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Brick by Brick

Brick by Brick

By Ollie Allen Fox

Uncovering the foundations to start build your empire in your 20s. I'm on a mission to inspire people to take their dreams from zero to one. This is a library of conversations with outliers who have found success in their domains. My hope is to shine a light on the mindset of high performers who make a positive difference to the world. The podcast is based around entrepreneurship but it touches on sport, art, design, technology, psychedelics, philosophy, self development, sales, business skills & everything in between. Podcast hosted by Ollie Allen Fox ( @ollieallenfox ), founder of WEBOAF
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#001: Brom Rector, Launching a $10M Psychedelic VC Fund

Brick by BrickFeb 13, 2023

017 Yuriy Blokhin, Founding a Tech Startup With A Novel Business Model

017 Yuriy Blokhin, Founding a Tech Startup With A Novel Business Model

Yuriy Blokhin is the Founder / CEO of Homecoming, a startup building tools and technologies to support the essential work of coaches and therapists.

Yuriy has consulted a therapy chatbot company for acquisition by Airbnb. 

He is a founding member of the Heroic Hearts Project, offering educational, financial & counseling services to veterans with PTSD seeking access to ayahuasca and other psychedelic therapies. 

He studied mathematical physics at college before dropping out to start working at Kik as the first employee, which grew to 300m registered users.


0:00 Intro

01:18 Overcoming treatment resistant depression with psychedelics

07:19 What is consciousness?

11:12 What does homecoming do?

14:56 How to find a business idea

17:48 Should you follow your passion?

21:08 Is it possible to plan life?

24:42 Why you need a mentor

29:55 What is your life purpose?

35:09 What does a seed stage CEO do?

39:26 Homecoming go to market strategy

40:39 Finding product market fit

47:05 Does homecoming have a viral loop?

49:16 Adding discovery layers to apps second instead of first

56:05 Is SEO a good marketing strategy?

57:15 How to choose a great board of directors including the co-founder of Substack

01:01:02 The leading driver of burnout in startup Founders



Nov 12, 202301:07:18
016 Hector Mason, Top 10 Lessons From Meeting Unicorn Founders & The Future Of Data Driven Seed Investing

016 Hector Mason, Top 10 Lessons From Meeting Unicorn Founders & The Future Of Data Driven Seed Investing

Hector Mason is General Partner at Episode 1 Ventures, where he invests in pre-seed and seed stage companies using data driven insights. Often sourcing deals before founders have even left their job.

He supplements his work at Episode 1 as Co-Founder of Focal, a virtual demo day matching top seed companies with the best investors in the world.

As a self proclaimed productivity freak, he has also finds time to be the Co-Host of Riding Unicorns. A podcast focused on venture capital and growth startups where Hector has met many unicorn founders.

We talked about:

00:45 The new gold standard for demo days

04:41 How did you find the idea for Focal?

06:24 How do VC's find competitive advantage in the future?

10:05 Using Data & Tech in VC

18:55 Small teams doing the work of huge teams

22:03 What character traits define unicorn founders?

26:17 How hard do Founders really work?

29:20 Unicorn founders and wellness

30:29 The importance of self intuition

34:22 Hectors lifestyle as a VC, founder & podcast host

41:05 Becoming a Homing Missile to Money

44:45 How Hector became a general partner at 28

48:58 The Power of Curiosity

52:11 Pre-seed investing is a human business

57:03 Your most proud behaviour?

01:00:39 Content Strategy

Hector [Linked In]

Ollie [Twitter, WEBOAF]

Sep 19, 202301:05:32
015 Clint Graumann, Mapping The Earth With LiDAR Satellites To Fight Climate Change With Leonardo DiCaprio

015 Clint Graumann, Mapping The Earth With LiDAR Satellites To Fight Climate Change With Leonardo DiCaprio

Clint Graumann is Founder & CEO of Nuview. He's building the world’s first commercial constellation of LiDAR imaging satellites. The data will help academics, scientists and companies fight climate change. Clint has raised $15m from top investors including MaC Venture Capital, Leonardo DiCaprio and Florida Funders.

