On this episode of Startup Junkies, hosts Jeff Amerine and Caleb Talley talked with William Peng, co-founder and CEO of Northstar. This FinTech company enables employers to offer financial wellness as an employee benefit. William, a former product designer, co-founded the business to provide financial wellness through financial advice for The One Hundred Percent. Throughout the episode, Jeff, Caleb, and William discuss financial wellness, working for a startup, tech valuations, and much more!
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(0:43) Introducing William Peng and Northstar
(4:53) Encouraging Users to Get the Most Out of the Product
(6:32) How Working for a Startup Affected William’s Entrepreneurial Journey
(13:04) Tech Valuations
(14:59) Northstar’s Ideal Customer
(17:59) What Does Winning Look Like for William?
(22:30) Advice to Younger Self and Closing Thoughts
“There is a lack of resources for the majority of people—unless you’re already wealthy and can afford a financial advisor, for example—to make the best [financial] decisions for themselves.” William Peng, (3:37)
“With financial advice, it’s kind of the classic vitamin versus painkiller problem where people don’t generally sit around thinking ‘I need financial advice,’ unless they have a specific moment in time that they’re looking for it.” William Peng, (5:12)
“Our core [customer] base has a lot of high-growth tech companies of different sizes, from startups all the way to enterprises, but we also work with customers in other industries as well. It’s really important that we can support a wide diversity of backgrounds and employees, and not just those who have high-paying tech jobs.” William Peng, (15:15)
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(1:27) Origin Story
(8:30) More about Mycelium
(12:47) Applications Running on It
(15:50) Onboarding Others
(19:52) The Game of Growing
(23:30) Paying the Bills and the Team
(26:15) The Future of Mycelium
(27:28) Advice to Younger Self and Closing Remarks
“...All of a sudden there was this network of computers decentralized all over the globe that managed and maintained the system as opposed to having a central authority or, you know, a meeting behind closed doors to do that.” Rishi Mittal, (4:06)
“The best way to look at IoT is we're really trying to build an information super sidewalk…where we don't need that high bandwidth, those real-time streaming applications…but we do need to send reliable information over long distances. And for that, you can use something kind of like a dedicated sidewalk for smaller bandwidth items.” Rishi Mittal, (11:11)
“The mission of Mycelium networks is to accelerate the world's adoption of decentralized networks. And we started with Helium, we’re starting in Northwest Arkansas, and we're just going to take it from there.” Rishi Mittal, (12:35)
“You're literally running over a low band sidewalk. Your batteries last longer, you can get those sensors really, really tiny and really, really cheap. So you could essentially deck out whatever you want with tracking or humidity sensors, or temperature sensors, whether it's setting up a deer camp or tracking your dog or testing the heat of your soil for your rose garden…just really anything you can think of. And a lot of these solutions can be implemented for under $20.” Rishi Mittal, (13:43)
”We just want to build. You know, we just want to bring more networks to Northwest Arkansas and open up the space here.” Rishi Mittal, (23:15)
Welcome to another great episode of Startup Junkies!
On this episode of Startup Junkies, host Jeff Amerine, Caleb Talley, and Davis McEntire sit down with Josh Stanley, CEO of Cartwheel, a startup studio that creates B2B SaaS companies. Josh is a serial entrepreneur with vast experience in developing startups successfully and sharing his knowledge with others. Throughout the episode, Jeff, Caleb, Davis, and Josh discuss the methodology behind Cartwheel Startup Studio, the difference between venture and startup studios, and how regional growth is beneficial.
