Smart People Should Build Things: The Venture for America Podcast

Smart People Should Build Things: The Venture for America Podcast

Building things is really hard and entrepreneurship is often portrayed in the media as the “sexy,” or even worse, “easy” career path. Rarely do we hear the real stories of struggle, resiliency, and even failure – the stress of staying just ahead of payroll, the cost of making the wrong hire (or the transformation that comes with the right one), the sacrifices of personal time, the heartache of the wrong investment in a new product/service and much more.

  • Tuesday, May 24th
  • Conversation with Sarah Kauss, Founder & CEO of S'well

    Sarah Kauss has always been an environmentalist. Even when it wasn't fashionable to carry around a non-disposable water bottle, Sarah never used plastic bottles. It was on a hike with her mother in Arizona that Sarah realized that she had the vision and passion to start S'well, a company that creates chic and beautifully crafted bottles that keeps drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12. Sarah started with $30k and spent the first 2 years working on her company all by herself. Today S'well has over 40 employees and is sold in Bloomingdales, the MoMA store, and just inked a deal with Target. Hear more about Sarah's story and S'well's path to success on this week's episode of the Venture for America podcast!
  • Tuesday, May 17th
  • Interview with Dave Finocchio, Co-Founder & CEO of Bleacher Report

    The beginning of Bleacher Report almost reads like the beginning of a corny joke: “Four high school buddies launch a sports site..." Back in 2007 Dave Finocchio and 3 friends saw a gap between the sports coverage that was available and the "snackable" coverage that young people desired. Dave and his co-founders saw an opportunity to make sports fans happy and they took it! In this interview Dave takes Jeremy through the early days of Bleacher Report when the team, admittedly, had no idea what they were doing, to a pivot from a technology company to a media company, and the eventual sale to Turner Broadcasting System for $215 million. Along the way Dave leaves the company, travels for a year, and then comes back as CEO. Listen for yourself on this week's episode of Smart People Should Build Things: The Venture for America Podcast!
  • Wednesday, May 11th
  • Conversation with Bea Arthur, Founder & CEO of In Your Corner

    Bea Arthur is the definition of a hustler. Before finding her calling as a therapist, Bea dabbled in real estate and personal training, among other things. Bea had a rough start with In Your Corner (formerly Pretty Padded Room), appearing on Shark Tank with some less than friendly sharks who made her question her ability to build a real company. Bea kept at it and was accepted into Y Combinator in 2014 as the first African American female founder! For the past 5 years In Your Corner has found success as a tele-health platform that provides instant, expert support when you need it. Bea has a lot of exciting things in the works, including a new service to help military families and service personnel. Listen to this week's episode for a sneak peak of all that's coming up in Bea's world and the inside scoop on how to survive the Shark Tank.
  • Tuesday, May 3rd
  • Interview with Mike Wilner, Co-Founder of Compass and 2013 VFA Fellow

    We are so excited to air the 50th episode of Smart People Should Build Things: The Venture for America Podcast with VFA Fellow Founder Mike Wilner! After a summer internship in finance, Mike realized that he wanted to work at a company where he was able to measure his own impact and build up skills that would help him start his own company. When he learned about Venture for America, Mike knew it was the perfect way to achieve his goals. Mike spent his two year VFA fellowship at a startup in Detroit, learning project management from Google and jumping into the areas of the business that needed his attention. At the end of his Fellowship Mike and two other Fellows joined the VFA Accelerator where they co-founded Compass, a company that connects customers to talented freelancers who can help them build a website. The Compass team has spent the past year growing the business while honing their sales techniques and relationship building skills. Listen to our 50th episode to hear about Mike's journey building Compass and why he is responsible for a ban on front row seating at Washington & Lee basketball games.
  • Tuesday, April 26th
  • Conversation with Dr. Tabasum Mir, Founder of MirSkin

