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Built in Seattle with Adam Schoenfeld
Interviews with Seattle's top entrepreneurs, investors, and leaders. Hear how they think, how they operate, and how they're building in Seattle. Hosted by Adam Schoenfeld.
Nov 11, 2021
Laura Jennings (Founder & CEO at Knack) on developing a vision, responding to failure, and letting go of other what other people think
After a long career as a VP at Microsoft in the 80s and 90s, Laura Jennings had a big vision for eCommerce. After founding Knack, her masterplan didn't play out exactly as designed. She was working out of a basement, shipping boxes, and learning how to sell merchandise with little experience. Her principles remained, but she updated her strategy after watching and listening. She created a culture that responds to mistakes by asking "what are we going to do about it?" instead of "who is at fault?" Now Knack is a growing profitable business and Laura is still looking forward.
Oct 28, 2021
Julian Alvarez (Co-Founder & CEO at Logixboard) on building conviction, handling rejection, and blocking out the noise
No technical co-founder, no domain expertise, and entering a market that nobody believed would buy tech. Julian didn't look so hot to VCs. Everyone said to pivot. Fast forward to 2021 and Logixboard was growing 30% M/M, raised a $13M series A led by RedPoint, and Julian's vision for freight forwarding software is coming true. Julian's story isn't a blind confidence in the face of doubt. It's about how to listen selectively and build conviction based on market understanding.
Oct 14, 2021
Jessica Eggert (Founder & CEO at LegUp) on redefining success, creating a category, and saying yes
Being a founder wasn't in Jessica's plan. After 15 years of climbing the ladder and checking off her goals, she was looking for a new definition of success. Instead of writing a new life plan, she starting opening to possibilities and "winging it" at times. She dug into her own problems and frustrations when getting child care for her young kids. Many iterations later she founded LegUp (legup.care) to fix the childcare enrollment process for providers and families.
Sep 30, 2021
Gordon Hempton (Co-Founder & CEO at Spot.xyz) founder lessons from Outreach to Spot, establishing culture, and remote work
Gordon co-founded Outreach in 2013. Now a multi-billion, 1000+ employee company, he's reached rare air. But he's starting again with Spot.xyz... all the way back to the ground flood. That means writing code, recruiting, and establishing a culture from the ground-up. Why would he do it again? Hear his founder lessons on this episode of The Built in Seattle Podcast.
Sep 16, 2021
Laura Clise (Founder & CEO at Intentionalist) on building partnerships, managing change, and lessons from small business owners
Laura Clise didn't intent to be an entrepreneur. She spent most of her career running corporate social responsibility programs at bigger companies as a self-described "intrapeneur." But she saw the need for Intentionalist after developing a strong point of view about the power of consumer spending choices. While Laura's mission is about social change, she specifically decided to take a business-driven approach to the problem. She's now growing her marketplace that helps consumers spend with intention and gives small businesses a platform to tell their story.
Jun 10, 2021
Katie Curnutte (Founding Partner at KMG, Former SVP at Zillow) on data-driven PR, patience, and startup marketing
Katie was SVP at Zillow where she had an 11-year career building their data-driven PR and brand strategy. Now she's Founding Partner at KMG (kingstonmarketing.group). Her story goes from small town Illinois to journalism and ends up landing her in Seattle's tech scene in Zillow's early day. She goes behind the scenes on principles for great PR, the "patience game," lessons from scaling Zillow's brand, and how to demystify marketing and PR in startups.
May 27, 2021
Dave Rigotti (Inflection CEO & Co-Founder) on the path from marketer to founder, managing energy, and asking the right questions
After starting his career at Microsoft, Dave was the first marketer at Bizible. As the company grew, Dave scaled to VP and then took on marketing leadership roles at Marketo and Adobe via acquisitions. He's now founder and CEO at Inflection - a new stealth marketing tech startup. Dave operates with a small-town Ohio style and says he cares more about the process than the destination. He talked about managing energy, growing from contributor to manager to executive, and learning through customer development.
May 13, 2021
Omri Mor (Routable Co-Founder & CEO) on customer discovery, fundraising, and avoiding assumptions
Routable's growth and $30M Series B are impressive headlines. But their customer discovery process really stood out. Omri interviewed over 300 customers before writing a single line of code. After learning from past pivots and mistakes, he was relentless in the process. That work give him conviction to move fast. Just 4 years later, Routable has raised $46M, accelerated growth, and earned the love of customers like Ticketmaster, Re-Max, and Snackpass. Omri went behind the scenes on his story and shared the principles driving Routable's growth.
