This week, we've got a show like no other. Instead of startup founders asking for money to grow their business, we hear investors Jake Chapman and Howie Diamond pitch their new venture capital fund. And they learn right away that things on the other side of the table are a lot harder.
In VC, before you pitch investors, you’re expected to get some initial cash from friends and family. Getting this money is a critical first step for a new startup. But what if your friends and family aren’t wealthy? Two founders tell us what that experience is like, and how it’s shaped the way VC investors view their companies.
Why does so little venture capital money go to women, Black, and Latinx founders? In this Spotify exclusive, investors Charles Hudson and Elizabeth Yin explain how VC is set up in a way that excludes many founders and businesses, and what their funds are doing to expand access to capital.
We're now in a business climate transformed by Covid. And founders need help figuring out how to impress investors, find new customers, and connect with potential cofounders in this uncertain time. We wanted to help out. So we got investors Elizabeth Yin from Hustle Fund and Hunter Walk from Homebrew to hop on The Pitch hotline to take your calls.
Today's founder had everything going for him: a huge market, loads of experience, and $70k in monthly revenue. But then, everything went wrong. Christopher Hussain's startup, RealKey, is supposed to make the complicated mortgage lending process simpler, but his pitch left our investors scratching their heads.
It was three years ago, when Claire Coder went in front of our investors to pitch Aunt Flow. At the time, her startup was a very risky bet. But now, in 2020, Claire’s business has stood the test of time. We find out just how far a business can go in three years.
In the spring, founders desperate for ideas about how to keep their companies afloat called in to get advice from our investors. Several months later, the economy is still far from recovering, so we called the founders back to see if the investors’ advice was working.
Is getting a software patent actually a good idea? For many startups a patent is a shield meant to prevent the competition from stealing their most innovative ideas. But in this Spotify exclusive, investors Sarah Downey and Phil Nadel explain how software patents can be a trap.
Should startups get money from the Paycheck Protection Program? Investor Jillian Manus says that for some startups, the answer should be no. She even convinced one of her startup founders to send over $2 million back. But investor Elizabeth Yin says the problem with the PPP goes deeper than that.
In 2018, founder Cody Candee raised $150,000 on our show. He went on to raise over a million dollars in funding that led to extraordinary growth for his startup, Bounce. But then Cody found out the hard way that to keep growing fast you have to become the boss.
COVID-19 has pushed many founders to attempt risky pivots with their business. Other founders are hoarding cash. And many of them are seeing VC money dry up. On today’s show, investors Sarah Downey and Phil Nadel advise four worried founders on how to keep their businesses afloat.
For years, Pierre Laguerre worked as a truck driver. During those years he saw one of the biggest inefficiencies in the industry up-close: getting available drivers matched with trucks ready to get on the road. Barely a year after launch, his business, Fleeting, is growing fast. But he’ll have to convince the investors he has the technological savvy to make the company grow even faster. And he’ll n...
Investors are giving founders everywhere an ultimatum: just find a way to survive the next few months. This had us concerned about the entrepreneurs who’ve been on this show. Debbie Wei Mullin pitched Copper Cow Coffee to our investors a few years ago, and in this episode Debbie tells the sequence of events that led to a few early, strategic decisions made in 2020 that set up her business to outlas...
In the last few weeks, COVID-19 has changed just about every business in the country. Investors everywhere are scrambling to help their startups survive the pandemic. On today’s show, investors Elizabeth Yin and Charles Hudson take calls from listeners. They advise founders on how to pivot to a remote-friendly model, how to survive the losses in the hospitality industry, and how to navigate the new...
Last year, investors woke up to the fact that the biggest ridesharing companies still struggle to make money. But today’s founder, Aparna Srinivasan, thinks she can buck that trend by introducing pets into the equation. But our investors wonder if just being pet friendly is enough to bring in the big bones. And if it is, what’s to stop Uber from offering rides for pets too… putting SpotOn in a tigh...
Founder Ray Li says he can make you a custom suit, out of a quiz. And his company, Sene, is already making a profit. Ray wants to pursue the technology AND build up a cool brand but the investors wonder if Ray would be better off choosing one or the other.
There’s a tried and true playbook in tech: get a ton of users, then figure out how to monetize them. Today’s founder, Ofo Ezeugwu, has plenty of users on his site, but the investors press Ofo about his plans to monetize. And then, complications arise when coronavirus enters the scene.
One of our most experienced investors gives advice for how a startup can survive in the time of the coronavirus. Jillian Manus says that this is a difficult time, with supply chain disruption and the financial markets uncertain, but there are ways for companies to make it through - and even thrive - when the rest of the economy is on shaky ground.
