Episode 9: Scaling to $1M ARR and Beyond
Rehan Jalil, President & CEO, Securiti
A serial founder who’s now on his third company, Rehan reflected on his own journey to share what he’s learned about connecting with early customers, product development, conducting ecosystem research, and establishing an initial sales motion.
“If you’re really responsive, that’s where I think things change — where you establish strong relationships and strong trust with you and your customers,” he said.
Episode 8: Creating Responsible AI Startups from Day One
In this episode, host Walter Thompson will explore how early-stage AI startups can establish a strong ethical foundation from the outset and look at some of the methods founders are using to measure and assess the ethical impact of their products and services.
The episode will also cover ways that startups can engage with users and the public to discuss and address ethical concerns and look at some of the most common pitfalls AI startups fall into –— and how to avoid them.
Episode 7: Communicating Your Vision
May Habib, co-founder, CEO, Writer
Gaurav Misra, co-founder, CEO, Captions.ai
How do you translate a personal vision for your startup’s potential into something that’s tangible enough to attract a co-founder, an investor, and, eventually, customers?
Host Walter Thompson interviewed May and Gaurav to understand how they each approached this challenge and became better storytellers along the way. They also shared methods for finding investors who understand your space and discussed the importance of aligning vision with go-to-market strategy while still remaining adaptable in both areas.
Episode 6: Understanding Privacy and Compliance
Laura Bisesto, Global Head of Policy & Privacy, Nextdoor
Host Walter Thompson interviewed Laura at Nextdoor’s offices in San Francisco to learn more about the regulatory landscape for AI startups in early 2024 and ask how small companies should start the work of developing their own ethics frameworks.
She also shared how startups can recognize when they need legal help, data governance best practices, and why it’s important to create a buttoned-down process for rolling out new AI features.
Episode 5: Breaking into Enterprise Sales
Maria Latushkin, GVP, Technology & Engineering, Albertsons
Jack Berkowitz, CDO, Securiti
Host Walter Thompson interviewed Maria and Jack to get their views about how AI startups should approach acquiring their first enterprise customers.
It’s an exciting prospect, but it also comes with risk: serving a customer at the enterprise level can literally make or break an early-stage startup. This episode offers actionable strategies and tactics about conducting customer discovery and approaching CxOs. Jack and Maria are experts on enterprise sales who’ve each bought software for Fortune 250 companies and worked inside early-stage startups.
Tapping into the AI Developer Community
Ozzy Johnson, Director of Solutions Engineering, NVIDIA
Host Walter Thompson spoke to Ozzy Johnson about where early-stage AI founders need the most help and how those with academic/research backgrounds can more easily shift to a more entrepreneurial mindset. They also spent time talking about the practicalities, challenges, and strategies for nurturing a successful AI developer community.
Ozzy also shared some thoughts about balancing initial spending with the need to drive early growth and which traits successful AI founders have in common. (Spoiler: they aren’t all developers.)
How to Take Your AI Startup from Research to Reality
Dipwanwita Das, CEO, Sorcero
In this conversation, host Walter Thompson asked Dipanwita about the challenges of building in a new space and the work she and her co-founders did to turn Sorcero from an idea into a sustainable business.
The discussion covered the company’s early days, including the methodology she used for customer discovery, managing R&D, and how they developed a business model that could grow with the company.
In this conversation with SambaNova CEO and co-founder Rodrigo Liang, we talked about the process of articulating a company’s value proposition, customer discovery, and AI product-led growth and its impact on enterprise go-to-market strategies. He also shared some suggestions for first-time founders — and anyone else who’s thinking about taking a job with an AI startup in 2024.
“You have to believe that there’s a moat in the technology that allows you to be able to differentiate,” he said. “Not today, but for a long, long time.”
Available for download February 24, 2024
Listen on Spotify or Apple Podcasts, or read the full transcript.
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 and why he’s specifically looking for inception-stage entrepreneurs with “half-baked” ideas.
Our conversation covered a lot of ground: Chaddha 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.
Available for download on February 7, 2024
Listen on Apple Podcasts, or read the full transcript.
Episode 4: Fundraising from Both Sides of the Table
Vijay Reddy, AI Start Investor, Mayfield
Jorge Torres, CEO, MindsDB
Host Walter Thompson met with Jorge Torres at his company’s San Francisco HQ on a rainy afternoon, joined by Vijay Reddy, where we talked about early-stage fundraising from the founder and the investor’s perspective.
Jorge has been through the process three times, and Vijay is an experienced seed investor, so the three had a great conversation. If you’re curious about what a team needs in place before they put together a pitch deck and how founders can educate investors about the value of what you’re trying to produce, listen in.