Clint is very passionate about the Space industry, he hosts the Space in 60 podcast. If you have ever read Naval Ravikant's 'How To Get Rich Without Getting Lucky' you will notice that Clint embodies lots of the philosophies that Naval talks about.

If you are stuck in life and want to see what someone who has found their passion looks like, this is it.


01:04 Nuview Mission

06:26 Nuview Data Use Cases

13:17 What do you look for in Venture Capital partners?

15:31 How do you start a space company?

18:09 Getting Investment From Leonardo DiCaprio

20:20 What jobs are there in the Space industry?

23:46 How did you find your passion?

31:28 How to spot the best opportunities

34:23 Seeking deep expertise before starting a deep tech company

35:38 How to start a deep tech company

37:33 Do Sci Fi movies really influence science?

39:36 Will the human race go to space?

41:13 How does the Nuview business model work?

45:00 How to build a satellite

49:47 WEBOAF, a creative agency for deep tech founders. A good idea?

53:17 Should you plan or just get started?

56:19 How to find your passion in your 20s

59:58 Clint's thoughts on self actualisation

01:07:12 How to choose the right women to be your wife



Sep 02, 202301:10:15
014 Sa'ad Shah, Investing $150m To Fix The Mental Health Crisis

014 Sa'ad Shah, Investing $150m To Fix The Mental Health Crisis

Sa'ad Shah is the the Managing Partner of Noetic Capital, a $150m AUM venture capital firm focused on funding companies providing solutions for the 1.2 billion people diagnosed with mental health conditions.

Portfolio companies include Merlin Mind, Beckley Psytech & Apollo Neuroscience.

Sa'ad has used his experience from his successful finance career in hedge funds and private equity to create a venture capital firm that invests in an area he is deeply passionate about.

Show Notes:

01:25 Noetic Fund Investment Thesis

04:29 Why isn't the mental health epidemic more widely reported?

07:20 The Theme Running Through Noetic Funds Investment Strategy

11:59 The Cultural Causes of the Mental Health Crisis

17:02 The Impact Of Phones On The Circuitry Of The Mind

20:54 Start Ups Tracking Data In The Brain

25:08 Merlin Mind AI For Government, Intelligience & Organisations Where Data Privacy Is Important

29:53 How Sa'ad found his passion?

37:40 Spending 51 years to find the meaning of life

40:17 How do you balance progress with health

47:36 Growing Up In East Berlin

52:37 What does Sa'ad think is the meaning of life?

56:06 The 5 Steps To Starting A VC Fund

01:04:42 Film Financing

01:08:48 The Performance Of Noetic Fund

01:11:42 The Traders Mindset



Aug 14, 202301:14:25
#013: Anya Culling, Amateur Runner To England Athlete In 4 Years [2hr 34m Marathon PB]

#013: Anya Culling, Amateur Runner To England Athlete In 4 Years [2hr 34m Marathon PB]

Anya Culling's marathon PB is 2hr 34min. She set this personal record at Copenhagen marathon wearing an England vest. Anya started running in lockdown and fell in love with the sport taking her marathon time from 4hr 34min to 2hr 36min. This earned her an invitation to represent the England team at the Copenhagen Marathon where she achieved a 2hr 34m marathon. Timestamps: 03:01 from 4 hour marathon to being selected to run for england 06:38 Building a marathon mindset 11:01 Drinking Alcohol & Running (not at the same time) 12:03 Achieving top 1% performance 14:15 Hanging out with other pro athletes 18:21 Becoming a Lululemon Ambassador 21:14 How to hit a sub 20 5k 24:00 Anya's training plan 28:02 Where does Anya's passion stem from? 30:56 Being selected for England 32:27 Looking after your body 36:10 Qualifying for the Olympics in running 38:07 Doping In Running Anya: IG- @a.culling Ollie:

Aug 05, 202350:13
#012: Daniel Tarockoff, Breaking Into The Venture Capital Industry

#012: Daniel Tarockoff, Breaking Into The Venture Capital Industry

Daniel Tarockoff is a Partner at Vine Ventures where he invests in companies taking a novel approach to conscious health and wellness such as Tripp, Othership & Psygen.