Tiffany Walling McGarity called in to the show and you, our listeners, voted her on to pitch the investors. But from the moment she stepped in the room, it was clear that this pitch would play out differently from the rest. On this episode, what a pitch sounds like when all you have are a few scratches on the back of the metaphorical napkin.
In VC, investors want to win big — that’s why they love highly scalable tech companies so much. But today’s founder, Jaclyn Fu, is selling actual things. Her startup, Pepper, makes real bras in a very real factory. There’s no tech except that you can buy her company’s stuff on the internet. So how do you convince investors that the opportunity is massive, when there’s nothing scalable about your st...
This is how much of a go-getter Bobbie Racette is: when she got laid off, she started a business to help thousands of other people who were out of work. Now, she has so many customers, she can’t keep up. And Michael Hyatt, our most ruthless investor, was like putty in her hands.
Ben Trenda thinks he can stop the trolls on Twitter and other social spaces. He’s building Goodtalk, where famous people can have public one-on-one conversations without interruption. But if you strip away the bad, will you also lose the things that people really like about social? And if you don’t have enough people, your social network is worth nothing.
“Move fast and break things” is a mantra for a lot of startup founders — but what if the federal government is slowing you down? That’s the situation that Josh Israel is in with his startup, Hava Health. Josh needs to wait for FDA approval before he can even think about making money on his new smoking cessation vape, a process that could take three years or more. But Josh has a plan to extinguish i...
Tiffany Dufu has spent her career uplifting women and girls. Now, she’s turning a lifetime’s worth of expertise into a venture-backed business. Her startup, The Cru, is dedicated to helping women achieve their goals by connecting them to a network of other women. And while there’s no question that Tiffany has the right experience to pursue this mission, the question is whether the business can gene...
Kate Flynn has a plan to make her healthy snack bites stand out: skip the grocery stores, and find potential customers when and where they need a snack. It’s a strategy that’s outside of the investors’ wheelhouse, but if she can get them to try something new, they might be in for a treat.
Back in September, we invited listeners to call in and give us their best elevator pitch for their startup. And the response was off the hook! In this episode we play our favorite calls — and choose one lucky winner to come pitch our investors. But there’s more! We need your help to pick one more founder for the pitch room. Listen to the episode to find out how to vote.
The 2.4 trillion dollar fashion industry is due for a makeover, according to Andrea Madho. She says her company, Lab141, will be the biggest change to the way clothes are made in over a century. But it’s a moonshot and she knows it, now the investors know it too and will have to decide whether or not they think Andrea can get it done.
Ryan Lee says he has a better way to buy plants, on his website, Rooted. To conquer the market, Ryan has a big, audacious plan, and this is his very first time pitching it to VCs. Find out if he can convince the investors that money really does grow on trees.
For businesses, the process of buying software is brutal. Founder Andrew Hoagland launched his company to make it a breeze. In fact, he says that his startup Vetd has made it so easy that he can’t keep up with the demand he’s created … without the $2m he’s here to raise. Luckily for him, the investors get the problem. But he’ll have to convince them that his solution is the right one.
Orion Brown is very early in her journey as an entrepreneur. In fact, this is her first pitch to venture capitalists! At this early stage, the investors are listening for something a bit different. They just want to know, is this a good idea in a large, untapped market? Find out if Orion can convince the investors that she’s got her finger on the next big thing.
When founder Jen Saxton landed a partnership with a big name retailer in the baby industry, she thought her startup, Tot Squad, was on the way to startup stardom. But five years into the deal, things just weren’t working out. In fact, they were a disaster. But that’s a good thing if you ask her. Jen says a stronger company has risen out of the ashes of that fiasco and she’s here to convince the inv...
What if you could listen to the exact same music as your favorite celebrities, at exactly the same time? That’s the question that drove NFL lineman Jason Fox to build an app for that. An app called Earbuds. Now if Jason can just cash in enough star power to secure the bag.
A little over a year ago, Xiao Wang came on the show to pitch his startup, Boundless. He told investors that his company was going to help immigrants cut through all the bureaucracy and paperwork required to get legal status. Today, the stakes around immigration are even higher than they were a year ago, so we wanted to see how Boundless is faring in this new world.
Founder Rahul Jindal might be the king of bootstrapping. And when investors see similarities between his startup, Hyde Closet, and a billion dollar business known as Rent the Runway, they start dreaming of unicorns. Until a wrinkle in the plan, snaps them back to reality.
