode is full of mindset gems that can be applied to almost anything in life.

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New
August 1, 2023
50
 MIN

Community & representation. These are the two things that Lolita Taub, founder of Ganas Ventures has prioritized while building her fund. Most people within venture would view the way in which Lolita has built her fund as unconventional or even impossible, but that hasn't stopped her from establishing one of the strongest communities filled with minorities and other underrepresented founders who have been pushed away from the 'conventional' world of Venture Capital. So where did this drive to create change come from? Being from a family of immigrants, you could say her drive has always been there. Lolita grew up with the understanding that she had to work twice as hard in order to get the same amount of recognition, especially in the work place. By no means has her journey been easy, but it's been worth it. In this episode, we learn more about what it's taken for her to get this far and what it means to be a founder of a VC firm.

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New
December 22, 2022
48
 MIN

Launching a startup requires not only expertise and skills but also immense determination and resilience. The journey from the ground up demands substantial effort, skills, and financial resources. However, not everyone feels comfortable asking for money, even though fundraising is often necessary for scaling the company or meeting basic financial needs like salaries. Shiloh Johnson, an innovator who merged technology and taxes, shares her remarkable fundraising journey in this episode. Starting with no prior knowledge of fundraising, Shiloh overcame her personal discomfort and operational financial needs to raise millions for her company, ComplYant. Join Shiloh and Jason as they explore the pivotal moments that led to her decision to raise funds, resulting in multiple successful funding rounds.

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New
December 1, 2022
63
 MIN

Setting the right company valuation is a complex and pivotal process that significantly impacts its future. Striking a balance is crucial - too high may deter investors, while too low could result in giving away too much. However, Emmanuel Straschnov, co-founder of Bubble, defied the norm by deliberately seeking a lower valuation in the seed round. Contrary to expectations, this strategic move proved successful, as Emmanuel later secured a massive $100 million funding round from prominent investors. By prioritizing a broader perspective and leveraging his unwavering passion, Emmanuel shares his remarkable fundraising journey for Bubble in this episode, shedding light on his unique and risky valuation strategy.

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New
November 17, 2022
73
 MIN

As a first-time founder and fundraiser, finding a guide is crucial. Typically, you seek successful founders or companies in your industry with similar backgrounds and visions to emulate. But what if you're entering uncharted territory with no models to follow? This was the predicament faced by Suneera Madhani, CEO and founder of Stax. Despite lacking a guide, patterns, or representation, Suneera, driven by her solution-oriented upbringing, forged her own path. In this episode, Suneera recounts the challenges she encountered, including the need to raise funds and navigate the venture world without prior experience, ultimately leading her billion-dollar company, Stax.

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New
November 4, 2022
54
 MIN

Facing unforeseen challenges is inevitable, even with meticulous fundraising planning. Ricky Yean, co-founder and CEO of Flow Club, discovered this firsthand. Initially aiming to develop a consumer-social product, Ricky encountered an unexpected obstacle when the COVID-19 pandemic struck during his fundraising preparations. Despite the adversity, Ricky shares his remarkable journey of adapting to the changing landscape and employing ingenious fundraising tactics to secure a significant investment for fueling the growth of Flow Club.

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New
October 1, 2022
61
 MIN

Robbie Bent, CEO and Co-Founder of Othership, had a challenging journey in fundraising and finding his true passion. Despite his initial setbacks, he persevered with a strong drive to succeed. However, he eventually realized that his mindset was hindering his progress. After learning from his mistakes and undergoing a significant mindset shift, Robbie found himself in a new industry, tackling a problem that aligned perfectly with his passion and expertise.

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New
December 7, 2021
47
 MIN

Fundraising for software that supports charitable giving started off as a challenge for Grapevine CEO Emily Rasmussen. After unlocking the fundraising story that would gain traction, she ran into another challenge. The year-end holidays disrupted her momentum and threatened to sabotage an exciting round. Emily shares how she weathered the storm and the important lessons she learned about the impact of calendar timing when raising.