    This week Jeremy sits down with dermatologist, entrepreneur and reality show star, Tabasum Mir to talk about developing her personal brand and founding her skincare line, MirSkin. Tabasum was ambitious from an early age, enrolling in high school at only 12 years old, going on to attend NYU medical school directly after graduating from college. After building up her medical practice for 10 years, Tabasum knew she was ready to build her web presence and start her own skincare line, which caught the attention of Bravo TV producers and landed her a spot on The Singles Project in 2014. Tune in to this week's episode to hear Tabasum's scrappy road to success and why she hasn't relied on her fame to continue building her brand.
  • Tuesday, April 19th
  • Interview with Phillip Krim, Co-Founder & CEO of Casper

    In an effort to avoid having to get a "regular" summer job while studying at the University of Texas, Phillip Krim identified companies that would drop ship products that he marketed online so he could make a few bucks. Within no time Phillip was running a $10 million business with 40 employees including his mom, dad and sister! After winding down his college business and dabbling in some other sectors, Phillip met his 4 co-founders at a coworking space and found himself commiserating about the horrible consumer experience purchasing a mattress. Even though he had vowed not to get back into the mattress space, Phillip and his 4 co-founders created Casper, a company disrupting the mattress industry with a proprietary mattress design that ships mattresses direct to consumer in a box the size of a mini fridge. Listen to this week's episode to hear more about Casper's growth and how Phillip and his co-founders have created an awesome company culture.
  • Tuesday, April 12th
  • Interview with Mike Rothman, Co-Founder of Fatherly

    Mike Rothman built his career at communications and media companies including Digitas, Hachette and Thrillist. After spending 7 years at Thrillist growing the company from $0 to $100m, Mike yearned to go back to the days of wearing many hats while growing a nascent business. Several months after leaving Thrillist, Mike and his co-founder began incubating Fatherly, a parenting resource geared towards men who want to be great fathers without turning into cliches. Fatherly bootstrapped for a year and a half and has raised $2m to date while become the go-to resource for new fathers and even some mothers! Download this week's podcast episode to hear more about Fatherly and how Mike became the godfather to the child of one of his first cold call recipients.
  • Thursday, April 7th
  • Conversation with Nadia Boujarwah, Co-Founder of Dia&Co

    Nadia Boujarwah went to Harvard Business school with the express goal of starting her own company. When she dove into the plus size market for women and saw how underserved this market was, she knew she had discovered her customer. After surveying hundreds of influential bloggers, Nadia co-founded Dia&Co, a company that, based on an online style survey, mails each subscriber a hand-picked box of garments to try on in the comfort of her own home. Today, Dia&Co has over 50 employees and has raised over $6 million. Listen to this week's episode to find out how Nadia and her team are inspiring radical self-acceptance through style and transforming the shopping experience for plus sized women.
  • Tuesday, March 29th
  • Interview with Brian Brackeen, CEO of Kairos

    Brian Brackeen didn't know he was an entrepreneur until much later in life. He was adopted at an early age by loving parents who supported his decision to drop out of college, leave a big job at Apple, and eventually start his own company. Despite having strong ties to Philly, Brian determined that the cost of living, cost of doing business, and access to capital made Miami the most compelling place to relocate his facial recognition and emotional analysis technology company, Kairos. Kairos is a VFA Company Partner in Miami with strong ties to the Miami entrepreneurial ecosystem. Kairos has managed several acquisitions and has over 9,000 customers around the world across a variety of sectors including medicine, events and retails. Listen to this week's episode to learn more about the fascinating world of facial recognition technology and how Kairos has helped reunite abducted children with their families.
  • Thursday, March 24th
  • Conversation with Miki & Radha Agrawal, sisters and founders of THINX, Daybreaker, Wild and much, much, more!