Previously Daniel worked in strategy consulting for 5 years at Strategy&. In this episode he explains the contrast between corporate and startup life and how this related to him finding meaningful work he is passionate about.




00:43 Intro

01:05 Vine Ventures Mission

02:38 What does Daniel invest in?

03:47 Pushing towards people taking more ownership of their lifes

15:04 Why did Daniel leave his good job i

29:45 Why do people do MBAs?

32:40 The best people daniel met at his MBA

34:01 Alex Lieberman At Uni

36:27 The top 3 things a VC looks for in early stage companies

38:26 The standards expected of startup founders

43:31 Routes into vc

54:30 Howmuch does a vc make?

58:50 Why does Daniel stay in the game if not for money?

01:02:55 The building blocks of a VC fund

Jul 30, 202301:15:32
#011: Jessica Harrison-Bolton, Using Storytelling To Close $100M Enterprise Deals

#011: Jessica Harrison-Bolton, Using Storytelling To Close $100M Enterprise Deals

Jessica Harrison-Bolton is a Creative Director at IBM. She sees over an IBM team that brings storytelling & experiential telling excellence to big deals ($10M - $100M+). The team has worked on over $1B worth of deals for IBM in the last few years. In 2022, Jess won the IBM Growth Award as nominated by the Managing Director of IBM UK & Ireland for her work on winning 9 figure deals.

Jess's passion lies in coaching & mentoring senior partners to simplify complexity in their messaging, deliver confidently & connect with their audiences. She is also passionate about giving back to Apprentices, Graduates and those earlier in their career & helping them to understand the skills they can nurture to progress further.

Jess has worked for years with C-Level execs across UK, Europe, Asia & the USA. She's worked a range of company sizes from large enterprise customers to local innovators, entrepreneurs & SME's.






In this episode we talk about:

00:56 Intro

02:08 The Biggest Deal Jess Has Ever Signed

02:52 What do creative directors actually do?

05:43 Jess's Creative Process

09:05 The Top 5 Questions To Ask In A Sales Presentation

11:02 Jess's Number 1 Rule

12:25 Lessons from Jess's first ever job

17:59 The importance of people skills

21:40 Doing scary things

25:49 The challenge of moving to america

29:24 Overcoming an unexpected divorce

35:44 The power of competitiveness to pull through hard times

45:59 Defining your values to make better life decisions

50:36 How to find out what company culture is really like

Jul 11, 202301:03:05
#010 John McGlothlin, 5 Life Lessons From The Military To Improve Your Day To Day Life

#010 John McGlothlin, 5 Life Lessons From The Military To Improve Your Day To Day Life

John McGlothlin is a former US military paratrooper & author of the book "How to Deal With Damn Near Anything: The Paratrooper's Guide To Life". He is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Maryland where he focuses on building ethical & legal decision-making skills in MBA candidates.

In this episode we talked about the 5 most important character traits taught in the military & John explains how they apply to every day life. We also hear a fascinating range of stories about life serving in Afghanistan & Iraq, considering both the American viewpoint & the viewpoint of the locals. John is an Arabic linguist so it gives him a very unique insight into the local point of view.

John's links:

Linked In

His Book

Ollie's links:




01:01 The important lessons the military teach you

05:51 Why did you join the military?

08:28 Whats it like in Afghanistan?

13:01 Being an Arabic linguist

17:35 The power of positive framing

21:45 What the military teaches about self awareness

22:30 The problems with being too nice to your friends

25:10 How do you become more self aware?

28:40 Whats it like serving in Iraq?

34:16 Having a well rounded skill set

38:38 The military secret to using your initiative

42:56 A surprise encounter in Baghdad

45:39 Why would anyone join the Taliban?