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New
November 23, 2021
50
 MIN

Adeel Mallick, the co-founder and CEO of Humming Homes, had the perfect background to start a company and lead a fundraise. Experience at startup studios, an MBA, and stints at top venture capital firms had him setup to knock the first fundraise for his startup out of the water. When things didn't go as planned, Adeel had to reflect, regroup, and recommit to the process to get his company the seed funding it needed to scale.

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New
November 9, 2021
55
 MIN

Jack Alton was a startup vet before he was recruited to join Neuro-ID as its CEO in 2016. His requirements to join included headquartering the company in Montana and building a remote first culture. Back then those pursuits were not only rare but considered flaws. 5 years later, they would be come major reasons for Canapi Ventures to preempt Neuro-ID's Series B round.

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New
October 26, 2021
46
 MIN

In 2016, Guy Friedman was a successful startup founder with an exit. Most would think that would make raising money for his next company SteadyMD a breeze. Instead, none of his prior investors decided to back him and he was on a familiar grind to getting funding. Fast forward to 2020 and Guy was steadily growing his core business when a wave hit in the form of acceleration towards telemedicine. All of the sudden he was surfing and fundraising became a very very different experience.

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New
September 21, 2021
52
 MIN

Parker Treacy had to become fluent in two completely foreign languages, Portuguese and Fundraising, on his path to building Cobli out of Brazil.

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New
September 7, 2021
55
 MIN

Erin Carpenter grew up focused on becoming an entertainer with classical training as a ballerina. When she went to raise money, she found that the fundraising dance was surprisingly hard to learn.

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New
August 24, 2021
55
 MIN

Nicole Emrani Green's journey from the rambunctious daughter of Persian immigrants to venture-backed CEO had twists and turns. Surprisingly, her first career in psychotherapy gave her some of the tools to help advance herself as a leader and successfully close a $4MM Seed round for her company Givingli.

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New
August 10, 2021
45
 MIN

Matt Pohlson, co-founder and CEO of Omaze, has had one of the most death defying startup journeys ever. Time and time again, his company has been on the brink of death, only to be saved by Matt’s persistence and never-quit attitude. While most involved nearly running out of funds, one experience involved his own near death experience as he flatlined on an ER bed with his family surrounding him. Persistence brought him back from the brink and eventually back to Omaze where he used an even stronger belief in their mission to lead a Series B fundraise in March of 2020 just as COVID began impacting the world.

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New
July 27, 2021
62
 MIN

Zach Bruhnke, co-founder and CEO of HMBradley, had a shot at startup glory with his first fintech company Spout. After investor skepticism caused him to throw in the towel, he vowed not to have his own convictions be swayed in future companies. Zach shares how a crazy commitment to the vision with HMBradley as well as a natural approach to building relationships led to both company and fundraising success.

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New
July 27, 2021
65
 MIN

For the three years between her graduation from Y Combinator to her splashy $50MM Series A raise from Sequoia, Christina Cacioppo and her company Vanta kept a low profile. Back in 2018, they had been working in a space few people were talking about around Silicon Valley. SOC2 compliance for startups hardly got people excited. Then, almost out of nowhere, came the announcement that Vanta had raised $50MM from Sequoia Capital. Christina shares how she got to this point and how much impact YC had on the process.

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New
July 27, 2021
46
 MIN

Kameale Terry never wanted to be an entrepreneur, but eventually a problem she saw first hand in the electric vehicle industry drew her into starting ChargerHelp! From the beginning, she was less concerned with the hype cycle of startup trends and more focused on what she describes as “good business.” This allowed her to weather the storm of confusing and sometimes conflicting startup advice and the struggle to find a lead to eventually find herself in a super oversubscribed seed round.

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New
February 16, 2021
60
 MIN

Before starting Yac, Justin Mitchell had zero network in venture capital, didn’t know the insider terms, and was based out of small town Florida. None of this would point to someday raising a Series A round of funding from a top venture capital firm, but that’s what he did. The key he tells us was focusing on meeting the right people, building great product, and leaning on his thespian roots.