    The Agrawal twins are a force to be reckoned with! As each others' self proclaimed biggest cheerleaders, Miki and Radha have worked together on a number of interesting businesses including: Wild, a farm fresh, gluten free pizza restaurant, Super Sprowtz, a children’s nutrition education program that harnesses the power of storytelling, music and the arts to educate and inspire children to be more active and choose healthier foods to fuel their bodies, and Thinx, a patent-pending, leak-resistant, stain-resistant, anti-microbial and moisture-wicking pair of underwear for women dealing with their periods, to name a few. This episode just skims the surface of all the Agrawal sisters have accomplished and what is on the horizon. Download now for the rundown on all of their companies and hear about how the Agrawals aim to build communities and break taboos.
  • Thursday, March 17th
  • Interview with Heather Hartnett & Megan O'Connor, CEO and Chief Growth Officer at Human Ventures

    This week Jeremy chats with Heather Hartnett and Megan O'Connor of Human Ventures, a startup studio that co-founds and incubates companies in house with exceptional humans. Human Ventures is building and supporting five new companies in their first year (they are a year old this month) and focuses on partnering with individuals who have innate characteristics rather than specific technical skills. Both Heather and Megan have a variety of experiences including backgrounds in the nonprofit space. Listen to this week's episode to learn all about exceptional humans and why Megan and Heather take referrals over resumes
  • Tuesday, March 8th
  • Interview with Avi Millman, Founder & CEO of BobbyPin

    In this episode of Smart People Should Build Things, Jeremy sits down with Avi Millman, Founder & CEO of BobbyPin, a company that has created an easy way to keep track of and share your favorite spots with trusted friends. Avi's first job out of college was at Steve & Barrys, a now defunct retail clothing chain whose training program he likened to a "private version of Venture for America". Just before Steve & Barry's shut its doors for good, Avi went on to do a variety of things including selling Tonic door to door and a brief stint at a small company in the British Virgin Islands. In 2008 Avi co-founded Stray Boots, a mobile scavenger hunt company that gamifies walking tours. Avi is currently in the process of building BobbyPin and candidly shares his progress on this week's episode. Tune in to hear Avi's honest take on growth, experimentation, and walking away from some very cushy situations.
  • Tuesday, March 1st
  • Conversation with Matt Brimer, Co-Founder of General Assembly and Daybreaker

    Matt Brimer started his first company selling antique furniture while he was a student at Yale University. If you've been listening to the #vfapodcast this may sound familiar. Matt co-founded Aloysius and General Assembly with previous guest, Brad Hargreaves! Matt has worked on several companies throughout his career, most recently Daybreaker, an alcohol free morning dance party that has gained traction all over the world. Tune in to this week's episode to hear more Matt's varied career and his mission to create more mischief in the world.
  • Tuesday, February 23rd
  • Interview with Chris Webb, Co-Founder & CEO of ChowNow

    This week, Jeremy interviews Chris Webb, Co-Founder & CEO of ChowNow, an online ordering system and marketing platform for restaurants. At just 19 years old Chris's interest in markets and trading led him to start his career at Bear Stearns and then Lehman Brothers. While working in the financial sector, Chris's family made a founding investment in the now popular Tender Greens restaurant chain in California. Chris's experience with Tender Greens brought to light the gap in the market for online ordering solutions for local groups and independent restaurants. To prove the market need, Chris and his co-founder created a fictional product that mimicked the service that ChowNow would offer and traveled to Santa Barbara to see if they could sell their fake service to restaurateurs. Within a few days they had more than sixty restaurants interested and knew ChowNow would be a hit. Tune in to this week's episode to hear more about ChowNow and why Chris and his co-founder were courted by three LA based accelerators without even applying.
  • Tuesday, February 16th
  • Founder Fireside Chats: Learning from Mistakes, Pivots, & Failures

    In the startup world, failure happens. And who knows that better than a company founder? This week we are excited to broadcast a panel from San Antonio Startup Week (planned and executed by a VFA Fellow!). From losing major clients to handling customer service nightmares, these panelists have seen it all. Tune in for a lively conversation with Magaly Chocano, CEO of Sweb Development, Lorenzo Gomez, CEO of Geekdom, Jason Straughan, CEO/Software Engineer of Grok Interactive, and Melissa Unsell, Vice President and Found Member of elumicor. The conversation is expertly moderated by Paul Flahive, Journalist and Producer at Texas Public Radio.
  • Tuesday, February 9th
  • Conversation with Otto Cedeno, Owner of Otto's Tacos