Back in May we asked entrepreneurs to call in and give us their best pitches. The winner was Leigh Isaacson and her startup Dig — a dating app for people who love dogs. In this episode, Leigh enters the pitch room and asks for $1.5 million to help get 1,000,000 new users on her app. Now Leigh just has to convince the investors that dogs and dating are a match made in Heaven.
When he came on the show two years ago, Amado Guloy said his startup would change the business of animal agriculture. And the investors bought it! But since then, Amado has found himself at a crossroads between his own health and the health of Rex.
Back in 2018, Margot Schmorak pitched our investors on Hostfully. It’s a startup that ushers old-style vacation-rental companies into the digital age. Margot ginned up a lot of excitement in the room that day. But then, she had to put her fundraising on hold. A year later we’ll find out whether she was able to get the ball rolling again.
Back in May, we invited listeners to call in and pitch us their startups. And you really delivered, giving us over 200 pitches! In this episode, we’ll play some of our favorite submissions — and then choose one lucky winner to come on and pitch our investors. But there’s more! We need you to help us pick one last founder for the pitch room. After you listen, please vote at thepitch.show/vote
Dennis Meng’s first company was a major flop. So he started another one that could’ve saved the first. It’s called User Interviews, and he needs $4 million to get it into the hands of big companies. Will investors buy into what he’s selling now?
Spencer Shulem wants people to learn from their mistakes. Also, he wants to help them organize their time. Oh, and he wants to gather data on everything they do. All this is packed into a single pitch for his startup, WeDo. Can the investors dig through all the parts of his business in time to decide if they want to put their cold, hard cash behind it?
Ramya Possett and Rachel Lee founded BlueFoot to make tracking the competition easy for massive companies. And they think that what they’ve created is so powerful, it demands a premium price tag. One that takes the investors completely by surprise.
When Khalil Zahar and Tommy Duquette first pitched their boxing workout startup, Hykso, the investors saw a big opportunity. They wanted to know: Could Hykso be more like Peloton, an at-home cycling system that was starting to take off? Three years later, the company is trying to do just that — and it’s been a wild ride.
Ben Walters came on the show to sell the investors on Feedback, an app that lets restaurants change their prices on the fly. But when Ben shows up in the pitch room, he’s already decided that it’s time to make some changes to the business. Can he get the investors salivating over a startup that’s mid-pivot?
After a stellar pitch on our show back in 2017 — one that got $100K in the first five minutes — founder Mike Slagh hit the ground running with his startup, Shift. In this episode, we catch up with him to find out if Shift, a job-placement service for military vets, has continued to dazzle investors.
Jennifer Brandel of Hearken is pitching a new kind of business. She calls it a zebra: a company that’s driven by a mission — but still wants to make money. And Jennifer’s mission with Hearken is to help journalists do their jobs better. But can she and the investors get on the same page?
Rama Poola is here pitching his airline ticket business, SkyHi, where customers pay a monthly fee to access tickets on the cheap. But the investors are worried that it sounds a lot like MoviePass, a company that offered a subscription for unlimited movie tickets — and ran into a world of problems. Can Rama convince them that his model won’t break the bank?
Ryan Husk wants to take your workplace culture up a notch. His startup, Culture Force, matches companies to “experiences” designed to improve community at work. He says it can be a huge business, but the investors want to know why it’s more than just a cool way to plan work parties.
Chelsea Brownridge wants to help dog owners keep their pooches safe when they’re out running errands together. Her startup, DogSpot, makes internet-connected dog houses, with features like webcams and A/C, and puts them in front of retail stores that don’t allow pets. Can Chelsea convince our investors that her dog houses are a must-have?
After losing his shirt on sports betting sites DraftKings and FanDuel, Adam Weinstein decided to flip the script on daily fantasy sports and give everyone a better shot at winning. He’s changing things up using prop bets instead of traditional fantasy teams. But the question remains: Is this a gamble investors are willing to take?
After a failed pitch on our show back in 2017, Industrial Organic founder Amanda Weeks was ready for redemption. And she found it, to the tune of $4.2 million. Now she’s back — with a lot to say about how much she and her business have grown.
Zahra Kassam has been on the road in a major way, pitching her startup, Monti Kids. A few months before our show, she pitched on ABC’s “Shark Tank.” Today we find out: Did she win over any investors in her two very public pitches? And how do our investors compare to pitching the sharks?
This week, The Pitch is live from The Wharton School at the University of Philadelphia. Three of Philly’s most promising young startups take the stage in front of Phil Nadel, Jillian Manus and a packed house for a live pitch competition.