Apr 29, 2021
Robert Wahbe (Highspot CEO & Co-Founder) on category definition, listening harder, and thinking from first principles
Highspot has reached a $2.3B valuation, 500+ employees, and $397M raised just 9 years since founding. What's made that possible? Robert Wahbe (Co-Founder & CEO) is a strategic thinker who has found many non-obvious strategies and frameworks to scale his business. He went behind the scenes on his story and shared the principles and lessons driving Highspot's growth.
Apr 15, 2021
Rebekah Bastian (OwnTrail CEO & Co-Founder) on opening to possibility, assessing risk, and blazing your own trail
OwnTrail is a platform that advances women by helping members share their *real* paths through career and life. With seed funding and an all-star team, OwnTrail is growing fast. CEO and co-founder, Rebekah Bastian, is a role model for staying open to possibility. She didn't have a masterplan and it wasn't a straight line. She joined Zillow as employee 20. Fifteen years at Zillow took her from Product Manager to VP of Product, and then VP of Community and Culture. Then author. And now founder. She goes behind the scenes on her story and OwnTrail's mission.
Apr 1, 2021
Nick Martin (Joe Coffee CEO & Co-Founder) on avoiding sameness, overcoming anxiety, and connecting with the work
Joe.Coffee went from 15%/month growth to 3x in a month when the pandemic hit. They have raised $3.5M to help local coffee shops run digital ordering. But it was a long and winding road just to get started. Nick Martin (Co-Founder & CEO) shares his story of overcoming anxiety, finding conviction, and connecting with the work.
Mar 25, 2021
Michael Lagoni (Stackline CEO) on profitable growth, living on the frontlines, building trust, and thinking in bets
Stackline grew to 10s of millions in ARR with $0 funding. After getting profitable with over 2,000 customers, they raised $50M from Goldman Sachs to go bigger. Michael Lagoni (CEO and Co-Founder) goes behind the scenes on profitable growth, living on the frontlines, promoting from within, and thinking in bets.
Mar 11, 2021
Heather Redman (Co-Founder & Managing Partner at Flying Fish) on the psychology of investing, the power of community, and lessons in diversity, equity, and inclusion
Flying Fish Partners is a venture firm focused on AI, machine learning, and robotics. Heather Reman is an operator turned investor who co-founded Flying Fish. Her mantra is about community. And she applies this across domains - from startup investing to non-profits, education, politics, and leadership. She goes behind the scenes on the psychology of investing, the power of community, and her lessons on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Feb 25, 2021
Howard Behar (former Starbucks President) on servant leadership and building Starbucks from startup to icon
We all know Starbucks today. But it was just a startup when Howard Behar joined in 1989. As the President of North America, he grew from 28 regional stores to over 15K stores around the world. Even at scale, he was often seen in the stores talking with baristas and customers. He'd wipe the counters. He'd pick up trash. This was key to his servant leadership. He goes behind the scenes on 21 years of building Starbucks and 50 years of studying and practicing servant leadership.
Feb 11, 2021
NBA legend Detlef Schrempf on winning cultures, lifelong learning, and giving back
Detlef Schrempf is an NBA Legend, community leader, and Director of Business Development at Coldstream. He played 16 years and over 1,000 games in the NBA. He was 3x All-star, 2x Olympian, and a key player on the dominant SuperSonics teams in the 1990s. He went behind the scenes on his basketball career, the challenges he faced transitioning to business, giving back, and the common sense principles that guide his life.
Feb 4, 2021
James Coyle (RealSelf CEO) on taking risks, mentors, transitioning from Amazon to startups, and learning to listen
RealSelf is a growing team of 170 people that's raised $42M. James Coyle went from Amazon to startup executive and now CEO at RealSelf. He's made unconventional career choices that got him leadership roles all over the world, access to great mentors, and accelerated his learning. James goes behind the scenes on his leadership lessons and the frameworks that he uses to navigate life and business.
Jan 21, 2021
Peter Hamilton (former TUNE CEO) on profitable growth, team vs family, and his path from CMO to CEO and $80M ARR
TUNE grew to $80M ARR and 350 people over the last 7 years, resulting in two acquisitions. They raised $36M from top VCs, but it wasn't the typical VC-backed startup. Peter Hamilton started as a marketer when he responded to a Craigslist post and later became CEO. He shares how TUNE built two distinct product lines, found profitable growth, innovated on brand and customer service, the parallels between oprah singing and company building, and how TUNE's acquisitions unfolded.