    This week Jeremy is joined by Sam Rosen, Founder of Makespace (and previous podcast guest!), to interview Otto Cedeno, owner of Otto's Tacos, a Southern California inspried Taqueria in New York City. Tune in to this week's episode to hear about the trials and tribulations of opening up a restaurant in New York and why Otto was ahead of the curve in the single serve restaurant craze.
  • Tuesday, February 2nd
  • Interview with Brad Hargreaves, Founder & CEO of Common; Co-founder of General Assembly

    In his sophomore year at Yale, Brad Hargreaves noticed that the university was selling a lot of antique furniture and spotted an opportunity. With a rented U-Haul and a newly caught entrepreneurial bug, Brad and his friend Matt Brimer bought antique furniture at very low prices and resold it for a profit. They called the company Aloysius. Since their days at Yale, Brad and Matt have worked on several businesses together including General Assembly, a global educational institution, which they co-founded in 2011. General Assembly has grown tremendously over the last 5 years, raising over $100M in investment. Now Brad is working on Common, a company that offers flexible, community-driven housing by providing fully furnished, month-to-month memberships, beginning in New York City. Listen to this week's podcast to hear about how General Assembly aims to democratize technology education and how Common is changing the way we look at
  • Tuesday, January 26th
  • Interview with Jessica O. Matthews, Founder & CEO of Uncharted Play

    Jessica O. Matthews is one of the most decorated guests we have had on the #VFApodcast. Her accolades include Fortune’s Most Promising Women Entrepreneurs (2015), Forbes 30 under 30 list (2014), Black Enterprise’s Innovator of the Year (2013), and Scientist of the Year by the Harvard Foundation (2012). Jessica is the daughter of an entrepreneur and was always tinkering as a child - she even has the scars to prove it! While getting her undergraduate degree at Harvard University, Jessica enrolled in a class that eventually led to her idea for the SOCCKET a portable, power generating soccer ball designed to promote physical activity and spread awareness about the global energy problem. Designing and manufacturing the SOCCKET wasn't easy and Jessica candidly shares the ups and downs of a messy kickstarter campaign and all that she learned about manufacturing, supply chains, and customer service. Download this weeks episode to hear more about Jessica's journey and how President Clinton motivated her to quit her day job to pursue Uncharted Play full time.
  • Tuesday, January 19th
  • Conversation with Ethan Anderson, Founder & CEO of MyTime

    Ethan Anderson graduated from Duke University and began his career at McKinsey working on tech projects. Ethan stuck it out for 1.5 years and then left McKinsey to found QuickReturns, a company to help provide reverse logistics services to online retailers. Although Ethan & his team wrote an award winning business plan and received initial funding, they decided not to continue after the internet bubble burst. In true VFA fashion, Ethan felt that he had to gain experience working at an online retailer to better understand the business before he could go on to found something else. He became the Director of Strategy & Analysis at where he developed pricing models with machine learning algorithms. After leaving, Ethan attended Harvard Business School, worked at Google, and founded another company, Redbeacom, which won first place at TechCrunch 50 and was eventually acquired by Home Depot. Listen to this week's long distance podcast (sometimes the sound quality isn't the greatest- bear with us!) to hear more about Ethan's career and how he came to found his current company, MyTime.
  • Tuesday, January 12th
  • Interview with Amanda Moskowitz, Founder & CEO of Stacklist, Co-Founder of Nine Naturals

    Amanda Moskowitz started her career in audience analysis at ABC before making a name for herself in mobile messaging SaaS companies - one of which was focused on mobile for brands and advertisers and other, government and non-profits. Today she has "more than one foot" in two different companies which she founded, Stacklist and Nine Naturals. Listen to this week's episode to hear how Amanda juggles both gigs and the importance of finding the right business partner.
  • Tuesday, January 5th
  • Part II with Sam Rosen, Founder & CEO of Makespace

    In the second part of this exciting interview, Sam Rosen discusses why operations and logistics are so important to the success of his company MakeSpace, and why a company is best positioned when it is "high volume and low margin".
  • Tuesday, December 29th, 2015
  • Two Part Interview with Sam Rosen, Founder & CEO of Makespace

