Fancy a mini-version of Slush once a week from the comfort of your sofa or the significantly less comfortable treadmill? The Soaked by Slush podcast will bring you stories and hands-on advice from the most interesting entrepreneurs, the greatest investors and the serious up and comers of the startup ecosystem, every Thursday.
#26 Emily Orton | From founding days to IPO
No trace of darkness in this episode, where we talked to Emily Orton, Co-founder & CMO at the cybersecurity success-story Darktrace. Emily has been on board from the beginning, and shared some of her main learnings from the founding days to their recent IPO. In this fast-paced discussion, Emily and William discuss Darktrace’s early days in terms of customer acquisition and brand building, hiring and training people to become future leaders, scaling yourself as a founder in a rapidly growing and international company and the floatation of Darktrace on the London Stock Exchange.
#25 Roxanne Varza | Can you teach entrepreneurship?
Roxanne Varza not only has one of the most cinematic names of anyone we’ve talked to, but it also carries a boatload of weight in the European startup ecosystem. She is the Director of Station F, the biggest startup campus in the world, located in Paris (France, not Texas). Roxanne has played a central role in building one of the most vibrant startup communities ever, helping founders give their startups a boost. But what is the exact function of such communities? How can they ‘teach’ entrepreneurship and facilitate its broader adoption? In this episode, we will talk about the difference between the American and European ecosystems, how to get more people into entrepreneurship, and Station F’s role in all of this.
#24 Lotta Kopra | Combining science and business: Commercializing deeptech
In this episode we are taking a trip back home to Finland, with our guest Lotta Kopra, the Chief Commercial Officer of Spinnova. Spinnova has developed a technology with which raw wood pulp that has been separated into microfibrillated cellulose (MFC) can be used to make a recyclable textile fibre without any dissolving or harmful chemicals. Did you have to read that slower? That’s one reason Lotta has this job; she is in charge of commercializing Spinnova’s product and helping their technology become a viable option on the market; they’ve been doing a grand job thus far, forming partnerships with the likes of The North Face, H&M Group, and Marimekko. In this episode, we will delve into Lotta’s thoughts about the intersection between science and business, and what it is like to work on the customer side of deeptech.
#23 Nicole Quinn | Why VCs should do field research on consumers
In this episode of the Soaked by Slush podcast, we had the opportunity to host Nicole Quinn, Partner at Lightspeed Ventures. As an investor, Nicole is a master at working with founders, brands, and end-customers. Her impressive background in both investing and entrepreneurship has garnered her a wealth of experience and knowledge – especially when it comes to consumer brands. Nicole’s unique style of working with founders certainly makes her ideas worth a(n intriguing) listen.
#22 Wendy Xiao Schadeck & PJ Pärson | Web 3.0, Decentralization & Europe
In this episode, Isak and William talked to two Northzone Partners, Pär-Jörgen Pärson and Wendy Xiao Schadeck. Northzone is an early-stage venture capital fund based in Stockholm and New York, with many impressive companies in their portfolio. Many of these are shaping the almost paradigmatic change that the internet, decentralized protocols, and entrepreneurship are facilitating in these times. Some refer to it as Web 3.0. Listen to this episode to find out what that is and what it means for us.
#21 Martin Mignot | European Tech: Where are the Tech Giants?
Europe is a wonderful place, I think we can agree on that. I could spend all day listing reasons why, but then again this is just an episode description. However, some people are claiming that the jury is in regarding the state of European tech. Europe lost the race. Pack your bags. Martin Mignot, Partner at Index Ventures, begs to differ. He has worked with many rising European companies like Revolut, Deliveroo, and BlaBlaCar, and sees a bright future for European innovation. Listen to this episode to find out exactly what Martin means, and why.
#20 Hanno Renner | Combining Purpose with a Billion-Dollar Business
“Purpose” and “impact” are not new concepts anymore; millennials have been growing up with and spreading them around for many years now. They might still seem abstract to many people. Until you meet Hanno Renner, Co-Founder and CEO of Personio, to whom the idea of purpose defines the way a business should be run. In this episode, Isak and Oona talk to Hanno about what purpose actually means in practice; for Personio, their employees and investors, and Hanno himself.
#19 Sofia Nunes | How to feed and grow culture
Sofia Nunes is the Co-Founder and Head of Culture at Mambu, which is a combination that isn’t often seen. In fact, some would question whether or not culture is something a Founding team should even be thinking about. Sofia Nunes and Mambu, on the other hand, have put culture in the centre right from the start. In this episode, she shares her insights into why that is, what she thinks company culture is, and how it should be scaled up when your company scales up.
