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Podcast | The Founder Formula

About The Founder Formula Podcast

This is The Founder Formula: Every passing moment, a tech startup disrupts life as it was. In humanity’s pursuit of faster, better, and higher capacity, fresh companies are tackling old problems and modern complexities, all while pushing the bounds of the future. The Founder Formula brings you in—behind the curtains and inside the minds of executives at Start-ups that have traditionally only been found in Silicon Valley—and the Venture Capital Firms that fund them. Each interview will feature a transformative leader who’s behind the wheel at a fast-paced & innovative tech firm. They’ll bring you an insider's look at what it takes to create a technology company, scaled it, and lead it into the future. You’ll hear topics that cover cybersecurity, AI, blockchain, IoT, quantum computing, cryptocurrency, immersive experience, VR, and overall digital transformation. From time to time, you’ll also hear from Founders outside of the technology industry.

"We're not building a unicorn. We're building a workhorse.Episode 22 Justin Borgman"

- Justin Borgman


22: The Founder Formula
Justin Borgman, Starburst
As a 2-time founder, Justin saw entrepreneurship as a way to have an impact on the world. He & his employees wanted to do something to help fight against COVID-19, so they made their whole enterprise solution free to COVID-19 researchers. That’s true impact. That’s wanting your work to do good in the world.

What we talked about:

  • His impetus for entrepreneurship arrived at age 12.
  • The differences between his 1st and 2nd companies.
  • Company culture & values (not “the Silicon Valley mentality”).
  • How he views his competitors

40 Min. Released July 21 2020

"Think Young and Think Small.Episode 21 Todd Mostak"

- Todd Mostak


21: The Founder Formula
Todd Mostak, OmniSci
When I asked Todd what clued him in that he was destined to become an entrepreneur, he said, “Intense curiosity.” The first-time founder taught himself Arabic, programming languages, data science, and entrepreneurship.

What we talked about:

  • Winning a contest for his first $100K.
  • Thesis at Harvard, research fellowship at MIT, and Verizon Wireless as an early client.
  • The mismatch between early hires, culture, and startup nimbleness.

40 Min. Released July 21 2020

"We needed a lot more possibilities people and a lot less parameters people.Episode 20 George Kurtz"

- George Kurtz


20: The Founder Formula
George Kurtz, CrowdStrike
George Kurtz is the President, Founder, & CEO of CrowdStrike, but his journey to the CEO of a $20B+ company isn’t one that a lot of people would expect.

We sat down with George to discuss:

  • What nearly got him fired from PricewaterhouseCoopers.
  • Why his lack of collegiate tech background makes him a more effective tech CEO.
  • How CrowdStrike had a remote workforce model in place before COVID19 hit.
  • Why the IPO is the green flag for a company, not the checkered flag.

33 Min. Released June 30 2020

"We didn't have to pivot, but we DID have some bets we needed to STAY TRUE to.Episode 19 Jon Oberheide"

- Jon Oberheide


19: The Founder Formula
Jon Oberheide, Duo Security
After growing up in Ann Arbor and attending the University of Michigan, Jon Oberheide and his partner Dug Song started their career as offensive security researchers. They soon found that it’s really easy to break things in the security space but it's a lot harder to build something resilient.

Jon joins us on this episode of The Founder Formula to share the story of their journey, and some of the simple solutions they were able to identify early on such as:

  • Changing the customer experience.
  • Making free trials available.
  • Offering a solution that can deploy in 5 minutes.
  • Purchasing with a credit card (which at that time was unheard of!)

41 Min. Released June 05 2020

"Culture is effectively the operating system of a company.Episode 18 Craig McLuckie"

- Craig McLuckie


18: The Founder Formula
Craig McLuckie, Heptio
"The only reason to launch a start-up is because you have to!"