    We are excited to bring you a two part interview with Sam Rosen, Founder & CEO of Makespace, a convenient, simple, on-demand storage solution and takes the "self" out of "self storage." In the first episode, Sam chats with Jeremy about his career as a corporate banking analyst turned entrepreneur.
  • Tuesday, December 15th, 2015
  • Conversation with Russ Heddleston, CEO of DocSend

    This week, Jeremy chats with Russ Heddleston, CEO of DocSend. Russ graduated from Stanford University with a masters degree in computer science and, forgoing offers from major firms, joined Greystripe after graduation where he quickly became the Director of Engineering at 22 years old. After 3 years at Greystripe Russ went on to HBS with the intent of starting a company while in school and co-founded, a social referrals product to improve how companies source referral candidates which was acquired by Facebook. After helping to redesign Facebook pages and timelines Russ and some friends came together to start DocSend, a company that makes salespeople more effective by enabling them to track, control, send, and present sales materials with real-time document analytics. Download this week's episode to learn more about Russ's journey and how to craft the most effective pitch deck.
  • Tuesday, December 8th, 2015
  • Interview with David Greenberg, Founder & CEO of Updater

    David Greenberg loves the excitement of moving but hates the drama. While working as a lawyer at a prestigious lawfirm in New York City, David experienced the hassle of wasted hours trying to update his contact information with 20+ companies. David couldn't believe that there wasn't a solution to this inconvenience and after a friend dared him to start a company to solve it, he did! Four years later Updater has raised over $15million and has pivoted from a B to C model to B to B sales, partnering with some major real estate companies. Listen to the latest episode to hear David's story and how he negotiated an option to buy the Updater url.
  • Tuesday, December 1st, 2015
  • Interview with Olga Vidisheva, Founder & CEO of

    Olga Vidisheva was born in Kyrgyzstan and moved to the US to attend Wellesly College. Her story is the quintessential 'American Dream'. Olga learned english while working in a Japanese retaurant (of all places!) and put herself through college by modeling. While she was at Harvard Business School Olga discovered her passion for boutiques and saw an opportunity to help small clothing stores develop a digital presence. Enter, a website that started with only 25 stores and now represents thousands of boutiques across the globe. Download this week's episode to hear about Olga's journey and what it was like to be accepted to Y Combinator as the first single non-technical founder.

  • Tuesday, November 24th, 2015
  • Interview with Benzi Ronen, Founder & CEO of Farmigo

    This week's guest, Benzi Ronen, is not a farmer or a chef. This didn't stop him from founding Farmigo, a company that serves as an online farmer’s market that connects consumers directly to local producers in their area where they can get all of their fresh food needs. Download this week's episode to hear about how Farmigo is attempting to "deconstruct the supermarket" while maximizing gains for the partners- the farmers themselves.
  • Tuesday, November 17th, 2015
  • Conversation with Ashley Cook and Danielle Danker, Co-Founders of ash&dans

    Meet Ashley and Danielle, college roommates and the co-owners and designers of the private label ash&dans, an affordable line of luxury jersey accessories. This week Jeremy chats with Ashley and Danielle about falling into entrepreneurship upon arriving in NYC, finding the right manufacturer and hustling to get their products into luxury department stores like Bloomingdales and Bendels.
  • Tuesday, November 10th, 2015
  • Interview with Amol Sarva, serial entrepreneur and CEO of Knotable

    It's hard to sum up in a few sentences all that Amol Sarva has accomplished already in his career. While getting his PhD at Stanford he co-founded Virgin Mobile and has been heavily involved in the mobile phone industry. Amol is the CEO of Knotable, a teamwork app for shared notepads, and serves as a mentor to Techstars accelerators, NYC Seed, and Columbia University startup programs. He built an architecturally ambiguous building in Long Island City and he has a photograph in the permanent collection at the MoMa. Listen to this week's fascinating episode to learn about Amol's journey and current work on Halo Neuroscience, a company developing easy to use, novel, and effective neuroscience-based technology for improving brain performance in the healthy and impaired.
  • Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015
  • Interview with Adam Tishman, Co-Founder of Helix Sleep