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New
February 2, 2021
59
 MIN

Laura Del Beccaro, the Founder of Sora, looks like the most VC-backable, first time founder ever. She went to a top university, was a software engineer at a scaled startup, and even did a stint at a top VC firm. But after pulling together an all-star pre-seed round fairly quickly, Laura found out how difficult fundraising can be when you’re no longer a “hot deal” as she tried to raise her subsequent round. Laura had to dig deep to find the confidence to unlock VC dollars even while her company’s numbers were less than confidence inspiring.

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New
January 19, 2021
47
 MIN

From the start of our conversation with Sam Corcos from Levels, it was obvious there would be too much sauce for just one episode. In this second half of our 2-part series, Sam begins by sharing details around a large key to his success - his very large cap table. Afterwards, we discuss specifics around his approach to attracting a $12MM seed round led by Andreessen Horowitz and how newcomers to the sport of fundraising might fare employing similar tactics.

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New
January 5, 2021
43
 MIN

Much like the "secret master plan" for his company Levels, Sam Corcos openly talks about what he was able to decipher when it comes to the science of fundraising. This is exciting because fundraising approaches have traditionally been shared with tribal knowledge, feel-based language. In this conversation, Sam talks about how how he decided to follow his training as a scientist rather than rely on fundraising folklore. The result was a data driven process that has left even the most experienced investors speechless. Part 1 of this 2 part series focuses on how he built the base for his approach and features inspiration for 2021 goal setting.

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New
December 22, 2020
48
 MIN

Have you ever heard the advice “dress for the job you want not the one you have”? For Topper Luciani, that was tough advice to follow because it meant wearing an old t-shirt from Goodwill even while asking fancy venture capitalists for millions of dollars. In this episode, we hear how Topper learned the importance of being your authentic self while raising money and how he somehow managed to save his company after one of the most devastating curveballs in fundraising - a pulled term sheet.

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New
December 8, 2020
53
 MIN

Anthemos Georgiades, founder of Zumper, perfected his pitch the way most founders do: through trial and error. This show is about storytelling and all the elements that go into telling the perfect fundraising story. Anthemos deals with a difficult start to his tale having to manage “signaling risk” as well missteps with his deck and an overall lack of focus on the way to raising over $140 million dollars.

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New
December 8, 2020
53
 MIN

Investors like patterns. They’re either explicitly or subconsciously motivated to back businesses that look, sound, or feel familiar and comfortable. That’s why Isharna Walsh, founder of sexual wellness app Coral, had such a daunting task. For her, raising venture capital meant guiding investors through the uncomfortable task of talking about their sex lives and convincing them to back an unfamiliar profile, a minority woman with no ivy league degrees.

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New
December 8, 2020
55
 MIN

Lindsay McCormick, founder of Bite Toothpaste Bits, wants you to know there are alternatives to taking venture capital. She created a multimillion dollar business and funded its growth almost entirely through customer purchases. This show is an honest discussion about the alternatives to venture capital. You’ll learn why even though Lindsay’s email inbox is full of investment offers, she turns them away.

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New
October 15, 2020
2
 MIN

In this trailer, hear the background for what will be an amazing season of conversations that show what it takes to get a startup funded. Intriguing quotes from the founders of Zumper, Fama, TRNDS Sports, and more tease some of the topics that will be covered.

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About Funded —

The tech media loves a splashy funding announcement - millions of dollars injected into a hot startup primed to become a unicorn. But what about the work behind those headlines? Host Jason Yeh, a former VC and venture-backed startup founder, talks with entrepreneurs about how they raised the capital to launch world-changing startups. Their conversations uncover incredible stories including cautionary tales, inspirational memories, and even some insightful tips.

Keep up with us on social @fundedpod to learn more. Funded is presented by our friends at DocSend, the most trusted document sharing platform.

YOUR HOST:

Jason Yeh

Based in Venice, CA, Jason is a former venture capitalist and venture-backed founder who loves to cook and travel.

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