In this episode, we talk to cloud entrepreneur and innovator Craig McLuckie. He talks about the time to launch a startup when you see 2 things:

  1. A total addressable market.
  2. A moment of disruption.

42 Min. Released June 02 2020

"It was back-breaking, gut-wrenching work, but the most fun I've ever had.Episode 17 Cindy Padnos"

- Cindy Padnos


17: The Founder Formula
Cindy Padnos, Illuminate Ventures
Cindy is unique in that she founded her own tech company that was purchased by Oracle. She then found her second company, one that funds entrepreneurs. Her advice? Focus on the things that matter - then go off and build a great business!

Cindy believes she has founder genes in her DNA - always thought like a founder. She launched her first company Vivant because, as she put it, she had no more excuses. When describing starting a company: It was back breaking, gut wrenching work - and the most fun she’d ever had!

What does she look for in a founder? Someone scrappy, resilient, who demonstrates the ability to attract talent and knows how to celebrate wins. If you take away fear and uncertainty and focus on building a solid business you’ll be the better for it. Focus on getting a few things right then when the uncertainty is lifted you’ll be in a much better position.

31 Min. Released May 29 2020

"When asking V.C.'s for money, you need to answer two questions:
Why you? Why now?Episode 16 Lior Div"

- Lior Div


16: The Founder Formula
Lior Div, Cybereason
“Software is a weapon." And the thing about weapons is, they can be used to attack. Or they can be used to defend. And if you know how they can be used to attack, it only makes them all the easier to defend when the time comes.

We sat down with Lior Div, who traded his life in the Israeli army, for a life as a CEO & Co-Founder of a cybersecurity company. We talked all about:

  • His time in the Israeli army and how his experiences there set him up for a career as a CEO.
  • What it was that prompted him to start his own company.
  • Why it’s not a matter of IF you get hacked, but a matter of WHEN.

39 Min. Released May 26 2020

"Absorbing shocks, being agile, and adapting is key to a start-up.Episode 15 Gaurav Manglik"

- Gaurav Manglik


15: The Founder Formula
Gaurav Manglik, CliQr
While it might seem like the worst possible time to be throwing your energy, time, and money into starting a company, what if this were the best possible time to embark on this crazy journey? Gaurav Manglik thinks this might just be your time. And it’s not just about starting a company. If you are starting, what do you need to do? How can you increase your chances of getting funded?

Gaurav was a guest on The Founder Formula recently, and was kind enough to talk with us all about:

  • Some of the most common myths about working for a VC.
  • Why your business plan could be the thing that makes the difference between success and failure.
  • What it was like having your company purchased by one of the largest enterprise tech firms in the word: Cisco.

37 Min. Released May 20 2020

"Racehorses race with blinders on for a reason - they need to focus on winning the race.Episode 14 Tim Delisle"

- Tim Delisle


14: The Founder Formula
Tim Delisle, Datalogue
Tim’s first gig was executing the ideas of others. He soon realized the Data Science and Insight work he was doing wasn’t solving the pain point that was creating usable data.

The solution didn’t exist. It needed to be created – and he knew how to do it. Tim started his company at just 25 years old. He did his first pitch between college classes with sharpies from his backpack.

On this episode, we discuss:

  • Finding his co-founder at a Hackathon.
  • Building culture by cooking and eating together.
  • Not knowing any VC’s when he started.
  • 3 keys stages: Seed Stage, Series A, and large growth rounds.
  • Translating gut instincts into clear communication.

30 Min. Released May 5 2020

"At a start-up, you're going to work a lot of hours...12-14 hours a day.Episode 13 Jack McCauley"

- Jack McCauley


13: The Founder Formula
Jack McCauley, Oculus VR
What happens when you get the chance to sit down with someone who was the co-founder of Oculus VR, and was one of the chief IP leads for the famed Activision franchise Guitar Hero? Someone who has made a career out of innovation and knows what it takes to succeed in the startup world? You drop everything and have that conversation.

On the Season 2 kick off episode of The Founder Formula, we sat down with Jack McCauley to talk about:

  • The story of the development of Oculus.
  • The soft skills needed to survive in a startup environment.
  • Advice for folks who want to hang on to their IP.