#18 Nick Dahl | Growth Lessons from Truecaller and Spotify
Let’s talk about growth. Or, I mean, we did already. With Nick Dahl, Spotify’s Growth Strategy Lead and Truecaller’s ex Head of Growth. Nick is an excellent example of how to think about startup growth in a modern and analytical way. In this episode, he gives great insights and frameworks on how to approach growth and make it work for you. We delve into both Nick’s personal stories from Spotify and Truecaller, as well as his insights into how to think about growing your own company, at different points in the company life-cycle.
#17 April Dunford | Product positioning done right
When Founders build a product, they are quite literally creating a new thing in the world. Part of that creative process is – as strange as it may sound – defining what the product actually is. What does it do? Who is it for? What can it be used for? How should it be thought about? This process is often called product positioning, and there are only a few voices in the world who talk about it as astutely and interestingly as April Dunford. In this episode, we delve into the dos and don’ts of product positioning, and how Founders can learn to think about it at the right time, namely, right now.
#16 Phil Libin | Remote work, mmhmm and the blending of digital life and real life
The pandemic has arguably accelerated the onset of many future trends, not least for the rise of remote work and daily human interaction through live streams and video conferencing. Phil Libin, the creator of Evernote, has founded a new company called mmhmm (pronounced “mmhmm”), which aspires to add a fresh layer of fun on top of the usefulness of video calls, or what he refers to as “fuseful.” Phil Libin believes that the real world will increasingly fuse with the digital, and both will have to adapt accordingly. If this is the case, Phil sees no reason not to make our new digital existence more enjoyable than what it might be replacing, or at least providing an alternative to. What do you think?
#15 Lessons in Branding from Spotify’s Former Head of Marketing, Sophia Bendz
Sophia Bendz was there when Spotify was taking its first adolescent steps, and left when it had amassed an over 9-digit global user base. Like many other companies of the same size, Spotify is more than the sum of its parts. It’s a brand and an idea that lives in public consciousness. Sophia was the person behind the heart and voice of those ideas, and she joined the Soaked by Slush podcast to share her insights into everything from nuts and bolts marketing strategy to understanding the deeper spirit of your company.
#14 Avi Meir | Reflections of a pandemic-time CEO
In this episode, we are talking to Avi Meir, CEO of TravelPerk. Based in Barcelona, TravelPerk was the fastest growing SaaS start up in Europe in 2019. Then the pandemic hit us globally, and Avi only had a couple of weeks to reassess his company’s situation. Or as Ben Horowitz refers to it, Avi had to transform from a peacetime CEO to a wartime CEO. In this episode, Avi shares his insight into and experiences from the past year, and how he managed to keep his ship afloat and thrive.
#13 Why is this the best time ever to be an entrepreneur?
In our first episode of the new season we talk to John Lindfors, Managing Partner at DST Global. There are not many Finns, if any, who have as unique an insight into both the global and Asian economies as John does. Having been an investor in many global giants such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Airbnb, Spotify, Alibaba, Slack (you get the gist), as well as having worked with the massive tech sector in China, John’s expertise and knowledge is second to none. In this episode, we discuss global macro-trends and opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors and everything from China’s rise to the future of tech.
#12 Mastering Product-Market Fit
If you can, go grab a notebook or open up a notes-app. You might not need to use it, but you might want to. In this episode, we had the honor of getting to pick the brain of a product-market fit master, the Founder and CEO of Superhuman, Rahul Vohra. Superhuman has reimagined the way in which we experience and use email by applying many of the principles that Rahul explained to us. This episode is jam packed with knowledge for fresh and seasoned entrepreneurs, especially but not limited to the SaaS field.
#11 The Anomaly of the Internet
The internet would not be the same without Wikipedia. In this episode, we had the honor of hosting its Founder, Jimmy Wales. Even in the modern age of the internet, Wikipedia still remains among the 15 largest web sites, whilst still holding on to its philosophy from the early days. It stands apart because of its unique business model compared to the other, more modern tech giants.
Where did Wikipedia come from and how was it built? How has it been able to become what we all know it for today, without selling ads or building addictive algorithms? What does Jimmy think about the internet in 2020?
#10 Achieving Hyper-Growth Outside Tech
Why do some founders succeed again and again? Jessica Rolph co-founded and successfully sold Happy Family to Danone. Now, in just three years, her new company, Lovevery, is growing twice as fast as Happy Family. In this heart to heart episode Jessica shares her views on everything from entrepreneurship to leadership, raising capital and managing her work-life balance.
#9 Succeeding In a Highly Competitive And Dynamic Market
If you live in a major city, chances are you’ve seen an electric scooter standing around or being driven. Chances are you might’ve tried one yourself. Chances are you have seen a post on social media about them, and chances are that you have an opinion about them yourself. But where did they come from, and how? This episode tells one e-scooter company’s story, namely Tier’s. Our guest is Tier’s Founder, Lawrence Leuschner, an entrepreneurial veteran behind the European e-scooter market leader.