Jan 13, 2021
Maria Colacurcio (Syndio CEO, Smartsheet Co-Founder) on category creation, leadership lessons from parenting, skills over experience, and the power of focus
Syndio just raised a $17M series B to help companies fix gender and racial pay equity problems. It's a big, complex, and new category. They already have 100+ customers like Nordstrom, Salesforce, and Adobe. Maria was previously co-founder at Smartsheet and a tech veteran. She is all about focus and precision. And she explains how parenting 6 kids, working with veterans, startup marketing, and big companies have all helped her find focus in her mission at Syndio.
Dec 24, 2020
[Cross-Post] Me on Revenue Diaries with Kyle Lacy - habits, ice cream, tidiness, and managing stress
Happy Holidays! I will be back with more interviews of Seattle's top entrepreneurs, investors, and leaders in 2021. This episode is a cross-post of a conversation I had with Kyle Lacy on The Revenue Diaries podcast. We talked about my ice cream obsession, raising kids in the pandemic, managing stress, building habits, risk taking, and my obsession with tidiness.
Dec 17, 2020
Elissa Fink (Board Director, Former Tableau CMO) thinking in bets, teams that last, and building brand
Salesforce paid $15.7B to buy Tableau. Elissa was Tableau's long-time CMO from startup to IPO and over $1B in revenue. Now she's helping other high-growth companies as an advisor and board director. She goes behind the scenes on her journey, high-growth marketing, and the principles that she's seen work from 11 years at Tableau to multiple startup boardrooms.
Dec 10, 2020
Grant Goodale (Convoy co-founder & CTO) on facing complexity, thinking bigger, and innovating deliberately.
In just over 5 years, Convoy has reached a $2.75B valuation, 1,000+ employees, and $665M raised to change the big and very complex trucking industry. What's made that possible? Grant Goodale (Co-Founder & CTO) went behind the scenes on his story and shared the principles and lessons driving Convoy's growth.
Nov 25, 2020
Themes, Thanksgiving, and what's next
Happy Thanksgiving week. 🦃🙏Thank you to everyone who has supported this project! I tried something different on this episode. I didn’t have a guest. I looked back at 30 interviews and shared my take on the biggest themes. This was a solo episode, but I brought in soundbites from several interviews to cover three big themes: 1. How humility looks in practice; 2. Balancing analysis with intuition; 3. Playing the long-game.
Nov 19, 2020
Galen Ward (Founder, Former CEO at Estately) profitable growth, getting acquired, and finding the next idea
Estately grew to profitability with just over $1m raised and got acquired by Realogy. Galen Ward, CEO & co-founder, said he had no business starting the business. But he and his team made it work. He goes behind the scenes on Estately's journey, getting acquired, and his lessons from the process.
Nov 12, 2020
Kristen Hamilton (2x founder, SVP at Guild) on the value of inquiry, overcoming fear, and honesty in the struggle
Kristen is a 2x founder, startup executive, and board member. She co-founded Onvia in 1997 which went on to IPO. Recently co-founded at Koru which sold in 2018. Now an SVP at Guild Education. But through 25 years of building start-ups she was "operating from a place of fear."
Oct 29, 2020
Joe Heitzeberg (Crowd Cow CEO) on picking the right idea, validating with strangers, and scaling a marketplace
Investors laughed at the original idea for Crowd Cow. But consumers wanted to buy right away. Now they've raised $25M, grow to 90 employees, and went from selling crowd-funded cows to a complete marketplace. Joe Heitzeberg, co-founder & CEO, goes behind the scenes on his lessons validating and scaling Crowd Cow.
Oct 22, 2020
Juliana Stancampiano (Oxygen CEO) on the turnaround, sales hiring, publishing her book, and managing energy
Oxygen was in trouble in 2008. Juliana Stancamiano believed it could be turned around. A decade later Juliana has written a book, she's president of the Sales Enablement Society, and her business is serving clients like Microsoft, F5, Red Bull, Starbucks, and more. She goes behind the scenes on her lessons from the turnaround.