44 Min. Released Apr. 22 2020

Episode 12 Jake Knapp

"We had a prototype in front of customers in one weekEpisode 12 Jake Knapp"

- Jake Knapp


12: The Founder Formula
Jake Knapp, Designer, Advisor, & New York Times Best Selling Author
Jake is someone who cut his teeth on Microsoft Encarta. Who remembers Microsoft Encarta? For those of you under the age of 30, it was essentially Wikipedia on a CD-ROM. You’d buy it, and then at the end of the year, it would get updated and you’d have to buy it again.

On this episode we talked about:

  • The theory behind The Sprint.
  • What he took away from Google and Microsoft.
  • Success stories from companies that have embraced The Sprint.
  • How to write a book on the side while still being amazing at your job.

40 Min. Released Nov. 26 2019

Episode 11 Ben Hindman

Our first pitch was a massive fail.Episode 11 Ben Hindman

- Ben Hindman


11: The Founder Formula
Ben Hindman, D2iQ (formerly Mesosphere)
After founding a company with buddies from high school, would you undertake a CEO search and an entire company rebrand?

If you did, here’s what you’d learn:

  • Why founding a company with high school buddies is a great and terrible idea.
  • What it’s like to search for a CEO.
  • The process of rebranding.

42 Min. Released Nov. 19 2019

Episode 10 Nir Polak

"Folks are rooting for you to fail.Episode 10 Nir Polak"

- Nir Polak


10: The Founder Formula
Nir Polak, Exabeam
Elik Eizenberg mentions that founders of tech solutions should sign design partners. Not beta testers.

What we talked about:

  • Design partners and how they’re superior to beta testers.
  • Benefits of refining your product market fit early in your to market process.
  • Creating a heat map of scaling communications.
  • Starting with mockups.
  • Finding investors.

35 Min. Released Nov. 12 2019

Episode 9 Elik Eizenberg

"The most important thing a startup has to have is focus.Episode 9 Elik Eizenberg"

- Elik Eizenberg


09: The Founder Formula
Elik Eizenberg, BigPanda
Elik Eizenberg speaks with us about his enduring love for data algorithms.

The more you think about founding a company, the more you don’t want to do it. At some point, you’ll have to stop analyzing all the reasons not to and get started.

What we talked about:

  • Why analysis will keep you from founding your company.
  • The kind of people you want to found a company with.
  • Elik’s process of finding his target market.
  • Starting with mockups.
  • Why “Panda”?

37 Min. Released Nov. 05 2019

Episode 8 Jyoti Bansal

"The Idea is 1%, Execution is the other 99%.Episode 8 Jyoti Bansal"

- Jyoti Bansal


08: The Founder Formula
Jyoti Bansal, Harness
As an entrepreneur, the hardest part about taking a chance on an idea often isn’t when the idea doesn’t work out. It’s when it does work out. Jyoti was kind enough to fill us in on what it takes to prove your startup plan is worth a billion dollars.

In this episode, we cover:

  • Being a first-time founder.
  • The toll entrepreneurship can have on families.
  • Solidifying a convincing pitch for VCs.

37 Min. Released Oct. 29 2019

Episode 7 Hayes Drumwright

"You'll never be sorry that you made a bet on yourself.Episode 7 Hayes Drumwright"

- Hayes Drumwright


07: The Founder Formula
Hayes Drumwright, Serial Entrepreneur
Hayes has a new wine company as a passion project called memento mori--which is latin for “remember you will die.” It is a great metaphor for how he views life and entrepreneurship. Their company is a call for customers to remember to live. On the other hand, they also want to honor the struggles of their customers. Memento Mori, as a company wants their customers to do two things: be vulnerable and be brave.

For Hayes, entrepreneurship is tough because you are making a bet on yourself, and when you start a company you force a lot of people to also bet on you. He also shares what he believes is the myth of entrepreneurship: most people think you need an amazing idea in order to achieve a lot of success. But in reality all you really need is an unbelievable level of commitment to do it better than anybody else.

