Brick by Brick
By Ollie Allen Fox
Brick by BrickJun 11, 2023
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.
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
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]
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
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.
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
#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: https://www.linkedin.com/in/oliverjallman/ https://twitter.com/oafhq
#012: Daniel Tarockoff, Breaking Into The Venture Capital Industry
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.
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
#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:
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
#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.
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
01:01:34 THE MOST USEFUL CHARACTER TRAIT LEARNT IN THE MILITARY
#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
https://www.mindstate.design/ [ designed & built by my agency, WEBOAF ]
#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.
00:41 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
01:03:44 The Best Part Of Co-Founding Yellow Panther
01:07:33 Dealing With Self Doubt
Stuart & Yellow Panther:
#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
#005: Paul Deuchar, Bouncing Back From A Billion Dollar Failure
Paul Deuchar is currently the Founder & CEO of UseVerb.com. 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
#004: Brock McLean, From Scoring Winning Goals in Front of 90,000 to a Mental Health Crisis
This is a truly inspiring story.
Brock McLean played 167 games at the highest level of Australian Rules Football. He's scored winning goals in front of tens of thousands of people, learnt what it takes to perform at an elite level & overcome the difficulties of life after sport.
Brock struggled with mental health, abusing drugs & alcohol culminating in suicide attempts. On his journey to climb out of dark places, Brock has learnt about the fundamental components of happiness & the promise of novel emerging psychedelic medicines.
He is now pursuing a career in the Psychedelic industry to help others who could benefit from the medicine.
Brock's story is incredible & I hope the insights from this podcast can help lots of people.
Resources mentioned in the podcast:
- Self-Compassion with Kristin Neff
- How to Silence Your Inner Critic with Kristin Neff
- Self-Compassion Ain't Always Soft | Kristin Neff
- The Science of Wellbeing | Yale University
- The Naked Mind [Book on cutting alcohol]
- Mindstate Design Labs [Website by WEBOAF]
- Tandava Retreats
- LSD: Doorway to the Numinous: The Groundbreaking Psychedelic Research into Realms of the Human Unconscious
- A General Theory of Love
Connect with Brock: Linked In
#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: https://ultra-x.co/
#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 & Flavors.me. 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
#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.