Dave Ferrera is currently the General Partner of Treadstone Holdings, a venture studio focused on catheter-based diagnostic and interventional radiology technologies. They work with doctors and entrepreneurs and use or create intellectual property to develop new companies. Dave is a board member for a number of early stage medical device companies as well.
Throughout Dave’s career he’s been a researcher, product developer and technologist in medical devices, so he’s well-suited to run a venture studio. He is an engineer by training, transplanting here from the east coast many years ago.
He’s also a recent book author – releasing “Innovation in Translation – How Big Ideas Really Happen” earlier this year. We had a good discussion about it and how it came to be.
Dave and I talked about how we've both launched venture studios and why we try to take on multiple projects at the same time. Dave also described how he thinks about developing ideas and finding ones that solve real problems - so useful for entrepreneurs to learn!
Thanks also to show sponsor, Collective Genius - if you want to build an unstoppable team for your high growth company, you should meet them and learn about Peak Planning.
Sloane Keane is currently the CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County and Inland Empire, a role she’s had for nearly 3 years, and after several years with the organization in senior development roles. Big Brothers Big Sisters is one of the highest impact non-profits in the area, and country, providing mentoring and support to thousands of children here every year.
Prior to BBBS, she was an advertising executive across several prominent media companies, including the Orange County Register. And like me, she’s also a Big Ten graduate.
We had a great chat about the importance of showing up, and how mentorship and support for youth had steadily reduced the number of "opportunity youth" across the country. Covid has caused some negative trends there and there's a lot of work to do in the years ahead to recover from that, and Sloane and her team are leading the way.
She is an inspiring leader in our community - you'll enjoy this conversation!
Jeff Martin is CEO and Founder of Collective Genius, which he started 15 years ago to build high growth companies with talent recruiting, leadership team planning and tools. We met in LA where he’s expanded the company and spent considerably more time, eventually moving here, and we bonded as we’re both Midwest transplants to SoCal. I also appreciate Jeff for being a longtime supporter and sponsor of the podcast.
Jeff is a good storyteller and has produced some great Tech Scenes videos about tech ecosystems around the country. He’s an entrepreneur at heart and is great at building and starting things – Peak Planning is one of those examples and has become a go-to system for better leadership planning in high growth, VC-backed companies.
Jeff is a born entrepreneur, and supporter of them, such as being a Techstars mentor and board member of EO (Entrepreneurs Organization) for over 10 years. He also has a large brood of children, which I know he greatly enjoys as well.
We had a great conversation about the importance of alignment, planning and execution among high growth companies, and Jeff shared a lot of perspective and wisdom about its importance and impact.
Minnie Ingersoll is currently a Partner at TenOneTen, an LA-based venture capital firm actively investing in early stage tech companies. They’ve made dozens of investments in a bunch of SoCal founders’ companies and have already had many acquisitions, unicorns and even companies go public. She also leads their podcast, "LA Venture".
She was previously the co-founder of Shift Technologies, a newly public company that makes buying and selling cars fun, fair, and accessible.
Minnie was also COO of Code for America, and a former commissioner of the City and County of San Francisco. Early in her career she was also in Product at Google. Minnie grew up in LA, and returned a couple years ago, joined TenOneTen and she’s been all in on LA / SoCal since returning.
She shared her own founder journey, her experience as a camp counselor (you'll like that story), and how she thinks about choosing founders as a venture capitalist, in which she utilizes her extensive hiring manager skills. There's a lot of gold in here for the entrepreneurs in the audience!
Thanks also to Jeff at Collective Genius for sponsoring the show. If you want to do Peak Planning for your high performance team, you should meet Jeff!
Curtis Boyd is the founder of Objection Co, an online review protection and fraud detection software company. You'll want to hear him tell the founder story – it’s a good one.
We’ve all seen and likely used online reviews about products, services and companies to influence our decisions. However, in many cases those reviews may not be honest, accurate or real. Curtis’s company, Objection, helps businesses dispute, and in some cases remove, untruthful or fake reviews.
He is a classic entrepreneur, going from nursing school to being a nurse tech, to now running a growing SaaS company. He did what I would call the responsible thing – going to school to get a useful, marketable degree, and then became the accidental entrepreneur, and he's really leaned into it.
Thanks also to Jeff and Collective Genius for sponsoring this episode.