38 Min. Released Oct. 22 2019

Episode 6 Raja Mukerji

"You need two things to start a company: Curiosity and Grit.Episode 6 Raja Mukerji"

- Raja Mukerji


06: The Founder Formula
Raja Mukerji, ExtraHop Networks
There is only one purpose of any company: to provide VALUE to its users. In order to do that, you need a maniacal focus on the customer right from the outset of founding a company. In this episode, Raja shares his thoughts on:

  • Showing up in Gartner’s upper-right hand quadrant.
  • The 2 most important characteristics you need to start a company.
  • The biggest myth about startups.
  • Why it’s important for your investors to appreciate the “Art of the Possible.”

30 Min. Released Oct. 15 2019

Episode 5 Mohit Aron

"You can only have great people if you have a great culture.Episode 5 Mohit Aron"

- Mohit Aron


05: The Founder Formula
Mohit Aron, Cohesity
Mohit was employee #600 when he joined Google in early 2003. When he left, four years later, Google had 30,000 employees. He worked there during a romantic era and it was an amazing ride. Now, Mohit is CEO and Founder of Cohesity and gave us incredible insight into:

  • How Google prepared him for entrepreneurship.
  • Why 80% of data lies beneath the surface.
  • How Cohesity is becoming the “smartphone” of enterprise data.
  • Why company values are the most important part of building a culture.

40 Min. Released Oct. 08 2019

Episode 4 Guru Chahal

"All startups are a series of mini pivots.Episode 4 Guru Chahal"

- Guru Chahal


04: The Founder Formula
Guru Chahal, Lightspeed Venture Partners
Guru told us he looks for three key things in founding teams:

  1. Entrepreneurs who have a background in the market they want to take on.
  2. The ability to execute.
  3. The ability to monetize the technology.

39 Min. Released Oct. 01 2019

Episode 3 Kumar Ramachandran

"Our job is to singularly make our customers heroes.Episode 3 Kumar Ramachandran"

- Kumar Ramachandran


03: The Founder Formula
Kumar Ramachandran, CloudGenix
Kumar talks about the balance between pivoting and persistence, why Silicon Valley is a special place for startups, the joy of making your customer the hero, and how to maintain your company culture as you scale and hire.
42 Min. Released Sep. 28 2019

Episode 2 Phil Tee

" may still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not. You've GOT to keep the dream alive.Episode 2 Phil Tee"

- Phil Tee
(Borrowing from Cat Stevens)


02: The Founder Formula
Phil Tee, Moogsoft
Phil tells the story of Moogsoft’s name, why he intentionally tries to make the company’s culture different than other tech startups around San Francisco, and how he’s managed to keep the ethos of the company intact after several years. “There’s a fantastic line from a Cat Stevens song: you may be still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not. You’ve got to keep the dream alive.”
33 Min. Released Sep. 19 2019

Episode 1 Mario Ciabarra

"Digital transformation has no start and no end.Episode 1 Mario Ciabarra"

- Mario Ciabarra


01: The Founder Formula
Mario Ciabarra, Quantum Metric
Mario tells his story about working nights and weekends to make his entrepreneurial dream a reality. He also gives advice on how to hone your pitch messaging for VCs, why the messaging for pitching CIOs is different, and the three most important attributes the core members of your team need to possess.
34 Min. Released Sep. 19 2019

Episode 0 Mark Campbell

"If I could only know one thing about a company it would be who's the founder.Episode 0 Mark Campbell"

- Mark Campbell


00: The Founder Formula
Mark Campbell, Trace3
One of the leading indicators for technology that’s going to hit the market is whether or not it comes out of the major VC firms. It’s very rare that the proverbial unicorns come out of a vacuum or one angel investor. Typically the path runs through one of the top 50 VC firms in the world. On this podcast, host Mark Campbell, Chief Innovation Officer at Trace3, shares the journey of some of the founders who have taken that path. He'll talk to founders from all stages of the journey: those who are just starting, those who are just now hitting the market, and those who are hitting the inflection curve as their companies grow.
10 Min. Released Sep. 19 2019