    Have you ever wanted to tear your hair out while trying to find the perfect mattress? Adam Tishman and his 2 co-founders feel your pain. After several horrible mattress purchase experiences, they decided to start a company that focuses on optimizing mattress constructions based on body types and sleeping preferences. Once a customer fills out a questionnaire about their sleeping preferences, Helix uses proprietary technology to create the perfect customized mattress, compress it, and ship it in a box directly to their customers' doorsteps. In this episode Adam chats with Jeremy about the fragmented mattress industry and his experiences launching Helix Sleep.
  • Tuesday, October 27th, 2015
  • Conversation with Daniel McRorie, Owner & Operations Manager of Knickerbocker MFG

    In this episode of Smart People Should Build Things, Jeremy chats with Daniel McRorie, Owner and Operations Manager at Knickerbocker MFG, a private label manufacturing company operating out of a 60 year old warehouse in Bushwick, New York, attempting to recreate the American manufacturing model by combining new and old techniques, machinery, and technology.
  • Tuesday, October 20th, 2015
  • Interview with Dane Atkinson, CEO of SumAll and former CEO of Squarespace

    Dane Atkinson is one of the most experienced entrepreneurs we have had on VFA Podcast thus far! He was the COO of a company at the age of 18, owned a bar in Williamsburg for 3 years, and was the CEO of Squarespace from 2007-2011, among many other things. Today Dane is working on his company SumAll, which democratizes data and analytics for small businesses, pulling from over 40 platforms and synthesizing the data in a simple visualization tool.
  • Tuesday, October 13th, 2015
  • Interview with Brian Buchwald, Co-Founder & CEO of Bomoda.

    This week, Jeremy sits down with Brian Buchwald, Co-Founder & CEO of Bomoda, a company that helps leading brands connect the dots to understand what drives customer behavior around the world. Download this week's episode to hear about Brian's fascinating career and how he helped get Hulu off the ground!
  • Wednesday, October 7th, 2015
  • Conversation with Ben Hindman, Co-Founder & CEO of Splash

    This might be one of the most entertaining episodes of The Venture for America Podcast we've had thus far! This week, Jeremy chats with Ben Hindman, Co-Founder & CEO of Splash, a marketing software the maximizes event impact- before, during and after. Ben gives Jeremy the rundown on his storied career as a tour guide in DC and how Splash pivoted from their initial budgeting tool to a world class marketing and events product.
  • Wednesday, September 30th, 2015
  • Interview with Katia Beauchamp, Co-Founder & CEO of Birchbox

    In the latest episode of Smart People Should Build Things: The Venture for America Podcast, Jeremy interviews Katia Beauchamp, co-founder & CEO of Birchbox and pioneer in the subscription box service industry. Download this week's episode to hear about Birchbox's scrappy cold emails to beauty CEOs and their rapid growth, spurring copycats and competitors all over the globe.
  • Tuesday, September 15th, 2015
  • Interview with Jon Stein, Founder & CEO of Betterment

    This week Jeremy sits down with Jon Stein, Founder & CEO of Betterment, an automated investing service that helps clients better manage and grow their wealth through smarter technology for a fraction of the cost of traditional financial services. Download this week's episode to hear Jon's journey as a Columbia Business School grad passionate about using technology to better align customers with their financial institutions and why the New York Times named Betterment one of the next "startup unicorns".
  • Tuesday, September 8th, 2015
  • Conversation with Kristen Tomlan, Founder & CEO of DŌ, Cookie Dough Confections

    In this week's mouth watering episode, Jeremy chats with Kristen Tomlan, Founder & CEO of DŌ, Cookie Dough Confections, a young startup that uses the highest quality ingredients and zero preservatives to make individual batches of ready-to-eat cookie dough perfection. Download the interview to hear why cookie dough is "the new cupcake"!
  • Tuesday, September 1st, 2015
  • Interview with Nick Taranto, Co-founder of

    In this episode, Jeremy interviews Nick Taranto, Co-founder of, a service that delivers a weekly box of fresh and seasonal ingredients, pre-portioned for the recipes you choose, so you can create great food with less effort. Nick shares his journey from the Marine Corps to Wall Street to budding entrepreneur trying to accomplish what he calls BHAG, "big hairy audacious goals".
  • Tuesday, August 25th, 2015
  • Interview with Laura Mather, Founder & CEO of Unitive