Zach Silverman joined me on the podcast to discuss his background and interest in helping more people understand and be inspired to invest in private companies. He started a group, Educated Investors, during Covid, and it's quickly grown into a vibrant online community of investors. Zach and his father invested in an emerging VC firm, RareBreed Ventures, headed by Mac Conwell, who's been a force of nature on Twitter and in the world of emerging VC managers!
Zach and I initially connected on Twitter, one of the silver linings of the last year, and I’ve had a great time in his group so far. Zach also has a passion for diversity and inclusion in the startup and investing community, and we talked about it quite a bit in this episode.
I'm confident that Zach will inspire a whole new generation of investors to participate in the startup world and assist the many amazing founders, and innovations they're building, to become more successful.
Thanks also to show sponsor, Collective Genius, and their work to help venture-backed companies build unstoppable teams. Reach out to me if you want to meet Jeff and team there.
Marvin Liao is currently a partner at GameGroove Capital, a hybrid holding company/family office/fund focused on building and investing in IP, startups and services around the Gaming industry. He was previously a partner at 500 Startups for many years, where he worked with hundreds of startups in the early stages, including many household names. He ran their San Francisco accelerator during much of that time. Prior to 500 Startups, he developed global experience in media and technology in companies like Yahoo, as well as companies that helped US companies reach audiences in Southeast Asia and navigate Baidu in its early years.
I’ve greatly enjoyed Marvin’s musings and writing over the last year, as his Substack called The Hard Fork is one of my absolute favorites. He definitely brings an abundance mentality and has a keen eye for new ideas and emerging entrepreneurs in many regions of the world.
Our conversation covered a lot of ground about careers, global business, the state of the world today, becoming an investor, and even including how to work with startups and founders to help them with their puzzles, and as Marvin says, "each startup is a snowflake."
Thanks to show sponsor, Peak Planning from Collective Genius, whose program for venture-backed companies will help you build an unstoppable team.
Rajeev Kapur is President and CEO of 1105 Media, a company that focuses on events and training. Before Covid his company was a go-to business for in-person education and training events. They did more than 70 events in 2019. Once Covid hit, all of his company's in-person events disappeared overnight. and he discussed the pivots that his various business units had to undertake.
Rajeev and team moved quickly to virtualize his business, navigated some audience and pricing challenges for emerging virtual events. 1105 media proceeded to thrive over the last year, with an increase in activity by over 20%, and gross margins increasing significantly, which led to the 2nd best year in the company’s history.
Rajeev has a long history in the tech industry with roles at Gateway and Dell, as well as more recently at INSTEON/Smarthome.com. I really enjoyed his views on leadership and how that is rapidly evolving due to expectations from today's workforce.
Thanks to show sponsor, Collective Genius, whose Peak Planning system is helping high growth companies to build unstoppable teams.
Tommy Tallarico is CEO & President of Intellivision Entertainment, a name many of you may recall from a prior era. 40 years ago it was a household name as a pioneer in the video game industry. Tommy and team have built on its legacy to bring back its simple, affordable family-focused games and entertainment. They are launching under the Amico name, which means "friend" in Italian.
Tommy has over 30 years of gaming industry experience in virtually every role – designer, producer, writer and even head of music and video. He’s also an accomplished musician and even holds some Guinness World records. He has an amazing vision for the company, and energy and excitement to see it succeed. We talked a lot about his entrepreneurial process on the show as well.
Enjoy Tommy's enthusiasm in this Operate Podcast conversation. And thanks to show sponsor, Hunt Club. They help you find the best talent for your company, from their network of thousands of referral partners.
William Fikhman is Founder & Chief Strategy Officer of Amazzia, a leading provider of services to brands who sell on Amazon. They work with these companies to help them protect and grow their Amazon business by doing things like removing unauthorized sellers, monitoring for counterfeit products, and other brand monitoring services. We talked much more about the needs for control, trust and other factors that have emerged in an Amazon-heavy commerce world.
Amazzia has helped companies deliver hundreds of millions of dollars of sales on Amazon across dozens of brands and product categories, so William has seen a lot and identifies the patterns and opportunities that building a successful business on Amazon often needs.
William is a SoCal native and has built his company here as well - enjoy the entrepreneurial story of how the company got started and his perspective on the evolving eCommerce landscape.
And thanks to show sponsor, Hunt Club, please check them out for their world class referral talent network.