51:36 Dealing with conflict in the workplace


Jul 04, 202301:07:37
#008: Dillan DiNardo, Raising $11.5M To Design New States of Consciousness With Psychedelics

#008: Dillan DiNardo, Raising $11.5M To Design New States of Consciousness With Psychedelics

Dillan DiNardo is the Co-Founder & CEO of Mindstate Design Labs. A company focused on developing the next generation of psychedelic - inspired therapeutics for mental health treatment. Mindstate Design Labs went through the S21 Y Combinator batch. They then went on to raise $11.5M from top investors including Initialized Capital, Empath Ventures, Naval Ravikant, Max Hodak, Fred Ersham & Gary Tan.

Previously Dillan worked in venture investing and spinouts at UPMC Enterprises, the internal venture arm of UPMC. Prior to UPMC Enterprises I was a transaction-focused consultant, covering the full investment life cycle from angel and seed-stage startup funding rounds to Fortune 500 mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures.


01:37 Podcast Start

02:52 Why are the smartest people in the world investing in Mindstate Desgin Labs?

06:46 The Biggest Medical Problem Faced By Society

08:17 Treating Depression With Psychedelics

11:16 Are Psychedelics A Treatment Or A Cure?

14:54 Does MDMA burn holes in your brain?

16:42 Safely Adminstering Psychedelic Drugs

18:36 Dillan's Journey To Becoming CEO of Mindstate Design Labs

22:39 Building A Psychedelic Company In A Capitalist Society

24:07 The Thinking Behind Starting Mindstate

31:00 Designer Psychedelics

32:52 What Happens When Psychedelics Research Is Powered By AI, Quantum & Neuralink

35:00 The Anti-Addictive Properties of Psychedelic States

38:18 What is consciousness and is AI sentient?

43:50 Psychedelics as a probing tool to better understand the brain

46:50 Mindstate Design Labs Models Could Improve AI Model Architecture

49:58 Learnings from Y Combinator

53:15 Your Aunt's Friend Will Take Psychedelics Mainstream

56:04 Will Psychedelic Companies Be Acquired By Big Pharma?

01:01:54 Sacrifices on the journey to self actualisation

Dillan: [ designed & built by my agency, WEBOAF ]


Jun 11, 202301:05:18
#007: Stuart Cope, Co-Founding a 30 Person Digital Studio & Working With Nike

#007: Stuart Cope, Co-Founding a 30 Person Digital Studio & Working With Nike

Stuart Cope is the Co-Founder of Yellow Panther, a digital studio that builds products for some of the world's biggest brands such as Nike, eBay and the Rajasthan Royals. Stuart & his co-founder have 30+ staff & two offices, one in the UK and one in India. We talk about integrating AI into creative endeavours, the Manchester of India & the surprising effect of trusting those around you.

In this conversation we talk about sales, hiring & operations in a fast growing startup.


00:10 Intro

00:41 What does a creative agency do?

02:28 How did Stu begin Yellow Panther

07:41 Providing a great service to clients

11:53 Being resilient in the creative industry

15:08 Building culture in a team

21:29 Exiting from an agency business

24:17 The importance of risk taking in business

26:27 Working for billionaire Larry Ellison

32:47 How much do entrepreneurs need to sacrifice?

36:00 The surprising outcome of trusting your team

41:32 The benefit of having an office in India

43:08 The Manchester of India

44:29 Using AI in daily work practise

45:22 UI/UX AI Tools

45:59 Will AI take our jobs?

48:41 Services business selling products

52:57 Featured in the Times

56:03 Linked In Stalking Outbound Sales

57:23 VR

01:03:44 The Best Part Of Co-Founding Yellow Panther

01:07:33 Dealing With Self Doubt

Stuart & Yellow Panther:


Jun 05, 202301:17:17
#006: Mahyad G, Going Through Y Combinator & Raising $4M For SigmaOS

#006: Mahyad G, Going Through Y Combinator & Raising $4M For SigmaOS

Mahyad Ghassemibouyaghchi is the Co-Founder & CEO of SigmaOS. A Y Combinator backed startup that is looking to change how you interact with the internet with their new Mac browser app.