    This week Jeremy sits down with Laura Mather, Founder & CEO of Unitive, a company that is working to eliminate unconscious biases from hiring decisions. As a former employee at the NSA and Director of Trust and Safety at eBay, Laura shares her fascinating insights on cyber security and lessons she learned while starting her own cyber security company, Silver Tail.
  • Tuesday, August 18th, 2015
  • Conversation with Charlie Bonello & Matt Harrigan, Co-Founders of Grand Central Tech

    In the most recent episode of the Venture for America podcast, Jeremy chats with Charlie Bonello and Matt Harrigan, high school buddies and co-founders of Grand Central Tech, a unique New York City based accelerator that provides free office space, support and resources without taking ANY equity.
  • Tuesday, August 11th, 2015
  • Interview with Eric Cantor, serial entrepreneur, VFA Board Member, and VP of Product Development at Neighborhood Trust

    This week, Jeremy interviews Eric Cantor: serial entrepreneur, current VP of Product Development at Neighborhood Trust, and VFA Board Member from the very beginning. Eric talks about his vast range of experience, from building two internet infrastructure companies, establishing Africa's first mobile application laboratory in Uganda, teaching a course on technology solutions for international development at Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs, and more.
  • Tuesday, August 4th, 2015
  • David Kidder, Author, Serial Entrepreneur, & Co-Founder of Bionic

    In this week's episode, Jeremy sits own with serial entrepreneur David Kidder, the co-founder of Nex-X, Renaissance Integrated Solutions, Clickable, Bionic, and more. David talks about his experience making a career out of building things, what he learned writing The Startup Playbook, in which he interviews some of the most successful entrepreneurs working today, and what it took to learn how to work for himself.
  • Tuesday, July 28th, 2015
  • Interview with Jess Brondo Davidoff, Founder & CEO of

    In this episode, Jeremy chats with Jess Brondo Davidoff, Founder & CEO of, a company that gamifies the college admission process for high school students to help match them with colleges and universities. Jess shares what it was like to walk away from a very successful business that she founded to follow her passion and gives advice from her experience participating in 2 accelerators.
  • Tuesday, July 21st, 2015
  • Interview with Gary Chou, 'fun guy' & Founder of Orbital

    This week Jeremy sits down with Gary Chou, Founder of Orbital, a company that helps people develop side projects and 'a space to do awesome stuff'. A long time Venture for America supporter and incredibly interesting individual, Gary shares his storied history as a film producer, General Manager at Union Square Ventures and much more.
  • Tuesday, July 14th, 2015
  • Interview with Noah Glass, Founder & CEO of Olo

    In this episode Jeremy interviews Noah Glass, Founder & CEO of Olo, the fastest-growing digital ordering provider for the foodservice industry. Noah recounts his experience building the Endeavor South Africa office and the decision to withdraw from Harvard Business School to seize the opportunity to reinvent e-commerce in the food industry using smart phones.
  • Tuesday, July 7th, 2015
  • Conversation with Neil Capel, Founder & Chairman of Sailthru

    In the most recent episode of Smart People Should Build Things: The Venture for America Podcast, Jeremy sits down with Neil Capel, serial entrepreneur and Founder & Chairman of Sailthru. Jeremy and Neil talk about why choosing the right VC is key to the success of a startup, building a company's culture, and why Neil pays for his employee's fencing lessons.
  • Tuesday, June 30th, 2015
  • Interview with Brian Rudolph, Co-Founder and CEO of Banza and Venture for America Fellow

    We are excited to present our very first interview with a VFA Fellow on the Venture for America Podcast! This week Jeremy talks to Brian Rudolph, Co-Founder and CEO of Banza, a chickpea pasta company aiming to do for pasta what Chobani did for greek yogurt. In this interview Brian shares the trials and tribulations of perfecting a difficult recipe, scaling to service hundreds of grocery stores around the country, convincing his older brother to leave a stable job in private equity to join the company, and what is feels like to be the first VFA Fellow to hire another Fellow.
  • Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015
  • Interview with Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, Co-Founder of Gilt Groupe and CEO of Glamsquad