Oct 15, 2020
Kelly Breslin Wright (Board Director, Former Tableau EVP) on making values work, the missionary sale, and what really matters
Kelly Wright grew sales from $0 to $850M over 12 years as EVP at Tableau. Now she's a Board Director at Fastly, Lucid, Amperity, and more. She goes behind the scenes on her leadership lessons and what really matters in company building.
Oct 8, 2020
Kirby Winfield (Ascend VC) on shifting mindset, investing in founders, and finding love in the game
Kirby Winfield is a 3x founder with 3x exits who turned VC. But his journey was not all unicorns and rainbows even after his repeated success. He goes behind the scenes on his path to finding love in the game, what he looks for in startups, and his unique approach to investing in founders at Ascend.vc.
Sep 24, 2020
Matt McIlwain (Madrona) on lessons from 20 years of VC investing, traits of top entrepreneurs, and building a bigger pie
20 years as a VC at Madrona. Headline IPOs like Accolade, Smartsheet, Apptio, Isilon. Invested in cloud before it was cool. 3x Midas list. 3x CB's top 100 VC list. Matt goes behind the scenes on his lessons (from the highs and lows), Madrona's philosophy, and how the best leaders work.
Sep 17, 2020
Yadhu Gopalan (Esper CEO) on changing strategy, following passion, and the builder's mindset
Esper 2x'd revenue during the pandemic, grew from 38 to 60 employees this year, and raised a $7.6M Series A. Yadhu Gopalan, CEO & co-founder, goes behind the scenes on Esper's pandemic shift, following his passion, and the builder's mindset.
Sep 10, 2020
Sidney James (Inyore Founder) on discrimination in hiring, rethinking feedback, and early stage user research
Inyore helps employees anonymously share issues with employers. It's for hard topics like racism, fear, and safety. Sidney James got the idea after he experienced discrimination when applying to tech jobs in Seattle. He goes behind the scenes on his story, rethinking feedback, and the early-stage process.
Aug 27, 2020
Vetri Vellore (Ally.io CEO) on context over control, betting on human potential, and finding an uncommon insight
Ally.io 4x'd revenue, grew from 14 to 110 employees this year, raised $26M, and won Geekwire's startup of the year. All that in just 3 years. Vetri Vellore, Founder & CEO, goes behind the scenes on Ally's growth, his business philosophy, and building culture.
Aug 20, 2020
Leslie Feinzaig (Female Founders Alliance CEO) on the business of FFA, finding market fit, and authenticity as an advantage
2% of venture capital goes to women and non-binary founders. Female Founders Alliance exists to shift that balance. Leslie Feinzaig, Founder & CEO, goes behind the scenes on the mission and the business of FFA, lessons in founder/market fit, and leading with authenticity.
Aug 13, 2020
Craig Unger (Hyperproof CEO) on how to bring rigor to startup founding, market selection, and hiring
Hyperproof has $5.8M of early funding and a growing customer list. Craig Unger, CEO & Founder, marinated the idea for 15 years, did over 100 interviews, and brought a high level of analytical rigor to every step of building his latest business. He shares his story and lessons from behind the scenes.
Jul 23, 2020
Liz Pearce (Fresh Chalk CEO) on how to avoid unhealthy comparison, leading as a connector, and building trust with co-founders
Fresh Chalk connects consumers to local Pros. They have a $2M seed, experienced founders, and a big market. Liz Pearce, CEO & co-founder, goes behind the scenes on Fresh Chalk's insight, leadership lessons from multiple startups, avoiding comparison, and how she's building trust & culture with her co-founders.
Jul 16, 2020
Prem Kumar (Humanly.io CEO) on fundraising during COVID, standing out with honesty, culture as a product
Humanly.io raised money during COVID and graduated Y Combinator from Seattle. Both uncommon. They are tackling the resuming screening problem -- including unconscious bias that blocks diversity. Prem Kumar, co-founder & CEO, goes behind the scenes on fundraising, culture, and distilling his product vision.
Jul 2, 2020
Ambika Singh (Armoire CEO) on pitching friends, building a dream closet, and learning from others
Amoire is 3.5 year into building the "dream closet" for woman, $5M in funding, 50 employees, 1000s of customers, and moving 10s of thousands of garments. Ambika Singh, the founder and Chief Bosslady, goes inside her process, how she learns, and the obstacles and upsides she's found as a woman founder in Seattle.