#8 The Early Stages of Founding a Startup
Often, one of the first steps to becoming an entrepreneur is finding something that makes you go, ”this sucks”. Sonya Baranova is one of many who took the next steps, figuring out and building a solution. Sonya is a young London-based Ukrainian entrepreneur and the co-founder of Inovat, a new start-up that makes the process of getting VAT-refunds quick and easy. In this episode, we will get to know a young female entrepreneur who has worked with a startup in its early stages to now have it find its established place. Listen and find out what those first steps are like.
#7 The Secret Behind Exponential Growth
Most of us like new stuff better than used stuff, but not all new stuff is good for the planet. Sami is a guy who, with his team, figured out how to make used stuff into really good stuff. Refurbished stuff, as he calls it. Well, he might prefer to say refurbished iPhones, specifically.
Sami is the Co-Founder and CEO of Swappie, an exponentially growing Finnish startup selling, you remember it, refurbished iPhones. Want to learn more about how to build a product and service that satisfies customers and makes the economy one step more circular? Sami knows a thing or two about that.
#6 Building Processes for Incentivising Employees the Right Way
How do you solve a complex problem with simplicity? Take our guest, young Armenian entrepreneur Mariam Gyulumyan, and her start-up Lucky Carrot for example. She wanted to help companies create systems with which employees could get just recognition for good work, be incentivized to be proactive, and genuinely heighten their team spirit. How did she find and build solutions for these complex psychological challenges? Listen to find out.
#5 How to Build And Scale a Great Product?
Some things just work like they’re supposed to, and for a moment the world feels flawless. Sometimes it’s the universe handing you a full house out of nowhere because it was your turn, but often it’s because someone carefully designed the thing you are using with diligence, precision and integrity. For many of you, Google Drive might be one of those many things, and Jonathan Rochelle is the man behind it. In this episode, we will hear about Jonathan’s principles on product design and quality. How do you let your creativity and the customer’s needs sit behind the steering wheel, while your ego takes the backseat?
#4 The Importance of Role Models and Finding your Identity
How much have role models affected your career or life choices, either consciously or unconsciously? Now, what if you had found no one? What if there had been no one to relate to? Hayley Sudbury, the CEO of WERKIN, underlines the importance of the open and humane side of entrepreneurship and company cultures. We invite you to find out how to, as a founder, build a culture where people with different backgrounds and identities can be open and genuinely develop themselves.
#3 Understanding the Rules of the Venture Capital Game
For some founders, the worry and uncertainty over the cost of a loss in autonomy after a VC deal makes the option seem less attractive. What should founders know about the nature of venture capital and its overall business model, in order to clarify some of the open ends about what the VC lunch is all about?
Jyri Engeström is a Finnish Silicon Valley sage, who co-founded Yes VC with his partner Caterina Fake. Jyri’s mind and knowledge bank is unique, so have a listen and learn how Jyri sees the role and duty of Yes VC and venture capital in general – both to themselves, the investees, and the business ecosystem at large.
#2 Managing People and Culture in 2020
Katelin Holloway is one of the sharpest 21st-century voices on people and culture in the business world. In this podcast, she shares her insights on the subject, based on her experience at companies such as Pixar and Reddit, to illustrate how fundamental culture is for companies.
Culture is not easy to define. For someone it might’ve meant eating fresh grapes on the steps of the hanging gardens of Babylon, while pondering the Epic of Gilgamesh with your fellow Akkadians. For someone else it might mean choosing what snacks to bring to the next game night. For many companies, it’s about finding the “how” for their existence and work. Sounds easier said than done? It is.
#1 Marketing, Staying True to Your Vision & Blackstone
In the very first episode of the Soaked by Slush podcast, our guest is the Global Creative Director of Oatly, John Schoolcraft. Oatly has gone a long, long way from being an obscure Swedish oat milk start-up to becoming one of the global leaders in sustainable business. Along the way, Oatly has been wrestling with the trials and tribulations of becoming mainstream and working inside the system it has sought to make a change in. One example of this is their recent, highly publicized deal with Blackstone. This episode is a conversation about Oatly’s story, as well as the dilemmas of making an impact in the world while staying true to your roots while growing up.
#0 Introduction Episode
Welcome to the Soaked by Slush Podcast. In this brief intro episode the hosts, Isak Rautio and William von der Pahlen set the scene for the upcoming podcast. Why has Slush created the podcast, who’s gonna be on it and what can you expect to learn? And most importantly, how can you be involved in in the podcast journey and help us make the podcast as great as possible. We hope you’ll have many enjoyable moments with this podcast, hop on board.