(1:15) Introduction to Josh Stanley
(5:45) About Cartwheel Startup Studio
(9:08) Methodology behind Cartwheel
(18:36) Cadence of Startups
(24:00) Differences between Venture and Startup Studios
(27:09) Advice for People without Access to a Startup Studio
(40:30) Future of Cartwheel Startup Studio
(43:54) Cartwheel Startup Studio’s Mission
(45:00) Regional Growth
(50:40) Remote Work Narrative
(57:17) Closing Thoughts
“This is the right model…the idea of pulling forward failure…fail before you form and fund failure. Fail before you put time, people, resources, talent behind an idea. Fail first, then only fund the things that make the most sense...” - Josh Stanley, (7:11)
“If you get emotionally attached…you’re going to seek data that suggests this is the right idea. So, we remove that kind of cognitive basis layer that exists in all of us through this model. We take a macabre approach. We’re trying to kill ideas. If you look at it as, ‘How can I kill this idea?’ And if that idea won’t die, I guess I have to form it then.” - Josh Stanley, (9:55)
“There’s nothing wrong with that model…but, you are inheriting a change management problem. You have to change either culture, processes, ways of working, or just straight up talent…you’re inheriting mostly a blank slate. You’re not inheriting a finished product by any means.” - Josh Stanley, (31:40)
“I want to bring people off the sidelines. I want to help. We want our reach to be broader than just starting up new companies…we want to be immersive…what’s next is whatever the region needs…and hopefully the things we believe will add value, truly will add value.” - Josh Stanley, (43:54)
“That’s part of the energy that is tangible here…it doesn’t feel like a zero sum game. It doesn’t feel like you have to compete against others to win.” - Josh Stanley, (46:52)
In this episode of Startup Junkies, Jeff Amerine, Caleb Talley, and Davis McEntire sit down with Vance Reavie, founder and CEO of Junction AI. Vance is a multi-time founder, and he recently completed Fuel, a Northwest Arkansas-based accelerator that helps growth-stage artificial intelligence and machine learning startups become enterprise-ready. Throughout the episode, Jeff, Caleb, Davis, and Vance discuss Junction AI, Vance’s journey to Northwest Arkansas, building a launchpad for corporate innovation, and much more!
(1:26) Introducing Vance Reavie and Junction AI
(6:35) Allowing Yourself to Pivot
(9:19) What Does Winning Look Like?
(11:27) Vance’s Background and Transition to Arkansas
(14:59) Building the Junction AI Team
(19:40) Why Vance Is Excited to Be In NWA
(27:20) Advice for Young Talent
(30:56) Building a Launchpad for Corporate Innovation
(36:14) Advice for Vance’s Younger Self
(40:41) Closing Thoughts
“We had to understand, does what we do matter to the enterprise, and if it does, how are we going to get in there and sell it and make a success of it? So that’s why we wanted to [be a part of Fuel], and I was blown away by the program.” Vance Reavie, (6:24)
“They say the top three things that typically cause new ventures to fail is number one, you’re building something that no one wants. Two is you’ve hired wrong—you’ve got people in the wrong seats. And the third one is a lack of focus. And all three of those can be equally deadly.” Jeff Amerine, (8:34)
“...You get quite addicted to that idea that things can move this fast, and that’s a lot of fun. And it draws people in. People want to be part of it when they see this happening because, seriously, none of us want to do nothing or just be bored at work or whatever it is. We see something exciting happening and you’re drawn to those people or that project…” Vance Reavie, (32:26)
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(1:43) The Origin Story
(3:25) Greenhouse Outdoor Recreation Program (GORP)
(4:43) Why Outdoor Rec?
(10:26) The Kind of People and Founders GORP Is Looking to Bring In
(12:09) Definition of Accelerate
(18:15) Phil’s Projects Besides GORP
(24:07) Where Is GORP Going?
(26:21) National Businesses vs. Local Businesses
(28:00) Arkansas’ Future in Outdoor Rec
(33:53) The Landing Question - Advice to Younger Self
(35:39) Get in Touch
”...I think our whole region can claim world-class in a lot of different activities, and people from all around the world really come here and enjoy this activity. Therefore, because we have that, then we know we have people here that are passionate about it and that would have ideas or problems to solve within it.” Phil Shellhammer, (6:24)
“If I can get the right passionate people in a room and just have them talking about where the biggest problems are…then you can actually build entrepreneurs out of that [who] otherwise might not have dipped their toe, and they create a little side gig business until it's a legitimate business.” Phil Shellhammer, (11:40)
“You need people wrapped around you that can help support, that have gone through it before, that know the expertise.” Phil Shellhammer, (30:51)
“...My whole goal is to sit with as many people as possible, walk them through their journey, help them figure out where their problem is, what problem they want to solve and how they want to do it. So the more we can do in outdoor rec within that, the better.” Phil Shellhammer, (36:10)