Seven years ago, Mahyad moved to the UK from Iran with nothing. He was rejected from interviews, fired from jobs & built 2 failed startups. Now he is the CEO of one of London's hottest startups. His story is a masterclass in resilience & self belief.


01:24 Sigma OS Elevator Pitch

03:26 Facing Rejections

06:05 Having a thick skin

08:17 Mahyad's Failed Startups

10:17 Mahyad's Goals

12:04 How did the idea for Sigma OS happen?

17:09 The Subscription Business Model

19:58 Managing ADHD

26:45 Going through Y Combinator

31:43 The Best Piece of Advice From YC

33:36 What is the best feature of Sigma OS?

34:41 The importance of user feedback

40:54 Why are Iranians in London so succesful?

46:46 Raising $4 Million after YC

49:16 Sigma OS Growth

50:13 Will Sigma OS raise more money?

52:02 Mahyad's Personal Life Ambition

54:20 How much did you have to sacrifice to get here?

56:52 Do you drink?

59:23 London Startup Scene

01:02:23 Who are the best startups atm?

01:04:20 Dealing with competition

01:05:59 Staying mission focused


May 21, 202301:14:18
#005: Paul Deuchar, Bouncing Back From A Billion Dollar Failure

#005: Paul Deuchar, Bouncing Back From A Billion Dollar Failure

Paul Deuchar is currently the Founder & CEO of Paul is a serial entrepreneur who has been recognised in 40 Under 40, Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Young Engineer of the Year, Australian Product Innovation and the Australian Cool Company Awards. His previous companies were in the Robotics & EdTech Industries.

We talked about:

  • The Challenges of Building a Startup
  • Overcoming the Cold Start Problem
  • Using Chat GPT at work
  • Raising Kids In A World Of AI
  • Moving To Texas
  • A Billion Dollar Failure
  • Mastering Sales
  • The Power of Being A Generalist

May 05, 202301:45:34
#004: Brock McLean, From Scoring Winning Goals in Front of 90,000 to a Mental Health Crisis
Apr 16, 202301:39:06
#003: Sam Heward, Building The Worlds Greatest Ultramarathon Series Ultra X

#003: Sam Heward, Building The Worlds Greatest Ultramarathon Series Ultra X

Sam Heward is the Co-Founder of Ultra X. A global ultramarathon series hosting the best Ultra races on the planet. In locations such as Jordan, Sri Lanka, Madeira, Tanzania & Azores as well as many others.

Ultra X:


Apr 02, 202301:47:05
#002: Jack Zerby, Saying no to a $40M Facebook Acquisition Deal

#002: Jack Zerby, Saying no to a $40M Facebook Acquisition Deal

Jack Zerby was the 10th employee at Vimeo. He is now the Head of Design at Gumroad working alongside Sahil Lavingia. He is also the founder of Biddy, Design for Decks, Do HQ, Dogma & He also does freelance UI/UX consulting.

The aim of this podcast is to understand how the f he manages all of these things at once. It's an interesting answer.

We also talked about chicken wings, jui-jitsu & Rihanna.   Enjoy

Feb 17, 202301:33:02
#001: Brom Rector, Launching a $10M Psychedelic VC Fund

#001: Brom Rector, Launching a $10M Psychedelic VC Fund

Brom Rector is the Founding General Partner of Empath Ventures. A Venture Capital firm that is investing in the future of Psychedelic Medicine.   

Brom used to work in Hedge Funds before starting a Pychedelic Podcast (The Brom Podcast) that led him to combine his psychedelic industry knowledge with his financial acumen to create Empath Ventures. A VC Fund with a target size of $10 Million with LPs including Marc Andreesen, Chris Dixon & Jim O'Shaughnessy.

Brom has invested in top psychedelic companies including MAPS, Pangea Botanica & Mindstate Design Labs.

Feb 13, 202301:16:42