    Interview with Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, Co-Founder of Gilt Groupe and CEO of Glamsquad. In this episode of Smart People Should Build Things: The Venture for America Podcast, Jeremy interviews Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, Co-Founder of Gilt Groupe and current CEO of Glamsquad, on-demand, app-based beauty provider delivering professional and affordable hair, makeup and nails (currently available in NYC only) services to your home, office, hotel, or wherever you may be. Alexandra gives Jeremy the inside scoop on what she learned while building Gilt Groupe and what's it's like to be the matriarch of the "Glam Fam".
  • Tuesday, June 16th, 2015
  • Conversation with Scott Reich and Mike Winik, Co-Founders of OurHarvest

    In this episode, Jeremy Shinewald sits down with Scott Reich and Mike Winik, childhood friends and Co-Founders of OurHarvest, a company that works with local farms to bring fresh food directly to consumers at an affordable price. The duo discuss the inception of OurHarvest, the 24/7 reality of working with fresh food, doing their part to eliminate food insecurity, developing partnerships with established brands like Equinox and Uber—and trading corporate jobs "for being hugged by farmers every day."
  • Tuesday, June 9th, 2015
  • Interview with Charlie Kroll, Co-Founder and President of Ellevate Financial and founding Venture for America Board Member

    In the latest episode of Smart People Should Build Things: The Venture for America Podcast, Jeremy interviews Charlie Kroll, Co-Founder and President of Ellevate Financial and Founder and CEO of Andera, a venture-backed provider of customer acquisition solutions for the financial services industry, which he started from his dorm room at Brown University. Charlie brings us along on his journey from naive 22 year old founder struggling to make payroll, to profitable industry leader with hundreds of employees and $17MM in investment.
  • Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015
  • Conversation with Will Nathan, Co-Founder of Homepolish and Venture for America supporter

    In this episode, Jeremy Shinewald sits down with Will Nathan, Co-Founder of Homepolish, a company attempting to change the design industry one interior at a time, skipping commissions to charge hourly rates for budgets of all shapes and sizes. Will walks us through his early career in finance and his first failed startup,, all the way through his fruitful stint at Buzzfeed and his fateful encounter with his current co-founder Noa Santos.
  • Tuesday, May 26th, 2015
  • Go For It. Interview with Shara Mendelson, Founder of Plum Benefits and Board Member of Venture for America.

    In the third episode Jeremy Shinewald and Miles Lasater interview Shara Mendelson, Founder of Plum Benefits and Board Member of Venture for America. Shara shares her journey from play house volunteer to founder of Plum Benefits - a company that moves ticketed entertainment inventory through a private network of B-to-B relationships partnering with 20,000 corporations to give millions of employees exclusive discount and access offers to live entertainment events, including Broadway shows, sporting events, attractions and family events.
  • Tuesday, May 19th, 2015
  • Interview with Dan Porter, former teacher and CEO of Teach for America, creator of Draw Something, Board Member of Venture for America.

    In this episode Jeremy Shinewald, along with guest host Miles Lasater, interviews Dan Porter - former teacher and CEO of Teach for America, serial entrepreneur, and current Board Member of Venture for America. Dan may be most well known for serving as the CEO of OMGPOP, where he created Draw Something, an app that had over 100 million downloads and is one of the most downloaded games ever in the history of the iPhone. Dan sold OMGPOP to Zynga for $180 million in 2012. Listen to Dan tell his story and how he landed his current role as Head of Digital at William Morris Endeavor.
  • Tuesday, May 12th, 2015
  • A conversation with Andrew Yang, Founder & CEO of Venture for America & author of "Smart People Should Build Things"

    In the pilot episode of Smart People Should Build Things: The Venture for America Podcast, host Jeremy Shinewald chats with longtime friend Andrew Yang about being a dissatisfied lawyer, how he recovered from launching a failed startup and the inspiration for building Venture for America from the ground up.

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