Back in 2016, Sudden Coffee founders Joshua Zloof and Kalle Freese tried to sell the investors on their premium instant coffee. Two years later, we checked back in with Joshua and found that Sudden Coffee is still working out some kinks in the business: trying to find the right customers and nailing the flavor.
Founder Paul Kesserwani says we’re all losing way too much money to fees — credit card fees, bank fees, ATM fees. And he thinks his company, Cushion, has the answer: A friendly bot that will battle those fees for you. Can he convince investors that there’s major money to be made in the fee-fighting business?
Why should you care about blockchain if you’re not a huge cryptocurrency nerd? Bandwagon founder Harold Hughes says it can help you score better seats to see your favorite team — and avoid the risk of walking up to the gate with a fake ticket. Can he convince investors his startup isn’t just a part of the blockchain bubble?
Blake Sorensen has a deathly nut allergy — one that's led to some harrowing trips to the ER. But then he decided that enough was enough. So he started a company, Blake’s Seed Based, to make snacks safe for people like him. Will the investors get on board with his mission?
Atomos co-founders Vanessa Clark and William Kowalski want to build a nuclear-powered spacecraft for moving satellites around in orbit. Can they capitalize on all the new money flowing into the final frontier — or will their sci-fi ambitions be too much for investors to stomach?
Somewear founder James Kubik thinks going off the grid shouldn’t have to mean going out of cell phone range. That’s why he created a device that turns smartphones into satellite communication hubs. Can he convince investors to join him on the trail?
Sophia Dominguez is on the show pitching SVRF, an augmented reality/virtual reality startup. But it can be tough to get investors excited about VR, which has attracted tons of hype—without much payoff. Can Sophia convince investors that VR’s time has finally come?
Entrepreneur Julie Roth Novack says her party planning platform is exactly what event professionals have been missing. And it all hinges on a secret ingredient—something Julie calls "marketing gold". Now she just needs investors to fork over some gold of their own.
Amazon is on track to grab nearly HALF of all online retail sales this year. But not if Chelsie Lee’s startup Shipsi has a say in the matter. She wants to give online retailers the ability to compete, by helping them offer super speedy shipping. But it might not be easy with the retail Goliath breathing down her neck.
At The Pitch’s first-ever live show, three startups face off: Honeyfi, a budgeting app for couples; CBlocks, a cryptocurrency starter kit; and OpenBottle, an app to help people try high-end wines. But can the investors agree on which company should take home the prize?
Margot Schmorak says half of all vacation rentals aren’t listed online—and she sees that as a big opportunity for her startup. But things get messy in the pitch room when Margot reveals that her company comes with a little extra baggage.
When Tye and Courtney Caldwell were having trouble renting space in their salon, they thought: why isn't there an app for this? So they created one, ShearShare. But can they convince investors that their skills will transfer from the barbershop to the boardroom?
Hunter Rosenblume is pitching Lunar Wireless, a company he co-founded as an answer to pricey cell phone plans. But getting investors to gamble on a 22-year-old who claims he can take on a decades-old industry is a hard sell. Is a healthy dose of FOMO enough to change their minds?
After Ismail Salhi discovered his father’s old record collection gathering dust in the attic, he teamed up with Johanna Hartzheim to create Qleek. Together they hope to marry the nostalgia of vinyl with the convenience of digital music. But first they need investors to catch on to their tune.
When Mike Slagh left the military, he wanted to find a job in tech, but he couldn’t get his foot in the door. And then he found out that he was one of approximately 300,000 service members who every year struggle to make the transition back into the workforce. So Mike decided to do something about it and started Shift.
Miki Agrawal made headlines with the success of her first company Thinx—until she became the headline. Now she's ready for a comeback with Tushy, her new business built on making bidets mainstream in America. But first she has to convince investors she's learned from her past.
The social media landscape is a veritable graveyard of failed startups, but Matthew Peltier believes his company, Shimmur, is different. With a growing user base and a solid plan for revenue, he’s almost ready to go... all he needs now is a few hundred thousand dollars from investors.
Concussions have cast a major shadow over contact sports, from youth leagues to the pros. But entrepreneur Anthony Gonzales thinks he can fix it by putting a gadget in the mouths of athletes. Now he just has to convince investors to put their dollars behind his idea.
Most of us stop thinking about our food scraps once we take the trash to the curb. Not so for Amanda Weeks, who started a food waste company designed to reduce harmful greenhouse gases. Now she just needs investors to get behind her plan to save the planet.
The hotel room hasn’t seen disruption since the addition of the television in the 1950s. Pieter Boekhoff wants to change that—by transforming what happens when we look in the mirror. But first, he has to convince investors that there's money to be made in hospitality.