Jun 25, 2020
Aaron Bird (Bizible CEO) inside the acquisition - how Bizible sold to Marketo
Bizible had 8 years of grinding, $20M in funding, and 1000s of customers. Then a successful acquisition by Marketo. 6 months later Marketo gets acquired by Adobe for $4.7B. Aaron Bird, the former Bizible CEO, goes inside the deal process that unfolded over 2 years - the tactics, the big breaks, and the emotions.
Jun 10, 2020
Emily Carrion (Rubica CMO) on startup marketing, beginners mind, and how to talk to customers
Rubica is fast-growing mobile security startup with $15M in funding. With the shift to remote work, they are helping people keep devices secure. Go behind the scenes with Emily Carrion, Rubica's CMO, on the life of a startup marketer, the benefits of a beginner's mind in a new industry, how she talks to customers, and building a market message during COVID-19.
May 21, 2020
Matt Oppenheimer (Remitly CEO) on finding things that piss you off, willful ignorance, taking the road less traveled, and COVID-19
1,000+ employees, over $300M in funding, nearly $1B valuation, just 9 years in... Remitly's numbers impress. But I love the story even more. Go behind the scenes with Matt Oppenheimer on the path from business school to Kenya to Seattle, his learnings building Remitly, and how he's leading during COVID-19.
Apr 30, 2020
Dan Shapiro, 5x founder, on how Glowforge and Robot Turtles set crowdfunding records, contrarian segmentation, and following curiosity
Have you ever seen a Glowforge? It blew my mind seeing what you can make with it. Dan Shapiro is a 5x founder and CEO at Glowforge. Hear his story and go behind the scenes on Dan's 2 crowdfunding records, learning without a goal, and contrarian segmentation.
Apr 24, 2020
Julie Sandler (PSL) on how humanity & mental health are driving business decisions in this crisis
Go behind the scenes on Julie's conversations with portfolio companies during the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for conviction and speed in the face of uncertainty, and how humanity & mental health are driving decision making.
Apr 22, 2020
Aviel Ginzburg on navigating early stage companies during the COVID-19 pandemic
Aviel talks about his transition from founder to investor, navigating early stage companies during a pandemic, and how innovators like Mystery have been able to pivot toward new opportunities.
Apr 17, 2020
Sara Itucas on serving immigrants and employees during the COVID-19 pandemic
How is Sara Itucas changing the was she leads LegalPad during the COVID-19 pandemic? Hear how she found new opportunities to serve immigrants like herself, changed her message, and returned to her scrappier roots.
Mar 12, 2020
Michel Feaster on running toward fear, 7-figure deals, and category creation at Usermind & Apptio
Usermind has raised $50M, created a category, and closed 7-figure deals. But, CEO Michel Feaster, didn't always think of herself as a founder. Hear how she ran toward her biggest fears to make the leap from executive to founder after 15 years, lessons from Apptio's success, and how creating a category lets you "set the price."
Feb 27, 2020
Joe Davy on bootstrapping Banzai to a multimillion-dollar, 50-employee business
Banzai became a multimillion-dollar business without raising venture capital. CEO Joe Davy chose this path after getting told "no" over 80 times. Hear how this became a gift and forcing function for Joe's long-term mindset.
Feb 20, 2020
Sandi Lin on how Skilljar raised $16.5M with her car breaking down on Sand Hill Road
Skilljar raised $16M last year after tripling from $1M to $3M ARR. Hear how CEO Sandi Lin got bay area VCs competing for her attention during her Series A after barely getting any replies to her seed round.
Feb 13, 2020
Glenn Kelman on humility & leadership in Redfin's 14-year journey
Redfin brought real-estate online, had an IPO, and built a role model culture in Seattle. It's been a 14-year journey -- an overnight success! Hear the story and go behind the scenes with CEO Glenn Kelman on leadership, humility, and the opportunity he sees ahead.
Feb 6, 2020
Daniela Luzi Tudor on solving the $440B substance abuse problem that she experienced first-hand
Substance abuse is a $440B problem. For Daniela Luzi Tudor, it's not just a big market, it's part of her personal story. Listen to her amazing founding story and how she's building WEconnect in Seattle.
Jan 23, 2020
Manny Medina on how Outreach.io pivoted from near death to a $1B+ unicorn
Outreach is a $1B+ SaaS unicorn in Seattle. But the story started with 2 years of failure. Then they found a pivot. Hear the story and go behind the scenes with CEO Manny Medina on company culture, life as a unicorn, and what he's learned.